Celebrating Independence Day in USA

Friday July 4, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 5 Comments

"Fourth of July" parade

Celebrating Independence Day in USA

To some people the Fourth of July means barbecues and fireworks displays. To others, July Fourth means street parades, military celebrations and commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, celebrating independence day in the USA. Our neighborhood brings out the barbecues and picnic tables after our two minute bike parade. However you celebrate independence day, give thanks for living in the USA.
 
 

kids, bikes "July Fourth"

Kids on bikes, July Fourth

 
Getting ready to celebrate Independence Day in Northern California
 

"Fourth of July" parade

Families celebrate Fourth of July

 
Fourth of July celebrations include American flags and parades
 

kids on bikes

Kids on bikes celebrate July Fourth in Northern California

 
Celebrating Independence Day in Half Moon Bay, California
 

horse

Celebrating Independence Day in Half Moon Bay, California

 
How do you celebrate independence day in the USA?
 

Napa Valley Festival del Sole

Thursday July 3, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 1 Comment

"Jamieson Ranch" horse

Jamieson Ranch hosts Napa Valley Festival del Sole

As I have stated many times on this luxury travel blog, I feel blessed to live in Northern California with its endless possibilities of beauty, musical talent, fantastic food and wine, creative artists and wellness practitioners. A wonderful example of these opportunities coming together in one location is Napa Valley Festival del Sole. This annual 10 day summer celebration takes place in numerous venues throughout Napa Valley, California with over 100 wineries participating in this July event.

 

"Cici's Italian Butterhorns" "Taste of Napa"

Cici’s Italian Butterhorns participate at Festival del Sole: A Taste of Napa

 
Festival del Sole Taste of Napa

I had the pleasure of attending A Taste of Napa last July. Festival del Sole guests are treated to nibbles, bites and sips from Napa Valley wineries and culinary creators from Northern California. One of my favorite finds from A Taste of Napa was Lafayette, California-based Cici’s Italian Butterhorns. This mother-daughter duo makes delicious handmade Italian treats.
 

 
Festival del Sole concerts

Concert goers will appreciate the high caliber of musicians and singers drawn to Napa Valley for the opportunity to perform at Festival del Sole. With concerts ranging from Joshua Bell, to the Russian National Orchestra performing in 2013 and a series of young artist concerts sponsored by Bouchaine Vineyards, chamber music afficionados to opera lovers will leave on a satisfied note.
 

"Russian National Orchestra" "Lincoln Theater" "Festival del Sole"

Russian National Orchestra takes stage at Napa Valley Festival del Sole’s Lincoln Theater


Festival del Sole Gala

The annual Festival del Sole Gala at Meadowood Napa Valley is an elegant enchanted garden affair. I have yet to attend this swank gala, as it is a hot ticket at Festival del Sole with a live auction at the end of the evening to benefit Festival del Sole and various local arts education programs. The sold-out gala requests ladies dress in white attire, while gentlemen are required to wear summer dinner jackets.

Festival del Sole lodging

As mentioned above, Napa Valley Festival del Sole is a much anticipated summer event in Northern California. You’ll want to make your Napa Valley hotel reservations in advance, as this is not the festival to drink and drive. I stayed at Napa River Inn when I attended Napa Valley Festival del Sole. Additional hotel partners include properties in Calistoga, Napa, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville.
 

"Grape Crusher" sculpture

Napa Valley Festival Sole blends wine, food, music & arts

 
Insider Tip:
While Napa Valley Festival del Sole is not an inexpensive affair, there are several free concerts and events open to the general public – reservations recommended. For additional insider tips follow Northern California Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter and Festival del Sole @Napafest.

If You Go:
Napa Valley Festival del Sole (888) 337-6272
www.festivaldelsole.org

Article, photos and video courtesy of Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. Cici’s Italian Butterhorns photo provided. I was a guest of Festival del Sole’s Taste of Napa Valley, the Russian National Orchestra performance at Lincoln Center and Jamieson Ranch dinner. All opinions are my own.

Colorado Springs Dining: Broadmoor Restaurants

Friday June 27, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

"Penrose Room" chandelier

Magic happens under the Penrose Room chandelier at The Broadmoor

If I had to pick where to eat my last supper, it would have to be at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. With 19 restaurants, cafes and lounges on the Colorado property, I’d be able to keep my dining options open and wander from restaurant to restaurant like a never-ending progressive dinner. Colorado Springs dining at Broadmoor restaurants offers something for everyone, from vegan options to housemade charcuterie, fresh baked artisan breads, some of the best barbecue in the Colorado Rockies and hand crafted truffles. Let the feasting begin!
 

"Ristorante Del Lago" breakfast

Breakfast at Ristorante Del Lago by Cheyenne Lake


Broadmoor’s Ristorante Del Lago

Designed by restaurant architect Adam D. Tihany, Ristorante Del Lago, located on the ground level of Broadmoor West, reminds me of dining on Italy’s Lake Como. The open air restaurant and bar with its exposed wood beams, terra cotta tile and indoor/outdoor fireplace creates a welcoming atmosphere to break bread with friends and family. To drink up the flavors of Italy start with Sanguinello Campari, Limoncello and blood orange cocktail for $11.75. Check the website for current pricing and menu items.
 

"Summit" restaurant "The Broadmoor"

Summit wine bar

Broadmoor’s Summit

Located adjacent to Broadmoor Hall, Summit restaurant feels like a cocktail party followed with dinner at your best friend’s house. Inspired by Colorado Springs Pike’s Peak, architect Adam D. Tihany blended wood, glass, metal, leather and fabric to give this American brasserie a contemporary feel.

Start your meal with a glass of Summit Sangria featuring Absolut pear vodka, Belle de Brillet liqueur, honey syrup and pomegranate juice with Mendoza Malbec $11.75 followed with a Wagyu beef burger from Eagle’s Nest Ranch, Colorado topped with Maytag blue cheese, radicchio, apple slaw and Summit fries on the side.
 

Charcuterie "Summit restaurant"

Charcuterie platter, Summit restaurant, Colorado Springs, CO

La Taverne at Broadmoor

Located in the Broadmoor main lobby, La Taverne has had a foothold at this Colorado Springs resort since 1939. La Taverne is a restaurant for classic cocktails (I’m looking at you Zombie!) steak lovers and carnivores of all types – they have seafood, too. I ordered the Colorado rack of lamb and was rewarded with my local selection. Our group of four began the meal with the shellfish platter of Maine lobster, shrimp, oysters and smoked mussels. Carb-lovers take note, our party couldn’t keep our hands out of the bread basket. La Taverne also features an ever-changing pie of the day.

Johann Willar, Broadmoor head baker extraordinaire, is a third generation baker from northern France. Willar creates beautiful breads, brioche and buns that are lovingly hand crafted for the entire Broadmoor campus in his bakery.
 

Broadmoor Baker "Johann Willar"

Broadmoor Baker Johann Willar

Another unsung hero is Broadmoor Chocolatier Ana Musia. Musia works magic with her wide array of chocolates – from Felchin – the work horse of the chocolates, to the creamy milk chocolate Valrhona Bahibe. When asked to name her favorite creation, Musia was hesitant to single one out, “I touch a lot of the desserts at The Broadmoor.”

For me, I couldn’t decide between the chocolate crunch bar served at Summit or the peanut butter truffles available for purchase at Espresso News.
 

Broadmoor Chocolatier "Ana Musia"

Broadmoor Chocolatier Ana Musia with peanut butter truffles

Play at The Broadmoor

A six lane bowling alley and game room might keep kids and adults happy in foul weather, but I’ll opt for horseback riding in Pikes Peak national forest anytime. Play restaurant, located in Broadmoor West, will bowl you over with Southwest vegetarian chili, Hawaiian flatbread or burgers and dogs.

I didn’t have a chance to dine at Penrose Room, the only five star, five diamond restaurant in all of Colorado, the English pub Golden Bee or the recently opened Natural Epicurean. As I said, Colorado Springs dining options offer an endless progressive dinner opportunity at Broadmoor restaurants. This isn’t my last supper at The Broadmoor…I’ll be back!
 

flatbread "Play restaurant"

Hawaiian flatbread from Play at The Broadmoor

Insider Tip

If barbecue is your preferred method of cooking you simply must attend Barbecue University with Grill Master Steven Raichlen. This three day interactive grilling course at The Broadmoor will have you re-kindling your connection with your inner caveman in Colorado Springs.

If You Go:
The Broadmoor (855) 634-7711
1 Lake Avenue
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906

Article and photos by Food & Wine Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of The Broadmoor for restaurant review purposes. All opinions are my own.