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SIPS   .   .   .

Breakfast & Coffee at Cortes in Budapest


Cortes Downtown in The Prestige Hotel in Budapest is a Michelin Star Restaurant in the beautiful City Center near St. Stephen's Basilica, where Chef Viere oversees gourmet plates. They serve a delightful breakfast with everything a traveler could desire, and the coffee is outstanding.  My waiter was very helpful and the ambiance of this room is peaceful and welcoming in the morning. The dinner menu offers some very interesting entree items - see menu below.

Located in The  stunning Prestige Hotel it is a very popular venue for dinner, where the menu offers Hungarian and international favorites. The room has a cozy library look, with booths surrounded by book shelves, as well as a wall of living plants that bring the outside inside.

The Prestige Hotel gets my 5 Star mention for the contents in their amazing room refrigerator. Lovely wine, beverage, and snacks!

Treat  yourself to a delightful start to a day of sightseeing in Budapest and have a healthy breakfast and delicious coffee at Cortes. www.cortesdowntown.com, www.PrestigeHotel.com


The Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival Returns on Saturday, September 8 at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club
Partnerships with Lamborghini and Living Vehicle Announced
Includes Musicial Performances by ZZ Ward, Booker T. Jones, California Honeydrops, The Jazz Villains and more
The Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, held at the beautiful Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club on Saturday September 8, 2018, is the first of its kind in California. The festival combines polo, local wine, and music for a unique one-day experience. This premier, full day experience will feature two polo matches, great music and tastings from some of Santa Barbara’s finest wineries. Attendees will live the polo lifestyle and be treated to an elegant atmosphere. While not required, organizers encourage attendees to dress as you would for a typical polo game. Think of the scene from the movie ‘Pretty Woman’ when they are at the polo match. For more information on polo terminology and dress code suggestions visit the official event page.
This year, the Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival will be the kick-off event to the 8-goal polo series at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. This will be an official polo game of the series, and is sure to be an incredible match. The festival will also include musicial performances by ZZ Ward, Booker T. Jones, California Honeydrops, Quinn DeVeaux, The Jazz Villians and DJ Sets by: Soul Dust Productions

The Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival is set to be kicked off by the The Jazz Villains, an up and coming youth jazz combo based out of Santa Barbara. The group is sponsored by Notes For Notes, a non profit that organization that designs, equips, and staffs after-school recording studios inside Boys & Girls Clubs offering youth the opportunity to explore, create, and record music for free. In just under 2 years, the six-piece Jazz Villains have already made their mark at venues such as The Lobero Theater, Marjourie Luke Theater, Santa Barbara’s SOhO and Ventura’s Squashed Grapes.

Exciting additions to this years Santa Barbara Polo & Wine festival include new sponsors including Lamborghini and Living Vehicle. Lamborghini North Los Angeles will be debuting their Ursus SUV at the community event. “The Lamborghini Urus is a visionary approach based on the infusion of Lamborghini DNA into the most versatile vehicle, the SUV” says Stefano Domenicali, Automobili Lamborghini Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. 

Living Vehicle has been added as another sponsor for the event. They will be showcasing a new mobile living space activation in the VIP section of the festival. Living Vehicle brings full time living spaces to the freedom of the mobile world in a modern fashion.
The Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival will also feature a careful curation of local food and wineries on site. Local wineries on site will include Jardesca, Lavender Oak Vineyard, Old Creek Ranch, Sanford Winery, Standing Sun Wines, Summerland Winery, Broadstreet Oyster Co., Buena Onda, Bibi Ji, Ojai Beverage Company and more. Additionally, there will be a wine tasting hour at the festival from 1pm - 2pm where attendees will having a chance to sample all of the featured wines for free and a free VIP champagne and cheese hour from 5:30 - 6:30pm in the stage side VIP tent. Sommelier guided wine tasting tours will be available (first come first serve) and attendees will be guided across all of the wineries of the festival and given an overview, history, and tasting notes at each winery.

GA, VIP, and Box Seat tickets are on sale now and start at $65.00 (plus fees and taxes).




- Strawberry infused

- Highwest Rye Whiskey

- Poppy Liquer

- Sweet Vermouth

Great cocktail prepared by Jordan Davenport at the bar at Outpost at Goodlands Hotel in Goleta, California. A delightful recipe that is remeniscent of something my parents loved 'in the day' but made with fresh infused strawberries. A spin on a Manhattan  or Old Fashioned. Simply delicious and a cocktail that any woman or man would love.

Outpost at Goodlands Kimpton, Goleta California



2018 TEXSOM Best Sommelier Competition Presented by Texas Monthly

TEXSOM co-founders and Master Sommeliers Drew Hendricks and James Tidwell yesterday announced at the TEXSOM Grand Tasting presented by ProWein that Kenneth Freeman of Sixty Vines in Uptown Dallas is the 2018 TEXSOM Best Sommelier. The 2018 TEXSOM Best Sommelier Competition, presented by Texas Monthly, takes place during TEXSOM, the most prominent and influential wine education conference in the United States, held annually at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.

Freeman topped an impressive field of 25 other competitors in a rigorous three-part wine examination involving service, blind tasting and theory. An elite panel of Master Sommelier judges named Freeman the 2018 TEXSOM Best Sommelier at a ceremony on Monday evening.  The competition is a traditional part of TEXSOM. To participate, candidates must be a current resident of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, or Texas and must not have passed the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Advanced Sommelier Examination or won the competition previously.

“Though we’ve grown over the past 14 years, the mission of TEXSOM continues to be the advancement of our industry and the elevation of service standards in a constant quest for excellence,” said Tidwell. “The TEXSOM Best Sommelier Competition is an opportunity for those individuals who show both a drive to learn and a commitment to these principles. We offer wholehearted congratulations to Kenneth for winning the competition this year. We see a bright future for him and will follow with interest, his accomplishments over the next few years.”

In addition to laying claim to the title of “2018 TEXSOM Best Sommelier,” Freeman received a scholarship of $2,500 from SOMMFoundation to be used for a Court of Master Sommeliers certification program. Lindsay Drew of Guild in Austin was the runner up and will receive a $1,500 scholarship, and the 3rd place winner Morgan Gray of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Houston will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Held August 10th to 13th at Four Seasons Resort and Club Las Colinas and co-presented by the not-for-profit organizations GuildSomm, SOMMFoundation, Court of Master Sommeliers - Americas, and Wine & Spirit Education Trust—TEXSOM is the only event of its kind in the United States.  The speakers and judges constitute a who’s who list of the nation’s top wine professionals. Dozens of Master Sommeliers (MS), Masters of Wine (MW), Certified Wine Educators (CWE), and other respected industry professionals were integral parts of the conference.

2018 Sponsors

: The event is made possible by the generous support of many sponsors, with scholarships provided by the SOMMFoundation.

 Sponsors include: (Presenting Sponsors) Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas; GuildSomm; SOMMFoundation; Wine & Spirits Education Trust.

(Platinum Sponsors) Aqua Panna; Balzac Communications & Marketing; Broadbent Selections; Classic Wine Merchants; E&J Gallo Winery; Fortessa; Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas; ProWein; Republic National Distributing Company; Ribera y Rueda; San Pellegrino; Silver Oak/Twomey; The Sorting Table; Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits; TEXSOM International Wine Awards; TRU Estates and Vineyards; Washington State Wine; Wine Australia; Wines from Spain.

(Gold Sponsors) Australia Classic & Rare; Banfi Vintners; Banville Wine Merchants; Barossa Australia; Classified Wine Imports; Champagne Taittinger; Chappellet Winery; Coravin; Dreyfus, Ashby & Co.; GoVino; Irving Texas Convention & Visitors Bureau; Kistler Vineyards; Loosen Bros. USA; Louis Jadot; Lux Wines; Massanois; Mutual Trading Company; Old Bridge Cellars; Oregon Wine Board; Rhone Valley Vineyards; Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans; Texas Fine Wine; Repour Winesaver; Vintus; Wilson Daniels; Wines of South Africa.

(Silver Sponsors) Bliss Wine Imports; Cape Classics; Crimson Wine Group; DSWS; Domaines Albert Bichot; Empson USA; Esprit du Vin; Europvin; Folio Fine Wine Partners; Gerard Bertrand; Gimblett Gravels Wine Growing District; Graves – Sauternes; Helen & Joey Estate; Iron Horse Vineyards; Jackson Family Wines; Jeroboam; Kobrand Fine Wine and Spirits; C. N. Kopke; Lake County Winegrape Commission; Lodi Wines; Multicarte Inc.; MundoVino; Napa Valley Vintners; New Zealand Wine; North Berkeley Imports; Old World Vines; Ole Imports; Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance; Provence Rose Group; Serendipity Wines; Sideshow Wine Freaks Tour; The Cultured Cup; The Wine Group; Vina Cobos by Paul Hobbs; Vini Fantini by Farnese; Vinos D.O. Navarra; West Sonoma Coast Vintners; Willamette Valley Wine; Wines of Chile; Wines of Georgia; Wines of Germany; Wines of Greece; Wines of Turkey; Wine of Uruguay; Winesellers, Ltd; Yraden Inc.

(Bronze Sponsors) Achaval Ferrer; Alexander Valley Vineyards; Almaviva; Arinzano; Austrian Wine; Barnett Vineyards; Becker Vineyards; Bellavista; Bending Branch Winery; Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana; Brazos Wine; Champagne Collet; Chapel Down; Charles Krug; Clos du Val; Craft + Estate; Crown Point Vineyards; Dalla Terra Winery District; Dashe; Delectatio; Domaine Roy & Fils; Dry Creek Vineyard; DuMol; Ehlers Estate; Emeritus Vineyards; Faustino; Fisher Vineyards; Foley Family Wines; Fredrick Wildman & Sons; Freemark Abbey; Gonzales Byass; Groth Vineyards & Winery; Gruet; Hahn Family Wines; Hartford Family Winery; Hope Family Wines; Hundred Acre; Jax; Joseph Phelps Vineyards; Lange Twins; Lede Family Wines; Left Coast Cellars; Lewis Wines; Mad Fritz; McPherson; Messina Hof Winery & Resort; Mionetto USA; Montagu; Murrieta’s Well; O’Neill Vintners & Distillers; Ontanon; Obsidian Wine Co.; Pahlmeyer Wayfarer; Patz & Hall; Pedernales Cellars; Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance; Premium Port Wines; Quivara Vineyards; R & R Selections; Ramey Wine Cellars; Ranchos de Ontiveros; Revana Family Vineyard; Rex Hill; Siduri; SM Wine Group; Ste. Michelle Wine Estates; Tamber Bey; The Hess Collection; Third Leaf; Torbreck; Trefethen Family Vineyards; Villa Maria; Ventisquero; Vineyard Brands; Vintage Point; William Chris Vineyards; ZD Wines; Zuccardi.


Velas Resorts Serves Up Avocado Craft Cocktails for Guacamania

Grand Velas Los Cabos Shares Its Avocado Mezcalita Recipe 


In September, the AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Los Cabos and its sister properties, collectively known as Velas Resorts, are offering guests a month-long celebration of the avocado and its Mexican heritage. Innovative menus, specialty amenities, spa treatments and more are on tap for Guacamania in addition to beverage highlights like avocado craft cocktails, avocado smoothies, and healthy avocado fusion welcome drinks. For those who can’t make it to Guacamania in September, Grand Velas Los Cabos shares its recipe for the Avocado Mezcalita cocktail served.


Avocado Mezcalita (serves 1) 


¼             Avocado

2 oz        Pineapple juice

8             Mint leaves

¾ oz       Honey

1 ½ oz    White tequila



Blend all ingredients and ice until stiff. Serve and enjoy.


While the festival experience is slated for September, guests who come through Dec. 31 can still indulge in Guacamania’s special dishes, cocktails, spa treatments, and more on request. reservations@velasresorts.com or visit http://guacamania.velasresorts.com.


About Velas Resorts:

Offering unparalleled all-inclusive experiences, Velas Resorts in Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit and Los Cabos have earned 52 AAA Diamonds, including the prestigious Five Diamond Award. Other esteemed international awards for their services and facilities include Virtuoso’s “Best Spa,” Forbes’ “Coolest All-Inclusives,” Forbes’ Four Star Award, and TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame, among others. Properties include the AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas in Los Cabos, with dramatic ocean views and unique spaces infusing every area of the resort; AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, which enjoys a privileged natural setting with flowering, landscaped gardens beside a long stretch of pristine beach and a dramatic backdrop of the Sierra Madre mountains; and AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Maya, located five minutes from Playa del Carmen, offering a sophisticated all-inclusive resort experience in the Caribbean with jungle and beach settings. In Puerto Vallarta, Casa Velas is a boutique adults-only hotel and ocean club located on the Marina Vallarta Golf Course, and Velas Vallarta, a family-friendly all suites resort and spa located on Banderas Bay. Velas Resorts feature spacious accommodations, spas, a unique culinary experience at a selection of restaurants, 24-hour in suite service, fitness centers, personal concierge service, wedding inspections for couples, state of the art conference centers, extensive family programs, fully stocked mini bar and more. Eduardo Vela Ruiz, founder and president of Velas Resorts, operates Velas Resorts with brother Juan Vela, vice president of Velas Resorts, by his side.

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