…..Lots of them on our road trip to Mendocino.
When I think of Mendocino I think of Dough Sahm and Sir Douglas Quintet and the song they made popular in the late 60′s…”Mendocino, Mendocino, where life’s such a groove you’ll blow your mind in the morning”. (Really, those are the lyrics-well it was the 60′s!). It’s just a little off the grid and still has that 60′s hippy vibe but also has some incredible retaurants and inns along the coast. It’s three and a half hours north of San Francisco which makes it a destination, not a day trip. It’s probably what Napa was 20 years ago. The historic or “hysteric” council depending on who you talk to, will not allow any development to deter from the town’s original look. No box stores, no chain stores, no Starbucks. For that you have to drive to the next town. Mendocino sits on the edge of the Pacific Coast and wherever you go whether it’s on the Big River, Route 128 or any of the other number of roads winding through the mountains, the natural beauty is everywhere.
So this sounded like somewhere we’d like to visit and we headed west for the long 4th of July weekend.Read More
We’ve been eating! I haven’t been posting but I’ve been eating. And, here are some great new finds:
Empire – at the Seaport. Wow! I can’t say enough. I’m still dreaming about the Lobster Cupcakes. They were outstanding. The hot and sour soup served in a big bowl, some Singapore noodles. All awesome. Great looking restaurant. Open kitchen with a sushi bar. Great bar. Lounge area where you can reserve seating. It has it all. In fact, we had to go back and weren’t disappointed the second time around.
Tryst – in Arlington. A wonderful little restaurant. We stopped there for dinner before a show at the Regent Theatre, spent almost 2 hours with some friends. At the table – a great bolognese, a perfect hamburger, some delicious epanadads and crispy calamri. A definite return to Tryst. They also own Cook in Newton. Tryst is small and it has a nice bar if you that’s your preference.
Row 34 – located in a warehouse space in Fort Point Channel brought to you by the people who own Island Creek Oyster Bar. So you know it’s probably going to be pretty good. And it is. Industrial looking, we sat at the bar (of course) and had a terrific bowl of clam chowder, some perfectly prepared fried clams and butterscotch pudding.
These are all restaurants worth revisiting.
Wait, T\there’s more on the way.
So, see you at the bar……
The Kentucky Derby – I got a hot tip. A sure winner. I never bet and rarely watch the Kentucky Derby but it sounded like fun thing to do – go to Suffolk Downs, do some people watching and bet on a few horses. So I did a quick study on the field, Roy did some studying on how to bet and with money in hand we went to Suffolk Downs with L and M and J and C who relied on us and our knowledge (they’re very trusting). We had a system. Roy would bet on the ones that weren’t favorites and I bet on three favorites including my sure thing. I had to bet on Wicked Strong because he had a Boston connection and a portion of the earnings are going to the One Fund; Intense Holiday, my sure thing; and, Riding on Curlin, another Boston connection. Well, they say that the favorite hardly ever wins but he won yesterday. Six of us betting and six of us lost! Oh well!Read More
I’m not a religious person but I think I found heaven. In fact, Peter one of the exceptional guides at Isla Palenque told me that he thinks he knows that if there is a God, he’s on Isla Palenque.
Where to go, where to go? That was this year’s dilemma for our winter vacation. When an email popped up about The Resort at Isla Palenque, a private island in the Chiriqui Province of Panama, we couldn’t book it fast enough. Why? A private resort with only 6 casitas, luxurious with all the amenities you could ask for, beaches, great food. How could we miss? Plus, with non-stop service from Boston on Copa Airlines, it was a great incentive to go to Panama. Done deal!Read More
We went to The Sinclair in Harvard Square last week. It’s a much needed live music venue with multi levels to view a show. Bruce in the USA was playing and if you’re a Springsteen fan and need a fix, find this guy. Three hours, yes three hours of Bruce. A look alike, with all the mannerisms, a great band and if you closed your eyes, you would think you were hearing the Boss himselfRead More
If you read my blogs you know we love markets. They’re the heartbeat of a city. So we had to go to the Mercado 20 de Noviembre (named for the anniversary of the movement which led to the overthrow of dictator Jose de la Cruz Porfirio Diaz Mori (who was from Oaxaca). It’s all about food and is the original take on a food court. There’s no Sbarro or Subway here. Everything is fresh and made to order and it’s almost impossible to get a seat at a counter. They are arranged by type of food. You just pick one food stall that looks good and grab a seat. It’s some of the best food experiences you could have in Oaxaca. Each one is individually owned and they are called a fonda. No one speaks English but I use my best high school Spanish to place our order. Roy orders his breakfast in French.
I had to have a famous Oaxaca breakfast consisting of hot chocolate and pan which is a big sweet roll. The hot chocolate is hand mixed and poured into a ceramic bowl. It’s hot and frothy. It tastes like chocolate and cinnamon and it’s the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.
Roy wanted an orange juice so someone from our food stall ran to another food stall that specializes in juices and brought back a hand squeezed tall glass of juice. Roy had a quesidilla with Oaxaca cheese. Some other traditional breakfast foods at our counter were bowls of the most delicious looking chicken soup with cheese, avocado, chunks of chicken and rice and it looked so good.
After breakfast we walked around the market. It was a jumble of vendors from surrounding villages selling their wares, roving musicians and this family playing the marimba. The young boy was playing with three sticks – 2 in one hand. They were fantastic.
Skirt Steak is the meat of choice, along with chorizo; pick your choice of meats and have them barbecued on a hibachi. Add a little guacamole or pico de gallo.
One of the favorite snacks in Oaxaca is Chapulines. Do you know what that is? Grasshoppers! There are two kinds. One comes from corn and one comes from alfalfa. They are fried with garlic, onion and with chili and are sold everywhere. You can order them as snacks in the best restaurants. I had to pass.
Here are some more market scenes:
After breakfast we had to do a little shopping. Some of the best shops are cooperatives selling the crafts from artists of surrounding villages. We bought this frog and coincidentally the artist was in the courtyard working so we were introduced to him!
My last purchase. A handbag with a tapestry handwoven by a craftsperson from the town of Itsmo. You see variations of this design all over Oaxaca. But this shop sells only original designs and the handbag has a different design on each side. There are no others like it. I couldn’t resist!
Italian food in Oaxaca? Yes! The best actually. The owner of Mexita is from Napoli! We had an excellent carbonera and veal scaloppine! After dinner glasses of homemade limoncello and amaretto! Who’d think??
On our way back to the hotel, this is what was happening on the street. Street food with cars double parked and people waiting in line for tacos.
Oaxaca at night:
Our hotel, because of it’s historical significance and beauty, seems to be the site where every girl having a quineanera has her formal pictures taken. There were probably 5 or 6 photo shoots while we were at the hotel. I took a picture of this girl. She was stunning and so was her dress. Just one of two that were worn for her photo shoot. The other dress had a similar design as my handbag!
Our last day had to be cut short. Roy came down with a 24 hour bug and that ended our plans. But we did everything we wanted. We loved Oaxaca. Would we go back? Probably not. Not because we didn’t love it but because there are so many places to visit.
Where are we going next? Panama!!
See you at the bar……Read More