Sunday, November 1, 2009

Food Memories: Europa

The past 8 years for me were spent living, working and traveling around Europe. I still don't know how to condense those years into any coherent narrative...suffice to say there were good times and bad times...but more importantly there were food times. And that is what it's all about.

But first let's talk about the drink times. My good friend Jen and were frequent weekend travelers for about 2 years. We'd look up some cheap flights and get going. In Antwerp, Belgium we got to experience out first absinthe bar. If I recall correctly we visited this bar two nights in a row, not only because it was so fabulous, but also because we knew this was our last chance for a while to imbibe the lovely liquorice herbed nectar which is so potent Beaudelaire liked to write poems while on absinthe about absinthe. We first tried it the traditional way with the sugar cube flambe method: Stick a slotted spoon-like instrument over your little absinthe glass and put a sugar cube on top. Pour the absinthe over the sugar into the glass then set the alcohol-doused sugar cube on fire. The flame will melt the sugar into the glass. Then you drink. Repeat if necessary. Enjoy the head buzz!

FOOD PORN. GAH. Delicious Belgian waffle in Brussels. Heaven on earth. Life's joy and fulfilment. I love you so much I wish I could marry you dear waffle. You would never let me down.

Same place, different waffle. Subsequent visit. Still just as life affirming.

Let's take the edge off that sweetness with a coffee, shall we? Here we are in Istanbul and this is my first ever Turkish coffee. T'was delicious and strong. Make sure if you ever order Turkish coffee to make sure you ask for sugar as they mix it in while making it. Thick. Don't drink the bottom.

Not very flattering but you get the impression I am enjoying it, no?

Home food. This is in my first flat in London, Mildmay Grove, 2005. I was all about the buffalo mozzarella back then. With fresh basil and tomato.

More food, same flat. First meal I cooked for my parents when they visited. I see some guacamole there, some roasted veg, a salad in the corner and some pickles and meats and bread. Oh so continental!

Home BBQ, London, New North Road, 2008. I was blessed with a flat with a beautiful terrace and a pub next door. Bliss. In that foil container is a pile of king prawns marinated in coconut, coriander, chili and lime. They were good. There are some skewers there with some marinated monkfish and some halloumi. Wow, I wish I could have that all over again. Please note the non-Canadian hibachi style BBQ. You get her going with briquettes and some firestarters and then you wait and wait till her coals are white otherwise things just BURN. It's a bee-atch to get going but once it's fired up it burns hot and long. Oh yeah, just the way I like it.

Fancy food, Ottolenghi Restaurant, London. Oh man. What can I say about this food. Gotam Ottolenghi's got a weekly food column in the Guardian. It's mostly vegetarian food and it's all delicious. The man can do things with broccoli beyond your wildest dreams. Here we've got some parsnip and other deliciousness. It was 2007, can't remember anymore. But please go to Ottolenghi on Upper Street, Islington if you are ever in London. You will not regret it.

Here is the broccoli I speak of. Out of this world. Oven roasted and marinated. As well we have some beets and a rice salad. I'd like to eat something like this every day.

Happy menu times, Islay, Scotland. A wonderful meal after a long walk on a frigid windy beach strewn with bloated sheep carcasses. Really it was more beautiful than it sounds. This restaurant had a peat fireplace and plaid carpet. Yes, we were truly in Scotland. The mussels were fantastic.

D.I.Y Sardines, San Ramon, Espana. Here's my good friend Aidan's paella pan and paella fireplace being used to panfry some beautiful fresh sardines. The cats were in love with us that day.

Menu del dia at El Kiosko, Valencia, Espana. Cheap and cheerful. A 3 course meal sets you back about 15 bucks including wine. Muy bueno.

Stay tuned for some Canadian Food Memories...I've been exploring some awesome restaurants in Montreal. More to come. x

No comments:

Post a Comment