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Golden Road Brewing is in a secluded, out-of-the-way spot in Los Angeles. As I pulled up through a quiet, industrial area, I was shocked to see the place was packed with people! Hundreds were gathered in their large bar and their two outdoor seating areas on Wednesday afternoon! Their massive, delicious beer selection and great atmosphere might be the reason most people were there, but I came to try their new pairing with Follow Your Heart vegan cheeses. Golden Road is currently working to develop fun, vegan recipes that pair well with their beers.

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The Head Brewer, Victor Novak, explained to me how beer and cheese are actually more compatible in flavor than wine and cheese. This has apparently been proven at many taste testings. He passionately explains how he carefully paired each appetizer (made with Follow Your Heart vegan cheese) with his Golden Road beers. While the partnership is still in the works, there will soon be plenty of (delicious) vegan options at Golden Road.

Here are some of my favorite beers and appetizers to try:

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Beers to try:

-Golden Road Hefeweizen– Refreshing and perfect! My favorite beer of the day. They paired it with their mozzarella sticks!

-Heal the Bay IPA- This is an excellent summer citrus beer, which benefits cleaning up the beaches in Los Angeles.

-Black House Nitro Coffee Stout- I would drink this for breakfast if it wasn’t alcoholic! Delicious, rich, coffee perfection.

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Appetizers to try:

-Mozzarella sticks – Melty and delicious, made with Follow Your Heart Garden Herb Cheese, and paired with their Golden Road Hefeweizen.

-Classic Grilled Cheese – A perfect classic, made with Follow Your Heart American Cheese, and paired with their Point the Way IPA.

-Tomato Caprese Melt – A yummy Italian treat, made with Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Cheese, and paired with Golden Road Saison Citron.

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If you think the bar is a blast, consider hosting an event in their private room, Chloe’s! They will also be opening a beer and food counter in Grand Central Market late this summer and will be serving vegan pierogi! And late this year, they are opening a tasting room in Anaheim.

 

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Hungary: – My land of Independence

 

I was born and brought up in a humble family in India. I lived a simple life within the boundaries of the few Indian states I lived in. My parents worked hard to put me through school and I worked hard and put myself through college and eventually a Master’s program. My parents didn’t ever let me think that anything was impossible but they did make me realize that I would have to work hard for what I wanted because we were not financially sound. I grew up knowing the value of money and what things cost but that never stopped me from dreaming.

 

I grew up dreaming of an escape from India into an unknown land where I would find myself alone. I was fiercely wild and independent as a child; my parents divorce created that deep sense or need for me to be brave and independent but I often wondered if I would be the same if I was left all alone in this big bad world. Did I have the courage to battle life without any help? Could I really enjoy life if I was alone and had to fend for myself? I grew up wanting to embrace this challenge someday and the few who heard my dream laughed as hard as they could. They could not believe my audacity to have such a dream. Some kind people took the time to tell me it would never happen, not only because I didn’t have the finance but because I was a girl. They only assumed that a girl didn’t have the strength to face a challenge like this. The more people told me I couldn’t or wouldn’t do it, the more determined I became to prove them wrong. I kept sending out prayers for my dream to become a reality and in God’s good time He answered, he made my dream a reality.

 

Towards the end of 2009, I embarked on a journey of a lifetime. I boarded my first ever international flight to the continent I dreamed of visiting all my life, Europe. I set flight to Hungary. God was so good in answering my prayer that He granted every minute detail I had ever requested for. Hungary was a country I couldn’t have pointed on the world map. All I knew about the country was that it was in Europe, I hadn’t heard about its history, its people or the language. This was everything I had dreamed of and so with no hesitation I boarded that flight to Hungary, a flight that took me to the promise of the unknown and away from everyone I ever loved and cared for. The excitement of living my dream overtook the sorrow of leaving home, the joy of freedom ran wildly through every vein and the mere promise of unadulterated independence pumped more adrenaline than I had ever felt before. This was it! This was my chance!

 

Freedom comes with a price; India’s history had proved it and so did mine. Life wasn’t as sweet as I had dreamed or wished it to be. Life in the new land was tough but one that was packed with more lessons than I ever thought possible. I spent a year in Eger, Hungary and every day was new, filled with surprises. I learnt a world about people and even more about me. It took Hungary to help me realize I loved my God, my family and my country with an incomparable love and I loved my independence. I was perfectly content living alone. I loved getting to know people, their culture, their food, their lifestyle. I loved introducing them to my culture, my food, my entertainment and my lifestyle. I hosted parties and played the perfect Indian host. I went to their parties, socialized, embraced their culture but continued to be uniquely Indian. I did things I had never done here in India. I travelled alone, ate in restaurants alone, spent days writing poetry in parks, went for runs at midnight, barbecued at valleys, became adventurous and tried different food, Hiked in Slovakia, invited strangers to live with me, visited and stayed with strangers and danced to Hindi songs on the streets of Eger.

 

 

 

I was, then, somebody I had never been before. I was a crazily bold 23year old Indian, oozing with undeniable confidence. I introduced myself to complete strangers and made friends that I now know will last a life time. Hungary will forever remain supremely precious to me; it was an experience of a lifetime. It was in Hungary I embraced Independence and freedom like never before and I enjoyed every single minute of it. Independence is a true gift, best learnt through world travel.

Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter the Independence Travel Writing competition and tell your story.

Pure By Michèle La Porta is located on the popular Beverly Hills street, South Beverly Drive. On a weekday, you can’t miss all of the people on their hurried lunch breaks, grabbing a bite up and down the street. If this is you, look no further than Pure. It’s the perfect spot for fresh, healthy food that’s ready for you to take on the go.

All the food is packages in to go containers, allowing you to grab and go, or eat there. The options are all locally farmed, organic and artisanal. Everything is prepared on site daily.

 

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If you’re in the area, don’t forget to try these can’t miss menu items:

Crispy Tuna

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This delicious menu favorite has a bed of brown, red and black rice, topped with seared tuna, and accompanied with a house made truffle soy sauce.

Green Peas and Mint Soup

This soup is the pea’s answer to gazpacho. You can have it served warm or cold. I decided to try cold, and was delighted with the refreshing, creamy flavor!

Signature Salads

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The Chicken Thai Salad is the perfect light lunch on the go. If you only go and get one thing as your meal, this is an excellent choice. If you’re looking for something more unique, try the Zucchini Spaghetti. In a house made pesto sauce, shredded zucchini replaces noodles in this classic pasta dish. You’re eating healthy, but feel like you’re getting a pasta treat!

 

Starlette Cakes

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A Pure original, Starlette Cakes are a light greek yogurt mousse, topped with fruit. They are also available in original flavors, like matcha tea. These are all non-fat with no sugar added. They are a simple and refreshing, tart dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Fun fact: If you choose to eat there, Pure’s tables feature herb centerpieces. While they also look pretty, they are there for you to add to your food! Feel free to pick a sprig of mint or rosemary and add it to your dish!

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I stand at the counter of my humid kitchen, hair tied back and hands pressed against the hundred-year-old wood, peering into my glass cabinet for a measuring jug. I double check my sister’s rice pudding recipe, which is also my mother’s, which was also my granny’s. I run my finger down the blue patterned card until I get to the amount of milk needed. The rice pudding calls for two and a half cups of full fat milk.

Fat. I think my mother tried desperately to shield us from that word, which is why, amazingly, I didn’t hear it until the first grade lunchroom. “Who’s the fat girl in your class?” The freckled-faced redhead who would, ten years later, become my prom date, asked me in the lunch line, piling his yellow tray high with reheated tater tots. “What’s her name?”

Unsure of what he meant, I stuck my tongue out at him and didn’t answer, but when I found my seat, I pushed my own tater tots— a favorite food— around the tray, no longer hungry. Looking back now, I realize that was the first time I heard someone defined or identified by something other than her name. And though I didn’t know then the full implications of fat in our society, I had a foul taste in my mouth, like I had just been exposed to a word that was dirty or bad. Fat, I learned in that lunchroom, was distasteful and undesirable. I determined that day to never let the word fat be associated with me. 

In a small bowl, whisk together milk and sugar.

We had rice pudding every Sunday in my childhood home. I loved to have mine with vanilla ice cream, the cool dessert melting with the steaming hot pudding until a cream colored pool formed in my bowl, grains of rice lounging in the middle of it. My mother doled out portions generously, and unfinished bowls were met with raised eyebrows and incessant prodding— rice pudding was wasted by only the troubled or insane. I had reached high school before I noticed my mother only ever gave herself a few spoonfuls of the beloved dish.

Place rice in a buttered baking dish. Add the milk-sugar mixture.

My great aunt became pregnant in the post World War II era, during the last days of the Nazi Occupation of Jersey, a Channel Island off the coast of France. By 1945, most of the Islanders had gone four years without a proper meal. My great aunt had become a skeleton, her hip bones jutting through her skin, her ribs creating waves in the contours of her body. When food shipments finally came in again, she hoarded supplies, stacking high on every shelf tins of meat, fruit and fish. Her cupboards, from then until the day she died, reflected her attitude toward having enough, as though, at any minute, she expected the deafening planes of the Germans to land again on her island.

  She was so thin, at this time, that the doctor told her to drink pints upon pints of milk— that if she wanted her baby not to starve the way she did, she’d better drink enough to feed her. Within three months, my great aunt was overweight. 

She began gorging on Energen Rolls- the forerunner of diet foods. Because they contained so few calories, she always felt hungry. For the second time in her life, my great aunt starved, but now for a different reason, and yet she continued to gain weight. By the time I knew her, she was embarrassed to even leave her house.

In food-conscious people there’s a small delay, perhaps only a half second, between placing one’s hand on the fork and then lifting the fork to the mouth. I watched it in my great aunt and in my mother, and I watched it in “the fat girl” at school. I didn’t understand until years later, when I noticed it in myself, that this happens when the fork carries something much heavier than food: shame. The shame of eating in front of others, the feeling of being big, the idea that every person around the table is counting how many times you lift that fork to your mouth.

In my experience, nearly every woman goes through some kind of battle with food. In an age where food abounds, our stomachs, of all sizes, still crave: acceptance, power, the constant assurance that we are beautiful. Instead of delighting in our food, taking joy in the company of the flavors and each other, we become slaves to it. In these cases, we no longer have the freedom to enjoy rice pudding. We can either stare at it, pretending we can’t hear our own stomachs grumble, or we can eat it with a side of guilt. 

Bake, uncovered, for two to three hours, at 300 degrees.

As smells of baking rice and milk fill the room, I dig out a silver photo album given to me by my cousin Jean at my wedding. It is full of old family photos. I turn to the page that contains the only picture I have of my great aunt. She wears a floral dress that falls to her knees— the photo is black and white so I don’t know what color, but I imagine purple— she wears her thick, dark hair in a practical bun. I notice her size, yes, but first, her smile.  She was so kind, I remember, ever willing to have me on her knee, to listen to my stories and to tell me her own. She smelled of polo mints and soft perfume, and as a small child I adored it when she’d rock me back and forth, folding me into her gentle creases.

Who’s the fat girl in your class? What’s her name? 

I learned at an early age to never ask for second helpings around my granny. She would tut her perfectly painted, pursed lips, and say, knowingly, “Ohhhh, Rach, be careful! You’ll end up fat.”

And there is my mother, who denies herself a proper helping.

And there is my great aunt, who stopped going out because of her size. 

And there is me, getting my wedding dress resized twice because I am losing too much weight, because I can no longer eat a full meal without feeling panicky.

And there is my sister, who I hear crying late at night because she thinks she’s too big.

Fat, fat, fat. 

I throw the photo album across the room. I want to throw away with it every association I’ve ever had with fat. When did we ever begin to associate our worth with our size? When did we ever get the idea that life is better lived thin and flavorless, that if we aren’t in perfect proportion, we should be ashamed to leave the house?

It took me a year to begin eating normally again. Even today, I still get anxious at a restaurant, when the waiter places a large plate in front of me. Carefully, with the side of my fork, I portion off what I will eat tonight and what I will save. I blame this on society: on whoever made my great aunt embarrassed to leave the house, whoever gave my granny a complex about seconds, whoever thought naming a girl the fat kid would be humorous. 

The correlation between shame and food has lodged itself in the women of my family for long enough. I pull the rice pudding out of the oven. A thin, brown, skin has formed over the top, making it look just like my granny’s version, just like the version I watched my mother pull out of the oven on Sundays for years.  Methodically, I dish myself out a cup of it, and pull the sticky half gallon of vanilla ice cream out of the freezer. I march out to my porch, I sweat in the July sun, and I enjoy every last bite. I refuse to feel any kind of guilt or shame. I am doing this for more than me. 

I am doing this because there is so much more to life than fat.

Serve with ice cream and enjoy.

 Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter the Gratitude Travel Writing competition and tell your story.

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Kenya

A man passes by with three camels on the beach. He does this journey twice every day. The camels are walking behind him on the snow-white sand proudly.

Behind them the endless Indian Ocean shows off thousands shades of blue.

The sun is high up, spreading its burning rays everywhere. It is a hot day, I can feel that my skin is getting tense and I am getting sleepy by the heat as I lie under the palm trees watching the man with the camels. I brought a book to read, but the surrounding nature, the slow sound of the warm and sandy wind is taking the book away from me and turning my head towards the ocean.

A local man is snorkeling front of me. I know this man, I see him every day. He is the one catching the small octopuses that he sells to the kitchen, which makes delicious octopus-stew.

I have never tried to eat octopus before. I found the animal itself already bizarre creature! I did try octopus here and I absolutely loved it.

Over here, the seafood is delicious and always so fresh. The first place I saw sea-cucumber in the ocean and then ate it for dinner. When you are out here, and feel the heat, you relax immediately. The nature, the culture and the weather just switch of your senses and you feel like you have been dropped into the softest bed ever, where you can sleep endless.

They keep you entertained and they keep you on food and drinks so smartly that you never feel the immediate need of anything.

The ocean washes the beach softly, as I walk down there and put my feet into cooling water, I see the man with the camels again. Front of me a boat is floating on the ocean, it belongs to the snorkeling man.

When he appears at his boat I see his necklace again that he made from small bones. Bones of the fishes he caught and was proud of. Some of the bones belonged to his father, who died a few years ago and who was also a fisherman. They keep these bones as trophies.

It is not as bizarre for me as the witch doctors in the Massai villages we visited a few days ago. Being a witch doctor carries out from father to son or mother to daughter. They make contact with the gods and represent present to them for their mercy and help. They are the one that also carry out major surgeries. They keep bones, skulls and teeth from their ancestors to keep the knowledge close and within the village.

The villages are near by the safari area, where we saw the great red elephants. You drive miles and miles into the wild, towards the mountain of Kilimanjaro that looks like a delicious sponge-cake covered by icing sugar on the top. The colorful birds are slowly flying front of it as you drive, hold onto your binocular searching for some more interesting animals.

I see a starfish as I sit down in the water. The animal slowly moves away from me. I look at it and think about the animals I saw since I arrived. What a wonderful wild-life this country has!

On the safari we saw lions chasing gazelles, giraffes, zebras, hippos, red elephant, ostriches, storks, swallows, rhinos and buffalos. We definitely got what we paid for, and more. The lunch was delicious; I have never had to break the shell of the crab I eat. I have never tried making wraps from roasted octopus and vegetables, and I have never seen so many red elephant around a pond like they had below the restaurant’s terrace.

I lie down in the water, same as how the elephants lied down on the pond at the restaurant. I close my eyes, and let the sun stroke my face with its rays, and let waives washes my body and let the wind tickle my nose. I see the huge trunks spraying water on the giant bodies. I see how the small elephants playing with the water. I see how the buffalos watching them from a safe distance and I see as the sun quietly disappears behind the Kilimanjaro.

I open my eyes, I hear they announcing dinner at the restaurant. The live lounge music sneaks into the cricket chirr of the evening. Before I go I look back, the boat has gone and I don’t see the camels anymore. One day is just about to finish at Mombasa-beach, another beautiful and peaceful day is about to come tomorrow

 Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter the Inspiration Travel Writing competition and tell your story.

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Before the main course, we feasted on spicy calamari rings, dipped in warm, homemade marinara, I’d created myself.  I never imagined myself standing in the kitchen, dancing to Persian music with my prince, feasting on fresh calamari, in the middle of a tropical, Japanese island paradise.  Nasser slipped in and out of the kitchen snagging a morsel of calamari as he returned to the balcony to grill fillet mignon and fresh vegetables.  Nasser has broadened my horizons: opened my appetite to succulent liver, gizzards and hearts flavored with turmeric, onions, garlic and olive oil, fresh baked salmon smothered with milt and shitake mushrooms, or grilled button mushrooms stuffed with sausage.  My eyes have been opened, as has my palate, but mostly my heart.  My life is full of happy moments and fascinating experiences.

Earlier in the day, I visited Shuri castle and the royal tombs as well as the holiest place of worship in Okinawa with my son, Hunter.  We traipsed up the side of the mountain on an ancient stone path, to see a beautifully lit cavern, over-looking the ocean and the countryside.  Two stalactites dripped into small stone pots; Hunter slipped his fingers into the clear water, which had been considered holy in ancient times.  Hunter remarked that the enchanted place, with its cascading greenery and intricate root systems, reminded him of Fern Gully.  The atmosphere exuded peace.   I had a wonderful time with Hunter.  I wished Nasser could see what I had seen, but he had given me this special time to share with my son.  We had already shared many precious moments in this wondrous place.  We had even visited an untouched beach, just as I had with Hunter today.  How sweet to share these experiences with each of them.  Today, my feet sank in the soft, moist sand as I sauntered down the beach after Hunter.  Then, the surface of my boots scraped against the sharp coral stone and slipped on the green slimy moss.  Hunter remarked, “Mom, you can’t come around here, it’s only for boys”, he teased.   He correctly deduced I could not mount the dangerous, sharply inclined coral island, but I did navigate the less treacherous periphery and joined him round the other side (he had mounted the island and slipped through the opening in the center, whereas I had gone around).  The lilt in his voice belied his genuine surprise, “How did you get here?”  Never underestimate the power of a middle aged woman challenged by her strong, young adult son.  The satisfaction that spread across my lips may have been lost on him as I was out of his line of sight, but I savored the moment, then slipped back around the sharp, rocky face and met him back on the other side.  He collected beautiful coral specimens to create treasures for his friends as I plucked up brilliant pieces of sea glass, surfaces rubbed smooth by the gritty surface of the ocean floor.  The sea mist played with my hair and kissed my skin.  A brilliant blue Ryukyu sparrow played on the sea wall nearby.  Though I had slipped down the concrete wall to the beach, my sore shoulder hindered me from mounting it to return to the car; so, we made our way up the beach to a concrete stair way, collecting treasures along the way.  What a delightful time I shared with my sweet son.

            Back at home, we joined to collectively create a fabulous dinner.  I made the salad: fresh, bright greens, crisply baked pecans, slivers of yellow, red and orange bell pepper, bright red tomatoes, shiny black olives, topped off with tiny, deep red, sweet and sour zerescht that Nasser prepared for me.  He and Hunter grilled fish, chicken wings, eggplant, okra, veggie patties for Hunter, and mushrooms stuffed with spiced tofu.  We enjoyed a sweet Riesling with our neighbor, Loryn, who’d joined us.  Later, Hunter and I would walk her to her friend’s house.  The brisk walk in the fresh, cool Okinawan air awakened me.  Everyone went to bed as I put away the food and washed the dishes…a rarity.   Hunter, Nasser and I usually argue over who “gets” to do the dishes.  How different.  How refreshing, from what I hear of many other families.  But my family is not typical… It is unusual, beautiful…abundantly lovely.

How precious to share these moments from such an extraordinary place, this island paradise.  We have traipsed around, visiting farmer’s markets, peaceful remote villages, desolate beaches.  We have danced at midnight, stopped off at noodle shops, treasure stores, sacred temples, botanical gardens. Life is beautiful beyond imagination and this place is ethereal.  I wish all could see what I have beheld with my eyes, held what I have with my hands, felt and experienced what I have.

 Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter the Inspiration Travel Writing competition and tell your story.

Barton G chocolate indulgence

Barton G chocolate indulgenceBarton G: Celebrate in Tasty Style

Wondering where to celebrate in Los Angeles? Bring your party to Barton G for a night of tempting tasty morsels presenting in a way you never imagined! This place will inspire you to play with your food.

Barton G arrived in Los Angeles in June 2014 and is fine dining joined with fun dining. Each meal is a memorable experience, which fulfills all the senses with enticing fragrances, extraordinary food and over-the-top presentations. After years of success on South Beach in Florida, the restaurant created by Barton G. Weiss is now also on La Cienega in Los Angeles.

Whether it is your birthday, anniversary or just a regular day, you will remember you night at Barton G!

 

VIDEOBarton G: A restaurant and Theater of Food

Starting with the Electra, Jala-migo and the nitro-bar “Diamonds are forever!” Happy birthday Dad!

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Fantastic presentation and taste: Blooming black cod: Alaskan cod with fingerling potatoes and sprouting broccoli A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Lobster Apicus: 1lb Maine lobster with garlic seared shrimp. Mom says Delicious! succulent! #foodart @Barton_g_la

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

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Let’s talk about British food. I mean, let’s really talk about British food. It’s got a terrible reputation. If you visit, what are you going to find?

Breakfast: Every B & B I’ve ever stayed at offered a full English breakfast—or full Scottish or Irish or Welsh breakfast. In Cornwall, where I live, it’s still, mysteriously, called the full English, although the Cornish aren’t given to calling themselves English. Whatever it’s called, though, it includes an egg, a grilled tomato, a sausage, a piece of bacon, a puddle of baked beans, possibly some fried mushrooms, possibly a piece of black pudding, and definitely some toast set in a rack to cool so it won’t, all the gods of breakfast forbid, melt the better.

The Full English Breakfast (Vegetarian Version). Photo by Ewan Munro, from Wikimedia Commons.
The Full English Breakfast. Photo by Ewan Munro, from Wikimedia Commons.

Maybe you have to be born here to love it. It’s heavy and although it isn’t always greasy, it tends to be. It’s also one hell of a lot of food. And on a personal note, I hate baked beans. Especially for breakfast. But if you stay at a B & B, it’s included in the price, so if you’re short on money you’ll eat it. It’ll keep you going till late in the day. If money isn’t tight, you can ask for just one or two items—toast and eggs, maybe, or a single baked bean and a grilled tomato. Or you can just have cereal. I can’t remember a B & B that didn’t offer that as well.

Lunch: Most lunch places serve soups and sandwiches, which range from good to not-so, and many sell jacket potatoes—what we called baked potatoes in the U.S.—as a lunch. You can get them with just butter or you can add a filling, anything from coleslaw to baked beans (they’re everywhere) to cheese to curry. In Cornwall (or Devon—the counties are fighting a war over who invented them) you’ll find pasties. They’re a meal in themselves, and not a light one. Traditionally, the pasty was a miner’s lunch and it was made of beef, potato, and veggies folded inside a crust, but vegetarian and vegan versions are sold pretty much everywhere. I’ve eaten enough that I’ve started to notice how greasy they are, but you can’t say you’ve visited the southwest unless you’ve tried one, and they are good.

Afternoon Tea: The British really do love afternoon tea. It’s not necessarily fancy—usually just a cup of tea and something baked, and almost anything baked is worth trying. Scones (unless they’re inside a cellophane package) are almost universally good. Cornish (or let’s be generous: Devon) cream tea is magnificent: scones, jam, and a heavy, unsweetened cream called (don’t let the name put you off) clotted cream. Cornwall and Devon can’t agree on who invented the cream tea or on whether to put the jam or the cream on first. My advice? You’re a visitor; do a little of each and avoid offending anyone.

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Cream Tea, with Jam on Top and Bottom to Avoid Offending Anyone. Photo by Foowee, from Wikimedia Commons.

Fruit pies are made with a slightly sweet crust. Since I’m American, I’m used to—and actually like—pie crusts that taste like cardboard, but I love the British version. Ginger cake is also wonderful, and coffee cake is actually made with coffee—another surprise for an American, since our coffee cake got its name from being eaten with coffee instead of being made with it. That’s a random sampling. If you can try everything, do.

Evening Meals: These pretty much divide into (a) carryout, (b) ethnic food, (c) pub or, in cities, café food, and (d) restaurant food.

Carryout: In small towns, this will probably be a kebab shop or a fish n’ chip place. In cities, you’ll find a wider range. This is your cheapest option.

Ethnic food: A small and unscientific survey reveals that every town has at least one Indian restaurant. Cities will have a wider range. They’re not necessarily cheap, but many are good.

Pubs and cafes: Pub grub is traditional British food. I wouldn’t say it’ll send you into ecstasy, but it will fill you up. Some pubs have gone high-end and call themselves gastro pubs, with fancier menus and fancier prices. In cities, you may find cafés—informal, lunch-y places—that stay open in the evening and serve evening meals, but in the countryside, where I live, cafes close by late afternoon.

Restaurants: These tend to be fancier than pubs, and pricier. You’ll find menus outside the doors so you can check prices and offerings. Britain’s in the throes of a food revolution and I’m told that some of the high-end restaurants are very good. I’ve never seen the point in spending silly amounts of money on a meal, so I can’t testify on this.

Vegetarian Food: I have yet to find a place that didn’t offer a vegetarian choice, and sometimes a vegan one. It doesn’t always thrill me, but it does fill me up.

Want to read more from Ellen Hawley? Buy her book: The Divorce Diet due out December 30, 2014

Paris GOODfood+wine The first ever long form radio show broadcast from Paris in English about French food and wine. Find us at World Radio Paris. Fund us at Beacon Reader.

by Paige Donner

Paris is a world capital. It’s also one of the world’s top travel destinations. Last year France logged over 83 million foreign tourists, placing it at the #1 spot for world tourism destinations, according to France Diplomatie.

Not only are those numbers staggering but equally impressive is the revenue this tourism sector generates for France: €13 billion in 2012, up from €7.5 billion in 2011.

And the visitors are certainly international with the greatest increases coming from Russia and Brazil but also from China who registered a total of 1.5 million visitors to France in 2013.

So, the question we here at Paris GOODfood+wine asked was: Where and what are all of these people going to eat?

 

 

Paris Goodfood+wine, the very first long format radio show in English about food broadcast from Paris is produced for World Radio Paris. World Radio Paris, launched September 2013, just celebrated its first year anniversary milestone. Milestone because this is the very first English-language radio station – ever! – to be licensed by the state for broadcast from Paris. It took the WRP team, led by station manager David Blanc, ten years of lobbying to secure the necessary licenses and permits from the French government that allow us to broadcast from our antenna on the Montmartre Hill, in central Paris.

And as it is a community radio station, not-for-profit, we are staffed by all volunteers. I am one of those volunteers.

To mark an evolution at our one year anniversary, the team decided to embrace growth and initialize several long form radio programs. I pitched Paris GOODfood+wine, an outgrowth of my weekly World of Wine program I have hosted and produced this past year for WRP.  Paris GOODfood+wine is the first of these to take shape.

Which takes us back to our initial question: Where are 83 million visitors to France, most of whom spend their principal vacation in Paris, going to eat while they’re here?

And what are they going to eat?!

Paris GOODfood+wine  The first ever long form radio show broadcast from Paris in English about French food and wine.  Find us at World Radio Paris. Fund us at Beacon Reader.
Paris GOODfood+wine The first ever long form radio show broadcast from Paris in English about French food and wine. Find us at World Radio Paris. Fund us at Beacon Reader.

 

Paris GOODfood+wine is the answer to that question, radio style. Yes there are lots of good guidebooks available, several of which I’ve written for myself, including Fodor’s, and currently write for, like USA Today’s 10BEST.com. But with an ever-increasing smartphone equipped population, our  DAB (digital audio broadcast) is available easily with the just-launched WRP Android APP for download onto your mobile device.

So, if it’s your first (or even second or 10th!) time visiting Paris and you want to know, and you want to know NOW, where a few good dining choices are in the city where you are sure to get a good meal, look no further than our restaurant review segments on Paris GOODfood+wine, with guest restaurant critic, Alec Lobrano.  Or, perhaps you would like to visit a few fresh markets while in town, pick up some lovely cheeses, fresh baguettes, maybe a few sausages and some fruit? Our Paris Market Report journalist, Emily Dilling, introduces you to some of the best Parisian fresh markets and talks with some of their superstar fresh produce providers. To round out the program, Gabrielle Mondesire offers insights into some of the more unique aspects of Parisian culinary culture and I, well, I will tell you all about French wines and lead you to some of the city’s best wine bars, wine cellars and wine events and also provide you with in-person interviews of some of Paris’s culinary personalities and people of note.

With Paris GOODfood+wine we hope to share with you our passion for French food and wine as we find it existing uniquely here in the City of Lights, aka the World’s Top Tourism Destination for Food And Wine.

And your support of this tasty radio project is greatly appreciated!

 

To find out more about Paige and to contact her go to About.me/PaigeDonner

 

La Ventura: Modern Mexican Food Melts in Your Mouth

I had the opportunity to experience Jeffrey Saad‘s new restaurant, La Ventura, on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City last night. “[Saad’s] insatiable appetite for ingredients and flavors and encyclopedic knowledge of spices allows him to create ‘food without borders.'” I fully enjoyed everything and highly recommend you visit right away.

A few fun facts: Jeffrey was the host of Spice Smuggler on the Food Network and United Tastes of America series on the Cooking Channel.

Join the La Ventura Team for an exclusive Herradura event Tuesday, August 12. Extremely limited seating, call today for reservations.

Excited to try @tastelaventura Thx @breadandbutterpr! Look for @nokia #oneshot #photos #ILoveLA!

Enjoying guacamole, chips and the la Ventura special margarita with herradura double barrel reposada tequila– with agave harvested by Chef Jeffrey Saad. Aged in double barrel! Only 250 bottles exist only created for #LaVentura

At the next table, we are tempted by their order of Mar y Tierra: grilled skirt steak, shrimp with tamarind-chipotle sauce–served with rice, drunken bacon pinto beans & a stack of warm flour or corn tortillas.

Incredible tastes! Achiote chicken Taco, Carne Asada Taco, Grilled Achiote rubbed fish, corn and plantains! Amazing food! Thank you to our wonderful server, Adrian.

Decadent desserts! Homemade Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Churros with piloncillo caramel and chocolate dipping sauces. #Heavenly!

Thank you to Betsy FlanaganBread and Butter PR, Jeffrey Saad and the entire La Ventura team!