The Kosher Food Wine Experience 2011


The KFWE 2011 was bigger and better than ever. Especially since I shared it with so many GKC readers and friends. A few thousand people sharing great kosher food and wine while overlooking the magnificent NY skyline; what more could you want?

Some GKC favorites were there like My Brother Bobby’s Salsa; with the freshest, zestiest salsas ever (he added corn to his green tomatillo salsa and I love the addition of color and texture) and of course GKC friend Jeff Nathan of Abigael’s was there with a dynamite dish, polenta with wild mushroom ragout and truffle oil (admittedly, I had two). GKC friend Chef Jose Meirelles owner and chef at Le Marais made a fantastic smoked duck breast with French lentil salad and mustard vinaigrette. Chef David Kolotkin from Solo prepared a wonderful slow-braised short ribs and a porcini mushroom veloute (I couldn’t believe it was pareve and would love that recipe). A new addition this year was Gemstone Catering. Chef Andy Blackman was a superstar in taste and presentation. All GKC friends loved the perfect (I mean perfectly prepared) seared tuna over mango and jicama salad. Followed by the show-stopping pulled brisket slider. Pulled brisket is a big food trend and this kosher chef got it just right. It’s first marinated in a 12-spice dry rub, then smoked with hickory and apple wood for 18 hours and finally simmered in a special bbq sauce. A few more highlights in food…my Pomegranate favorites were their dips, green olive spread, tasty and smooth, and their pareve bleu cheese dip. This is a cool item and I can’t wait to get some and try it in so many recipes. It’s a spread so it cannot be used as a crumbled cheese but it definitely had a bleu cheese flavor. Way to go Pomegranate. Subsational, a sandwich style restaurant in Brooklyn surprised us with a great short rib smoked chili with corn relish. And for dessert the GKC fav was the mini Meyer lemon meringue pie by chef Moses Wendel from the new restaurant Pardes. Lemony, smooth, crisp sweet crust and gorgeous to look at and even more amazing to taste.

All this great food was enjoyed and discussed while sipping the finest kosher wines. So who doesn’t like the Castel Grand Vin? But never miss a chance to have some more. This is the case for GKC favorite Covenant Winery too. The Covenant C is amongst the finest kosher wines in its price point and since it’s only available in limited quantities, I would definitely get some. My friend Miriam who is a wine connoisseur and professional directed us to the Herzog Oak Knoll, smooth, tasty, and a show hit. So popular that they ran out. The Alexander wines were remarkable, and each one impressed. Miriam directed us next to Shiloh, which turned out to be the surprise of the evening. Both the Secret Reserve Petit Syrah and Cabernet were terrific, the Petit with fruit flavors like cherry and the Cab so smooth and full bodied. The winery is located in Shiloh, Israel and makes a trip to Shiloh sound pretty great. We finished the delicious evening with two outstanding special wines, Herzog ’06 Generation VIII Cabernet and the Goose Bay Special Reserve. Matt from New Zealand at Goose Bay reserved a little something special for us on the way out that will be released soon. ‘09 Goose Bay Pinot Noir from Nelson had the perfect aroma and taste to end the evening on such a high note. It was a fabulous evening (readers have already emailed to reserve a spot for next year); congratulations Royal Wine on such a success!

International Food and Wine Festival

GKC gets around. This week we attended the International Food and Wine Festival at the Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard, CA. But before we tell you about the wine (and even the other alcohol) we need to rave about the food. Coming out of the kitchen of their world class Tierra Sur restaurant, the taste treats were nothing short of amazing. Our palates were stimulated at every turn. From the fresh pasta with mushroom sauce and shaved truffles, to the beef cheek in homemade corn tortillas to the veal carpaccio and lamb sausage, it was a feast for the senses. And their paté…there are no words. It is our all-time favorite. We even ran into some New Yorkers who had flown in just for the event! (Okay, maybe it was the sun they really wanted but I don’t know…) And just a word about the desserts. We tried the French macaroon with the sweet potato jam and marshmallow button and they were right – it sounded unusual but tasted fantastic! The hazelnut and butterscotch truffles melted in your mouth and the Meyer lemon and huckleberry parfait was beyond. Then there were the apple empanadas, raspberry truffles, macaroons with chocolate drizzle….But I had to save room for the alcohol. We tried a drink made with Los Arango Tequila Anejo containing fresh cucumber juice, sweet and sour, tequila and chile verde salt. It would be welcome at my Purim table. My husband enjoyed the Louis Royer XO Cognac while I liked the Tomintoul Peaty Tang scotch. I tried the French Chateau Fourcas Dupré which was just as smooth as promised and the popular Domaine du Castel, the elegant boutique brand with the long finish. We also enjoyed the brand new Shiraz from the (also brand new) Harkham Winery. Too bad we had to drive home… it was a wonderful event and GKC looks forward to being invited back next year!! (hint, hint)

A Microbrewery in Israel

It’s slightly off the beaten track but I hear it’s well worth the trip! After visiting the Gush museum, after the zip line, you just might want a tour of the newest addition to the Gush bloc, the Lone Tree Brewery, a microbrewery for boutique beers. Started by 4 couples living in the area, this brewery, in a pastoral setting (watch out for deer!) about 15 minutes south of Jerusalem, produces a wide range of beers. There are, for example, 3 different kinds of English-style ale, including Pale Ale, Indian Pale Ale and Northern Pale Ale. I noticed that they even make a Pomegranate Date Ale which would have been great for Tu B’shvat! They have an American Brown Ale, an Extra Oatmeal Stout and a California Steam Ale. The truth is that I am way out of my league and I don’t know what half of these beers taste like but I’m intrigued…they give small, personalized, very family-friendly tours; allowing participants to see the process from start to finish and taste the ingredients along the way. Just as wine has come a long way in Israel, so too now has beer. I am definitely adding the Lone Tree microbrewery to the itinerary for my next trip! To learn more about them and perhaps book a tour, visit their website www.lonetreebrewery.com.

Carpool Confidential

By Judy Gruen

Certain critical relationships in life demand intense scrutiny before entering into them. Most people would agree, for example, that marriage partners fall into this category, as well as prospective nominees for U.S. Attorney General. But what of carpool partners? Frankly, I can think of few relationships that demand a higher level of trust and compatibility.

Over the years, I've carpooled with parents who tended to arrive for pick-ups too early or too late; partners whose mufflers tended to fall out, leading to panicked calls at 7 a.m. begging me to drive that morning and indefinitely or until the car came back from the shop, whichever came first. I've shuttled the children of carpool partners who enjoyed picking fights with my kids or stuffing Bamba, Bisli and other crumbly snacks under the seats, even though I had been clear about the "no eating" rule in the car.

But my most traumatic carpool arrangement was with a woman I'll call Shira. She seemed the ideal partner, in possession of a new and reliable car, an easy-going personality, a flexible schedule, and a polite kid. Yet I hadn’t considered the dark side to this arrangement. Shira was also a gourmet chef and cooking instructor, who once dazzled me with her demonstration on how to make a roux, whatever that is. I once tried to mimic her lesson on spinning a batch of cinnamon Danish dough in the Cuisinart until it releases effortlessly from the bowl. The results were too humiliating to discuss here. I could not foresee that I’d become obsessed with Shira's cooking acumen, and would take it out on her kid.

“Say, Baruch,” I’d pry, “Do you happen to know what your mom's making for dinner tonight?” Baruch answered like the maitre d at a five-star restaurant, “Tonight is spicy seared tuna and fusilli with sun-dried tomato pesto, asparagus and mushrooms,” as visions of leftover meatloaf danced in my head.

I figured that poor Shira must be on deadline for her next cookbook, and forced to test new, elegant recipes. I tried -- and failed -- to take pride in my humble menus, mostly culled from the Idiot Balabusta’s Guide to Making Dinner: lasagna using no-boil noodles; baked trout slathered with bottled teriyaki, and my all-time favorite: Crock-Pot chicken and rice, thrown together in ten minutes flat with a can of tomato sauce and a seasoning packet featuring a warning label that reads: “Contains enough MSG to cause brain lesions in lab mice.”

Yet I was still tormented by visions of Shira patiently curing her own olives, drying her own mushrooms, and editing the chapter titled, “Arborio Rissoto: A Primer.” I'm sure that poor, patient Baruch couldn't wait for winter break that year just to get away from me and my uncontrollable carpool interrogations. Does your mom like Kosher salt, table salt, or sea salt over grilled vegetables? I'd ask. Does your mom think skinny or fat asparagus is better? Baruch was an observant kid, and I learned a lot from him that year.

Unfortunately, I had trained Baruch too well. After I vowed to stop haranguing him, he piped up with the kitchen confidential. "Tonight we're having Caesar salad with fresh croutons, crusted lamb with mint pesto, broccoli rice puffs, and nutmeg meltaway cookies for dessert,” he told me, not that I'd asked. My hands gripped the steering wheel with white-knuckle intensity. Don't compare yourself to a woman who owns a German-made nut roaster and a granite mortar and pestle, I told myself. Just take a deep breath. Your family is well nourished, even if they've never had nutmeg meltaway cookies. Unfortunately, my brain synapses had already started to burst.

The next evening my family met an unfamiliar dish on the table.

“What’s this?” one of the kids asked. “Why aren’t we having lasagna? It is Tuesday, isn’t it?”

“Tonight we are having stuffed shells with homemade marinara, roasted peppers, green salad with freshly toasted croutons, and juice l’orange,” I said proudly. This dinner had taken me three hours to prepare, four times my average prep time. I waited for the compliments to pour in like a sommelier decanting a fine Chardonnay, but instead I spied my youngest son hurling ketchup over his shells.

My husband, a low-maintenance eater and wise man, praised the meal, but the kids were mutinous. They liked the bottled marinara better, the type that Baruch had taught me to disdain as something only fit for a dabbler. I was secretly glad that my experiment with gourmet cooking proved too shocking for my family’s stomachs. I could now cease and desist from competing with Shira, she of the spicy bison kabobs and the Amaretto mousse.

Although I made up an excuse not to carpool with Shira the following year (I told her we were moving to Baltimore), she had a good influence on me after all. No longer is MSG one of the four main food groups in our family. And I’m slowly getting the hang of whipping up that cinnamon Danish dough in the Cuisinart for the exact number of seconds (17.4) until it releases effortlessly from the bowl. One day, if I am brave enough, I will look up the meaning of the word “roux.”

Judy Gruen is the author of three award-winning books, including The Women's Daily Irony Supplement. She has no plans to ever write a cookbook, even one with the word "Crock-Pot" in the title.

Why Can’t We Travel Light

Have Crock-Pot, Will Travel

By Judy Gruen

I am always in awe when I recall how our ancestors were able to hightail it out of Egypt lickity-split. After all, they'd been firmly ensconced for hundreds of years, yet no sooner did Moshe give the heads-up than they were able to grab everything they needed: kids, matzahs, and as much of the Egyptians' gold and silver as they could carry, seemingly in less time than I can play a round of Boggle.

In contrast, I need several days to plan and pack for only a weekend away. Even then, I've come perilously close to having to rent a U-Haul just to take our "essentials." For example, recently we went away for Shabbos with another family to Palm Springs. The other mom and I had divided the list of what we'd need to last food-wise from Friday afternoon to Sunday lunch, yet our minivan was crammed so tightly I was sure we'd have to pull over to a roadside weigh station, and possibly even cited for traveling under the influence of herring snacks in wine sauce.

All passengers except the driver were forced to straddle luggage, 12-packs of Fresca, or ice coolers. Therefore, I decided to drive. A cynical observer might have guessed that we were packing for a 40-year sojourn, and not a 40-hour one. Still, I had a sinking feeling that I was forgetting something critical to the mission.

We set out with my husband making business calls, while the teens were plugged into iPods or furiously texting friends. I was multitasking behind the wheel: focusing on driving safely, calculating how many calories I could still eat that day on my current weight-loss program, while also flogging my brain cells to remember the urgent thing I had forgotten. But, much like commercial success as an author and permanent weight loss, the goal eluded me.

I remained haunted by the question of what I had forgotten throughout much of the Inland Empire. When we reached Moreno Valley, I suddenly gripped the steering wheel and shouted, "The warming tray! I forgot the warming tray!" While a warming tray should have been hard to miss, given its size, it was now an impossible 75 miles away, on a lonely kitchen counter.

"So what? We don't need it," said one callous teen.

"Now we can't warm the chicken for Shabbos lunch," I said, vexed. I dared not broach the idea of stopping at a mall to get another one, since cold chicken was not, technically, an emergency, but a family riot would be. Unfortunately, I could not shake the nagging feeling that something else was missing. Something big. Something urgent.

As we approached Hemet, it hit me like a bad weigh-in at Weight Watchers. "I forgot the second Crock-Pot!" I shouted, realizing that my conversational contributions to this road trip were embarrassingly mundane. Just as I expected, the kids claimed that we didn't need it, didn't have room for it in the car anyway, and if we bought a new one now, we'd be a three Crock-Pot family. Who needed three Crock-Pots? People who separate not only dairy and meat but also dairy, meat, and gluten-free?

By any Jewish mother's standards, this was an emergency. I explained that the Crock-Pot we had brought was for the cholent, but what was I supposed to do with my fully cooked vegetable soup, tightly sealed in Ziploc bags, without a second Crock-Pot?

Fortunately, HaShem provides solutions in moments of crisis, if we are attuned to receive His help. Sure enough, two exits later, I lifted my eyes and saw from on high: a huge red dot in a large red circle. A Target! Right there in flat, boring Hemet! I signaled to exit, whistling a happy tune, while my son began to grouse about making another stop. My husband put a gentle hand on the kid's shoulder and said, "There are some things you just don't argue about with Mom."

This happened to be December 26, the busiest shopping day of the year. And if I thought the minivan was crowded, the Target in Hemet was a teeming mass of bargain-hunting humanity, and, based on some aggressive moves I saw in the sports equipment department, some bargain-hunting inhumanity as well. I raced through the aisles, a woman on a mission, until I found the Crock-Pots. I didn't like the knobs on some of them, and found fault with most of the others, too, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so I picked the least offensive of the bunch. Our Shabbos soup was saved! (Now I could junk the Crock-Pot left at home, which had been missing its matching lid for about three years.)

I hoisted the big box aloft as I raced to the check stands, thankful that I always worked hard on the pectoral exercises in Pilates. These were really coming in handy at that moment. "Coming through!" I shouted, jockeying my way into the 37-items or less line.

I returned to the car, triumphant as a big game hunter with a mule deer ready for the taxidermist. I ignored more family complaints as I cheerfully repacked the entire trunk to make room for the second Crock-Pot.

You won't be surprised to discover that by the end of the weekend, my friend and I were sheepishly packing up nearly as much food as we had brought, neither of us genetically capable of bringing "just enough." But if we are ever destined to wander again for years till we get back to our promised land, I'll be on the packing committee. We may not travel light, but no one will go hungry.

Judy Gruen's book, The Women's Daily Irony Supplement, slips easily into any suitcase for vacation reading pleasure. You can read more of her work at www.judygruen.com.

Washington DC

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The best kosher food I had in Washington was at the White House Chanukah party. Or maybe it was just the atmosphere…okay, sorry, I just had to put that in!! (And it was a moving experience) But enough about me…

Washington is a great place to visit with kids. There are sights and experiences for all ages and the metro system makes everything easily accessible. Although my children usually cringe when they hear the “m” word (museum), it was not a problem here. The only one we couldn’t get them to was the Holocaust Museum.

We loved our tour of the Capitol, the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court. We all fantasized about “the path not taken” as we visited Justice Kennedy’s chambers. But particular hits with the younger set were:

The International Spy Museum: With its hands-on authentic spying gadgets and other simulated spying experiences, this was the all-round favorite.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing: Everyone’s fascinated to see money being printed and disappointed by the lack of free souvenirs.

The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and The Smithsonian American History Museum: At the risk of sounding sexist, the former was a big hit with the masculine contingent, the latter with its collection of costumes, enchanted the female crew.

The National Postal Museum: This is a tiny museum in the basement of Union Station but it lacked the crowds of the other venues and was also hands-on so everyone enjoyed it as well.

Without a car the dining options are more limited although some of the restaurants, including a pizza shop whose name I’ve forgotten, in the Rockville area deliver.

We really enjoyed the Café at the Jewish Community Center and returned numerous times. It seems to be temporarily closed; hopefully it will reopen soon.

We also ate at Eli’s Kosher Deli. The menu is typical deli – hearty and warm, food that hits the spot after a long day’s touring.

Both restaurants are centrally located and easily accessed. If you have a car and the family isn’t “starving”, there are many more dining establishments in Rockville, Maryland. We ate at the Royal Dragon, a typical American Chinese restaurant that easily satisfied the hungry hordes. Check online for other options.

There’s so much to see and do and learn in D.C. – who knew learning could be so much fun?

Las Vegas

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If you avoid the casinos (and we do!), Las Vegas can be a fun vacation with some decent dining options for the kosher consumer. After you have exhausted yourself all morning wandering through one hotel after another and marveling at the theme décor, drive your tired selves to Panini Café for lunch. A dairy/Israeli restaurant, the menu offers a wide variety of options – something to please everyone’s palate. Everything was fresh and tasty and while I particularly enjoyed the roasted beet salad, even the fussiest eater in my family found something to satisfy his needs.

After an afternoon magic show (that’s when the family friendly ones take place!) you can continue your hotel exploration. Maybe you want to cap the day off with a gondola ride along the “canals” in the Venetian Hotel.

For dinner, the most elegant (and expensive) option is the Village Steakhouse. You can settle down for a gourmet culinary experience in a relaxed atmosphere. After a nice glass of wine and a sumptuous meal, you may be ready to cancel the massage you have scheduled for the next day!!

Other kosher restaurants in Las Vegas include Adar Pizza, Haifa Restaurant, Sababa and Tari Restaurant. Check online or call for further information.

Eating Kosher in Rome

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By Holly Magady

Over the summer our family spent a glorious 8 days in Italy. One of the reasons we chose Italy was for its plentiful kosher dining options. Rome, in particular, has at least a dozen kosher restaurants, located in 3 different neighborhoods, the largest of which is in the old Jewish Ghetto. There, in the shadow of the magnificent Great Synagogue of Rome (which also houses a fine Jewish museum), one can find a bevy of kosher restaurants and shops, most of which are located on or near a charming cobblestone street called Via Portico d’Ottavia. Although we peeked into several of the fast food joints, we were looking for serious Italian cooking and so chose the fine dining experience for all of our meals in Rome.

Our hands down favorite was the wonderful Nonne Bette, a lovely dairy restaurant specializing in traditional Roman Jewish food. Although it was hot and the air conditioned interior of the restaurant was most inviting, we chose to eat outside at one of the sidewalk tables. It proved to be a good choice, as the atmosphere on Via Portico d’Ottavia is lively and as the night wore on (Italians, like most Europeans, tend to dine on the late side) the narrow street took on the feel of a large, festive block party.

At 8 pages, the menu at Nonne Bette is filled with such tempting delicacies such as fiori de zucca (fried pumpkin flowers with mozzarella and anchovies), risotto scamorza e radicchio (smoked cheese and radicchio risotto), and of course pizza and pastas galore. Having just arrived from Israel and hungering for authentic Italian food, we ignored the page of Middle Eastern selections. Everything sounded wonderful, and choosing was difficult.

For starters, I ordered the carciofo alla giudia or artichoke Jewish style. It was delicious and unique – a whole artichoke, lightly seasoned and deep fried. My son’s ministre e fagioli (bean soup) was likewise superb -- rich with a slight kick of something spicy. For the main course my husband had a lovely tagliolini cicoria, cacao e pepe (fresh pasta with chicory pecorino and pepper) and the kids had pizza and gnocchi al pesto. I still dream about my sformato di carciofi (baked artichokes in cheese sauce). These were no canned artichoke hearts…they were fresh and meaty and the parmesan cheese was bubbly and rich, bearing virtually no resemblance to the fluffy bland stuff that we shake out of a plastic red container at home. All agreed that the pizza, with its hot crispy, almost impossibly thin crust, was the best we’d ever tasted!

On both evenings we dined at Nonne Bette we found the service to be excellent – helpful, extremely friendly and efficient. Figure on spending around $50 per person, without wine.

Nonna Betta, Via del Portico d’Ottavia,16, telephone 39.06.68806263. Reservations recommended, particularly in the evenings after 8pm.

Other restaurants we enjoyed in the Ghetto were Yovata, another dairy restaurant that serves great pizzas and produces their own artisanal cheeses, and Ba”Ghetto, a meat restaurant specializing in Jewish Roman and Meditteranean cuisine. For a full list of restaurants, bakeries and kosher markets in Rome visit www.Jewishitaly.org.

Holly Magady has recently re-discovered the joy and wonder of foreign travel and she hopes to do a lot more of it! She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and 3 children.

The Grand Canyon

by Sarah Weintraub

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Two years ago, my family and I attended a Pesach program in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of the excursions offered was a day trip to the Grand Canyon by air. We were to spend, at most, an afternoon. I had no idea what to expect. As the plane approached the canyon, I was completely and totally overwhelmed the moment I saw this huge, breathtaking gap in the face of the earth. The scale was beyond anything I could have ever imagined. The colors were neither red nor white nor pink nor purple, but a beautifully orchestrated symphony of HaShem. The sheer physical magnificence of the canyon takes your breath away. The depths and distances challenge your senses. I vowed to return.

This summer, we planned a car trip to do just that. I began researching lodging, dining, and things to do with the family. I quickly realized that keeping kosher in the Grand Canyon could be a challenge. The South Rim, where we stayed, has very limited accommodations, reservations are essential. The Grand Canyon National Park is in a remote part of the country, nowhere near anything. For instance, it’s recommended that you bring an extra set of car keys because there’s no local locksmith and it could be a long wait. We realized we had a long drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, with a few scenic stops along the way (and a few unexpected detours too). We planned to spend two nights and one day in the canyon. Once you pass Hoover Dam, you’re basically on your own. At the Kosher Experience in Las Vegas (Smith’s Market, speak to Gil behind the counter), we stocked up. You must call 24 hours in advance and place your order, they will take care of just about everything.

En route to the Grand Canyon, you can find the usual Mom ‘n’ Pop shops that have snacks and soft drinks, but otherwise you’d better be prepared if you want to really eat. In addition to our cooler, we had an electric sandwich maker and a toaster oven, which came in handy when my kids wanted bagels & cream cheese in the morning. We were fortunate to stay at the El Tovar Hotel, the best historic hotel on the Southern Rim. We loved the authentic hunting lodge décor. We had a beautiful one-bedroom suite with a magnificent deck that overlooked the canyon. It was equipped with a microwave and refrigerator, and we had plenty of room to spread out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s hard to imagine a more inspirational view than from the deck of the El Tovar. The first morning of our stay, we were greeted by a family of wild Elk grazing in the grass. The sense of privilege you get from watching truly wild animals in such close quarters is unbelievable. The complete silence in the canyon is deafening.

If you’ve heard about the Skywalk at Grand Canyon West and how amazing it is, don’t believe it. It’s a good hour out-of-the-way, via dirt roads, and completely overrated. The view pales in comparison to those of the Southern rim, our final destination. The Southern Rim is open 365 days a year and is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. I recommend visiting the IMAX Grand Canyon movie at the visitor’s center. It’s a fantastic way to start your journey. My family decided to experience the canyon and its beauty by hiking in. We took a family hike with an experienced guide, which included the Kolb house where we were able to store our kosher lunches (and not schlep them into the canyon). As you walk into the canyon, you are walking through time and descending, layer by layer, into the past.

With a little bit of forethought and planning, this was a fantastic experience for me and my family. I’m already planning my third trip!

Sarah Weintraub is a producer based in Los Angeles, who specializes in video production and creative programming for special events. Sarah has worked with such clients as Bob Mackie, Diana Ross, and the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles. Check out her website: www.sarahweintraubproductions.com.

Have Crock-pot, Will Travel

Although there are now more kosher vacations than ever, it is not always possible to participate. They may be prohibitively expensive. The timing may not be convenient. Or maybe they are at a location that just doesn’t pique your interest. Then it’s back to travel the old-fashioned way, trusty crock-pot in hand.

One summer, as a small family vacation, we rented a home overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the small coastal town of Cambria. The living room had a wall of glass, allowing us a spectacular view. The shore was rocky, making for interesting exploration and there was a nature trail on a small bluff just above the water cover with gopher holes – and their occupants.

For a break, we wandered the small streets and artist’s galleries in town.

One of the days we drove to San Simeon and toured the palatial home of William Randolph Hearst.

Eating wasn’t as easy as on a kosher retreat but I couldn’t really complain (I may have tried once or twice). I put the meal and vegetables or chicken and grains in the crock-pot first thing in the morning and by the end of the summer’s day, it was ready.

And so was I – with plastic table covers, paper plates and plastic silverware in hand.

It may not have been gourmet (I don’t think I’ll post any of the recipes!) but it was hearty and filling and all eyes were on the ocean as we sat quietly and watched the sun set beneath the waves.

The Charleston Experience

After subsisting on cold food eaten in our rooms as we traveled through Georgia and South Carolina, my husband and I were thrilled to arrive at the Broad Street Guest House in Charleston. It is the first and only kosher bed and breakfast in the area and a warm respite for weary travelers.

Built around 1884, this inn is located within easy walking distance of the most famous historic homes of the region. A safe area to stroll in the evening, many of the antique chandeliers and furnishings can be glimpsed through the windows. Not to be missed is the tour of the Calhoun Mansion built in 1874. I can’t do justice to it here but I promise that you have never seen anything like it in your life!! There are more homes to see along the waterfront as well as a beautiful harbor view.

It is a short drive from the guest house to the ferry that takes tourists and school children to Fort Sumter, or you can choose another direction and visit some of the preserved plantations, most notably Drayton Hall and Middleton Place.

The Broad Street Guest House as 4 rooms (we stayed on the upper floor in the Bryna Malka suite) and can accommodate up to 13 people.

A warm and inviting breakfast welcomes guests every morning, with hot brewed coffee (the most essential traveling need of all), fresh smoothies, muffins and bread pudding. There are also omelets, sometimes pancakes and fresh-squeezed fruit juice.

The bed and breakfast is almost always booked over Shabbos, providing guests with another opportunity to enjoy the home-style cooking of the owner, Hadassah Rothenberg, and to meet and engage with fellow travelers. The shul is just a few blocks away.

Charleston also boasts a kosher Krispy Kreme donuts and a small pareve restaurant also run by Ms. Rothenberg.

Charleston is a wonderful city to visit. The homes are beautiful, it is historically interesting and much of it is accessible by foot.

Add in a kosher bed and breakfast and you should be planning your trip now. For more information, please go to www.charlestonkosherbedandbreakfast.com.