The unseasonably hot Summer is providing an ongoing record heat wave with temperatures scorching near and above 100 degrees.  Instead of sweltering away, maybe it’s time to cool down.

Imagine ~ artic air, blizzards, surrounded in a room of ice complete with furniture made of ice; bundled like an Eskimo and sipping an ice-cold cocktail - no ice required because even your glass is made of ice.  Cold enough for you?  

Then come tour these amazing and creative Ice Bars and accommodations to put a chill back in your day.

First stop, where else but the city that has every imaginable finding ~ Las Vegas, Nevada.  Visit Minus5 Ice Bar at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.  Hence being its name, the frosty temperature is minus five degrees.  Here you will be decked out in Eskimo-like ice gear to keep warm and explore the wonderland of intricate ice sculptures that change every 6 - 8 weeks, while relaxing on ice couches that are covered in deer skin and sipping your premium vodka out of, of course, custom designed ice
glasses.  To upgrade your experience, be sure to take a look at their packages including the faux fur coat and Russian hat (which you get to keep).  Bonus!!!

Now to the sunshine state, Orlando, Florida.  Icebar Orlando is
the first largest ice bar in America with over 50 tons of ice making this a
winter wonderland one cool place of 27 degrees in a state of warmth.  Take an expedition to the North while keeping warm with your thermal cape and gloves during this limited 45 minutes adventure. 

Continue traveling the world with more of these “chilling adventures”.

Travel to Dubai and visit the Chill Out Café with their sub-zero temperatures and an interesting combination of ice, glass and
steel complete with unique lighting and architecture. 

With Winters being so cold in Russia, St. Petersburg decided to create an  Ice Bar so no wasted heating was necessary.  This ice bar is found on a small street right behind the Kazan Cathedral

Still to hot for you?  Off to XtraCold Amsterdam in Centre of Amsterdam, Amstel.  This Ice Bar consists of two parts.  You are first introduced to a “cool” lounge where you are able to enjoy your food and drinks and then you will be able to venture further to the Ice Bar where you will receive special clothing to keep you warm in the -10 degree Celsius bar.  Enjoy a drink and journey over icebergs and steep cliffs of a fantasy landscape with a 20 minute 3D movie - including a wind turbine to make the scene complete. 

Or, what about a blizzard to cool you down?  The Ice Lounge in the heart of Southbank, Australia will make you feel like you’ve entered an Antarctic winter for a limited 30 minutes.  Enjoy state-of-the-art lighting, exquisite carved sculptures while wrapped in warmth in the - 10 degree
Celsius Ice Bar.

Minus 5 is another ice bar located in Queenstown, New Zealand.  Everything is carved purely of ice but don’t worry about getting a chill because, once again, you’ll be provided with jackets, gloves and even warm footwear. 

Ready for a real adventure?  Climb aboard the Norwegian Epic, Norwegians Cruise Line’s newest, largest and most innovative ship. 
Sail away to the Caribbean and Europe with of course, a visit to the coolest bar at sea, the Svedka Ice Bar that was inspired by the original ice hotels in Scandinavia.  In an exclusive partnership with SVEDKA vodka and Inniskillin ice wine, this ice bar gives the ultimate chill with the temperature not rising above 17 degrees Fahrenheit and LED lighting stimulating the Northern Lights while sipping in hooded coats and gloves surrounded by ice and carved statues of course.  

Hate to return to the heat, then take your visit up, or
down a notch, and visit these Ice Bars while staying in their ice

The Ice Hotel in Sweden is located in the village of Jukkasjarvi and offers several room accommodations.  Your cold rooms will range in temperature from -5 degrees Celsius to -8 degrees Celsius with special beds made of snow and ice with reindeer skins and thermal sleeping bags for your comfort.  After a good nights sleep, you’ll be awakened in the morning with a cup of hot lingonberry juice at your bedside.  Venture to their Icebar Jukkasjarvi where you can dance on a floor of snow and drink champagne and other cocktails from glasses of ice.  Don’t worry about getting too cold, your visit is limited to 40 minutes.

Still need more?  Who would’ve ever thought Paris would be the host of an Ice Bar?  Well, maybe it’s time you visit The Kube Hotel (also known as Kube Rooms) in Paris, France.  A trendy and hip boutique styled hotel consisting of 31 rooms and 10 suites that is a mix of retro and modern, complete with splashes of hot pink, glowing glass cubes and fake fur.  Making this boutique even more special is their urban ice bar,
The Ice Kube.  A cover charge, winter parka and gloves included along with unlimited vodka for 30 minutes.  Make sure you make reservations for this trendy bar only allows 20 guests at a time.  This could just be the topping of a night in Paris!

This is only the tip of the iceberg and hopefully it’s cooled you off a bit during our over-the-top warm weather.  So, why not have a well deserved over-the-top vacation too?

No matter where you are you will now be able to feel like you’re on a vacation.

In today’s economy some of us have had to modify our vacationing traditions. The typical Vacation turned into a Staycation - where we stay and visit sights near our home to the Naycation - where we stay in our home and do nothing.

Wherever you are there always seems to be a sense of fate ~ something you can’t control; something that is meant to be. Do you believe in fate? I do and I hope you enjoy my fate and feel like you’re on a little private vacation yourself.

I believe “You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes you meet those people you can’t forget. Those are your friends” (Author Unknown).

In the beginning phase of Twig Travel I had the wonderful opportunity to a form a friendship with Chef Roman Petrack. What a marvel he has turned out to be, and I hope you too will find what I found in his charismatic spirit.

Chef Roman Petrack is the owner and executive chef of Kangaroo Catering at http://www.kangaroocatering.com/.  He was born in New Zealand as the son of a renowned patisserie and raised both in the Netherlands and Australia. Chef Roman graduated with honors from the Culinary Arts Institute in Tasmania, Australia where his talents led him to led him to work in award winning restaurants including the Owls’
Nest in Tasmania and the popular Michel's Restaurant http://www.michelsrestaurant.com/ which received the "Best Restaurant" award in North Queensland for three consecutive years.

Chef Roman now lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and offers a variety of
services that cater to your individual needs with customized menus using fresh local produce, and organic as much as possible, in order to create a memorable dining experience for you and your guests.

Kangaroo Catering specializes in "home catering" including elegant sit down dinners, fun interactive parties, gourmet buffets and colorful cocktail parties. Customized weekly meal plans are also offered. These are prepared and cooked in your kitchen and left for you to enjoy complete with heating instructions. Who could ask for more?! I was so impressed that not only does Chef Roman tailor his catering to your wants and needs but he also has his own serving staff and rental details that truly makes your event even more memorable.

To simplify my life a little bit, I think I just might ask for one of Chef Romans gift certificates that he offers at www.kangaroocatering.com.

I may never be able to cook like Chef Roman, but I might as well enjoy a meal created by a wonderful friend and a little Naycation myself!

Grilled Jamaican Chicken served with a fresh mango, red onion and cilantro relish

Chicken and rub

· 1/2 cup vegetable oil
· 1 onion coarsely chopped
· 2 scallions coarsely chopped
· 1 large jalapeño pepper, stem and seeds removed
· 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
· 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
· 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
· 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
· 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
· 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (or ground)
· Pinch ground cloves
· 1 teaspoon ground allspice
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
· 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
· 4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
· 4 drum sticks, skin on

NOTE - you may also remove the skin if you wish and may also use chicken breasts instead

· Puree all the ingredients, except the chicken, in a food processor until almost smooth.

· Piece the chicken with a fork to make tiny holes. Place the chicken in a large shallow baking dish and rub the marinade into the chicken.

· Cover and refrigerate over night and preferably for up to 24 hours

· Preheat grill. Grill chicken on each side for 5 to 6 minutes or until cooked through.

Alternatively you may also seal the chicken on the stove top and finish it in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes.

Mango, red onion and cilantro relish

· 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
· 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
· 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
· 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
· 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
· Salt and freshly ground pepper

· Combine the mangoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and orange juice in a bowl and gently mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe by Chef Roman Petrack

My sincere thank you Chef Roman and may all of you enjoy!!!