Monday, July 21, 2014

Great Sleeps: Peterson Village Inn; and Good Eats: Cafe Provence; Solvang, California


Peterson Village Inn  1576 Mission Dr., (800) 321-8985.  Centrally located, this Old World-style hotel greets guests with refreshing fruited water and Danish pastries in the lobby.

high four-poster bed at Peterson Village Inn in Solvang, California
High four-poster beds—they are almost as high as the one celebrated Danish author Hans Christian Andersen wrote about in his Princess and Pea story—with a three-sheeted white blanket topped with a blue- and-white-striped coverlet await, and a balcony is among the options.  Interesting vintage European accent art and sweet floral wallpaper with little blue and pink flowers add to the coziness.  Even the closet is wallpapered. 

          I continue to be surprised by the good restaurants found in hotels.  Cafe Provence, which features European and Mediterranean cuisine and an award-winning chef, was empty when we entered, and I immediately had second thoughts.  

house-cured salmon at Cafe Provence at Peterson Village Inn in Solvang, California
Our delightful server and my spectacular starter course of house-cured salmon with pickled cucumbers and crostini—a nod to Danish cuisine--put me at ease.  

salmon dinner at Cafe Provence at Peterson Village Inn in Solvang, Californi
For my main course I enjoyed perfectly prepared fresh wild-caught salmon with scalloped potatoes that could have benefited from a tad longer cooking.  Oh well, it’s always unusual for everything to be perfect.
 
pork schnitzel at Cafe Provence at Peterson Village Inn in Solvang, California
My husband also chose well--a crispy Danish pork schnitzel topped with tasty creamy mushroom sauce.

oeufs a la Neige at Cafe Provence at Peterson Village Inn in Solvang, California
At a time when I often find myself bored with dessert selections, I was blown away by “oeufs a la Neige.”  Translated as “eggs in the snow” and often called “floating island” it is a wonderful concoction of meringue atop crème anglaise.  OMG, it is so good!  Midway through, more diners did come in and join us, but it was a light night apparently because the local Pacific Conservatory Theatre stage company was on a short hiatus. 

Cafe Provence - Petersen Inn on Urbanspoon

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, July 18, 2014

Good Eats: The Bank on College Green and The Long Hall , Dublin, Ireland


The Bank on College Green pub in Dublin, Ireland

The Bank on College Green  20-22 College Green, Dublin 2, +353 (0)1 677 0677.  B-L-D daily.  Located in the oldest region of the city, this site has been occupied since Viking times.  In 1892 the Belfast Bank acquired the property and constructed this grand Victorian building, whose Franco-Scottish exterior is one of Dublin’s rare examples of Scottish sandstone.  The interior, which was once the main banking hall, is stunningly ornate, with a stained-glass ceiling, mosaic-tiled floors, and spectacular hand-carved plasterwork and cornicing.  Huge Chatwood safes are now part of the decor, and the original vaults remain downstairs.  Now, in the humongous open interior space of this sedate “superpub,” you can enjoy a relaxed meal and drink. 


The Long Hall pub in Dublin, Ireland
The Long Hall  51 S. Great George's St., Dublin 2; +353 1 475 1590.  M-W 4-11:30pm, Thur 1-11:30pm, F-Sat 1-12:30am, Sun3-11pm.  This old-school pub features an ornate Victorian decor with filigreed mirrors and carved-wood snugs (enclosed booths).  In addition to perfectly poured Guinness, the pub is known for serving potent gin and tonics.  Barmen still wear white shirts and black ties, a sign that this is a historic establishment.  Note that there is no food service or music.  When I visited, we were hungry and so wound up going about a block away for dinner at The Market Bar.

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 images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Good Eats: The Winding Stair Bookshop & Restaurant, Dublin, Ireland

Winding Stair Bookshop in Dublin, Ireland

The Winding Stair Bookshop & Restaurant  40 Lower Ormond Quay, across river from Temple Bar area via Ha’penny Bridge, + 353 1 8727320, Dublin 1.  L-D daily.  A particularly popular meeting place for writers, musicians, and artists in the 1970s and ‘80s, this atmospheric spot is both a café upstairs--featuring simple, old-fashioned, high-quality Irish fare--and a cozy bookshop downstairs on the ground floor, where coffee, tea, and wine service is available.

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 image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Monday, July 14, 2014

Great Sleeps: Staunton’s on the Green Guesthouse, Dublin, Ireland


Staunton’s on the Green Guesthouse  83 St. Stephen's Green South, 5-min. walk to Grafton St., +353 (0)1 4782300, Dublin 2.  3 stars.  40 rooms.  E109+.  Breakfast included; room service.  Parking E10.  Reasonable rates and a central location across from Stephen’s Green park make this Georgian guesthouse a prime choice for lodging.  You’ll be able to walk to most major sights.  The house’s own garden leads into the hidden Victorian Iveagh Gardens featuring a rustic grotto, fountains, and paths.  Guest rooms in this elegant 1750s Georgian building (actually a melding of three separate houses) are large, and each has a garden or park view.  Architectural features include magnificent marble fireplaces and elaborate plaster ceilings.  Rooms in the back are quietest, and some have French doors opening to the garden.  Breakfast is served in a basement room, and a room-service breakfast is also an option at additional charge.  This vintage property has plenty of character and a friendly staff, and though I didn’t actually stay here, my site visit convinced me to add it to the top of my Dublin lodging list for the future. 

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image courtesy of the venue


Friday, July 11, 2014

Good Eats: La Casa de los Antojitos, NYC-Queens

La Casa de los Antojitos in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC
La Casa de los Antojitos  81-08 37th Ave., (718) 779-2949.  This bakery packs ‘em in with delicious pastries—don’t miss the guava stuffed bun and the spinach empanadas--housemade soups and meats, sandwiches, tamales, fresh-squeezed juices, milkshakes and ice cream (yummy papaya and pineapple as well as intriguing sour sop), and flan.  Take-out grilled Peruvian-style chicken with plantains is also quite popular.  Counter service keeps prices low.

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image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Good Eats: Kefi Greek Cuisine, NYC


Kefi Greek Cuisine  505 Columbus Ave./84th St., (212) 873-0200.  L M-F, D daily, Sat-Sun Br; $$.


Luxuriously spacious, this Greek taverna has a lower bar level separated by a few steps from the upper-level main dining room.  I was dining with my daughter and infant granddaughter, so we were pleased to be able to bring in the stroller and have the baby next to our table on the bar level.


Lunch items included pita triangles with a delicious array of spreads and a spectacular pickled beet salad with string beans and Greek yogurt.  I advise skipping the eggs dishes, which are really “eggy” and bland.  This day we stuck to vegetarian items, but delicacies include housemade sausages and octopus items as well as more Greek dishes.

Kefi on Urbanspoon

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Friday, June 27, 2014

Things to Do: Wildwood Boardwalk, North Wildwood, New Jersey


Wildwood Boardwalk  This long, long boardwalk stretches for two miles and hold three amusement parks and two water parks.  For an overview, take a ride on the “tram car" trackless train that runs along the boardwalk.
tram car ride at Wildwood Boardwalk in North Wildwood, New Jersey

Restaurants, arcades, and other amusements will fill your day with fun, and at dusk the bright lights and neon signs come out.  It is a surprising fact that the Wildwood Amusement Piers have more rides than Disneyland.  Kiddie rides include airplanes, trucks, dune buggies, boats, and trains, plus carousels and bumper cars.
Wildwood Amusement Piers at Wildwood Boardwalk in North Wildwood, New Jersey

Thrill rides include an inverted looping roller coaster, The Beast of the East (the largest family raft ride on the East Coast), and a 140-foot-high Ferris wheel.  Perhaps its most famous attraction is the Great White--the East Coast's tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster.  The ride is built right over the beach, reaches a speed of more than 50 miles per hour, and begins with a 25-foot drop into a dark tunnel (it later adds a 105-foot drop).

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  images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sights to See: Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, North Wildwood, New Jersey


Hereford Inlet Lighthouse in North Wildwood, New Jersey
Hereford Inlet Lighthouse  111 Central Ave., (609) 522-4520.  Tour:  $5, under 12 $2; gardens free.  This 1874 Victorian Carpenter Gothic Stick-style structure is still a working lighthouse.  The light was hand-cranked by a resident keeper until automation closed it down in 1964.  Guided tours are of the former living quarters, and you can stroll through the award-winning gardens on your own. 
Note that it is same style as the East Brother light in Richmond, California, which is now a B&B. 



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image and video ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sights to See: annual events, Roar to the Shore and Mummers Parade, North Wildwood, New Jersey

Roar to the Shore  September.  This is the largest motorcycle meet-up on the East Coast.



Mummers Parade  September.  It costs you zero to join the crowd lining the street here to view the famous Mummer string bands march and dance.  A string band is heavy on the banjos and has no guitars or amplification.  (Did you know that the banjo is the only instrument native to America?)  The bands are composed of mostly husky guys in glittering costumes.  One local described them thusly:  “They march into town looking like they could flatten a village.”  Enthusiastic viewers are invited to dance along with them down the street.  Note that the original Mummers Parade occurs on New Year’s Day in Philadelphia.


More Mummers.
Even more Mummers. 

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videos ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Friday, June 20, 2014

Good Eats: Dolce Italia, North Wildwood, New Jersey



rigatoni at Dolce Italia in North Wildwood, New Jersey
Dolce Italia  210 New Jersey Ave., (609) 522-6228.  L-D daily; $-$$.  This family-style Italian restaurant serves pizza as well as some delicious old-fashioned pastas.  And you know it’s going to be good because the mayor eats here.  My fave is the full-flavored, very satisfying rigatoni with ricotta and meat sauce followed by a lip-smacking tasty lemoncello cheesecake.  Burgers, hoagies, and wraps are also on the extensive menu.

Dolce Italia on Urbanspoon
 

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image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers