Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • Today the world celebrates the second-annual Champagne Day. Started as a grassroots online effort to celebrate the sparkling wine that comes exclusively from the Champagne region of France, Champagne Day is celebrated worldwide in wine stores, bars, restaurants, at private events, in homes and online. Events include Champagne discounts at retailers, tastings, TweetUps and spontaneous celebrations. To find some of the events happening around the world, visit the Champagne Day Meetup site.

    Open a bottle of bubble for Champagne Day

    Open a bottle of bubble for Champagne Day

    Additionally, in honor of Champagne Day, the Champagne Bureau hosted a contest where individuals submitted photos of authentic Champagne labels in order to win an iPad2, and the Bureau is proud to announce that Eric Mueller is the lucky winner. There were over 300 submissions of Champagne labels, all of which are available to be viewed on the Champagne Bureau’s Facebook page.

    “Champagne is the quintessential wine of celebration and, with celebrations worldwide, Champagne Day is a great opportunity to enjoy Champagne with your friends and family,” said Sam Heitner, director of the Champagne Bureau. “As you celebrate, enjoy, smile, share your experience online and remember that there are many quality sparkling wines produced worldwide, but true Champagne only comes from Champagne, France.”

    To participate in the festivities, follow the #ChampagneDay hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and on other social media sites. For more information about #ChampagneDay or the worldwide effort to protect wine place names and origins, please visit or

    Champagne Day for two

    Share a bottle of Champagne with someone special.

    I think that each day is special and a reason to celebrate, that’s why every day is Champagne Day at my house. What are your plans for #ChampagneDay?

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  • For me, the most comforting concoction during the cold weather is a frothy cup of hot chocolate. It’s comforting and warms me all the way down from my head to my toes. My kids are big fans of hot chocolate also, begging me to make a pot on a Sunday evening, topping it off with whipped cream and chocolate flakes.

    Since New York City is one of the most popular holiday destinations we thought we’d put together a list of some of the best places to grab a hot cup of cocoa, whether you’re viewing Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, touring some of the free things to do in NYC, or looking for something to warm you as you watch the tree light up Rockefeller Center.

    Hug Mug at Max Brenner Chocolate by the Bald Man

    Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man – Forget acting like an adult, I want to order something off the fabulous kid menu –  Max and the Secret Chocolate Menu. There is an entire section of Chocolate Potions just for kids. But, if you have to grow up, Max Brenner offers a variety of liquid chocolate goodness served in special containers, like the Hug Mug (you need to hug the mug with both hands to enjoy), the Suckao (an espresso sized drink where you heat the chocolate in the milk), the Alice Cup (for frozen chocolates with a special straw holder), and the Kangaroo Cup (coffee with a pocket to place chocolate to melt on the side). As for me: I’m in love with Max Brenner and the Chocolate Drinking Ceremony. Found At: 841 Broadway

    The City Bakery – One of the most popular hot chocolate spots is just footsteps from 5th Avenue at The City Bakery. Each February they host the Hot Chocolate Festival, where owner Maury Rubin serves a different hot chocolate flavor each day of the month. Last year they served concoctions such as Sunken Treasure Hot Chocolate, Chile Pepper Hot Chocolate, Beer + Brown Sugar Hot Chocolate, and a long list of other flavors. Of course, you can always get the classic cocoa topped with a homemade marshmallow. Found At: 3 West 18th

    The Chocolate Room – Have you ever had a hot chocolate float? What about a Snow Mint Chocolate Float? These are just two of the yummy hot chocolatey treats to be found at The Chocolate Room in Brooklyn. Be sure to sample a slice of their Chocolate Layer Cake which was featured in Oprah Magazine in 2007. Found At: Park Slope, 86 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn

    Cocoa Bar – By day you can sit around sipping a cocoa and surfing the net with the Cocoa Bar‘s free Wi-Fi. By night, stop in for dessert after dinner as this place turns into a wine and dessert bar. The retail shop even offers chocolate spa products to bring the comforting aroma of hot cocoa to your home. Found At: 21 Clinton Street (Between Houston and Stanton)

    Jacques Torres Chocolate – Jacques Torres is quite possibly New York City’s most famous chocolatier. In July, NYCMama toured the chocolate factory with Jacques Torres himself in one of her posts. By looking at the photos, I can almost smell the decadent chocolates offered at this confectionary. Jacques Torres Chocolate offers a variety of hot chocolates, from sweet to spicy. While you’re there, be sure to sample a chocolate crepe or other delectable goody. Found At: 350 Hudson at King Street (1 Block South of Houston)

    Of course, these are just a few of the many places to grab a hot cocoa in the Big Apple. Have we left your favorite spot off the list? Please share it in the comments.

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  • Video slideshow of fine dining restaurant in Las Vegas – Sage at Aria Casino.

    Can’t see the video? Watch it on YouTube.

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  • Las Vegas isn’t just a place to gamble, but has also become one of the foremost culinary destinations in the world. recently visited this city that never sleeps and explored the variety of dining options around the city while on a Las Vegas girlfriend getaway.

    One fine dining option in Las Vegas is Sage, a Shawn McClain Restaurant at ARIA Casino and Resort at CityCenter. Sage serves Contemporary American cuisine with an infusion of global influences in each dish. ThemeParkMom, MommyMusings, and myself enjoyed an early dinner before a planned show. The atmosphere of the restaurant is contemporary chic and the whole experience is more than just fine dining – it’s an event in itself.


    CajunMama – I enjoyed the Foie Gras Custard ‘Brulee’ topped with Bing cherries, toasted cocoa nibs, and salted brioche. It was divine. Simply divine. It was a light, heavenly concoction that was buttery, creamy, and should be placed on the dessert menu. I felt like I needed to go to Confession after enjoying such a delightful experience.

    MommyMusings – It’s not every day that Wagyu Beef Tartare is on my menu. I just had to try this starter, which was mixed with crushed caper aioli, pickled mustard seeds, crispy chocolate and topped with a slow poached egg. The combination melted in my mouth.  While my app. was delicious, CajunMama’s Foie Gras Custard ‘Brulee’ was the star of the show. The two bites that I had were pure indulgence.

    ThemeParkMom – It’s hard for me to pass up risotto anywhere, and Sage’s version was studded with butternut squash, pine nuts and lobster mushrooms. It was a great mix of earthy, nutty and sweet flavors, and the risotto was perfectly cooked and creamy. I also tried the amazing Foie Gras Brulee that CajunMama ordered and was blown away. That has to be one of the absolute best things I have ever put in my mouth. I have literally dreamed about eating it again.


    MommyMusings – I couldn’t get enough beef and ordered the Mishima Ranch Kobe Flat Iron with blue cheese potato pave, glazed heirloom carrots and shaved black truffles. My steak was cooked a perfect medium-rare and was extremely tender. The baby heirloom carrots were the best I’ve ever tasted.

    ThemeParkMom – I indulged in beef cheeks, which were served in a silver dish, braised with root vegetables. They were tender and well-seasoned. The dish was rich and comforting, like an over-the-top holiday meal.

    CajunMama – Our server sold me on the ‘special’ of pasta in a cream sauce topped with freshly delivered white truffles after describing the dish in such an entertaining manner. I couldn’t imagine anything could top my appetizer, but after finishing the entire dish of pasta, I felt very expensive. I tasted both ThemeparkMom and MommyMusings dishes and the beef cheeks were so tender they melted in my mouth.


    ThemeParkMom – In keeping with the holiday meal theme, I ordered winter-spiced donut holes. They came hot and coated in sugar, flavored with spicy nutmeg and ginger. The donut holes came with a cranberry sauce for dipping and a tiny vanilla milkshake to sip. Forget pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving – I want more of those donut holes for dessert!

    CajunMama – I don’t know if I should admit this, but I had a hard time going for something traditional like a bread pudding or something decadent and chocolate. I ended up with two desserts and a big smile on my face.

    MommyMusings – Since I had two courses of beef, I was looking for a light dessert. I ordered the Lemon-Thyme Semifredo, which was silky and refreshing. A perfect ending to a decadent meal.

    Recently Legalized Absinthe

    Sage offers Absinthe served in a signature style. The Absinthe is prepared tableside in a manner worthy of the destination we were visiting. It was a show in itself and offered entertainment not just for our table, but for the entire restaurant. ThemeParkMom was our Guinea pig and we all sampled the prepared concoction which tasted like root beer candy.

    Overall the experience of dining at Sage is not one we will soon forget. Our server was knowledgeable and attentative. I’d even go as far as to say he spoiled the three of us on our Las Vegas girlfriend getaway. We had faith in his wine pairing abilities and I wondered if he wasn’t really a sommelier after enjoying his superb selections.

    The price is in keeping with the level of service and cuisine at other fine dining establishments in Las Vegas and there are even options to help diners stick to a budget. The Chef’s Menu offers a four course meal for $79 with optional wine pairings at an additional $30. If I have the chance to return to the area, I definitely have Sage on my list to visit again.

    Special thanks to ARIA Casino Resort and Sage for hosting this outstanding meal.

    Sage (Aria) on Urbanspoon

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  • The rain was dripping on the gravel area of my back patio, with big, fat raindrops plopping into the tiered fountain. It’s the time of the day where dinner is simmering on the stove and the rest of the family has yet to come home for the day.

    As I poured and looked at the light color, I thought of the Wine in the City event I hosted along with Erika Lehmann and Tim Hayden. We were graced with the beautiful personalities of Jackson Family Wines – Barbara Banke and Katie Jackson.

    The La Crema 2008 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay opens with crisp green apple and vibrant citrus aromas with a subtle hint of butterscotch and cloves. The flavors broaden on the palate into juicy orange and ripe apples, with a long fresh finish of vanilla and caramel tones. This wine tasted creamy. Seriously.

    I purchased this wine for $15 at my local grocery. If you are in the Sonoma Wine Country, stop by the La Crema tasting room at 235 Healdsburg Avenue in Healdsburg, California. The tasting room is open seven days a week from 10:30 am – 5:30 pm. A $5 tasting is available but refunded with purchase.

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