All posts by Marc d'Entremont

I travel, cook, eat, observe, interact, live and write. As a chef/food, wine and travel writer, I look for connections among people, their activities, the environment and what they eat that can tell the story of a region/culture, whether that be in the remote Andes Mountains or the streets of Philadelphia. Publications include my travel web site on Argentina (www.travel-with-pen-and-palate-argentina.com) and articles covering a diverse range of countries and cultures at www.travelpenandpalate.com, Hellenic News of America, Original World Travel, Examiner.com (International Travel, International Dining Examiner, Culinary Travel, Food & Recipes and Philadelphia Fine Dining) and Suite101. Industry experience includes over 35 years as a chef, chef educator, hotel and restaurant manager, catering and teaching: history, writing, theater, culinary arts and business. I lived for many years in Puerto Rico and Canada (Nova Scotia). I travel extensively in southern South & Central America, Southeast Asia, Europe, North America and southern Africa. Member: International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) – Board of Directors & Chair Membership Committee Member: American Culinary Federation (ACF)

5 Vietnam destinations not to be missed

 

Temple of Literature Hanoi
Temple of Literature Hanoi

The Annamite Mountains divide Vietnam’s one thousand mile strip of mountains and beaches along the Pacific Ocean. The south is tropical year round, but northern winters can be cold and damp. Political upheaval in the late 18th century led to the Nguyen Dynasty’s triumphant unification of the northern and southern factions in the early 1800s.

The Imperial City, Hue
The Imperial City, Hue

Yet political upheaval seems to have been the natural order often until 1975. The end of America’s Vietnam War allowed the Vietnamese to concentrate on what they enjoy the most — doing business. Whether it’s a BMW auto dealership in Hanoi or a convenience store in a rowboat on a bay, the Vietnamese are capitalists. It’s part of the throb of real life in Vietnam.

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Part of life is also stunning natural beauty, crazy traffic, the silence of fog on a bay and the iridescence of a fresh pearl just shucked from its shell. One trip is not enough. This exploration highlights five key destinations in the north.

Wedding pictures at Hoan Kiem Lake , Hanoi
Wedding pictures at Hoan Kiem Lake , Hanoi

Please read the rest of…

The throb of life in northern Vietnam

in the Hellenic News of America

Hạ Long Bay
Hạ Long Bay

You can read all my articles and subscribe to my Examiner columns at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

The night sky is smiling

 

St. Petersburg, FL
St. Petersburg, FL

 

 

You can read all my articles and subscribe to my Examiner columns at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Send me on the Kerala Blog Express

Please cast a vote – it’ll be a  Christmas gift I cherish.

I’ve passed the 1st vetting to participate in the Kerala Blog Express, a unique in-depth multi-week press trip to this south east Indian Ocean state in India.

2nd step are your votes to be selected for the short-list.

I’d really like to go on this, so if you could please take a second to click on the link and vote for me it’ll be a wonderful gift.

In the upper right corner of the screen, “the bars” will link to everything about the Kerala Blog Express and of course please vote for any one else as well – it’s a group trip.

Thank you and have a wonderful holiday season.

 

You can read all my articles and subscribe to my Examiner columns at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

No Santa in a bathing suit

Talking to Santa at North Straub Park, St. Petersburg, FL
Talking to Santa at North Straub Park, St. Petersburg, FL

Decorated artificial trees can be seen in the window walls of downtown condos, the cafes on Beach Drive are full of festive diners inside and out on the sidewalks and kids are talking to Santa under the Live Oaks on a balmy Saint Petersburg Christmas season evening.

St. Pete Christmas Boat Parade
St. Pete Christmas Boat Parade

It’s starting to feel a lot like a tropical Christmas.

Christmas, North Straub Park, St. Petersburg, FL
Christmas, North Straub Park, St. Petersburg, FL

You can read more at…

A tropical Florida Christmas in Saint Petersburg

 

Christmas Tree, City of Saint Petersburg, FL
Christmas Tree, City of Saint Petersburg, FL

 

You can read all my articles and subscribe to my Examiner columns at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Christmas 2015 arrives in tropical America

Tern nesting area, Boca Ciega Bay, St. Pete, FL
Tern nesting area, Boca Ciega Bay, St. Pete, FL

South Florida is the American mainland tropics and a festival based on a return of the sun – winter solstice/Christmas – seems lost when the sun shines for only a couple hours less during this season. Yet of course Christmas is beyond climate and  all areas of the globe have their own expressions.

Christmas boat parade, St. Pete, FL
Christmas boat parade, St. Pete, FL

Lighted boat parades are a Florida tradition and why not considering the enormous number of privately owned sea craft in the state. Both towns and yacht clubs put on numerous floating displays during December.

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Especially for children, St. Petersburg turned North Straub Park into Snowfest 2015 the first December weekend. Complete with 65 tons of snow that created a sledding area under the Banyan trees, the festival boasted an artificial ice skating platform, karaoke Christmas carol singing, crafts and, of course, sno-cones.

Snowfest 2015, St. Petersburg, FL
Snowfest 2015, St. Petersburg, FL
Snowfest 2015, St. Petersburg, FL
Snowfest 2015, St. Petersburg, FL
Snowfest 2015, St. Petersburg, FL
Snowfest 2015, St. Petersburg, FL
Snowfest 2015, St. Petersburg, FL
Snowfest 2015, St. Petersburg, FL
Snowfest 2015, St. Petersburg, FL
Snowfest 2015, St. Petersburg, FL

Traditional decorations on houses and the streets are popping up as if the tropic in all its natural glory does dress up for the holidays.

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You can read all my articles and subscribe to my Examiner columns at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

A Florida restaurant bakers dozen

Casa Marina Hotel, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Casa Marina Hotel, Jacksonville Beach, FL

Among Florida’s Roaring Twenties grand hotels it seems Al Capone slept in many, including Casa Marina. The mid-1920s Prohibition era was profitable for Florida including Jacksonville Beach. The beachfront Mediterranean Revival club-like Casa Marina, complete with a sprinkler system, opened in 1925 to a high living bi-coastal clientele.

Casa Marina Hotel Penthouse Lounge, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Casa Marina Hotel Penthouse Lounge, Jacksonville Beach, FL

Ninety years later on the deck of the Penthouse Lounge & Martini Bar overlooking the Atlantic’s pounding surf Casa Marina serves a premium Tequila Margareta – without the slushy ice – that I’m confident infamous Al would approve.

 

 

 

Read what intrigued even the big Al to Jacksonville Beach…

Al Capone slept at Casa Marina on Jacksonville Beach

 

Lobster & Mango Salad, Sea Salt, St. Petersburg
Lobster & Mango Salad, Sea Salt, St. Petersburg

Blessed with Florida’s agricultural and ocean abundance at their doorstep, restaurants in St. Petersburg don’t have to search far for quality ingredients.

Smoked Fish Sandwich, Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish, St. Petersburg, FL
Smoked Fish Sandwich, Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish, St. Petersburg, FL

A relaxed Gulf of Mexico life style and plenty of Florida sunshine draw residents and tourists to a plethora of cafes, fine dining, bars and beach side venues serving traditional fried fish platters to truffled wild mushroom risotto. With an emphasis on independent ownership St. Petersburg chefs have the freedom to experiment or just create the best grilled grouper sandwich on the beach. Here’s a dozen to try in the St. Petersburg area…

A dozen good reasons to eat St. Pete

 

Maximo Moorings Seafood Shack, St. Petersburg, FL
Maximo Moorings Seafood Shack, St. Petersburg, FL

 

You can read all my articles and subscribe to my Examiner columns at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

What you hear in Argentina is startling

Perito Moreno glacier, Argentina
Perito Moreno glacier, Argentina

Of all the Hielo Continental Sur‘s 49 glaciers the park’s tourist star is Perito Moreno. It’s located within Parque Nacional Los Glaciares established to preserve a vast region of Patagonia’s unique Austral Andes eco system. It’s accessible in the south from El Calefate – a town with all amenities on Lago Argentino – and in the north from El Chaltan – Argentina’s trekking center.

smoked trout, El Chaltan, AR
smoked trout, El Chaltan, AR
Parque Nacional Los Glaciares HQ, El Calefate
Parque Nacional Los Glaciares HQ, El Calefate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read why Perito Moreno is a Patrimony of Humanity…and why what you hear is startling.

Enjoy summer this winter at the glaciers of Argentina

 

El Chalten & Rio de las Vueltas river valley, Patagonia, Argentina
El Chalten & Rio de las Vueltas river valley, Patagonia, Argentina

You can read all my articles and subscribe to my Examiner columns at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Two Irish village gems: Kinsale and Westport

Kinsale, Ireland
Kinsale, Ireland

Kinsale’s history is drama beyond its size.

Kinsale, Ireland
Kinsale, Ireland

Yet tranquility reigned on these soft days of late August showers that alternated with brilliant sunshine. Everyone on the streets – punctuated by bright red, deep blue or even burnt orange painted houses – settled into the rhythms of the photo perfect port town with the distinct sounds of seagulls and a charming child-size waterfront amusement park.

Kinsale, Ireland
Kinsale, Ireland

Kinsale was founded in the early 1300s by the Plantagenet dynasty of England. Based on the success of Celtic Mediterranean sea routes,  for the next 500 years Kinsale would become the wine distribution center for Europe generating vast fortunes….

Charles Fort, Kinsale, Ireland
Charles Fort, Kinsale, Ireland

…and attention as it was fought over for centuries with the very independence of Ireland in balance. Read why

Kinsale is the most beautiful village in Ireland

 

skeet shooting, Westport House, Ireland
skeet shooting, Westport House, Ireland

The legend of Irish ‘pirate queen’ Grace O’Malley – Ó Máille Clan chieftain ­­­– is in the history books, yet as important as that was it would be passing down her entrepreneurial pluck and the aristocratic titles and privileges conferred on succeeding generations that would perpetuate Grace O’Malley’s family into the 21st century.

Croagh Patrick, County Mayo, Ireland
Croagh Patrick, County Mayo, Ireland

Adding to this allure is the photogenic village of Westport and elegant Westport House creations of enlightened 18th century concepts in estate planning.

Carrowbeg River mall, Westport, Ireland
Carrowbeg River mall, Westport, Ireland

So morphing Westport House estate during the 1960s into a family-oriented tourist attraction made perfect entrepreneurial sense.

zorbing, Westport House, Ireland
zorbing, Westport House, Ireland

Find out what’s zorbing at

Irish chieftain Grace O’Malley would approve of Westport

 

swans at Westport House, Ireland
swans at Westport House, Ireland

 

You can read all my articles and subscribe to my Examiner columns at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

St. Petersburg is no longer ‘God’s little waiting room

Rum Fish Grill's lobster ravioli
Rum Fish Grill’s lobster ravioli
Bone Fish Grill's ceviche of scallops, shrimp
Bone Fish Grill’s ceviche of scallops, shrimp

Lest one think St. Petersburg is an example of the old joke that Florida is ‘God’s little waiting room,’ the attendees at September’s Grand Tasting were well under the age of this seasoned culinary journalist. St. Petersburg is attracting residents from a vibrant cross-section of educated world citizens that thrive on the arts, sun, beach, boating and fine food. An explosion of fascinating venues more than satisfies all of these eclectic tastes.

Sea Salt's bubbling panna cotta
Sea Salt’s bubbling panna cotta

With a rapidly recovering economy after the 2008 downturn, St. Petersburg, Florida has established itself as an art and restaurant destination on the Gulf of Mexico coast. Fourteen restaurants and eight wineries are featured in…

Inspiration at the St. Pete Wine and Food Festival

 

Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL & MFA Cafe
Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL & MFA Cafe

Both the Museum of Fine Arts and the Morean Arts Center are masters at engaging the imagination of visitors whether through first century Roman iridescent glass or discovering the best cupcake artist in St. Petersburg.

Cupcakes as edible art at the Morean Arts Center
Cupcakes as edible art at the Morean Arts Center

Just like fine art, culinary creations can reach artistic heights. The Morean Arts Center has sponsored the Annual Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest for the past five years. It’s an opportunity for the city’s baking artists to be judged by both professionals and the general public. You can read about the region’s burgeoning art scene at…

Cupcakes and fine art in St. Petersburg Florida

 

North Straub Park, site of SPWFF
North Straub Park, site of SPWFF

 

You can read all my articles and subscribe to my Examiner columns at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

 

A Culinary Renaissance in Quebec City

Poutine at Le Chic Shack, Quebec City
Poutine at Le Chic Shack, Quebec City

Perhaps poutine is an apt example of a half-century of culinary evolution in Quebec City. Invented in the 1950s, this fast-food combination of French fries topped with fresh cheese curds and smothered in beef gravy became virtually the Quebec national dish and for years the butt of jokes in other parts of Canada – that is until the 21st century. In recent years poutine has changed under the talented hands of imaginative chefs and has migrated to major North American food centers from Philadelphia to Vancouver. From cafes to fine dining restaurants, additions from smoked bison to wild mushrooms and even foie gras now grace hand cut fries, squeaky organic cheese curds and lighter herb flavored gravies.

Mini lobster salads at Quebec Hilton
Mini lobster salads at Quebec Hilton

That same evolution in cuisine under both the talents of seasoned chefs and a new generation brought up on the media’s internationalization of tastes are transforming Quebec City into a sought after dining destination. Yet traditions remain; they’re simply being tweaked. The same incomparable food products Quebec agriculture has always produced now take center of the plate as the following nine city restaurants so admirably prove.

Read more at  Quebec City is on the 21st century culinary map

 

Blue fin tuna at Toast, Quebec City
Blue fin tuna at Toast, Quebec City

 

You can read all my articles and subscribe to my Examiner columns at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Suite 101