Alpine Adventure: Northeastern Bound

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And it’s only the beginning (photo credit @alta_badia_official, just one of the good Instagram accounts to follow — chock full of great hashtag commentary to click for inspiration as if you needed more.)

Here we GO. This winter takes an northeastern tint with Valle d’Aosta’s Italian Francophile comfort zone a faint glint in the rearview.  I’m following a friend’s crumbs into the intensity of the Tirolesi landscape and its Austro-Hungarian-steeped Dolomiti for the first time.

This is a land of many names. South Tyrol.  Alto Adige. The sweet spot is nestled between Austria to the north, Milan west, Venice south and Slovenia due east. A Unesco World Heritage Site since 2009, its translations tell the story — in Ladin, the local culture: Dolomites; German: Dolomiten [doːloːˈmɪtn̩]; Venetian: Dołomiti [doɰoˈmiti]: Friulian: Dolomitis.  The convergence of so many traditions both natural and anthropologic is nothing but dramatic, striking to behold both in summer and its shimmering winter coat.  Makes for great wine and food, too. Located about a 5 hours drive into the mountains from Milan, the Dolomiti form a part of the Southern Limestone Alps and extend from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley (Pieve di Cadore) in the east. And they are prime ski territory.

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I’m headed to Alta Badia, the peaks of the valley by the same name, with villages clustered below.  Pick the one in which you’d like to reside for your stay.  My dart that wasn’t really a dart landed on San Cassiano, or St. Kassian, centrally positioned to the literal range of piste or ski runs, connected by the Piz Sorega gondola, anchored by couple Michelin star restaurants and frescoed in stube and stua.  Population: 859.  In a word, majestic. But there are so many words, and it’s high season so anything goes.  Here’s the credential-censored itinerary below.  My story begins tucked in these jagged peaks and continues on north, deeper into the Schwarzwald than ever before, and then onto Norweigan Fjords.  It’s a handful, a lifetime.  Solid course charted, yet ready to be broken at any time.  Wouldn’t be right without some question marks either.  I’m ready.  Bank travel plans logged, data plan engaged, and gear is packed.  I caved and went with a checkable sized bag.  It’s going in the trunk anyway… Cue the mountain huts for the midday refuel… and obligatory après-ski.  Uncork the wine with the food it was made to be eaten with!  HUGE thanks to Jeff Michaud for the guidance and inspiration.  See you on the other side.  We say benvenuta Thursday in the wee hours, and we’ll let it unfold how it likes on @jackiesayet.

Winter Ski Holiday 16/17

WED 21 DEC
American AA 1048
MIAMI INTERNTNL 2:07 PM
NEW YORK JFK 4:57 PM

American AA 198
NEW YORK JFK 6:05 PM

THUR 22 DEC
MILAN MALPENSA 8:00 AM

CAR RENTAL – Locauto
Milano Malpensa Aeroporto Terminal 1
Toyota Yaris Hybrid

LUNCH  (love an Autogrill but we’re doing a fancy pit stop here) 1:30PM – Zur Rose [reserved]
via Josef Innerhofer 2, 39057 SAN MICHELE
Gentile Sig.ra Sayet
Grazie della prenotazione per 1 persona al 22 Dicembre a mezzogiorno verso le ore 13,30
Distinti saluti Herbert e Margot Hintner

Arrive San Cassiano
HOTEL – Hotel La Stüa
Str. Micura de Ru 31
St. Kassian, 39036
Italy
Phone Number: +39 0471 849456
Email: info@hotel-lastua.it
http://www.hotel-lastua.it
Our hotel in the mountains and our family will all make sure you spend a happy, relaxing holiday in peace and harmony with nature. Our philosophy: we do not have to do big things, but we can certainly do small things with a big heart!
Check-in 12/22/2016 [CET]
Check-out 12/29/2016 [CET]
Stay 7 Nights
Double room Standard (Type: Room; Non smoking)
Cosy and bright rooms of this category, with the total area of 18 square metres, feature a double bed, a shower/WC, a south-facing balcony with a marvellous view of the majestic peaks of the Dolomites, including Punte di Fanes, Lagazuoi and the Group of Sella.
Meals: Breakfast
1 × King Size bed
+ 0 × Rollaways
Amenities
Mountain view
Balcony/terrace
Shower
Television
Beverages sold on the premises
Hairdryer
Towels
Safe
Telephone
High speed Internet connection
Main building
For a definite booking we allow ourselves

DINNER 8PM – Maso Runch [reserved]
Runch, 11
I-39036 Badia

FRI 23 DEC
SKI

“Paisc da Nadé” the village of San Cassiano will be set in a traditional alpine Christmas atmosphere. 4-7pm

DINNER 8:30pm – La Siriola [reserved]
Via Pre De Vi, 31, 39030 Loc. Armentarola, San Cassiano BZ, Italy

SAT 24 DEC
SKI

DINNER 8PM – Cantina Siriola
[reserved]
Cheese fondue and cold cuts!!
Via Pre De Vi, 31, 39030 Loc. Armentarola, San Cassiano BZ, Italy

SUN 25 DEC
SKI

DINNER 8PM (but Dagmar calling with time to meet the Snowcat) L’Ciamin [reserved]
Rifugio Col Pradat, Col Pradat, 39033 Corvara In Badia BZ, Italy
Ok, perfect.
We will reserve a table for the evening dinner on the 25.12.2016 for you.
We will serve a 5 course menu at the arte of € 65,00. We will call you on the same day to tell you at which time you had to be present on the Col Pradat bridge where the snow mobile transfer will pick you up.
I ask you please to give us the dial phone code of your country – we have your phone number but we are missing the country code.
Thanks a lot and see you in some days
Regards
Dagmar

MON 26 DEC
Break day!
LUNCH – La Terrazza
Via Pre De Vi, 31, 39030 Loc. Armentarola, San Cassiano BZ, Italy

Day trip to Innsbruck! Weihnachtsmarkt!
2 hrs away
(November 15, 2016 – January 6, 2017$
Of the half-a-dozen Christmas markets held each year in Innsbruck, the most romantic is in the Altstadt, lined with medieval houses. Stalls are piled high with gingerbread, wooden toys and delicate ornaments made from handblown glass. At dusk, trumpeters play carols on the 500-year-old Golden Roof. Try the kiachln – Advent doughnuts – served hot, with cranberry sauce. At weekends, ride the funicular up Nordkette mountain to Hungerburg. After tasty treats at this little market, continue your journey to the top of the Hafelekar for views of twinkling city lights and snow-tipped peaks. –

TUES 27 DEC
SKI

DINNER – Hotel La Perla – la stua [waitlist]
Strada Col Alt, 105, 39033 Corvara In Badia BZ, Italy
+39 0471 83 10 00

WED 28 DEC
SKI

DINNER 8PM – La Sieia [reserved]
Str. Berto, 61, 39030 San Cassiano BZ, Italy

THURS 29 DEC
Call American for update on British Airways strike (lol seriously)
Check out La Stua & drive to Black Forest.

HOTEL – Waldknechshof
Baiersbronner Str. 4, 72270 Baiersbronn, Germany

DINNER 7PM – Bauernstube [reserved]
Tonbachstraße 237, 72270 Baiersbronn, Germany

FRI 30 DEC
Hike

DINNER 8PM – Restaurant Bareiss [reserved]
Hermine-Bareiss-Weg 1, 72270 Baiersbronn, Germany

SAT 31 DEC
Alsace day trip
Via Kaiserstuhl To Eguishem

Auberge des Trois Châteaux for frogs’ legs and calf’s head and Alsatian stew called baeckoffe. The dish, which means “baker’s oven,” is made of beef, pork and lamb and traditionally prepped for up to 24 hours soaking in white wine and juniper berries. Wine Route! Low-acid, dry glass of muscat d’Alsace??

12th-century castle perched in the Vosges Mountains called the Haut Koenigsbourg. Caveau des Vignerons restaurant in Riquewihr – fleischnacka

Strasbourg! Xmas market!
Year round, Strasbourg scores for traditional charm, but during Advent the capital of Alsace is even more magical. Half-timbered houses sport giant red-and-white hearts; stars, angels and snowflakes garland the cobbled streets. Here, the Christkindelsmärik dates back to 1570, making it the oldest in France, and even the towering fir tree on the Place Kléber is a 400-year-old custom. Check out the 11 different “villages” – themed areas – and don’t miss the bredele biscuits, a local speciality. These special biscuits come in all shapes and flavours, from hazelnut, orange and cinnamon to walnut, coconut and praline. Take them home. Hang them on your tree… Then eat them.

NYE DINNER (8PM) – Restaurant Meierei back at Waldnechtshof
[reserved via Maurice Goetz]

SUN 1 JAN
Hike or snowshoe? Chill?

DINNER – ?

MON 2 JAN
Day trip : Bamberg a la Stef!
Gemany’s Rome! 7 hills each w/churches
Old city
Unesco site
Secret capital of beer!!
— smoked beer schlenkerla – little street after you pass it. Steep steps with a square.
“Dome” aka cathedral
Eat this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maultasche
From Stef:
I really hope you are able to visit Bamberg! It is such a beautiful town!
I’d recommend to get an audio guide at the tourist info located at geyerswoerthstrasse. There is a parking garage just underground where you can park. Next to the tourist info is the former Schloss Geyerswoerth. You should check at the tourist info, if you are able to climb up that little tower (they have a key that you need to get up there). You will have such an amazing view (see picture attached). From the tourist info you are in the old part (Altstadt) of the city in just a couple of minutes. Check out the old Rathaus (city hall, in my picture on the bottom right), go to the Dom (cathedral, in my picture the church on the top left). Right next to it is Alte Hofhaltung where Orlando Bloom was dueling in “the musketeers”. Across from there is the Rosengarten where you will also have a beautiful view over the city. A little bit further up you have another beautiful church (Michaelskirche, top right in my picture) right next to it is a cute little cafe.
The street where you have one bar/ restaurant next to each other and also Schlenkerla brewery is called Sandstrasse.
I could write so much more, lol, but that should cover at least a good part of it. I am pretty sure you will fall in love with my home town!
Please email me with any other questions you might have!
Safe travels and have so much fun!!

TUES 3 JAN
Check out/ drive to Milan

Locauto rental return (might switch to just Valet at hotel and return next day at airport )
DROP-OFF DATE AND TIME 03/01/2017 15:00h
DROP-OFF LOCATION Milano Stazione Centrale

check into Santa Marta Suites
Via Santa Marta 4
Milan
20123
IT
+390245373369
Check in: Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Check out: Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Duration: 1 night
Room type: Classic Suite
Total rooms: 1
Room 1

DINNER – ?

WED 4 JAN

British Airways 573
MILAN MALPENSA 11:25 AM
LONDON HEATHROW 12:35 PM

British Airways
768 WED 04JAN
LONDON HEATHROW 4:30 PM
OSLO 7:45 PM

Check in Thon Hotel Oslo Panorama
Raadhusgaten 7 B, Oslo, Norway
Check in: Wednesday, January 4, 2017 (3 PM-midnight local time)
Check out: Saturday, January 7, 2017 (Before noon local time)
Your stay: 3 nights, 1 room

From Katie:
In Oslo, check out these old school spot s that do traditional dishes. Try Lutefisk (salted fish) as Gamle Raadhus and Rakfisk (fermented fish) at Theatercafeen. Both (as well as salted lamb) are delicious at Engebret Cafe. These are popular spots with families celebrating the holidays so book ahead.
Maaemo is a super posh new nordic place.
Pjoltergiest is a fave of chefs. Mathallen is a cool food hall
Visit Tim Wendelboe for coffee. He’s one of those world champ coffee geeks. Have fun!!
__
Also – Solberg & Hansen, TW, Mika/Java  Tracey Allen at Brewed Behavior via Panther Joel

Via NYT 36 hrs:
Norway is home to a small but thriving group of microbrewers. To sample these craft beers, head across the river to the Grunerlokka neighborhood, where a pair of fine brewpubs opened recently. Start at Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri (Trondheimsveien 2; schouskjelleren.no), a microbrewer that opened a pub in late 2010 in the cellar of the Schous Bryggeri, a defunct brewery dating from the 1800s. Beneath the subterranean bar’s vaulted brick ceiling, try the smooth Thunder Bear Stout (67 kroner). A few blocks away is Grunerlokka Brygghus (Thorvald Meyersgate 30B; brygghus.no), a bustling alehouse where you can sample one of the house beers on tap, like the refreshing Kjell Pop Single Hop (64 kroner) or choose among the nearly 100 bottles on the menu, including many from domestic breweries like Haandbryggeriet, Aegir Bryggeri and Kinn Bryggeri.

THURS JAN 5
The proximity of the city to the pristine Oslo Fjord makes a brief morning escape to its small islands simple. Board the ferry (schedules at ruter.no) at Vippetangen, and five minutes later you can find yourself traipsing around Hovedoya, the nearest island. Hiking trails crisscross this islet, also home to two swimming beaches and monastery ruins dating from the 1100s. On the return trip, take note of the glittering facades that dot the waterfront.

Madrid has the Mercado de San Miguel, Copenhagen has Torvehallerne, and now Oslo has a food hall of its own, Mathallen (Maridalsveien 17; mathallenoslo.no). The food hall, opened in October, occupies an old brick factory building beside the river and gathers more than 30 stalls, shops and restaurants under one (very large) roof. A focus on seasonal, local products is most evident at the mezzanine-level restaurant von Porat (vonporat.no), where dishes often feature foods from fellow vendors. But for a quick bite, pull up a stool to the counter at Anni’s Polsemakeri (polsemakeri.no), a butcher that also serves an excellent platter of grilled sausages, slaw and creamy potato salad (75 kroner).

Tjuvholmen, or Thief Island, is the highlight of the city’s continuing urban renewal project to reclaim industrial areas and docklands along the waterfront. The gleaming area has been transformed into a vibrant arts district, and its centerpiece is the city’s new architectural jewel: the Astrup Fearnley Museet (Strandpromenaden 2; afmuseet.no). This modern-art museum reopened last September in a sloping glass-and-timber complex designed by Renzo Piano; inside, provocative exhibitions feature works from Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami and Cindy Sherman (entrance, 100 kroner). Outside the museum, a small sculpture park is dotted with pieces by Louise Bourgeois, Anish Kapoor and others. After a tour, explore Tjuvholmen’s pedestrian lanes, where several art galleries have taken up residence. At the Pushwagner Gallery (Tjuvholmen Allé 10; pushwagner.no), the giddy colors and playful pop art from Hariton Pushwagner — the pseudonym of the acclaimed Norwegian artist Terje Brofos — are a far cry from Munch.

After admiring Tjuvholmen’s diverse art offerings, refuel at one of the area’s many new dining options. One standout is Hanami (Kanalen 1; hanami.no), a polished Japanese-fusion restaurant that opened in September 2011 with a focus on fresh seafood pulled mostly from the nearby Norwegian seas. Snag a table outside on the waterfront promenade, a prime people-watching location, and order a few plates to share. The torched salmon with roe and basil-miso sauce (159 kroner) is delightful, and the succulent roasted lobster, halved and slathered with sea urchin and foie gras butter (395 kroner), is positively decadent.

If you’re up for only one drink, try the small cocktail bar No. 19 (Mollergata 23; no-19.no), which opened a year ago near the former jail that inspired its name. With attentive service and dim lighting, the bar is a pleasant place to savor a concoction like the Violet Hands, made with Throndhjems Aquavit, Martini Rosato, Grand Marnier, Campari and a flambée of rosemary and Ardbeg Uigeadail whiskey (121 kroner). Unless you need to sober up quickly, wait until morning to calculate the cost of that drink in your home currency.

FRI JAN 6

Ride Line 1 of the metro up into the forested hills northwest of the city center to the majestic Holmenkollen Ski Jump. Skiers have been hurtling through the air here since the 19th century, but in 2010 a reconstructed version of the landmark was unveiled. With steel curves reaching for the sky, the modern structure looks more like a work of art than a sports venue. Entrance to the Ski Museum (110 kroner) offers access to the jump tower and its 360-degree views of the city, fjord and forests. (Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Museum, Kongeveien 5; holmenkollen.

Hop back on the metro heading north and alight where the line terminates and the tranquil woods take over. This sprawling forest, known as Nordmarka, lures adventurers year-round. In winter, cross-country skiers stream onto nearby trails; warmer weather brings mountain bikers and hikers. Take a brisk walk, and then retire to Frognerseteren (Holmenkollveien 200; frognerseteren.no), a handsome chalet with a restaurant and cafe near the metro stop of the same name. On the terrace, sip a crisp Saison from the Norwegian craft brewery Nogne O (half-liter, 115 kroner) and savor the spectacular view.

SAT JAN 7
Checkout Thon Hotel Oslo Panorama

Finnair 656
OSLO 1:15 PM
HELSINKI VANTAA 3:40 PM

American 8987
HELSINKI VANTAA 4:55 PM
MIAMI INTERNTNL. 9:05 PM

OPERATED BY FINNAIR

Bringing Israeli Cuisine Home

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Elizabeth, Lily and Marsha (Don is waiting in the wings – let’s pretend he’s photoshopped in!)

Last week I had the pleasure of cooking dinner for five inspired by my trip to Israel. It was a bit of a celebration as all guests had cause – big moves and big trips.  Israeli cuisine was the only call!

Where to begin with the menu was the question.  Any rhyme or reason would have been useless with the amount of wonderful dishes and ingredients I had tasted for the first time and wanted to bring into my home kitchen.  So, as usually does the trick, the only answer was to go on sheer instinct and let the rosé guide me on the dishes and their preparation.  I focused on making use of spices purchased at Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market – za’atar, baharat and paprika – and two vegetables we constantly encountered in the market and on the table, in myriad ways across the country – cauliflower and eggplant.  You’ll find very rough recipes below.  They were thoroughly enjoyed by a gaggle of special home cooks whom I have always admired and learned from in the kitchen, making the meal all the more a sweet success.

All of these dishes can be made or components readied a day ahead of time if you are pressed for time on the day of an impromptu dinner party!  The beauty is they may even taste better that way… And please start the meal with some warm pita and dishes of tehina and za’atar-spiked great extra-virgin olive oil, on the greener side if possible. Lily mixes up condiment-style tehina by adding lemon, garlic and salt to the raw sesame paste which you can buy in the store.  Lily also tipped me off to two Israeli market groceries that I will be visiting soon to hopefully replenish my pantry with some vestige of authenticity and keep the smells nice in my apartment — they are both in Aventura: Sarah’s Tent and Kosher Kingdom.

Thank you to Gilt Travel for allowing me the opportunity to share my Israeli travel experience in a story for its blog.  Find it here and please enjoy this more personal account of our trip!  L’chaim!

7/9 MENU

Roasted Cauliflower Salad
spicy green pepper tehina dressing

– Preheat oven to 500F
– Chop cauliflower into 3 large chunks of even thickness – not whole and not florets. This is to get a little more caramelization but not kill the firmness. Also cut one orange in quarters. Place all on a sheet tray and generously douse with some OK Italian extra virgin olive oil such as Lucini or Whole Foods/Fresh Market private labels.
– Roast until browned on tips and slight tender, with oranges starting to char, about 25 minutes.
– While the cauliflower and oranges are roasting, make the dressing. In a bottle you can shake. Mince capers. Dice shallot. Chop green onion. Dice preserved lemon. Add a little red wine vinegar. Add salsa picante (this is a bottled vegan spicy green chili sauce I buy at Milams – it has lemon juice, green peppers, cilantro – I only add a little here so you can just probably buy a jalapeno which give a good kick and dice only a little to add it. This is inspired by “Schug” a green chili pepper sauce commonly on the table at Yemeni places and topping falafel to make it spicy if you want it!) Then add nice green Israeli olive oil. Add tehina. A little sea salt. Shake.
– Once the cauliflower and oranges are out of the oven allow to cool on the stove top on the sheet tray it was roasted in. Break apart endive into spears and place in a large bowl with chopped crunchy small cucumbers and cubed hass avocado. To a separate small bowl add sliced yellow grape tomatoes (did you know Israeli’s invented these!?) length wise and toss with some squeezings of the roasted orange juice, more green onion, the good green israeli olive oil, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and sweet/spicy/zesty paprika.
– Once cauliflower is cool, chop into medium sized florets and add to the bowl of endive. Lightly dress with the tehina dressing. Using a slotted spoon, add the marinated tomatoes (you can reserve the juice for something else but dont want the salad too wet.) Sprinkle with fresh za’atar and enjoy!

Roasted and Stuffed Eggplant and Zucchini
baharat-spiced ground lamb and pine nuts

– Preheat oven to 400F
– Place a few small-medium zucchini and eggplant whole on a sheet tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until softened, wrinkly and deeply browned.
– While the veg are roasting, chop spanish onion, shallot and garlic. In a pan over medium heat, sautee in not too much good-ish EVOO to slightly more than a sweat but not caramelized or browned, about 5-7 minutes. Season with some salt and pepper. Turn heat to medium high and add your ground lamb*, baharat and pine nuts. Continuously stir with a wooden spoon for about 4-5 minutes or until meat it cooked through but not murdered and there is very little liquid in the pan. The mixture should just glisten and have a bounce to it. Remove from the heat and set aside until your veg are done!
– Let veg sit to room temp so you can handle them. Make a lengthwise incision and open them up. Scoop heaping spoonfuls of the lamb on top and serve!

*NOTE ON LAMB: Buy some ground lamb from Milam’s. They have it in the meat section already done – you don’t need to go to the counter with the butcher – it did the job and then some I thought.

Lentils and Red Bulgar
charred leeks, crumbled Bulgarian nigella seed cheese, and dried lime zest

– Preheat oven to 500F
– Chop the wee ends off a whole head of garlic. Slice large leeks lengthwise and thoroughly clean out the sand and dirt, removing many of the tough outer leaves if you need to. Peel and chop one large spanish onion in quarters. Spread out on a sheet tray, generously douse with EVOO, season well with salt and pepper and roast until tips are browned and veg is tender, about 25 minutes. (this can be done with the cauliflower if you want to make both dishes at once – it’s what I did…….)
– While the veg is roasting, make and drain your grains* according to the instructions on the packaging. Set aside in a bowl.
– Once cool from the oven, roughly chop the roasted leeks and onions, squeeze out the whole roasted garlic cloves and mix with grains. Crumble the cheese (you can use a firm feta to substitute if you want). Toss to incorporate all thoroughly. To serve, at room temp, grate Persian / dried lime!

*A NOTE ON GRAINS: Bob’s Red Mill heritage grains are killer. Use for best results!