Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bad Bloggers Lament

So as it turns out, we're not very good at blogging. Good bloggers don't go radio silent for five months. In our defense, its been one hell of a five months, full of globe-trotting, new jobs, and (another) transcontinental move. But in the interest of a new year and new goals, we're going to start anew. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. 

While reflecting on 2013, my first reaction is whoa. It was by far one of the most intense, challenging, wonderful years of our lives. Knowing that these work-abroad opportunities only come around every so often, we did everything we could to make the most of the experience. By traveling smart / budgeting, we were able to enjoy more than our fair share of beautiful culinary adventures. Chocolate, gaufres (waffles), and frites in Brussels, Limoncello on the Amalfi Coast, bread, cheese, and wine in Paris, vegetarian tapas in Barcelona, olives and rosé in Provence, pizza and prosecco in Venice, Irish whiskey in Dublin... we really are some of the luckiest foodies in the world.

Here are a few snapshots of some of my favorite foodie memories of 2013. Here's hoping 2014 is even more delicious!

Happy table in St. Remy 
Picnic in Provence

Chevre in the south of France 

Gelato in Venice 
Parisian Picnic

La Boqueria, Barcelona

Magic at Teresa Charles, Barcelona
Queen of Tarts, Dublin

A nice cold beer at Spillanes, Fahamore, Ireland

Monday, August 5, 2013

Off-Registry Wedding Gifts

Close friends, amateur body sculptors, and DC power couple Martine and Ethan wrapped Paris up in bow last week, hosting us in the City of Lights as an early best wedding gift.  

It’s hard to thank them in words, so I’ll defer to an array of close-ups, drunk shots, compromising poses and food porn to do the job.  To Martine and Ethan - Viva Les Schroumpfts!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sos Family Visit in Pictures and Words...

True to form with families, this post is a little late, a little awkward, and not nearly reflective of how much my family means to me.  Nonetheless, they are legally bound to me.  Love you guys...

Desserts… E+Jim… Vin… Sis+me…
 Brunch… Jim+me… Erin loves sheep… Family…
 Hand & Foot… Magritte… Chocolate…
Mom+E…Dessert x1…. Dessert x2
Miss you, Xoxo

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July, Brussels Style

There were no BBQs, no fireworks, no death-defying sparklers. But there was Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, veggie chilli, and a few brews on the balcony. We even had a chat about Egypt's revolution; it is Independence Day, after all. 

Happy 4th of July, to our fellow Yanks.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Running Log: Saturday in the Astounding Beauty of Venice

It’s an ironic, but unsurprising phenomenon of the human experience that it’s so difficult to have a good time when we’re trying to.  Joy is hard to schedule, and often comes at the least likely of times and places.  Beauty hides in plain sight.  And awe dissolves through our fingers the very moment we try to examine it.  Never is a good time more elusive than on a well-planned vacation.

These realities all function as a testament to the effortless beauty contained in Venice.  Rarely have I floated through a city with such ease and obvious puppy love. 

My running log of one Saturday in Venice:
11:00AM – Early start to the day, after breakfast and a quick conversation with E about the meaning of everything.
11:20AM – First gelato of the day for Lady E, 5th of the trip (trip has been 36 hours at this point).

12:00PM – Arrive at Piazza San Marco, probably the city’s best known landmark, and a place of such breath-taking grandiosity that I jot down:  “Piazza S. Marco – could cry.”
...Facing the impossibility of capturing the scale in words, 19th Century writer Ruskin starts by describing the spires on the Basilica San Marco: "The crests of the arches break into a marble foam and toss themselves into the blue sky in flashes and wreaths of sculpted spray." iron sculpture depicting a lion, man + woman, and pile of clothing.  And not far, live pigeons perch on a lamppost blurring reality as they appear motionless and part of the structure.

2:15PM – wandering through random alleys we stumble upon a nondescript art exhibit, seemingly modest, but containing 3 floors of works, including a floor devoted to Baryshnikov’s dancers. 

The artist abandoned his attempts to capture dancers, before his described epiphany:

“For two decades I used a conventional 35mm camera and practiced traditional landscapes, portraits and travel shots in primarily black and white. I made a point of rejecting obvious opportunities to photograph dance, thinking the results were boring and unnecessary. Then…I discovered that abandoning the crystalline image in favor of blurred edges and amorphous figures approximates the excitement of dance in performances.

…So it was possible.”

3:30PM – Continuing the art theme, we bought this postcard of a cat dressed as a gondolier. 
4:00PM - Highlight of the trip and literally the only thing in 4 months that’s inspired me to give money to street performers: 3 kids performed a mock sword fight, flawlessly portraying actual medieval swordplay. 

Suspension of disbelief suffered significantly when the third performer wandered onto the battlefield with an ice cream cone...
7:45PM - We end Saturday the way we did the Friday before it, and the Sunday after that: on the docks of San Marco with Prosecco and Pizza. 
...A violinist’s version of 'Wild Horses' wafted like smoke over the piers.  People comfortably filled in the dock around us and a nearby restaurant plaza.  And full moons bathed is white light.  
A dog took to meeting his friend by jumping across the narrow waterway separating the dock and mainland.  He came up like 3 ft. short and took a swan dive into the water.  I chided him taking a page from Will Ferrell

11:30PM - The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Midnight in Paris

Pics of Paris, food, our friends - the recently engaged Ben and Patrice - and the effects of wine and Beauty on humans:

Benny and Patty...
Rodin, the Eiffel T and pink...

 Picnics make everyone smile and dance and sing....

Food = Love
Parting shots...

 ...And a special bonus: Ben looking more like Louis C.K. than Louis C.K....

Xoxo, Paris & B+P


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Carrot Ginger Soup

A few weeks ago, there was a wicked stomach bug going around Brussels, a knock-you-flat-on-your-back-and-make-you-cry-for-your-mama kinda bug. When it came roaring my way, eating, working, reading, or doing anything remotely productive was totally out of the question. All I could really do was lay around and moan.

Once it had run its course, my appetite came back with a vengeance, and I craved something healthy, delicious, and familiar. Enter my Mom's carrot ginger soup. She shared this recipe with me years ago when I first started to get into cooking because it was fool proof. And it is!  Though it is incredibly easy, the flavor has terrific depth.

Try it for yourself! Its great with a salad, brie and pear grilled cheese, or asparagus, as pictured.

Mom's Carrot Ginger Soup

 1.5 lbs of carrots (peeled and chopped)
1.5 lbs of parsnips (peeled and quartered)
3 in piece of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)
5 tbs of unsalted butter
3 tbs of dark brown sugar
8 c. chicken-free broth
salt to taste
pinch of cayenne
Greek yogurt and chives for garnish

Preheat oven* to 350. Combine veggies in roasting pan, dot with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Add two cups of broth and put it in the oven for 2 hours. Combine mixture in a soup pot and add remaining 6 cups of broth. Add salt and cayenne and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Puree in the blender and serve.

*Since we don't have an oven in Brussels, I roast everything on the stove and it works beautifully.