Five great upcoming food and wine festivals

Food and travel often go hand in hand – after all, the best meals are often found away from home, and some of the best memories can be made over a meal. Want to really get away for a gourmet feast? Check out these five great upcoming food and wine festivals.

Pebble Beach Food & Wine
This grand tasting is held from April 28th – May 1st and includes 200 wineries plus 25 chefs, including celebrity chef Shawn McClain, “best brunch in the country chef” Michael Schwartz, and pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith from Miami’s Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, as well as select sit-down meals.

Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit
Held from May 5th – May 7th, this festival will include executive chefs from Rao, Michael Mina, and more.

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
From May 19th – 22nd, the home to “Top Chef” fan favorite Kevin Gillespie will be hosting this festival which will include players such as Charleston’s Sean Brock, Joe Schafer, John Besh, and other highly regarded chefs.

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience
From May 24th-28th , multiple top restaurants will be showing up to the Big Easy to showcase local food.

Food & Wine Classic in Aspen
It may not be ski season, but that won’t stop the crowds from descending on Aspen from June 17th – 19th. Sponsored by Food & Wine magazine, the event will feature cooking demonstrations and wine tastings as well as seminars led by wine and food superstars such as Mario Batali, José Andrés, Jacques Pépin, Gail Simmons, and Joshua Wesson.

Want to get away to one of the events? CheapOAir is offering special package deals with hotel and flight suggestions to each of the destinations listed above.

Los Cabos becomes golf hotspot, per Golf Digest

Naples, Florida. Bethpage Black. Pebble Beach. St. Andrews. These are the sorts of places that come to mind when you think “top spot for golf.” But, Los Cabos? Mexico? Prepare to have your illusions shattered: Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort – a destination whose name you just can’t say quickly – picked up the #9 spot on Golf Digest’s world hotspots for golf (if you can actually call a place known for golf a “hotspot”).

The golf course and resort with the long name pushed into the top 10 in the magazine’s “50 Best International Golf Hotels Outside of the United States” category. The win was helped by The Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol, designed by Jack Nicklaus (or at least under his name) and ranked #1 in Latin American. The other attraction, The Desert Course at Cabo Del Sol takes #5 in Mexico, also according to Golf Digest.

Alberto Gurrola, general manager of The Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa, is understandably psyched about the Golf Digest honors, saying, “The Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort has long attracted guests for its spectacular, idyllic background, where the desert meets the sea as well as its soothing SOMMA WineSPA and, of course, its world-renowned golf offerings.”

Now, I’m not going to say that the spa is a great place to drop the wife when you dash off to play 18 holes, lest I invoke the ire of a commenter yet again. Simply, if I were married to a golfer, I’d run off to the spa while she goes out to chase a little white ball.

Galley Gossip: The best thing about being a flight attendant – Travel! (Monterey & Carmel, CA)

The best thing, by far, about being a flight attendant, besides all the cool people you get to work with and all the interesting passengers you meet, is being able to travel anywhere in the world (as long as there’s an airport) at a moments notice on your day off – for free! Well…that is as long as there’s an open seat on the airplane. So when the husband had to go to Carmel, California for work two weeks ago, I jumped on the computer, logged onto the airline website, and pulled up the passenger loads.

Oh. My. Goodness. I couldn’t believe my eyes! The flight to Carmel was open. As in wide open! Which was kind of weird, because the flights these days are never open. Immediately my fingers began clicking the keyboard as fast as they could type, checking the passenger loads on the return flight back to Los Angeles. Unbelievable. The flight home was also open. Not wide open, no, but there were seats available, and more than two of them. Two seats, that’s all I needed.

I yelled out, “We’re going with you!” We, being, the kid and I.

That’s when I realized I hadn’t been back to Carmel since my son was born, a little over two years ago! What a shame, considering Carmel is one of my favorite places to go for a quick weekend getaway. What’s so great about Carmel? Everything!

The town of Carmel is charming, located just steps away from the ocean. There you will find peace and relaxation as well as galleries and restaurants. For me, nothing compares to an early morning jog on the winding path overlooking the breathtaking beach while the fog rolls in, followed by a scrumptious breakfast at Katy’s. Don’t even get me started on the flowers, particularly the lavender, which makes the place smell so good, especially this time of year!

Not to mention, I was born in Monterrey, a short drive from Carmel, where there are so many wonderful things to do with a kid, like visiting the sea otters at the Monterey bay aquarium. Of course we’d have to make a stop at the Highlands Inn for lunch, one of Carmel’s most romantic hotels, where we got married five years ago. I mean what’s not to love about sitting on a wooden deck, the smell of pine trees enveloping you, as you take in sweeping views of the ocean. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a whale or two through the binoculars left outside on the patio table. If that’s not enough, Point Lobos State Reserve is a fantastic place to go for a hike, while Pebble Beach provides the golfer a world renowned course. And who doesn’t love that drive to Big Sur? Needless to say, Carmel, as well as Monterrey, are quite special to me.

I could hear the husband climbing the stairs. “What did you say?”

“We’re coming with you.” I spun around in the leather chair just as the husband walked into the office. “The flights are open! I can’t believe it,” I mumbled, pointing at the screen.

“Me, neither, ” said the husband, who can’t even remember the last time he’s taken advantage of my flight privileges. He can’t take the stress of possibly being bumped from flight to flight all day long. Leaning over my shoulder, he said, “Let’s make it a long weekend. I’ll book a hotel in Carmel.”

“I’ll start packing!” I exclaimed, jumping off the computer and dragging my suitcase out of the closet. It was 4pm and the flight to Carmel departed at 8am sharp the following morning. I couldn’t wait to get on that flight!

Get on the flight we did, no problem. Man, there are times when I really love my job!

While you’re reading this post about Carmel, I’m on my way home from Honolulu. That’s right, I’m taking my mother and son, as well as the husband, to Oahu for the weekend, which I’m sure I’ll be writing about soon. Until then, enjoy my little photo gallery of Monterey. (Little photo gallery because the camera broke mid trip)

(The above photo was taken at the Point Lobos State Reserve )