Category Archives: Travel

WestJet Pulls Off A Doozy Of A Christmas Miracle

So the Canadian low-cost carrier pulled off a stunt for the ages, when they played Santa for two plane-loads of passengers. It’s also pretty brilliant viral advertising (look, I’m reposting it!) and absolutely makes me much more likely to travel on WestJet in the future. In a world filled with corporate Scrooges, WestJet is a bright spot! Do yourself a favor at watch this clip.

The Rabbi Report 3.0: Notes From “Out East”

Wow. I just looked at my blog and realized that it’s been more than six weeks since I posted an entry! I have sort of an excuse seeing that I was homeless for a few week, looking for a place to live and then a major move to East Hampton, but still, six weeks? LAME! So here I go. Rabbi Report 3.0 starts….NOW.
I seriously don’t know what the next 11+ months is going to bring for me, but suffice to say, this isn’t just the rebirth of the blog. Over the past 4-5 years I’ve lost both parents (insert Importance of Being Earnest ref. here) lived in LA, New York and now East Hampton, worked in a variety of positions, including film festivals, freelance writing, blogging for an award-winning ad campaign and I’ve been a character in an ARG. And now….country squire? We’ll see. For now, I am busy planting a vegetable garden, buying bird feeders and keeping the neighbor’s cat away from my birds and bunnies. That and whipping the house into shape with, I am relieved to say, a little help from my friends! God knows what it would look like if I was left to my own devices.
At any rate, I’m back. There’s likely to be a lot more about food and cooking, here from now on. I won’t be skimping on other things, but my nine week trip through the south this Spring inspired me as a cook, as a writer and as someone who is concerned with what we’re eating and drinking as a nation. I was introduced to the work of some outstanding chefs and food luminaries in my travels, including “eater/writer/educator” John T. Edge and chef John Currence in Oxford, MS; chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski in New Orleans; chef Frank Stitt in Birmingham, AL and chefs Sean Brock & Mike Lata in South Carolina. All of whom you’ll be reading about, along with many more in the coming days and weeks, complete with mouth-watering pics from their establishments and maybe even some examples of my own experiments with Southern-infused Long Island cooking. Stay tuned!
Until next time, here are a few pix of my new (rented) house (after the jump) in East Hampton and a couple of yummy goodness!
Yours from Northwest Woods,
Mark

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GSRT: Memphis – Payne’s Is King

After visiting Gill and August’s Green Building, I hopped in the car and made the 385 mile drive to Memphis and my three day stay at the Peabody Hotel. Billed as the “South’s Grand Hotel,” the Peabody is all it’s cracked up to be. The staff in unerringly friendly and remembered my name instantly and they were very helpful about the local area, even if one of the valets had never heard of Payne’s. He must have been new…. While the Peabody is indeed a fancy joint (it boasts Memphis’ most fancy fine dining restaurant in Chez Philippe) there are deals to be found online. My stay was only $140/night through Orbitz but unlike some other hotels, I received no “bargain shopper scorn” when checking in. The Peabody is all class and that might have something to do with hotel Duckmaster Jason Sensat who also oversees the customer relations employees in the hotel, including front desk personnel and concierges.
More on him and the ducks in a later post, complete with video!
But now….Food! My first day in Memphis was a disappointment, since I drove out to Payne’s and it was closed. A main goal of this trip is experiencing the finest BBQ known to man or beast and consistently listed on “Best of” lists and written up in any BBQ book worth its salt, Payne’s (located at 1762 Lamar, Av.) was my #1 stop in Memphis. Alas, it was closed and my iPhone’s map feature led me astray when I went looking for my other important stop on this trip, Cozy Corner BBQ. I ended up no where near where I was supposed to be, but instead wound up near another highly-rated joint, Central BBQ. There I made the mistake of choosing sauce on the side. Never choose sauce on the side. Let them sauce up your sandwich. I guess I’ll have to go back, because it’s supposed to be fantastic.
At any rate, that evening, through a suggestion from the hotel, I ate at McEwen’s on Monroe and it was fantastic. I decided to try three small plates and was blown away by the Warm Hazelnut Crusted Goat Cheese Salad, the Shrimp & Grits (always a favorite) and the wholly original Red Tasmanian Sweet Crab Fritters. It was Americana with a southern bent, all prepared with care and excellent service. For dessert (I don’t usually indulge, but….) the trio of sorbets was fantastic, see:IMG_0132.jpg

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GSRT: Hagerstown to Louisville or “Such a Dirty Bad Girl!”

After my preamble trip to Hagerstown I had just enough energy to check my email when I arrived. It had been a rough day, considering I’d moved out of the family home I’d had for 30+ years, so when I pulled into the hotel just past 11, I didn’t even care that I’d missed the cut-off time for beer at the hotel mini mart by only 5 minutes. I didn’t even pitch a fit when the guy at the front desk told me that they were out of foam pillows. My allergies made me pay for that one.

At any rate, I was up at 8am and ready to go…. and after the mother of all time sucks, a visit to a local mall for some needed road supplies, I was on the road to Louisville and 534 miles awaited me. Were I driving with another person, 500+ miles wouldn’t be a big deal but alone? It’s drowsy time. Seriously, after about 375 miles or so I find myself chanting things like “badda badda bang ging gong bung ding badda ding big gong dang…” like some half-baked Bhangra singer with tertiary stage syphilis.

Continue reading GSRT: Hagerstown to Louisville or “Such a Dirty Bad Girl!”