Sergio Garcia Wins The Masters and Fans Everywhere Cry Tears of Joy

Admittedly, there were times when being a Sergio Garcia fan was rough. It was kind of like rooting for a brilliant but mercurial child... one frequently subject to mood swings and sometimes prone to self sabatoge.  Major wins were elusive and the defeats, particularly those where the contest was close, were crushing. 

There were even times when the golfer known as El Nino was written off as a tempestuous also-ran by some "serious" golf scribes. However there were also the unconditionals; those Sergio fans who never lost faith.

Today was the day that patience paid off.  Sergio won The Masters... in spectacular fashion... and there were, if Twitter is to be believed, many tears of joy shed in celebration. 

Yes, I was one of those reaching for the Kleenex as Sergio Garcia was presented with the iconic green jacket. After all, way back in the infancy of YouTube, I predicted Sergio's Masters win... albiet somewhat prematurely... in a grainy mash-up video that I enjoyed revisiting occasionally over the years. 

I'd say it has special meaning today. I'd also say it was worth the wait. 

If you're a Sergio fan you might enjoy some of these posts from the past, just a few of the many I've written over the years on the subject of the superlative Spanish golfer.

Sergio Garcia - More Than the Field Against Him

A Tempestuous Golfer Explained - Sergio Garcia

Much Maligned Mr. Garcia Wins the Players and Praise


Ten Days Of Pimento Cheese: Vol Au Vent, C'est Tres Elegant

So how exactly would one transform The Masters' most iconic sandwich into an elegant hors d'oeuvre? Is it even possible?  Well yes, it absolutely is, and with a bit of research I found hundreds of recipes for a wide array of cocktail snacks.      

My favorite, Bacon Pimento Cheese Puff Pastry Cups from The Blonde Cook , is briliiant in its simplicity. In fact, if you use a store bought pimento cheese (Palmetto Cheese by Pawley's Island Specialty Foods is a good one) it's ultra-easy to make. It's also delicious and extremely impressive looking.  You can even call it Vol au Vent, which... my husband tells me...  is their French name. And that just makes them all the more elegant.


Golf Antiques On The Block - As The Masters Approaches, The Bidding Begins

The month of March is on the wane and Masters week is fast approaching! 

Right on cue, the Spring auction is live at Green Jacket Auctions with an amazing array of golf memorabilia up for grabs. Bidding ends on August 8, round eve. 

Just a few of the fabulous... and curious... items on the block are: an 1850s golf ball mold, a brass "parlor putter", and an authentic green jacket found in a Toronto thrift shop. There's also a wide selection of highly collectible, multi-chromatic Masters Badges... you know, the ones that sometimes festoon the hats of longtime patrons. 

A while back I wrote about Green Jacket Auctions in reference to a whimsical tee marker I missed out on. This time I have my eye on another distinctive item which I will not name (why draw competition to my coveted... item) suffice to say it will be perfect in my garden, and I intend to win it.

I'll definitely be keeping up with the bidding from Augusta, where I'll be spending a few days. I've just got to remember not to let the azaleas distract me. 

If you're looking to attend The Masters this year, our sponsor Ticket City will help you find the perfect tickets --> TICKET CITY GOLF TICKETS 


Ten Days of Pimento Cheese: The Paula, An Over The Top Indulgence

Pimento cheese transformed. A #tuesdaytransformation that doesn't count calories

She wrote the Southern Cooking Bible and insists she's never met a stick of butter she didn't love, so who better than Paula Deen to come up with a pimento cheese recipe that takes the quentiscential Southern classic way beyond a humble sandwich spread. 

In this recipe the pimento, and a couple of different cheeses, wind up in a creamy sauce... a sauce based on butter and bacon fat, thank you very much. Macaroni and sliced bacon join the fray and the mix is lightly broiled. What emerges is a brown and bubbling Bacon Pimento Mac and Cheese.  

And that's how we go from a Masters classic to classic Paula Deen.


Ten Days of Pimento Cheese: The DeLite, A No-Mayo P.C.

Monday, arguably the weekday the most willpower, is probably the right one for this recipe

Pimento cheese is, by its very nature, an indulgence... and for the most part that's just fine with fans of the creamy concoction.  Otherwise it wouldn't be known as "The Cavier of the South", would it? So imagine my surprise, when I encountered an impressive array of recipes for "PC Light". 

Some cooks decided to add all manner of vegtable matter to the mix, while others suggest simply substituting "light cheese" and "light mayonaise" for the real things, and saving some calories that way.

The one I selected does neither. Instead, it replaces the mayo with yogurt, adding a dash of vinegar for the necessary tang.  This recipe comes from Bran Appetit, a delightful cooking blog that celebrates a deliciously healthy life... without ever sacrificing the charm of the dishes we love. 


Ten Days of Pimento Cheese: The Original, A Singular Sandwich

With just ten days till the start of our 2017 Masters Golf Road Trip, I've started thinking about pimento cheese... with increasing frequency. 

This may seem odd for a New Englander, whose first exposure to "the caviar of the South" was rather recent, but the feeling is not unlike the one I have for gingerbread and eggnog in the run-up to Christmas. It's actually a kind of longing, based on memories of special, once-a-year, limited-time-only foods rather than any real affinity for their taste or texture. 

Be that as it may, thanks to my Masters memories, I'm currently obsessed with thoughts of Pimento Cheese. So much so, that earlier today I succumbed to an urge to google "pimento cheese" ...the way you'd google an unrequited love from high school. Or something. 

My hopes were to find a few photos of the sacred sandwich with which to wet my appetite. Instead I found a treasure trove of unexpected recipes.  I've curated my favorites and will present one a day till our departure.

I'm starting where my obsession began, with the original Masters Pimento Cheese sandwich.


Golf Travel: Onward from Augusta, A Masters Golf Road Trip - Part 1

The Singular Beauty of The Masters

The Masters is a singular experience. For golfers and golf fans it's always going to be a top-of-bucket-list event, but even for those with little or no interest in the game, a day at The Masters will bring with it a rare sense of wonder.  My first experience... all four days of the tournament in 2011... was so sublime, so transcendent, that I promised myself I'd go again, and that this time I'd bring along the man I share my golf cart... and my life... with.

Once a world class globetrotter, Nicholas has, over the years, developed a perplexing aversion to planes, trains and automobiles. However, in the spring of 2015 I managed to strongarm gently coax him into hitting the road with me. Our first stop was Augusta and a Tuesday practice round at The Masters.  As I suspected, Nick was as susceptible as anyone to the otherworldly aura inside the gates of Augusta National and spent the day smiling through the dreamy haze of verdant civility. He sipped pink lemonade, admired azaleas and had his first ever pimento cheese sandwich. And at the end of the day called the experience tout a fait inoubliable. He's French, BTW.

Admiring Amen Corner... In Real Life 

His euphoria was fortuitous, because Augusta was just the beginning. We had our clubs and a rental car, and I (sort of) had a plan: we'd use this opportunity to discover a bit of what makes golf in the Southern US such a singular experience.  So we left Augusta in the late afternoon and headed on up I20 into South Carolina, driving through a sudden thunderstorm that ended, fittingly, with a rainbow.

Out of Augusta, I22 Rainbow

The only small problem was that unbeknownst to my less-than-adventurous partner, I didn't actually have reservations anywhere till Charlotte, two nights later. I just figured I'd find something along the way that would work for us.  The thing is though, Masters Week means very few vacant hotel rooms anywhere within 100 miles of Augusta. I sort of knew this, but chose to ignore it, and after stopping at several motels in Columbia and finding nothing, Nick began to panic. Night was descending, and the once welcoming highway was starting to seem somewhat sinister. 

Fortunately, my many years of solo travel in some of the world's most far flung outposts (thank you Timbuktu) had me more than ready for this type of thing. So while Nick nervously drove on I was able to remain calm, and with a bit of research... plus a healthy dose of creative licence... suggested Chester, SC as the quintessential Southern town, just an hour away, and a perfect place to stay for the next couple of nights. Nick looked skeptical, but chilled a bit when I told him I'd just secured tomorrow's tee time at Chester Golf Club (thank you on-line booking).  

70's Statuary at Chester Golf Club, Chester, SC

We pushed on up I77 towards the Chester area and eventually came upon a section, just off the interstate, that boasted a couple of humble strip malls, the ubiquitous gas and fast food purveyors and a few generic motels. Whereupon, Nick made a beeline for the homogeneous familiarity of a clean, well-lighted Quality Inn. Exhausted... and overly cautious by nature... he was not about to venture to the rural darkness in search of an unvetted country auberge.

A simple Southern Shack Houses An Interesting Array of Oddities 

So we checked in at the standard check-in desk, had a standard good night's sleep with waffles for breakfast and drove 15 minutes to the golf course.

Chester Golf Club was something of a time warp. We found the course to be refreshingly rural... not a house or condo to be seen. The layout is open and forgiving, with wide fairways that allow average players (us) to entertain the possibility of numerous pars and perhaps a few birdies. 
The clubhouse is modest, but welcoming, and for the space of 18 holes we felt transported to a simpler time... circa 1975... before everything became so ostentatious

After our round we ventured into the city of Chester which did, in fact, seem quintessentially quaint and utterly Southern, at least to our New England eyes. Set on a hill, the former mill town features a confederate monument, and a Civil War cannon. The historic district has been restored and the surrounding neighborhoods are lined with stately victorian homes. Were I to make this trip again I'd plan ahead and stay at one of the grand old inns. An Inn on York Street, which actually offers a selection of golf packages, and the Inn Upon Moon River Plantation, where accommodations are inspired by legendary blues, jazz and gospel artists are two we heard good things about.
On the road again, with something to look forward to 

As the sun set we meandered back to our humble highway hideaway for one more night. 
Our next stop... just an hour north, in Charlotte, NC... would be The Ballantyne Hotel with its exceptional championship golf course, and we were definitely looking forward to it. - Golf Girl's Trips,Travel

Follow our Masters Golf Road Trip series here over the next couple of weeks, and if you're looking to attend The Masters this year, our sponsor Ticket City will help you find the perfect tickets --> TICKET CITY GOLF TICKETS