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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

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Atlanta - 36 Hours

Posted: January 23, 2012
by: Mark Stine

A recent but brief 36 hour trip to Atlanta allowed me to tour my daughter’s college campus, Kennesaw State University, catching up on how her studies were going and to lay the groundwork for her last year, which entails a 6 week summer session in Montepulciano, Italy. I of course will be visiting her…another opportunity for travel /food blogs! Finally getting the chance to see where she has been spending her time on her studies was a fun experience and it was pleasantly mild early December day in the greater Atlanta area.

Lauren at Kennesaw University

An added bonus to the Atlanta trip was joint schedules coincided with long term friends Byron and Cheryl being in town and finally connecting in person for the first time in almost 4 years.
There was also another reason to celebrate at our dinner that night….Facebook.com had been abuzz for weeks with Byron’s exploits of making a “hole-in-one” on a recent golf outing. Some of the more humorous postings included:
I had a doctor's appointment this morning and when I checked in at the front desk, the receptionist asked me if there were any changes since my last visit. I pondered the question for a moment and then responded, "Why yes, there has been. I recently made my first hole-in-one!"
Byron's Hole in One

The famous shot at rest!

Yeserday I got an email from a wealthy man in Nigeria.wanting me to help him move his fortune out of the country and offered a big payment for my part in the plan. I replied and asked him how he got my name, and he said he heard about my hole-in-one!
For those of you who are not major golfers, suffice it to say this is one of the Holy Grails of golfing…and always a reason to celebrate. One thing I learned is that the lucky golfer who makes his or her “hole in one” has the privilege of paying for drinks for everyone in the club house bar. Byron’s good fortune continued…there were very few people in the bar!
Byron and Cheryl

Cheryl and Byron

Dining with the Galways is always a pleasure. Dinner that night was Moroccan Beef…wonderfully seasoned with great sides. Now just a little history…both Byron and Cheryl are major gourmands…even back in the early 80s (or was it the late 70’s??) Cheryl would pull a recipe out of the latest Southern Living magazine each month and whip up excellent dinners or desserts. I always looked forward to a new Southern Living magazine coming out!

Over the years Cheryl has amassed quite the collection of family (I think there are even some in there from Cheryl’s “Big Momma”) and personally acquired recipes from friends and other sources. With the computer age…and online websites like http://www.epicurean.com/ , keeping a recipe book or collection has become superfluous as chefs and amateur chefs alike digitize their collection.
Cheryl, who I might note works for Whole Foods in a marketing capacity, was concerned that her collection and recipe folder might ultimately fade from existence. So while scanning some of her cherished recipes, she happened on the idea of using the recipes and the recipe holder artwork as a “super graphic” art backdrop at selected Whole Foods.


First you scan….


Then…. a perfect back-drop for Southern Dining
Great ideas that can be implemented in your on home or kitchen…and if you stop in an Atlanta Whole Foods that features these recipe inspired back-drops ,,,now you know where they came from.
But back to our dinner…it was exceptionally tasty …with a great wine selection … and food inspired conversation.


Byron’s dinner Inspiration – Moroccan Beef

The Galways even had a custom spice cabinet built into their kitchen…a good investment for a couple that loves to cook.


The “deluxe” spice cabinet and yours truly

It was a memorable evening that brought “family” back together again and as we enter the early part of 2012 , I hope that you have an enjoyable year filled with family and friends and good dining. I was very pleased to have the chance to be with my daughter and Byron and Cheryl as the year came to a close. However, 2012 gives each of us the opportunity to create new adventures…try new recipes and dining spots and explore the world ! Happy New Year!!




2012: # 1 of a series: From One Meal To The Next

Posted: January 3, 2012
by: Dave, Edie & Simonetta

Our trip to Tuscany began as all our trips have, with research and more research. Experience has shown us that a thorough plan with a trip itinerary provides the foundation for a more enjoyable and relaxed trip. However, this year our research took us "outside the box" of traditional tour guide books to books such as” A Culinary Traveler in Tuscany" by Beth Elon among others.

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As we read and studied our books, we noted with particular interest the author's mention of local osterias and trattorias in the many hilltop and seaside villages of Tuscany. As our research continued, we found that our itinerary was being developed based on places where we thought we might like to eat. The more we researched, the more anxious we became to start our trip. Our taste buds longed to savor the flavors of authentic traditional Tuscan cooking. And so begins this, the first in a series of blogs designed to share with you our joy as we ate our way through Tuscany "from one meal to the next".

The flight was smooth and we touched down at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport right on schedule. Having cleared customs and picked up our rental car, we headed up the A -12 on our way to Sovana, a medieval village in southern Tuscany. The village itself is small and is home to two interesting churches: St. Maria and the cathedral of Santi Pietro e Paolo. These are a "must see" if you visit this wonderful village. Sovana is also home to the first eating stop on this year's trip, Taverna Etrusca.

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But, before the long anticipated evening meal, a riposo was in order to be followed by a visit to the neighboring town of Sorano, an ancient Etruscan settlement sitting high on a tufa ledge. The drive to Sorano was a welcome challenge, with breathtaking roads cut through tufa rock complete with Etruscan tombs and arched niches for urns and ashes. It was well worth a few "s" turns to visit this very beautiful village of arches, alleys and flowers.

Returning to Sovana, we enjoyed a walk around the village ending with dinner at the Taverna Etrusca.

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Facing the Piazza del Pretorio, the Taverna welcomes its visitors to a warm and comfortable dining area. Though renovated, the charm and authentic atmosphere of the medieval period of history has been maintained. The restaurant participates in the '0 km" project, which means they buy local food stuffs whenever possible, assuring freshness and the best local ingredients.


Having been seated at a comfortable table for two, we began our perusal of the menu as we enjoyed a delightful puree of potato served in a martini glass. Blended with tasty herbs it was a delightful preparation for the marvelous culinary adventure we were about to take. The menu provided a multiplicity of choices. Our waiter demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the menu as he answered our questions about various selections.

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Our decisions were difficult because there were too many good items from which to choose. After what seemed like forever we were ready to order. Edie chose gnudi con tartufi neri. Gnudi is considered by some to be a type of gnocchi, while others describe it as “the filling without the ravioli”. The ingredients in this gnudi were ricotta cheese, spinach and a little flour. A delicious sauce of delicate herbs completed this fantastic dish. I ordered pici (farro) al maremmeno served con ragu al cinghiale e scorza d'arancia caramellate. Pici is thick rolled pasta sort of like fat spaghetti, made with faro flower and in this case served with wild boar sauce with caramelized orange zest. This dish is considered to be a local variation of pasta con cinghiale served in the Maremma region of Tuscany. To complement our dinner choices, we ordered a bottle of a bianco di Pitigliano (a white wine from the nearby community of Pitigliano). The perfectly cooked al dente pasta was showcased in sauces which featured tastefully combined herbs and spices. For the contorni, we shared a serving of spinachi con bianco uva passa and pinoli (spinach with white raisins and pine nuts).To satisfy our sweet tooth, for dolce, we concluded diner with crema cotta con cardamom agrumi con carmella crocante; an absolute delight for our taste buds.

We capped the evening with a relaxing stroll through the village as we listened to the singing of the birds and the tolling of the church bells. It was a sweet serenade to the end of a perfect day in Tuscany. The adventure would continue the next morning with a trip over country roads through the Maremma to the coast and then north to the city of Viareggio on our way “from one meal to the next”.

Buon Appetito
Edie and Dave