If you are traveling to Maine, you must include Acadia National Park in your itinerary. My photo essay on the national park is currently featured on USA Today's Travel link, as well as on 10Best.com.
Please access the link below to see an extensive article and photos on my recent Ecoventura Cruise Lines adventure through the Galapagos Islands, published Sunday, July 13, 2014-- feature article in the San Diego Union Tribune travel section.
If your travels find you in the charming seaside community of Del Mar, California, some twenty miles north of downtown San Diego, celebrate your good fortune. Not only will you be afforded majestic views of the California coast and the pleasure of meandering through the quaint and picturesque town of Del Mar, you are in the perfect location to enjoy a culinary experience at KITCHEN 1540, located in the historic seaside hotel, L'Auberge Del Mar.
The brainchild behind the taste sensations on the restaurant's new menu is Chef Brandon Fortune. Classically trained at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, Brandon's creations are modern American with a decidedly Southern influence based on his Southeastern roots.
KITCHEN 1540's sleek, modern décor is sophisticated and comfortable at the same time, and sets a perfect stage for a variety of innovative dishes sure to please the most discriminating palate.
So what can diners expect from Fortune's menu?
Start off your culinary adventure with a tastefully arranged platter of cold-smoked trout and organic beets. Cured steelhead saltwater trout and tender beets are embellished with a blood orange vinaigrette, black walnuts, and feathered horseradish, served with a side of chive-potato cakes.
Those who prefer a warm appetizer might elect a plate of asparagus and grilled wild ramps. Described by the chef as “spring on a plate,” this vegetarian dish features organic wild ramps and asparagus with parmesan and pecorino cheeses shaved on top. A delightful French-inspired cream sauce made with eggs and lemon and lightly toasted caraway seeds is the perfect dressing for this vegetable creation.
Shrimp and grits, the Chef's signature entree, elevates grits to new heights, thanks to a roasted corn and chorizo cream and succulent fresh shrimp. A topping of popcorn adds a whimsical theme to the plate. Chef Fortune admits he used this dish to woo his wife, a testimony to the old adage, “The way to the heart is through the stomach.”
Seafood specialties include the popular “still smoking scallops,” presented sizzling hot surrounded by asparagus and coriander puree, wild chanterelles, and smoked almonds powdered with lemon-thyme buds. The flaky North Pacific Halibut is served with celery root puree, mushrooms, spring carrots, and garnished with crispy fiddlehead ferns.
Chocolate lovers will delight in the malted milk chocolate mousse, one of several excellent desserts available to satisfy your sweet tooth. Roasted almonds and chocolate crunch, topped with homemade coffee ice cream, provides a decadently delicious end to a perfect meal.
Try it out if you are in Del Mar-- and raise a glass to your good fortune.
Salad and Steinbeck may come to mind upon mention of the city of Salinas, California, but recent visitors to this diverse region know that it doesn't stop there. The destination has something for everyone: a picturesque and historic downtown; a scenic wine trail boasting award-winning wineries; superb farm-to-table cuisine and an eclectic mix of restaurants; water activities such as kayaking and whale watching; national park hiking trails, and the close proximity to other destinations on the Monterey Peninsula.
View the activities and attractions surrounding Salinas on the 10Best/USA Today link: