Friday, July 26, 2013

You Couldn’t See the Lettuce for the Lardons

We have so many chain “restaurants” in America that sometimes it is difficult to get the true flavor of the region you are traveling in.  Everywhere you go, there is (of course) a MacDonalds, a Denny’s, a Shari’s.  We try to avoid those at all costs.  When we travel to other countries, we also tend to avoid the big, expensive, well-known restaurants in favor of the family-run smaller places.   We had read that in Lyon, they were known for just such places – known as “bouchons”.  We found several close to the place we were staying in the Croix Rousse neighborhood and could hardly wait to pop in, have a seat and order.  Everything on the menu looked good, but we thought we might be reasonable and split a salad before each ordering our main course.  Being in Lyon, we thought “let’s eat something from this region - why not order a Salade Lyonnaise”?   We could then have plenty of room to consume the tete de veau and the pork special that were coming up later.   We were wrong.   What we had not bothered to read about these bouchons was that they served portions for the laborers.  Huge portions.   
This was our “starter salad”.  It was immense!   

We estimated it had at least half a pound of bacon lardons on it – almost too much even for my pork-loving Aussie husband.  We gamely finished it (as we didn’t want to insult this lovely dining establishment) and were then confronted by these plates.   

We could barely haul ourselves out of our chairs at the end and waddle back to our apartment.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

How Strange - All My Travel Pictures Are of Food…

As I was looking through my pictures from our last trip, I noticed something odd.  They all seem to be of food.   I thought, “well of course – we were in France and food was a big part of the reason for going to that country”.  And then I looked back through the pictures from our previous trips and noticed a trend developing.   Portugal – food.  Australia – food.  Japan – food.  Even Hawaii – food.  Now all of these places are beautiful and have magnificent scenery, along with amazing architecture - especially in Portugal and Japan.  And Aus has people I have traveled there to see and whom I like a lot.  But my pictures?  Food.  Apparently that is how I want to remember my travels - by what I ate.

Crawfish for dinner in New Orleans
Lunch in Da Nang

Dessert in Barcelona

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Where Flying is Still FUN

I grew up flying, as my father worked for an airline and we could fly on passes just about anywhere.  Even though we had to fly standby, we often got seats in First Class as there was no such thing as frequent flyer miles and people actually had to pay for their seats, so there were sometimes vacancies in the front of the plane.  I’m sure you’ve heard about eating with real silverware off of real dishes and drinking out of glasses instead of plastic cups?  I tell you, it was all true.  We could even show up at the airport less than an hour before departure and still have time to lounge around at the gate.   
I miss those days of carefree travel!   There is however still one place you can take a trip without hours of prep and hassle.  I found this out when my Aussie husband arranged for a getaway to Victoria, British Colombia for our anniversary  - via floatplane.   
We showed up at the building that passes for a terminal on Lake Union well in advance of our departure time – this was an International flight, after all – and wound-up wondering what to do for 45 minutes after we had checked in and cleared “security”.  Everything was quick and easy; the only tiny downside was that not only did they weigh our luggage, they also weighed US so they would know exactly how much weight would be on the plane.  The best part of it all?  If they only have one pilot scheduled for the flight, you can sit in the copilot spot.  In the cockpit.  Awesome!

My Aussie husband in the copilot seat

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

Today is the Fourth of July, which in America means it’s the day we all light fireworks and eat something grilled.  Seattle has a big fireworks show every year, set off from a barge in Lake Union which is close to our house.  As that lake is connected to several other bodies of water via canals, boaters come from all over and cram into the waters surrounding the barge, which makes quite a spectacle on its own.  At the end of the show they all toot their boat horns – it sounds like applause.  And as you all know how much I love fireworks, you know where I will be tonight!

That does not happen until dark though, so the rest of the day is spent eating and drinking in anticipation.  If you have a yard and can grill outdoors, you are practically obligated to have a party.  We only have a small yard and no grill, so we go to our friends’ houses.  They will usually have purchased about half of a cow to grill, along with hotdogs for the kids.  Our decisions on where to go will sometimes factor in who can man the grill without getting distracted too much, so that our steak is not overcooked and we can tell the difference between it and shoe leather.  We will bring some suitable beverages and a tasty side dish and have a lovely day with our friends.