Posts Tagged ‘food’

Food, Wine and the Arts in the US on the Cheap

November 13, 2015 4:28 pm - Posted by Jody in Travel


Major cities like New York, Chicago and Miami are consistently named among the go-to travel destinations, but what about those places that are just waiting to be discovered? The ® Hotel Price Index™ (HPI®) has revealed up-and-coming destinations to fuel traveler wanderlust for less. From food and wine, to music and arts, is bringing those lesser-known destinations to the forefront for your next adventure.

Using the average price paid* for a hotel night by Americans in the first half of 2015, the travel experts recommend these cities:


Los Angeles ($175) and San Francisco ($217) are consistently mentioned as two of the best food cities in the U.S., but a number of more affordable cities have received national attention for being underrated foodie destinations.

Kansas City ($131) is renowned for its sweet and spicy BBQ style and restaurants serving some of the best BBQ in the country, but its up-and-coming restaurant scene offers innovative Latin American, Japanese and Southern food options. The city is also home to a number of craft breweries and new distilleries.

Other Food Cities Under $135: Sacramento, Calif. ($113); Houston ($129); Cleveland ($133)


While Napa ($255) is the best-known wine destination in the country – offering a combination of top-notch wineries and critically acclaimed restaurants – there are many under-the-radar wine destinations to be found around the country.

Grand Junction, Colo. ($88) offers the picturesque backdrop of the Grand Valley along the Colorado River for anyone visiting Colorado’s Wine Country. In addition to the region’s 20+ wineries, the city is also a gateway for hiking, mountain biking and rafting activities.

Other Wine Cities Under $135: Salem, Ore. ($101); Walla Walla, Wash. ($120); Petaluma, Calif. ($120)


New Orleans ($191) is the birthplace of jazz and home to some of the most vibrant music clubs in the country, but these destinations also boast a unique combination of music and nightlife.

Athens, GA ($111) may be best known for being one of the greatest college towns in the country, but it also packs a strong indie rock scene. With iconic venues like the 40 Watt Club and Georgia Theater and legendary bands that call the city home, Athens definitely holds its own.

Other Music Cities Under $135: Detroit ($121); Memphis, Tenn. ($123); Madison, Wisc. ($125)


New York ($245) is home to some of the best and most popular art and history museums in the world, but travelers looking to get their art fix on a budget can find it in these destinations.

Milwaukee, WI ($124) is a city full of great museums like the Milwaukee Public Museum – home to the iconic Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit, which features a three-quarter scale recreation of life in the city at the turn of the 20 th century. And the Milwaukee Art Museum is a work of art in itself, featuring a movable, wing-like brise soleil that opens up during the day and closes at night or during inclement weather.

Other Arts Cities Under $135: Tucson, Ariz. ($103); San Antonio ($131); Santa Fe, N.M. ($135)

Please visit for more information about average hotel prices and the most popular destinations from the first half of 2015. To find more travel ideas and tips, follow on Twitter at @hotelsdotcom and #HotelExperts.

*Average prices paid per night inclusive of taxes and fees and based on data from the first six months of 2015.


Entre Nous – Eat like an Egyptian

May 12, 2015 2:56 pm - Posted by Jody in Eat

Hamam mahshi Kebda Iskandarani Moloukhiya Rozz me’ammar Koshari Ta’meyya Foul medammes Rokak Feseekh Keshk When it comes to food, Egyptians know their way around. And though we always make fun of how fattening our traditional cuisine is, not all our classic dishes are unhealthy. In fact, some are actually brilliant for digestion and overall health. Egypt’s… read more


The Science of Truffles

November 14, 2014 3:13 pm - Posted by Jody in Eat
Goethe University Frankfurt Truffles, along with caviar, are among the most expensive foods in the world. Because they grow underground, people use trained dogs or pigs to find them. But the distinctive smell of truffles is not only of interest to gourmets. A group of German and French scientists under the direction of the Goethe University… read more

Instagram on Steriods – Movies about Food

October 7, 2013 9:09 am - Posted by Jody in Eat

Hey at Wine Portfolio we don’t just love wine, we also love food. Oh and luxury travel, red jelly beans and Sandra Bullock but we digress. Anyway we love food so we really like movies about food (or wine). But since there are more movies about food, at least until Jody gets his feature debut, we thought we’d share this list on some of the best movies about food.

26 Fascinating Films About Food (via The Cultureist)

This post comes courtesy of Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank: The Food Think Tank Films and short videos are a powerful way of increasing awareness of and interest in the food system. With equal parts technology and artistry, filmmakers can bring…

read more


Little Restaurant, Big Taste

July 29, 2010 10:31 pm - Posted by Jody in Eat

When I first walked into Fournos Restaurant in Sedona, Arizona I didn’t know what to expect.  It is small. Very small, only nine tables and when you enter you are right next to a little, open kitchen.  But don’t let appearances fool you. I never buy that line that size matters, well not for a restaurant at least.

The restaurant is owned and run by a married couple, Chef Ivan Flowers and Tracy Phillips. With the help of a great server, Tess Griffin they make you feel as if you are dining in their home. It’s personal, intimate and comfortable, just like all great dinning moments.

But a great meal isn’t just about the experience it is of course also about the food itself. Taste counts. Once I sat down, I was served warm bread and a parmesan, garlic, olive oil, spinach dipping sauce (I’m told guests are asking that they bottle it and I know why). I was then treated to a five-course Chef’s tasting menu paired with wines from their boutique list.  Highlights from the meal included an appetizer trio of house made gnocchi with cognac mushrooms, New Zealand green lip mussels and Roasted corn esquite paired with an Italian Prosecco.  Also, the Australian Barramundi with warm English peas, Japanese grapes and confit tomatoes was brilliant. This was paired with a Yalumbe Grenache that surprised me because it is a red wine, but it complimented the sweetness in the fish and peas.

Once the meal was finished Chef Ivan Flowers sat down with me and I was treated to stories of his youth in Brooklyn, N.Y. and how his Jewish grandmothers and father (who owned restaurants in N.Y.) instilled in him a passion for cooking. Ivan feels that every thing you cook must start in the heart. And if you don’t put your heart into it, it won’t be delicious, no matter how skilled the Chef. Period.  I have to admit I completely agree.

So what I will take with me from my visit to Fournos Restaurant is not only the memory of a spectacular meal, but also the love and passion that Ivan and Tracy put into everything they do… No wonder Fournos’ business card says, “The Little Restaurant with Big Flavor.”  See I told you size doesn’t matter.

Jody Ness