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Blue Mountain Lake, 12812

Today, like most days I stopped at the local post office to pick up the mail. We don’t have mail delivery in our small village called Blue Mountain Lake in upstate New York – everyone has a box.  Liz is our postmistress and she knows everything that is going on and is not averse to passing along information, which suits everyone just fine. In and out is impossible as locals and summer residents stop to talk about what’s going on in town (not much, usually but that’s the way everyone likes it), the weather, or how bad the black flies are this year. Read more »


Tristan, Artisan Chocolatier

Swiss chocolatiers make some of the finest chocolates in the world, most of which are available throughout the globe but there is one chocolatier in particular who makes magnificent chocolates but only sells them in the local Geneva area. Tristan Carbonatto – a warm, engaging man with a big smile – is the “Tristan” in Tristan Artisan Chocolatier, a small light filled shop that looks like a garden of chocolate. A man with a passion for chocolate, Tristan clearly enjoys sharing “la joie de chocolat” (the joy of chocolate) with the rest of us.  Read more »


Fresh Eggs, Anyone?

While driving through the back roads of the Adirondack State Park, there was a sign advertising farm fresh eggs.  Real farm fresh eggs; not the smooth clean eggs carefully packed in cartons and perfectly lined up in the refrigerated section of most American grocery stores.   Read more »


Black Bean Soup

Last night I hit a home run with a dinner that pleased a carnivore (my husband) and a quasi vegetarian (my daughter) and it took me all of 15 minutes to make.  I was beside myself with joy, really. Several times a week I make something different for dinner and when I hear silence (which I often do), I don’t even have to ask “Is this a repeat?” anymore as I know the answer. But, I keep trying because I love variation, flavor, and the discovery of a new dish. At my core, I believe food is fuel but I also want to enjoy a meal. Comfort food and old standbys aside, enjoying a meal is also discovering a flavor that wakes up your taste buds and brings a new excitement to eating while nourishing your body. Read more »


How to Spend One Day in Madrid, Spain

Madrid is a very popular European city that draws millions of visitors every year. Filled with world-class museums, restaurants, historical monuments, parks, theaters, and a population that never seems to sleep, Madrid has a wonderful dry climate that makes the tourist experience pleasant throughout the four seasons.

I spent four years living in Madrid and our apartment – in a neighborhood called Salamanca – was in the heart of the city which allowed us to truly experience day-to-day life in the Spanish capital. Often times, friends or acquaintances ask me what they should see on their first visit to Madrid – a question that has always been difficult to answer because it depends on how much time they have and where their interests lie.  Read more »


The Grill and the Barbecue Sauce

As daytime temperatures soar and the days get longer, most people think less about turning the oven on and more about grilling outdoors. When I married my husband 21 years ago, one of our wedding gifts was  a Weber gas grill which we spent our honeymoon putting together.  There must have been 1,000 parts and although stressful to assemble, we completed the project with our marriage intact.  Last year after 20 years of reliable service, we decided to replace the old Weber with a new grill, the question being:  do we choose gas or charcoal? Read more »