With August coming to a close, the end of summer is upon us and I have to admit as far as keeping up with the blog and putting up new stuff, I’ve been a bit remiss. I lay the blame partly on having to work these last few months in order to pay the rent and feed myself (I know, how capitalistic and indulgent). But mostly, I’ve been lazy. It actually takes discipline to maintain one of these blog things. Anyway that being said, another reason I’ve been lagging on the content, has been that I’ve actually had the opportunity to take a some nice trips and a real vacation this summer. And though I did not video anything I did take some still shots to chronicle the holidays and some of the memorable food related highlights.
Alright in chronological order here they are:
1. June: Roof Top grilling in BKLYN. Ok, so these few shots weren’t actually from out of town, but some folks did have make the long trip from Manhattan to Brooklyn. After cooking the requisite vegetarian fair (do veggie dogs even need to be cooked?) We got busy with the real food – hot dogs, kebabs and tri-tip. And of course we had some delicious fruity gazpacho from Bret aka Meaball Hands.
2. July: Peterborough, New Hampshire. Back in July, PK- aka Korean Fro-yo Expert – and I went up north for a few days to visit our friends Chris, Anna and their little girl Hayden. Exactly two years before, PK and I went up to Peterborough to wield nail guns and help Chris and Anna build their house (ok we helped put up to frame the second story). This time we got to admire our handiwork and stay in the house. It’s an amazing house, not just because we helped build it. It’s completely off the grid with active solar for electricity and passive solar for hot water and heating, a nice open plan, lots of window, a beautiful deck and a basement with a ping pong table! And of course because it’s become a tradition, Anna’s dad Walt put us to work putting the floor down for the chicken coop. It just wouldn’t have felt right without a nail gun in my hand. Oops, but this is about food isn’t it? The second night we were there, we had a fantastic meal of grilled leg of lamb and tandoori chicken (also done on the grill), beats and beat greens and salad And most of the ingredients were pretty local. The lamb came from a nearby farm, the yogurt that I marinated the lamb in came from the CSA that Chris and Anna belong to as did the salad greens and cucumbers that Walt brought. The only thing I’m not sure about was the chicken that we bought at the town grocery store. For desert it was ice cream and a birthday cake for PK made by Francie, Anna’s mom, and topped with fresh raspberries from garden and blueberries that we had picked a few hours earlier. It was an awesome meal. Here are the photos.
3. August: Yay Area, California. Shef and I started out our August holiday back in the Bay Area, Oakland and SF to be exact to see friends and family. As usual my sis and bro-in-law, Cheryl and Cam and their two kids Maia and Dylan opened up their house to us and in what is becoming a tradition, hosted another food extravaganza. It was potluck style so folks brought an assortment of tasty items like bulgogi (from PK) fried chicken wings (from PK’s mom) a peach cobbler with creme anglaise – which is basically like liquid heart attack but so delicious (cooked and concocted by DJ Dave). We had an assortment of awesome salsas from this Mexican grocery store called Mi Pueblo which has great produce, an awesome assortment of salsas, cheese, a bakery, a carniceria (with marinated and nonmarinated meats) fresh made tortillas and an inhouse taqueria. It’s a basically like a Mexican version of 99 Ranch. I could live there. Oh, back to the party. So I made a couple racks of pork spare ribs and did them up on the grill. I dry rubbed them, seared them on the grill, wrapped them in foil, slow cooked them for a couple of hours in the webber with the lid on and the heat lowered and then took the foil off and finished them off with homemade bbq sauce on the grill. I might have to do this for you-food later on. It’s a little time consuming, but so damn good. Unfortunately I don’t have too many photos of other meals from that week but just so you know, we made sure to go to King of Thai on Taraval in SF, made sure to grab a burritos at Taqueria Vallarta in the Mission (still one of my favorites) ordered para llevar so as to meet up with Vix and Lars and their baby boy Max. Of course there were other delicious meals and an excess of consumption but it wouldn’t be a proper Bay Area visit if there wasn’t a final meal at Champa Garden. As usual, we ate ourselves silly there on some of the best Thai/ Lao food this side of the Mekong. All and all a very successful eating trip to the Bay. But really, was there any doubt?
4. Taos, New Mexico. After the Bay it was off to New Mexico to see my folks and load up on green and red chili. Northern New Mexico is beautiful this time of year as there’s actually a good amount of rain so everything is really green and lush – not what one would expect in the high mountain dessert. We took advantage by being outsided as much as possible. We did a lot of home cooking and eating here as both my parents are really good cooks and while there are some great restaurants in Taos, home food is often so much better. One of the highlights of the weel was picking mushrooms – the edible kind. We found chanterelles in the wooded areas around Hopewell Lake about 45 minutes away and then up in Taos Ski Valley, we found some boletus or porcini mushrooms. We stir fried these with olive oil and garlic and they were meaty and delicious, but they were best served roasted in the oven with olive oil and garlic because they became so tender and flavor was more concentrated. Shef and I went camping for a few days in the beautiful Chama River valley and our second day there, we visited the Christ in the Desert Monastery which we’d heard about that lies at the end of the forest road about a mile from where we were camping and is home to an order of Benedictine monks. It’s a pretty amazing place, a colony of monks that live completely off the grid and have this chapel built right in front of a red sand stone cliffs. We were invited to attend a special mass commemorated the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and one of the monks was taking his final vows pledging his allegience to the monastery. I’m not remotely religious and honestly I’m quite ignorant of Catholic rites and rituals, but it was beautiful and very memorable with monks in robes singing the prayers, the burning of the incense and the view out chapel windows of the red rock behind. And as luck would have it, there was a veritable feast to celebrate the monks vows to which we were invited as well. So instead of having to eat sandwhiches at our campsite, we got to sit in the banquet hall of the monastery and chow down with the monks who were really talkative, funny and cool. Our final day in New Mexico we spent fishing up at this area close to San Antonio Peak called Lagunitas which as you could guess were a group of small ponds. The fish were literally jumping out of the water feeding on the flies. And there were fish guts and whole fish left behind from dudes who were obviously much better fishermen than me, because I only caught one fish. I lay part of the blame on this at not having a proper fly fishing rod. These fish were not going for bait or spinning lores. They wanted flies. So I put a fly lore on the line and flung my pole as if it were a fly road and managed to catch one. Alas the fish was only about 10 inches, so I let it go because we already had plans to have dinner at Guadalajara grill. Who needs trout when you can eat shrimp quesadillas and tacos al pastor? It was a great vacation.