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A Tasting of Italian Wines in Century City

The 2018 Vini d'Italiatour was an invitation-only gathering to sample wines from some of Italy's best small-production wineries. After Philadelphia and Austin, the last stop was TerraEataly's rooftop dining room in the revitalized Century City Mall.


Marilyn Krieger works for the Winebow Group which organized the tour.  She said that the event was an opportunity to taste premium Italian wines distributed by Leonardo LoCascio Selections (LLS) and to talk with the winemakers. The wines we would taste that afternoon would evoke the location of their cultivation and the winemaker whose palate guided the creation of that year's bottling. Each wine was unique. Each winemaker had a story to tell.


I understood completely what Krieger meant. I love visiting vineyards and enjoy meeting winemakers, like Shawna Miller at Luna Vineyards in the Napa Valley and Mélanie Weber in her vineyard overlooking Lake Geneva in Switzerland.


The wines served at the afternoon event traversed Ital…

Love At First Crush, One Woman’s Love Affair with Winemaking

Traveling in wine country means visits to wineries to have tastings of vintages made with the grapes from the vineyards that spread across the fields surrounding the tasting room.

Being that close to the source of the wine you are sipping is a great pleasure. Having the opportunity to speak with a winemaker while you are there is icing on the cake. I was lucky enough to have that experience on a trip to Napa.

California’s Napa Valley is home to some of America’s best wineries. The valley is also well-known as an incubator of women winemakers. Shawna Miller is one of a group of talented women who have pursued a winemaking career in the valley.



Growing up in a small Virginia town along the Appalachian Trail, Miller spent a lot of time outdoors, hiking and helping her grandmother tend the large garden that fed the family. In the summer they ate what they grew and canned the rest. During the wet, cold winters they happily survived on the food they put up in the pantry, including jars of huc…

Mixologists Declare Dutch Jenever as the Next Big Trend in the U.S.

Jenever’s clean, bright taste is perfect neat or in cocktails.
If you visit Amsterdam, you will be advised to do as the Dutch do. No matter the weather, rain or shine, jump on a bicycle and explore the city. A necessary part of the Dutch experience is to stop in a neighborhood bar for a sandwich and a glass of jenever (or, genever, as it is variously spelled, and pronounced “yin-e-ver”).
You will happily greet the waiter who delivers jenever to your table in its traditional tulip shaped glass. As you sip, the jenever will give you “Dutch courage” to go back outside to continue your adventures.

For hundreds of years, jenever was the favorite drink of the Netherlands. When the English and Dutch fought a war in the 17th century, the English soldiers remarked about the fierceness of their opponents. That fierceness seemed to have something to do with the drink they shared before battle. Soon the English were drinking jenever as ardently as the Dutch and when they returned home, they wanted …

Mayura Indian Restaurant - South Indian Home Cooking in Culver City

Tucked away in a mini-mall on the corner of busy Venice Boulevard and Motor Avenue not far from Sony Studios, Mayura Indian Restaurant (10406 Venice Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232, 310/559-9644) is a treasure. The restaurant is the love child of Padmini Aniyan and Aniyan Puthampurayil. They moved from Kerala, a state on the Malabar Coast on the southern tip of India to Culver City and created Mayura to share their culinary heritage.


A friend had returned from working in Atlanta for half a year. His text said, "I'm back. Let's eat. Someplace new. And good." Most of the places that fit that description were in DTLA or farther east. I live in the Palisades. Dean lives in Larchmont. So we wanted someplace in between.

I skimmed through my restaurant lists. Nothing new and interesting. I looked online. Nothing looked good. I turned to Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants (2017). I scrolled and read and scrolled and read through a list of great restaurants. Many were …

Tips on Travel: Ready, Set, Go, Time to Visit Japan

Japan is wonderful. The people are friendly. The landscape is beautiful. The food fantastic. The history fascinating. The culture captivating. In the past year I have had the good fortune to visit several times. As I traveled in large cities and out in the heartland, I jotted down some tips to help when you travel to Japan.


ENGLISH LANGUAGE FRIENDLY
As Japan prepares for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Summer Olympics, English language signs can now be found in the subway and railway systems. In busy transit centers in the cities, uniformed guides are also available to help English speaking travelers.

That being said, if you want to explore the heartland outside of the major cities, Japan is not especially easy for English-speaking travelers. If you have the resources, it is best to hire an English speaking guide and, if possible, a driver.
When looking for a guide, understand there is a vast difference between “English proficient” and “English fluent” guides. Ideally you want a gu…

Hike a Forested Pilgrimage Trail and Escape to a Hidden Shrine in Japan’s Mie Prefecture

I’ve been writing a lot about the Japan I have come to love, the Japan outside of Tokyo and Kyoto, the Japan of the heartland prefectures.

For my latest trip, I visited the Shoryudo Region of Honshū, Japan’s main island. Made up of nine prefectures stretching between the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean, Shoryudo is known for its rich agricultural land, spiritual landscapes and majestic mountains, including the iconic Mt. Fuji.


I explored Mie Prefecture on the eastern edge of the region. Bordering the Pacific Ocean and Ise Bay, the prefecture is home to pilgrimage trails that cut through ancient forests and lead to the most famous Shinto shrines in Japan.
The Route Magose-toge Pass on the Kumano Kodo Iseji Route
Trucks and cars jockeyed for position as they sped up the steep hill on busy Route 42 (Kumano Kaido). We pulled off the highway as quickly as we could to avoid the traffic and parked at a trailhead where there was room for about a dozen cars.
During Japan’s feudal era, travel b…