Repasts Past: Lokal

March 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

It was late in August. It was hot. Hotter even than when I left behind the Alabama humidity for my first trip to New York. They were in the middle of the worst heat wave in years everyone kept telling me once I arrived. And, I had hoped going north would bring me some relief! I soldiered on in spite of it and in spite of my uneasy status as a first-timer, I set out to explore as much of the city I could in three days.

For my first outing, I attempted a solo expedition to find Baked, a bakery in Red Hook that I had read about and drooled over online before I even knew I’d be making this trip to NYC for the magazine I edited. It all began simply enough: the friend I was staying with pointed me in the direction of the subway and gave me her metro card. I, never more thankful for my brother’s hand-me-down iPhone than at that moment, embarked with an address in hand.

Somewhere between the subways and the buses, I ended up going north when I should have been on the southbound line. Or, was it I was going south and should have been headed north? The details are fuzzy, but the realization of this fact after several hot hours of traveling are etched in my mind. It was well into the afternoon and I was starving, hot, and all discombobulated. Then, an oasis appeared.

After the wrong bus I’d been blissfully riding on pulled away, Lokal revealed itself. The doors and windows were all thrown open, and I caught glimpses of Mediterranean blue walls and ceiling fans and a menu hastily written on a chalkboard on the sidewalk. I knew nothing about this inviting bistro, but I ran to it like I would a light in the darkness.

As I staggered in off the street and fell into a seat at a tall table, a friendly waitress approached with a menu and a smile. Their offerings were perfect for this, the hottest day ever. Grilled vegetables with spritzes of lemon and lime and juicy fresh fruit smoothies sounded like manna to me, and I was rewarded amply for that decision.

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Getting lost in transit turned out to be the best way to find something I’d never known to look for. And, I eventually did make it to Baked, whose sweet and salty brownie made my 8-hour tour of Brooklyn even more worthwhile.

Go Go Gadget Flavor!

March 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been meaning to share this little trinket ever since I got it as a present for Christmas. A little back story first: in October, when my family and I traveled to Townsend, Tennessee, for a quick getaway, we rented a cabin with plans to cook most of our meals, as we usually do. Out-of-the-way scenic spots don’t usually pair well with dining opportunities aplenty.

Upon arrival to said cabin and armed with various foodstuffs, we discovered a dearth, nay, a complete lack of spices save pepper and salt, and maybe a questionably aged jar of oregano. Spices! The hobo dinners we’d planned to make would be lackluster without them, as would any other meat or vegetable we cooked. We were not about to restock this cabin’s spice cabinet ourselves for just a few days, and we didn’t want to purchase extras of what we already had at home. So, we made do.

Enter the grand idea of a travel-friendly collection of spices and herbs. My imagination went to work on this immediately, conjuring up images of the cute little spice tins that many people keep on magnetized boards below their cupboards all corralled in a pouch or case with an aesthetically pleasing design. Upon our return home I began scouring the Interwebs for all the necessary pieces and parts to create such a traveling flavor toolbox, if you will.

Well, what do you know:

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PLANT beat me to it. This slim tier contains just about every spice I would’ve included, as well as some I might not have like Wasabi and Curry, and maybe, Dill, just because I don’t care for it. I plan to still look for my own canisters to get creative with and add to this excellent starter kit.

Of course, we haven’t roughed it lately, but the next time we do, I’ll be traveling prepared.

 


Land of Heart’s Desire

March 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

I cannot resist an Ireland post on this day when everyone is thinking about the emerald isle. I wax romantic about Ireland and my two blessed visits to that country in my head almost everyday. Sometimes I subject other people to such ruminations. I fell in love on my first trip, in college, on a literary tour with 9 other students. Galway, Sligo, the Aran Islands, Dublin and parts in between were soaked up at a break-neck pace over just two weeks. A return voyage in 2008 with a friend introduced me to the delights of County Cork and tiny Cobh, the delicious food at Cafe Paradiso, and, not least of all, driving in a foreign country!

The rhythm of the music, the way the weather can change in an instant, the irrepressible greenness, the lovely, lilting, throaty language…it captivated me then and still does. I have not been many places in the world, but Ireland is a place I would return to on a whim, at a moment’s notice, if someone handed me a ticket and said “Go!”

Wild Swans not at Coole (I just can't remember where)

View from Dun Aengus off the coast of the Aran Islands

Newgrange Passage Tomb

The stately Kylemore Abbey (I had a Castles of Europe calendar when I was probably 15 that included this beauty and I finally got to see it up close at age 21. Bliss.)

A pastoral scene near Garryvoe Beach in the south

Gardens of Powerscourt House near Dublin

The panorama from Powerscourt House

Wouldn’t you?

 

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