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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

facade

Vmannequinfemale

At the entrance to Restaurant Carmen

insideRestaurant Carmen

We arrived in Icod de los Vinos around noon, so decided to have lunch before going to visit El Drago (see previous post). We chose Restaurant Carmen, on C. Hercules 2, just opposite the entrance to the El Drago parking garage, so very convenient. It’s a free-standing building, adobe with a caramel color and wooden doors and windows. The entrance faces the street, but at the back there’s a sweeping view over some banana plantations and towards the sea.

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One of the paintings on the walls

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winesign

One of the wine plaques “Ode to Wine”

You enter, past a couple of mannequins in folkloric dress, and walk down some stairs to a large dining area. It has very interesting décor, including various urns and statues, a collection of decorative plates on the brightly-painted walls, and many tiles with sayings and quotes about wine. A central column of ferns gives a nice touch. It’s a fairly casual place, but tables are still laid with real linen.

 

 

 

 

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“Wine and sun cheer up the heart”

winesigns

Wine plaques

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Tomato and cheese salad. Note the red and green mojo sauces in the bowls behind

We had a selection of small plates, all delicious— garlic prawns, cheese and tomato salad, salad with cod and avocado, and a typical Canarian stew. Plus bread with mojo (the typical Canarian sauces I mentioned before, see here https://viviennemackie.wordpress.com/2018/04/05/eating-on-the-canary-islands/), a glass of wine, bottled water, and coffee, all for a total of  €42.50. Service was good and friendly, and if we were ever back in Tenerife, we would definitely return.

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Garlic prawns (shrimp)

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Avocado and cod salad

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and the Men’s bathroom

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And just for fun…the sign on the Ladies’ bathroom

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outside

Entrance to La Perla

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inside

The bar counter inside

La Perla Bar Restaurant, Garachico, Tenerife

On Jesus Diaz Martin, just a block off the main plaza, opposite the Quinta Roja Hotel.

The lady from our hotel recommended this the first night we were here in Garachico when we said we wanted to try local cuisine. We liked it so much that we returned another night.

It’s quite plain on the outside, but with pretty décor inside (lots of green plants and statues) and linen tablecloths, and doesn’t seem too touristy. There’s also a large bar, with wood trim. But, the main draw is the food—large servings of really tasty dishes. And the amazing thing is that it’s all produced from a tiny kitchen off to the side, run by just the owner and his wife and a helper.

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There’s the small kitchen where it all happens

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Attractive interior

All the wait staff are very pleasant and we managed fine even though we don’t speak much Spanish really and their English is limited. Luckily the menu is in English, Spanish and German.

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The wine made on the Canary Islands is actually very good

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Ham and melon

The first night we had sopa de pescado(fish soup—Rod) and Melon con Jamon(melon with ham—Viv) as starters, then Cherne plancha(seabass platter). Plus 2 bread rolls (as I mentioned earlier, on the islands you pay extra for bread), a large bottle of water and a bottle of Canarian rose wine, and the total was only 43 euros!

We also had our first experience with two of the famous Canarian sauces: they are called mojo saucesand are served with every meal, usually with the bread, but added to anything. The most common are the green sauce (mojo verde) and the red (mojo picon), which is much spicier. We also had the famous wrinkly potatoes (batata arrugado), served at almost every meal and a traditional Canarian food. These potatoes are boiled in their jackets in salted water and when tender are drained and left to dry over a low heat until they become wrinkled, hence their name.

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Fish dish, 2 sauces, and wrinkled potatoes

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Rod M with ham and melon

Rprawns

Those are giant prawns!

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The mussels were delicious

The second time, we both had the melon and ham, as it was so good. Then I had Mejillones (mussels) and Rod had Lagostino(giant prawns), plus the wine, water and bread rolls, all for a total of only 50 euros.

Many of the other hotel guests also seem to come here and they were all very satisfied too. And plenty of locals come, so it must be a good place. Definitely recommended.

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outside

beerA Chicago Institution

Downtown Chicago has so many places to eat that it’s difficult to know where to choose. One of our favorites is The Berghoff. We’ve often been to The Berghoff and like it for many reasons: it’s well placed between Union Station, and Millennium Park and the Art Institute, where we usually arrive and go to visit; it’s close to Club Quarters, where we usually stay, and to the Willis Tower; but, more than location, it has atmosphere and very good food. It also has an interesting history, as it’s been an iconic Chicago dining experience since 1898 and is one of the nation’s oldest family-run businesses. It started with Hermann Joseph Berghoff, who immigrated in 1870 from Germany. For a history of the restaurant see here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Berghoff_(restaurant) .

license

insideIt’s also known for being the place with the first liquor license in Chicago after Prohibition was lifted, proudly known as Chicago Liquor License “Number One”. The license hangs behind the bar and they boast that there’s not a drink that they haven’t served. They also make their own beers, in many styles, some of which are famous.

The Berghoff Restaurant is up a few stairs from the entrance and the Berghoff Café, which offers lighter fare, is a few steps down.

The restaurant is pretty big, so they seem to easily accommodate most people, in the bar section or the dining section. The interior is very attractive, with big wooden beams, wood paneling, lots of framed old photos on the walls, and some stained-glass windows. We’ve been here as a couple, I’ve been with my sister, and also as part of a group, and the wait staff do very well either way.

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Vera

sole

Sole dish

We’ve always been happy with the menu and the service here, and the prices are reasonable for Chicago. The menu is a mix of traditional (old-style from Germany/Bavaria) and more modern, and all the dishes sound great.

Some of the ones we’ve chosen at various times were stuffed sole and free-range lamb chops with salad. Delicious. Of course, with 2 Berghoff Heffeweizen beers.

 

 

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Near the bar

sausage

Game Sausage Plate

VandVOne time we were there in December and they had two musicians in the bar playing live music. We were seated very close to the bar in the dining section, so could hear them very clearly above the general chatter of diners. Very nice. That time Rod had the Game Sausage Plate (3 sausages—duck, venison, pork—with spatzle) and I had the halibut special. Both were very good. On other occasions we’ve had the stuffed sole—also delicious.

Note too the great way they serve the selection of breads.

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Rbreadwine

lambchops

Lamb chops dish

Definitely recommended if you are ever in Chicago and looking for a place to eat, no matter the season.

Address: 17 W. Adams

Daily 11am-9pm, closed on Sundays

https://www.theberghoff.com

 

 

 

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Aronia Berry bushes

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Unripe berries

berriescloseIn recent years I’ve heard a lot about aronia berries and how they are one of the new “superfoods”, mostly due to their high antioxidative activity and their high level of vitamins, minerals and folic acids. We even tried a few dried berries from Whole Foods, and I have to say I wasn’t that impressed with the taste.

So, it was really interesting a few weekends ago to actually see some aronia bushes and find out more about how they are grown.

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Our group at the farm

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A young aronia bush

We were in Wisconsin visiting a business colleague of my husband’s in Milwaukee, and after that we drove to their house in Door County, at Sister Bay at the end of the peninsula. They have a beautiful house on the water there, plus he owns a farm just behind the house. Part of the farm, called Hidden Acres, is devoted to a community garden and part to a commercial enterprise, where they grow all kinds of vegetables organically for local restaurants. Wonderful to wander around and pick fresh carrots or purple beans, for example.

Something new that he is trying is growing Aronia berries. The bushes are now about cheesecakethree years old and are producing quite nicely. The best production will come after about 5 years, apparently. The berries were not ripe yet: harvesting will be at about the beginning of September.

Our host’s wife made a cheesecake for dessert, and served it with a berry compote, made of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and aronia berries. In a mix like that, the aronia berries were quite pleasant. We tried eating a few fresh ones too, and found them very fibrous and chewy and not terribly tasty really. But, mixed in a smoothie they are very good.

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eating plain fresh aronia berries

We found out that Aronia is a woody perennial shrub in the rosaceae family that is native to the eastern United States. It grows in full sun and along woodland edges, so the setting of this farm is perfect.

Aronia has benefited from increased interest in phytonutrients, plant compounds that have beneficial effects on human health. Interest in “eating healthy” has led to worldwide growth in the popularity of aronia berries and products made from them. Aronia has been grown as a commercial berry crop in most Eastern European countries since the 1950s, starting in the Soviet Union in the late 1940s. It is now becoming a more popular cash crop in the Mid-West of the USA too. Some sources say that Aronia berries top the list of more than 100 foods that have been scientifically tested for antioxidant capacity.

 

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ale

They make their own beer at Oliver Brewing Co on sight

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Ale outside

Pratt Street Ale House

While in Baltimore we ended up coming here a couple of times for lunch and for dinner. Partly because its location was so convenient—opposite the Convention Center and close to our hotels—but also because after our first meal there we realized that the food is really good, fairly reasonably priced and has a wonderful convivial atmosphere and really friendly wait staff.

We sat outside the first two times at tables under trees that line the sidewalk. The next two times we opted to sit inside as the weather had changed to terribly hot and steamy. Both were fine in different ways: outside we could watch the world go by, and it did, in a steady stream of pedestrians and noisy traffic; inside we were cool and could listen to snippets of conversation at other tables as people discussed the merits of the local baseball team, the Orioles. On our final night in the city, there was a game on between the Orioles and the Chicago Cubs and many Cubs fans were in town. Many seemed to be in this pub as it’s on the way to the stadium, so we also heard lots of “go Cubbies” comments too. Remember that Baltimore is serious about its sports!

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Inside—tuna salad

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Outside—tuna salad

OsignBut, back to the Ale House.

They have quite a large menu with many options, lots like typical pub food. For lunches we tried a couple of their special salads: a crab cobb salad and a seared tuna salad with wasabi soba noodles and vegetables. So good, in fact, that we had the tuna again!

They are a brew pub and their speciality is Oliver’s Ales, so we had to try one of those at least once (because our grandson’s name is Oliver!), and their beer menu is impressive. One evening we chose “Staring at the Sun”, a Belgian-style wheat beer that was pretty good.

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An extensive menu

crabcobb

Crab Cobb salad

Rsteak

Ribeye

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The salmon and shrimp dish was delicious…

For entrees, the rib-eye was good (Rod), but the really amazing dish was the salmon with shrimp, a mashed potato patty and wilted spinach. I would definitely go back just for that!

Address: 206 W. Pratt Street, opposite the Baltimore Convention Center and a few blocks from the Inner harbor.

tuna

…and so was the tuna salad!

 

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phillips

powerplant

The former Power Plant building

Phillips Seafood was recommended by a friend originally from Baltimore and by all the tourist books and brochures, so we decided we should go there our first evening in Baltimore, as we hadn’t scouted out any other good eating places.

This popular place is at the edge of Inner Harbor in part of the old Pratt Street Power Plant building (Barnes and Noble and Hard Rock Café are in there too). The former coal-fired power plant, built 1900-1909, was repurposed from the mid 1970s. Phillips Seafood moved here in June 2010.

Come very early, or a bit later (8pm) as it gets very crowded around 5:30-8pm and you’ll likely have a long wait, especially on weekends.

Rinside

Rod M inside

There is indoor and outdoor seating: we opted for indoors as the wait was slightly shorter. It was cooler inside too! The décor is attractive with pretty chandeliers and stained-glass insets in the ceiling. We had a beer while waiting and then got a bar area table pretty easily.

Here in Baltimore (and in Maryland generally) crab cakes are a speciality, so we had to try them. We shared a beet salad, with two different colored beets and feta cheese on arugula, which was delicious. Then Rod had the classic plate, which was a crab cake, a shrimp skewer, a piece of salmon, mashed potatoes and asparagus. I had crab-stuffed shrimp, which was 5 butterflied shrimp

shrimp

Crab-stuffed shrimp

stuffed with a crab mix, with mashed potatoes and asparagus. All very nice, with a very friendly server.

The atmosphere is pleasant, as it’s bustling with people and two guys on guitars were playing and singing, a bit like John Denver.

Phillips Seafood is a very prominent institution around here, and it would be hard to miss with its huge red sign. I’m glad we came and it was fun. The food was good, but pretty over-priced, I’d say. Definitely good for one visit, but I’m not sure we could afford to return.

601 E. Pratt Steet, Baltimore, www.Phillipsseafood.com

 

 

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Satoshi and Max enjoy the meal

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Max helps cook the meat and vegetables

Sapporo is well-known for special Ghengis Khan grilled lamb meals and the principle places are run by big beer halls. The two main ones are at Sapporo Beer Garden, which I wrote about before (https://viviennemackie.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/japan-a-hokkaido-special-dish/ ) and the other is at the Kirin Beer Hall. Both Sapporo and Kirin are very popular Japanese beers.

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Another marvelous meal!

On our final night in Sapporo this last trip, Satoshi booked us into the Premier Hotel. It’s in the Suskino area of town, where a lot of the nightlife is, so lots of neon lights, and really busy especially on a Saturday evening

For dinner that evening we went our for a Ghengis Khan meal again, somehow fitting, as we had Ghengis on our first evening in the city. The Kirin Beer Hall was within walking distance of the Premier Hotel, so very convenient.

Satoshi and Max took Rod and I and once again we had a lovely evening together and a

meat

The grill is set down in the center of the table

great meal. Here, the grills are set out differently: they are set down a bit in the center of the tables. But, otherwise the concept is very similar: first, put on bibs to protect clothes, then cook plenty of vegetables and pieces of thinly sliced meat on the grill, using large tongs. Wash it down with plenty of beer and/or wine.

We also had a smoked hokke fish as a snack first. Over the years, Rod and I have come to really like hokke and Satoshi wanted us to have it “one last time”. Delicious and much appreciated.

hokke

Hooke is great

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