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Author: janice-nieder

Chef Chris Chafe At The Doctor’s House Inn And Spa, Newfoundland

To sample some of Newfoundland’s best food requires a one hour scenic drive  (take note of the “Beware of Moose Crossing” signs) from St. John’s to the luxurious Doctor’s House Inn and Spa, tucked away in idyllic Greens Harbour, pop. 850. Then, tucked further away, most likely in the the kitchen or the greenhouse, you’ll find Chef Chris Chafe, the crown jewel of my bedazzling visit. Between his good looks, charisma, strong work ethic and an abundance of talent, Chafe has certainly been on the fast track. First, he was the youngest executive chef ever hired in St. John’s,...

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Executive Chef Milton Rebello, Regina, Canada’s First Gold Medal Plate Winner

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to join a handful of other journalists to train with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at the RCMP Academy in Regina. A once in a lifetime opportunity, this was one of the hardest 24 hours of my life. However, the pain quickly faded since our valiant efforts were rewarded with a stay at the historic Hotel Saskatchewan Radisson Plaza, one of Canada’s grand railway hotels. My corner suite was bigger (and certainly more lavish) than my apartment at home, but the highpoint of my stay was meeting their remarkable Executive Chef,...

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My New Found Travel Love Is Newfoundland, Canada, Part I

9 Reasons Why My New Found Travel Love is Newfoundland, Canada, part one: St. John’s When people find out I’m a travel writer, they invariably ask me what my favorite place is. I usually answer, “That depends on what I’m in the mood for. My favorite exotic place would be Papua, New Guinea; favorite country might be Turkey; favorite city is Buenos Aires. But the minute I returned from my last trip, Kauai, which had been holding firm as my favorite island for ages,  got kicked to the curb by my new found love, Newfoundland. Before my trip: My...

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Revitalized Atlanta– “All That” With A Capital A!

If you haven’t been to Atlanta in the last few years, you need to plan a trip there asap to see firsthand why Atlanta is now being referred to as the “Empire of the South”, “Hotlanta” or simply “The A” by the locals. But if this is in reference to a grading system, I’d give it an A+. Atlanta has always scored high as one of the South’s most stylish cities; however, this year, Atlanta has really hit its stride. You’ll need more than a weekend to explore the new museum openings, walk the Atlanta Beltline, max out your cards...

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Mississippi Gulf Coast: calling all foodies!

  Most people visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast for their world-class golf courses, 24-hour gaming at one of the barefoot/luxe casino resorts, or for some sunbathing on the world’s longest (26 miles) man-made (talcum soft white sand) beach overlooking the sparkling Gulf of Mexico. And who doesn’t appreciate their famous Southern hospitality?  But as far as I’m concerned, the reason I’m already planning a return visit is their exceptional food scene that has emerged, yet again, after Hurricane Katrina. From shellfish shanties to Po’boy trucks to BBQ sheds all the way to four-star Steakhouses that give Ruth’s Chris a run for...

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Hotel G- For GREAT New San Francisco Lifestyle Hotel

San Francisco’s downtown Theater Row is now home to the cleverly renovated, Hotel G, a hip hotel offering without the slightest tinge of attitude. Their Union Square location make this an ideal lodging choice for a shopaholic girlfriend getaway, a romantic date night or for out-of-towners in search of a relaxing home base. Originally built as The Fielding Hotel in 1909, the redesigned guest rooms perfectly marry something old (rustic cement or polished wood plank floors, reupholstered Victorian settees, antique school desks and chairs) with something new  (complimentary Wi-Fi, 42″ SMART TV, Nespresso coffee maker, Mascioni linens and robes,...

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Chef Jetzabel Rojas Reinterprets Indigenous Mexican Cuisine At The Viceroy, Riviera Maya

The award-winning Viceroy Riviera Maya continues to rack-up endless “best of” accolades, but perhaps their most powerful secret weapon is their talented Chef, Jetzabel Rojas Barragán. I managed to catch up with this busy young woman after she had just knocked them dead at the 2014 Cancun-Rivera Maya Wine & Food Festival. It’s interesting (and a little sad in this day and age) to note that she was the only local female chef that participated in this gourmet event. Jetzabel (which means “Queen”) grew up in a big family, surrounded by a bevy of females who cooked and were...

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There’s No Place Like “Home” When You’re Staying At Sri Panwa, Phuket

The minute I stepped out on my private deck, it became crystal clear how Sri Panwa scored, “Hotel with the Best View in the World”- by Beach Tomato – The Best Beach Property Awards (UK). If you’ve always dreamed of a secluded island retreat, but unlike Richard Branson, you can’t afford to buy a private island, here are a few reasons why Sri Panwa will fill in quite nicely: 1. You just can’t take a bad picture here. Located in the most South-Eastern tip of Phuket (a large island in the Andaman Sea- roughly an hour’s flight from Bangkok),...

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Magical Mayan Escape to The Viceroy, Riviera Maya

  If Robinson Crusoe won the lottery, he’d head straight to The Viceroy. From the minute you arrive at this serene, all-private-villa resort, nestled in a lush jungle tangle of ferns, palm trees and waterfalls, facing a shell-strewn, white-sand beach along the Riviera Maya, you know you’re in for an unforgettable experience. Particularly, after a unique welcome by The Viceroy’s resident shaman who encircles you with burning local copal incense to rid you of all cares. This is followed by a one-on-one with the Soap Concierge, who brings you a variety of healing, organic, seasonal soaps made by a local Mayan community. All 41 secluded villas feature a private terrace complete with an uber-comfy, handmade hammock, a good-sized, heated plunge pool (swimsuits optional) alfresco moon shower, high-ceiling thatched-palapa roof, 500-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, a pillow menu, and a hand-carved stone dining table. Further amenities include: A/C units, Nespresso coffee maker, purified water, Bose radio with iPod dock, HDTV and DVD player, complimentary Wi-Fi, and Mayordomo (personal butler) service. Chef Jetzabel Rojas amazes with her modern, international interpretations of classic Mayan cuisine, using only the finest local ingredients. “When you give time-honored traditions new life through innovation,” said Chef Jetzabel, “the palate is simultaneously satisfied with the familiar and tantalized by the exotic.” You can choose to dine at either of the open-air restaurants, the casual Coral Grill or the...

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Too-cool-for-school Iron Horse Hotel, Milwaukee

  Milwaukee’s  re-purposed 100 year old mattress factory is knocking them dead ever since its transformation out of the Industrial era into an urban, luxury hotel. At first glance the  Iron Horse Hotel, in Milwaukee’s happenin’ Fifth Ward nabe (just a short walk from the world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum) makes you think it’s going to be too-cool-for-school, but it manages to stop just short and surprise you by being all about warm, friendly hospitality and cozy comfort. This uber-trendy, loft-styled boutique hotel manages to pull off an industrial chic, bad-boy biker vibe (complete with iron chandeliers fashioned from motorcycle...

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Perfect Antidote to Seattle’s Winter Grey Palette, New Chihuly Garden and Glass

As soon as I entered the exhibition I thought that this is exactly how Alice must have felt after she tumbled down the rabbit hole into a fantasy world. This one is populated with surreal, kaleidoscope-colored glass creations ranging in size from minute, gem-like balls to a 1,340-piece, 100-foot long sculpture, hovering high overhead in the “Glass House”, inspired by Dale Chihuly’s two favorite buildings, Paris’ Sainte-Chapelle and London’s Crystal Palace. Done in vibrant shades of orange, yellow and red, it offers a warm sunrise/sunset glass-framed view of the Space Needle towering behind the building. As you meander through...

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Naples FL Is Not Your Average Beach Town

When I read that Naples Florida has the second highest proportion of millionaires per capita in America, I have to admit that it made packing for my visit a wee bit difficult. After rummaging through “all” my designer labels (took about 5 seconds) I gave up and opted for a casual, sporty look, which turned out to be just right. Moneyed though the folks might be, Naples is delightfully laid-back, understated,  and simply a whole lot of fun! (Bring a pair of jeans, a swimsuit, comfy exercise clothes for biking, beachcombing, exploring, and a nicer outfit for dinner and...

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