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Category Archive for 'travel'

According to British and Irish tradition, black pudding has an esteemed place next to the bacon rashers, sausage links, fried eggs, mushrooms, fried tomato and fried slice in an old-fashioned greasy spoon breakfast, but its almost complete absence from the American breakfast table is confusing, especially given our known preference towards an injection of cholesterol […]

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Almost seven years ago I journeyed from Santillana del Mar to Santa Maria de Lebaña via San Vicente de la Barquera. So many saints, so much devotion, that it was little surprise to learn that beyond the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana and through the Picos de Europe lies the hallowed ground of Covadonga. […]

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“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – Hamlet Emerging from the cool interior, the scent of carved stone and beeswax mingles briefly before being overwhelmed by the perfume of orange trees, and the holy silence is punctured by the mossy gurgle of a tiny fountain. […]

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During his show on Panama, Anthony Bourdain observed that Chinese food somehow gets shinier the further west one goes. He might also have mentioned that it changes in other ways throughout the western hemisphere too, on the whole, becoming less and less Chinese-like. In a similar way to Panama, to which Chinese laborers flocked to […]

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Those of you who raised your eyebrows at the very idea of lentils mixed with chocolate might be forgiven for thinking that we have lost our tiny minds, that too long around infant children, cooing and a-goo-goo-gooing, has softened our already mushy brains beyond repair. Indeed, had we not gone out on a limb ourselves […]

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Towards the end of what is, in my opinion, his finest work, Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell tells of the bitter street fighting he witnessed in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War when the delicate alliance between communist, socialist, and anarchist factions of the Republican army finally collapsed. While certainly not the bloodiest scene in […]

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Every now and then I’ll sit through one of those “secrets of the ancient world” shows on the History Channel. You know, the ones in which they have modern experts try to “decode” how the pyramids or the hanging gardens of Babylon were constructed using graphics that make you feel like you’re watching B-roll from […]

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In the very infancy of this blog, back when we had no appreciation for plating, lighting or anything else remotely aesthetic, my wife wrote about the first course of a truly memorable dinner we shared in the famous Florentine trattoria, Coco Lezzone. What she didn’t mention was that even though we were getting towards the end […]

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He’s certainly not the first to make such a remark, but when in a recent episode of his PBS show Mexico: One Plate at a Time, chef Rick Bayless commented that Mexican food may be the first “fusion cuisine” in the Americas, the concept resonated with me. The collision of cultures and culinary traditions that […]

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The destiny of nations depends upon the manner in which they are fed.” – Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin The basic premise of William Alexander’s recent book, 52 Loaves, like his first title The $64 Tomato, is that the author becomes so obsessed with a particular project, in this case creating (and growing wheat for) the perfect loaf […]

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Being the innate pessimist that I am, watching a small boat being knocked around like a dodgem car on the rollicking, blue-grey seas at the normally placid Jersey Shore this past weekend put me in mind of the Costa de Muerte, the coast of death, on Spain’s north-west coast, where Galician fisherman have taken their […]

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A lot has been made of the glory and diversity of America’s road-foods by such hit US TV shows as Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, which, if you haven’t seen it, features a bleach-blond moron traveling the highways and byways of this great nation gorging himself on deep-fried hamburgers, the world’s spiciest chicken wings, and platters of […]

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Do you ever wish you had a secret power? I don’t mean like some stupid superhero who can fly, make it rain, or look great in a unitard. I mean like a gerbil’s ability to store tasty bits in its cheeks for later, or a tiger’s ability to eat 30lbs of wild boar at a […]

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It is no coincidence that, in the 30 years since Franco’s death, Spanish creativity in the arts, architecture, business, and gastronomy has blossomed. It is also no coincidence that it has been, predominantly, though not exclusively, Spain’s sub-national and regional groups — who were repressed most viciously by the Fascist dictator — that have led […]

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It might be generational, or, perhaps, philosophical, but there are, on the one hand, those who enjoy and appreciate handmade things, and the art and craft they require to make, and, on the other, those who prefer their things machine-made, reliable, and standard. The ‘things’ here could be quite literally anything. My father, who, to […]

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Made during the horrid, self-reflective, and, frequently, gassy hours aboard a trans-Atlantic flight this past weekend, our New Year’s resolutions swore us to no less than three weeks of Spartan, monkish grazing on whole grains, green vegetables and lean protein in order to trim ourselves of burgeoning, lumpy mid-sections brought on by the combined Holiday […]

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La Cupertina, at the corner of Cabrera and Godoy Cruz in the charming Buenos Aires neighborhood of Palermo Viejo, is reputed to have the best traditional Tucuman empanadas in the city. And, certainly, they are rather good. So tasty, in fact, that we bought a dozen for carry-out the day we left Argentina and nursed […]

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New Yorkers may remember back in January, 2009 (and in ’05, ’06, ’07 and ’08), there was this mystery plaguing our city. The watercoolers in Midtown offices were buzzing with workers asking the question, “Why the hell does our city smell like maple syrup?” Even our ridiculously rich mayor couldn’t figure out what was going […]

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New Jersey, it’s like a cross-section of the entire United States stuffed into a very small area — fenced-in by heavy industry, ugly sub-divisions, peaceful tidal bays and relaxing shore towns — but with its own very distinct character. And, if you drive around it long enough, you’re bound to see some pretty interesting stuff. This goes […]

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At Via Clavature 18, hidden in the back streets of Bologna, is the comparatively charmless little Ristorante da Gianni. It’s dimly lit, almost to the point of stumbling darkness — especially if you enter, as we did, from the sharp rays of a late midsummers’ afternoon nursing a fierce hangover brought on by a handful of Negronis the night […]

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“Two households, both alike in dignity In fair Verona, where we lay our scene” – William Shakespeare, Prologue to Romeo and Juliet On our honeymoon, almost exactly two years ago today, we arrived in the fair city of Verona thoroughly pissed off. And then things got worse. It wasn’t as if the day had started […]

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Virtually everywhere they make sausages, and in a lot of places they don’t, some form of sausage in bread combination is sold by street vendors, often to the inebriated, and, in many cases, the consumer is best advised to be under the influence before taking their life in their hands with one of these mystery bag […]

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As Odysseus was nearly drawn to his destruction on the rocks by the enchanting song of the sirens, so your hardy WANF voyagers were almost powerless to resist breaking themselves on the plentiful tables of Uruguay. However, unlike Homer’s hero, for whom women were the main weakness throughout his epic peregrinations, during our recent travels […]

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No, friends, let me reassure you that you have not accidentally stumbled upon some weird, faux-rustic “pron” site. For good or bad, the only p0rn you’ll find here is daring, ultra-close-up pics of the juicy, young flesh of pasture-fed Argentine cattle. And the only things being roasted (or stripping for that matter) are long strips […]

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Picture this, if you will: A warm, humid day in Argentina’s early autumn; the last rays of sun slanting sharply through the browning leaves of mature plane trees; myriad dog-walkers rustling quietly by in the litter of those already fallen. In the lee of a giant ficus planted for sidewalk shade, two travelers recline in […]

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It’s fairly safe to say that no group, with the exception of the enigmatic gaucho, played as significant a role in defining Argentine national character as the Italians. Primarily (and principally, numerically-speaking) from Liguria (particularly Genoa), Piemonte and Tuscany, but latterly also from Naples and other areas of southern Italy, these Italian immigrants, literally by […]

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We’re baaaack.  We had an excellent trip to South America and fell in love with Buenos Aires and the Porteños, as well Uruguay and its people. In the coming months, we will feature many posts about our trip including restaurant reviews, special meals we had, Argentinian and Uruguyan culture (including food culture), street food and, of […]

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Those readers who’ve been following us for a while know (and, we hope, appreciate) that we frequently put our bodies and constitutions on the line for your benefit. Indeed, some of you may remember, that during our stay in Madrid last year, one of us, quite literally, pushed himself to breaking point in this endeavor. It was […]

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Looking for a ray of sunshine in your diet?

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It’s nearly a year now since we were in Madrid, and while during that time we’ve managed to shed some of the excess poundage we gained there, we’ve lost none of our longing to be back there. And, it’s a strange thing about longing that all your memories become more vivid, and you remember even […]

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