Saturday, July 21, 2012


India is an interesting place to visit with many micro cultures and varied landscapes. This was an exceptionally clear day for my 24 hour visit. A speaker flight attendant recommended an Indian dish I'd never tried. It was very different but wonderful. It was called bhuna ghosh. She called it BBQ goat, I called it so good. Kind of like pulled pork but the "Q" was different, not sweet, not hot, just good. We shared this as a crew when we arrived at midnight on her prompting. We debriefed the flight over a couple of local beers.

For lunch the next day I met the other two pilots and we took a cab downtown and went to a restaurant called Shakara.
Great food and a fun adventure before crashing several hours before the midnight flight back to Amsterdam.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Zurich Switzerland

Another one of Europe's pearls is Zurich as well all of Switzerland.
Sitting on a lake at the base of the foothills it just takes your breath away.
Today I'm not going to tell you about the wonderful cheese fondu, or the home style potato raclette swimming in oil onions and cheese. These are great typical very Switzerland fare.

So we got down by the water around 3 and realized we were starving. A local brat vendor seemed like a good idea and it tasted wonderful but one bratwurst and a can of beer later I'd spent about 13 US dollars equivalent. But I was in Zurich which made it better. I'm sure a two dollar brat bought outside Lowes wouldn't be as good.

The prices got worse later on. Take a look at this menu. I did see the burger and it looked great. Yes of course salad and fries are included!

A Swiss Franc is worth about a buck and a nickel so 22 is really like 23. Across the street was Burger King where unless you are a king you can't afford to eat.
Don't let it scare you away from a visit to this beautiful country in the Alps. Leave Zurich and it will get less expensive too.   In a bit of fairness most of Europe is way more expensive than the US but this is a bit extreme. Would I go back???  In a heart beat!!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pane E Vino

I'm sitting alone having lunch in the most fabulous piazza in Pisa Italy. I chose this restaurant based on the wonderful experience the night before with the crew. This place is to die for and it also serves the most wonderful small batch local beers and wines. I must thank Rozlyn, a Delta flight attendant for introducing the crew to this great place.

I'm eating an eggplant rolled in prochuto ham with a mozzerela and sun dried tomato infusion. This is a dish I'm going to try to replicate in my kitchen. Of course the atmosphere will be lacking!  

 Interestingly enough the couple who run the place don't cook the food. They have several local cooks who prepare the food in their own kitchens and the cafe retails it. So the menu is on a chalk board and dictated by the day. 

Italy isn't known for its beer but this Pisa local beer is fantastic. The wine we drank the night before was incredible. I just can't say enough to describe this place. Last night we ate a ravioli stuffed with a meat or cheese and kale??? And bathed in a creamy pine nut sausage sauce.....well just it was just out of this world!!! The old world, well the "old world" and prepared by a little old "Mama" in her modest kitchen!!!

 We also ate the prosciutto melon and the caprisse salad.  So fresh and good.

If you ever visit Pisa you absolutely must make a visit to the Pane E Vino. You won't be disappointed. 

It was so good we ended up eating here again!   Ciao

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Makin Gumbo With The Boys

Few things are more Cajun than Gumbo. No trip down to New Orleans would be complete without a bowl of the hearty stew. There are probably more variations on how to make it than alligators in the swamps. We chose a seafood and sausage version.
Ok well snow crab legs probably isn't the norm but all is fair game. Too bad we didn't have some gator or some frog legs.

Let me introduce you to my cohorts in the evening's fun. We met over at Jon Littman's house. Quite a guy, took one for the team in Nam and got a purple heart. He keeps the scar covered with his pants. I'm certain it was a pain in the butt at the time. In his early days he rode a killer whale in a water park, now he rides a Harley.
The other guest celebrity chef for The Pilot's Palate is John Oliver. Jon is a horticultural degree packing all around great guy. Works for the cities water works. After all nothing will grow in Denton Texas unless you dump alot of water on it. So this really is his "field." in all seriousness he has a couple of great gardens. He is also my chief consultant for my vineyard...
Although not a requirement technically speaking to make a good authentic gumbo you have to at least keep a glass of wine half full!

You can substitute beer at this point too!
Oops, I need a top off!

Anyway we gathered at Jon's kitchen about 6pm. We glanced at a recipe and he showed the ingredients. Then it was time to get chopping and peeling.
First off we de-capitated and peeled the shrimp. You save the heads and peelings. We did the same thing to the body part of the crab.
We gathered up all the heads and stuff and put it in a pot to boil. Taking the good stuff to the refrigerator for temporary storage to be added at the end of the cooking.

We then hit the sausages. We used 3 different kinds slicing them into bite size circles. Get creative with the sausages looking for some Cajun kind.
We then browned them in a skillet.
While they browned we cut up okra. We used a pint container but I think proportionately we could have doubled it.
After taking the browned sausages out we browned the okra.
Next the onions celery, and garlic were sauted. Mean while we took a jar of prepared rue and meltd some down thinning it with our stock. It was a rue pre maid rue specifically made for gumbo. It had a beautiful dark brown color and full flavor of the slow scorched flour.
The shells were taken out of the stock and the marriage was about to occur. The union of this glorious food.
Several fresh bay leaves were put into the gumbo and then we let it simmer for an hour. Mean while we kicked back building a ferocious appetite while telling stories of our golden youth. Well at least tin can youth!

At last it was time to add the craw dads, shrimp, and crab! After another 10 or 15 minutes. It was at last ready to be put over a bed of rice.
Keep the pot stirred until the chickens come home to roost!