Food + Wine + Beach = The Perfect Day at Clearwater Beach Uncorked

What could make a day at the beach better? How about adding delectable bites from the best restaurants? Wine tastings? Sweet treats? Well, do I have the event for you!

For the fourth year, Clearwater Beach Uncorked will be under the warm Florida sun – and the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa – and on the cool, white sands of Clearwater Beach Saturday and Sunday, February 7 and 8, from 1 – 5 p.m. each day. Continue reading “Food + Wine + Beach = The Perfect Day at Clearwater Beach Uncorked”

Welcome to Tampa! (a dining primer)

As I jet off for a week in the Caribbean for work, travel PR pros from around the country are arriving into Tampa for the PRSA 2014 Travel and Tourism Conference. It figures that the timing would be that I’ll miss seeing some old friends, and making new. But I really can’t complain… the gorgeous island of Bonaire awaits!

I’ve seen tweets come through for dining suggestions for those visiting the area, and thought I’d throw out a few suggestions of some of my favorite places to grab a bite, from downtown Tampa to over at the beaches. Continue reading “Welcome to Tampa! (a dining primer)”

It’s Time to Savor Sarasota!

If you’re a foodie – or simply someone who enjoys a good meal – and are in Sarasota, Florida, are you ever in luck! Yesterday kicked off two weeks of unbelievable culinary flavors and dining deals at more than an expected 45 restaurants throughout the Sarasota area. It’s Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week! Continue reading “It’s Time to Savor Sarasota!”

have fork – will travel

One big part of traveling is eating – discovering local dishes wherever you may raise your fork, or spoon. Beignets in New Orleans. Pho in Vietnam. Croissants in Paris. And for a lot of people, food and wine events are as good a reason to travel as any. Continue reading “have fork – will travel”

ice ice baby!


Ululani's Shave Ice. OMG.
Ululani’s Shave Ice. OMG.

When I was in Maui last fall, I set out on a personal mission to find the island’s best Hawaiian shave ice. Hey, someone had to do it!

Many had told me about Ululani’s in Lahaina. “Get it with ice cream on the bottom,” tweets read. And I thought to myself, “Bleah. Ice and ice cream mixed? Nasty!” But when I got to the window and mulled over the flavor options, I saw another order being prepared, with ice cream on the bottom.

Lee and his Tobi’s Shave Ice.
Lee and his Tobi’s Shave Ice.

OK, I can do this. I ordered a small (you should see the sizes!) passion orange with macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom and a sprinkling of li hing mui powder on top.

Oh. My. Goodness. I was in love!

And craved that shave ice every day of my trip. I did return to Ululani’s several times. I’m not ashamed.

However, as part of my mission I had to try others, and I did.

Local Boys' Shave Ice
Local Boys’ Shave Ice

Before taking on the Road to Hana, Lee Abamonte (a fellow travel writer and driver for the day) and I stopped by Tobi’s Shave Ice in Paia before we started out on the winding roads. It was good and tasty and refreshing, but it wasn’t Ululani’s. (Sorry, Tobi!)

Wendy Harvey, who’s local to Maui and knows her shave ice, raved about Local Boys Shave Ice in Kihei. And so I stopped for a bite when exploring the south of the island. I loved the ordering counter and took the cup filled with yumminess to the beach. What a gorgeous setting! The shave ice was good, but…

I made it back to Ululani’s as often possible during my trip, and even bought my husband a t-shirt (he wasn’t with me on the trip) to remind me of the iced goodness.

I long for Ululani’s and talk giddily about it to others who’ve had the pleasure to experience it. Nothing here in Florida comes close to its soft, silky texture.

Sheraton Maui's adult shave ice
Sheraton Maui’s adult shave ice

And then I hear about an ‘adult’ version of Hawaiian shave ice at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. What? Imagine lounging by the pool or on the beach whilst indulging in Rum Rainbow, Spiked Pineapple, or Tropical Cactus. Don’t like those flavors? You can create your own!

As if I needed another reason – when’s the next flight to Maui?

Have you had Hawaiian shave ice? Which is your favorite?

dads like to be pampered, too!

Ojo Caliente Mineral SpringsFather’s Day is Sunday, and it’s time to thank the Dad in your life for everything he’s done for you. Here are a few ideas you may want to check out – after all, dads like to be pampered, too!

Oakville Grocery in Napa Valley has a few items that you can toast Dad with: the Ruhstaller Beer Trio, a Wine Gift Set, an Oakville Grocery Apron for the grillin’ dad, a Cocktail set, or a combo set with Ruhstaller Beer and Chunky Pig Bacon Popcorn.

If your dad really wants to be pampered, check out these spa offers designed just for him.

  • At the Mii amo Spa in Sedona, Ariz., the Journeyman’s Facial uses products crafted specifically for men and includes a facial and foot massage. Ahhh…
  • The Men’s Fitness Face Therapy at the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa in Ojo Caliente, N.M. includes skin care, hot herbal towel therapy, and a soothing face, neck and shoulder massage. The stress just melts away…
  • The Men’s Microbrew Break at The Spa At The Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Penn. features a deep cleansing and relaxing facial, massage and lunch, served with a locally brewed beer. Cheers!
  • What Ales You at The Spa at Travaasa Austin outside of Austin, Texas, is another brew-based treatment that includes a massage and peppermint foot care, while enjoying organic Texas ale.
  • The Men’s Vitalizing Massage at the Sundara Inn & Spa in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. focuses on either relaxation or deep tissue based on what dad needs.
  • The Spa Ritual in Calgary, Canada, is offering the Zen for Men Package – designed just for men – with a therapeutic massage, scalp treatment and a sports pedicure.
  • If he’s Eastern European-bound, your dad may want to indulge in the Gentleman’s Manicure at the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Budapest in Hungary, which includes grooming of the nails and cuticles, exfoliation and a hand massage for a professional look.

However you celebrate Father’s Day, the greatest gift of all is a simple, “I love you.”