Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hoxton Hotels: Book cheap hotel rooms in Central London

For years I've been trying to land a 1 pound room at the Hoxton Hotel in the City of London. I haven't had a lot of success. But though Brits are probably dreaming about Ibiza right now, I'm listening to Massive Attack and dreaming about London. Though there might be better times to visit London, like June; there's never a bad time to visit. The former capital of the British empire is a world unto itself with an endless supply of attractions to visit, some a bit pricey but many absolutely free. Unfortunately it's also a consistently expensive destination. If you can get a room for a pound, or 29 pounds, it can certainly lighten the load.

I've never stayed at the Hoxton, but since it opened in 2006 I've read only positive reviews. They run 1 pound sales every few months, so keep your eyes pealed. They typically sell 500 rooms in about 10 minutes. But who knows, it could be your lucky day.

Hoxton Hotel £1 Room Sale

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Intelligent Travel Blog

Intelligent Travel Blog

This travel blog is on the National Geographic Traveler website. I spent most of my youth reading National Geographic out in the sticks where I grew up. It was the first magazine to really open up the wider world to me. Later when I was in college I was lucky enough to catalog all of the old National Geographics my library had in it's collection. It took a long time, since I spent most of my time reading through them as well.

I still think all of their publications are top quality. The blog is too. It has all the great graphics and imagery you'd expect from National Geographic. And some excellent links such as National Geographic Kids Blog.
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

While we're stuck here in the deep freeze of January, I've been throwing together different recipes to lift our spirits and fill our stomachs. These pancakes are so good, you'd swear it was still fall. I took this from the All Recipes website.

2 cups of flour
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of ground allspice
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of milk (dairy or soy)
1 cup of pumpkin puree (cooked pumpkin or canned)
1 egg or the equiv of egg substitute
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of vinegar

In one bowl mix the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. In another combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot with maple syrup.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


One of our fondest early trips was to the Grand Canyon. Like most of these trips we had very few days to do them. So, we tried to make the most of the time we had available.

I think many Americans tend to forget just how cool the Grand Canyon is. It's one of the top attractions for Europeans visiting America, but I can count on one hand how many of my friends and family have seen it. There's nothing on Earth that will make you feel quite as small as the Grand Canyon. And few places in America rival it for beauty.

We flew into Phoenix, picked up our rental car, and hit Route 17 to Flagstaff. We stayed in a hotel beneath Humphrey's Peak with mostly German and French tourists, drove through the Coconino National Forest down to Sedona, walked among the Red Rocks and soaked up the cosmic vibes and then drove up to the Grand Canyon before circling back down to Phoenix. 

State Route 1, Pacific Coast Highway

Back in 2000, Jenni and I decided to drive one of America's great roads, Highway 1 in California. We took about 7 days to drive from San Diego to San Francisco. The road winds through so many cool places, it's hard to name them all. We hung out on the beach in Malibu, visited the Mission in Santa Barbara, saw Henry Miller's home in Big Sur, walked through Cannery Row in Monterrey, toured the Hearst Castle at San Simeon, and picked up numerous bottles of wine and speeding tickets along the way. If you're thinking of doing a road trip close to home, get your motor running and head out on the highway. But try to keep your eyes on the road, it's a long way down.

Biltmore House, Asheville, NC

When I was a kid my parents took us to visit the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina. Built at the end of the 19th century by George and Edith Vanderbilt in a french chateaux style, the estate remains the largest private home in America. Jenni and I took a day trip down to Asheville a few years ago and took a tour of the house and the winery. It was a great experience. The house features a bowling alley and an indoor swimming pool. The extensive grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, of Central Park fame.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Septic's Companion

The Septic's Companion

This is a fun guide to British English, as opposed to American English. Give it a "butcher's"...

Dijon Cauliflower

I haven't posted a lot of recipes lately. Really just out of laziness. Here's a nice side I made for us the other day. Cauliflower with Dijon mustard sauce. 

Steam a cauliflower until tender. Break up and set aside.

Melt about a 1/2 stick of butter. Whisk in a 1/2 cup of flour. Add 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Then whisk in 2 1/2 cups of dairy or soy milk. Whisk until smooth.

Place the cauliflower into an ovenproof dish, pour the sauce over the top and put the dish under a broiler for 5 or 10 minutes until the top is golden.