Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Lovely Portugal

Porto
This time, I am not going to wait a year to post pictures.

I journeyed to Portugal and Spain in mid-September, the ideal time to hit both countries for their perfect weather, tasty port wines, moist and intensely flavorful Piri Piri chicken, Sangria, Tortilla, Jamon and the freshest of fresh seafood.  Lisbon and Porto are also less touristy than the London's and Paris's of Europe, huge bonus.

A few things that make Portugal unique (this list is by no means exhaustive), besides their cuisine and port wines:

  • Tiles/Colorful Architecture
    • Portugal has buildings crammed together throughout the country with the red roofs you will find throughout southern Europe.  On the front of the buildings you will see a wide array of tiles in every color immaginable but mostly blue.  If the buildings do not have tiles, then they will most likely be colored pink, yellow, blue, green and every other color of the rainbow.  A gorgeous feast for the eyes.  
  • Cork
    • If there is a cork shortage, you would never know by visiting Portugal.  They make everything out of cork; bags, shoes, wallets, coasters, belts, etc.  I have allergic reactions to almost everything, including leather on my skin.  Think for a moment how that limits me with watch bands, shoes, bracelets.  No such issues with cork and it looks a lot like leather.  So, I stocked up.
  • Mosaic Sidewalks
    • A source of national pride in Portugal, with good reason.  They are truly a delight to walk on everyday.

A Tuk-Tuk - the preferred Lisbon mode of transportation
The Duoro

Port next to the vineyard.  I was never a big port drinker, until now.  I wouldn't substitute it for wine but definitely as an after dinner drink, for special occasions and as a wonderful supplement to dessert.

Have you ever walked on a mosaic?  In Portugal, walking on art is a daily occurrence.

Pasteis de Nata - a sweet custard inside a flaky crust

The French have their baguettes and the Portuguese have their Pasteis de Nata.  One shop of many displaying the much loved Pasteis de Nata - a Portuguese treasure and source of intense national pride.

Sangria

Squid, Olive Oil, Cheese, Olives and Sangria after a long day walking the hilly streets of Lisbon

Porto Trolly

Train Station Tiles

Sangria, Bocadillos and Tortilla EspaƱola in Salamanca, Spain

About to be picked grapes for the Port

Grapes for Port Wine

The ubiquitous building tiles seen throughout Portugal


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cooking in Bali



Last summer, I went to Bali for surfing, yoga, and cooking...and yes, I am just getting around to posting.  I went to a "Goddess Retreat" and it was everything they promised it would be and more.   To describe the experience as anything less than life changing would not be doing it justice.  Bali is an incredible place with a spiritual culture and attitude that swept me off my feet.  If it were not for my son and little dog back home, there is no way I would have come back to the U.S. 

I surfed a lot and found out that I absolutely suck at at it.  That really is the only word to describe my skills.  I would post a surfing picture to give everyone a good laugh but I am not a masochist.  
On the bright side, I loved the two a day yoga sessions and activities like this cooking class.  Outside, fresh, lovely instructors, perfect weather and of course, absolutely delicious.  I loved the use of ingredients and spices I rarely use at home, such as ginger and lemongrass.  They also use produce that I can never find at home, such as dragonfruit.  Even if I can find it at home, it does not taste as sweet as it did in Bali, thinking of papaya and mangoes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Joe's Kansas City Barbecue and Fat Matt's in Atlanta, GA

Joe's Ribs
Once in a while a client will look at me with sympathetic eyes when they hear how much I travel.  Oh, if they only knew that I actually enjoy and look forward to the road.  If you are in a client facing role and not asking your clients for restaurant suggestions, you are seriously missing out.  Folks love to talk about their city and have a lot of pride in their home grown favorites.  They are undoubtedly your best source if you are a food hound like me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hangover Sandwich (Fried Egg, Bacon, Cheese)


Based on the social media posts I have seen over the past week, I believe there has never been a better time to post about hang over remedies.  I thought I would also post some topics on which we can all agree:
  • Telemarketers suck and the silent feature on our cell phones are magic.
  • Long lines at the store are never ok except if there is some trashy magazine on the rack that you would never buy but you can pick up to pass the time.  
  • Knowing that there is a special place in hell for people who prolong a conference call with way too many unnecessary questions.  
  • Those G.E. commercials are hilarious.
  • Babies and puppies are still the cutest little creatures when they are not peeing on you or your carpet.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Election 2016 and Chicken Braised with Grapes

Chicken Braised with Grapes
Well, that was a doozy.  I am going to offer one thought and then I will shut up about it.  The Democratic party has always been the party of the working class, not the elites.  That narrative was flipped in this past election and here we are.  There is a lot in that statement and there are many reasons why elections go one way or another, but in my mind, that is the heart of the issue.

Now to Chicken with Braised Grapes.   I was at the grocery store when it hit me that I had nothing for dinner and I have been eating out...a lot.  Not healthy.  Technology is a life saver for slackers like me who make a bone-headed move like going to the store without a list.  You know how you read about highly successful people and half of those profiles say that those folks make lists?  Well, I do make lists, just not at critical times like when I am heading out to a place that needs a list.  I make lists of places I want to travel, books I want to read, blogs I need to check out and restaurants to hit in various cities I travel to for work.  Priorities.

So, the NY Times app on my phone saved the day and I found a recipe that would satisfy my sweet/savory tooth.  Click here.     

Monday, February 1, 2016

Potato Chip Cookies and Iowa Caucus Night


Iowa caucus night!!  Woohoo!  Election season is here and we are off to the races.  Can you feel the excitement?  I can!  Is there anything better in this great country than election season?  Um, NOOOOO!  I don't watch sports or go to church because politics is my religion.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ham and Swiss Sliders


I have a love hate relationship with sports.  You would too if your home town teams built you up and broke you down year after year.  So is the life of a Chicago sports fan.  All hail to the great Ditka, the last person who made everyone in this city hope and dream.  If he didn't do it, the Super Bowl Shuffle did.  To this day I remember the homecoming parade down Michigan Avenue for the Bears when they won in 1985.  I remember walking around my grade school surrounded by kids wearing Sweetness sweat bands and McMahon style sunglasses.