So I’ve been walking around Santiago for the past few hours and my feet were really starting to kill me. And, annyway, it was time for lunch so I stopped at the first interesting place I came across, a little alfresco cafe called La Boa Toria.
La Boa Toria sits in a small square on Emserelda street in a quiet section of central Santiago. There’s a miniature fountain in the square and a nice gusty breeze and it’s just extemely pleasant. It’s probably about 75 degrees under a perfect blu sky. There are five tables outside and a few more inside. Very small place. My cute waitress has a stud beneath her lip and another in her eyebrow. The cafe has sort of a scientific theme. The olive oil is in a beaker and there’s a test tube rack of spices on the table. The food is pizza and crepes. Not particularly memorable, but not terrible either.
A couple interesting things have happened (or are happening) since I sat down here about an hour ago. One was that a big gust of wind came up and blew the coke bottle vase off my table and it shattered on the group which scared the hell out of me. The gusty wind has knocked over the test tubes and their sign and all sorts of other stuff.
The other thing is that about 20 minutes ago some guys started unloading what looked like commercial camera gear from a truck out front. No cameras, but lot of tripods and light shades, sandbags, dollies and scaffolding. There’s a model being made up at one of the tables. Then the camera came in a small car and it’s now set up on a tripod and pointed right at me. How long before they ask me politely to move I wonder.
Like I said, my feet are killing me after several hours of wandering around Santiago and I really don’t feel like moving. Now I’m so curious to see what this is all about that ill probably stick around at least until they start shooting.
Just for the record my spanish is just fucking awful. Not that this should be any surprise since I never studied spanish. But like most people from California, I have a sizeable spanish vocabulary. I just know nothing of grammar and syntax. Consequently, I feel like a blithering moron when I try to ask for the simplest things, like the bathroom. Will. Some please tell me why I spent all those years studying Latin. Oh right, it’s because I’m a complete idiot.
The Corn Refiners Association must be shaking in their collective boots that the dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup are finally getting some attention. They put together some laughable propaganda videos to convince the hoi polloi that their product is safe and “natural”, when it is anything but.
Their propaganda sites are here and here.
“Made from corn, has the same calories as sugar and is fine in moderation.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement from the people who make it. I was stunned when I first saw these ads on TV. The truth, of course, is a little different. I avoid this stuff like the plague.
The Corn growers like to claim that “it’s natural”, but looking at the production process, you can see that it’s anything but. There’s a hilarious scene in King Corn where the film makers try to make HFCS in their kitchen after not being allowed to film the process at the manufacturing plant. It’s simply disgusting how it’s made.
Americans are already fat enough because of over-comsumption, but HFCS isn’t helping at all. Since it’s ubiquitous, it’s very difficult to avoid. It’s not only in soft drinks and other beverages, it’s in ketchup, used in bread to assist in browning, used a preservative in hundreds if not thousands of other products. It’s dangers. It should be avoided at all costs.
The interesting fact about fructose is that it is metabolized in a totally different way than other carbohydrates. It does not stimulate or require insulin for transportation to the cells. Since there is no need for insulin release, there is also no secretion of leptin. Therefore the feeling of satiety is altered—you continue to eat and possible overeat.
–Becky Hand, Diet Danger: High Fructose Corn Syrup
There are plenty of places online to read about the dangers of diet with high amounts of HFCS. And if you want to learn more about the dangers of corn in general in our diet (corn grown to feed cows, chicken, fish, etc.) check the documentary King Corn. Here are some more articles:
- The Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup
- The Double Danger of High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Diet Danger: High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Stop HFCS
- Corn is Making Us Fat
- The Google
There’s a great spoof video (from where I draw the title of this post) on YouTube.
Making a mango smoothie is incredibly, provided you have a blender, some ice and right ingredients. Here’s how you do it (roughly)
Start with Mango nectar. You should be able to get it at your local supermarket. If not, sucks to be you. Looza makes a nice one, but it doesn’t really matter. Splash about 12 ounces of nectar. Then add about a quarter cup of milk for creaminess. Add enough ice to the blender so it sticks up above the the level of the liquid and blend it all together. If it’s too thick and won’t blend, add more nectar until it will. If it’s too thin, add more ice. Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. That’s it.
If you want to kick it up a notch hit it with some fresh mango, or (almost even better), if you live near a Trader Joe’s, pick up a bottle of Mango Quarters in Mango Juice. Add in a few quarters and a bit of the juice and you’ll end up with something truly amazing.
in 2004, I worked at Vail Lionshead Sharpshooters for about 4 months. Since then, Lionshead has gotten a massive facelift. It really needed to updated. The village was built in the 60s and looked it. I was just worried that my favorite restaurants in Vail, DJ’s and Les Delices de France (aka The French Deli) wouldn’t survive the facelift. DJ’s sadly seems to be MIA, but the French Deli is alive and kicking.
It was good to see Daniel Bouvier, the curmudgeonly yet pleasantly gregarious proprietor, working behind the counter. He used to give all Sharpshooters a generous discount, so I was a regular. I told him how glad I was see that the Deli was still around and that I had been fantasizing about his pate sandwiches.
He said that business couldn’t be better. The construction at Lionshead was way behind schedule and he’s been feeding all the workers. He hoped that it would take another two years the finish the work. I wished him good luck, then devoured my scrumptious pate sandwich.
I first ate satay at this street side vendor when I was in Bali in 2002. I stayed for 3 weeks just down the street in the Tebesaya section of Ubud and would pass this guy every afternoon, always stopping to pick up some satay and rice. It’s the most delicious thing in the world. When I heard I was coming back to Bali, I started salivating at the prospect of returning to visit the orang satay (satay man).
He has an amazing set up. Everything he need is within arm’s reach. He sits cross legged on the sidewalk with a massive tub of marinating satay skewers on his left. Directly in front of him, the grill. There is a small bag of charcoal to replenish the brazier. On his right, a bag filled with rice cooked in bamboo baskets and a bag of chili salt. There’s a small rubbish bin and a box of small waters. Somewhere he was a wallet to make change. That’s it. It’s as basic as street, or any food for that matter, gets.
A wicker plate covered in paper with 8 sticks of satay (pork) and a mound of sticky rice will set you back less than 40 cents. Hard to beat. More pictures are posted on Flickr.
Instead of the same old, same old, give this whipped sweet potato/yam dish a try to spice your holiday dinner table. It’s easy. It’s delicious. And, well, it’s orange.
- 2 medium sized sweet potatoes or yams or one of each (best bet), peeled and cubed, boil for 10 minutes or until fork tender
- 1 shallot, diced, fry in extra virgin olive over medium heat until crispy
- Put sweet potatoes/yams and shallots into food processor (or mash if you are not lucky enough to have one)
- season with salt and pepper to taste
- Add 2 teaspoons of butter (or more if you like your potatoes creamier)
- After you turn the food processor on, pour chicken stock in slowly from the top until you get the consistency you like. (If you don’t have a processor, alternate between adding chicken stock and mashing until you get the right consistency.
that’s it. it’s pretty basic, but very delicious.
In case you don’t remember, because I can never seem to, yams are the ones with the orange flesh and the purplish skins. There are two general types, the California and the Beauregard. Sweet potatoes have white flesh and beige skin, very much like a standard potato, but different in shape and taste.
I don’t know what it is about bagels in California (oh, wait, it’s that they are all made by Koreans), but they just suck. Nothing. Nothing will put into sharper focus the difference between our locally Korean made bagels and actual bagels than a trip to a New York bagelry. Doesn’t matter which one. Pick any of them. Upper West Side. East Village. Doesn’t matter. I don’t know if it’s the water, the recipe, the dough, or what, but something about New York bagels is just damn right and for a jew whose tenuous connection to his culture consists merely of regular consumption of round pieces of half-boiled, half-baked dough sliced in half, toasted, topped with cream cheese and some kind of smoked fish, maybe a tomato slice, or a red onion or even capers, when available, it’s crucial to have the real deal.
Why do I mention this? I brought half a dozen bagels back with me and I finished the last one this morning. So it’s back to the fucking Korean-made bastard bagels for this jewboy.
Austin is a great town and one the best things about it is the food. So many great restaurants into packed into this tiny town. How can you go wrong with a city that has a Waffle House on the road into town from the airport? I barely scratched the surface of the restaurant scene, but here’s where I ate in my five days in Austin:
Guera’s Taco Bar
I’m a bit of a snob about Mexican food, since we have it so good here in California. But I would love to have a Guera’s on every corner in every city. The place is just great. I sat at the taco bar while a woman hand made tortillas on a flat top grill and I stuffed my face with tamales, tacos, a chicken mole burrito, guacamole, beans and washed it down with several top shelf margaritas. Incredible. This place is a must stop for anyone traveling through Austin.
Habana Calle 6
This place was so good, I came back twice for lunch. I love Cuban sandwiches and Habana Calle 6 had the best I ever tasted. Roasted pork, mustard and pickles. What could be better? Ok, so it’s hardly Kosher, but who gives a shit when lunch tastes this good? As good as the Cubano was, it paled next to the flan, the best I have ever tasted (including, as hard as it to believe, my own). They also have a little bar tucked away downstairs that I’m going to check out the next time I’m in town, which I hope is soon.
Sushi in Austin? Well, yes. This wasn’t my first choice. I tried to get into Kenici, which you should visit just to see the hostess (en fuego). But the wait was 45 minutes for the sushi bar so I needed a second option. Kyoto was closest place. It was pretty damn good albeit a little expensive, but I guess that’s expected when you’re eating raw fresh fish in the middle of Texas. Miso was good. Unagi was top notch. Caterpillar roll was beyond belief. The only real drawback was that they didn’t have large Sapporo’s
Creme de la creme of southern barbeque. Come with a strong appetite because the portions are, well, obese-sized. Gotta love the “how to speak like a cowboy” lessons being piped into the restromoms and the turtles swimming in the pond out back.
Las Manitas Avenue Cafe
Very simple place right on Congress Avenue just a few blocks from the bridge. Great, teasty Mexican breakasts.
Ok, so the food at Iron Cactus is not all that fantastic. It’s ok, but I’m sure there are a dozen Tex-Mex places around town that have better fare. But what Iron Cactus has is a great location on 6th street, a beautiful deck on the second floor which is the place to be when it’s 75 degrees and sunny outside and absolutely killer margaritas.
I have a new love and it’s the Banh Mi Dac Biet, a French inspired Vietnamese sandwich of ham or turkey, pate, cucumbers, thinly sliced carrots, onions and radish maybe, daikon, I’m not sure, cilantro some very strong chilis all on a flaky French roll that will leave you covered in crumbs if you’re not careful. I can’t get enough of them. There are a few little Vietnamese cafes in Oakland’s Chinatown (just across the water from Alameda and about 5 minutes from my new place) that churn them out for $2.50 a pop and they are unbelievably delicious. I love them so much, I even bought a loaf of their pate so I could make something similar at home. The combination of the tangy pate, the simmering chilis, the crunchy vegetables, fresh cilantro and the fresh bread is just so perfect. Ok, so it’s not kosher, and I don’t care if I’m going to hell (mostly since I don’t believe in it), but I’m going to be eating dac biet for the rest of my days.
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