Luxury in the Heart of Athens, Greece

Visiting a new city can be so exciting! Researching what to do and where to stay can be overwhelming. Online photos can be deceiving.  If you are booking the trip yourself, you really are on your own, and mistakes can be hard to fix once you have arrived.  The hotel is booked and now you are second guessing yourself, have you made the right decision?

My recommendation is that you use a travel consultant always, so you have help, recommendations, and someone to go to if you have a problem.  If you are a do it yourselfer, hopefully the information on this luxury hotel in Athens will help you.

Let’s get started….

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Hotel La Perouse ~ Nice, France

The definition of luxury is “the state of great comfort and extravagant living.” Luxury for most of us has different meanings and expectations. We all may not agree on what we consider luxury.  Some may think a luxury hotel is a large well known and branded hotel adorned in marble with first class service. A spot where you will find only the rich staying in pure opulence and grandeur. Others find luxury in the small and stunning architecture and history of a boutique hotel.

The Hotel La Perouse in Nice, France belongs to the Small, Luxury Hotels of the World brand and is a small boutique hotel and in my opinion, luxurious.

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Wings Cafe ~ Fullerton, California

I found another great little cafe at a regional airport in Fullerton, California, you must go!

Fullerton, California is a town tucked into central Orange County, California not far from Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.  This cool little town has a quaint downtown area with boutique shops, a tea shop, restaurants, breweries and bars.

Away from the downtown area, nestled amidst older neighborhoods is the Fullerton Regional Airport.  Dating back to 1913, when the former pig farm with a makeshift dirt land strip, the land was used by crop dusters, the airport’s official birthday dates back to 1927.

I have fond memories of the airport from the few years  I lived in Fullerton in the 80’s. They offered helicopter flights from the airport to LAX where you could easily connect with your commercial flights.

To go back to the airport brought back fun memories and to dine at Wings Cafe was pure diner heaven.

The cafe is entirely aviation themed, and opened in October 2015 by local restaurateurs Brian and Sherri White. The decor features authentic aviation themed items including some interesting vintage pieces.

Entering the restaurant from the main airport building, you can’t miss the cafe.  The sliding doors are etched with a large airplane and the floor is a lit runway.  The main dining room features high top tables, all of which are placed carefully around the room so each diner has views out of the large picture windows to the runway.

The menu is filled with all of your favorite breakfast dishes from, eggs, bacon and sausage to omelets, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burrito, french toast, pancakes and waffles even beautifully cooked and creamy eggs benedict.

The lunch menu offers diners dishes that take you back to  your childhood favorites, and are pure and simple comfort food dishes.  Hot dogs, chili dogs, burgers, chili size and bowls of hot homemade chili, patty melt, egg salad sandwich and even a tuna melt.  You will also find a few salad choices, malts, shakes, freezes and ice cream sodas.  Looking for something a bit stronger, yes, they offer beer, wine and mimosas too.

We loved sitting against the window watching planes take off and land, even a helicopter or two,  Wings Cafe is great for the kids, offering great views and scrumptious comfort food and authentic diner style dishes.

Search out the unique and local spots, you will never be disappointed.

Until next time, travel safe.
Terri

Lodi Airport Cafe

Are you the type of traveler that searches out the hidden gems when you travel, or do you prefer a chain restaurant and something you are comfortable with?

When traveling and even when home, I love to find the hidden gems. On a recent trip we discovered a different type of American style diner, serving pure and simple comfort food, and now I’m hooked, so bear with me as I share my favorites with you occasionally. Many local and regional airports have hometown, diner style restaurants serving some incredible food, and I’m setting out to discover as many as I can to share with you.

California Highway 99 is a 4 lane highway, with only 2 lanes in each direction that runs North and South in California splitting off the 5 freeway just over the grapevine and it snakes up the Central Valley ending near Red Bluff, California.

There are some great little towns along the road where you can find some mom and pop style eateries and make for wonderful stops to eat and explore.

Following Hwy 99 north, we were headed to Lodi, California to spend a few days exploring this up and coming wine region.  Lodi is a small, friendly town with some great wineries and eateries.  Located just a smidge north out of town is the local, regional Lodi airport. Sitting alongside the runway is the Lodi Airport Cafe.

Lodi Airport Cafe is family owned and was remodeled about 3 years ago.  As you step in the door,you will feel right at home. The interior is clean, and bright, giving you the sense of eating in an airport hanger with the corrugated ceiling and airplane memorabilia sprinkled around the cafe.

Our server immediately greeted us, seated us and had coffee and tea on the table. The breakfast menu has plenty of choices from Two Egg Breakfasts, sweet dishes of waffles, pancakes and french toast; Pilot specials and omelets.  The cafe is known for their homemade focaccia made fresh every morning, so we settled on the Focaccia Breakfast sandwich.  The tender and soft melt in your mouth bread was filled with grilled ham, creamy scrambled eggs and melted cheese, be sure to add some fresh sliced avocado for the perfect bite.  The sandwich comes with a side of potatoes that were grilled, not greasy and so well flavored with bits of chopped onion. The omelets are large and perfectly cooked.

 

The lunch menu looks equally as delicious.  Filled with fresh burger choices and plenty of sandwiches, several with offer that same amazing focaccia bread. The salads are made with only fresh ingredients.  Their Sunshine Salad is the most popular and is filled with tender greens, mandarin oranges, chopped pecans, green onions, cranberries, avocado, feta cheese, and grilled chicken sits atop the salad and  drizzled with the Lodi Airport Cafe’s famous homemade poppy seed dressing.

As you eat, you will enjoy watching the sky diver’s take off and then take flight coming in for their landings right outside the window.

If you find yourself outside Lodi on Hwy 99 and in need of breakfast or lunch; stop in for a break and a fantastic meal. You will enjoy the fun of watching planes take off, land and sky diver’s filling the sky as they make their way back to the airport.

Until next time,
Terri

The Orange County Brewery Tour Continues

Hey everyone, it is has been awhile, but we are talking more Orange County breweries again.  Just when I think we are on the last leg of the journey, more continue to pop up, which is really cool.

I read an article the other day about beer.  Did you know that beer contains the nutrients needed for human survival? The article went on to say that the health benefits of beer include reducing the risk of kidney stones. Beer aids in post-workout recovery and boosts the immune system.  So Cheers!

We will start in Central Orange County first.

Hoparazzi Brewing Company is located just around the corner from Bottle Logic at 2898 La Palma Ave. Ste D in Anaheim.  This great little microbrewery celebrated it’s one year anniversary in January and I hope they have many more to come.

Open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only, Hoparazzi has beers for everyone.  They offer a nice selection of IPA’s, Stouts and are doing some beautiful sours.  Steve has been brewing for over 15 years and his sours are unlike any we have tried recently.  They are very fruit forward and really great.  I am starting to love sours as they aren’t hoppy.

 

 

 

On our visit we met Lisa, the owner and she is so fun and very friendly. The tasting room has a beautiful and large bar.  She bought the wood alleys from a Midwest bowling alley that was closing.  Thinking she would plane them down smaller, she decided to keep the alleys in tact and just as they were.  With a new coat of varnish she built the bar and it is very cool.

The brewery is bright and so clean you could drink from the floor.  We all know a good way to tell about the cleanliness of a restaurant is to check the bathroom.  Well, at Hoparazzi, you must.  The bathrooms are spotless, just a bit different and for the girls, the floor has glitter and a mini chandelier.  You can’t miss this brewery, it is a great spot to hang out, enjoy some really tasty beer and lively conversation.

Stereo Brewing in Placentia is another newby to the OC beer scene.  They recently opened in October 2016 and are quickly becoming a favorite spot.  From the moment you walk in the door you feel the energy and hear the vinyls they are spinning on the turntable.

The tasting room is a good size, there is plenty of room for you and a group of friends to hang out.  They have a nice bar with quite a few tables.  If there is room at the bar, pull up a stool and visit with the employees and the owner.  He has worked at several breweries and been brewing beer for quite awhile.  After visiting so many breweries, you find a favorite and you can taste the passion they have in the flavor of the beers.  At Stereo, you will taste the passion and attention to detail in the brewing.  On the weekends food trucks make an appearance and are serving food. Check their social media as on some evenings they will have live bands.

Heading down south to San Clemente,  make this an all day adventure.  Walk out on the pier, shop in the downtown area and do some beer tasting at the 3 breweries in town.

 

Artifex Brewing is a small little microbrewery, located in an industrial park.  Inside you will find a few tables with a few on the patio.  The staff was friendly and very willing to recommend beers to fit with your taste buds.  We visited on a Thursday afternoon and the brewery was pretty quiet except for the brewers working.  We ordered a tasting flight and sampled their IPA’s, Double IPA’s, a red ale and a stout or two.

Lost Winds Brewing Company is located across the street from Artifex in another industrial complex.  This microbrewery has only been open for a few months.  The tasting room has a nice L shaped bar with a few wine barrel tables scattered around the tasting room.  Sitting at the bar is always the best spot to be, you can learn a lot about their history and the beers while tasting and talking to the staff.  The beers at Lost Winds were very nice.  They pour Saisons, Blonde, Belgian and Pale ales with a stout or two and a nitro infused Belgian Style Ale.

We met some really nice people from out of town who were enjoying a beautiful, sunny Southern California day.  Lost Winds is a fun spot to hang out with friends.  If you happen to find “Happy Birthday Baby Jesus” on the beer board, give it a go.

Left Coast Brewing is just up the road from Artifex and Lost Winds.  Here we met Sam in the tasting room as we pulled up to the bar.  Left Coast has a large tasting room and a large listing of beers to taste.

The brewery is owned by the family who owns Oggi’s restaurants.  They have big plans for expanding the brewery side of the business.  In my opinion, Left Coast is not a microbrewery and the beers are not brewed at this location in San Clemente, with that said, we found some dark, creamy and rich stouts to taste. We also tried their barrel aged stout and a roasted peanut stout, both were scrumptious. Sam was very knowledgeable about the beers and loves to chat with you.

In between tasting or before you head up the hill to the breweries a great little spot for lunch is Brick Pizzeria in the downtown area.  The pizza is incredible and now I understand why they were voted one of the top Pizzeria’s in Orange County.  Grab a pizza and take your leftovers with you to help soak up the beer.

Have fun, be responsible in drinking and driving and enjoy the breweries of Orange County.

Until next time, Cheers!
Terri

 

Dining Perfection, The Marine Room ~ La Jolla, California

Happy New Year,

I hope you all had a beautiful holiday season and are looking forward to your travels in 2017.

Should you find yourself in La Jolla, California in 2017, you will find a very special restaurant, The Marine Room, located at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.

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A Fine Romance by Susan Branch

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“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” ~ Mason Cooley.

There are times when we all wish we could pack our bags and set off on undiscovered lands, a quick getaway or an adventure.  When life gets in the way or the budget doesn’t allow, sometimes the next best thing is a travel book, that allows us to escape without leaving home.

I recently read “A Fine Romance” by Susan Branch and it is one of those books that will sweep you away and give you a front row seat to an adventure to England.

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More Orange County Breweries

Anaheim, California is becoming a city of craft breweries.  The mayor has worked hard to open the city to these micro brewers.  There are so many now, there really is brewery trail around the city. So let’s discover a few more, and one in South Orange County.

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Chocolate Heaven

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Chocolate Heaven in Irvine, California

ChocXo Bean to Bar Chocolates is heaven on earth. Who doesn’t love chocolate? Add in a wall with 2 spigots, push the button, and watch beautiful creamy chocolate flow into a little cup for you to sip; now you know you are in heaven.

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I stumbled upon their chocolate a little over a year ago at a gourmet culinary store and loved the quality and richness of their bars.  Soon after my disccovery  I am hear they have a coffee bar open  in Costa Mesa, California. A cup of coffee with chocolate added, yum!  The coffee is fantastic, smooth and flavorful not bitter, add in flavors and chocolate, it just raises the drinks above the bar.  In talking to the staff they advised that the Irvine factory offered tours,  sign me up.

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Stepping into the factory store, it is spotlessly cleaned, warm and inviting and smelling of deep rich chocolate.  The tour walks you through their Bean to Bar process. The staff explains the history of the cacao tree, harvesting the pods by hand and the process of removing the beans, drying, fermenting and taking them all the way to processing.
During the tour, you  have the opportunity to taste the pulp from inside the cacao pod, it is fascinating and has a unique and pleasant flavor, you will be surprised.

ChocXO imports their beans from South American, mainly Ecuador and they are processed in Irvine, CA.

At the end of the tour,  guests have the opportunity to choose from their extensive list of truffles and soft centers and have 3 pieces bagged to take home.  You will find flavors such as Raspberry, Hazelnut, Mojito, Apple Jack, Maple Whiskey, Vanilla Chai and Lemon Meringue just to name a few.

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As you wander the store, you will find large bars and mini bars varying in percentages of cacao, and you can taste the differences along with the cacao nibs.

If by now you haven’t had enough chocolate, pull up a chair at the tasting bar, and order ChocXO’s version of a peanut butter cup.  They serve fresh made peanut butter in a small plastic cup, topped with that creamy, rich chocolate.  Dive in and lick the cup clean, it is amazing!

You must have reservations for the tour and  tickets can be purchased on their website. The cost is $10 per person.  You can also check with Groupon and see if they have any offers as well. Happy touring and tasting.

http://www.chocxo.com/

The chocolate factory is a unique and fun experience in Orange County.  Take the kids and discover some amazing chocolate.

Enjoy,
Terri

 

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Tea Time in Costa Mesa, California

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If you look you can find some little treasures in your own backyard. Royal Tea and Treatery in Costa Mesa, California is one of those little treasures in more ways than one.

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