Windstar Cruises ~ Calling all Foodies






Are you the type of cruiser who loves the big ships, or do you prefer the smaller more intimate cruise experience?

Windstar cruises gives you, the guest a more personal, intimate and private yachting cruise vacation.

The cruise line has just recently announced a new partnership with the James Beard Foundation.  The cruise line is calling all foodies for this one of a kind experience to cruise with food and wine experts.

The 3 themed James Beard Foundation Culinary Collection cruises for 2016 will give you the tastes of the special regions.  The three sailings will take you to  either Southern Spain and Morocco or Spain and France.

On each sailing you will have one of a kind interactaction with a James Beard featured chef.  The chef will act as your ambassador aboard, offering cooking demonstrations, a nightly dish, one on one time and a trip to a local market or culinary experience like none other.  Each cruise will also offer a wine expert guiding you to the regions wineries and wines.

If you aren’t able to make one of the James Beard Culinary cruises, you still have foodie opportunities with Windstar.  Many of Windstar’s European cruises, give you the opportunity to go into port with the chef to shop a local market, buy ingredients that the chef will feature on the nightly menu.

Windstar is known for their exquisite and beautiful sailing yachts.  They have recently added 3 power yachts that have been completely refurbished to Windstar’s signature elegant decor.  The sailing yachts and power yachts take you where the big ships can’t.

Ready to go?  Windstar cruising; it just doesn’t get any better.

Travel Safe,

Top Chef at Sea with Celebrity Cruises

Top Chef at Sea

Are you a foodie and a Top Chef Junkie like I am?

Here is your chance to rub elbows and meet a few of your favorite Top Chef contestants.

Celebrity Cruises has partnered with Top Chef and Bravo media to give fans and food travelers a chance to experience Top Chef at Sea.

The 7 night Eastern Caribbean getaway will take place departing Miami on Nov. 14th 2015 aboard the Celebrity Reflection.  The cruise will feature 6 Top Chef participants; two chefs from this past season, Gregory Gourdet and Doug Adams.  The other 4 chefs are from previous seasons.

You will experience Meet and Greets, Quickfire Challenges, a dual cooking demo and a very special mouthwatering evening of Top Chef Night in the Main Restaurant.  Private Dinners, Private Cooking Classes along with Chef hosted Shore Excursions are available for an additional fee and have limited availability.

What a fun and fabulous way to live your own Top Chef experience.

Top Chef at Sea with Celebrity Cruises

I have attached a pdf. highlighting the experiences onboard, please right click and open in a new link to get the details.

Let me know if I can help plan this once in a lifetime Top Chef experience.

Happy Travels,


Butterfly Creek Winery~ A Real Gem

Butterfly Creek Winery

When you travel do you like taking the road less traveled and finding treasures along the way, or do you put your destination in the GPS and make a bee line for your next stop?

So many times our GPS has sent us on a treasure hunt.  We have been guided the wrong direction, to a residence for a coffee shop or it simply shows us driving in field not on an actual road.  We have learned not to depend on it too much. 

Before this trip I dropped into our local Auto Club office and grabbed a few old fashioned paper maps.  I love them!  They are folded, re-folded, folded wrong and wrinkled, it gives them character.  Maps are so fun to use, you can find alternate routes, scenic routes and little side trips to take to enrich the experience.

Leaving the incredible Chateau du Sureau, we were headed for Murphys, California to do a little wine tasting in the Sierra Foothills.  We didn’t make it.

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Dining Around Moorea


I love finding great spots to eat when traveling, you can learn so much about the people and the culture through the food.  The best way to find great restaurants is to ask the local people.  I prefer to eat where the locals eat, it gives you the best experiences.

Let’s start with a fine dining restaurant at the Legends Resort, La Villa Des Sens.  It is very easy to get to if you are staying at the Intercontinental, it is a mere walk across the two lane road.  Set on a hillside with a birds eye view of the lagoon.  The decor is very modern and comfortable.  The open air restaurant serves exquisite French cuisine.  Don’t mind the gecko’s that roam the ceiling, they don’t bother you and are considered good luck.  They add to the atmosphere.  French bread was brought to the table and there is something about french bread in French Polynesia, it is addictive.  After the bread was served our server delivered an Amuse Bouche.  We had miniature chicken skewers with lemongrass, an onion tart and a bite of seared Ahi atop a french ratatouille.  Each bite was pure perfection.  If this is any indication of what our meals will be, we will have the perfect meal.

The appetizer of scallops and tuna was served atop a tropical fruit and frisee salad, everything was incredible.  The filet mignon and chicken with a lemongrass sauce was mouthwatering amazing.  The passion fruit souffle finished the meal off with a smooth and flavorful cafe au lait.  The presentation was beautiful, the food was seasoned perfectly and cooked exactly as ordered.  The service was first class and attentive. 

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Le Mayflower


When asking a few of the locals of another recommendation, several said try Le Mayflower, it is local.  Sounds great to me.  However, we ran out of nights, so we rode our scooter down to the restaurant.  They do offer taxi service for approximately $5 USD to pick you up at your hotel.

This little restaurant sits next to the highway in a very nondescript building, so if you are driving yourself, just pay attention as you can easily miss it.  The lunch and dinner menu’s are the same, so if you are there for lunch you aren’t going to miss anything. 

Le Mayflower has a very local feel, nothing fancy, but the food is unique and excellent.  The lobster ravioli is served in a cream sauce.  The lobster is delicate and full of flavor and the sauce paired perfectly to the ravioli.  I had not ever had blue cheese ravioli, so was all over that when I saw it on the menu.  Wow,  these perfect little pillows were soft, delicate and bursting with flavor, every bite was amazing.  The pesto cream sauce was light in flavor, but added another dimension to the dish.  I have died and gone to blue cheese heaven.  The dessert was layers of sweet cream, divided by lace tuile cookies and edged in strawberries.  Have you ever had a meal that you didn’t want to end?  We did and this was it.

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Lastly, I will tell you about a little roadside type eatery that one of the locals told us about.  He said it is where the locals love to eat, so we stopped for lunch as it is only open for lunch.  Snack Mahana, is a roadside type stand built next to the house.  They have plenty of seating in the backyard right on the lagoon.  At one end of the backyard, the laundry was hanging on the line, that is how local this cafe is.  The food is all very fresh, delicious and the cooks really treat the ingredients with such respect and love.  As food is being delivered to tables, the servings are large, so we decide to split the meal.  Mahi mahi marinated in coconut milk, fried with coconut milk over the top.  I am not a seafood eater typically, but this was fabulous.  The fish was fresh, crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.  I can understand why the locals love this spot and the tourists have discovered it.  So my recommendation to you is that you get there early.  They do tend to run out of dishes, so don’t miss out.

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Bon Appetit

Surprise! There is a winery in French Polynesia


Who knew there is a winery in French Polynesia?  If there is a winery in a destination, I will find it.  I really believe you can learn so much about a country or state through their food and wine.

Dominique Auroy Winery is on the atoll of Rangiroa and in the little village of Avatoru.  The grapes are grown on a tiny little atoll and during harvest, the grapes are actually brought over by canoe.  A friend on Rangiroa knows the winemaker and unfortunately he was on holiday while I was there, so I didn’t get to visit with him.  Oh darn,  guess I will have to go back. 

Vin de Tahiti creates white and rose’ wines only.  The soil or terroir plays such an important roll in the growing of grapes for wine.  In French Polynesia, the soil really is sand and coral, which makes winemaking a real challenge.  The vineyard sits on approximately 8 acres and produces about 40,000 bottles a year.  Most of the wine is exported.

I am not a wine snob and will drink pretty much anything.  Arriving on Rangiroa I was really excited to have my first glass of Blanc de Corail.  Our first dinner at the resort was relaxing and fun as we were joined by a friend.  Starting with appetizers and then moving on to the entree, I had a glass with my perfect bowl of mushroom risotto, the wine paired perfectly.  The Sommelier poured my first glass, yes the first glass, there were several, it was lovely. 

The color was a beautiful shade of white and gold and the aroma was crisp, fresh and delightful.  Loved it from the first sip.  My best description of the wine is that the taste was a bit of the sea and in the best way possible.  I don’t mean fishy, but very refreshing.  It would pair beautifully with a nice crisp salad with fruit or a light fish.  Really just the perfect drink on a warm day after being in the pool, or snorkeling in the lagoon.

Until I can get back to Rangiroa, I’m trying to find a bottle in my local area.  Congratulations to the winery and winemaker on a job well done.  The winery is not open to the public, but I really encourage you to try the wine, you won’t be disappointed.

See you back on Friday as we will explore Moorea.

Eating Caribbean Style


Just for fun, I want to share with you a recipe for a dish served at the Soggy Dollar beach bar on Jost Van Dyke.

Soggy Dollar Carrot~Ginger Soup

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 Lg. onion, finely chopped

1/4 C. fresh ginger, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

7 C. chicken stock

Snipped fresh chives, chopped

1 C. dry white wine

1 1/2 lbs. carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Pinch of curry powder, salt and pepper

Fresh Parsley

Melt butter over medium heat and saute onion, garlic and ginger until soft and aromatic.  Add chicken stock, wine and carrots.  Bring to a boil then reduce temperature and simmer uncovered for appx. 45 minutes until carrots are tender.  Let cool slightly and puree until silky smooth and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Can be chilled at this point for serving later hot or cold.  Garnish with chives and parsley.

Serves 4 to 6

Enjoy an authentic Caribbean dish!