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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

That giant 538 passenger airplane

I first realized that there are many aircraft fans after I wrote about traveling aboard the Airbus 380 from Washington Dulles Airport to Paris in May. The huge double level airship was unlike anything I'd ever flown before. From my seat over the wing  the wingspan looked as long as a football field. But the flight  was comfortable and shaved about a half hour off the time. Its 25-member flight crew looked like a field trip as they filed aboard.
.Lots of people must have read my blog at because  hardly a day has passed since then that someone hasn't mentioned it or emailed me.
My own nephew visited Airbus City near Toulouse, birthplace of the Concorde, and now home to the A380 assembly lines. He was among the 120,000 people who visit the factory in the south of France each year to get a behind-the-scenes look at the technicians and engineers busy at work on the largest aircraft ever constructed. It's a realm of huge white hangars, giant fuselages and landing gears, design labs and more. After Sept. 2 the Heritage Tour, which includes a Concorde and a Caravelle, will be discontinued while a new museum is completed. Called Aeroscopia,  it is scheduled to open in 2014. Those who visit now get a choice of several tours including one that gives a chance to walk aboard a mockup A380 and provides a bird's eye view of the entire 125-acre site. Tours are priced differently, depending on what you choose, and reservations are required. 
Click English at the top right hand corner of its website at www.manatour to see how the future is playing out.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Connections: France, Quebec, Highland Heights

For more than 300 years St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec City has been a place where healing miracles occurred.

One of the reasons I am so enamored of travel is that it overlaps every aspect of life and also my writing for the News-Herald.

Example: In my quest to make recommendations for a friend's three city road trip between Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, I remembered my last trip to Quebec City which included a visit to St. Anne de Beaupre, a large church just outside the city which is known for amazing cures of  blindness and crippling diseases.(see photo) It dates from the 1600s and has relics of St Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. Relics are pieces of bone and it is those relics that are credited with the many cures, which have been documented through the years.

Because I also write stories for the newspaper's religion page, I was was working on a story about the St. Ann's Shrine in Highland Heights, where another relic of St. Ann resides. It will be venerated in a three day celebration next week at the local church. (See Saturday's Religion page)

Turns out the bone from St. Ann's forearm came from another bone that was among three St. Ann relics at the Quebec church, so I thought I would do a little digging (pardon the pun) to find out where they came from originally. After all, St Anne must have lived an awfully long time ago to be the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus.

Carcassonne is an ancient French city I'm writing about for Travel from which a relic of St. Anne was brought to St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec in 1670.

Research on several different websites revealed that the first relic of St. Ann came to the Quebec church from Carcassonne, an amazing walled city in France (see photo here)  that I visited a month ago and which I am also in the process of writing about for the Aug. 12 travel section. But the St Ann relic at the local shrine came by way of Rome, where it was housed in a church called St Paul Outside the Walls, begun long ago by the Emperor Constantine near the Vatican.

To me these connections are nothing short of amazing, but, in truth, they happen all the time.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, oh my!

I've been asked to make recommendations for Must Dos  in all three cities. Toronto is easy because I was just there (CN Tower, Toronto Islands, Hockey Hall of Fame) but the others present a dilemma.. The Old Town parts of both cities are fabulous. But for me it's been awhile. Any suggestions out there? 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

#WFMwine Twitter wine tasting

Below, find the tweets from those participating in the Whole Foods Market Twitter wine tasting, which begins at 8 p.m. Learn more about the tasting on the previous post Twitter tasting Thursday.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Twitter tasting Thursday

A wine tasting sponsored by Whole Foods Market is set for  Thursday and those taking part will tweet their responses to the wines and the foods they think will go best with the three wines being tasted. The wines, two whites and a red, are Kyklos Moscofilero, a straw-colored wine from Greece; Yalumba Christobel's Eden Valley Riesling from Australia and Pallas Tempranillo by Jorge Ordonez from Spain.

I haven't done enough with Twitter to consider myself accomplished in this social media, but I've gathered some friends who will bring their laptops to a central spot with a wi-fi connection and we'll be tasting and tweeting starting at 8 p.m. on Thursday. It should be interesting and is perhaps a great new way to share tasting notes with other like-minded people

Whole Food Market has bought the entire vintage of these wines, so if you want to join in and tweet your own responses to them, head there to pick up a few bottles.

Go to for more information about the Twitter tasting and use hashtag #WFMwine to follow the conversation.

It should be interesting.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Johnnycake baking skills sought

The original johnnycake helped settlers survive, but today it's a road and a race.

Scouts and others who cook outdoors may wish to polish up their johnnycake making skills and enter a contest being sponsored by the Lake County History Center.

Scene from a 2011 Civil War encampment
Johnnycake plays a time-honored role in Lake County as the name of a highway, a golf course and a race. But in the early 1800s it was a staple food that could be made en route by settlers coming to this area. The combination of corn meal. flour, milk and butter typically was cooked in a lidded cast iron pan with hot coals underneath and on top of the lid. It could harden without spoiling and be made more palatable by softening with liquid.

Those who have been on a field trip to the History Center's Pioneer School learned how to make johnnycake the old time way.

The contest, which the history center hopes to make into a summertime tradition,  takes place on Saturday July 14 at the start of  a living history weekend devoted to the Civil War. Adults teams of three and youth teams of four (which can include two adults) will prepare their johnnycake outdoors, bringing a grill for coals, and use a cast iron pan for the job. Winners will be awarded cash prizes and gift cards.

Things get started with prep work at 9:30 a.m. in the history center kitchen and conclude with the judging at 11:30 a.m. by none other than President Lincoln, General Grant and General Casement, who all have roles in the weekend history event at 415 Riverside Drive in Painesville Township..

To register, learn about entry fees and other specifics call  the history center at 440-639-2945.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

South of France coming Sunday

Lounging with a newspaper is a Sunday morning pasttime in the south of France, where this was shot at the Domaine des Clos.8n

Discovering why wine tastes how it does in the south of France and Columbus Ohio as a great art venue are some of the things you'll read about on Sunday, when the July Travel section arrives with your morning paper. In keeping with the News-Herald's digital first mantra, those who view it online at not only will get to see it on Saturday but will gets lots more content, such as an interactive map.

Salmon wrapped in kale with a side of carrots and olives.

Roman buildings more than 2,000 years old are backdrops in the small city of Nimes.

Ann Collard shows a bank of soil that contains seashells from the long ago times that her vineyard was at the bottom of today's Mediterranean Sea.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cold dinner heats up taste buds

Chef Brian Rosander addresses the diners at the Velvet Tango Lounge Monday before they taste his chilled pea bisque. The special event was put on by the area group Emerging Chefs. (Photo by Jeannene Mathis-Bertosa)

Chef Brian Rosander's chicken mousseline was topped with a succulent and sweet tomato tarte tatin. (Photo by Jeannene Mathis-Bertosa)
Hello there, City Editor John Bertosa here, and when I was attending Kent State University, my typical lunch on a Saturday or Sunday was cold pizza.
Now, I think I know what the students at Harvard or Yale might eat on a weekend afternoon.
Chef Brian Rosander, who attended ICASI and has gone on to start Rosander Event Kitchen, put on a five-course meal using traditional French techniques and dishes. What made this stand out was that every course was served cold, or even chilled.
“It stops and make you think about what you’re eating instead of just the sharp flavors,” said Rosander, explaining his reasoning for presenting an all-cold meal to about 90 people at the Velvet Tango Lounge, which is nestled in between the trendy dining scenes of W. 25th Street and the Tremont neighborhood in Cleveland.
It was the latest in a series of special event dinners put on by a Cleveland group called Emerging Chefs. Check out my blog entry on another of their events which was held in an old Cleveland cemetery last October.
The first course was a chilled pea bisque, done simply with some crab meat and drizzled oil. I appreciated that it didn’t have an in-your-face taste of the vegetable (ahh yes, he did talk about not having the sharper flavors of a heated dish) and the crab meat was a nice compliment while not stealing the show.
Next came several sausages and potatoes - both mashed and roasted. Having cold potatoes isn’t something I’m used to but the a diner could appreciate the slight seasoning on them that would have been lost if they were hot.
Next came  a chicken mousseline and the best part of the meal - a tomato tarte tatin.
I hate the texture of tomatoes but this one was sauted (or was it stewed?) so it was very delicate yet still juicy and I also normally dislike the flavor of them but this was done with caramel and red wine, giving it a very sweet taste. That boosted the cold chicken much like the more pedestrian hot sauce and chicken combo.
The fourth course was a pastry promising pork belly and fruit. I didn’t taste of the pork but the pastry was very well done, “eggy” in a good way. I don’t think I would have picked up on these tastes if it was served hot.
And lastly there was an amazing dessert -- a custard-like cream with a chocolate ganache and gingered fruit. Both the cream and chocolate had rosemary in them which kept the dessert from being too sweet.
So, doesn’t sound exactly like cold pizza in the afternoon does it?