“Pic of the Week”, June 23, 2017: Mate — South America’s caffeinated drink

04 El Tigre, Argentina 2014 (96)

If coffee is the morning beverage of North America (and most of the world for that matter), my limited experience in South America was that many people preferred a type of locally grown herbal tea called Mate (pronounced mah-teh). Mate, also known as yerba mate, is rich in caffeine and is especially popular in in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Southern Chile and Southern Brazil. A small amount is exported and sold in other countries, including in the Middle East, but mate has its home in southern South America.

The drink is prepared by steeping a handful of dried yerba mate leaves in hot water. As the beverage is consumed, more hot water is added to the same wet mate clump over …

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“Pic of the Week”, June 10, 2017: World’s Best Donuts, Grand Marais

‘s Best Donuts

Situated in the small tourist town of Grand Marais, on the northwest shore of Lake Superior, is this ‘mom and pop’ donut shop. The name of the place may seem a little overdone, but the donuts it sells are prepared to perfection. They are indeed among the best I’ve ever had.

World’s Best Donuts has an extensive assessment of donuts, prepared fresh daily and greedily consumed by the shop’s many patrons. The several I’ve tried during my visits were all excellent, although they say their cake donuts are a house specialty. The donut shop opened in 1969 and has been run by the family for almost fifty years.

There are seats outside, but it’s especially …

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.All Trips / Europe / Food / Italy

Catania’s Fabulous Market

13-Catania-Fish-Market

 

Besides the sight of Mt. Etna looming not far away, perhaps the most famous landmark in Catania is its lively fish market, La Pescheria.  There’s more to the market than seafood, but I’ve never encountered a more diverse selection of fresh seafood anywhere.  And the operative word is fresh as much of the merchandise was still flopping and flipping about.  The fish mongers are a lively bunch, trying to entice everyone passing by to purchase their fish, which are said to be the best and/or cheapest in the market.

Given that it’s situated on the Gulf of Catania, it’s not surprising to find that seafood is so popular with the locals and a key ingredient in local cuisine.  You’ll find massive …

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.All Trips / Europe / Food / Spain

Barcelona’s Santa Catarina Market

13 Santa Caterina Market, Barcelona

Situated in the El Born region of Barcelona, close to the Picasso Museum, Santa Caterina is one of the finest markets in Barcelona.  Built on the ruins of an old monastery, the market opened in 1848.  The market was constructed on the former site of the convent of Santa Caterina (from which it derived its name).  It has served its working class neighborhood for more than 150 years.

Santa Caterina market has recently undergone modernization and extensive renovation, completed in 2005 (while preserving the old walls of the market).  This is most evident in its brightly colored wavy Modernista roof, which consists of 325,000 ceramic pieces in dozens of colors intended to be coordinated with the produce sold under it.  The …

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“Pic of the Week”, February 11, 2017: Canter’s Deli, Los Angeles

02 Canter’s Deli Los Angeles

When recently visiting Los Angeles I returned to one of my favorite places in L.A.’s Miracle Mile district, Canter’s Deli.  Canter’s is an authentic Jewish deli which never closes.  Besides ordering items from the menu, there are a wonderful assortment of fresh baked goods available for sale at the deli’s bakery.
When I was a resident at UCLA I’d eat at Canter’s from time to time with my peers.  The corned beef and pastrami sandwiches are wonderful, as are the pickles, pickled onions and everything I’ve ever tried here.  It seems the place hasn’t changed in the 30 years since that time.
Canter’s opened in 1931, was and remains very popular, although it has changed locations more than once.  It’s now run by …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / Food / North America / Ontario

Ottawa’s Fabulous Byward Market

08-13 Byward Market 09-2016

As many of you know, I am great fans of visiting markets during my travels.  Besides the beautiful assortment of food and goods, markets are a wonderful place to watch people and relax with coffee and a tasty fresh snack.   On a cold winter’s day, it’s often good to see the fresh bounty of summer (or in the case of our visit, fall).

Byward Market is a well known and long established market in Canada’s national capital, Ottawa.  The market was begun in 1826 by John By, who gained fame as builder of the Rideau Canal.  Mr. By laid out the street plan of the market, creating extra wide streets to facilitate the market as a gathering place for the area’s …

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.All Trips / Central USA / Colorado / Food / North America

Vail Farmer’s Market

04 Vail’s Farmers Market (32)

During the summer months there’s a nice Farmers’ Market in Vail every Sunday.  It’s situated on the north side of Gore Creek, on Meadow Drive, in close proximity to the town’s large parking structure.  It compliments the nearby Minturn Market which is held on Saturday and many of the vendors from that smaller but more compact Minturn Market also show up at Vail.

The Vail market is, at least to my impression, significantly larger than the Minturn Market, although not its not as compact and fun to navigate.  It features seasonal produce which mostly is grown in eastern and western Colorado.  Not too much food is grown at the high elevation of Vail which sits at around 8200 …

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.All Trips / Asia / Food / India

A visit to Delhi’s Subyard-Okhla Market

37 Subyard-Okhla Market, Delhi

Most of the inhabitants of our planet have very different shopping patterns from those living in the developed countries.  They do not buy their groceries at Safeway, Costco or Tesco, but at local markets in their neighborhoods.  Sometimes these markets have a series of small shops but often they are open air markets like the one I recently visited in Delhi.

There are dozens of vendors at some of the larger food markets in India, most with a unique product or small series of products (for example, the “onion and garlic” or “apple and orange” vendor, and so on).   Sometimes you’ll find four or five vendors side-by-side selling exactly the same fruit or vegetable for exactly the same price.  How does …

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