Tag Archives: travels

New Topic: Belgium and its Beers

I should come clean. I haven’t given the topic of pilsners the due respect it deserves.  But honestly? I couldn’t think of anything to do with it aside from more taste tests, and since I’ve been overkilling on that idea with the gins, there was no clear path that I could go down that interested me enough to explore.  So I’ve set that topic aside for the time being, hopefully to revisit when it is appropriate to do so.

This leaves an opening for other topics to explore , and, thanks to the miracles that are frequent flyer miles, I’ve decided that I can afford a trip to Belgium, and that I should focus on Belgium’s beers in order to have more first hand experiences for the book I’ve been researching, writing, and trying to sell, over the past three years.

So, this means a new topic, entitled “Belgium and its beers”. I’ll try to keep you abreast of my behind the scenes experiences in covering this topic, and hopefully it will make for some interesting writing and reading.

And, as an added bonus, as I’ve already have tried what is arguably the best beer in the world, I’m under no pressure nor obligation  to focus my energy on that, although I’ll probably try to head their visitor center, if only to see what it’s like.

Home Again, Home Again

To travel is to learn. This is what I believe. Either we learn about where we go, about ourselves, or about how to navigate new, unseen situations.

These are good things, it’s safe to admit. And when one travels in a condensed period of time, all of these lessons are learned in more shortened time frame, often rubbing up against other lessons, and making reflection upon these episodes difficult. Not impossible, mind you, but difficult.

I have arrived home from New York City, having gone non-stop from Seattle early Thursday afternoon, and the schedule was chock full. There was no down time other than sleep, and I walk away from the trip exhausted, but sated.

Thursday evening, after landing?  Drinking.

Friday? Bagels, The American Museum of Natural History, a quick signing of books over at the Downtown Barnes & Noble, and a celebratory dinner at Delmonico’s, where we talked about the “Eh, it doesn’t suck” review of Sweet Tooth from the Wall Street Journal (By the way WSJ? I’m so using ” ‘Kate Hopkins’ is looking for Mr. Goodbar with a vengeance.” as a blurb).

Saturday? A walk through Central Park, shopping around Union Square, dinner at an average Italian place that I had apparently ate at back when I visited Manhattan in 2000, the Lion King on Broadway, and then partying with my friends at a “club” until 2am.

Sunday? Deli for brunch, and then  The Metropolitan Museum of Art for the day, followed by dinner at Adrienne’s Pizzabar, and we closed out the weekend with a passionate discussion about modern art (more on that later).

Today? Today was a travel day.

See? There was no down time. I say this, not to brag, as much as to reflect upon what we accomplished. My compatriots and I played tourist, full-on, annoying swagger, stare-at-the buildings, tourist. And it was ambrosia.

I realize that I had completed a rudimentary overview of New York’s history before heading to the Big Apple, and that, perhaps, it was supposed to influence how I approached the city.  Perhaps I thought I was going to provide journalistic answers to journalistic questions about the city. Or perhaps I believed that I was going to treat the visit with a more academic perspective.

Instead? Instead I took the lesson I alluded to the other day: People go to New York to do stuff.

So I did.  And it was glorious.

If I happened to learn a bit about the place in the process?  That is what Bob Ross used to call “A happy little accident”.

More Food Porn: A Danish Danish

I have an answer to the age old question “What do they call a Danish in Denmark?”.

The answer? A Danish.

I know. I was as surprised as you.

Actually, most places call it wienerbrød, especially at bakeries, but the coffee shop where I went had a sign in front calling it a “danish”.

More Food Porn: Smoked Eel on a Soft Roll

Posted in part because of the previous political post, but also because I want to get some opinions on the eel. Would you eat this?

(Note: Apparently I posted this picture a few weeks back and then forgotten about it. That says a lot about where my head is of late.).

More Food Porn: Fig Berry Tart

Yup. I posted a piece on politics. This is my penance.

More Food Porn: Advocaat

I’ve seen advocaat sold in the United States, specifically in the liquor stores in the state of Washington. But it’s look, with the custard like goop that pours from a bottle, made it seem somewhere between a novelty to outright unappetizing. I figured that if I waited, an opportune moment would appear.

Low and behold, on an autumn night in Ghent, in a small little cafe where candlelight was the only means of illumination, the menu offered this drink. I ordered.

The best way I can describe advocaat is an egg custard made with brandy. We took to calling it “liquor pudding”, as it’s presentation was that similar to the Jello brands we all know and love in the States. And now, having sampled this dish, finding it sold in liquor bottles seems even more ludicrous, akin to finding flavored gelatin sold in glass ketchup bottles.

No, I believe the best way to find a decent advocaat in the States is to make it yourself. Something I plan to do soon after I get back.

More Food Porn: Scrapple

…as served for breakfast in Eastern Pennsylvania.