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Short Review: Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perlman

Deb Perlman’s recipes are some of my favorites. I often check her site smittenkitchen.com first when I’m looking for a recipe or an idea of ways to use some ingredients we have. For example, the recipe I mention below was selected because we had bought 2 bushels of apples  and wanted to make a treat with several of them. WE also love ginger!

A couple of weeks ago I got  my turn at her book Smitten Kitchen Every Day Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites.  As expected, it is filled with great recipes and informative, interesting commentary on the recipes.

We’ve made her recipe “Wintry Apple Bake with Double Ginger Crumble” twice now and plan to make it another two times before the end of this Thanksgiving week. We used only fresh ginger in the recipe , substituting that for the ground ginger called for.  We keep saying”Thank you Deb Perlman” as we enjoy each delicious bite.

Get the cookbook if you can. It is the #1 Best Seller in desserts at Amazon now.

 

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Butterfly visitor in late October

We don’t ‘clean-up’ our garden in Fall by pulling flowers that are still in bloom or vegetables that show promise for producing a bit more. Yesterday we were happy to see a monarch butterfly seemingly enjoying the remaining blooms. Sad to say that in about two weeks or so the flowers and many of the pollinators will be gone with the coming of frost. Here are a few pics form yesterday’s visit.

Eating in New Orleans

Lynn and I took a trip to  New Orleans this past Spring. We arrived on Easter Sunday and met up with our friends Patrick & Paula the next day and stayed until the following Monday – eight nights in all. Aside from Lynn’s unfortunate accident – she tripped on the street and fell on her face which resulted in a trip to the Tulane Hospital Emergency Room and them a trip to an oral surgeon the next day to have her teeth relocated, the trip was enjoyable.

Easter Sunday we stayed at

From Monday to Monday we stayed at Place D’Arms Hotel very much in the French Quarter near St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square.

 

Places we had a great breakfast:

  • New Orleans Cake Cafe & Bakery, 2440 Chartes Street, New Orleans 70177. ByWater neighborhood.Corned Beef Hash at Cake Cafe NOLA Most excellent corned beef hash, Eggs Benedict, baked goods. A line but I’d stand in line there any day.
  • Elizabeth’s Restaurant, 601 Gallier St, New Orleans, 70177. ByWater Neighborhood. Good food, artsy ambiance. Very good, not fancy.
  • Surrey’s Cafe and Juice Bar, 1418 Magazine Street, New orleans. Garden District. Good breakfast choices – shrimp and grits, eggs Benedict.

Other places we enjoyed:

  • Cochon, 930 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans 70130. We ate there our first night, Had wood fired oysters, excellent.
  • Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar, 739 Iberville St, New Orleans, 70130. French Quarter. We ate there 3 times. Totally enjoyed the barbecued oysters the first two time, but not so much the third time. Nice place to eat. Across the street from Acme Oyster House.
  • Eat, 900 Dumaine St, New Orleans, 70116. A popular farm-to-table type restaurant in the French Quarter. We got in late without reservations but reservations are recommended. Excellent smoked ribs, fried green tomatoes, bread pudding (and we usually don’t like bread pudding.) Next time we go I’d like to try it for brunch.
  • Jacques-Imo’s, 8324 Oak Street, New Orleans, 701118.
    Interior Jacques-Imo's

    Interior Jacques-Imo’s

    If we had to choose which place was best for us, this would win. An eclectic menu. Where else can you get a slice of a savory alligator cheese cake toped with shrimp?Great food, drinks, and service. Relaxed atmosphere and VERY popular. We went in just as they opened. The place was filled within 20 minutes!

  • Commander’s Palace, 1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, 70130. Garden District. We ate lunch at this famous restaurant  and Garden District landmark.for lunch. The fried catfish, green tomatoes, flaming bananas Foster, and 25 cent martinis were excellent. No shorts or open toed shoes (for men) at lunch. An elegant restaurant from the service to the ambiance to the china, well worth the visit and the experience.
  • Three Muses, 536 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116. It’s on Frenchman Street, just outside of the French Quarter. This place offers jazz combos during dinner. Dinner was great! All small plates, and each was delicious. Excellent drinks as well.
  • Cane and Table, 1113 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116.  IN the French Quarter. They classify themselves as ‘prototiki.’ They had interesting rum cocktails and Caribbean-inspired food. A good place for cocktails and light food, but if we were more hungry we would have tried some more substantial faire.
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APTBS Tour Diary by The Photoladies

A nice collection of photos taken during the APTBS spring tour by a variety of talented photographers. A Place to Bury Strangers Tour Diary

4.24.17 – Cleveland, OH – Beachtend Tavern – Judie Vegh

4.25.17 – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar – Emily May

5.2.17 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel – Em Grey

5.6.17 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall – Joanna Glezakos

5.11.17 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall – Kris Fuentes Cortes

5/18 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall – Violeta Alvarez

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View du jour. May 1, 2016

viewdujourJune12016 A picture taken at the Fredericksburg Farmers Market on the first day of June. Spring crops have been available for a few weeks and some summer crops are coming in. These are , obviously, purple turnips – the spring ones that are sweeter and more tender than the ones available in the fall. These are from Blenheim Gardens an organic farm near George Washington’s Birthplace, about 30 or so miles from Fredericksburg. We know the family. They are really nice and their produce is great too. I chose this photo because of the predominance of light colors with a touch of green that is in contrast to eh black background of the sign. The colors of the lettering are similar to the colors of the produce.

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View du Jour. May 28 2016

View du jour May 28, 2016 May is a beautiful time in this part of Virginia. The weather is often very pleasant and the garden is in great shape. Here is a shot of the blooms on one of our rose bushes. This one is a hybrid, very common and blooms until it gets a good freeze.  It has a little fragrance and adds a nice touch to the garden.

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View du Jour. November 17 2016

More leaves! This morning I went into our back yard to enjoy the weather and the light. Took several photos. View du Jour Nov 17 2016This is the one I selected for the View du Jour. I think it treats the variety of colors and textures nicely.

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View du Jour – November 15, 2016

View du jour Leaves on our beechSoon after waking up this morning I thought it would be a good day to take pictures from our deck.  But the weather soon turned cloudy and very damp.  That didn’t deter me from taking several photos from and of our deck. The composition was almost automatic. The leaves  on our beech tree were beautiful and it helped that I lowered the camera to waist height.

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Trip to Barcelona 2016

Early this past summer Iceland Air had a sale on flights to select cities. There were some good deals for travel in the Fall. We had only three days to decide since I had heard about the sale at the end its time period of availability. We picked out some dates and I wrote to Oliver and Karl asking them if there was a conflict with any thing they might like to have us around for. I  also off-handedly mentioned that they were welcome to join us. We never took advantage of that sale but Oliver said he was up for vacationing with us! Karl was perhaps interested but the cities in the Iceland Air sale were all cities we had visited, except for one or two. I began thinking about traveling in mid-October and visiting a city where the weather had a chance of being good. Barcelona seemed like a good choice and so we decided to travel to Barcelona for two weeks from October 18 until November 1. Oliver said he and Heather would join us and Karl & Eun-Ha said they would meet up with us during our trip. Unfortunately it ended up that Heather couldn’t get away.

We traveled to Barcelona leaving the evening of October 18 and arriving early in the morning of October 19. We stayed in Barcelona until Friday, October 28,  spent 3 nights in Valencia, and then the day and night of October 31 in Barcelona. 29974313104_46af31a5c0_m Oliver joined us on Monday, October 24, and Karl & Eun-Ha joined us on Wednesday October 26. They all left on Friday October 28. 30571425382_723b121fa2_mIt was really nice traveling and enjoying Barcelona with them. An excellent trip all around.

Arrival

Our non-stop flight from IAD arrived at BCN on schedule,  about 7:45 am. After easily passing through immigration we found the Aeropuerto AutoBus that took us to its last stop Placa de Catalunya in downtown Barcelona. The trip cost about 5 euros per person, took about 40 minutes, with wifi on the bus.  Placa de Catalunya was about 5 or 10 minutes form our first lodging.

Where we stayed

We rented a small one bedroom apartment via AirBnB for our first seven nights. It was very conveniently located in the old city at Carrer de n’ Amargos 2. A few turns off of a main street, across the street from a local cafe/bar, a few blocks from the Cathedral de Barcelona, and an easy walk to many parts of the city. The apartment was on the second floor, it was clean, and the bed was comfortable. The people who rented it to us were accommodating and helpful.  Oliver joined us for two nights at the place and when Karl & Eun-ha arrived at the Placa de Catalunya form the airport we all went back to our place to store their luggage for a bit and wash some of their clothes.

After Karl & Eun-Ha arrived we spent two nights at Hotel Andante. About 15 minute walk from our apartment. A very lovely place near Las Ramblas, La Bouqueria market, and the Para-lel metro stop. The hotels bills itself as a “responsible and sustainable hotel.” I think that is accurate. The rooms were modern, quiet, clean, completely functional. The hotel has a small infinity pool on the 11th floor with spectacular views of the city. Really wonderful.

We went to Valencia for three days returning for our last night before leaving. We spent the night at Hotel Colon, a very nice hotel facing the Barcelona Cathedral. 30575106482_829b134216_m
The hotel had all the accouterments and personnel representing of what you’d expect in a well-run European hotel. They also had a roof deck with great views of the cathedral. 30394969680_e66201dd91_m Two are posted  here.

 

 

 

Eating

Barcelona has a reputation for good food and dining experiences from restaurants, to neighborhood bars or cafes, to tapas bars, to the bars and stands in La Bouqueria.

Places we ate included:

Merce Vins 1982 – Right across the street from our apartment in the old city. Very comfortable, very local, very good food. We had breakfast there several days. This quote from captures its spirit. Merce Vins: Home Away from Office “Mercè Vins is exactly between two worlds, located on the quiet, narrow and dark Carrer d’Amargós, close to the shopping area of Portal de l’Àngel, near the Cathedral and Plaça de Sant Jaume, and on the border between the Barrio Gótico and Born neighborhoods, where there are numerous offices and public institutions, filled with employees looking for a breakfast that goes beyond a sad, ersatz “croissant” or for a lunch that approximates the kind of meal they would get if they were able to sneak back home.”

Hofmann Pasteleria – A shop with excellent pastries and candies. The pastries were the most original I’ve seen and tasted.

Ciudad Contal – Tapas, breakfast, excellent selection.

Mil Gritos – Restaurant with modern, imaginative dishes.

Casa Lolela. We ate there several times. One of favorites was the orz rissoto with black truffles. WE also had Mojama de Tuna twice. Solid, good food. Well prepared. Excellent sangria. I’ve found the sangria for sale in Fredericksburg at the Old Towne Butcher!

Amelie. A really nice restaurant in Gracia district in a square away form the hustle/bustle of the streets. Owned and operated by our friend.

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Trip to Valencia 2016

In October 2016 we visited Barcelona, Spain. Oliver, Karl and Eun-Ha joined us for a few days there. On the day they left, October 28 we took a  train to Valencia and spent 3 nights there.

valenciafountainatnightValencia is a beautiful city.

It has a  large green space created from a riverbed. That space is filled with trails, museums, a concert hall, and places to relax.

The beach! A large public beach on the Mediterranean. Great restaurants and loads of public spaces.

We stayed at the Hotel Ad Hoc Monumental just between the old city and the green space. A great location. The hotel was clean, comfortable, and the staff was very accommodating and helpful. When I made the reservation I asked for a room with a terrace or balcony, on the advice of another traveler. We were upgraded to a ‘superior’ room with a terrace on the top floor. The terrace was tile with decent views and enough furniture for several people. What a nice touch!  The clerk, Antonio, said that we got that room because we asked and that the hotel was booked and no one had reserved a superior room.

Right after arriving, about 5 minutes before the restaurant closed,  the desk clerk arranged for us to have lunch at the restaurant associated with the hotel, Boix Quatre Restaurant. 

Other places we ate wee

We  spent one day walking from our hotel along the green space.  Along the way we visited  Palau de la Musica the concert hall of Valencia. cityartsandsciencesvalencia2016 Then down to the City of Arts and Sciences. Fantastic architecture, beautiful setting.   Then we walked to the beach  which was full. Lynn took off her shoes and waded into the sea. I was feeling pretty sick – cold or flu symptoms – and just walked along.  After lunch we walked to a restaurant and then eventually took a  bus back to our place. When we went to the cathedral square, a platform was set up with folk dancers. Another morning we went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Valencia, about a 10 minute walk from our hotel. Two floors of several rooms of paintings and religious artifacts primarily from Valencia and Spain. Excellent collection and display.   We had a very nice time in Valencia.

On the morning of October 31 we took a train back to Barcelona. First class with a meal included.

 

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