Thursday, January 22, 2015

The LA Travel & Adventure Show Returns To Long Beach Convention Center Feb. 21-22, 2015

Show Will Feature the Largest Group of Celebrity Travel Personalities 
Ever Assembled for a Consumer Show of its Kind
(Long Beach, CA) – The nation’s largest travel show is returning to the Long Beach Convention Center for its 10th year and will feature an impressive lineup of keynote speakers including travel personalities Rick Steves, CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg, Josh Gates of Travel Channel’s Expedition Unknown, Pauline Frommer, Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown, PBS’ Joseph Rosendo and The Amazing Race Host, Phil Keoghan.

Southern Californians are invited to gain valuable insight, learn travel tips and immerse themselves in the stories of the most experienced travelers in the world. In addition to the keynote speakers, the Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show will also feature two other speaker stages for attendees who are looking for in-depth travel information.

New for 2015, the Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show will debut the Savvy Traveler Theater, making it the third speaker stage at the show. Here, visitors will learn the best how-to tips on traveling smarter and more hassle-free. The Savvy Traveler Theater will showcase the latest travel technology, provide travel safety information and teach handy travel skills.

The Destination Theater, back by popular demand, will highlight destination-specific seminars where wanderlust travelers can draw inspiration and get detailed information about the world’s most sought-after travel destinations including Asia, Africa, Europe, the U.S. and even luxury train travel.

Keynote Speaker Schedule
Rick Steves:  Join the travel expert – acclaimed for his bestselling guidebook series, public television series, and public radio shows – as he shares all the latest in smart European travel. Freshly back from travel hot spots, Rick Steves will explain the practical, money-saving ins and outs of independent travel. Packed with tips on getting the most out of every mile, minute, and dollar on your next trip, this will be a must see discussion!

Saturday, 10:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, 10:15 a.m.  Autograph signing immediately following each session.

Samantha Brown:  Travel Channel Host, Samantha Brown has spent more than a decade at Travel Channel.  Her travel goal is to always show that if she can do it, you can do it.  With years of experience being on the road, she takes a look back at just how much the travel world has changed.  She touches on such topics as the evolution of using an app to book a flight (from the days of calling airlines) to the change in what motivates people to travel.  Samantha is still living in airports, hotels and out of a suitcase, but things are way different now than they were then!

Saturday, 1:15 p.m. and Sunday, 1:15 p.m. Autograph signing immediately following each session.

Phil Keoghan:  Although best known for his role as host and producer of the Emmy Award-Winning television show, The Amazing Race, Phil Keoghan is an also an avid adventurer. He has gone on to work in over 100 countries around the world as a motivational speaker, author, television host, actor, producer and cameraman on thousands of program episodes.
Event attendees are invited to join Phil as he takes the audience on a journey through his travel adventures around the globe and shares his passion for living life and fulfilling dreams. Phil’s NOW (No Opportunity Wasted) philosophy will teach audiences to live by letting go of the handrails, thinking outside the box and using imagination as currency.

Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Autograph signing immediately following.

Pauline Frommer:  As founding editor of, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, Pauline Frommer,  will lead a fast-paced seminar about money saving methods of travel, less usual destinations, and ways to tailor a vacation so that it fits each traveler’s personality.

Saturday, 12:00 p.m. Autograph signing immediately following.

Peter Greenberg:  A multiple Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and producer, Peter Greenberg is the nation’s most recognized, honored and respected front-line travel news journalist. Greenberg regularly reports for CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News and CBS Sunday Morning. Join him as he shares cutting-edge travel information and insider tips that all travelers should know before ever leaving home. Listeners should definitely bring a pen and paper (or tablet) to take notes!

Sunday, 3:30 p.m. Autograph signing immediately following.

Josh Gates: Having traveled to more than ninety countries, Josh Gates is an adventurer and avid explorer with a unique brand of humor and deep-rooted passion for off-the-map excursions that take him in search of the world’s most enduring mysteries. Gates will be featured in the upcoming Travel Channel series “Expedition Unknown,” set to premiere in January 2015. Gates previously served as host and co-executive producer of the Syfy Channel series “Destination Truth,” based upon his bestselling book, Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter.

Sunday, 12:00 p.m. Autograph signing immediately following.

Joseph Rosendo: Emmy-award winning director and travel host Joseph Rosendo has been a travel, food and wine journalist and travel broadcaster for more than 30 years. Since 2007, he has hosted, directed and written Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope®, the award-winning travel television series.

Sunday, 2:30 p.m. Autograph signing immediately following.

Patricia Schultz, author of the New York Times Bestseller, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die will be hosting the Destination Theater and will be available for autograph signings each day.

The event’s National TV Media Sponsor is Travel Channel. Supporting sponsors include Rick Steves’ Europe; Taiwan Tourism Bureau; Indonesia; Tourism Authority of Thailand  and Yosemite/Mariposa County Tourism Bureau.  Contributing sponsor is the Japan National Tourism Organization. Official Airline Sponsor is Ethiopian Airlines.

The 2015 Los Angeles Travel & Adventure ShowTM will take place February 21 and 22 from 10 am to 5 pm at the Long Beach Convention Center, located at 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802.  Tickets are available online for $11 for one day or $17 for two days (use promo code: LAPR). Children 16 and under are free.  At the door, tickets will be available, cash only, for $16 for one day and $25 for two days. For tickets and information please visit, email or call (203)878-2577.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

There Is No Place Like New Orleans For Food and Culture

By Darlene C. Donloe

No one thinks twice about having a meeting in New Orleans.

It’s a popular destination for many reasons. There is lots of history and culture in New Orleans. And, then there’s the food.  

Poboys, jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish Étouffée, Beignets, red beans and rice, bananas foster, king cakes and more. You hungry yet?  Take your pick or take it all, you won’t be disappointed.

Of course, the French Quarter, which has self-guided walking tour); Bourbon Street, Café Du Monde, Preservation Hall, the Garden District, Louis Armstrong Park, are just some of the must sees!  If you can have your meeting during Mardi Gras – you’ll be the envy of every one you know and don’t know.

If New Orleans is your next destination, here are just a few suggestions of places to see as well as places to consume some of the Crescent City’s finest cuisine.


New Orleans is probably the second city that never sleeps. However, at some point you’re going to have to lay your head down.  The Roosevelt Hotel, a member of the Waldorf Astoria properties, is a great choice. 

The Roosevelt Hotel ( is steeped in history and even has a presidential and Hollywood connection.

This place was hot during the Roosevelt Administration. It also boasted the likes of Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Cab Calloway, Elvis Presley, Bob Hope as guests.

The hotel’s website says: ‘From our legendary past – where the famous and infamous, the royal and revered, the celebrity and the Sazerac have all starred – to our modern-day luxury and extraordinary accommodations and meeting spaces, The Roosevelt is the destination where memories begin.’

The rooms are elegant.  There are 504 of them and 135 luxury suites.

Every room has state-of-the-art technology, luxurious décor and white glove service.

Other highlights include: a 12,000 sq. ft. Guerlain Spa and Fitness Center, The Sazerac Bar, Sazerac Restaurant, John Besh’s Domenica, Italian-inspired cuisine, a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, poolside bar (open seasonally) and a
garden terrace.


There is 60,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting and banquet space and 20,000 sq. ft. of Roosevelt Ballroom divisible into five sections. There are 23 distinctive meeting rooms, a Huey P. Long Executive Boardroom and a full-service business center.

There are a number of rooms on various levels of the behemoth hotel (and in various sizes) in which to have events.

The New Orleans Convention Center is only a short three-minute cab ride from the hotel.

The ride from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to the Roosevelt Hotel is about 30 minutes!


The New Orleans African American Museum (, is chock full of historical information on the cultural heritage of New Orleans. 

NOAAM’s mission is to preserve, interpret and promote the African American cultural heritage of New Orleans, with a particular emphasis on the Tremé community, the oldest surviving African American neighborhood in the country. 

New Orleans African American Museum

The Museum is housed in the Tremé Villa, considered by some to be one of the finest examples of a Creole villa in the city. Built in 1828-29, the home retains many of its original decorative details. There are five restored buildings to visit. NOAAM is the only institution in the New Orleans region that is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of Tremé and the African American people of New Orleans.

Plan to spend as much time as you wish in the serene gardens surrounding the villa. Located on the site of a former plantation, the beautifully landscaped grounds cover one city block. There are three main courtyards on the front, rear, and side, which also features a gazebo in the center of the yard. Wear comfortable shoes, as many of the courtyards are made of original handmade bricks. The villa is available for weddings, bridal teas, and small meetings and receptions.


For something a little different, check out the Backstreet Cultural Museum. It’s a hoot!

photo by Darlene Donloe

Located in the Tremé community, The Backstreet Cultural Museum ( was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1999. Today, the museum, reportedly, holds the world’s most comprehensive collection related to New Orleans’ African American community-based masking and processional traditions, including Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals, social aid and pleasure clubs, Baby Dolls, and Skull and Bone gangs.   The museum’s filmed records of more than 500 events, constitute the most cohesive archive documenting these cultural traditions.  The museum hosts public performances of music and dance, provides outreach programs, and creates an annual book, Keeping Jazz Funerals Alive, that chronicles the year’s jazz funerals. 


New Orleans is known for its cuisine. There are any number of restaurants with a mouth-watering menu that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. 

Brennan's Bananas Foster
(photo by Darlene Donloe)

If you want to start the day off the right way in New Orleans, have breakfast at Brennan’s.  This is indulgence at its best. Known for their Bananas Foster, a Brennan creation, executive chef Lazonne Randolph takes care to make every meal a succulent delight.  Banana’s Foster, prepared right at the table, consists of rum, butter, brown sugar, and, of course, bananas.  Breakfast was topped off with a HUGE piece of CHOCOLATE CAKE! It’s so decadent, but so good! Of course, you can get more than just breakfast there. You can also have some the New Orleans standards: gumbo, Po-boys, red beans and rice, jambalaya, beignets, pralines and etoufee. If you want to recreate any of the recipes, be sure to buy the restaurant’s Breakfast at Brennan’s and Dinner, Too cookbook. 

(photo by Darlene Donloe)

DOOKY CHASE'S…is clearly one of the most popular soul food/Creole restaurants in New Orleans. When you walk through the door you’re greeted with a large picture of then presidential candidate Barack Obama, seated at a table with a look that clearly shows he is satisfied with his meal. If you’re lucky, you’ll see or even meet chef Leah Chase, who is known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine.

The restaurant suffered some water damage after Hurricane Katrina, but has since bounced back. Chase, whose father-in-law opened Dooky Chase's in 1941, lived in a FEMA trailer while the family struggled to renovate and reopen the building.

During the Civil Rights Movement the eatery was a hub for notables like Ray Charles, Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Duke Ellington and Jesse Jackson. 

Why they were there was no secret! They wanted some of the best soul food around, which includes fried catfish fillet, gumbo, red beans and rice, yellow squash with shrimp topped off with some smack-your-mama peach cobbler.

The menu also includes crunchy, dry-battered fried chicken, shrimp stuffed with more crab than filler, hot sausage and salt pork mustard greens.   Whoo Hoo!  That’s some good eatin’!

Olivier's Peach Cobbler (photo by Darlene Donloe)

OLIVIER’S CREOLE RESTAURANT….”The Art of Dining, the science of cooking.” Authentic Creole cuisine is the specialty. A fifth-generation, family-owned restaurant located in the French Quarter, Olivier’s serves up mouth-watering food.  The Gumbo Sampler is incredible.   Order it and you’ll get three different kinds of gumbo (rile, okra and roux). There is also a Taster’s Platter that features shrimp, fish, oysters, salmon cake and crab. There’s also Creole rabbit, Shrimp Scampi, pork medallions, roast breast of duck and more. It’s all out-of-this-world good.  Several of the Olivier brothers walk around the restaurant visiting various tables and making sure all of their guests are happy. The ambiance is classy and pleasant. For the last two decades, the Olivier family has preserved the old and perfected the new Creole cooking traditions. Recipes presented by the Olivier family reflect the finest of old Creole culture still in place.  Be sure to you’re your Olivier’s Restaurant Creole Cuisine Cookbooklet.

The Grill Room

THE GRILL ROOM….is an alternative to the traditional New Orleans cuisine.  It’s an upscale eatery located in the five-star Windsor Court Hotel.  The eatery, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, is the only 4-star/4-diamond restaurant in New Orleans.  Menu items include: Blue Crab Salad, Seared American Red Snapper, Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast, Bronzed Diver Scallops, Roasted Local Grouper, Grilled Dry Aged Strip Loin, Farro Risotto, Duck Fat Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and more. Any one of the entrees will leave you more than satisfied. Enjoy nightly live entertainment.

THE HOUSE OF BLUES…has a fabulous Gospel Jazz Brunch that highlights inspiring gospel performances. 

(photo by Darlene Donloe)

The buffet includes some scrumptious chicken jambalaya, bakes chicken, pancakes, cheddar grits and omelets, roasted garlic potatoes, bacon & sausage links, scrambled eggs,
assorted muffins, bagels, mini croissants, biscuits with country gravy, omelets stations, fruit, peel & eat boiled shrimp, cole slaw and potato salad, carving top of round of beef, country ham, or Turkey. The champagne is flowing and the white chocolate bread pudding with Bourbon sauce is fabulous.


FOOD: Check out Loretta’s New Orleans Authentic Pralines (, Mother’s Restaurant (, Boswell’s Jamaican Grill and Old Gentilly Spicy Kitchen.

HIGHLIGHTS: Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse.

photo by Darlene Donloe

Not sure where to eat in New Orleans?  There is a simple solution. Check out the “Where To Eat In New Orleans Tour,” (WTEINO) helmed by Nadra T. DeMagnus.  It’s a two-hour, riding tour of off the beaten path restaurants. The food is exceptional. During the tour participants sample items from several restaurants.  A tour favorite is the New Orleans Original Daiquiri Drive-Thru. Be warned that the drinks can be strong. Proceed with caution! No tour is the same.  The goal of WTEINO is to face every aspect of world hunger one meal at a time.

Who dat?