Posts Tagged ‘USA’

Cafe Martorano: YO CUZ! Rio Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

yo signMy husband and I ended up at Steve Martorano’s Cafe Martorano: Yo CUZ! by mistake. What a happy mistake it was. We had gone to the Rio Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA to see the much advertised magic show by Penn & Teller, only to find I had got our dates wrong and we were there on the wrong night. It was bitterly disappointing. I asked the young man at the ticket desk if there was a good yo saladrestaurant in the hotel that I could treat my husband to dinner to make up for my error. He recommended Cafe Martorano: Yo CUZ!. It was a great shout.

The restaurant is on the second floor of the Casino area of the Rio Hotel in the Masquerade tower. I liked the trendy atmosphere very much.  The settings were formal enough to make the evening feel special, but the yo lasagnedress code was relaxed and made us feel comfortable. We secured a table by the window overlooking the Rio pool area. It was a lovely to look out as the sunset lengthened the shadows. They have TVs which were showing old movies and videos of the owner giving cooking lessons. Our waitress was friendly. She showed us images of the specials on a tablet. This was great, and probably the first time I did not space out when someone went over the specials of the day. The food was great. The bread brought before the meal was excellent and since we got there right when it opened, it was nice and warm.yo steve

My husband had a domestic beer and I asked for a cocktail. Cafe Martorano: Yo CUZ! does not seem to have a house cocktail, so I chose a margarita. Both were good. I chose the tomato and warm mozzarella to start and my husband opted for the South philly cheese steak sandwich. both sounded simple, but were absolutely delicious.

For our main courses my husband had lasagna which he thoroughly enjoyed. He is partial to lasagna and said this was the best lasagna he had ever had (except mine – of course!). I chose yo puddingthe Spaghetti DOP. The staff offered us fresh paramsan too and that made all the difference. The meals really were marvelous.

I was much too full to order dessert. However, my husband, in the cause of research, of course, chose the red velvet cake. He needed to find out if this was as good as the other courses. He said it was, so I had to try a little to see if he was right. He was, the cake melted in the mouth. It was excellent.

We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience at Cafe Martorano: Yo CUZ!. We found the service delightful, the view interesting, the ambiance fun and, most importantly, this was one of the finest meals we had had in a long time. I do highly recommend Cafe Martorano: Yo CUZ! at the Rio Hotel, Las Vegas.

Valerie Penny





High Mountain Pies, 115 W 4th St, Leadville, Colorado 80461, USA

Our friends had put miles onto their truck and gallons into their tank taking us up over Independence Pass on a independence passmemorable trip from Aspen to Denver and we stopped at High Mountain Pies, Leadville, Colorado for a late lunch. We found High Mountain Pies high viewthrough a recommendation from a Leadville local. It was a good recommendation, everywhere else we passed was closed or closing! There is not much seating inside, so we sat outside in the sun.

The view from Leadville is beautiful. The historic city of Leadville is the Statutory City that is the county seat and the only incorporated municipality in Lake County, Colorado, USA. Leadville is situated at an elevation of 10,152 feet and is the highest incorporated city in the USA. It is a former silver mining town and lies near the headwaters of high frontthe Arkansas River in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and is a really interesting town to visit.

high inThe variety of choices on the menu was not wide. However, we chose from a selection of freshly baked pizza, salads, sandwiches and pies. They also offer the most enormous brownies I have ever seen! The toppings on the pizzas are generous and the tastes are strong and fresh. The staff are friendly and courteous but service was a bit slow. There is only one rest room, but it was high pizzaclean. Access for those who are disabled or mobility impaired was good.

If you are planning a trip through Leadville, you could do worse than stop for lunch at High Mountain Pies.

Valerie Penny

Las Delicitas IV, 19553 Mainstreet, Parker, Colorado 80138, USA

Las D outMy friends, my husband and I were enjoying a visit to the lovely town centre of  Parker, Colorado, USA. In the evening, we decided to stop for dinner instead of having to cook when we got home. Our friends suggested Las Delicitas IV, they had eaten there before and enjoyed it. This hidden gem has real authentic Mexican food. The food was pretty inexpensive and the service was fast so despite that recommendation, my husband and I did not have high expectations. We were wrong. The food was delicious! This is a bare-bones, family-owned local chain spot that serves delicious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.Las D in

The decoration is simple but everything in Las Delicitas IV is spotlessly clean. Everyone in the kitchen had a hairnets. You could see them from the dining room. Also the members of staff were all friendly and helpful. We experienced great customer service. This really made us feel valued as guests: it was so good. Access for disabled people or those with mobility problems is easy too.

Las D foodFood here was also excellent. The salsa was amazing, very tangy and tasty. One of our friends had a burrito and I had the guacamole tostadas. I ate some of it with a spoon so I did not miss any of the delicious guacamole. My husband had a combo and loved everything. The portions were very generous too!  The different entrees had strong unique flavors and the beans were very good too. Despite the large portions we shamed ourselves and made room for fried ice cream puddings: lovely!

Las Delicitas IV is definitely a Mexican restaurant in Parker that produces delicious food and values their customers. I highly recommend it.

Valerie Penny


Tail Gate Tavern and Grill, 19552 E Main St, Parker, Colorado 80138, USA

tail frontMy husband and I joined friends for a wander around the town centre in Parker, Colorado, USA on a very hot summer afternoon in June. It is a delightful, traditional town and offers the best of two worlds: small town living within striking distance of the metropolis of Denver.

We stopped at the Tail Gate Tavern and Grill for a drink and to relax because it has a beer garden from which we could watch the world go by in the fresh air and the warmth, but shaded by the big blue parasols. The Tail Gate Tavern and Grill offers a wide tail outvariety of beers, cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. It also serves American inspired food from breakfast until dinner and features live bands from time to time. Poker, karaoke, other diversions are also on offer in the saloon atmosphere.

tail drinksWe enjoyed our visit to the Tail Gate Tavern and Grill. Access for disabled people is easy and the restrooms were spotlessly clean. We were not rushed by the staff and the service was friendly, although a little slower than I would have expected, given that they were not particularly busy. We liked the Tail Gate Tavern and Grill  and look forward to stopping here again I am happy to recommend the Tail Gate Tavern and Grill.

Valerie Penny


Peach’s Corner Cafe, 121 S Galena St, Aspen, Colorado 81611, USA

aspenIt had been many years since I last visited Aspen, Colorado, USA. Many years ago I spent a vacation there and am thrilled to be able to say I have skied in Aspen. That is an expensive pursuit there, now. However, more recently when friends, my husband and I visited it was summer and we had no plans to ski. We did plan to shop but we interrupted our shopping to have lunch at Peach’s Corner Cafe.

Peach’s really appealed to us because it is bright and clean. The food is Peachs-Outsideoutstanding and they have something for everyone on their menu, even for me as a vegetarian. My husband tried the burger and was not surprised that it was recently named Aspen’s best burger. Our friends chose salads which were fresh and varied. My vegetarian panini was delicious. It contained a wide variety of roasted vegetables.  The food is awesome and very affordable, especially for Aspen. The service is friendly too and we discovered that his little gem is run and owned by a local. That was a nice touch. They even have free Wi-Fi.

The Peach’s Corner Cafe does great coffee. Coffee is a big thing for my coffeehusband. It is one of the things that he is really fussy about. I did enjoy my latte: it was great. I also appreciated that the cost for the coffee was not extotioante. That is a real rarity for Aspen! The bright atmosphere of the store is nice, as is the decor. There s seating outdoors as well as inside and the view from the outdoor dining area is beautiful. However, we sat inside as it was a bit wet the day we were there.

The cakes and other baked goods are delicious. Apparently, Peach’s buys in from different local bakeries for different things, rather than contracting with just one bakery. That is clever as they choose the best from each. So, the coffee drinks are tasty, the food is top notch and the prices are reasonable. This is no tourist trap it is definitely a place to check out if you are in Aspen. In fact, if you are in Aspen, I would say that Peach’s Corner Cafe is a must.

Valerie Penny



MGM Grand Hotel, 3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109, USA

mgm roomWhen my husband and I recently met with my cousin, Michael and his lovely new wife, Amanda, we were at the mike 7 amMGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. On approaching  this colossal, emerald-coloured casino resort we were amazed to see the signature 45-foot bronze lion. It is huge! In fact everything about the MGM Grand seemed huge to us! The hotel is huge, the casino is huge, the shopping area is huge, the choice of restaurants is huge. They include, Joel Robuchon.  

mgm outThe rooms at the MGM Grand were large and absolutely gorgeous. They are modern and have sleek furnishings, glass-topped desks and marble bathrooms. We were in a suite which additionally  had a living area and Roman bathtub. We had a view of the strip and loved how it had the automated curtains that black out everything when the lights are too busy! The pool area was huge too and we loved the amazing lazy river! There are 4 pools, 3 whirlpools, as well as the lazy river. It is a lot of fun.mgm lion

Indeed, the MGM Grand Hotel is like a city within a city. It is a Strip-side, mega-resort that offers all the glitz and glamour one has come to expect from Las Vegas. We are not gamblers but recognise the top-of-the-line casino offered mgm casinoat MGM Grand. There are also fantastic nightclubs and the amazing shows on offer while we were there included David Copperfield and Cirque de Soleil shows. The marvelous location  of the MGM Grand at the South end of the Strip, across from the Tropicana, places it close to all the action in the city.mgm pool

There is a lot to do at MGM Grand. It would be quite possible to have a great holiday and never leave this hotel resort. The only thing we did not like was the smoking in the casino area, but it is evident in all casinos. There is a fun party atmosphere in MGM Grand that will appeal to the younger set and the young at heart. If you are seeking a complete Las Vegas experience, the MGM Grand  offers this in grand style. The resort fee includes WiFi and access to a workout room.

Valerie Penny



Visiting Old Jaffa, Israel by guest author Lesley Carter

Visiting Old Jaffa, Israel

I know, I know. Many of you are wondering when I’m going to write about the violent realities of a war-torn Israel but it’s simply not what I’m experiencing right now. Today, I toured Old Jaffa. Narrow streets and courtyards filled with markets, vendors, ancient buildings sometimes restored and sometimes not, museums, shops, and galleries make up the city of Jaffa, Israel. I wandered through the streets for hours today and this is what I enjoyed. 

Sea view from Old Jaffa

We first walked along Jaffa Port. Although it’s no longer used as a port, many sailing ships lined the dock. Here you can take sailing lessons or fish from the pier. Locals cast their long lines into the Mediterranean Sea with hopes of reeling in their catch for the day. A few small boats dotted the water and Tel Aviv lay in the background. I said hello to the fisherman as I walked by. Most greeted me with a smile or light, casual conversation.

Gallery in Jaffa, Israel

We weaved through the streets and up the mountainside. Small shops selling jewelry, clothing, paintings, and arts and crafts filled the narrow streets. I browsed in several stores without purchasing anything. It was like being in Laguna Beach with unique boutiques and original artwork.

Views of Old Jaffa from Ilana Goor Museum

Ilana Goor Museum features original sculptures and deigns of the artist Ilana Goor and other artists. It also serves as her private home. We explored the museum and admired her eclectic collection. Goor claims that  it is only if one touches, feels, and uses art that one can understand what it really is. Rather than being exhibited in a sacred space, the museum’s art is interlaced with life itself- an art form that is not out of reach, but easily accessible to the visitor. We even had the opportunity to meet Ilana. Regardless if art interests you or not, the views from the top floor of the museum are not to be missed.

Ilana Goor Museum Artwork

Ilana Goor Museum Artwork

Views of Old Jaffa

My day continued with a visit to Carmel and Levinsky markets. When walking through the bustling streets, I was amazed by the long line of colorful fruit and vegetable stalls. Shopkeepers were wonderful for allowing us to taste their products. I tried several dates, nuts, dried fruit, bread and pastries, and spicy olives. The market offered the perfect combination of flavors, colors, tastes, aromas, and textures. I chatted with the shop keepers about the weather and my experiences in Israel so far. One man had been to California, USA before and he asked questions about Los Angeles and certain food areas. Another man asked about my flights and what brought me to Israel. Although I was obviously a tourist, I felt like I was getting a look at daily life in Jaffa.

Markets in Jaffa

Markets in Jaffa, Israel

The Grape Man, Israel

We finished up our tour of Jaffa with wine tasting at The Grape Man Wine and Spirit Center. I had no idea about the rich history of wine making in Israel. After trying a few glasses of local wine and listening to the history of wine in Israel, I was ready for the short walk back to the hotel.

Boardwalk in Tel Aviv

Beach in Israel

The sun was beginning to set again in Israel yet I saw the city in a whole new light. There is definitely violence in Israel and we’re not talking about petty theft in the streets. We’re talking about bomb shelters and Iron Dome missile defense systems, but I spent the day in a beautiful city wandering through the streets and interacting with locals. I spent the day taking photos and eating fresh foods. I spent the day looking at the stunning Mediterranean Sea and unique artwork. This is the only Israel I know so far.

I’m here thanks to the support of Israel Tourism, but all thoughts and opinions, like always, are my own.