California cooking classes teach artisanal, local food-crafting

Cooking classes are nothing new, but how about learning how to roast your own coffee beans, brew beer at home, or even prepare a roast chicken from scratch, including catching the bird? The Southern California-area Institute of Domestic Technology brings farm-to-table eating to a new level with workshops focusing on hyper-local food-crafting of everything from dairy products to artisanal mustard.

Classes are currently posted for March and April, with a few more on the schedule for early summer. Most workshops are around or under $200 including ingredients and lunch, and held at or near the Institute’s headquarters at Mariposa Creamery, north of Pasadena. The coffee roasting class will be held on April 28 with fees of $95 for supplies and snacks. The classes are a tasty way to take a piece of California home, and learn how to eat locally, wherever you are.

Photo courtesy Institute of Domestic Technology Facebook page.

Luxury Travel: $30,000 romance package at The Langham hotel in Pasadena

We know you want to show your love for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day – but is your love worth a $30,000 hotel package? Perhaps it is. If so, The Langham Hotel in Pasadena, California is offering an over-the-top romance package sure to tickle even the most jaded traveler’s fancy. The overnight package really isn’t as bad as it could be, given that it includes a custom-designed piece of diamond jewelry from Single Stone of Mission Street valued at $20,000. Can we say “wedding proposal”? The package also includes:

  • Limousine transfer to and from the hotel, as well as an on-call limousine for use during your stay
  • Champagne, five dozen roses, chocolate covered strawberries
  • Overnight accommodations in the Tournament of Roses suite, offering 360-degree views of the San Gabriel Mountains and valleys, with early arrival and late checkout as needed.
  • A custom-created diamond jewelry piece from Single Stone on Mission Street (valued at $20,000)
  • 80-minute Chuan Balancing Couple’s Massage at The Huntington Spa
  • Private dinner for two in the Tournament of Roses Suite featuring a five course menu with wine pairings from The Royce
  • Rose petal turndown and breakfast in bed

You know what they say – money can’t buy you love, but it’s as easy to love a rich man as a poor one. We’re pretty sure we could get used to what money could buy us with this package.

Distant Lands: From Pasadena to the World

I’ve known of the Distant Lands travel shop for several years now, but always thought it was primarily a bookstore. However, after watching this short video feature on the store, I stand corrected — the Pasadena, CA shop is much more than a place to stock up on your favorite travel titles. The travel outfitter has been providing a growing selection of travel gear and merchandise since it opened in 1989.

Distant Lands stock backpacks, clothing, maps and loads of other travel accessories. It’s a one stop shop for pre-trip planning needs. And they host a wide range of travel-related events too. Next week they’ve got a travel photography class scheduled and they’ll host a Peace Corp information session. Also in October — talks by travelers who have explored Kathmandu and Tibet.

This reminds me of another cool California travel bookstore-and-so-much-more that I visited a few years back. I’m bummed to say that I’ve yet to discover a similar independent travel outfitter in the NY-metro region. Anyone know of one that I’ve manged to overlook?