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Category: North America

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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The Mexican Riviera At Its Best!

Barceló Maya Beach Resort People come from all over the world to soak up the sun, swim in the turquoise waters and experience the vibrant culture and cuisine of the Mexican Riviera. Resorts abound from Cancun south along the Riviera Maya, but if it’s luxury you want, head to Barceló Maya Beach Resort, an hour south of Cancun. Situated on one of the best beaches of the Mexican Riviera, this AAA Four Diamond Resort offers everything a luxury vacation should be. With five hotels, 20 restaurants, 19 bars, 9 swimming pools, 4 theaters, 2 water parks, and a world-class spa,...

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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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Luxe Family Stay on Mexico’s Riviera Maya

All-inclusive family vacations make sense for so many reasons. Having to constantly pull out your wallet, searching for food, entertaining young and especially teen aged kids offers anything but a holiday for parents. So why don’t families go all-inclusive all the time? Too often, the quality just isn’t there. So-so food, hunting for chairs around crowded pools and rooms just not comfortable enough for a stretch of family bonding, are all turn-offs. Put them together, and the thought of just staying home looks appealing. That is until you look at the Azul Beach Hotel. When most folks think of...

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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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Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu—From Wood to Concrete, Elegant Luxury Always

Article includes videos below. My wife and I are partial to the old elegant hotels that were Canadian Pacific and changed to Fairmont upon purchasing that hotel group. Approaching the “Castle on the Cliff,” we felt we were stepping back in time. Starting in the 1850s, riverboat trips from Montreal, up the St. Lawrence River, to the town of Pointe-au-Pic became very popular. By the 1890s, large estates had been built in the Charlevoix area.  Especially one organization, the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Company, turned this resort town into Quebec’s number one resort. From 1894 to 1898, the company’s...

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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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Kelley Derrett: Sustainable Fashion for the Sophisticated Woman

As a 16-year-old working in a Toronto department store, Kelley Derrett had dreams of working in the fashion industry. If you told her that she would be traveling the world as a savvy businesswoman and launching her namesake brand in the Spring of 2014…she might not believe you. Fast forward to present day and she has done just that.  After years in the Fashion business managing brands and directing teams, Kelley has taken the leap and offers her own sensibility in design through products she loves. “My collection mirrors my personal approach to dressing and complements the lives of...

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Executive Chef Patrick Turcot of Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu and His Menu

Visiting Quebec is always a pleasure for us. This time, our excitement increased as we ventured further east to Charlevoix and Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu. Both my husband and I enjoy all varieties of luxury hotels. However, the charm of a classic establishment can provide such a feeling a comfort- especially when it has maintained its charm and added modern conveniences. Our group of twenty arrived late afternoon. After a chance to rest and refresh, we joined Executive Chef Patrick Turcot for champagne and then dinner in Le Charlevoix Restaurant, with its view of the St. Lawrence River. Chef...

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Mexican Molecular at Le Chique: Azul Sensatori

People typically rave about a restaurant with comments like, “I swear they had the best ribs I’ve ever tasted,” or perhaps,”the beef was so tender, I didn’t need a knife.” However, these are not the comments diners will say after eating at Le Chique, an adult’s only restaurant on the Azul Sensatori property in Riviera Maya, Mexico. That’s because the meal at Le Chique is an adventure in dining, a cutting-edge food fantasy like none other than I have tasted anywhere. My evening began with a peek into the busy kitchen where my foursome was served a foamy cucumber...

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Auberge Saint-Antoine—A Fusion of Great History In Quebec City

On our last visit to Quebec City, we went ahead of the group we were traveling with to experience the Auberge Saint-Antoine. Both being interested in history, we had walked by this property in the late 90s, took part in a site inspection in 2010 and were convinced we needed to discover more this past year. Auberge Saint-Antoine is part of the prestigious Relaix & Chateaux group. Guests may or may not know that all of its properties must have a story. Well, this hotel has a soul and guests are aware of it throughout the entire property. Very...

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Tuscon’s Canyon Ranch, Like Fine Wine, Just Gets Better With Age

Last week, I visited Canyon Ranch in Tucson for my third time in about 20 years, accompanied by my rather stressed-out friend, Joan, who was a newbie there.  One afternoon, as I was “mindfully” eating my delish lunch (that included healthier-versions of fish tacos heaped with salsa and shredded cabbage, a cup of aromatically-spiced dal soup, minty zucchini feta pancakes and a frozen chocolate-dipped banana for dessert, which to my way of thinking was all guilt-free all since I had just returned from a pretty steep 5.5 mile mountain hike) while sprawled on a poolside lounge chair, I picked...

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