Out & About: Buenos Aires

I’m a lucky girl; I have a pretty cool day job. When they’re not making me work for my money, I get the opportunity to accrue travel miles. Imagine my delight when I found out I was Argentina-bound. As The Hubbz’ new t-shirt says ‘Buenos F*ckn Aires’. Yeah, baby!

I have often dreamt of visiting this city and getting lost in its architectural beauty. The dream didn’t include spending hours upon hours locked up in a basement attending a conference, but hey. I’m a clever girl, I found ways to sneak away and play a little.

As I share some of the pictures with you, let me tell you my impressions of Buenos Aires. The layout and architecture reminded me of 2 of my favorite European cities: Madrid and Paris. It especially reminded me of Paris, buildings so ornate and fancy looking. Incredibly wide thoroughfares dissected by tiny-cobbled streets. Plazas at every turn. Locals casually, yet elegantly clad.

I think I’ve mentioned my love of Paris, well Buenos Aires felt to me much the same, but better because I was surrounded by fellow Spanish speakers. There is just something that makes my heart sing when I’m surrounded¬† by Latinos. The guys were GORGEOUS, there are some seriously good genes running through those veins. I hadn’t even made it out of the airport before I was texting my single friends to book their next vacation to Bs. As. Seriously. It didn’t matter what age they were, young teens to old men in their 70s, they looked GOOD! Then they start talking and swoon over their accent. Sigh.

I have often heard that Argentines are stuck up, as a matter of fact, they’re referred to as the French of South America. I’m here to tell you that I didn’t have an unpleasant exchange with a single person in Paris or in Buenos Aires. There was a dismissive waiter at the first cafe I stopped at for lunch, but even¬†the local sitting next to me found him to be a pill. It really was no biggie, though. OK, I tend to limit my advice tidbits to the kitchen, but let me share this little travel nugget: when you go to another country, think of it as¬†going to someone else’s home.¬†

My new bestie!

If you invited yourself to someone’s home, you would go out of your way to be gracious, unimposing and to appreciate their customs and traditions, even if they didn’t resonate with yours. You would respect their space and find enjoyment in their¬†way of living. It’s the same with travel, once you let go of the mentality of the way things are supposed to be, which is probably based on American standards,¬†and open up to the way things are in this new, undiscovered place, I promise you the locals will welcome you with open arms and hearts and your visit will be unforgettable. Trust me on that.

Anyway, no more talking or typing, for more shots, follow this link. It will take you directly to the photostream. It seemed every time I spoke to an Argentinean and thanked them for their help, they had this little reply which I need to commit to memory:
Me: Muchas gracias (thanks so much)
Them: No, por favor! (no, please!)
As if to say ‘it was MY pleasure to help you’, ‘really, don’t mention it’. I will take that with me and make it a part of my repertoire.

Still crying for more Argentina,

Eating out: Portland, Oregon

About a month ago, I had the pleasure of heading out to Portland for about a week. Unfortunately, it was on business, but believe me when I say, I made it my business to get some fun in. I managed to see bit of the outlying beauty of this city, but mostly, I managed to get a LOT of awesome food in. Lots. Loads. Really, a lot! Oh and some awesome beer and wines and coffee, and…, well, you get the picture.

I’ve told you about my FoodTV obsession, so it should be no surprise that I’m an avid fan of Unique Eats and Guy’s DD&Ds. Why do I mention those shows, you ask? Because, Portland is ALWAYS all up in there! Man! That’s a really ‘good food’ food-town. Let me share some highlights, if you don’t mind.

By pure accident, we bumped into VooDoo Doughnuts.

We were trying to drive out to the coast and the NaggiGator kept getting confused and making us drive around in circles when all we were looking for was a drive-thru. But, maybe the navigation system knew better and tried to make sure we didn’t miss out on this little gem.

If you like doughnuts, probably even if you don’t, you’ll find something here to tickle your fancy. I did, and I’m not a huge fan of doughnuts, if they’re not piping hot off the fryer and simply plain-glazed, I’m not interested.

Enter… The Maple Bacon Doughnut. O.M.G!!!

This thing was good, like crazy good! So good, we went back right before leaving to bring some home for our loved ones. We’re nice that way.

Another memorable  moment happened at Public Domain, a nearby coffee shop. I had a cup of a Panamanian brew, but it was the way it was prepared that had me entranced.

They call it a Pour Over and the barista takes about 10 minutes to hand pour the water over the grounds.

He mentioned that they pour at different speeds and on different spots to vary the flavor of the final cup. It was mesmerizing.

From there, a proper breakfast at the Byways Cafe in the Pearl District. I had the most awesome Corned Beef Hash, next time I’ll skip the bell peppers, though.

The other thing I loved about Portland, was the street food scene. Oh my! The little carts were EVERYWHERE!

I stopped by the Frying Scotsman and had some fish & chips. Cute chef, great accent, awesome halibut and fries!

The other FoodNetwork find was Pine State Biscuits. These guys are rocking the biscuit! Anything you can dream of, they put on a biscuit and do so with gusto!

I had the most popular one, The Reggie.

Yep, that’s fried chicken breast. No, that’s GOOD fried chicken breast. Topped with bacon, gravy and insane amounts of cheddar. I want one NOW.

Did mention Portland is a beer town? My! I had some awesome beer at too many places to mention.

But…, I found the home of Rogue Ales… I scored megapoints¬†with The Hubbz on that one.

I ate and drank and walked and had fun and repeated. Oh. I also got some work done (wink, wink). To see more of the food porn, just click here. Go on, you know you wanna.

Cookingly yours,

Panama. The shots.

I’ve been slow with this, VERY slow with this. But I’ve done it! I’ve selected my favorite shots: 85 of about 800, how crazy is that?

There’s a little of everything, except for food, I still need to work on those. There are straightforward shots of the sights, a few shots of things that caught my eye and some captures of typical Panama things.

I hope these give you a taste of my beautiful little country. Who knows? Maybe it’ll interest you enough to make it your next destination, you won’t regret it.

Here are just a few samples, click on any of the pictures or follow the link to my Flickr stream and watch the slideshow.





Vacation over. Sad.

I’m back. I really had a tough time willing my legs to move towards that airplane yesterday afternoon. Why can’t I be on a permanent vacation? Maybe if I played the lotto and won one of the mega bucks prizes I could.

It’s always wonderful going home. I was telling The Hubbz¬†that I’m always aware that I miss home, but the moment I see the landscape from the plane, I realize how very much I miss it. All of it. But now I’m back and I will share some of it with you. Try to, anyway; it never seems to translate quite as well.

Originally, my plan was to share some of the food with you as we ate around town. At the last minute¬†I decided to leave the laptop behind and just plug in¬†at local internet cafes. What was I thinking? The few times I thought about it while I was out, I was too busy taking in the sights and foods. Then when I was out of the city and made it to one, they didn’t have USB connections on the computers. So…, it was a no go.

Over the next few days, I will share my trip with you. Foods. Sights. Culture. Life. I have over 800 pictures to sort through, please bear with me, but I do hope you’ll enjoy the show. Once it begins.

Begrudginly back,

Eating Out: Panama, one bite at a time

Panama. I know you’ve heard about it. I know this, because there is a mention of this little country in every other action movie ever shot or still¬†in production. I think its funny that such a small place gets so much play. As often as it is referred to, though, people know very little about it.


Puente¬†del mundo, Corazon¬†del universo–translates to¬†bridge to the world, heart of the universe; that’s my homeland’s slogan. Panama is best described as melting pot in which just about every culture is represented. It¬†only makes sense that the food is as varied as its people.

I was lucky enough to have my epicurean beginnings there and now I will be taking my darling husband to what he jokingly refers to as the ‚Äėbirth place of civilization‚Äô. The joke will be on him once he realizes how true that statement really is. HA!

We will be in my beautiful country for about 10 days, enjoying 2 vibrant foodie areas: Panama City and Bocas del Toro. In Bocas we will be surrounded by beautiful beaches while we enjoy food with a very distinct Caribbean flair. In Panama City, we will eat all my childhood favorites (or so I hope) and delight in dishes from around the world.

We will cover the full culinary spectrum: high brow to everyday staples. Fancy schmanzy¬†to dives and roadside vendors.¬† Mamas serving food at fondas to a 6-course meal by a Spanish chef.¬†We will visit my mom‚Äôs bakery, which has been around for over 25 years and is still going strong. We will get a ‚Äėraspao‚Äô (shaved ice) while walking around town and my mandatory No Me Olvides¬†sundae¬†at La Inmaculada. This is going to be a foodie‚Äôs wet dream and you‚Äôll get to¬†live vicariously through every bite we take.

Stay tuned for the food, sights, sounds and smells of Panama.

Impatiently yours,

What I saw in the French Quarter

I was so happy when I found out our conference would be held in New Orleans this year, even happier when I heard we would get to go.¬†I’d been to Nola twice before: once in my previous¬†life, about 15 years ago and last year for our honeymoon. As much as I missed the hubbz, I still enjoyed this visit immensely.

Sure I had to devote time to evil work duties, but I’m a fun-loving kinda girl and I know how to make time for it. I squeezed some fun and wonderment into this trip like nobody’s business. Then there was all the amazing food, which is no surprise to anyone who’s ever heard about this town. I tried to give you a play-by-play of my eating ventures, but I just didn’t have enough time to do both. I will revisit a few of the meals and share them with you soon.

As luck would have it, last week was the French Quarter Festival. The official start was Friday, but the quarter was buzzing with preparations all week. Check out a few of the shots I managed last week; you can go to the Flickr photostream¬†for the extended version. I’ll get back to cooking soon enough, right now I’m still in a New Orleans state of mind.

Lanterns, lanterns everywhere! They’re famous for them and you know how much¬† I love a lantern or a hundred!

This is the Pontalba,¬†probably the French Quarter’s most photographed building, it sits adjacent to St. Peter’s Cathedral.

I sat across the square to have some fried oysters and found out some history. Turns out this is could be my building. You see, the ironwork has initials. My initials. AP. I have a building in the Quarter!

The other thing I love about this area are the balconies and courtyards. Next time we get a house that’s what I want.

As the festival got under way, I saw interesting people, listened to some Blues and met a really cool lady.¬†Suzy and her husband have given up the corporate life in favor of one that allows them to earn a living from their creativity. They work in leather: she making bags and belts, he making lamps. I didn’t see his work, but her bags are beautiful. Let me know if you would like her contact information to purchase one or find out when she’ll be at a festival near you.

I’m still having French Quarter withdrawals, thank goodness I’ll be in Panama soon! Where are you going?

French Quarterly yours,