Ten of the leading chefs in Hawaii Regional Cuisine-affiliated restaurants will cook special meals at their restaurants as part of a culinary tour of the Hawaiian Islands Oct. 2-7. Participants will have the opportunity to chat with the chefs and learn about their cooking styles and ingredients, augmented by chef-led excursions to farms growing specialty produce.
Participants fly first class from Los Angeles to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines and stay at the Halekulani resort on the beach at Waikiki, the all-suite Kea Lani in Wailea on Maui, and the newly renovated Mauna Kea on the Kona Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii.
The six-day tour culminates with a visit to the fourth annual Sam Choy Poke Recipe Contest at the Hapuna Prince Hotel on the Big Island.
Cost: $3,385 per person, double occupancy, including first-class air fare from Los Angeles, accommodations, ground transportation and transfers, all lunches and dinners, most breakfasts and gratuities.
Contact: Hawaii Tours, 909 N. San Vicente Blvd., Suite 101, Los Angeles, CA 90069-3809; telephone (310) 652-3681.
Plan ahead for a Gardens of the River cruise next spring, April 13-20, on the recently refurbished Mississippi Queen. Guest speakers, including Jim Wilson of the PBS series "The Victory Garden," will be on board to give talks on gardening and to lead tours to special gardens along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Memphis, Tenn. Cost: from $1,656 per person, double occupancy including all meals and on-board entertainment. If the tour is booked by Aug. 1, air fare will be included in the price.
An optional land package leaves April 20 for four days to Shreveport, La., via motor coach to see the 118 acres of rose gardens at the headquarters of the American Rose Society. Then, just across the Texas border is Tyler, which boasts the nation's largest Municipal Rose Garden and Museum. One-fifth of all the commercial rose bushes produced in the United States come from this area. Also included in this package is a night at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis and a city tour that includes Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion. Cost: from $436 per person, double occupancy, including some meals, ground transportation and entrance fees. Contact: Don Eslinger, Historic Tours of America, 16142 Woodstock Lane, Huntington Beach, CA 92647; tel. (714) 846-6446.
Archeology or Bust
The Archaeological Conservancy, a national nonprofit preservation organization, is offering two tours this fall. A tour to Peru explores the ancient world of the Inca, Chimu and Moche people. The Oaxaca, Mexico, tour, which takes place during Day of the Dead festivities, visits important ruins of the Mixtec and Zapotec civilizations.
The two-week Peru tour runs Nov. 8-22 in Lima with a tour of the "City of Kings." Half of the tour will be spent exploring Peru's archeologically rich north coast, including stops at Sipan and the extensive Tucume Pyramids. The tour visits the fabled ruins of Chan Chan, the huge capital of the Chimu Empire, which once housed more than 50,000 people and is considered one of the largest pre-Columbian cities in the Americas. A day and a half will be spent exploring the extensive and isolated ruins at Machu Picchu, one of Peru's most impressive sites, that remained virtually unknown to the outside world until 80 years ago. Several days will be spent in the Cuzco area, either touring its local ruins, museums and cathedrals, or spending time relaxing and enjoying its shops and markets. Cost: $3,995 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, air travel within Peru, entrance fees and some meals. Air fare to Peru is not included.
The Oaxaca tour, scheduled during Mexico's Day of the Dead preparations, Oct. 26-Nov. 3, explores ruins from the Mixtec and Zapotec cultures. The first stop on the tour is Monte Alban, a religious city built by the Zapotec and Mixtec more than 2,500 years ago. Today, it is considered one of Mexico's greatest pre-Columbian sites. The tour visits the mud and stone ruins at Mitla, elaborately decorated with stone mosaics. Zaachila, the capital of the last Zapotec kingdom, and the ruins at Yagul and Lambityeco will also be toured. Villages known for their unique crafts will be visited, including San Bartolo Coyotepec, famous for its black pottery, and San Martin Tilcajete, known for its painted animal figurines.
Cost: $1,595 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, all breakfasts and lunches, one dinner, entrance fees, ground transportation and gratuities. Transportation costs to and from Oaxaca are not included.
For both tours, contact: The Archaeological Conservancy, 5301 Central Ave. N.E., Suite 1218, Albuquerque, NM 87108; tel. (505) 266-1540.
East Coast Art