Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Holyland Journey - Trip Forming

Harmony Travel will be leading a group to Israel Oct. 29-Nov. 7. The 10-day, 8-night Holyland Journey includes daily breakfast and two dinners.

The pages of the Bible will come to life as we walk the paths that Jesus walked. We will visit the Mount of Beatitudes, Jordan River, Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity. We will sail on the Sea of Galillee and walk the Via Dolorosa. Our 10-day stay concludes in Jerusalem where we’ll visit the Room of the Last Supper and the Garden Tomb.

There's much more of course. Call Harmony Travel today for more information (317-242-9545)

Monday, August 04, 2008

West Edmonton Mall

Wow! How else do you describe a mall with more than 800 stores, two hotels and the world's largest indoor waterpark. Oh, there's also a to-scale model of Christopher Columbus's Santa Maria ship, miniature golf and an ice hockey rink.

I made two visits to the mall. I'm not much of a shopper, so I got bored pretty quickly on my second visit. But for a shopper, this place has it all. Lots of clothing and shoe stores and everything else you typically find in a mall.

If I were to return, I would recommend staying at one of the hotels attached to the mall. You could literally spend every moment in the mall. Eat at one of the restaurants or food court (yes, there is a Tim Horton's here), and then play all day.

The waterpark would be my first stop. Covering 6,000 square feet, it has 12 slides for all levels of adventure - from beginner to extreme. There's a large wave pool, kids play area, hot tubs and more.

There's also Galaxyland amusement park. There are 26 rides for all ages, including a triple-loop roller coaster.

Don't forget - the sea lions perform daily at 2 and 4 p.m.

Shopping? Who has time to shop?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Dining in Edmonton

Edmonton is a very diverse city, so there are lots of dining options. The downtown area isn't loaded with high-end restaurants but there are several nice choices.

On my first night in town, I walked about a third of a mile from The Sutton Place hotel to a place called the Blue Plate Diner. Later, when I mentioned to two locals that I had eaten there, they both raved about it and suggested I return for brunch for the best eggs benedict I would ever have.

The dinner menu offered a very healthy fare - very vegan-friendly and lots of organic ingredients. I chose the baked tandoori chicken, which featured oven-roasted chicken thighs marinated in yogurt, garlic, ginger and tandoori spices. Very delicious. My two dining companions opted for a meatloaf made with lean ground beef, oats, fresh herbs, onions, carrots, celery and buttermilk and studded with dried cranberries and cheddar cheese, and a hamburger.

My second night featured a trip to West Edmonton Mall. The Bourbon Street area of the mall houses about a dozen restaurants ranging from family restaurants, pubs and sports bars to higher-end dining options. I chose a place called Earl's, which had a dining area and a lounge. We sat in the lounge on a comfortable, cushioned bench that curved around small round table. The menu offers a lot to choose from - chicken, pasta, steaks, ribs - in an elegant atmosphere.

I chose the spicy thai green curry with coconut cream curry with zucchini and sautéed shrimp on coconut jasmine rice, topped with roasted pineapple and crushed pistachios. The menu had two peppers next to it to indicate its spicyness, and it definitely had some kick. It was quite delicious.

Night three found me at Moxie's, which surprised me once I got there. There are several street-side location that give the look of any typical family restaurant or grill. I thought it could easily fall into the "Applebee's" category. Instead, Moxie's also offers a very wide-ranging menu. I had chicken enchiladas that were some of the best enchiladas I've eaten in recent memory.

One final dinner stop came at Hardware Grill located near the Shaw Convention Centre on Jasper Ave. It's a pricy place with entrees ranging from $35-$55. A companion chose an elk, spare ribs combo that was divine. I had beef tenderloin that was delicious. The "beef stew" potatoes that accompanied it tasted like they had been cooked with a roast all day. We topped off the meal with a dessert sampler that included 7-8 bite-sized desserts, including two chocolate truffles and some chocolate mousse.

I wouldn't say Edmonton is a hot bed of high-class dining, but for a visitor, there are certainly enough options for a brief stay.