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The Best in Boise: Chandler’s Ten Minute Martini

November 13, 2013 by · Comments Off on The Best in Boise: Chandler’s Ten Minute Martini 

Oh Boy, Oh Boise

I’d never been to Idaho before and after receiving a guidebook from the state’s office of Tourism, I was downright excited. I flew into Boise, the state capital, arriving in the afternoon. I found the land surprisingly flat, but with wonderful foothills in the distance.

Boise State Capitol
Boise State Capitol Building















My tour would start with a kick-off dinner for members of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writes Association at Chandlers, a favorite local restaurant known for their steaks and Idaho-sourced ingredients. Chandler’s was also the recipient of a 2013 Wine Spectator ‘Best of Award of Excellence’ for their impressive wine list.


Ruby Trout

Ruby Trout

We began with Idaho Ruby Trout as a starter, then an appetizer of Snake River Sturgeon with risotto.  The dish was paired with an Idahoan wine- Cinder’s “Dry” Viognier.  I’m not wild about Viognier but the pairing was right on.

Snake River Sturgeon with risotto




Next came a scrumptious lamb loins , which I love.  I rarely cook lamb for myself so this was a treat. The meat was moist, pink in the middle and paired with Vale Wine Company Syrah, much more to my liking.


Lamb Loin






American Kobe Beef with roasted Idaho garlic potatoes and baby carrots arrived next. I don’t eat much beef but when I do, I go for the best.  The Kobe Beef was melt in your mouth delicious; I could see why Chandler’s has such a fine reputation.  The wine pairing was also my favorite of the evening: Koenig Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend.  It was about this time I started thinking; maybe wine made in Idaho is actually going to rank as good. (And later, when I visited Koening, I grew to truly love their varietals.)


Kobe Beef

Kobe Beef

We ended the evening with a lemon curd tartlet with huckleberry sauce. Now, I’m a sucker for dessert, so naturally I devoured my tart– and the Ste. Chapelle Riesling. Again, don’t usually drink dessert wine, but this one was lovely.


The Ten Minute Martini

Although Chandler’s restaurant is known for their beef and wine, they also serve a legendary 10 Minute Martini. During dessert bartender Pat Carden joined us table side and told us the history of the drink.

Taste Testing a 10 Minute Martini
Gayle tastes the 10 Minute Martini

The story began more than thirty years ago when Pat stumbled on a martini preparation.

He was about to stir a guest’s martini when the man told him to stop, then indicated he would be back shortly. Unsure of what to do, he buried the unstirred martini in the ice well. The customer didn’t return for twenty minutes. Pat said he would be happy to begin again because he was sure the martini was diluted, but the customer said no.   After taking his first taste, the man’s eyes widened. “Wow,” he said,” you’ve got to taste this.” Thinking the drink had essentially become water, Pat again offered to make another. “No, take a sip,” he repeated. So, Pat finally took a sip and claimed it was the smoothest martini he’d ever had. The gentleman became a repeat customer asking for a “long martini.”

After pondering the question about why this method worked, Pat said the light finally came on — physics and chemistry.  Pat’s explanation sounded like something Sheldon Cooper, a character with a Ph.D on the Big Bang Theory, would say. “We’re talking fluid dynamics here — convection. Some of the same principles, laws and equations associated with ocean currents are applicable to an iced mixing jar filled with gin and vermouth, then buried in ice and left on its own for a period of time. Molecules of liquid descend in suspension as they chill, displacing the molecules below. In a small vessel like a bar’s mixing jar, it is in fact a very slow stirring.”

Whatever, the 10 Minute Martini works.  I had a sip and it was very cool indeed.


Disclosure:  This evening was part of a trip for the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association sponsored by the Idaho Department of Tourism.

SATW Online Auction Offers Travel Bargains

November 3, 2013 by · Comments Off on SATW Online Auction Offers Travel Bargains 

Everyone knows I love to travel, but I have a treat for other link-minded individuals.  This year I worked as the auction coordinator for the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Online Auction. This travel-oriented auction is jam packed with super cool items and is now live and open to all for bidding.  It will stay open until 11:45 p.m. EST, Nov. 15, 2013.

Simply click this link:,  then sign up, browse and start bidding.

You’ll find travel packages, lodging, dining,attraction tickets, travel gear, one-on-one services and online courses.  The auction is a terrific way to buy your holiday gifts or make plans for your own travel in 2014.

A sampling of some of the amazing prizes in the SATW Auction are below, but we have many less expensive packages, too.

3-Nights at Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys

Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys

A three-night / four-day stay for two at Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys with dinner for two at Alma (value up to $150). Enjoy the natural wonder and relaxing atmosphere of Hawks Cay, the only resort destination of its kind in the Keys. The 60-acre retreat, located on Duck Key, offers something for everyone with some of the world’s best fishing, kite boarding, water sports, Dolphin Connection program, beaches, pools, kids and teen clubs, spa and more.

Estimated Value: $1,200.00

Current Leading Bid:$300.00



 Pampering, Picnicking, Polo and The Willcox

The Willcox in Aiken, SC

Walk the shady, oak-vaulted streets past clapboard cottages and rambling mansions, and you’ll come upon The Willcox, a white-pillared glory as grand and graceful as ever. The Willcox cultivates a sophisticated, yet informal glamor amidst America’s storied thoroughbred country. The award winning hotel continues to draw international guests who enjoy first-class service, gracious accommodations, excellent cuisine and the magic of historic Aiken, South Carolina. The winning bidder will be lavished for two nights in a Luxurious Premium Suite including deluxe continental breakfast daily, a dinner for 2 in The Restaurant at The Willcox and 2 Signature Spa Treatments. In addition they will also enjoy a Picnic for 2 at Hopeland Gardens, Hitchcock Woods, or Aiken Polo Match.

Estimated Value: $1,100

Leading Bid: $200.00


Branson Vacation Package Includes Airfare

It’s time to raise the curtain on an extraordinary vacation. Whether you’re celebrating family time together, escaping with someone special or reconnecting with your closest friends, you and your co-stars are about to discover a destination designed to put you center stage. After all, there’s no place that brings people together like Branson, Missouri. Experience star-studded performances at our live music shows. Discover the endless fun and majestic beauty of our three pristine lakes. Learn about the rich history and culture of the area at our museums. Find that perfect gift at hundreds of outlet stores, shops, galleries and boutiques. Branson. It’s Your Show. Roundtrip airfare for two people to the Branson Airport, Rental car, 3 nights lodging at a Lakeside Resort in Branson, 2 tickets to Silver Dollar City, 2 passes to the Titanic Museum, 2 tickets to any show at the King’s Castle Theatre, 2 tickets to Jonah at Sight & Sound Theatre, and 2 tickets to SIX.

Estimated Value:  $1,700.00

Leading Bid: $300.00

Colorado/Utah 4-Day OARS Rafting Adventure

OARS Rafting Trip

4-Day/3-Night Rafting Adventure for two on the Green River, Gates of Lodore through Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado/Utah. Set aside as an American treasure in 1938, Dinosaur National Monument is an open-air archive of ancient Native American sites and far out fossils unearthed by wind, water and time. The river twists through a catacomb of scarlet slot canyons and lush ledges of emerald evergreen and brush with dozens of side hikes, sandy beaches and fun whitewater. Exploration is the mission of the day as the Green promises relaxing nights on the beach and moderate whitewater perfect for young families and laid-back vacationers. O.A.R.S. has been routinely recognized for its commitment to excellence and innovation in travel. In 2013 Outside magazine named O.A.R.S. runner up for “Best Outfitter” in its annual Active Travel Awards. See:

Estimated Value:  $1798.00

Leading Bid: $451.00

Travel Vest by Scottevest


Choose from a Men’s or Women’s Travel Vests. These are the ultimate multi-functional vests. The SCOTTEVEST allows you to travel hands-free with all your gadgets and travel essentials. The Scottevest is the most comfortable and functional travel vest on the market. With 24 hidden pockets and compartments, it remains incredibly lightweight. You’ll never believe all of the gear you’re carrying since our Weight Management System balances the load and our NoBulge Pockets keep that streamlined look. Airport security becomes a breeze: just take off the vest and send it through the x-ray with all your gear safely stored inside. The lightweight, breathable, brushed cotton material is thin enough to control your iPod right through the fabric. Teflon treatment repels water and stains. You’ll love it so much, you’ll wear it everyday!

Estimated Value:  $125.00

Leading Bid: $25.00



Photo tour of Columbia River Gorge- Greg Vaughn



Photograph the wonderful waterfalls and scenic vistas of the Columbia River Gorge during a photo tour with award-winning Oregon photographer Greg Vaughn. The full day tour includes instruction in camera use, photo technique, and composition. Help with editing and processing images is also available. The day will include hikes of 1 to 3 miles on some of the best trails in the Gorge. Bring a friend. This prize will accommodate up to three participants. Included in the deal is an autographed copy of Greg’s book “Photographing Oregon”, which was named Best Travel Book of 2010 by the Independent Book Publishers Association.


Estimated Value: $450.00




Mallorcan Manor House – 5-Star La Residencia


Just a stone’s throw from the blue Mediterranean, the medieval hilltop town of Deia and the towering Tramuntana Mountains provide a truly stunning setting for La Residencia, one of the world’s most renowned hotels. The twin historic manor houses have gardens dotted with orange trees, an olive plantation, and important sculpture collections. Beyond the hotel’s fabulous outdoor pools are individual villas with private terraces and a sensational wellness spa. Swim in sea coves, walk through the hills, take art classes, discover cultural attractions, cruise the coast at sunset or enjoy a picnic carried by donkeys. This 5-star boutique hotel, once owned by Richard Branson, now belongs to the Orient-Express group. Michelin star dining at El Olivo is truly one of the best gastronomic experiences in Mallorca. The beach is just a brief walk away. Includes two nights in a deluxe double room including full breakfast.

Estimated Value: $2,900.00