Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sights to See: Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Laguna Beach, California

Pacific Marine Mammal Center  20612 Laguna Canyon Rd., (going east, look for the dog park on the south side of road just before), (949) 494-3050.  Daily 10-4.  Free.  See rescued seals, sea lions, and elephant seals being rehabilitated for release in this very small facility.  It is hands-off of these pinnipeds for everyone, even staff, though Sage, because she is an unreleasable orphan sea lion, is treated like a diva with plenty of toys and human interaction.  When I visited in October at the end of the season, only three seals were in residence, but more than 250+ animals are rescued each year so sometimes it can get crowded.  A white egret named Gracie, who is actually a he, lives in an adjacent tree and comes regularly to visit and steal fish. 

Many artists have their studios along the highway leading here, so allow time to stop. 

More things to do in Laguna Beach. 

More animal attractions.  

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.  
 
images c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, December 17, 2012

Good Eats: Poquito Mas, Santa Monica, California

Poquito Mas  2025 Wilshire Blvd./21st St., (310) 828-1700.  This popular fast-food spot serves delicious Mexican fare with plenty of vegetarian options.  The chips are not salted, and you need to ask for your portion when you place your order at the counter.  My favorite item is the sopitos, which are small sopes made with a round masa base topped with refried beans and shredded lettuce.  Wet burritos are topped with a special red sauce, and the salsa bar has plenty of choices as well as marinated chilies and carrots. 

Poquito Mas on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Santa Monica

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways. 

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Great Sleeps & Good Eats: Hotel Fifty, H50 Bistro & Bar, Portland, Oregon--CLOSED

Hotel Fifty  CLOSED  50 SW Morrison St., S of the Morrison Bridge, downtown, (503) 221-0711.  141 rooms; 5 stories.  Restaurant; bar; room service.  Pass for fitness facility.  Dogs ok.  Self-parking $22, valet $27; valet bicycle parking is free.  Situated south of the Morrison Bridge and across the street from the Willamette River, this pleasant boutique hotel is just a few walkable blocks from downtown shopping.  It is one block from the MAX Light Rail tram stop (and just five stops from the convention center) and has easy access to the popular Pearl District.  Guest rooms offer a choice of a king or two double beds made with high-thread-count white cotton sheets.  Each floor has a soda machine and an ice freezer featuring sanitary pre-packed bags of ice.  This is the first hotel in Oregon to have outlets for electric cars to recharge their batteries.  Occupancy runs 98% in summer, when riverside festivals take place just across the street.

H5O Bistro & Bar CLOSED  ((503) 484-1415. B-L-D daily; $$.  Free valet parking for 2 hrs.).  Many diners never get farther than the bar in front, which has a happy hour from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and all day on Sunday, but those who enter the spacious open dining room get a view of the river across the street.  The menu changes regularly, and the lunch menu might include a large wedge butter lettuce salad with pickled beets, bruchetta topped with sardines and sweet peppers, a tangy bowl of smooth tomato-basil soup, or a juicy house burger.  Cocktails, local wines, draft beers, and sakes are available.

H5O bistro & bar on Urbanspoon


More things to do in Portland.

More things to do in Oregon.    

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  
images c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sights to See: Museo Soumaya/Soumaya Art Museum, Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico

Museo Soumaya/Soumaya Art Museum  Blvd. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303, Col. Amplicación Granada,. 55/5616-3731.  Daily 10:30-6:30.  Free.  Opened in spring 2011 and owned by Carlos Slim Helu, the world's richest man, this $70 million museum is named after his late wife and is a labor of love for him.  Its sparkling exterior is covered with 16,000 hexagonal aluminum plates that reflect sunlight, while the curved white interior walls and ramps are reminiscent of NYC’s Guggenheim.  Take the elevator to the top floor skylighted sculpture gallery, then stroll the galleries and down the circular ramps back to the entrance .  The collection includes works by sculptures by Auguste Rodin and Salvador Dalí, and paintings by Claude Monet and Diego Rivera.

More things to do in Polanco. 

More things to do in Mexico City. 

More things to do in Mexico.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.    

 
image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, December 10, 2012

Good Eats: Zinc Cafe & Market, Laguna Beach, California

Zinc Cafe & Market  350 Ocean Ave., (949) 494-6302.  Daily 7am-6pm; $$.  No reservations.  Order at the counter of this all-vegetarian cafe, then pick a table in the cozy indoors or outside on the popular patio.  Particular good items include the quiche, the pastries (especially the almond cake and the frosting-topped pecan cookie).  A small adjacent deli purveys take-away food and some gift items.

Zinc Cafe & Market on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Laguna Beach. 
 
image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Things To Do: Crafty Wonderland, Portland, Oregon

Crafty Wonderland  808 SW 10th Ave./SW Yamhill, across from Central Library, (503) 224-9097.  M-Sat 10-6, Sun 12-5.  This creative collection of handmade jewelry, prints, clothing, and more comes from more than 130 local artists and designers.  You’re sure to find just the right gift, or maybe something for yourself. 

More things to do in Portland.

More things to do in Oregon.    

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  
image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, November 30, 2012

Good Eats: Andina, Portland, Oregon

Andina  1314 NW Glisan St., (503) 228-9535.  L-D daily; $$$.  Reservations advised.  Specializing in contemporary Peruvian cuisine, this popular and sophisticated spot features a menu with shared plates in three sizes.  The servers are adept in advising how much food is enough for your party, and the more the merrier because you get to try more items.  Among the dishes my quartet liked best were the complimentary trio of dipping sauces served with the bread, a Spanish-style potato frittata with aioli, the flaky-crusted beef empanadas, and a super-tasty green mango-and-poached prawns cebiche. Oh, yeah, we also adored the Pisco Sour and Majito cocktails!

Andina on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Portland.

More things to do in Oregon.    

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.
 image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sights to See: Museo Nacional de Antropologia, Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico


Museo Nacional de Antropologia  Paseo de la Reforma y Calzada Gandhi s/n, in Polanco, 55/5553-6266.  Regarded as one of the top museums in the world, this anthropology museum offers an excellent introduction to the culture of Mexico.  It has 23 exhibit halls and displays an impressive collection of Maya and Aztec artifacts.  The well-designed ground-floor rooms are the most popular and include dioramas depicting Mexico City when the Spaniards arrived, a reproduction of part of a pyramid at Teotihuacán, and the round Aztec calendar Sun Stone.  Don’t miss the Teotihuacan (#5), Aztec (#7), or Maya (#10) rooms.  Upstairs you’ll see the Mexico of today through music, crafts, and clothing.  An enormous central courtyard, anchored by a pond populated with turtles and koi, makes a choice resting spot, and indigenous Totonac people “fly” from a high pole in that area several times each day.  A pleasant, well-priced restaurant provides some outdoor seating.

More things to do in Polanco. 

More things to do in Mexico City. 

More things to do in Mexico.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.    

 
images c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, November 26, 2012

Things to Do: Fashion Island, Newport Beach, California

Fashion Island  401 Newport Center Dr., betw. MacArthur Blvd. & Jamboree Rd., across from the Marriott and Four Seasons hotels, (800) 495-4753, (949) 721-2000.  This immense outdoor shopping center is not a true island but is encircled by towering palms.  Beautifully landscaped, with fountains and koi ponds and plenty of benches, it hosts branches of many of Southern California’s most exclusive stores and the big four department stores hold down each corner--Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s.  Restaurants are distributed throughout, and a variety of entertainment and a 13-screen luxury movie theater round things out. 

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Good Eats: Bunk Sandwiches, Portland, Oregon

Bunk Sandwiches  621 SE Morrison, (503) 477-9515.  Daily 8-3; $.  Simple-but-tasty sandwiches are served here with no fanfare on lunchroom-style trays.  Among the best are a fatty pork belly Cubano with ham, Swiss, pickles, and mustard; a pulled pork with apple cabbage slaw, pickles, and mustard; and a meatball parmigiano hero.  Housemade kettle chips are included. 

Bunk Sandwiches on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Portland.

More things to do in Oregon.    

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  
image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, November 19, 2012

Good Eats: Sarabeth's, NYC

Sarabeth’s  339 Greenwich St./Jay, (212) 966-0421.  This is the newest location for this popular breakfast and lunch spot.  Pastries galore are among the delicious choices.  My personal favorites are the hot chocolate (it is more of a milk chocolate), the eggs Benedict (though I thought the sky-high housemade English muffin was a tad dry), and the four flowers juice—a mixture of orange, fresh pineapple, banana and pomegranate juice.

Sarabeth's Tribeca on Urbanspoon

More things to do in NYC.  

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Things to Do + Good Eats: Brentwood Country Mart + Frida Tacos + Roberta Roller Rabbit, Brentwood + Santa Monica, California

Brentwood Country Mart  225 26th St./San Vicente Blvd., in Santa Monica (but most people think it is in Brentwood), (310) 395-6714.  M-Sat 11-7.  Opened in 1948, this red barn of a building was designed to evoke early American and English country marketplaces--with shops and stalls arranged around a central courtyard.  It houses a variety of shops and restaurants and is a pleasant spot to shop and lunch under sheltering umbrellas.  On cool days you can warm up in front of an outdoor fire pit, and preschoolers can indulge in several kiddie rides nearby.  My personal favorite stops include:
Roberta Roller Rabbit 
Frida Tacos  (310) 395-9666.  Step up to the window to place your order for delicious Mexican fast food.  The sope--my favorite--is large and topped with plenty of lettuce.  Tortilla soup, tacos galore, and huge burritos are also available.  Fillings include a tasty cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork marinated in citrus juice), beef asada, fish, and chicken.

Frida Taqueria on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Brentwood.

More things to do in Santa Monica

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways. 

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Good Eats: Maison Giraud, Pacific Palisades, California


Maison Giraud  1032 Swarthmore Ave., (310) 459-7561.  Diners here are sheltered in a refined setting of cloth-covered tables.  Seating is available both indoors and out fronton a large patio.  Classic French dishes comprise the menu, and lunch includes soups, sandwiches, and salads (the celebrated traditional Nicoise is especially tasty).  Be sure to check the bakery counter inside for delicious items to take home.

Maison Giraud Restaurant and Bakery on Urbanspoon


Lavender Blue  Next door, this tiny shop is operated by the wife of the restaurant’s chef.  Lovely products from Provence include colorful tablecloths, lavender-filled sachet pillows, and even enticing clothing imports from India. 

More places to visit in Pacific Palisades.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways. 

images c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, November 9, 2012

Things to Do: National Parks, U.S.A.

This weekend you get free entry to all of America's national parks!

Travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways. 



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Good Eats: Bollywood Theater + Salt & Straw, Portland, Oregon

Bollywood Theater  2039 NE Alberta, (971) 200-4711.  Daily 11-10; $.  An homage to Indian street food, this rustically decorated little gem looks like it was slapped together from junkyard finds—rough-hewn woods, multi-colored collection of bottles catching the light through the large windows.  Customers wait at a counter to place their order from the killer menu.  My favorites include crispy julienned okra with raita dipping sauce, aloo tikki (a potato patty served with chickpea cholle and a tasty green chutney), vada pav (a spicy fried potato dumpling served on a roll with chutneys and known as “the poor man’s burger of Mumbai”), and kati roll (paratha flatbread stuffed with meat, pickled onion, and more of that tasty green chutney).  Small curry plates and expansive thali meals are also available.  All this, and cold beer, fussy cocktails, and great rock music, too!

Bollywood Theater on Urbanspoon


For dessert, we joined another line next door at Salt & Straw (2035 NE Alberta St., (503) 208-3867.) for handmade ice cream.  Quality is high, sugar is low, and butterfat is 17%, but flavors are not the usual—think strawberry-honey-balsamic with black pepper or pear with blue cheese, but also almond brittle with chocolate ganache (my delicious choice).  Only all-natural dairy and the best local, sustainable, and organic ingredients are used.

Salt & Straw on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Portland.

More things to do in Oregon.    

More ice cream.  

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  
images c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, November 5, 2012

Things to Do: The Beatles LOVE, Las Vegas, Nevada

The Beatles LOVE  At the Mirage, (702) 792-7777.  Tickets $100+.  In this production that has won three Grammy Awards, Cirque du Soleil festively illustrates memorable Beatles songs.  I started out cranky, but the show manages to be bigger than life and grew on me as it went along.  I especially LOVEd a skateboarding sequence, and, at the end, found myself shooting the two-finger peace symbol right back at the performers.  I still have a few colorful orange and red streamers thrown from the stage that I gathered up before I left.  A merging of the mega-talents of the Cirque and The Beatles, "LOVE" was also mega-costly and mega-difficult to achieve.

The 2007 documentary "All Together Now" provides an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how this show was put together and is of interest to both those who have already seen the show and those who haven’t.

More things to do in Vegas.

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, November 2, 2012

Good Eats: Yaxche, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Yaxche (pronounced jag-shey)  On 5th Ave., 984 873 3712.  Decorated to resemble a Maya temple, this atmospheric spot serves a menu featuring traditional Maya dishes such as tamales cooked in banana leaves or corn husks, and nohuc lemon-seasoned prawns served on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes and accompanied by grilled vegetables.  The house specialty drinks--chayanada (a deep-green spinach lemonade) and cuzamil (a fresh orange-pineapple-chaya blend)--make a good accompaniment, and the flaming magic Maya Coffee (made with liquors, cinnamon, and vanilla ice cream, and prepared dramatically tableside) makes a spectacular conclusion.  If you have room for dessert, try the Sweet Virgin (frozen cookies swimming in lemon cream).

More things to do in the Riviera Maya.

More things to do in Mexico.

video c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers  


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sights to See: Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, Muyil, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve  Just south of Tulum.  With a name that translates in Mayan as "Where The Sky Is Born," this vast nature preserve and UNESCO World Heritage site is composed of more than one million acres of lush jungle and beaches.  It is on a small peninsula but is home to nearly half the world's flora and fauna species, including monkeys, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, rays, crocodiles, and more than 400 bird species.  Here, you’ll see mangroves, ancient Maya canals, and miles and the Great Maya Reef.  Additionally, this reserve houses the rustic, mostly undeveloped Muyil pre-Columbian archaeological site. 
Community Tours Sian Ka'an  Office in Muyil.  Ecologically responsible technologies are used by this tour cooperative that makes a strong effort to be community-centric.

More things to do in the Riviera Maya.

More things to do in Mexico.


More UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


Monday, October 29, 2012

Good Eats: Diablito Cha Cha Cha, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Diablito Cha Cha Cha  On Calle 12/5th Ave., 984 803 4507.  Located on a side street known for its popular clubs, this bar (and restaurant) is famous for its Mango Diablo—a pretty drink composed of mango, lemon, and chamoy with tangy and colorful chili on the glass rim.  Things don’t get going around here until after 10 p.m. 

More things to do in the Riviera Maya.

More things to do in Mexico.

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Good Eats: McMenamins High Street Brewery & Cafe, Eugene, Oregon



McMenamins High Street Brewery & Cafe  1243 High St., (541) 345-4905.  Situated inside and outside of a repurposed 1900s house, this pub has a cozy interior with copper table tops and a large deck in back with picnic tables under tall trees plus lawn seating in front.  It is the town’s first microbrewery since Prohibition and offers a selection of fresh brews.  The pub fare menu includes a delicious cheeseburger.   

McMenamin's - High Street Brewery & Cafe on Urbanspoon


More things to do in Oregon.    

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways. 

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Good Eats: Marche, Eugene, Oregon

Marche  In the Fifth Street Public Market, (541) 342-3612.  B-L-D daily; $$.  Featuring a French flair and a name that is the French word for market, this popular spot features a sophisticated decor and some spacious booths inside as well as courtyard dining outside.  The locally sourced menu changes with the season.  Summer might see a very French salade Nicoise made with fresh albacore tuna and aioli and perhaps a delicious “Almond Financier” prepared with a roasted fresh peach or roasted figs with thyme honey.  It always features individual pizzettas and a delicious house burger with blue cheese and pommes frites, as well as oysters and mussels, a soufflé, and steak frites.  Cocktails, wine, and beer are available along with a simple and unsweetened house watermelon soda and lavender lemonade. 

Marché on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Eugene.   

More things to do in Oregon.    

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Good Eats: Our Daily Bread, Veneta, Oregon



Our Daily Bread Restaurant  88170 Territorial Rd., 15 mi. W of Eugene on Hwy. 126, in Veneta, (541) 935-4921.  $.  This bakery restaurant is situated on the main drag inside a small former one-room church.  Family-owned and –operated, it serves an extensive made-from-scratch menu as well as local wines and microbrews.  The house specialty chicken borscht soup is thick and delicious and served with a big freshly baked roll.  Sandwiches are positively huge--don’t miss the roast beef with horseradish sauce or The Featherbenders Grill made with turkey breast, Swiss cheese, tomato, avocado, and bacon on a grilled French roll.  I recommend that two average-appetites each order a bowl of soup and share a sandwich with  steak fries.  That will leave some room for a piece of cake or perhaps some fresh marionberry pie.  A small gift shop is stocked with Oregon wines and some local products.  


Our Daily Bread Restaurant on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Eugene.   

More things to do in Oregon.    

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.

image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Great Sleeps: Hotel Mitzpe HaYamim, Eastern Galilee, Israel



Hotel Mitzpe HaYamim  In Rosh Pina, (+) 972-4-6994555.  99 rooms.  No children under 10.  Indoor pool; outdoor & indoor hot tub; fitness room; dry & wet sauna; health spa; 1 tennis court.  In the Upper Galilee at the foot of Mount Canaan, near the artist village Rosh Pina and the Kabbalah city of Sefad (and rumored to have hosted celebrity Madonna), this romantic resort/health retreat is spread over 37 acres.  It opened in 1968, when this property was mostly barren, hot, and dry desert, but is now lush, like an oasis, and features fragrant gardens, walking paths, and ponds.  It is well-known for its organic fruit and vegetable gardens as well as an organic dairy farm with herds of sheep, goats, cows, and chickens.  Because the soil is considered sacred, no one poisons it with pesticides.  Rock mounds in the vegetable garden attract and protect insect eaters.  The 30-acre organic farm grows 100 different vegetables and 70 kinds of fruit, and in spring there is an amazing bloom of wild flowers.  The owner works twice a day in the fields just because he enjoys doing so. 
Each guest room here has a unique decor, heavy on English style.  Mine had a large bathroom with vintage white marble floors, a pull-chain toilet and pedestal sink, and an oversize whirlpool tub with separate glass-walled shower.  Furniture included a desk and armoire, and the bed faced an upper wall of windows that looked out into trees and over a duck-pond below.  Guest rooms are spread between the main building and four other stone buildings.  Oriental rugs and charm reign throughout, and a central atrium holds a 7-story-tall Washington palm tree that hugs the ceiling (it is NOT dead).  One person I chatted with said, “I come for the silence.”  The freezer-less Vegetarian Restaurant serves everything fresh, including fish from the Sea of Galilee, while Muscat Restaurant offers refined dining and menu items such as beetroot ravioli filled with goat cheese and hazel nut oil, and organic duck with pomegranate-caramel sauce with five passion spices and organic vegetables.  The morning breakfast buffet is beautiful, bountiful, and an organic delight.  A daily activity program includes classes and tours—perhaps bread making and a healing workshop or a guided tour of the farm.  In addition to hundreds of cows, the hotel has 200 goats and 100 sheep.  View my video of the baby goats:  
The hotel has been leading the trend of ecotourism and sustainability here for almost 40 years.  A house bakery makes everything fresh daily, and the dairy provides all the organic dairy foods and some meats.  


More things to do in Israel.

More vegan-vegetarian places.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  

image and video c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers