TRAVEL: Our own Nathan Haydon voyages Down Under.

Here at Parker Sanpei, wanderlust looms large. Our team is constantly buzzing about favorite sites, tastes, people and experiences we’ve enjoyed while on the road….as well as plans for future travels. In December, our own Account Assistant, Nathan Haydon, took to the skies in search of adventure in Australia – and found it. Here he describes the trip in his own words.

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My trip began in the northeastern town of Cairns, Queensland, where we embarked upon a tour of the Daintree Rainforest through blistering heat and humidity unsuitable for the average Californian. But this trip was anything but average. The following day we set sail to one of the Seven Wonders of the World…the Great Barrier Reef. We visited the Milln Reef, approximately 60km off shore. Without hesitation we geared up; grabbing our tanks and barely fitting our masks, and fins before taking the plunge into the ocean blue. Our SCUBA guide navigated our way around this wondrous landmark. Weaving through the maze we gazed upon sea turtles, barracuda, tropical fish, and manta rays that could seemingly swallow me whole. Truly a spectacle that many will never have the opportunity to see; take me back.

Next I traveled south to Fraser Island, home of the last pack of truly wild dingoes, on a 4 day off-road camping excursion. Here I had the privilege of visiting historic landmarks, fresh water creeks, “Champagne Pools,” and even the amazing Lake McKenzie; with sand so pure and fine you can actually brush your teeth with it. Oh, it’s also the same sand that was used to balance the Hubble Telescope…no big deal.

I even had the chance to feed some kangaroos and hold a koala (Barnie), of whom I was promptly informed is not a bear despite the common name “Koala Bear.” But he will always be a cuddly little bear to me.

And finally we visited beautiful Sydney, New South Wales. Aside from the amazing food, sights, and history of this city; I was able to attend the world famous Sydney Opera House for their rendition of Jingle Bell Rock. It was my first time in an opera house and I sat in pure amazement, stunned by the talent of the performers, musicians and vocalists. I could definitely see myself living in this town!

I have only two disappointments: one, I only wish I could have stayed longer because there is so much to see everywhere you go, but I suppose this means I will just have to go back sometime soon. (Poor me!) And two, for those of you familiar with “Finding Nemo,” P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney does not exist. I know: I looked for it and came up short. Thanks Disney and Pixar! Haha.

Definitely the most rewarding and eye-opening trip I have ever experienced in my life. I am already planning my next trip, or ‘holiday’ as Europeans call it; The travel bug is real!

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Your 2015 Travel Punch List

Last year, we at Parker Sanpei had a lot of fun developing an international punch list for 2014, and this year, we thought we’d try it again. Here are the places and experiences we are most excited about this year, broken up by season.

WINTER: Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah

sundancefilm-parkcityThis January 22 through February 1, Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival will once again draw thousands of film-lovers to experience the release of hundreds of new indie movies. Film festivals are often thought of as private affairs for insiders, but tickets are available to Sundance films at just $20 each – a steal when you consider that the directors and actors in the films take the stage after each show to discuss their work. Add to that the charm of Park City, its accessibility to the Salt Lake City Int’l Airport (just 30 minutes away), and its home to some of the world’s finest ski resorts – and powder! – and you have the makings of a dynamite getaway.

SPRING: James Beard House Dinner with Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, Thomas Hill Organics Bistro, New York City

2011-06-09-minidiningroom3When James Beard, the godfather of American cuisine, passed away in 1985, his colleagues and friends sought to purchase his Greenwich Village townhouse and convert it into something of a performance space for chefs. They enlisted the help of a talented young chef from California, Wolfgang Puck, to craft a multi-course dinner, the proceeds from which would benefit the renovation project; Thus was the James Beard House dinner series born. Today, the James Beard House hosts 250 events each year, one of which will be a dinner celebrating the bounty of California’s Central Coast (Parker Sanpei’s beautiful home) including wines from Laetitia Vineyard & Winery and cuisine from Chef Christopher Manning at Thomas Hill Organics Bistro. The date for the dinner is Sunday, April 27, at 7pm. Tickets are $130 for members and $170 for the public. Reservations will be available mid-January by calling 212.627.2308.

SUMMER: A Taste of Stockholm, Sweden

20100608-lola01Between The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Wallander, and The Killing, the world clearly has an obsession with the dark side of Scandinavian culture of late, and we’re no exception. But what about the bright side? That’s where A Taste of Stockholm comes in. From June 3 through 7, this culinary fête takes place in downtown Stockholm’s Kungsträdgården park with bites from two-dozen of the city’s best restaurants, classes, demonstrations, and performances by top musicians. Afterwards, go back to the dark side with a (Volvo) drive to Ystad and walk in Detective Kurt Wallander’s footsteps…

FALL: 84th Annual International White Truffle Fair, Alba, Italy

alba-international-white-truffle-fair-italy_57135_600x450Worshipers of the elusive tartufo bianco flock from far and wide to the small city of Alba in Italy’s Piedmont region for the International White Truffle Fair each fall. In 2015, the festival will be held October 11 through 16 with a line-up of international chefs, sensory analysis sessions, wine pairing demonstrations and cultural happenings (e.g. a choral competition and a palio for donkeys in the style of Siena’s more famous one for horses) to tickle the heart of the most devoted gourmands and oenophiles. Just remember to bring your wallet. And you might want to take out a loan first.

 

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TASTE: Gourmet Popsicles

parkersanpei:

This post may seem slightly out of place the week before Christmas, but to be true to our “most popular posts of all time” theme, we had to include these recipes for gourmet cocktail popsicles from August, 2011. Perhaps the Pink Champagne Popsicles would work for your New Year’s Eve party?

Happy holidays, to you and yours from Parker Sanpei!

Originally posted on THE DISH by PSPR:

The weather is balmy and the days are long: It’s summer!

While we believe in taking time for ourselves during a relaxing vacation (preferably somewhere tropical and far, far away), we are also realistic and know that not every summer can support a big getaway.  So when we’re stuck at home, fantasizing about soaking up the sun on some distant beach with a cocktail in hand, the next best thing to do is – what else? – channel that inspiration into a delicious popsicle.  We love these new machines like the ZOKU seven-minute popsicle maker that freeze our treats with lightning speed.  So, without further ado, here are the popsicles that we’re making – and tasting – this summer.

ROMAN HOLIDAY

If you like Prosecco – fizzy, bubbly, and a little bit sweet – then you’ll love this popsicle.  Lick this while imagining yourself in Amalfi, watching the waves.

Blackberry Prosecco Popsicles

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TASTE: Heirloom tomatoes

parkersanpei:

Continuing on in our theme of celebrating FOUR YEARS on The Dish, here is our #3 most popular post of all time: a discussion of heirloom tomatoes including recipes for gazpacho, pico de gallo, and our favorite, tomato jam.

Originally posted on THE DISH by PSPR:

If your garden is anything like ours, you are seeing a lot of red these days.  Hooray for tomato season!

And not just any old tomatoes.  The latest and greatest varieties are actually heirloom tomatoes: unhybridized, open-pollinated cultivars with flavor concentration and texture to put that wan, mealy tomato in your grocer’s produce aisle to shame.  And with names like “Brandywine,” “Black Krim,” “Arkansas Traveler,” and our personal favorite, “The Mortgage Lifter,” it’s impossible not to wonder about the stories behind these characterful, pretty fruits.  They are living history.

Our friend, Gary Ibsen, ofTomatoFest is our go-to expert on all things heirloom tomato.  For this season, Gary offered a whopping 600 varieties of certified organic heirloom tomato seeds from his online shop, and every single seed was harvested by hand at the TomatoFest Farm.  That means he personally tastes every single tomato plant on…

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Plumping up for Fat Tuesday

parkersanpei:

Keeping with our celebration of FOUR YEARS blogging with The Dish, we are re-posting our all-time most popular posts, including this history of Mardi Gras (which ends with a recipe for King Cake). Enjoy (again)!

Originally posted on THE DISH by PSPR:

I didn’t grow up celebrating Mardi Gras.  All it’s ever really meant to me is New Orleans, debauchery, beads, and college kids throwing up on my front lawn. 

But lately I’ve been intrigued by the roots of this strange holiday that’s celebrated the world over.  This year’s festivities take place this coming Tuesday, March 8th.  So, in preparation, here is a little history, care of my own curiosity and The History Channel website.

First, the origins of Mardi Gras:

According to historians, Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia. When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith, an easier task than abolishing them altogether. As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of penance…

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Celebrating FOUR years: Our most popular posts.

Birthday-Wishes-for-a-Four-Year-OldWe at Parker Sanpei can’t believe it’s been four years this week since The Dish went live. Four years! In those four years, we’ve covered everything from the history of Father’s Day and mustards of the world to emergency preparedness and the best music festivals in the west. We’ve also shared personal tastes and memories on everything from our least favorite food trends to how we dropped it all to pursue a love of wine. And speaking of wine, we’ve talked lots, and lots, and lots about wine.

We’ve also met thousands upon thousands of you through a shared passion for food, wine, travel, and hospitality. Thanks for making these four years so delectable!

To celebrate the occasion, we’ll be re-running a few of our most popular posts to date. Enjoy! And happy holidays!

 

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Which wine/dress are you?

parkersanpei:

As promised, we are re-running a few of our most popular posts on The Dish in celebration of our FOURTH birthday. Here is our number one most popular post – a very simple one, mind you – on how to select the right wine and dress for your wedding day. Happy re-reading!

Originally posted on THE DISH by PSPR:

It’s the season for weddings, and we’ve been thinking a lot about pairing wedding dresses with wine.  (Why not?)  The following are some of our favorite pairings:

If you like Laetitia Vineyard & Winery La Coupelle Pinot Noir…

Kate cowl neck gown, inspired by the work of legendary fashion photographer Irving Penn, in hand-washed silk and crepe back satin, with dramatic draped low back and pooled skirt.  By Alix & Kelly.

Understated elegance is what Laetitia’s La Coupelle Pinot Noir is all about.  With dark fruit and chocolate notes, this full-bodied Pinot Noir is ideal for the woman who prefers the subtle to the spectacular.

If you like Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery‘s Espiritu Chardonnay…

Strapless ruched cream wedding dress with train and satin buttons down the back. by Paloma Bianco.

This wine is the definition of “rustic chic,” with notes of toasted nuts balanced by hints of green apple…

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