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,