Content tagged with: cuisine
Traveling girlfriends get hungry, and when we get hungry we get cranky. Stock that mini-bar! But instead of candy bars, potato chips, and sodas, try some snacks that won't kill your diet, or baffle your digestive system.
Our Top 10 Healthy Mini-Bar Stockers:
1) Water - hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! You know you're going to be imbibing, so make sure to balance the drinks with water. If you forget to do this, you will need twice as much the next morning.
2) Fruit - dried or not, it's as close to candy as possible, yet still contains nutritional value. If you need to, we give you permission to consider wine a fruit.
3) Cherry tomatoes - they're so cute and juicy, and have you heard all that good stuff about lycopene?
4) Baby carrots - another cute snack option, they're also crunchy, and they have beta carotene. Is this starting to sound like science class?
5) Plain pretzels - most mini-bars include overly salted or oddly-flavored versions of our friend, the pretzel, but the original is the best healthy option. We wish we could recommend those giant, smooshy pretzels as a healthy snack option, but they're just not. Sorry.
6) Hummus -this is so much better than those artificially flavored chip dips. Have you read the ingredients on those? Yikes. Hummus is creamy, garlicky, and the perfect dip for #s 3, 4, and 5.
7) Salsa - dipping snacks in goo is second-nature to Americans (see #6). We can't NOT do it. Salsa is fat free and zesty, and we LOVE saying "zesty".
8) Nuts - almonds, cashews, peanuts, macadamia nuts - keep an eye on the salted versions, but it's all protein, which satiates the hunger. These are perfect for when your dinner reservations aren't for another hour and a half, but you're starving. STARVING! Who makes dinner reservations for 10:30PM?!
9) Pita chips - a fantastic substitute for potato chips, and they're even more satisfying because they're thicker and very, very crunchy. Bring these in the safari van, just keep the crunching to a minimum so as not to frighten the cheetah.
10) Low fat string cheese - who doesn't love string cheese? No one, that's who. It reminds us of when we were little, plus it's cheese that is convenient to eat, even if you're running out the door on the way to go hot air ballooning.
Girlfriend getaways should be happy things that we all look forward to. We don't want to associate them with weight gain, so snack smart, and save the calories for those Margaritas.
There used to be a commercial on TV in the 80s that sang "Cheese, glorious CHEESE! So scrumptious and luscious!" I find myself belting that jingle out, on a regular basis. This post is not for the lactose intolerant, sorry! The rest of us will honor a moment of silence for you.
Cheese! It's a garnish, it's an appetizer, it can be a full meal if you're feeling decadent. There are so many different varieties of cheese, and so many different areas and regions from which the cheese came, it's practically imperative to make it a travel/food challenge of sorts. To really experience the cheese, you should visit the place it originated. This is really just a great excuse to take a trip and eat.
We recommend starting in Europe!
The Netherlands - Gouda
Did you know this is pronounced HOW-da? We did not know that. Now we do, but will still probably say GOO-da unless in the company of an artisanal cheese expert. Gouda is a great blend of salty and sweet flavors, that develops a faint caramel taste as it ages.
Milk Type: Cow
Cheese Type: Semi-Hard
Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon & white varietals
Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom - Colston-Bassett, Stilton
The finest and creamiest Stilton, that is perfect served with Port or Sauternes for dessert. Colston-Bassett Stilton is also fabulous in salads and sauces.
Milk Type: Cow
Cheese Type: Blue
Wine Pairing: Sauternes
Lombardy, Italy - Parmigiano Reggiano
This is a hard, fat, granulated cheese made from raw cow's milk, and is vastly different from the "parmesan" cheese that masquerades as the real thing.
Milk Type: Cow
Cheese Type Hard
Wine Pairing: Champagne or a great Italian red
Fuerteventura Island, Canary Islands - Majorero Cheese
The taste is acidic, with a buttery but not salty taste. This cheese is very versatile, and can be used with pastas, potatoes and many vegetables.
Milk Type: Goat
Cheese Type: Soft
Wine Pairing: Vinho Verde
And if you can't make the trip across the pond, there is a Stateside destination that offers one of the most magnificent cheeses ever created:
Arcata, CA (Humboldt County) - Humboldt Fog
This is no time to be objective - Humboldt Fog is the best cheese ever. It is a creamy brie & blue combination that makes everything seem like a fairytale. Try it with a baguette, an apple, or just scoop it up with a spoon. It's delicious!
Milk Type: Goat
Cheese Type: Soft
Wine Pairing: Chardonnay
Pairing wine and cheese is standard; pairing travel and cheese is going to be the next big thing! Don't be afraid to jump on the bandwagon; Tuscany & Umbria have some excellent cheeses, and could be your first stop!
Early September and Martha's Vineyard go hand-in-hand. If there's one great place to bid farewell to summer, the Vineyard is it! It's mellow, it's beachy, it's...well, we'll just let our guest blogger, Amy, tell you HER Top 10 Best Things About Martha's Vineyard.
1. Beach …
It’s an island so, with over 21 beaches, you can’t just pick one. From rocky cliffs to white sand, Vineyard beaches are varied. Here are just a handful of favorites.
- Lucy Vincent – in Chilmark – surf, bluffs, beautiful. Stay at the Inn at Blueberry Hill (see below) and free access to this private beach is granted.
- Gay Head – in Aquinnah. Don’t forget to wax … everywhere … this is a nudist naturist beach so watch out for passing meat and veg and droopy bits, or just put your shades on and enjoy the scenery. Back in the day one could climb the majestic cliffs of Gay Head, collect natural clay, cover their naked body in clay, bake in the sun, and then rinse off in the Atlantic; it was DIY spa at it’s finest. Sadly, these days are long gone. The cliffs are considered a National Landmark and climbing on, as well as clay collection, is verboten. But the beach is still free and still nude …. If that’s what you’re into.
- Lamberts Cove – West Tisbury. Considered by many as the cleanest water on the Island, it is a protected beach open only to residents. However, a call to town hall should grant you a day pass access. (Use your nice voice … if you have one)
- Bend in the Road Beach – Between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown – Ideal beach for kids – lifeguards will watch over the surf while you watch over your tan. Pack a picnic lunch and bike over with the kids, but don’t forget to use the bathroom before you go … there are no public facilities on the beach. (But this is a girls trip so I’m sure the kids are at home with Dad)
- South Beach (aka Katama Beach) – located at the end of Katama Road in Edgartown – South Beach is a 3-mile barrier beach on the south shore of the island. It boasts big surf and big beaches on one side with a protected salt pond on the other (perfect for windsurfing). Parking is abundant (and free) and it’s an easy ride on your bike.
- Détente – an upscale (for the island) bar featuring anything you could want in a glass of wine and the snacks are yummy too or as Rachel Ray, a reported fan of Détente, would say “Yum-O!” (Dinner may or may not take longer than 30 minutes). www.detentewinebar.com
- The Newes From America – Quintessential old English style Pub – burgers and fries and beers oh my! and boys/men in madras and alligator shirts telling tales of the one that got away. (Feign interest; get a ride aboard his yacht…or nacht). 23 Kelly Street, Edgartown 508-627-4397
- The Offshore Ale Company – For house brewed beer and live music. Kennebec Ave, Oak Bluffs offshoreale.com 508-693-2626
You cannot go to the Vineyard and NOT catch a sunset on Menemsha harbor. You Tube Carly Simon on Menemsha – and you’ll get a peak at what’s to come (yes the video is 25 years old so forgive the big hair and bad shirt, but check out the colors). Stop by The Bite, one of the many fish shacks up island, and pick up your dinner (fried oysters and zucchini?) and then perch on the rocks for a spectacular setting. Don’t forget your camera, and wine would help too, it always does. The Bite, 27 Basin Road, Menemsha
4. Ice Cream
Mad Martha’s – the line might be out the door – so slip off those Manolos (did you really need 4 inch heels on the island?) and chill – a la Brittney in one of her myriad gas station bathroom adventure sans shoes – but relax this is the vineyard – their sidewalks are paved in gold … and the ice cream is not lactose free or made from soy, they use things like cream and m&m’s, and you can just hear your thighs getting bigger, no fret, you’re on vacation – plus the biking you do while on-island will rip those thighs. With shops in Vineyard Haven, Edgartown & Oak Bluffs it’s hard not to miss MM.
5. Spa & Beauty …
- For a blow out, massage, mani/pedi, etc… Boucle is the top choice of Vinyarders and visitors alike. 12 North Water St. Edgartown bouclespa.com
- For tennis, spa, personal training, lunch, etc… The Vineyard Tennis Center is all a girl could ever need in one place. 22 Airport Road, West Tisbury 508-696-8000
6. To Stay:
- Casual/Funky …. Captain R. Flanders House – a farmhouse from the 1700’s, off the beaten path, Doubles from $175 … North Road, Chilmark 508-645-3123
- Remote/Beautiful …. The Inn at Blueberry Hill … located on 56 acres of former farmland this quaint compound of individual cottages includes full workout room, tennis courts, menu of spa treatments (conducted in your own room) and an elegant restaurant, Theos, on the property. Access to Lucy Vincent beach is complimentary with your stay. Swing by Soigne in Edgartown and stock up on gourmet treats before you head up Island – you’ll never have to leave. 74 North Road, Chilmark blueberryinn.com
- Elegance in medias res … Harbor View Hotel is classic Vineyard, and if you’ve never been on the Islands, or on the East Coast for that matter, this is the hotel to stay in. Located on the end of Water Street it is a slight walk to the shops and restaurants and a respite at the end of the day, sipping cocktails on the porch and watching the sailboats or the ferry to Chappaquiddick (Chappy). Doubles from $375. 131 North Water Street, Edgartown 508-627-7000.
7. Best Breakfast: Greasy & Non
After a night on the town, head down to the Dock Street Coffee Shop for a breakfast sandwich, sit at the bar and rub elbows with the local fisherman before they head out or get one to go and eat it on the dock, gaze at the sailboats and plan your day. 2 Dock Street, Edgartown 508-627-5232
Sunday is for brunch, and for $22.95 an elegant and filling (all-you-can-eat raw bar) meal can be had at Coach House in the Harbor View Hotel. Enjoy postcard views of Edgartown Lighthouse and Chappy …(Just don’t spill your Bloody Mary on the white table cloth). 131 North Water Street, Edgartown 508-627-7000.
8. Best Way to Get Around:
Bike – do NOT, I repeat do NOT rent a moped… yes they look cute, but you will be ridiculed and harassed by the locals (even the kids on their trikes will flip you off – we are in close proximity to Boston after all). Bicycles are the more green option and you’ll look so Gidget on your cruiser, sporting the bikini top and clam diggers, right? Martha’s Bike Rentals, Five Corners, Vineyard Haven 508-693-6593.
9. Best Way to Spend an Afternoon
The porch @ the Chilmark Store. The no frills store offers up one of the best slices of pie … fresh garlic and linguicia sausage. Grab a slice and then park it on the porch to people watch … who knows some of those people may even be famous (but no gawking … this is the Vineyard, where nonchalance is the norm, Gyllennspoon sightings could happen. The porch is also an ideal place to grab the paper, coffee and a bagel in the A.M. 7 State Road, Chilmark 508-645-3739.
10. Best Item to buy (even though it’s a gigantic cliché) It seems everyone and their brother owns a Black Dog t-shirt. There are even schools of thought on the pre-Clinton Vineyard Black Dog T-Shirt (before ‘92) to the post Clinton-Vineyard Black Dog T. Whatever, they’re cute, and if you live in a state other than Massachusetts people will think it’s quirky. Get one for you, your boyfriend, husband, niece, nephew, etc. There are multiple Black Dog Stores on the Island, but if you really want a taste of Vineyard culture, make reservations at the Black Dog Tavern one night. The food is classic island fare, but remember to bring your own bottle (booze, wine, beer) because Vineyard Haven is a dry town. It’s like in Footloose when Kevin Bacon finds out they don’t ‘allow’ dancing. You’ve been forewarned – stop at the packy pre-din din. The Black Dog Tavern, Vineyard Haven Harbor, 508-693-9223, theblackdog.com
- The Steamship Authority: 14 daily 45-minute Woods Hole–Vineyard ferries ($7.50 one way). 508-477-8600, steamshipauthority.com.
- Or the Island Queen: $8 for a quick (35 minutes) trip. 508-548-4800, islandqueen.com.
- Cape Air offers daily flights from Logan ($234 roundtrip). But these are tiny – single engine planes – bouncy & barfy. 508-771-6944, capeair.com
- You could rock star it and book a charter from Blue Star Jets, starting at $1,000 per hour. 866-538-8463, bluestarjets.com.
-By Bus: Peter Pan bus service offers daily shuttles from Logan to Woods Hole www.peterpanbus.com Round trip for $47.
Amy van Aarem is a freelance writer outside of Boston … email@example.com
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