Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Foodie Bucket List

So I have mentioned that we have crossed off an item on our own personal "Bucket List" on our last trip - percebes. We also managed to cross off a couple more items that we didn't even know we had on our list until we experienced them, like sushi fresh from the Tsukiji Fish Market just steps away, or the piure we had in Santiago. Sort-of a cross between a barnacle and a sea urchin, it was something we had never heard of.

We also have a wine bucket list, and are determined to taste the great wines at their point of origin.  This especially holds true for fortified wines. So far we have been to Jerez in Spain to learn about Sherry, Porto to drink Port, and our favorite, the Portuguese island of Madeira to taste all the different varieties of their delightful wine. Still on the list is Marsala... There are the incredible wine regions in France, Germany, and Italy, not to mention the "new world" wines. We also are open to seeking out  other types of beverages, as when we were able to attend a Cidre dinner just outside of San Sebastian, where you take your glass into the barrel room and catch the stream of cider straight out of the massive barrels. It was a lot of fun!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Airports as Destinations

So I was talking to my Aussie husband about my travel "bucket list" the other day, and realized after he agreed to everything I said that we truly do belong together.  Who else would have to fly into the most "interesting" airports in the world - not to visit the country they are located in, but just to land at that airport?  We both (separately) flew into Hong Kong's old Kai Tak airport, skimming the apartment buildings on approach. My husband has flown into Lukla in Nepal when the runway was dirt and describes it as harrowing. One of our favorite destinations is the Portuguese island of Madeira, with its runway built on piers over the ocean along the side of a mountain.
We are in the process of planning our next vacation and the conversation centered on which airports we have to visit. I think next on our list is Princess Julianna airport in St. Maarten so we can hang out on the beach and have jets land right above our heads, Gibraltar might be a close second.  Courchevel in France would be awesome, but we would need to go there in winter for the full effect of the snowy mountaintop landing. Toncontin in Honduras used to be dangerous, until they extended that runway so it is now off the list. We could go to Scotland and land on an official beach runway perhaps, or maybe fly to one of the many Greek or Caribbean islands that have tiny runways.  So many options!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Pumpkin Spice is Everywhere

It is Fall in Seattle; the leaves are turning brilliant reds and yellows before being blown off their branches, the rains have returned, (after a brutally dry summer) and Pumpkin Spice flavoring is in everything. No - seriously! Everything.  There are the things you would expect, like Starbucks lattes, of course... Quaker oatmeal... pies and cookies and other dessert things. But now I am also seeing bread and tea and popcorn and corn chips that are Pumpkin-Spiced.  Corn chips??  I may have to try those...
Here is just a sampling of what is currently on store shelves.

And then I saw this.  There is no escape!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2015


My Aussie husband and I have a bucket list, but not your usual types of list that includes things like climbing the highest peaks on every continent or sailing all the oceans of the world.
No, our bucket list involves food items.

And I am proud to say that we were able to cross an item off the list when we dined on Percebes in A Coruna in northern Spain.  Percebes (a fancy name for barnacles) are harvested off the rocks in tidal areas and that is quite dangerous as it involves diving into swirling water around rocks.  We were not surprised that they were expensive.  We were surprised that they were so difficult to get open to eat!  Two different waiters tried to show us how to pry the little beak-like tops open and squeeze the body out.  We still wound-up struggling and making a bit of a mess, but it was all worth it - they were delicious!  Not much to look at, though -

Sunday, May 24, 2015

There... and back.

So I have just done something very un-American.  I have jetted off to Europe for a 5 week vacation. Unless you are a college student on summer break or an independently wealthy individual, no one in this country takes more than a couple of weeks for a vacation.  And as I am neither of those things, it must be because I am married to an Australian.
It all started very innocently, with a dinner table discussion with our TFS cooking group.  "Wouldn't it be fun if we all coordinated our vacations so that we could meet up someplace and hang out together?"  Many conversations later we had all agreed to meet in Portugal and spend 5 days eating and drinking, and of course cooking.  Porto was the obvious choice because we all love Port. 
Great!  We're going back to Portugal!  My Aussie husband pointed out that Porto was really only a short drive from the north coast of Spain, a region we had always wanted to explore.  We need to take another week and drive to San Sebastian, I said.  As long as we are going to be in Spain, we should spend a few more days and go to the Jabugo region and eat jamon Iberico, he said.  And then we both agreed that we would have to go to Madeira, as we were so close.  And we really need to be there at least a week...  and then we should spend a few days in Lisbon before we go home. 
And there you have it - 5 wonderful weeks full of excellent wine, delicious food, and great friends.

We started with a few days in Lisbon where we found out about this lovely food and wine festival they have every year - Peixe em Lisboa.  It is way more than fish!  They had booths set up with samples of food and beverage from every region of the country, and then in another huge room local chefs had created dishes featuring flavors from their restaurants.  Most of the plates involved seafood, and they were all quite inventive.  We ate our way through the samples in the first room and barely had room for our actual plate of food that was included in the entry fee of 15 Euros.  Did I also mention that they had beverage "samples"?  Cider, beer and lots and lots of wine.  And some brandy too, I think I remember...  we were quite tipsy by the time we left.  Probably the best 15 Euros we have ever spent!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

People on the Airplane

It seems that there are 2 types of people you will encounter on an airplane.  Those who never say a word to you, even though they sit next to you for hours, and those who don't know when to stop talking.   I am not sure why there never seems to be anything in between.  My ideal seat mate would say hello, answer my nosy questions about where they are from and where they are going, and then say nothing until farewell as we exit the plane.  I don't actually want to hear your whole life story.  I would like to be friendly for a few minutes, and then be left alone to sleep, read, or watch the movies I never get around to seeing at home.
Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Has Sprung!

Most of the eastern part of the United States has had a long, nasty, cold, snowy winter.  I feel very sorry for them.  Here in beautiful Seattle we are enjoying sunshine, 60 degrees, and full-on Spring  weather.  I feel quite smug!  Tulips and daffodils have been blooming almost a month early.  Cherry trees are putting on their full display of delicate blossoms.  The Robins are back and singing at sunrise.  I love it!  My Aussie husband hates it, because the flies are also back.
Apparently flies are a HUGE nuisance in Australia where some will actually bite you.  My Aussie husband goes insane when one gets into our house here, and will not rest until he has tracked it down and made sure that it is an EX fly.  I have tried to point out that here they are quite harmless, but he will not listen to me.  It doesn't matter, he says.  It is a fly and must be dispatched! 

I think I will buy a mega-sized fly swatter for him as an early birthday present...