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, July 13, 2011

Holden benefit raises money for education

The nearly 500 people who came to Holden Arboretum’s annual summer benefit enjoyed a perfect summer evening as they browsed among silent auction items, sipping, munching and  reconnecting.
More than $113,000 was raised to support Holden’s educational program, which are aimed at helping the next generation appreciate trees and green spaces while fostering kids’ physical and emotional health.
Called Gnomes at Woodland Twilight, the Saturday event honored three nursery families, all of whom have been instrumental in supporting the arboretum and greening the region. Honored were Tim and Sonia Brotzman; Bill and Nancy Hendricks and Gertrude, Karl, Karen and the late Ed Losely. In its name, the event paid tribute to the 20 five-foot tall garden gnomes painted by local artists and tucked into the various landscapes of the 3,600-acre Holden Arboretum.
The dinner, catered by Sammy’s, was  served at tables napped in yellow and green beneath a festive open sided white tent.
Silent auction items included an autographed Bob Feller baseball, a day’s trout fishing at a private club, tickets to the Browns vs. Ravens game in December, and lots of beautiful plants and landscaping services. Those attending browsed among them as servers  offered glasses of wine and appetizers.
Following dinner beneath the tent, auctioneer Bob Hale got work on the live auction. A dinner party for 20 donated by Willoughby caterer Culinare Pavane at Lantern Court was won with a $2,800 bid; a cocktail party in a custom built tree house donated by Bill and Kathy O’Neill went for $1,700 and four collectable wines earned $3,100 for the cause. Other live auction items included an escape to a five-bedroom vacation home in Cape Hatteras, a framed painting, custom portrait and two of the gnomes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A real deal to vacation with sharks

Swimming next to hammerhead sharks through an acrylic tube is probably my favorite waterslide in the world. The hammerheads seen here are all alone in the pool with one of the Atlantis hotels in the background.

Atlantis - the ocean themed resort in the Bahamas -is a popular destination for Northeast Ohioans. It's on Paradise Island and reached by a bridge from Nassau, a 2-1/2 hour flight from here.

The slide, called Serpent Slide, is just one of more than a dozen in the 141 acre waterscape around which the resort is built. Atlantis has several restaurants, the Caribbean's largest casino, and celebrity chefs presiding at a fine collection of gourmet restaurants. It's a great place for families or groups of friends who can afford it, because there are tons of activities and places where doing nothing has been elevated to high art.
Affording all this can be tricky.
But starting now and available for only two weeks is an opportunity to save more than 65 percent. Book before Jul 24 and get a room rate starting at $99 a night. You can travel between Aug 21 and Oct. 31 when summer will be just a memory here. Visit for a look at all the options.For reservations call your travel agent or 800 -ATLANTIS.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Port Dover dining on Ontario's south coast

Port Dover, one of several towns I visited while researching what's across Lake Erie from here, has a dining experience unlike any other. The Schneider family, who has run the Erie Beach Hotel for more than 60 years, has four restaurants there. None have changed much over the years. Perch and walleye, which the Canadians call pickerel, are the most popular entrees in all the restaurants. But in the Terrace Room, a wheeled salad cart attracts its share of attention. For the back, it looks like an aquarium but when your server wheels it tableside for you to help yourself you'll find food you may not have seen in years - or ever. I'd never seen either pickled pumpkin or horseradish salad and was at first reluctant to try them.
But they were really delicious and I got the recipes.
Read my story about the trip in Sunday Travel and pay your own visit if you can. It's only about 40 miles away and if you have a fast boat you can be there in about 3-1/2 hours. Or find it about 45 minutes drive from Niagara Falls. Make reservations, though, so you aren't disappointed. It's 519 583-2161.
Here are those recipes:
(Makes 5 to 6 pints pickles)
l5 to 6 pounds pumpkin, pared
1 pint white vinegar
3 pounds sugar
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 Tablespoon cinnamon stick, broken
2 pieces crystalized ginger.
Cut pumpkin into 1-inch cubes. Bring vinegar and sugar to boil and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Place cloves, cinnamon and ginger in a square of cheesecloth or bag. Add pumpkin and bring mixture back to a fast rolling boil. Boil over low heat exactly 25 minutes, stirring often. Remove spice bag. Place pumpkin in sterilized jars, pour vinegar syrup on top to completely cover and seal.

Dissolve one package lemon Jello in 1-1/2 cups of boiling water. Cool and when Jello starts to set stir in 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped stiff, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 4 Tablespoons of drained horseradish (use juice only)
Blend thoroughly and chill.