Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween – in Madrid?

On our first trip to Spain, after eating our way through Andalucia, we found ourselves in Madrid.   
On Halloween.  We had frankly forgotten it was the 31st, as we were on vacation and we don’t like to think about what the date is until we have to leave.   
We were wandering around some neighborhood, and we saw this -    

and then we noticed a lot of people dressed in interesting outfits, and put 2 and 2 together.  We had no idea Halloween was celebrated in Spain.  See what you can learn when you travel?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I am a Night Market Junkie

I have a new obsession in my life – Asian Night Markets.  Thanks to some random mention on a TV program, I learned about the massive 626 market in the Los Angeles area, (food on a stick!) and from then on I was hooked.    We just got back from the Vancouver BC area where we ate our way through the Richmond Night Market, sampling things like spicy pork tongue and kimchi nachos.  These markets are set up several weekends throughout the summer and draw huge crowds to their lineups of both food and shopping tents.  Seattle is trying to break in to that scene, but the Night Market that was organized here was a once a year thing with a whole lot of food trucks.  Which is not a bad thing, but it just doesn’t compare.   The ones on L.A. and Richmond BC make me want to go back to Hong Kong, or even better, Singapore.  I’m going to start trying to convince my Aussie husband that it is time for another trip.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I Dig Truffles

I love Autumn – it is my favorite time of the year.  My Aussie husband agrees, as he loves dark beer and big rich stews.  My autumn dreams are a little more pointed and specific:  truffles.  Black, earthy, pungent, wonderful truffles.  We had an opportunity to go truffle hunting in Italy, as part of a culinary week-long vacation in Umbria.   More about the trip later;  today we are focused.   I was hoping we would be hunting with the traditional unearther of truffles - the pig, but apparently they are hard to control and often eat the prize before the handler has a chance to snatch it away to safety.  So now they use specially trained dogs, which do not like truffles so much.  They prefer the doggie treat they receive for a job well done.  Which means more truffles for us!   

 We met our guide and his dog in a grove of hazelnut trees (as this is an area ripe with possibility) and after a short lesson on how to dig, set off after the busily sniffing dog.  We were instantly rewarded with a beautiful specimen, and carefully dug it up.  It was a good day for hunting, and by the end of our allotted hour we had a sizeable collection of truffles to turn into tasty dishes.   

The meals that followed were some of the best I have had!  Simple pasta  with a celery and grated truffle sauce, beef with a wonderful shaved truffle topping.  Sigh…  I wonder if truffles grow around here?