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What do a firefighter, photographer, and homemaker have in common? What about an attorney, advertiser, and home health care provider? No clue? Let’s add a college student, retiree, project manager, and a baking enthusiast. Now mix in chef Marcela Valladolid, star baker Paul Hollywood, and sprinkle comedian Jeff Foxworthy. CBS found the perfect recipe with these 13 people and created a new series “THE AMERICAN BAKING COMPETITION”.
I sat down with host Jeff Foxworthy (largest selling comedic-recording artist) and judge chef Marcella Valladolid (host of Mexican Made Easy and bestselling cookbook author) to chat about CBS’ new show “THE AMERICAN BAKING COMPETITION,” premiering this Wednesday, May 29th at 8:00pm.
Jeff knows the right things to say to get the bakers stories flowing and sometimes the tears. He shared with us his desire to know people’s stories as the reason for joining the show. He originally turned down the offer, but after watching just one episode of the UK format “THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF,” he was sold. Chef Marcela shared with Jeff the secret of bakers: they are givers and their bakes are labors of love. Week after week, as the bakers compete to be the “star baker,” the audience will get a glimpse of their histories, passions, and skills.
When asked if she learned anything new from the amateur bakers, Marcela was excited to share her amazement with flavor combinations and techniques of cooking she had never seen before. One of the most memorable recipes was the Chocolate Chili Cookie. I hope this is a recipe that CBS releases, because it sounds delicious. Jeff and Marcela both shared a fondness for bread week. I have never made bread, but hope to learn a thing or two.
I cannot wait for tomorrow night’s premier. You can catch a sneak peek here.
I am back in the saddle again and a red eye to Bermuda is the best way break my traveling self in. Typical travel to Bermuda will include a flight to one of the many east coast cities that provide direct flights to this off shore colony.
Late Wednesday night I hopped on my plane and snuggled in my red Delta blanket, it felt like a few minutes later that the Captain announced our descent to Atlanta.I stumbled half awake to the other end of the Atlanta airport and found myself a yummy bagel and iced coffee. Random Trivia: How does a true New Yorker eat a bagel?
I settled down at my empty gate for a long winters nap. Actually, this is one of the few times I have not been stuck in the Atlanta airport for more time than my layover. About an hour in to the wait my fellow travel companions started to appear. Lesley Carter of Bucket List Productions found my photo on Facebook and introduced herself. She was soon followed by Dave (Dave’s Travel Corner), Carolyn (Healthy Voyager), and Stefanie (Mommy Musings). I always cherish meeting fellow writers and travelers.
Three hours I was stepping into the Bermuda sun. The air was warm and inviting. My first experience was with the friendly customs officer who told me to the difference between a dark & stormy and a stormy & dark. The amount of rum, do you know which is a splash and which is a a lot?
Travel around Bermuda for visitors is by taxi, bus, or scooter. While waiting for more travelers, we braved the main road to get a closer look at the water. My driver was informative and friendly. He filled us in on the general facts of Bermuda.
1. White roofs, made of limestone, gather and filter rain water to fill each home’s personal water tank.
2. Scooters are not recommended unless you are an experienced rider and know how to drive safely on the left.
3. Bermudian hospitality consists of buying visitors a drink and then a few more.
4. Local business men dress traditional colonial shorts, knee-highs, collared shirt, tie, and blazer.
5. Most Bermudians shop off shore because of the high cost to buy imported goods.
I settled into my large Gold status room at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess and took a cozy nap in my king sized bed. I woke up refreshed and ready for cocktails. Fairmont Hamilton has a sister property in the southern part of Bermuda, the Fairmont South Hampton. The hotels run a ferry between the two properties a few times a day. We caught the final voyage and floated into “The Dock” in The Waterlot Inn. This is one of the oldest restaurants on the Island and they know how to treat you right. The evening was filled with the sounds of water lapping against the dock, a talented ukulele player, and travel talk. I left dinner exhausted and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
Not bad for my first day in Bermuda and getting back to travel. Do you have any thing you’ve let slip away? It’s always a good time to jump right in.
I like to sleep in the Oaks when I pass through and there are a few places I love to rest my weary, sometimes wine heavy head.
Paso Robles Inn:
As a member of the Historic Hotels of America, the Paso Robles Inn has been in service for over a century. They wanted to serve travelers along the El Camino Real with a bed and a hot spring. The traditions are still in practice in either the Deluxe Spa Rooms or two Room Suites where you can enjoy the healing powers of the hot springs.
My room at the Inn leaves nothing to be desired. I have all the amenities including a hot spring hot tub, fireplace, mini fridge, and flat screen tv. While my wine country immersion does not leave a lot of time to sit in my hotel room, the 45 minutes between wine trailing and dinner was just enough time for a soak in my hot tub. They aren’t kidding when they talk about healing powers. I went from wine soaked and travel weary to refreshed and awake. Just make sure you use the scented oils and rinse afterwards, because the mineral smell is strong.
The Paso Robles Inn Steakhouse has a great breakfast menu. I ate in their main dining room one day and in the Cattlemen’s Lounge the next due to Pioneer day overflow. I enjoyed the ranch size portions and the wonderful service. They have it all from giant fruit plates to a cheesy egg sandwich I gobbled down.
Downtime can be spent strolling the gorgeous grounds or kicking back and reading the copy of The History of the Paso Robles Inn: More than a Century of Pride by Ann Martin Bowler in every room. This book is well written with great historical facts and wonderful pictures.
Book your Stay At:
Paso Robles Inn
1103 Spring St
La Quinta Inn & Suites:
I like traveling with my dog and sometimes it is hard to find a mid-range hotel that makes Oliver as comfortable as possible. La Quinta is situated a few miles east of downtown near a handful of wineries. The don’t charge extra for your dog and provide a large grassy area with doggy bags to walk your pup.
They provide a complimentary breakfast every morning and while it isn’t gourmet, the food is edible. I really enjoyed making my own waffles every morning and spreading my new pumpkin port butter from Jack Creek Farms. The dining area is the only place dogs are not allowed, due to health code, but you can always grab your food and eat in the lobby if you want to be with your pal.
The La Quinta has a wonderful wine gift shop and free wine & gourmet cheese reception each Monday through Thursday evenings from 5:30pm – 7:00pm. This weekday happy hour is just the thing you need to unwind.
I stayed here with my husband for our 6th anniversary and even though its a La Quinta it has at least 4 star quality. Our king size bed was plush and spacious. The suite came with a pull out couch and there was still more than enough room for Oliver’s crate. It is such a comfortable hotel to relax in between wine tasting and dinner.
Book your stay:
La Quinta Inn & Suites
2615 Buena Vista Dr
Marc Goldberg first tasted the “magic” of Burgundy at 17, he courted his wife Maggie D’Ambrosia with a bottle of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti 1959, and a 1976 Hoffman Mountain Ranch Pinot Noir solidified their dream to make Burgundian-style Pinot Noir in the United States. Together with passion and a love for Pinot Noir the radiant couple started Windward Vineyard.
Marc describes himself as the Wine Shepherd. He believes the vineyard makes it and his job is to make sure nothing bad happens along the way. This may sound like a laid back approach to viticulture, but when dealing with the heart-break grape, Marc has his work cut out for him.
Windward Vineyard strives to stay true to the monopole style of Burgundy. This means they put an umbrella of protection over the vineyard from start to finish. In order to put Monopole on the label Windward must have complete control of their vines start to finish, use only estate fruit, and never sell a grape.
The estate is a small 15 acre lot and averages 2000 cases a year. Small production and low yield is a specific technique used to coax the complex layers of Pinot Noir into a sensuous Burgundy. Their 2008 Estate Monopole Pinot Noir is a wonderfully balanced wine, very fruit forward with Windward’s signature peacock tail finish. The Estate’s youngest wine, a 2010 Monopole,opens with minerals and strawberry and lingers over your tongue. I have to admit that I would be happy to enjoy any vintage from Windward.
Over the years Marc and Maggie have received a number of accolades including 2012s Paso Robles Wine Industry Persons of the Year. After meeting them and tasting their wines it comes as no surprise. If they aren’t working with the grapes, you will find the couple filling the tasting room with warmth and hospitality. They understand the community of Paso and promote the sharing of knowledge in order to help the entire region grow.
Marc and Maggie started the Pinot & Paella Festival which gives 100% of its proceeds back to the community. It is a sold out event every June, featuring more than 20 Paso Robles Pinot Noirs and 20 local chefs. It is a great way to promote Paso Pinots, the Paso Robles AVA, and give back to the community they are blessed to be a part of.
Windward Vineyard is a must stop in my mind when traveling through Paso Robles. It is a unique offering found in the region. Anyone itching to try a bottle before they can make it to Paso can purchase a bottle or 10 online.
Growing up in Cleveland, I remember watching Neil Zurcher and his “One Tank Trip” segments on Fox 8. He always found the coolest hidden gems in Ohio and my family went on quite a few of his journeys.
Lately, we have been trying to explore Southern California in the same way.
Husb had a quick job in Newport Beach and Oliver and I decided to tag along. We stopped by the local dog park while we waited and then headed to Balboa Island for an afternoon of fun.
I had read about Balboa Island on OC Dog Friendly and couldn’t wait to have a fun afternoon that welcomed all of us.
This sign was happily posted outside of CandlEssence, a wonderful candle store where you can watch them make the candles by hand. Seriously dogs(well my dog) and ice cream are two of my favorite things. Also, this is great marketing because people love when you let them do things other places commonly say no to.
I enjoyed this little Island town and their easy-going shop owners. We found a dog bowl filled with fresh water outside of almost every store. It definitely makes hot days and travel a breeze, when you aren’t worrying about dehydration.
Balboa Island offers a multitude of boutiques, dessert shoppes, restaurants, and fresh air. We had a great time and plan to go back soon for an overnight stay.
I found a really cute engagement shoot on Balboa Island featured on Done Brilliantly and was inspired by 50-Something Woman’s motivational early morning walk. We only spent an hour or two exploring Balboa Island, but I can see days of relaxing here in my future.
Where do you like to go on One Tank of Gas?
See all the photos from our adventure on my Facebook Page BoldWandering.
One of the things I really enjoy about Los Angeles is the proximity to nature. It is right in your backyard.
Husb found a park at the end of Dixie Canyon the other day and took Oliver and I on an adventure.
I suggest taking the path either to the left or right and it will loop around to the other side. The path narrows quite a bit and in places it is easy to lose your footing, in fact my roommate took this trail soon after us and did start to slide. Remember to wear good shoes and be aware of your steps.
The signs were not very informative about the trail length or elevation, but after some research I found Nobody Hikes in LA. Great information on this park and interesting outings in So Cal.
Where are your favorite places to hike in California and world wide? Do you take your four-legged friends?
A few more photos from our hike:
For more photos from this trip check out my Facebook page.