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Posts from the ‘Travel’ Category

Bangkok Street Food

I am of the firm belief that some of the best food in Bangkok can be found on the street being sold by vendors set up on seemingly every corner.  I have sampled the most delicious coconut ice cream, served with coconut meat and chopped macadamia nuts and the tastiest “mini pineapple” which my daughter proclaimed was better than any candy.  The following pictures prove my point that whether it was from a cart on the street or inside a market or from a boat that was part of a floating market, food in and around Bangkok may be the best when you are looking at the person who prepared it!

 

If I could eat on thing over and over again, it would be this Pad Thai.  With a Singha to wash it down!

If I could eat one thing over and over again, it would be this Pad Thai. With a Singha to wash it down!

 

The epitome of chicken satay. What I’d give to find that on a street corner in my home town!

 

 

Nature's Candy!

Nature’s Candy!

 

Heading to the floating market.

Heading to the floating market.

 

And to wash it all down...

And to wash it all down…

Deciding what you want to eat at the floating market is the hardest part!

Deciding what you want to eat at the floating market is the hardest part!

Dessert!  Sticky Rice with tamarind and an amazing topping of caramelized coconut.

Dessert! Sticky Rice with an amazing topping of caramelized coconut.

Market Flowers

Orchids are my favorite flower.  So delicate, so easy to care for, so seemingly exotic, even though many of the species really aren’t.  Visiting several vegetable, fruit and flower markets in Thailand was a visual treat.  Orchids and lotus flowers abound.  A large bouquet of orchids could be had for about $1 USD.  Oh to have cut orchids in large bowls around my house!  I will settle for two or three stems in a plant!  I will let the flowers speak for themselves:

 

Pile of Orchids--$1 USD for a large bunch.

Pile of Orchids–$1 USD for a large bunch.

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Take your pick! The choices are overwhelming and all beautiful.

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More varieties of orchids. How to decide?

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Fresh Lotus Flowers–I’d never seen these in such abundance.

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The subtle flowers are inspiring. Remind me of watermelon tourmaline jewelry…

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Lotus in their natural state.

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Sampaguita Flower leis. The Sampaguita flower is a type of jasmine and has a wonderful scent.

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Making Sampaguita Leis in the market. Bangkok, Thailand.

Thai Coffee

 

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I’ve been out and about lately–when I found myself in LAX every weekend for four in a row, I thought I had died and gone to heaven!  Not what you might expect me to say, I know, but if I’m in an airport that means I am coming or going from an adventure and that makes me happy.

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When I travel, I love to experience food.  Really, food is my souvenir.  A recipe I brought back from my trip is for Thai Coffee.  This really helps a person make it across time zones, believe me!

Thai Kah-Fe


1 double espresso

2 T sweetened condensed milk

Spoon the condensed milk into a glass of double espresso and allow the milk to settle at the bottom of the glass.  Serve hot with a coffee spoon and stir to combine the coffee and milk before drinking.

Also, completely delicious over ice!!!

This recipe is courtesy of “At the Table of Jim Thompson,” an amazing Thai cookbook.

 

 

 

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The Year of the Snake in Accessories

I must admit I prefer seeing snakes in metal form, rather than live and in person.  This being the Year of the Snake, this creature is front and center of many an accessories collection and is the subject of Bulgari’s retrospective exhibit of its Serpenti jewelry collection.

Now that's how I like my snakes...Bulgari store front, NYC.

Now that’s how I like my snakes…Bulgari store front, NYC.

I’ve always liked snakes in jewelry–especially rings and bracelets which seem to lend the sinuous, wrapping ability of the creature to the form of the object.

You don’t have to shop at Bulgari to have a beauty wrap itself around your wrist.  A quick search on Etsy yielded 506 items.  Here is one of my favorites:

Consider this set–a vintage Whiting & Davis stamped belt and bracelet.  Amazing….

Mesh, enameled, bejeweled–snakes are available in all different interpretations.  This is the year to embrace the snake!

Musings on Tennis Shoes

I’ve had a struggle with wearing tennis shoes in cities and on trips.  I have always felt too touristy or out of style, but my feet sure appreciate the support and ease of walking in tennis shoes.

I recently consulted with a fashion maven to see what her opinion might be about how to get around a city and still be on trend.  What to do?

Her advice was tennis shoes!  She had specific brands in mind, depending on your budget…

For the flush of bank account, behold the Lanvin tennis shoe:

 

Lanvin Suede Sneakers via Barneys.com.

Lanvin Suede Sneakers via Barneys.com.

Yes, Lanvin, the French fashion house, makes a tennis shoe!  It is adorable, I must admit.  So, instead of dropping beaucoup dollars on the stilettos you only wear once a year, why not get your price per wear with a tennis shoe?

Also saw these Golden Goose tennis shoes while perusing the Barney’s site–I like the skater boy look:

Golden Goose Tennie--image via Barneys.com.

Golden Goose Tennie–image via Barneys.com.

 

Oh the other side of the budget coin, consider Chuck Taylors by Converse.  Long worn by hipsters, musicians, and other creative types, Chuck Taylors come at a price point that is definitely easier to swallow.  I recently went on the Converse web site and you can even customize your own!  I’m debating on a pair of washed gray ones and think I may pull the trigger.  Maybe some bright colored ones for summer…

 

Chuck Taylors via The Finish Line.

Chuck Taylors via The Finish Line.

 

Marimekko/Chuck Taylor collab via Zappos.com.  Hits the black and white trend!

Marimekko/Chuck Taylor collab via Zappos.com. Hits the black and white trend!

 

Spring Time Chucks!  Via Zappos.com.

Spring Time Chucks! Via Zappos.com.

 

 

 

 

Lunch & Dessert in NYC

On our recent long weekend in NYC, we spent a fun day strolling from SoHo to lunch in Greenwich Village at Minetta Tavern to dessert at Milk & Cookies.  It was the perfect way to recuperate from the overindulgence of the night before (and I will speak for myself in that department…) and to get a little bit of fresh air.  Although maybe we should have started with lunch and the restorative cheeseburgers and fries and ended with shopping because, really, our hearts and heads were just not into the shopping…

Cozy interior of Minetta Tavern.  It's probably never this empty except when closed!

Cozy interior of Minetta Tavern. It’s probably never this empty except when closed!

Minetta Tavern looks unassuming from the exterior, but the inside was hopping and full to the brim.  It seems that reservations are crucial–at least at noon on Saturday.  The menu is stocked with delicious brunch items and one person in our party veered from the cheeseburger/fries to experience the ham/grits/eggs combo.  The beverage menu looked worth exploring–but Diet Coke is such a perfect complement to a cheeseburger that I couldn’t resist.

Next stop:  Milk & Cookies!  I love this cookbook and was so excited to actually enter the bakery that chef Tina Casaceli put on the map.  It was quaint and adorable and evidently a stop on many walking tours.  It was rated 4.8 out of 5 on the Foods of NY Tours by over 180,000 guests!

We're Open!!!!

We’re Open!!!!

Too many cookies, too little time!

Too many cookies, too little time!

Now that I’m home, I plan on getting out my cookbook to savor some memories from last weekend.  I love the way the cookbook leaves room for some creativity–by providing recipes to five different base doughs, then having examples of how to elaborate on them.  I’ve gotten fond of throwing in my own mix of goodies, depending on what’s laying around, into the various bases.  Try it on a cold winter day!

Happy 100th Birthday Grand Central Station!

On a cold, cloudy day, it was warm and toasty inside!

On a cold, cloudy day, it was warm and toasty inside!

I had never been to Grand Central Station until last weekend.  What was I waiting for?  Even though we weren’t catching a train, we made a pitstop at Grand Central to admire the beauty and grandeur of the structure.  Got treated to a quick flash mob singing Bob Marley’s “One Love.”  It was a perfect Valentine’s Weekend moment!  My only tip would be to plan your visit around the hours of the Campbell Apartment–we missed it by a couple and it sounds like a heavenly place for an old-timey cocktail!  There’s always next time!

Happy 100!  They just don't build them like this any more....

Happy 100! They just don’t build them like this any more….

Winter Walking in the City

We’re getting ready for some travel in THE city–NYC–and very excited, but I’m worried about my poor little feet.  How to look stylish, stay comfortable, be ready to hit the pavement and walk many blocks–these are age old questions.   But then add the element of  weather that may be cold, icy, snowy, rainy or all of the above?  My snow boots tend towards the outdoorsy or the ski resort look. For this trip, I want something urban and cool and grown up, but that won’t get ruined if I step into a slush puddle!

Zappos to the rescue!  I love that web site for ease of shopping, massive selection, and especially ease of return.  The other evening, in the comfort of my flannel PJ pants, I ordered 5 pairs of boots that seemed to fit my requirements.  After receiving the shipment in short notice and trying them on here are the winners:

The winner in the fashion forward category!

The winner in the fashion forward category!

LOVE these Aquatalia by Marvin K black suede numbers.  The 3″ heel is tempered by a 1/2″ platform.  They are super comfortable to walk in–you can really take a nice stride. I also like that the fleece top is subtle and not too thick and wide.  They look great with skinny jeans and with black tights and a skirt.  These will be my museum going, nice lunch pair!

The winner in the comfort, utilitarian category is….drum roll….

The Merrell Captiva Mid Waterproof!

I cannot over-exaggerate the comfort of these boots!

I cannot over-exaggerate the comfort of these boots!

While some of the reviews of this boot don’t give it high marks for being stylish, I kind of like it.  It feels a little like a chunky, motorcycle type boot that happens to be weatherproof.   And really, it is so super comfortable. I will be ready to walk many, many blocks in these without worries of sore feet or the elements.

So, NYC here I come!

Not expecting our weather to be quite this nice....

Not expecting our weather to be quite this nice….

A Magical Time of Year

Traditionally, for me, some of the magic of the season has come from classic department store windows.  A minor trivia quiz to play with yourself–can you guess where they were taken before you scroll to the last picture?

 

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Have you guessed the location yet?  Here is a shot of the street….

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Any guesses?  If not, here you go—the location of these wonderful window decorations is Chicago at:

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5 New Favorite LA Restaurants

Here is an somewhat eclectic list of 5 restaurants I just tried in Los Angeles that I highly recommend.  All for different reasons and moods and listed in no particular order:

1.  Axe–On one of my favorite streets on the planet, Abbott Kinney, in Venice, Axe (pronouced a-shay, of course) was a fun, hang out and share good food kind of place.  Although we had a reservation, we waited for awhile in the back courtyard–but I was glad to have done that—it was a serene area away from the more bustling inside..  Depending on the occasion, it might be wise to request a seat out here!  Seated next to the grill, we were almost overcome with hunger smelling the chicken thighs roasting and you better believe we ordered and devoured some of those puppies when our time came!

Empty at 3 pm, but I bet it starts hopping the minute we leave…

2.  Wurstkuche–we visited the one in Venice on Lincoln at around 3 pm.  It was very empty and we were very hungry, so it was a good fit–food was delish and fast and the beer selection almost too vast to decide.  Belgian fries with many dipping sauces, brats of every variety–I had the duck, and Belgian beer.

3.  Ink.  Yes, I am hopping on this band wagon.  After reading reviews, I think there are some haters out there. But we really had an energizing evening, filled with great wine and inventive food.  They do take Open Spoon reservations, which is convenient, but only 14 days in advance.  I actually set a reminder on my calendar as I was planning for my trip!  Glad I did.

Wall art at Wat Dong Moon Lek Noodle

4.  Wag Dong Moon Lek–OK.  If I’m picking favorites and if there is one choice that I will most definitely be repeating it is Wag Dong Moon Lek–a Thai restaurant in Silver Lake.  Don’t let the strip mall fool you!  This place rocks.  The mint lemonade was so refreshing as was the watermelon slushy.  I felt like I was the “meal winner” (do you play that game in your household?) with the Panang Curry.  For $8.99!!!  Seriously.  In LA.  Perhaps the cheapest, most fulfilling meal we had the entire week.  I can’t get the tastes out of my mind!

800 Degrees Pizza near UCLA’s campus. Don’t be afraid of a line out the door. It moves quickly!

5.  800 Degrees Pizza–So many pizza toppings, so little time.  It’s a good thing I don’t live nearby as I would have to try them all!

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