Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tweet your way to Chile

Is travel a passion?
Do you use Twitter like it's your job?
Do you like to travel, explore, drink wine and dine?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then Tweet, Tweet, Chile is for you. To celebrate Chile's 200th birthday, the Wines of Chile Experience is sending one lucky winner and a friend on a dream trip to the diverse and expansive wine regions of Chile; applicants are asked to create their ideal seven-day itinerary and describe how they will use Twitter to share their thoughts and experiences with the world. The top five submissions will be put to public vote--but only one can win.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for someone with a passion for wine, an interest in exotic cuisine, and a desire to travel to one of the most beautiful and unique countries in the world.

Read my story of my trip

Interested wine buffs may visit to apply.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Halloween Horror Dinner in Hong Kong

Halloween Dinner with Horror
28 – 31 October 2010

Halloween is a time for ghosts and disguises and this Halloween the well known Italian coffee brand – CAFFÈ VERGNANO 1882 is also disguising itself into a ghost restaurant, amazing you with delicious food and an interesting horrifying atmosphere.

CAFFÈ VERGNANO 1882 has prepared a delectable 3–course set menu, to start this thrilling Halloween adventure, you can choose between –

Vampire Blood Soup, beetroot soup with bacon, lemon juice and fennel and with flying bats – baked grissini – a delicious soup that arouses your appetite with its refreshing sourness;
Monster Heart Salad, a heart shaped vegetable salad of bell pepper, chickpea and mashed eggplant – the bell pepper seasoned by vinegar and on the outside, chickpea and mashed eggplant pate, garlic, lemon juice, thyme and basil.

The highlight of the Halloween dinner no doubt is the main course and the four choices will bring different excitement to the menu –

Midnight Pasta, squid ink pasta with zucchini – the Executive Chef prepares this otherworldly dish fresh to order. The al dente pasta is bewitched by black squid ink, haunting it with authentic Italian flavor and then is possessed with sautéed Halloween themed zucchini. It's frighteningly good!

The Wild Beast, roasted lamb chop with Italian ham and asparagus roll – red wine reduction roasted lamb chop and delicious Italian ham and asparagus roll, served with beef reduction flavored potato mash, presented in the shape of a spider;

The Mummy, scallop chicken breast bacon roll with cous cous – features a corpse of fresh Japanese scallop and juicy American chicken breast rolled and pan-fried with bacon, lying on a sand ground of healthy cous cous, topped with barbecue sauce of red wine, orange juice, butter and cream;

Black Sea Pizza, seafood ink pizza – squid ink crispy pizza topped with squid, tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella and parmesan cheese, a simple yet tasteful combination.

The perfect finale to the Halloween Dinner with Horror adventure –

Bloody Eye Ball, passion fruit macaroon with pumpkin mousse, shredded coconut chocolate and raspberry sauce – passion fruit macaroon made with painstaking care, the tastes of passion fruit and pumpkin cream match surprisingly well, added gradations of sweetness with shredded coconut chocolate.

In Hong Kong, CAFFÈ VERGNANO 1882 ( outlets are at:
Shop UG221, The ONE, 100 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (Tel: 2907 3817)
Shop 1021A, Elements, 1 Austin Road, West Kowloon (Tel: 2196 8340)

CAFFÈ VERGNANO 1882 Halloween
Three-Course Set Dinner Menu
(28 – 31 October 2010)

Vampire Blood Soup
(beetroot soup with bacon, lemon juice and fennel and with flying bats)
Monster Heart Salad
(a heart shaped vegetable salad of bell pepper, chickpea and mashed eggplant)

Main Course
Midnight Night Pasta
(squid ink pasta with zucchini)
The Wild Beast
(roasted lamb chop with Italian ham and asparagus roll)
The Mummy
(scallop chicken breast bacon roll with cous cous)
Black Sea Pizza
(seafood ink pizza)

Bloody Eye Ball
(passion fruit macaroon with pumpkin mousse, shredded coconut chocolate
and raspberry sauce)

Coffee or Tea

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I was asked to judge this BBQ contest

27th International Bar-B-Que Cookoff
Oct 9th-10th 2010
Barbeque smoke will fill the air for two days in five different competitions during the 27th Annual International Bar-B-Que Cookers Association Cookoff on Saturday and Sunday, October 9 - 10 at Traders Village in Grand Prairie.

This is one of the largest BBQ events in Texas and this year’s event is expected to be even larger. Over 100 cookers will prepare over 600 judging samples, in the two days of competition. Thousands of dollars in prize money will attract BBQ cooks from across the state and beyond. The event is free to the public both days, with only a $3.00 parking fee.

Saturday, October 9, will have the following lineup of BBQ competition: The Obie-Cue Backyard BBQ Championship, the International Bar-B-Que Cookers Association Invitational, Jackpot Beans and a kid’s cookoff. The Obie-Cue event is open to anyone with a patio, or backyard grill or smoker and will offer Obie-Cues Texas Spice products and $1,000.00 in prize money. The International Bar-B-Que Cookers Association (IBCA) Invitational is for this year’s I.B.C.A. season qualifiers (by invitations only).

Sunday, October 10, will feature the I.B.C.A. Championship Cookoff, with judging in beef brisket, pork ribs, and chicken. Winners in the Sunday competition will receive cash prizes, unique awards and I.B.C.A. bonus cash money.

The Traders Village event has always been a popular contest for first-time cookers attracted to the “backyarder chicken” category. It’s an event that allows anyone who wants to “get their feet wet” in the world of BBQ competition to do so with a minimum of equipment and expense. Weekend patio chefs with a secret recipe for chicken will really shine at this cookoff.

Entry fees from the Obie-Cue event ($25 per cooker) will be donated to the “KASH FOR KIDS” charity. Last years' entry fees and raffle items generated $4,000, which was donated to help make Christmas more joyful for needy children in Tarrant county.

The barbeque cooks and their cooking devices are a show in themselves at this culinary event. The serious beef barons will showcase custom-made, unique traveling pits with individual touches of creativity to suit the owner’s taste. While the cooking competition can become serious, the atmosphere and camaraderie will be strictly fun-filled recreation.

Cookoff visitors will get a firsthand look at how seriously barbequers take their cooking and their fun. You can look, smell and often taste. If you ask when a team isn’t busy preparing an entry for the judges, you can get some practical tips on how to improve your home barbeque cooking skills.

With the large number of cooks expected at this years event, there will be a need for many judges. The public is invited to sign up, at the cookoff judging area, for a free chance to judge the BBQ competition.

Traders Village is located at 2602 Mayfield Road, Grand Prairie, one mile north of I-20, taking the Hwy. 360 exit. There is no admission charge to Traders Village, which is open every Saturday and Sunday, 8 AM to Dusk. Parking is only $3.00 per vehicle. For more information call 972-647-2331.

Send these Texans to Scotland

Dallas Men Finalist to Win Gay Commitment Ceremony in Scotland!

Guy and Craig's story was chosen from hundreds of entries as one of 8 finalists to win a trip to Scotland for a civil union ceremony.

It is now a popularity contest. These guys just need to receive more votes than the other finalist from all over the world.

Only takes a minute! Nothing to sign up for. Just follow the link and select Guy and Craig from the 8 finalists.

Click below to take you to the site then click on "Vote Now"

Deadline to vote is Sept 30 so do it now!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I work better when I am comfortable, too


Using sand as a cow bed instead of straw and remodeling their cow houses for improved comfort has increased milk production, says Farmer Garrick Hall of Hall Jersey’s in Cove, Utah in this month’s edition of Food Nutrition & Science. The September issue features an interview with Hall as part of its monthly article on how farming efforts directly relate to our food supply.

Phil Lempert, founder of Food Nutrition & Science and CEO of The Lempert Report and comments “It’s fascinating that a cow or any animal with improved comforts can increase profitability for a farmer and improve the quality of our food supply. This dialog is important to help us better understand the food chain and keep it thriving and safe.”

With more than 26,000 subscribers that are mostly retailers, Food Nutrition & Science is a free monthly newsletter with articles relating to retailers, manufacturers, farmers, nutritionists, educators, government agencies and more. It’s also a newsletter that services members of the National Grocer Association and offers breaking food news and articles on food safety and industry-wide green initiatives.

In addition to farming article about Hall, this month’s publication also features a study on consumer attitudes toward genetically modified foods. According to a study from Wageningen University in The Netherlands and published in Food Quality and Preference last month, consumer attitudes toward genetically modified products could be more favorable when driven by personally relevant benefits.

“The study found that acceptance of genetically modified food as a process increased with perceived personal benefits – in this case a reduction of allergic reactions to apples,” said Lempert. “With the increase in food allergies, perhaps people will be more open to genetically modified foods and this will certainly impact farmers, scientists, retailers and consumers.”

Other articles this month include research results of a study examining the purchasing behaviors of college students when food items were labeled indicating the products healthfulness; results from an Independent Grocers Survey detailing net profit margins; and an article on how to deal with picky eaters from Nutritionist Beth Stark.

For more information or to subscribe to Food Nutrition & Science, please visit

Read articles by Madelyn Miller at,,,,,,,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I need my car to drive to media Auto preview at the Texas State Fair

Protest World Car-Free Day -- Take a Drive (Just for the Hell of It)!
CEI Urges People to Celebrate ‘Automobility’

Here we go again – another year, another “World Car-Free Day,” the annual day (Wednesday, September 22) dedicated to life without the automobile. In response, the Competitive Enterprise Institute urges people to protest - by taking a drive, just because.

“The automobile has improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people in remarkable ways,” said Sam Kazman, CEI General Counsel. “It has taken the mobility once reserved for aristocrats and democratized it, immensely expanding the choices that average people have regarding where to live and work. Instead of pushing a misguided political agenda to reduce car use, we should be celebrating automobility,” said Kazman.

As University of Virginia philosophy professor Loren Lomasky noted in his automobile study for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Autonomy and Automobility, the car is one of the three most liberating technologies ever developed.

Walking and biking have health and lifestyle benefits for many people, but the sponsors of World Car-Free Day are going beyond simply advocating lifestyle changes - they are urging politicians to restrict car use and instead promote mass transit systems that will require ever-expanding taxpayer subsidies. In contrast to the photographs on various Car-Free Day websites, which show healthy young people in picture-perfect weather, advocates of car-free living ought to be portray what it would mean in more realistic conditions, such as:
• When it's raining
• When you’re carrying several bags of groceries
• When you’re carrying a baby, with a toddler alongside you
• On crutchesAfter midnight
• Without using a car or cab to get to the train or bus station
• Any combination of the above

For just a few reasons why I love cars see

Read Madelyn's stories on,,,,,,

Monday, September 20, 2010

Not a happy situation at Blue Man Group

Scary night at Blue Man Group. Great show..but suddenly, people started to chant 911. A man behind us seemed to be having a seizure or heart attack. It took a long time for anyone to respond because the show is so loud (they offer free ear plugs) People from audience carried him out. Woman with him pushed small pills ...down his throat. Worried about him the whole show--and the humor seemed trivial by contrast.

Are you supposed to meet new people at a Meetup?

I went to the ethnic foods meetup group for dim sum at Kirin Court. The group seems very well organized and plans gatherings at interesting places.
I had a very strange experience at this group. I joined a table of 7 people (there were three empty seats)
As I sat down, I said, “Hi, my name is Madelyn. Why don’t we all go around the table and introduce ourselves.”
A man who seemed to be an organizer said in reply, “we all know each other.”
I was stunned. No sense of welcome
Finally I said, “I don’t know you so I would like to know your names>’
The leader man said, “you start” (I am not sure he ever even said his name)

People did introduce themselves.
But what a strange greeting and memory of the first thing anyone said to you at a meetup.
Isn’t the idea to meet new people?

At the end, I thanked the girl sitting next to me and told her I appreciated her warmth after the chilly greeting.
She said she heard it and was surprised, too

A friendly man on the others side of me already sent me a nice note.

My bad introductions to the group was probably a reflection of one member.

But I think the group needs “greeters for new people. Or a table that is welcoming to new people and designated as such.
He made it sound like a high school clique that wasn’t letting in new members. Isn’t the name MEETUP indicative of a chance to meet new people?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My next career: Winemaker

My next career: Winemaker
by Madelyn Miller, the TravelLady

There is probably nowhere better to learn to be a winemaker than Chile: Wonderful climate, great grapes and an innovative state of mind that is based on tradition but open to experiment.

This innovative state of mind is best exemplified by the fact that I was given a chance to blend my own wine. Recently I explored wineries within 90 minutes of Santiago with a group of four other journalists, I was offered the opportunity to blend my own wine. Each of the other writers was definitely more knowledgeable, while I could barely spell and pronounce the varietals.

The process and procedure
Our first visit was to the amazing Undurraga Winery, one of the oldest winery in Chile that produces more than 20 million liters per year

After touring the grounds of Undurraga Wine of Chile, we went into a spacious room set with a table of beakers, funnels and four wines to create our own special blends.

First we tasted the Cabernet/Syrah Aliwen 2009 for inspiration. Actually, I did not find it very inspiring. It tasted weak and flat. I knew right away that I wanted to create something different. So perhaps it was inspirational in that it motivated me to do something different.

Then we tried out four varietal wines that would be the ingredients of our own personal blends. The 2010 Merlot was fruity, but had a leathery taste. The 2010 Carmenere was my favorite. I knew that it would be the major part of my blend. I hated the 2010 Syrah-- it had a sulphurous smell that I found very off-putting. I was certain it would not be part of my final product. The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon was pleasant, so I decided to go with a half and half blend of my two favorites.

My own winemaking technique

Everyone else deliberated greatly before filling their beaker with wine. I just poured both my wines right in. I was the first one done.

Just for fun, I asked the winemaker , Carlos Concha, to taste my wine. Obviously he has a sophisticated and sensitive palate, because he had the nicest things to say about my blend. In fact, the tasting notes for my wine were the most positive of the group.

Here is what Carlos had to say,” Nice aroma. Good fruit. Well-blended, spicy, smooth, silky, not dry. His only suggestion was that it needed more complexity. (I guess when it comes to wines, I may be simple minded. But then I only blended two wines—everyone else got more complex) Carlos acknowledged that there was lots of Carmenere.

At the bottom of my wine-blotted placemat, he wrote, “Congratulations. Nice Blend.” I felt that I had gotten an A on a very important paper. (insert jpg of his notes)

I didn’t just blend. I also got to bottle my own wine and name and label it.

I brought the wine home and am waiting for the perfect opportunity to share it.

Some perfect pairings with Undurraga

If you would like to try to simulate this experience at home, you can at least get the Undurraga wines and make dishes similar to the menu we enjoyed


Goat cheese Brochettes
Undurraga Brut Royal N.V.


Avocado Mousse on a Bed of Greens

T.H. Sauvignon Blanc Leyda 2009


Patagonian Lamb Chops in Morello Cherry Sauce
Served with Caramelized Onions
Quinoa and Fine Herbs Risotto
Altazor 2007


4 Course Dessert – Chilean Delights
Quince Mille Feuilles with Murtilla Sauce
Sopaipillas with Brown Molasses
Papaya Mousse
San Juan Little Pears in a Wine Sauce
Undurraga Late Harvest

More about the Winery
Don Francisco Undurraga, an enterprising man in the 19th century, was one of the pioneers of winemaking in Chile and founder of Viña Undurraga. With plants he brought over personally from France and Germany and under the supervision of the renowned French viticulturist M. Pressac, he developed the first vineyards in the Santa Ana Estate, which was named in honor of his wife Doña Ana Fernández Iñiguez. This estate, located in Talagante, 34 kilometers from Santiago, in the heart of the Maipo Valley, received its first plantations of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer in 1885 and by 1903, the first shipments were being made to the USA.

Phone: (56-2) 372-2900 Fax: (56-2) 372-2946 Url:

Address: Av. Vitacura 2939 piso 21, Vitacura, Santiago - Chile

Take a tour
It is easy to book a tour to Undugarra Winery. Depart from the hotel in Santiago and as you drive towards the Maipo Valley enjoy beautiful countryside landscape until you arrive at the Undurraga Winery. It was founded in 1885 and has been nurtured by five generations.

Admire the great park that this winery has with trees that are 150 years old or even more. Undurraga Winery produces more than 15 millions of litres per year in its 140 hectares, being one of the oldest and more important wineries in Chile.

It is an excellent tour for learning how the wines are produced and how the winery works, with the chance of tasting some of its final products.

Return to the hotel in Santiago.

- Entrance Fee
- Wine tasting
- Driver/guide

- Meals and drinks (unless specified)
- Tips and gratuities
- Personal expenses

For reservations, please contact the following numbers: (56-2) 372-2850 / (56-2) 372-2865. Or send an e-mail to

Other wineries to visit (all within about 90 minutes of Santiago)
Casas del Bosque:



Haras de Pirque:

Concha y Toro:

Winery at the top of my list for next time is Emiliana because they have a wine and chocolate tasting.

I did a tasting of their wines at Valley Nevado.

For More Information on Wines of Chile
Wines of Chile

Wines of Chile - Main Office - Chile
Phone: (56-2) 218 0600
Address: Luis Pasteur 5280, Oficina 402,
Vitacura, Santiago, Chile

Background reading to get Ready for your Trip
Red Grapes, Hidden treasures

THE CARMENERE WINES OF CHILE from the Cachapaol Valley


333 Places and Experiences that People Love

Madelyn Miller is a travel and food and wine writer who loved Chile.

Her fantasy is to a winemaker at a gorgeous estate winery. Read her stories on,,,,,,

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Most Marvelous meal: Partners in Pairing

I am a pampered princess. I stay in the best hotels, indulge in world class spas, taste foods prepared by top chefs, and enjoy meals accompanied by fine wines.

Last night was a new high. The invitation promised a meal paired with BOTH wine and tequila.And since it was at Abacus, one of my favorite restaurants in the world, how could I resist?

Michael MOndavi Family Wines and Tequila Partida Pairing dinner explored the surprising relationships between tequila and wine. While fine wine is long acknowledged to be an intergral part of he culinary experiences, both are created from painstakingly tended plants grown in a particular terroir and express a complex range of notes and flavors.

Culinary genius Kent Rathbun and his staff created an exceptional menu to pair with the wines and tequila. Everyone enjoyed he experience.

2008 I'M Isabel Mondavi Chardonnay
Tequila Partida Blanco

Roasted Oca-BBQ Lobster Sald
Waterpepper, Brazos Valley Brie

2006 I'm Isabel Pinot Noir
Tequila Partida Reposado

Curry Spiced Duck Breast
Crispy Saffron Rick Blocks, Lentil Demi, Ginger-Apricot Chutney

2006 Emblem "Rutherford" Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 M by Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon
Tequila Partida Anejoy

Almond Crust, Pomegranate-Cherry Chutney
Tequila Partida Elegante

I happily volunteer to continue testing this pairing experiment