Posted on Oct 14, 2010 under Archives |
Yikes, it's almost Halloween.
I love Halloween. In addition to being my sister’s birthday, it’s the one night of the year when you get to channel your inner personality or personalities and be whomever you want. Here in Toluca Lake, the neighbors go all out decorating the houses so it is always fun to walk around and see the scary decor. Here’s my list of the scariest places to stay this Halloween.
For fans of the fantastic, lovers of the lurid and mavens of the macabre, haunted hotels offer unique places to stay where visitors might meet some permanent “guests.” If ghosts and goblins intrigue you during the Halloween season, book a night at one of these haunted hotels for a most memorable evening.
Hotel Del Coronado
Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego
I’ve stayed several times at the Hotel Del. It is pretty spooky at night, as my friend Sheila and I both thought the hallways reminded us of the spooky hallways in “The Shining.” It is also a bit creepy to wander around at night. We were too chicken to stay in room 3312, I am a big scaredycat so I am waiting to stay in the haunted room until I take my boyfriend with me. Here is the ghost story: At the elegant Hotel Del Coronado, the whisper of “Kate Morgan” sends shivers down the spine. Did she kill herself or was she murdered at this family-friendly resort? Either way, her ghost lingers in room 3312 at this seaside Victorian landmark.
Queen Mary Hotel
Queen Mary Hotel, Long Beach
The mighty Queen Mary traveled more than 1,000 Atlantic crossings. This former cruise ship is now a permanently anchored hotel but spooks, phantoms and ghosts are said to keep sailing through the staterooms and salons.
Renaissance Mayflower Hotel
Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, Washington, DC
Strange occurrences, said to be linked to the hotel’s first inaugural ball honoring Calvin Coolidge, still reveal themselves at this stately hotel. The President, still mourning the death of his 16-year old son, did not attend the 1925 ball. Each year on inauguration day (January 20), lights in the ballroom dim, hotel staff find mysterious plates of food and wine on the ballroom balcony and the same elevator refuses to work until 10 pm, the time the President would have arrived at the ball.
Martha Washington Inn
Martha Washington Inn, Virginia
A confederate soldier died at the Abingdon inn in 1864. Legend claims that the soldier’s horse wandered the grounds for hours in search of its owner. Today, guests and staff say that on moonless nights a ghostly riderless horse can be seen on the inn’s south lawn.
Crescent Hotel, Arkansas
Once a cancer hospital and a girl’s school, this hotel is packed with ghosts including a regular in room 218. Guests can check it out for themselves by attending the nightly ghost tour.
Le Pavillon Hotel
Le Pavillon Hotel, New Orleans
Capitalizing on its four resident ghosts, a teenager named Ada, a young man, and an aristocratic couple, the hotel offers a “haunted experience” including an evening séance inspired turndown and two passes for the Ghost Expeditions French Quarter tour.
Forsyth Park Inn
Forsyth Park Inn, Savannah
Okay, I actually went to this one as well. Didn’t stay here but it was part of my walking midnight ghost tour (a must when in Savannah, very creepy) when I was in Savannah doing a story. I didn’t see any ghosts, but the tour was really spooky because there are hundreds of dead slaves buried under all the squares in Savannah, so you are basically walking on … well, you can figure it out for yourself. Also, we spent lots of time on the press tour at the Mansion on Forsyth Park, which I later learned on the ghost tour that it was built on the site of an old mortuary. Yikes. Hundreds of dead folks were once there. They didn’t mention that at the spa or while we were eating in the restaurant. Hmmm. Savannah is officially the most haunted city in the US, so if you’re into ghosts that’s the place to go. Many locals refuse to enter the Mansion due to its’ history. Good thing I didn’t know any of that info before my stay, just learned it on the last night at the ghost tour. Pretty spooky. Here is info on the Forsyth Park Inn:
This Queen Anne Victorian inn built in 1896 as a private home is said to be haunted by two members of the Churchill family, its former inhabitants. The alleged ghosts include Lottie, a young girl who poisoned her uncle’s mistress, and Lottie’s mother.
Jekyll Island Club Hotel
Jekyll Island Club Hotel, Georgia
Two ghosts reside in this famous Southern resort, General Lloyd Aspinwall, a founding member of the club said to be seen walking around the veranda, and Samuel Spencer, president of the Southern Railroad Company, who had a morning ritual of reading the paper in his room while sipping coffee. Guests staying in Spencer’s old room report finding their morning newspaper disturbed and their coffee cups mysteriously emptied.
Stanley Hotel, Colorado
This hotel is so spooky that it inspired mega horror author Stephen King to pen The Shining. King stayed in room 217 while writing the book and the ABC miniseries of the same name was filmed at the hotel. This is the next one for me on my list of scary places, because it looks really creepy in the miniseries.
So, if you go to any of these places (and return!) let me know. Or, just rent 1408, a good scary haunted hotel pic, or the also creepy “The Shining.”
Posted on Oct 05, 2010 under Archives |
American Food and Wine banner
Once again, many of the world’s top chefs and wine and spirit purveyors gathered on the lighted backlot of Universal Studios, to raise a celebratory glass in support of the Meals On Wheels Programs of Los Angeles at the 28th Annual American Wine & Food Festival, hosted by Chef Wolfgang Puck.
Wolfgang and me
I ran into the host, Chef Wolfgang Puck, while we walked around the Universal Backlot.
A huge section of the festival was a staging area for booths featuring chefs from Wolfgang Puck restaurants throughout the country.
wolfgang puck chefs
All the chefs served great food. Here are some pics of food from the Wolfgang Puck booths.
This lamb was our fave of the night.
Four Seasons Wailea
The Four Seasons Wailea had a nice sampling at their booth.
pork belly and polenta
They served a pork belly and polenta and a snapper crudo plate.
chefs cooking ribs
Chefs were working hard in booths throughout the mock Italian village.
It was hot as Hades, but folks were everywhere eating and drinking.
Chef Charlie Palmer
Loads of famous chefs were there, including Charlie Palmer.
Nancy Silverton, cooking up dogs
Nancy Silverton, master pastry chef, was cooking up dogs and sausages at the Mozza booth. They also had killer frozen bananas dipped in chocolate.
Chef at Mozza booth
Picasso Bellagio Las Vegas
Picasso at Bellagio, Las Vegas, served up a basil gimlet.
Pouring gimlets at the Picasso booth
The STK booth served short ribs.
STK Vegas booth
Chef Jose Andres
Master Chef Jose Andres played around with my business card.
proscuitto and caviar
My friend Nicole came with me and helped sample all the food.
my friend nicole
Blue Ribbon Chefs from the Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas
Chefs from Blue Ribbon Sushi at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas gave us some tasty hand rolls.
salmon hand rolls
Salmon hand roll. Yummy.
The Bouchon booth was incredible, lots of fresh seafood. Master chef Thomas Keller was on hand, throwing signed beach balls into the crowd.
Chef Thomas Keller at bouchon booth
Chefs at the Matsuhisa booth served up some tasty sushi and fish dishes.
Wraps at Matsuhisa booth. Marc Peel from Camponile and Tar Pit was also there.
The event was really fun and raised lots of money.
Posted on Oct 04, 2010 under Recipes |
I was home from a series of press trips and food festivals and in the mood to cook. After visiting the Silver Lake Cheese Shop and my local Whole Foods, I made a nice ribeye with spice rub salad and an heirloom tomato, mozzarella and basil salad. Here is the recipe:
Spices for rub
I use this rub mix every time I make a steak. It’s the perfect blend to enhance a nice juicy ribeye and easy to make. Just mix 1 teaspoon each of ground mustard, powdered garlic, and kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Here is how it looked on the plate.
spices on plate
I bought a nice ribeye from wholefoods. Take whichever cut of meat you choose and rub the spice mix all over the steak. Leave it for about an hour to absorb into the steak before moving it to the stove.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat the bottom of a nonstick ovenproof skillet with enough olive oil to prevent the steak from sticking. Place over high heat and carefully put the steak in the hot pan to sear. Once a crust forms, turn the steak over to sear the other side. This usually takes 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second.
Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking, I usually leave it in about 12 minutes for medium rare.
Let the steak rest for at least 15 minutes.
I chopped up the steak and made a mixed salad with what I had on hand, some fresh lettuce, avocados, peppers, olives, cucumber and feta cheese.
I also made a nice heirloom tomato salad with some fresh mozzarella and basil.
I used pineapple stripped and green sweet heirloom tomatoes for the salad.
I added mozzarella and basil and topped it with a little olive oil.
tomato mozzarella salad
Posted on Oct 04, 2010 under Archives, Chefs, Interviews |
Chef Mark Ferguson
Mark Ferguson’s passion for the epicurean began as a child while cooking in his mother’s kitchen in Denver, and he used his culinary skills to support himself through Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo.
After graduating with a degree in business, Ferguson moved to San Francisco in 1989 where he worked as a sous chef for the Gilbert-Robinson Company at Houlihan’s Restaurant. He later joined master chef Jeremiah Tower at his renowned restaurant, Stars. While at Stars, Ferguson furthered his cooking skill set by training at the California Culinary Academy and met Chef David Robins.
It was Robins, also a chef at Stars, who asked Ferguson to join him in launching Chef Wolfgang Puck’s famed Spago in Las Vegas, whose opening sparked the city’s dining revolution which persists today. Ferguson joined the Spago Las Vegas opening team as Chef de Cuisine.
During his eight years at Spago, Ferguson greatly enhanced his education and knowledge, cooking alongside some of the greatest names in the culinary profession, such as Paul Bocuse, Daniel Boulud, Nobu Matsuhisa, Thomas Keller and Alain Ducasse. Together with these world-renowned chefs, he participated in numerous charitable dinners and events including Wolfgang’s American Wine and Food Festival, Keep Memory Alive and Andre Agassi’s Grand Slam for Children. In addition, Ferguson prepared private dinners for high-profile public figures, such as President William Jefferson Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
When Chef Wolfgang Puck embarked on his first Italian restaurant concept, Trattoria del Lupo, he called upon Ferguson to spearhead the endeavor. In preparation for his new role as Executive Chef and Partner, Ferguson traveled Italy extensively, cooking and tasting throughout different regions of the country to develop the restaurant’s innovative Italian menu.
During his eight years at Lupo, Ferguson received the 2002 Las Vegas Life Epicurean Award for Best Italian Restaurant in Las Vegas, and in 2003 he was honored by In Business Las Vegas magazine as one of the top forty rising stars in the city.
Nearly twenty years after leaving, Ferguson returned home to Colorado, where his culinary passion was born. In 2007 as Executive Chef, Ferguson opened Spago, the flagship of Wolfgang Puck fine dining group at InterThe Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch on Beaver Creek Mountain. The menu features a fusion of sustainable, all-natural and organic ingredients.
While attending the American Wine and Food Festival, I had the opportunity to sit down with Chef Ferguson and chat about his background and cooking philosophy.
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