Archive for April 20th, 2010

Alloro Wine Bar & Restaurant, Bandon, Oregon – U.S.A.

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
By Sandy Driscoll

Bandon 2
Here we are in Bandon . . . on the beach.  This is the view from our motel room. All images on this post are ©2010 by & Sandy Driscoll

Bandon, Oregon is a charming coastal town located 90 miles north of the California border.   With a population of 3100, they are known for their three world class golf courses, and spectacular rock-laden ocean sunset views.
Last year, I discovered the Alloro Wine Bar and Restaurant, where I had a truly memorable meal.   Alloro is owned by Jeremy Buck and Lian Schmidt, both of whom lived and trained in Florence, Italy.   Jeremy is a talented chef who uses fresh local ingredients and Lian is the wine steward.   She is adept at picking just the right wine to go with Chef Buck’s Tuscan-inspired and innovative cuisine.   Everything is very reasonably priced, and there are excellent wines by the glass.  The menu changes seasonally, depending on what is fresh and available.
The restaurant is attractive, with a wine bar, white-clothed tables, and efficient and friendly servers.   Even when crowded, it is quiet enough for a pleasant conversation with dinner.   Everything I ate was memorable, and I enjoyed it so much last year that this year I returned, spending a night at the Bandon Beach Motel, where every room has a spectacular
ocean view. Next year, perhaps I’ll stay in Bandon two nights so I can sample even more.
Crab and Avocado ……  Dungeness Crab, avocado, lime, tomato, scallion
Ceviche…. White fish cured in lime, red onion, mint, avocado, Cascabel chile powder, romaine, Sardinian flatbread

Steelhead Trout (fresh caught) ….. Crispy skin, passion fruit butter, morel mushroom jus (and fresh morels!) asparagus and wild watercress

allora4Pork, Chiles and Chocolate…….Braised pork shoulder, Cascabel chiles, oregano, tomato, chocolate, hazelnuts with

spinach and ricotto dumplings


The special Chocolate and Ice Cream dessert topped with a Bruleed Banana sliver and chopped nuts

allora66Bandon Alaska, Allora’s delicious version of Baked Alaska…….cake, homemade hazelnut ice cream, cranberries (grown & harvested locally), chocolate and sugared mint leaves


High Tech Design at Hotel Intercontinental, Hua Hin, Thailand

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Intercontinental Hotel, Hua Hin

Aside from a rather lackluster lobby, the remainder of the low-rise property sloping down to the beach is attractive and well-maintained. The property is studded with pools of varying depths and interwoven with separate lounging islands connected by foot bridges, punctuated with mini fountains and Jacuzzi jets arranged in clusters, and when night falls, star-like pinpoint lights that shine upwards from the bottom of the pool creating a lighting effect that is really delightful.

Intercontinental Hotel, Hua HinThe rooms are large and contain many features that are very pleasing and others that are downright annoying. A friendly, highly trained staff who provide excellent service is the first plus that should be mentioned. A password-free WIFI network throughout the property is particularly agreeable, which they offer gratis, a policy other higher-end hotels in Asia should emulate. A large terrace with a king-size day bed off of the bedroom makes another spacious area for relaxing, with a screen that may be lowered electrically with the push of a button. An oval table that doubles as a desk and dining table is a nice touch. A few of the less desirable design features included an air-conditioning control panel, which proved difficult to remain at the specific temperature chosen although, this might have been the fault of this particular unit. The wireless portable telephone provided as the main telephone had “iffy” reception even at close range to the base station. The operator at reception had difficulty hearing us. Installing a bathtub in the bedroom, in an attempt to incorporate bathroom and bedroom into one (it did have screens that with some effort could conceal it) resulted in the surrounding marble floor being exposed to temperature changes from both the air-conditioning and the adjoining open-air terrace, which caused an almost invisible film of humidity to form creating a dangerously slippery surface. The faucets fixtures in both sink & shower are not clearly marked, what happened to blue & red as hot & cold markings? Large cylindrical handles on all faucets including sink, shower and bathtub, although attractive design-wise, were so slippery to turn with wet hands that you could not get a grip on them. What a  concept . . . knowing that these handles would be used around water! The doors to the cubicles that surround the toilet and shower rooms, open outwards in the wrong direction and the toilet paper roll is on the wall on the left side that requires a back-wrenching twist to reach it. There are too many lighting control buttons and all of them poorly marked. The magnifying mirror was lacking a light that negated its usefulness, especially since lighting around the sink area was dim. However, my wife was thrilled with the wonderful soap, shampoo and other amenities from L’Occitane offered by the hotel. How can interior designers get so carried away with trendy toys and design statements that they sacrifice comfort and practicability?

Intercontinental Hotel, Hua Hin