The Bee Sting

You know that hot searing pain immediately.  You feel a red hot needle piercing your skin and wham, with the slap of a hand you’ve obliterated the wasp and you know what’s coming next – more pain.

It was a beautiful Sunday evening out on the patio, catching up with long-lost cousins from California and JT’s siblings from Boise.  We were enjoying a nice glass of Jackson Hole Wine and soaking in the last rays of the day.  We’ve always had bees flitting around the patio and yes, I’ve been stung a few times, but outside of your typical reaction, I have never had a problem.  So I grabbed the Benadryl cream and pills, popped and lathered and sat back down.

Within minutes I knew something was wrong.  My leg was burning, my hands started to swell, my ears and my neck itched.  My sister-in-law who is a nurse took one look at me and asked if my tongue, lips or throat felt weird.  Nope, I was just itchy.  A few minutes later I couldn’t stand it anymore and went upstairs to look at my torso which was itching like crazy.  Hives, welts, red stripes, dang it…

I said good-bye to the company and JT whisked me away to the hospital.  By the time we got there my heart was racing, I was having trouble breathing and the room was spinning.  The medical team plopped me in a wheelchair and back I went to my cozy room for the next few hours.

Epi-pens, more Benadryl, fluids, and all sorts of fun stuff started pumping into my veins.  The room continued to spin and I answered questions through a fog.  The medical team did their best to keep me laughing as the tremors from the epipen started to kick in.  Somewhere I remembered to breathe and do my best to get my heart to stop racing.

My leg was KILLING me!  That damn stinger was still buried in there somewhere and every time I moved, it sent another searing shot of pain through my calf.  My fabulous nurse Dave came in with some lidocaine, rubbed it in and told me to be patient for 10-15 minutes until it kicked in.

Somewhere along the line the shaking and the tremors stopped, the hives started to go away and I drifted off to la-la-land.  The team continually came in and checked on me and JT was an angel keeping my spirits up.

I hate hospitals.  I think it all stems from having my tonsils out at the age of 4 and waking up to a sheet covered in blood from the draining and absolutely freaking out.  JT couldn’t believe that I had only been in the ER once before in my life.  I had a severe asthma attack back on the east coast and after they left me in a room for 2 hours with no one checking on me, I walked out the door and went home.

That being said, Dr. Nelson and the team at St. John’s were fabulous and I couldn’t have received better care.  They made a very scary situation “comfortable” and got me home to bed at a reasonable hour.

Epi-pen in hand until I go through my desensitization shots in a few weeks, I’m ready to do battle with those little bastards if they come at me again!

On a serious note, even if you have never had an allergic reaction to a bee sting, it can still happen later in life.  If you have the slightest symptoms of tingly or swollen lips or tongue, or have problems breathing, get to the doctor immediately.

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It’s not about catching fish, umm right?

There is the window in the spring when every fisherman or woman in the mountains grabs their gear and tries to fish as much as possible.  It’s between when the weather warms up enough not to freeze your keester off standing in or floating down the river, and before the river blows out with runoff.

Blow out: when the snow starts to melt quickly, running into rivers and streams, bringing with it dirt, crud, muck, etc. that turns the river mocha.  The fish go to the bottom not to be seen until run off dissipates and the water clears – usually around July here in Jackson Hole.

This past week the Snake River in Jackson Hole went mocha but we had heard fishing on the South Fork of the Snake in Idaho was still good.  So Sunday morning we threw the kayaks on the Highlander and headed across The Pass to see if we could find some trout.

When we stopped at Rendezvous Fly Shop in Irwin, our hearts sank when Gary the owner told us they had opened the flow from the Palisades Dam.  Alas, it was a gorgeous day for a float and maybe the fish gods would be with us.

They weren’t…..but it’s not about catching fish right, it’s about the experience?!

Kayaking the South ForkThe river was a little murky and extremely cold with all the fresh water from the reservoir.  Our other clue fishing was not going to be good – we only saw one osprey and two eagles surveying the river the entire day.  Typically on that stretch, the birds are waiting for you to catch something so they can swoop in and steal it away!

So down the river we floated.  The sunshine felt glorious on my back, the green grass poking through the muddled browns of deadfall and deteriorating leaves were like microbursts of paint.  We stopped at various gravel bars and tried our luck in seams, riffles and pools that should obviously be holding fish.  Let’s just say it was a good practice day.

As we passed other fisherman we all asked the same question and got the same answer. Nothing happening.   At least it wasn’t just us.

Fall Creek FallsAs we approached Falls Creek Falls, our spirits lifted based solely on the beauty of this spot.  While I have floated past the Falls a number of times later in the year, I had never seen them early on when the water is gushing over the rocks.  A favorite place for fisherman and hikers to take a break, we stood and took in everything around us and were thankful we had the place to ourselves.

Five hours later we arrived at Conant boat ramp, a little dismayed at the lack of catching, but happy to have had such a beautiful and serene float down the river.  There was plenty of time to clear our heads, chat about life, make plans for our next fishing trip to Montana and just take in all that was around us.

I’ve always said, fly fishing is a great excuse to stand someplace beautiful and do absolutely nothing.  It was the universe’s way of reminding me, it’s not always about catching fish.




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The Cutters Run So Children May Walk

Each WinterFest Week Jackson Hole residents and visitors can enjoy two a very exciting and unique events benefiting the Shriners Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City: The 44th Annual Cutter Races and the 3rd Annual North American Ski Joring Championships.


Hosted by the Jackson Hole Shriners, the Cutter Races, are held Presidents Day weekend.  The races were originally on the streets of downtown Jackson, but the event has grown so much that it is now held just south of Jackson, off of South Park Loop Road and Melody Ranch. The Ski Joring event was created several years ago as a book-end event to wrap up Winterfest Week in Jackson Hole.

For those not familiar with cutter racing, think Ben Hur, but instead of a colosseum, imagine two horses and a carriage moving at top speeds across the snow! Ski joring gets a little more crazy as skiers are pulled by running horses through an obstacle course filled with jumps and speed runs.  Click here to watch exciting videos from previous events.

The locals know to show up early and park their trucks, flat beds and RVs, then proceed to set up elaborate tailgate parties complete with grills, music and specialty flags so their friends know where to find them.

Calcutta betting is used to raise additional funds and create further competition in the events.SkiJoring

The net proceeds from the events are donated to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Salt Lake which serves children of the Jackson Hole community. The hospital is committed to providing the best care for children in their specialty areas of orthopedics, burn care, spinal cord injury and cleft lip and palate, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

The Shriners and the hospital have helped countless children and their families in the Jackson Hole area receive care they may otherwise have never been able to afford. This care changes lives, brings hope and smiles to the faces of children and parents, and simply is priceless.

The 2014 Cutter Races are held February 14th and 15th at 12:30 pm. The Ski Joring event is February 21st and 22nd at 12:00 pm. There is a $15 entry free for the Cutter Races and $10 for Ski Joring.  Children under 12 are free. For more information on the events, visit

This post was also published on 3 Creek Ranch Golf Club’s public blog.

Photo credits: Ted Adams Photography

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Don’t Feed Da’ Bear!


Growing up in Iowa, the only bears I encountered were the Chicago-type on Sunday afternoon.  Ditka, the Fridge, McMahon and Singletary.  The two-legged kind who were much more approachable than the four-legged kind who reside here in the mountains.

Meet Ralph.  Don’t ask me how I came up with that name, but 10 minutes into my up-close and in-person bear encounter a few weeks ago, Ralph just seemed to fit.

As I sat working at my dining room table I heard several noises outside.  At first I ignored them thinking our cat, K2, was outside getting into trouble of some sort.  However, the third time raised the hair on the back of my neck.  I turned in my chair to look out the window, and found myself literally face to chest with Ralph who was standing on his back legs, holding my hummingbird feeder in both paws and euphorically pouring the sweet, wonderful syrup down this throat, while the rest splashed all over him and my deck.

DrinkingbearWith a start, I jumped up, fell back on the table and then stupidly (thinking back on it) pounded on the window and screamed at him.  I’m not quite sure what I would have done if he had decided to pound and scream back at me.  But Ralph was oblivious.  He was completely focused on getting every last drop of sugar water out of the feeder and could have cared less about the screaming lady on the other side of the window.

I ran next to the sliding door and screamed and pounded again. No response, just more chugging.  My next thought in looking closely at him was oh crap, where’s Mom?  He was small and yes, cute, so I initially thought he was one or two years old.  I closely scanned the yard around the house, but thankfully, no Mom.

I became enamored with the little guy and caught myself laughing as he would stand up, pour more juice, sit down, lick it off him and the deck and then start the process all over again.

It quickly became apparent Ralph was taking up residence and had no plans of leaving anytime soon.  It was also concerning that he was not scared by my screaming, knocking and presence at the window and door.  Time to call Game & Fish.  Reinforcing the “small world” of society, it just so happens that the head of Game & Fish in Jackson Hole, is one of my  high-school classmates from Iowa.  Go figure.  One quick call to Doug and a team was dispatched to check out my sticky, gooey, furry friend Ralph.

WindowbearBy now, Ralph had drained the feeder of every last drop of sugar water and was looking for more.  He stands up, places his paws on my window, looking in as if to say, “Lady, this thing is empty!  Would you please come out here and refill it?”  I was laughing hysterically at this point.

Next I learned that Ralph was a very considerate bear and he confirmed an old wive’s tale for me.  He trotted off my deck and started sniffing around the yard.  I was concerned he would disappear before the Game & Fish team arrived.  But then he stopped at the edge of the woods that border our lawn, squatted and did his business.  Yes, bears do @#$% in the woods!  He then meandered back to the deck and proceeded to play with the wind chimes and lick up every last drop of syrup on the deck.

The Game & Fish team arrived and instead of running, Ralph was mesmerized.  He literally sat on my deck and was intrigued by these three “creatures” who were loading up the tranquilizer gun and who were equally intrigued by him.

And then, it was nap time for little Ralph.  He did a lap around the neighborhood before the tranquilizer took affect, and then was loaded into a trailer and moved south of Jackson into the mountains.

Upon further inspection by the Game & Fish team, it was determined Ralph was in fact, three years old, had probably just come out of hibernation and was starving.  They too were concerned he showed no fear of humans and hence, relocation to a new home.

While I would rather watch bears from AFAR, it was a fascinating afternoon with my little buddy.  The hummingbird feeders were hung higher, the deck was washed down, but I left the bear prints on the window for a few days just for fun.

I hope Ralph’s hangover wasn’t too bad and that he has found a big hive of honey somewhere in the Wyoming Range to satisfy his sweet tooth!

Life in the mountains is never dull, but when it comes to wildlife, keep your distance and always, always, have your bear spray handy.



JuliAnne H. Forrest

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The mythical season they call Spring

Spring is a mythical season in Jackson Hole.  You hear stories about it from friends and old-timers who talk of the year when the grass was green and the flowers bloomed in April.  In your heart you know it happens, but on days like today when you wake up to a fresh coating of snow, your heart sinks and you covet the glorious Spring days everyone else is enjoying around the country.


We know there is hope.  We also know Mother Nature has a habit of keeping us in “mud-season” and then, with the flip of a switch, the next day you wake up to 70 degree temperatures and summer has arrived!

A few weeks ago we left the gates of the castle and took a road trip to Idaho to find Spring.  The good news is we found it in Boise while visiting John’s sister. However, along the way through Salmon, Stanley and Sun Valley, the snow was still blanketing the hills and mountains. Despite waking up to a coating of snow on our tent our first morning, fun and fishing were still accomplished, and as always, gourmet camp cooking was a requirement.

Salmon camping

I had never traveled through the Sawtooth mountains and have to admit my jaw dropped at the stunning beauty.  Let’s face it, I am more than biased Jackson Hole with the Grand Teton Range is one of the most beautiful places on earth, but I have to give credit to those Idaho mountains. Wow.

Sawtooth Mountains

Upon arriving in Boise, lush green grass awaited us, along with tulips, daffodils, flox and cherry blossoms.  The warm sunshine was welcome medicine after a cold winter and too many gray Spring days.  I felt like a kid laying down on the lawn and just enjoying the welcome smells and sensations of the grass.

Returning to Jackson is always wonderful, snow and all, and we tried to keep our thoughts positive.  The allusive Spring will arrive, if only for few days before Summer makes its entrance.

On Easter Sunday I pulled out my camera which had acquired too much dust over the winter and decided to go for a drive and see what I could find to shoot.  It was a glorious afternoon to take it all in.

First on my target list was the Kelly Road where you almost always can find wildlife.  Sure enough, hundreds of elk were making their way off the National Elk Refuge and back into the mountains.  Then, as I came around the corner, the bison had returned to their grazing grounds.  The large, impressive animals lumbered and posed for the paparazzi who lined roads.  Of course there is always the jerk who goes flying by at too high of speed and not only scares the animals but everyone else.  Seriously, grow up!

Bison and Elk

Further up the road, and unfortunately too far away to get a shot, I counted 12 moose.  Rarely do you see that many moose gathered together, but often in the Spring I have seen this happen and it’s amazing.

But then, I saw it – Spring in it’s ultimate form.  Two buffalo were off standing alone while the rest of the herd was on the other side of the road.  When I looked closer, I saw something on the ground next to one of cows.  I quickly dug for the binoculars and yes, a FRESHLY born baby bison!  Mom was cleaning the little one and was more than a little wobbly on her own legs.  I quickly looked over to the other bison and sure enough a calf was laying beside her as well, but a few hours older.


Growing up on a farm, one of the coolest experiences was watching the birth of a baby animal.  You may wrinkle your nose, but seriously, it is incredible.  We would always keep an eye on things just to make sure nothing went wrong, but it was a thrill to see within the hour, these little ones start to get their legs under them.

I waited for a good bit hoping I would get to see these calves take their first steps, but they decided on a nice long nap.  As I pulled away, almost on cue, the rest of the herd began to cross the road and join the cows.  The team circled up, ready to protect their newest members throughout the evening from predators who would undoubtedly be checking in.

Spring in Jackson Hole requires patience. During those times when the gray skies and damp, dreary days get the best of you, it is important to pause.  Pause and remember the incredible winter of skiing and other winter activities you just enjoyed.  Then remind yourself this too shall pass, and before long, the green grass will return, the lupine and balsam root will bloom and you will be enjoying majestic views of Grand Teton National Park from trails, valleys and lakes which will unwrap like a welcome present in a few weeks.

Spring, it may be mythical, but it is a time of rebirth that is simply magical.


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Patagonia River Ranch

It’s been several years since I first learned about Patagonia River Ranch, world-reknown for its luxury fly-fishing trips and accommodations.  I remember opening their website, transporting myself through their photo gallery and thinking, someday. Last November it was finally time for John and I to treat ourselves to “someday” and take a much needed break after a busy summer in Jackson Hole.

The Lodge

Our trip sums up as: the trip of a lifetime, incredible staff and service, exquisite ranch and scenery, 5-star wine and cuisine, and then there’s the fishing…

Sunday morning the lodge manager and all-around goddess, Salome, picked us up at our hotel in San Martin de los Andes.  (See previous post on San Martin.) We met Salome last fall when she visited Jackson and immediately loved her vibrant personality and the wealth of information she provided about the ranch.  Greeting her again was like connecting with an old friend.

We drove about 30 minutes northeast of San Martin to the ranch which sits on the bank of the Chimehuin ChimihiunRiver.  We felt like we had been transported to “Jackson Hole II” as the scenery and flora were so similar.   The final road to the ranch is beautiful, lined with pine and aspen trees, lupine and honeysuckle.  Ken Gangwer, owner of PRR, has done a spectacular job landscaping the property and creating a beautiful oasis in the high-desert mountains of Patagonia.

Our first wonderful surprise was being greeted at the entrance by the entire staff and the ranch’s four golden retriever mascotsGuides Cabin.  Our bags and fly rods were quickly whisked away, while introductions were made. Wondering how we would remember everyone’s names, upon arriving in our room we found a life-saving “who’s who” sheet with names, photos and job descriptions.  It’s those little touches that are a constant at PRR.

The PRR property is a landscape architect’s dream.  Ken has worked with the staff to plant over 1,000 rose bushes around the property, and developed trails that wind through the property and out to the river.  They have also created expansive gardens, greenhouses and orchards, growing practically all of the vegetables, fruit, herbs and eggs used in the kitchen.  The Lodge is simply, perfect.  Featured in Town & Country magazine, it’s beautiful log-style  architecture is appointed in a elegant, yet casual design.  Beautiful gaucho saddles and Crillo knives, ornate mate gourds and a wonderful library of photography books about the area add more unique touches.   It’s the kind of place where you can dress up for dinner if you want, but a comfortable pair of fly fishing pants and shirt, coupled with a fleece vest is just fine.

So about the fly fishing.  First, we were blessed to land Kiki as our guide for the week, and we honestly have not laughed so hard and had so much fun on the river as with this talented young man.  Like all of PRR’s guides, Kiki is local and knows the river, the fish and the flies you need.  You can bring your own fly box, but why?  These guides have it down to science and you should trust them.

After settling into our room and then experiencing the first of many incredible meals, we headed out for an afternoon float down the Chimehuin River.   Now I have to admit, I was nervous, seriously nervous.  This is the Mecca of fly-fishing and I was terrified I would have one of those bumbling days where the fly goes anywhere but where you want it to land.  A quick prayer to the fishing gods, a deep breath, and ah…..right under the willows, calmly floating down the river.  It was a good sign.  Several casts later and BAM, welcome to the grab-and-go at warp speed of the Patagonia brown trout!  The smile on my face said it all.

JuliAnne's brown

Within several hours, we pulled out some spectacular browns and rainbows, but John won the glory with a beautiful golden brown trout.  We also learned quickly that if Kiki headed the boat to shore, we knew we had something good on the line.

John's golden6x3

While the Patagonia rivers are known for trophy fish that lurk at the bottom of the river, only to be teased up by streamers, we opted to be purists and use dry-flies.  It was the opening week of the season and we knew they’d be hungry.  Plus, there was the challenge to see if we could present the fly just right and make them come from below and grab it.  Kiki’s beetle pattern was a favorite and it was worth the patience factor every time.

At the end of our first day, we pulled out on the banks of the ranch and were welcomedEduardo Happy Hour by the fabulous Eduardo who had a glass of Argentinian wine waiting for us, in addition to an expansive selection of happy-hour appetizers.  The guests started to trickle in and the fishing stories began to unfold.

Day two was spent on the lower part of the Chimehuin River and then the Collon Cura.  The scenery was breathtaking, the fishing exciting, and with a wide river and less willows, the daunting factor diminished.  But the best part of the day was the company.   A fellow guest was PRR’s “vice president of outdoor pursuits” Mark Patton.  Mark is an old college friend of Ken’s and has now become a dear friend of ours.  Mark kept us in stitches, while providing great facts and history about the area, and it was fun to sit back and watch him cast.  It never fails, you meet some incredible people when fishing.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we went on an overnight fishing/camping trip on the Caleufu River.  Let me clarify that we were not roughing it.  PRR has all the necessary camping gear, broaching on the edge “glamping.”  We slept comfortably, while enjoying the outdoors and spectacular scenery, the smell of gourmet food cooking over a wood fire, all while sipping another beautiful Argentinian or Chilean wine.

After the rapids

Floating the Caleufu is a 2-day snapshot of the beautiful and varied landscape of Patagonia. Starting in the mountains about an hour south of San Martin, we launched surrounded by majestic rock formations and the bright, fresh colors of spring.  The turquoise water was still a bit high and running fast, so we had fun running a few rapids, while still being able to slip into eddies and pull out another beefy brown or rainbow.Pulpit

As we floated down the river, we continually dropped in elevation.  Soon the canyons of rock fell away to more open banks, backed by green estanicas with beautiful rocks pillaring in the sky.  By the time we pulled in to camp for the evening, we were enjoying wide open vistas that would turned to a high-desert profile on day two.  We simply saw it all, while continually landing fish on a regular basis.  Upon arrival at camp, the staff had been hard at work putting up the tents, preparing dinner and cocktails were served!

Now what would one of my posts be without talking about food.  There are so many exquisite things about PRR and the cuisine is one of them.  Chef Claudio, along with the pastry chef and sommelier, Patricia, are two talents who complete your experience.  From the breakfast table ladened with River lunchhomemade pastries, danishes and the most decadent french toast I have ever tasted, to the stellar river-side lunches served at a pop-up table (no pre-wrapped sandwiches and potato chips here), with of course wine, always a surprise dessert and wonderful salads.  And, with Mark and Eduardo along, I even received a beautiful bouquet of purple lupine, adding that special touch to the table – John just rolled his eyes and laughed.  Patricia’s wine pairings were superb without question.  We were thrilled when she provided us with a list of wines we enjoyed during the week, and we are still on the hunt for several of them stateside.

Camp dinner

Chef Claudio, as far as we’re concerned, should be up for a James Beard award!  Whether slow-roasting beef, lamb or pork for the asado on our final night, whipping up crepes over an open fire during our camping trip, or crafting the perfect empanada and other local dishes for us to try, there never was a bad meal.

asado dinner

PRR has much to offer to the non-fisherman.  Their local gaucho will take you on a horseback ride around the area, there are mountain bikes for exploration, or one of the staff will take you hiking, on a photography excursion, or shopping in San Martin or Junin.  Even if you are fishing, take a morning off (shops are closed in the afternoon for siesta and reopen at 7 pm), rest your arm and take in the local culture, you won’t be disappointed.

On our last day fishing, we floated the Chimehuin again and landed some amazing browns and rainbows, a perfect send off.  Those memories will keep us coming back for more, along with the staff and locals who have captured our hearts, and the new friendships that will last a lifetime.  We look forward to returning when the roses and lavender are in full bloom and trying more of Kiki’s fly patterns which we know will attract the next big one.

JJ Asado_2

Enjoy rustic elegance, laughter, priceless local knowledge, a talented staff on so many levels, and the most comfortable beds you can fall into at night and continue your dreams.  It is a vacation you must take at least once in your life, and we already know it will not be our last.

The Gang

Email me to learn more about Patagonia River Ranch.  It is open November – April and can host up to 14 people.   Visit their website to view more pictures and experience virtually, the beauty of Patagonia River Ranch.

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Patagonia – San Martin de los Andes

When you blend world-class fly-fishing, exquisite cuisine, plush mountain luxury and spectacular scenery, it can only add up to San Martin de los Andes and Patagonia River Ranch.

7 Lakes Road

Long overdue is my “Ode to PRR,” sharing the unforgettable week in southern Patagonia where we belatedly celebrate my 50th birthday.  Months later, our minds still easily wander back to this beautiful area, it’s people and an adventure that lived up to every expectation.

Before I get to Patagonia River Ranch (next post), I have to touch on our 24 hours in San Martin de los Andes.7 Lakes Road 2

Following our wonderful tour of the Mendoza wine country, we jumped the once-a-week plane from Mendoza to Bariloche.  While we could have flown back to Buenos Aires and then directly to San Martin, one flight and the beautiful 3-hour drive up the Seven Lakes Road to San Martin were more appealing.   Our driver met us at the airport and let us sit back and absorb the beauty of the surrounding mountains, small villages, deep blue lakes and snow-capped volcanos.

We arrived in San Martin at siesta time when many of the shops and restaurants are closed, and of course we were starving.  Strolling through town we came upon a small quaint restaurant, El Mason de la Patagonia.  The owner, Raul Duarte, welcomed us and had us feeling at home in no time.  Over John’s shoulder I noted a massive prosciutto stand, many antiques and fly-fishing pictures adorning the walls.

We were immediately presented with a refreshing starter of salmon, dill, red onion, carrot and green onions on crostini, and mozzarella and tomato skewers drizzled with balsamic.  Paired with a very cold and crisp Chilean Punta Final 2012 Sangiovese and our taste buds awoke.

While we weren’t planning on a big lunch, we realized we wouldn’t have dinner until late that evening, so we endulged.  El Meson TroutTaking advantage of the fresh prosciutto that I watched Raul delicately slice for my order, I enjoyed a prosciutto wrapped trout with roasted garlic, fingerling potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini and brussel sprouts.  The saltiness and rich flavors of the prosciutto beautifully complimented the fresh trout.

John went straight for the mint crusted roast lamb with au gratin potatoes and prosciutto.  Juana, Raul’s wife oversees the kitchen and what a wonderful job she does!  We leaned back in our chairs, El Meson Liquersmiled at each other and knew an afternoon nap was in order.   Before we could ask for the check, Raul returned with cool, crisp chocolate wafers and El Mason’s version of what I would call mintcello (versus of lemoncello).  Not too sweet, but the perfect aperitif to complete and unexpected lunch experience.

After a well-needed nap, we ventured out to explore San Martin, which had come back to life around 7:00 pm.  I love local artisan shops and John was patient while I ducked in and out of countless stores.  In one store, I set my sites on a beautiful handmade cream shawl, trimmed with lace and ribbon – the perfect gift for my Godson’s bride-to-be for their February wedding.

Our hotel recommended several restaurants for dinner, but they all appeared too touristy for our liking.  A small cabin caught our eye with the ever-present meat roasting in the front window.  Peering inside Ku we saw many local families and knew we had found our place.

KuThe biggest problem was trying to decide what to order from their incredible menu.  First decision was wine.  Our waiter recommended Ernesto Catena’s (son of the Catena wine family) 2010 Alma Negra Pinot Noir Select.  Heaven in a bottle… unfortunately we can’t get it in the States, alas.

With additional insight from our wonderful waiter, I selected the Red Deer with a sweet and sour sauce of mixed berries, orange rind and balsamic vinegar.  Argentinians must be hearty eaters because when it arrived, it was not one, but twoKu Red Deer steaks!  Thank goodness John was able to help with the leftovers.  The steaks were incredibly tender, juicy and perfectly cooked at medium rare.

John decided on one of the many trout dishes.  His was served with cream, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts.  We were worried the cream would overwhelm the trout, but it was a light blend that only enhanced the flavor.

Over a dessert of molten chocolate cake, berries and berry liquor, we giggled as much as the little girl at the next table who was playing peekaboo with us.  We loved the home-like family atmosphere of Ku and pride that the chef and staff took in sharing a little corner of Argentina with us.  We highly recommend skipping the restaurants with the dinner tango shows and instead enjoy a warm and delightful evening at Ku.


As we walked back to our hotel for the evening, it was wonderful to see families and musicians gathered in the town square, enjoying the beautiful evening and each other.

It was time for a good nights sleep and we couldn’t wait for our adventure at Patagonia River Ranch to start in the morning.

San Martin is a beautiful mountain town filled with an abundance of unique artisan, fashion, outdoor clothing, art galleries and adventures sports shops.  Almost everyone spoke English so it was quite easy to ask questions and learn about the community.  We look forward to returning again and take some extra time to kayak the many lakes in the area, as well as hike and explore the beautiful scenery and community.



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My Superbowl Ad Recap

I am one of those weird girls who LOVES football!  Couple that with my pr/marketing career and I’m in heaven today.


Having started my professional career  in advertising, I am slightly biased when it comes to GOOD commercials.  I roll my eyes and wonder, who the heck approved that spot? I remember the days when some of our best spots were created after 10 pm, with a pizza, a 12-pack and throwing darts back in the creative department.

My belief in the creative departments has been revived tonight.  Let’s face it, the last few year’s Superbowl commercials have been lax (with the exception of Budweiser.)  The last good commercial I remember was “Herding Cats .”  While others have a long list of favorites, I’m not a fan of “bad and stupid humor.”  Come on, most of us have brains.

This past week, we have seen sneak peaks of the Superbowl commercials on the various social media and television channels.  I think this was a brilliant move by the advertisers to get more bang for their buck, rather than just the 30-60 seconds they normally would receive.  A great buzz should be the goal of any advertising campaign.

So here’s my running commentary on the Superbowl commercials tonight.

1. MetLife: Peanuts Star Spangled Banner.  Who doesn’t love the Peanuts?  If you don’t, it’s just unAmerican.  Next to Renee Fleming‘s brilliant performance, it was one of the best SSB, ever.

2. Chevrolet:  Bull/Romance:  You may have to be a farm/ranch kid to truly love the humor in this commercial.  Brilliant Chevy, you will undoubtedly be in my Top List.

3. Cheerios: Gracie.  Where did you find that little girl?  You’ve just given every “soon-to-be-sister” leverage for her puppy.

4. Mark Wahlberg in the new Transformer’s movie?!  Women over 40 are swooning….

5. Budweiser: A Hero’s Welcome.   If you didn’t tear up on this one, leave the room… On a personal note, there is a very important campaign I want to bring to your attention.  Keep Your Promise.  Congress last year CUT pensions and benefits for our military heros and PROMISED to reinstate those benefits this year because it was an “oversight.”   Reach out to your member of Congress and demand that our heros who keep us FREE retain their full pension and benefits.  #keepyourpromise

6. Oikos: John Stamos and the Full House Boys.  I’m still laughing!  It’s an age thing….

7. Doritos: Cowboy.  Kudos to the Mom who created this one!  Beats the “time machine” hands down as far as I’m concerned.

8. Budweiser: Puppies.  Ok, just make us cry and steal our hearts.   You do it every year, and oh so well…..

9: Mountain Dew: The Dale Call.  For anyone who hunts, you are still laughing and you know it!  Quack, quack!

So my top three and there is no “Number 1.”  I believe they all knocked it out of the park.

1. Mountain Dew: Dale Call.  Simply, I haven’t laughed that hard in a really long time.

2. Budweiser: Salute A Hero.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Budweiser.  Our heros do not get enough thanks.  Everyone PLEASE, contact your member of Congress and ask them to “Keep Your Promise” and return the pensions and benefits due to our military.

3.  Chevy: Romance.  Thanks for having fun with this commercial.  Love it!

And congratulations Seahawks!

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