Monday, April 30, 2012

The Lady Liberty In Paris France

What is it about Paris? It's just so beautiful. Full of history, a sense of the past in the present and all in between.
Flying in last week was beautiful. I wished I had the camera out. The flax fields or CANOLA were in bloom and so gorgeous. It reminded me of a friend in Kansas who recently commented on the beautiful plant responsible for the oil we depend on for cooking. Those amber waves of grain.
The French gave the United States it's famous statue of liberty. They have a miniature version on a bridge next to our hotel.
Standing like a beacon of freedom for the world to look to. She gleams in the afternoon light.
Even the graffiti on her speaks freedom and life. Not of hate, fear, and many of the current motivators.
The Seine river flows past her a constant reminder of her unstoppable force in the world.
May we maintain our freedoms so much of the world would like to steal from us!!!! God bless America and her allies!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yummy Bread

OK this a sure fire crowd pleaser. What's more it is super easy. We won't discuss calories or cholesterol on this one. Buy a round loaf of unsliced sour dough. Buy a packet of dry ranch dressing. A stick of butter. About a 1/2 cup or more, depending on your desire for, flavor, or health, of crumbled bacon bits.

Slice but don't cut clear through the loaf about 3/4 of the way in 3/4 inch slices. Turn it 90 degrees and slice it again making a checkered top. Sprinkle the dressing packet and bacon bits into the bread. Melt the butter and pour it on. If you're really a gluten for decadence, go ahead and top it with Parmesan cheese. Bake the loaf for about 15 minutes or so. You will be the king or queen of the kitchen.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mussels in Brussels

Mussels are a filter feeder's which always makes me pause before ordering them. The good news is the colonies tend to stay off the bottom and usually in tidal areas which tend to self clean. Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it because it lets me dine without worry!
The capital of Belgium it is a gem highlighted by The Grand Platsz in the heart of the old city.
You can drink a coffee or beer in the square and soak up all the ambiance while the restaurant proprietor soaks your pockets!
I prefer to soak it in quick and move on to some place more economical. One of Brussels most famous land marks is the Maniken Piss. I've seen it several times and each time I look at him it seems smaller...The statue as a whole!!!
Well after all this strenuous site seeing I'm getting hungry. Time to find one of many good places for the mussels.
A group of flight attendants first took me here, the said it was the best. (I doubt it but I paid a buck more to be on this side of the street.) They have a large menu with many different options and two full pages dedicated to the mussels.
Their salads are so fresh and flavorful. It's lightly oiled and vinegar. But just so simple and good. (yes I said that).
Next comes the shell can, a place to discard the shells.
Then the stars!
But Europe's passion is for the "pomme fritz" or French fries to you and me. It's hard to imagine going to a nice restaurant in the USA and getting French Fries. They are pretty good though! ...and of course ketchup!
They were so good and the broth at the bottom was so good. Of course the bread in Brussels is heavenly. Wonderful dipped in the white wine broth used to steam them.
I'm so stuffed!!! The walk back to the hotel included the drug opera!
I'm sure there is a reason for the name but it escapes me!

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Visit to the Brazen Head in Dublin

First a little mood music:   What do you do with a drunken sailor

Dublin is a pretty cool city. Plenty to see and do other than the Guiness tour or the Jamison Whiskey tour.

Of course the Catholic school girl uniforms bring a chuckle. I bet the Dad's selected them for their daughters!
The city has been here for some time evidenced by some of its fine old buildings.
"We'll hold off the Danes!"
At last my destination, The Brazen Head public house. It has been a destination for at least 814 years. Established in 1198 AD as a place a traveler could rest, get a pint, eat, and even get a bed for the night. My goal was a pint and dinner.
It's not certain how much of the current structure dates to 1198 but I'm sure it's been remodeled a time or two. The toilet is now located indoors and even flushes!
After some serious debate an order of steamed muscles was used to start the fun. It was followed by a serving of the Guiness stew served in a Yorkshire pudding bowl and then topped in some mashed "Irish" potatoes.  (So sorry to my Idaho readers...not happening here.)
Don't forget the bread and butter. It's a great place to visit!
If you'd like to know more about it or are planning a visit to Dublin they have a great website:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Barcelona and a Duel to the Death


More pictures of Spain's tapas, a culinary battle for life and death.  The dance not like that of the bull ring being played out on the table.  The waitress releases the powerful foe.  It makes it's efforts to better me with a grace and power not to be lost by it's quiet efforts to remain intact.  I parry and thrust, lunging into the very center of it's being.  It rewards me with flavors and aromas so delightful I bow and then raise my glass to offer a toast.  I pick up the fork once again to attempt to vanquish the delightful squid.  It resists but I persist and eventually I'm able to conquer this beast. Now I await the next vengeful quarry in this table fought battle.

Calamari rings, seemingly complacent yet so willing to overwhelm me with palatable pleasure.

Spanish olives
The olives lost the battle.
On guard my foe, eyes wide open to fend against my onslaught.

So it be a duel you want? Then it is to the death!!!!!

Quick throw me the cross bow!!! He has me in a pinch! Wait, I can just eat him.....The End

Another saga of a well fought layover in Spain.

Monday, April 9, 2012

West African Fish in Accra

Ghana is a great place. The people are wonderful and the food is good too. I was recently asked after returning from there what I ate.  Some people get all wigged out about hygiene etc. but I've never had any issues from eating in Ghana. I've even indulged myself on street food/mystery meat on a stick.  Too bad I don't have any pictures to share...

To get into the right mood for this you first need to watch and listen to this one minute YouTube video, but don't forget to come back to my blog!

This African fish "volunteered" to be the subject of today's blog. This one wasn't caught in the north Atlantic and flash frozen on some huge fishing boat flotilla.  Nope, he was a native! Probably he had feasted on some of those malaria infested mosquitoes before being caught for my pleasure. I'm sure this guy was swimming in one of the local lakes a few hours before he was placed before me. Some guy in a small boat with a net scooped him up to carve out his existence in the village. I became part of the fisherman's economic system as I ended the chain of events leading to the non-existence of the little fish.

Just like these ladies carrying their commerce to the market. They probably don't worry about how their 401K is doing. They probably worry little about Iran getting nukes. Don't suppose they care if it is Santorum or Romney. I bet they care about their children and families. I bet they want a better life for them. I bet they have deep religious beliefs and care how they live their lives. I'm sure they would walk several more miles to help a friend. We are all the same in so many ways and yet some of us have so many more concerns. Something to think about.....

Now my biggest concern is eating this guy. The peppers, tomatoes, and onions are very typical western African. I've had basically the same dish in Senegal too. 

The sauce is Shitah. (Actually I have no idea how to spell it, I looked for it in Google and couldn't find it, had I not eaten it on several occasions I would assume it doesn't exist but perhaps only in some villages in Africa.)   A native concoction of oil, peppers, fish paste, and mysteries. I love it and have never seen it anywhere other than Ghana. Doesn't mean villages elsewhere aren't eating it. It wasn't even on the menu I just asked for it, the waiter looked a little surprised. I was going to bring some home one time and asked if the grocery store carried it. It gave them a big laugh and an answer of "I'll get my Grandmother to make you some."

It is so good!
Very good!
I'm all fat and sassy now. Ive taken in some of Africa internally and now I'm less concerned about life's issues. I'll sleep well all content.