January 14, 2016

Countdown to Morocco

I'll be dusting off the cobwebs and firing up the blog again. This time I have the incredible luck to be living and working in Fes, Morocco!

More to come, please visit again for updates. I'll be leaving in early February.

March 27, 2012

The New Normal

I've been back in LA for about 10 days now, and I'm catching up on the last few days of my trip. I'll put them in chronological order on the date they occurred, rather than the date I'm writing them, so do check back and read everything. I'm also planning on inserting some short videos here and there once they are squashed down to a reasonable size, as well as some epilogue-type entries to collect my thoughts on a great trip.

Thanks again to everyone who made it possible.


March 17, 2012

It's a Hell of a Town

Striking view of Columbus Circle, the city, and Central Park in the background, from inside the Time/Warner Center.


Today we took a quick walk through the Time/Warner Center to see the restaurant area. I didn't realize they have a Bouchon Bakery there, and I cannot resist. We got the macaron assortment, nutter butter, chocolate bouchons (like brownies) and I think one other thing. I can't seem to find the photo of it.

Colleen always hosted a great Oscars party each year, and we would see lots of movies throughout the year, then try to see as many of the nominees as we could in the weeks leading up the Oscars. So it felt like old times when we went to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi. I think we both really enjoyed it.

For lunch, we reheated the duck ssam from Momofuku. It's just as delicious the second day. One of those meals where leftovers are welcome.

New York City is an absolutely unique place.


More pictures after the jump...>>>

Continue reading "It's a Hell of a Town" »

March 16, 2012

Peach, Seed, Prune

I talk to everyone about food and restaurants, I try to keep somewhat familiar with restaurants in other cities, and what comes up time and again are the Momofuku restaurants. Colleen made arrangements for us to get the whole duck ssam at the Ssam Bar. It's an order ahead meal intended for three to six people. We were trying to find a third, but it didn't work out, but we decided to go for it anyway.

Since we were getting the whole meal, it comes with two sides - for the first we chose the housemade pickle plate. Included clockwise from the right are beets, kim chee style radish, sunchokes, cucumbers, fennel, baby carrots, kim chee nappa cabbage, and shiitake mushrooms. Hidden in the back are small white radishes, fuji apples, green peppers, and cauliflower. A window makes for much easier picture taking! It was a bit overcast today, so it was diffused white light from the right making everything look pretty.

Our second side was stir fried greens in XO sauce. XO sauce usually has dried shrimp and/or dried scallops, chilli paste, soy, garlic, sesame, and shallots. Salty and delicious.


The garnishes for the duck arrived next - butter lettuce, then from the top right, crispy shallots, duck fat with ginger and scallions, sea salt, hoisin sauce, and Korean style chili paste/sauce. Also, to the left a damn good ginger beer, non-alcoholic.


The main event after the jump...>>>

Continue reading "Peach, Seed, Prune" »

March 15, 2012

Back to the New World

One last shot from Barcelona airport for Bethro -


Somewhere over Greenland: drift ice patterns on the ocean


Having left Barcelona early in the morning, I landed at JFK in the early afternoon, took the AirTrain to Jamaica Station, got onto the subway and had a pleasant walk to meet Colleen. This traveling stuff is a lot easier in your own language and when things have signs. And of course, Manhattan is quite conveniently laid out and numbered in a grid for the most part. Although I will say, at least in Spain, on public transportation, many things are at least announced in multiple languages, but here...only English. It must be much harder for a non-English speaking visitor in the US.

Replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Washington Square Park.

It's been far too long since I visited New York. More pictures after the jump...>>>

Continue reading "Back to the New World" »

Adios, Espana!

Near my pension, there was a Galician restaurant that seemed to be doing good business and seemed to be reasonably priced. Galicia is the northwest corner of Spain, and is known for seafood. Since I didn't get to go to Galicia on this trip, I figured I could try a few of the specialties of that region. When I sat down, they gave me a different menu than was on the board, where all the seafood was really expensive, so I switched gears. Not sure if was after lunch or if they just pegged me as a tourist.

One popular item in Spain is ensaladilla rusa, or Russian potato salad. Normally, it would contain potato, mayonnaise, English peas, tuna or anchovy, and hard cooked eggs. I didn't get any tuna out of this version, but it was pretty good. They brought it as an appetizer, a hefty scoop, almost a pint, but they were waiting for me to finish the entire thing before bringing the steak. No, I'm ready, bring on the steak!!


The matchsticks and fried artichokes were a nice surprise. Scallopini type cut of veal, medium.


I did some final souvenir shopping at El Corte Ingles, which is the largest department store chain in Europe. It's named for it's origin as a tailor shop, referring to an English Cut suit. But it now it's everywhere in Spain, they carry everything including groceries, housewares, dry goods, clothing - I guess like Harrod's, but many locations. I stopped for a gelato - mandarin orange and dulce de leche. Deeelicious! Clean, specific mandarin flavor.


More pictures after the jump...>>>

Continue reading "Adios, Espana!" »

March 13, 2012

Mi Error, y Mi Bien Suerte

Got up early to head to la Boqueria. El Quim is one of the famous stalls in the market, and has been around since the market was just a collection of carts in a field. Or so they say. Bread and a cana of beer to start the day.


They were still getting ready for the day, so I was the first customer to sit down. Some things were still being prepared, so I asked for callos. It's stewed tripe, very simple, just a bit of tomato and pimenton. I could easily have sampled more things, but I wanted to save my appetite for lunch.


My new room is the tiniest, interior room in a large, luxurious flat. It's been remodelled fairly recently, so the bathrooms and other large rooms are quite stylish. My room is cheap, and bare bones. But I have access to the whole flat, including a large patio facing the interior courtyard of this city block.


One of Anna's recommendations is Forn Mistral, specializing in breads and pastries from Mallorca, including my new obsession, the ensaimada. They also make a savory ensaimada with sobrasada inside, but they only make it on request, with one day's notice. So I got a croissant with sobrasada inside. They also have an ensaimada with pastry cream. These were all fantastic. Delicate and the sweet ones were not too sweet.


A good story, a lot of pictures and great meal after the jump...>>>

Continue reading "Mi Error, y Mi Bien Suerte" »