Blogs > News-Herald Food and Travel

Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Here's how you'll be snacking

Those who attended the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo at the recent National Restaurant Show in Chicago are filling me in on what they found there. In fact compiled a list of snack food trends it spotted.
Here are some of the snacks and sweets the website says you’ll probably be able to buy soon:
1.Milk straws — they’re recyclable plastic straws filled with candy beads that are sucked up and flavor milk.
2. Antioxidant mix: The Gourmet Nut company has packaged together pecans, walnuts, goji berries, blueberries and cranberries with organic dark chocolate. Emerald Nuts showcased a Breakfast on the Go with a nut and granola mix in three flavors.
3. Wine and chocolate made its impact with a chocolate sculpted grape cluster serving as wine glass charm, fruit chocolates , and a wine-bottle shaped box of 12 chocolates complete with a wine bottle bag.
4. Fig Newton Fruit Thins is a thin cookie without the soft inner filling but it’s got 8 grams of whole grain and is supposed to taste good, too.
5. Jelly Belly will debut dark chocolate mint covered jellybeans in July .
6. Strawberry Fields Tic Tac is a new flavor that will come out in December.
7. Granny Carol’s Yummie Crunch is yogurt covered cranberries and peanuts with a pleasant crunch.
8. Smurfs hard candy lollipop. With a new Smurfs movie coming out later this year, these cute blue lollipops could be a trend that stays around after the movie is gone.
9 Trident Vitality is a chewing gum enhanced with beneficial ingredients such as green tea, ginseng and Vitamin C.
10. Ghirardelli is coming out with a new dark chocolate with sea salt and roasted almonds.

Friday, June 17, 2011

World's most beautiful voyage

It's a voyage I took in early September a decade ago, partly to see where my Norwegian ancestors came from. Its possible my story could be found in the newspaper's archives but at the time it got lost in the shuffle of the events of 9-11. I returned to the states from Oslo on Sept 10 and admired the Twin Towers on that very clear day as my Cleveland flight departed New York City.
My voyage along the coast of Norway south to Bergen from the border with Russia passed through some of the most spectaculae scenery in the world.
The Hurtigruten shipping line is the only connection between some remote villages along that coast and it stops day and night to deliver all manner of supplies, from grain to tires. It also carries passengers wishing to travel among ports not connected by road or rail lines. Passengers like me who come for multi-day voyages are housed in comfortable cabins. Since there's no way for passengers to know how long the ship will be in port, shore excursions are organized in which a motor coach meets the ship, takes passengers to see the sights and returns the passengers to the ship at a later port. It all works beautifully so during my voyage I was able to visit the North Cape and many other places, including the Loftoton Islands above the Arctic Circle. My ancestors sailed from there in the 1840s, eventually settling in Minnesota.
Now, thanks to the miracles of live streaming, you can see some of the same amazing sights I saw. Multiple cameras were set up around the 691-passenger MS Nordnorge for the voyage going on right now and the state broadcaster is running it live for 134 hours starting Thursday, June 16. You will certainly be able to see the midnight. This voyage goes north from Bergen to Kirkenes, high above the Arctic Circle, with a total of 34 ports of call. It's just the opposite of the voyage I took.
The link to the live feed is So have a look and let me know what you think.
If there is interest enough I'll see if I can find that 10 year old story and run it again. I doubt the coast has changed much.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's flower time, finally!

Gardens in June are bursting into glorious bloom, although the early spring gave many of us fits. The oak trees on my acre yard in Mentor dropped thousands (millions?) of acorns last fall, foiling our barefoot forays onto the patio. So now I've got a forest of oaks threatening to grow and must get to pulling up those seedlings before I have to use a chain saw.
I'd be pretty intimidated opening my garden to strangers, but the Madison Garden Club has recruited those who have some of the area's nicest gardens for its June 26 show. I talked to them for a story that's running on Monday and filled it with some of their tips for other gardeners.The story also will run with a video of my own garden which is pitiful by comparison but a place we love in the summer.
The photo here is not me in my garden (I wish!) but was taken in Crested Butte Colorado a few years back when we attended the mid-July wildflower festival Wildflowers in the surrounding mountains grow in such abundance that folks come from all over the world to study them. The expected columbines are found there but many are flowers I couldn't identify, including fields where they actually grow chin high.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day One: Family fun in Indiana - on our way

My family began our adventure to Santa Claus, Indiana with hopes of a great trip for my sons 2, and 4.
However, for the first hour we had our doubts.
During a our six-hour trek to Louisville, our first overnight stop, we had an encounter with police officer in Ohio. He informed us of our expired tags, but no worries, the tags were in the car, we just forgotten to put them on.
The next five-hours was a breeze as we traveled through the cities of Columbus, Cincinnati, and then finally reaching Louisville.
To keep Friday low-key for the kids, we decided to stop in Clarksville, Ind.
We decided to celebrate National Ice Cream Month early, which usually takes place in July, and found Zesto's Ice Cream. The outdoor stands best feature, besides the tasty soft serve cones, was good prices. We got baby cones, which was just enough to cool down in the 90 degree heat.
Finding a good book isn't easy sometimes, but the Green Tree Mall in Clarksville offers many choices.
They have two book stores in the mall, Books-A-Million or Waldenbooks.
Books-A-Million, the third largest book retailer, according to their website, had a vast selection for all types of readers. Shoppers can enjoy Joe Muggs coffee shop and a Yogurt Mountain cafe if you get tired or hungry of reading all the titles.
The mall and Zesto's is all in the same area of East Lewis and Clark Parkway as well as Bass Pro Shop, the hunting and fishing chain.
My boys, especially my four-year-old loved the large aquarium as well as the hunting exercise, which children (or adults) can walk the different hunting stations to try to shoot the game targets such as turkey and deer. My son wanted to hit the mechanical lion that came out of the bush, but we didn't have any change.

I will be posting some other thoughts on Saturday and Sunday's trip in Santa Claus, Indiana this week.

Angela Gartner

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Garden gnomes inspire stories, concerns

The Alice in Wonderland inspired gnome that a Mentor woman created for the Gnome and Garden exhibit opening Sunday at Holden Arboretum in Kirtland is filled with detail. Kelly Stamblesky-Smith says she had never painted on fiberglass before and the process gave her fits. She blogged about the work as she added little playing cards to the gnome's beard, placed a hookah in his hand and poised a caterpillar on his foot. You can read about her efforts at
That's also the name she works under selling here handcrafted ornaments and other creations on Etsy, the website that's been a boon for artists and crafters wishing to sell the things they make.
Kelly's story is just one of many among the artists who put their skills to work creating the 20 gnomes that will be the heart of this summer-long exhibit at the Holden Arboretum.
She knew about the widespread prank framed around stealing garden gnomes and taking their photo in places all around the world, then returning the gnome with the photos. The idea came from the 2001 movie "Amelie," which featured a globe-trotting gnome. "Although he is awkward to move, he only weighs about 40 pounds," she said.
When I asked the Holden Arboretum how it will protect its gnomes, I was told they'd each be firmly anchored in concrete buried underground.
The gnomes will be hidden among the arboretum's landscape features all summer then will go to their sponsors for display where they choose. Be sure to catch the Gnome and Garden show at the Arboretum in Kirltand.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Report cards A yields discount

Punderson State Park in closeby Newbury makes a wonderful when time is short but an escape is needed. And if your student brings home a report card with A's bring it along and you'll get a discount on your lodge room.
The Ohio State Park Lodges’ discounts for kids' good grades is now in its third year. T The popular program, called Stays 4 A’s, allows students with A’s on their report cards to transform those A’s into lodge room discounts.

Each A is worth a discount of $10 off the published rate per room per night up to five A’s or $50. Families need only show their star students’ report cards at check-in to earn the discount. One report card per room may be applied for the discount, and families must present the original report card upon check-in.
It's in force at several state park lodges this summer and one of them will welcome its 1000th participant. That person will get a gift basket with a certificate for a future one-night stay at any Ohio State Park Lodge, products from the lodge gift shop, a free dinner with dessert for the pupil and his or her family and a complimentary lodge activity for the family. Activities vary and could include free use of bicycles, geocaching units and canoes or kayaks as well as tokens for game rooms or a round of golfget more information online at and use the promo code “Stay4A.” Get more information at 1-800-282-7275.