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EuroTrip

The enormous fried egg, bacon & cheese breakfast at Broodje Bert. 

The enormous fried egg, bacon & cheese breakfast at Broodje Bert. 

I've just returned from a trip to Paris, London & Amsterdam. As always, the food was the highlight of my travels. Below I've included some notable restaurants & dishes I had the chance to experience.

LONDON...

I read about a bar at The Langham in London called Artesian, which has been named "The World's Best Bar." So of course, I had to check it out. The bar is inspired by Surrealism and offers an extensive cocktail list, most of which feature an elaborate presentation. Our waitress suggested I try the Chameleon Crystals, which was comprised of Tanqueray No. Ten, Pisco, Lime, Perilla, Chilli, Soy. It was unique & refreshing, plus it arrived in an illuminated wooden box filled with sage smoke.

Chamelon Crystals cocktail

Chamelon Crystals cocktail

AMSTERDAM...

Next door to our incredible hotel was a beautiful restaurant called Staets. The setting felt like a museum alongside the canals. Their menu is comprised of three, four or five courses, where you can select from locally-sourced seafood, meat or vegetarian options. Below was my first course, described as salmon and oyster. The oyster component came from the green leaves, which have the unique flavor of fresh raw oysters. 

Sous vide salmon with crispy quinoa & oyster leaves.

Sous vide salmon with crispy quinoa & oyster leaves.

Foodhallen

We rented bikes and rode through the beautiful Vondelpark on our way to Foodhallen, a new food and beer hall in Amsterdam's suburbs. The food offerings were very eclectic. I ordered a soft-shell crab burger from one of the seafood stands. While it was delicious, it was more of a bun with wakame & pickled cucumbers with bits of fried soft-shell crab, not so much a burger. 

Softshell crab "burger"

Softshell crab "burger"

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Baby Shower

I wanted to share some pics from the baby shower one of my clients in Pasadena put on over the weekend. It was a beautiful event with a spread of elegant small bites and comfort foods to celebrate the mom-to-be!

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Honeymoon in Greece

My husband and I just returned from an incredible two-week trip to Greece and Istanbul. I have always wanted to visit both of these places. Greece looks so picturesque and tranquil, and Istanbul seemed like a crazy adventure. For months before our vacation, we spent time researching hotels, activities, top things to see...and most importantly, where and what to eat. 

Our first stop was Athens. While wandering the city we discovered a row of culinary markets. There was a huge meat market, cheese shops and spice shops, and lots of stalls selling varieties of produce.

And then there was this one guy who just sold buckets of snails.

Not pictured: Snail Man

Not pictured: Snail Man

The food in our next destinations, Mykonos and Santorini, was classic mediterranean fare...lots of seafood and salads and FETA ON EVERYTHING. Yum.

Feta for breakfast...

Feta for breakfast...

Daily in-room breakfast at our wonderful hotel in Santorini

Daily in-room breakfast at our wonderful hotel in Santorini

...and lunch.

...and lunch.

Mediterranean food is one of my favorites and I like to think I cook in a similar way--emphasis on fresh produce and seafood, simple seasonings, and lots of bright olive oil. We had tons of seafood, which was mostly charred on the grill with delicious local olive oil and a squeeze of lemon at the table. 

Seafood feast for two!

Seafood feast for two!

After about a week of straight seafood, we were ready for a land product. We found a tiny gyro hut around the corner from our hotel and ate our next three meals there.

Gyros for €2 and fries on top! 

Gyros for 2 and fries on top! 

Our final night we did an incredible three-hour wine tasting with a sommelier, complete with a plate of cheese and meats and a view of the caldera. 

Next up, Turkey...

 

 

 

 

 

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Day Trip to Germany

For my husband’s birthday yesterday, we hosted a German-themed dinner at our place. I don't know much about German food, but I like experimenting with new cuisines and creating new recipes. I started researching authentic German delis and products in the LA area. Finally I found a place called Alpine Village down in Torrance, so I took it as a great excuse to go on a culinary adventure.

This is only half of the pastry selection

This is only half of the pastry selection

I LOVE going to specialty grocery stores and markets. I’ve discovered some delicious and weird finds in Japanese supermarkets and make it a priority to visit the Italian food shops on The Hill when I’m back home in St. Louis. So, I of course needed to experience the German culinary complex that is Alpine Village.

As soon as I arrived, I didn’t know where to start because I was too excited. There is a restaurant, café, market, and entire miniature village with German wares! I decided to stay on task and get what I came for in the market: sausages, pretzels and beer.

But then I found all sorts of dried, smoked meats. And the bakery counter was AMAZING. So in addition to the (five) pretzels, I naturally needed a Danish. And pickles…and cheese…and German grapefruit soda with beer mixed in.

Polish sausages with minced garlic and black pepper

Poaching liquid: half beer, half water, some peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves and onion

For dinner I poached some Polish sausages in a bath of beer and onions before searing them in the cast iron pan. I served them with German potato salad, pumpernickel and German cheese, pretzels and mustard and gherkins. And then, a chocolate "Funfetti" cake for dessert. I think we will be eating salads for the next few days...


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