After years of research, an animal scientist looking for ways to keep inflammation down in cattle came up with a novel approach: feed them flax. The flax in their food helps keep animals healthy and has an added benefit for those who later eat their meat: omega-3 enriched beef.
So last week, when my family and I were in Kauai, I tried to seek out some food love on the Garden Island, Yelping, Chowhounding and asking around to find some alternate food opportunities that would allow me to feed my kids (and myself) a variety of local and fresh food that didn’t break the bank. View a list of my top finds.
Bastilla. Real bastilla made with real Moroccan pigeon. Of course, I thought that the pigeons caught and prepared for my meal might very well have been from some other country and merely had the misfortune of landing in the wrong spot at the wrong time, but I let that go. I was about to eat them baked with almonds, spices, and eggs into the flaky pastry of my favorite Moroccan dish of all time. And in Morocco, of all places, too. I longed to nearly suffocate myself under it’s heavy layer of powdered sugar and cinnamon.
On a cool, foggy morning in July, a group of about 15 of us gathered in a gravel-scattered parking lot in front of the farm buildings for a combination talk and walk across the rolling acres that form the center of Marin Sun’s network of sustainably-managed, pasture-raised livestock operations. The free tours are held once a month, usually from mid-spring through mid-fall, before the winter rains begin.
Whether I’m in Louisville or San Francisco, forays to the market are about people as much as produce, an opportunity to take stock of the swirling community. In this way, they’re all the same — regardless of what’s in season.
Food on a cruise ship comes in many different shapes and forms and from a variety of locations. For the most part, the food is free (well, it’s included in your passage price), and other than soda and alcohol, plus a couple of restaurants that charge a moderate fee for a finer dining experience, you can graze to your heart’s content (or detriment) at no additional cost. There are large buffet areas with everything from tri tip and beef pot pies to Indian curries and salad bars. Near the pool on the Lido deck sits a pizza and hamburger counter, an ice cream and smoothie stand, and a regular mixed drink bar. There are then numerous other bars set throughout the ship, plus six or seven sit-down restaurants. You can even have food delivered to your room. Basically, it’s impossible to starve on a cruise ship.
Once you taste those tacos you know why, in a city full of food, people stand in line for their lunch here. I started with the smoked marlin taco, which is served in a gorgeous red sauce that wakes up the tongue and makes it dance. I then went on to the house specialty: fish tacos. These are, in essence, perfect. Dorado covered in the simplest of batters, fried to perfection and then set inside a tortilla fresh off the grill with a topping of crema and cabbage.
Calistoga is a small, sleepy town in the Napa Valley that literally sits on top of thermal hot springs, so its famous for its mineral waters and fortified mud (and thus, many resorts and spas have cropped up around the area). I hadn’t been to Calistoga and was pleasantly surprised that a lot of the pretension of restaurants and wineries in the Napa Valley is noticeably absent.
Like espresso, Vietnamese coffee is deep and rich, and a little goes a long way. What makes it really stand out though is its incredible buttery aroma and flavor. Add a generous drizzle of sweetened condensed milk and you have a habit that will be hard to shake.
I’d driven through Boonville with my Dad and my sisters once, all too briefly en route to Mendocino. We stopped at the Boonville General Store for a sandwich and sat outside admiring the coolness of the little stretch of road and the delightfully slow pace of life. All along Hwy 128 there were orchards, farm stands, hidden hiking trails, and–of course–vineyards. I vowed to come back and do some exploring.
There is a good reason why even hardened eaters like Anthony Bourdain have fallen so in love with the cuisine of Vietnam. It’s fresh, vibrant, varied, and satisfying without feeling gluttonously heavy.
And, most often, it is cooked on the spot, right before your eyes, on the street, by someone who has been making that one particular dish over and over, for years, decades, quite possibly, generations.
Here are my top 3 street food hidden gems tucked away among the side streets of Ho Chi Minh City.