Saturday, January 10, 2015

Praise for ‘Spiritual and Walking Guide’

Author Stacey Wittig was blessed to receive this email from reader, Anne Childs: Good morning Stacey, I wanted to write a quick note to thank you for the copy of your wonderful book. I’m reading it right now and am moved by the scripture meditations and thoughtfulness of the book. I also love the personal […]

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Flagstaff, AZ Tasting Tour is Latest Foodie Sensation

Last summer I grazed my way around downtown Flagstaff in the city’s latest foodie sensation: Flagstaff Eats tasting tour. I experienced tastings at seven different restaurants that were the equal to a full meal. A professional guide led our unique tasting experiences. Even though I have lived here for twenty years, the tour took me to eateries where I had never been, and the tour opened my palate to plates that I had never tried before.

“Flagstaff Eats tours are perfect for out-of-town visitors who just have a short time in town, but want to experience many of the great restaurants that Flagstaff has to offer. The tours are also great for locals who always go to the same restaurants, or who order the same thing at their favorite restaurants. This stretches them a bit,” said Ariel Mierendorf, our cheery guide who gave us the inside scoop on local’s favorites.

“We’re supporting local businesses, and we’re showing people places in Flagstaff that they might not have otherwise found,” Ariel continued as she lead us from our meeting spot at Flag Buzz Coffeehouse on San Francisco Street to Karma Sushi Bar and Grill on old Route 66. The tour is mapped out rather well, with just short walks between the restaurants. But by the end of the two and a half hour tour, we had walked approximately a mile and a half without even noticing. The tour is stroller and wheelchair friendly as we typically stayed outside the eateries.

Karma’s taste treat was one of their signature rolls, The Godzilla, made with tempura Maine lobster tail, avocado, cucumber and snow crab. Unfortunately, this Vagabonding Lulu is allergic to lobster, so I had to pass-a-Rooney on the tempting appetizer. “Let us know about any food allergies upfront,” said Ariel, “And we can order accordingly.”

Next it was across the tracks on San Francisco Street passing the historic train depot for our subsequent stop at NiMarco’s Pizza. As we walked, Ariel filled us in on Flagstaff history and pointed out other noteworthy restaurants. “Right along San Francisco Street, we have over five Thai restaurants – and they are all busy. Flagstaff loves their Thai food,” she explained.

I could tell that NiMarco’s made their sauce and dough fresh each day by tasting my Popeye slice – made with spinach, of course. I was in such food bliss that I kind of lost track of where we went next. But I do remember a taste of that Flagstaff favorite Thai food at Swadee Thai, a sit-down inside Charly’s for a mini Fry Bread taco, olive oil tastings at the Olive Oil Traders and a Fred Flintstone-sized meaty rib at Big Foot BBQ. Bigfoot is one of my fave restaurants in town, yet I never experienced their ribs, moist cornbread or the BBQ and jalapeno quesadilla – all that was part of our tasting. I’m one of those that always order the same thing – the Junkyard Dawg, an Andouille sausage piled high with pulled pork and slaw – so the tour did its trick and got me to stretch out of my comfort zone. Dessert was The Sweet Shoppe and Nut House’s famous caramel apples, conveniently cut up for all to share. I highly recommend the Flagstaff Eats tour. The company was started by the same local folks who have been operating the Alpine Pedaler in Flagstaff for the past three years.

Be aware that all food tours start at Flag Buzz Coffeehouse 107 N. San Francisco, Flagstaff. Some in our party got confused and were waiting for the tour to begin at Mother Road Brewing Company where the Alpine Pedaler meets for the pub crawls.

When You Go
$40 per person, all food tasting and taxes are included. $30 for children ages 5-9. Final tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather.

Stacey Wittig is an Arizona travel writer based in Flagstaff, Arizona, USA. Enjoy this article? Then subscribe to her blog (in the upper right corner) and never miss another travel article ... complete with free travel tips. www.vagabondinglulu.com

Thursday, September 11, 2014

“Happy” on El Camino de Santiago

This Camino video is worth the watch! If you haven’t walked Camino before, it may help explain why I entitled one of the chapters in my book “Ecstatic Joy.” Click here.Filed under: Uncategorized

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IFWTWA awards scholarship fund to El Salvador culinary arts school

Doug MacKenzie, Maralyn Hill and Herve' Laurent (L-R) in Mesa, Ariz.
One more aspiring chef will be able to attend culinary arts school in the developing nation of El Salvador thanks to the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Yesterday French Master Chef Herve’ Laurent received a check for $500 dollars for the scholarship fund at the SCARTS School of Culinary Arts. Douglas MacKenzie and Maralyn Hill, board members of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) at an outdoor ceremony at Rancho de Tia Rosa restaurant in Mesa, Ariz., presented the check.

“The school helps people who don’t have so many possibilities,” said Chef Herve’. The school offers affordable tuition to those who live where the average monthly income is $250 according the Master Chef.

Students from the culinary school have found careers at the better restaurants of Lima, Peru; Barcelona and Madrid, Spain; and New Your City, New York. Other graduates are opening restaurants in and around San Salvador, El Salvador where the school of culinary arts is located. “Many people want to open restaurants, we give them the keys to do that,” explained the chef. The SCARTS School of Culinary Arts trains aspiring chefs in business practices and restaurant management as well as artistic forms of cooking. “Business is not a joke,” emphasized Chef Herve’ and thanking members of IFWTWA.

“Latin American cuisine is moving a lot. This is an example of what we now enjoy – American and Latin American food,” said the renowned chef pointing to the colorful spread of food prepared by the Rancho de Tia Rosa. The restaurant is known for its long list of fruit salsas including the pineapple salsa that was served on the delicious sautéed shrimp tacos. Chef Herve raved about the Spinach Enchiladas made with fresh cooked spinach, onions and pinon nuts in a creamy chile sauce.
Flan at Rancho de Tia Rosa, Mesa, AZ

Chef Herve’ taught at Le Cordon Bleu, London and Paul Bocuse Institute in Lyon, France before opening the school in El Salvador. The event was hosted by Visit Mesa, City Limitless and Visit Phoenix.
Christmas time starts now at Rancho de Tia Rosa.
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Churros and homemade vanilla bean ice cream.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gordon Lightfoot retweets article written by Stacey Wittig aka Vagabonding Lulu

          View the travel article by clicking here.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Looking out the window of seat 9A on tonight's flight into Shreveport, Louisiana, I thought to myself, "I could be in a foreign country." The thick forests below broken by watery bayous something I had never seen before. Sure, I've been to New Orleans. Many times. But I've never seen such a large expanse of water wilderness. Perhaps I was flying over portions of Kisatchie National Forest -- I am not sure.

What I am sure of is that I am now -- for the first time ever -- in Shreveport, Louisiana at the Hilton Shreveport which is located downtown. I have a beautiful view of the Red River from my eighth floor guest room. The view from the rooftop swimming pool is also exciting. I watched the sun set over the lights of a tall refinery.

The Hilton Shreveport has free shuttle service from the airport -- about a 10 minute drive. My room is spacious with nice desk space -- good for the writer in me. The in-room coffee, iron, micro wave and fridge are all welcome amenities for the business traveler. That khaki skirt that I packed for tomorrow's tour of the Forts Randolf and Buhlow State Historic Site might need a pressing. And the Cuisinart coffee machine promises a good "wake me up" in the morning.
 Check back tomorrow for my report on the fort and how the Confederates used slave labor to build them.