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May 2011 Archives

With the weather improving and Father's Day around the corner, what better way to bond with dad than a manly golf getaway? There are plenty of stellar courses around the globe offered in tandem with five star accommodations that include sightseeing, instruction, equipment and anything else you may need to make the weekend a success (whiskey, possibly?). So grab your 5 iron and get on the green at one of these top global destinations because improving your game will improve your drive (literally and figuratively).

Turnberry Resort- Scotland

Golf Green Island

Image by jurvetson via Flickr


Golf in Scotland was first recorded in the 15th century, where the modern game of golf was born. Home to the iconic Ailsa an Open Championship course four times over, Turnberry offers one of the world's great golfing experiences. Watson, Norman and Price have all won the famous Claret Jug here and in 2009, Stewart Cink added his name to that exclusive list following his play-off triumph over Tom Watson at the 138th Open - or British Open as known by Americans. Regarded as a "perfect play" course, the opening par 4 shot must be accurate as bunkers line both sides of the 1st fairway starting at 220 yards from the tee. Offering a special father-son tournament on June 19, compete as a team of two for £75.


Turnberry Ayrshire KA26 9LT · United Kingdom. +44.165.533.1000. http://www.turnberryresort.co.uk/


Augusta National Golf Club- Augusta, GA

 

Consistently rated the best course in the US by Golf Digest, this 18 hole course features 7,270 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. Regularly hosting the US Masters, one of the four major yearly tournaments, play like a champion on your golf getaway. Since the course first opened in 1933, it has been modified many times over by different architects, reshaped and rebuilding greens and tees, adding bunkers, extending water hazards and planting trees and mounds. The closest hotel is about a mile from the course, and local accommodations can be arranged through the local tourist bureau, http://www.augustaga.org/


http://www.masters.com/index.html


Pebble Beach Resorts- Pebble Beach, CA


Voted the World's Most Beautiful Course  by the PGA tour, living legends have stayed and played here. From Samuel F. B. Morse to Salvador Dali,Teddy Roosevelt to Charles Lindbergh, Sir Winston Churchill to Elizabeth Taylor, and Clark Gable to Bing Crosby, join the ranks of the superstars with a variety of scenic course options from Oceanside to rolling hills to Spanish Bay. History abounds, with Del Monte taking the title as the oldest course in continuous operation west of the Mississippi and Spyglass Hill taking inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel, Treasure Island. A variety of luxury accommodations include elegant lodges and Mediterranean estates to complete your retreat.


http://www.pebblebeach.com/


The American Club- Kohler, WI


Golf.com's Platinum Award for Best Resorts honors the finest in golf properties and accommodations. This year, the title goes to a little mid-America gem in the Dairy State. Also taking the honor of being the only 5 Diamond Resort in the Midwest, Kohler's four championship courses were designed by the legendary Hall of Fame architect Pete Dye. The scenic Blackwolf Run melds into a river basin formed by the flows of glacial runoff and has hosted the U.S. Women's Open and the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf. Also on site is the famed Kohler Water Spa, with innovative hydrotherapy treatments that stimulate the body through sensory contrast. Perfect for a little R&R after your game.

 

419 Highland Dr. Kohler, WI 53044. 800-344-2838. http://www.americanclubresort.com/index.html


Paradisus Palma Real Resort- Dominican Republic


Golf is one of the Dominican Republic's top attractions as a result of their beautiful waterfront courses, varied terrain, and perfect year round weather. Designed by six-time Spanish Champion, José Pepe Gancedo, this beautiful Punta Cana course is flawlessly blended into the surrounding Dominican countryside providing interesting and unique challenges at every hole. The utilization of four sets of tees provides low-handicapped golfers with a course of great challenge, while beginners and intermediate players can continually improve their game in a player-friendly environment. Looking to learn? The Meliá Golf Academy pairs students up with some of the great pros from the Silver Sands Academy.


Playa de Bavaro, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. 888.741.5600. http://www.paradisuspalmareal.com/

As much as we all love greasy Chinese take-out, some advice that your fortune cookie is not going to tell you: if you want to get a taste of authentic China cuisine, you need to go straight to the source. Most Westerners are only familiar with Cantonese cooking, but there are actually eight major styles of influence of China cuisine. Seize the opportunity to explore the diverse tastes of China across the many culinary and regional variations.  Here are some of our favorites, and what makes each so uniquely delectable. 


Guangdong (Cantonese)dimsum.jpg


Cantonese, the most common type of China cuisine originated in the Canton region of Southern China, is known for its fresh ingredients and light, simple spices such as ginger, white pepper, soy sauce, and spring onion.  This fertile region's proximity to the sea allows Cantonese food to boast a wide variety of ingredients.  Cantonese fare is famous for Dim Sum, a meal consisting of small, single-portion dishes that are generally either sweet or salty.  If you are going out for Dim Sum in China, don't be afraid to stray away from the familiar fried foods available at your local Chinese restaurant.  You might discover something different and truly delicious, like Chang Fen--a four-inch wide noodle with shrimp and mushrooms in a tasty brown sauce.


Fujian


Fujian cuisine is known for its tender, flavorful, and light dishes served mainly in soup.  The Fujian province is located on the Southern coast of China making the regional cuisine renowned for its choice seafood.  Fine slicing techniques are essential to proper food preparation, as they are said to enhance the delicate flavors of seafood.  The most famous regional dish is Fo Tiao Qiang, or "The Buddha Jumps Over the Wall," which contains a number of unusual ingredients including pigeon egg, shark fin, and sea slug.  Legend has it that its delicious odor caused a monk to forget his vegetarian vows and leap over a wall to sample some, earning the dish its intriguing name.


Hunan


Typical Hunan dishes are known for their rich color and generous use of oil and spices, especially chili peppers.  In the agriculturally fertile Hunan region, which lies on the southern bank of the Yangtze River, ingredients can vary widely.  However, you are apt to find that seafood and rice are staples, frequently accented by chilies, garlic, and shallots.  Hunan food is also known for contrasting sweet and sour flavors, delightfully demonstrated by Hunan spicy beef with vegetables, which combines tangy citrus and ginger with chili paste.  Take advantage of being in the "land of fish and rice" by sampling something aquatic, like spicy frog legs, or stick to the Dong'an chicken--a regional specialty consisting of stir-fried chicken and vegetables served with a generous amount of chili peppers.


Szechuan (Sichuan)


Like Hunan dishes, Sichuan cuisine places a heavy emphasis on pungent flavors and spices.  Both prickly ash and chili pepper are frequently used to produce the notoriously strong flavors of Sichuan food, which also commonly contains meat and wild vegetables.  If you are feeling brave, try Ma-La--meaning numbing and spicy-- a sauce unique to the region that truly lives up to its name.  The numbing sensation is caused by Sichuanese peppercorn, which is one of several spicy ingredients.  We also recommend you also try a Hot Pot, which is sometimes referred to as Chinese fondue.  Dip fresh vegetables, meats, seafood, and dumplings into a pot of simmering broth for a fresh cooking experience. 


Dongbei


The food of the Northeast, also known as Dongbei, is a garlic lover's fantasy.  The regions rich and warm food has been overlooked as "unrefined" in the past, as it is arguably not fully Chinese. With the Dongbei province bordering Mongolia, Russia, and Korea, the region's cuisine is evidence of some serious cultural intermingling.  Rice is expensive and scarce in the Dongbei region, and so the dishes are traditionally heavy in noodles, dumplings, and bread.  If you are looking for a signature dish, try the "Di San Xian," or "Three Fresh Things From the Earth." Comprised of eggplant, potatoes, and green peppers fried with garlic and vinegar, this vegetarian meal is popular among locals and visitors alike. 


Xinjiang


Muslim culinary traditions are featured prominently in the food of the Northwestern province of Xinjiang.  Expect to find heavily spiced meat, potatoes, and a type of bread called naan--most familiarly an Indian staple.  The province is known for its delectable noodles, and many of the best noodle restaurants throughout China are operated by people hailing from Xinjiang.  Signature dishes include hand pulled noodles called la mian (or ramen, in Japanese).  Dao Shao Mian--sliced noodles--are rapidly cut from a hunk of dough right before your eyes.


Mongolia


Despite its size, the Inner Mongolia region of China is sparsely populated--by humans, that is. Its fertile grasslands are ideal for herding multitudes of cattle, camels, and yaks, making Mongolian food heavy in meat and dairy products and shares similarities with the neighboring Xinjiang district.  If you venture to this region, you are likely to encounter a broad array of mutton dishes.  One of the most popular meals is Buuz, or mutton dumplings, which are prepared by the thousand for Tsagaan Sar, the Mongolian New Year celebration.  Salted tea milk is a local drink, commonly consumed with meals, which blurs the distinction between beverage and soup.  Don't be afraid to get adventurous--you may want to try horsemeat, which is widely available, and airag, the national drink of choice made from the fermented milk of a mare (and yes, that is a horse!). 


by Dorothy MacAusland, Contributing Author

Argentina's Independence Day is celebrated on May 25th every year, the people of Argentina take to the streets and participate in everything from marches and concerts to public rallies and meetings to celebrate May Revolution Day or Dia de la Revolucion de Mayo. The week prior is known as May Week and is used to argentina.jpgremember the time from May 18 to 25, 1810, when the sequence of political happenings triggered the May Revolution and ultimately helped Argentina achieve its independence from Spain. The official day of celebration on the 25th is also known as National Day since it marks the bicentenary of the first national government in Argentina after achieving independence from the Spanish rulers. 



The majority of public transportation services are available free of cost during the occasion for those who want to watch the festivities. Events usually start at noon and go late into the evening. It is mandatory for government representatives to be present at the festivities and deliver speeches. Special services are also conducted at the churches and plays are staged in the Colon Theater in the capital city of Buenos Aires. Just as Americans celebrate the Fourth of July with barbeques and family meals, Argentinians prepare traditional cuisine on the day in acknowledgement of their ancestors who made it through the revolution.


The May revolution was a succession of historical and societal happenings that occurred in Buenos Aires, which resulted in the creation of the oldest non-Spanish government in the nation. Buenos Aires was the capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a colony of the Spanish Empire, which included the present-day nations of Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The middle and upper-middle class Argentinian citizens rebelled against the Spanish-controlled government and ousted Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros to finally establish a self-governing administration on May 25, 1810, now called Revolution Day. In this way, it indicated the close of Spain's dominance on Buenos Aires and the control of the people of Argentina. The May Revolution was a direct reaction to Spain's Peninsular War during the previous two years that has put harsh strains on the Argentinian people. The May Revolution is considered the starting point of the Argentine War of Independence, although no formal declaration of independence was made until July 9, 1816.


Today there are even Argentina Independence Day celebrations in large U.S. cities like Los Angeles, where parades and traditional dress are worn to commemorate the occasion. What are your favorite Independence Day traditions?

The Safe House restaurant in Milwaukee takes it's job very seriously- going as far as to have an International Exports, Ltd. signs as a front to disguise itself from the passerby's on North Water Street.  But the Safe House doesn't stay hidden very well with the constant press and celebrity sightings. 

safe house.jpg


It wants to stay off-the-map.  But it is actually one of the most famous restaurants in the city for its quirkiness. The CIA glossary of intelligence trade idioms defines a safe house as a seemingly innocent house or premise established by an intelligence organization for conducting clandestine activities in relative security. If that wasn't clear enough for you, a "safe house" is a secure location for spies and secret agents involved in covert operations to hang.


If you don't have the password to enter, you may be asked to do a variety of things to prove trustworthy. (I had to hop around like a bunny for five minutes). For full embarrassment's sake, your antics can be observed by everyone in The Safe House (so they can judge your worthiness, of course). Once inside, you will find maps, charts, military badges, spy memorabilia, James Bond movie posters, and a giant puzzle made out of a moving wall. The restaurant itself is a maze - with patrons seated in nooks and crannies throughout.  This place has to be experienced, but go for the entertainment factor; the food is nothing to sneeze at. Even with itching powder.


Good luck trying to track down the password.


By Mary Brannen, Contributing Author

 

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