The Five Best Things I Ate in Oaxaca, Mexico

These are the five things I can't stop thinking about

25th Aug 2010

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I went to Mexico to eat, and I handpicked the region of Oaxaca specifically because I figured I could eat there best. It’s a place where chiles, chocolate, and tomatoes have been growing for thousands of years, and where the holy trinity of corn, beans, and squash make up the local diet. Forget Italy, France, or Spain. Oaxaca is where my favorite food in the world comes from.

I spent two we...

Discovering White Gazpacho

Almonds, garlic, and bread are the magic ingredients in this alternative to tomato gazpacho

27th May 2010

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I heard a lot of complaining this month about Chicago weather, mostly about how cold and rainy it was, and I added my fair share to the chorus. "It's May, already, where's the warm weather?" was a common conversation starter, as weather always is. Apparently, somebody upstairs was listening. This week we have been thrust into what feels like the height of summer: it has climbed repeatedly abov...

Rafa''s Restaurant, and Other Highlights from the Costa Brava

Visiting the Spanish coast.

22nd Jun 2009

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Barcelona was a wonderful city to be in, but leaving it was just as fun. Installed in a tiny stick-shift Citroen, we headed north from the city for Costa Brava, opting for the cheaper no-toll road that snakes along the coast and could take twice as long. Driving in Europe was harrowing the first time I did it, but I've since learned to embrace the speeding, reckless flow--I figure it's safe...

Highlights from Barcelona on the Cheap

How to save money in the stylish Spanish city.

16th Jun 2009

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While Nick has been saving the world with quick no-soak-beans and investigating the roots of Wisconsin bratwurst (part of my family is from Wisconsin and I hope to weigh in with strong opinions on the subject sooner than later), I've been on the run, away from a kitchen, squeezing every trip out of Europe I can afford.  Which isn't much at the moment.  But a lack of cash didn't deter...

2007 Wrap-Up: Travel Posts

7th Jan 2008

I've done more traveling this year than any other on record.  And what better way to really dig into a place and gracefully breach the tricky tourist barrier than by eating where the locals do?  It's often the reason Elin and I get on a plane in the first place, and if it's not, then much obsessing is done anyway. We conduct research so that no meal will be wasted, no chance for pleasure los...

Elkano Restaurante in Getaria, Spain: "El Mejor Pescado en Mi Vida"

12th Dec 2007

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"No, no, no!" our waiter was saying, dashing across the room to our white-tableclothed table, where we were sitting in front of a grilled Turbot. I was politely transferring a portion of the fish's glistening meat to my plate with two forks.

"It's very important to us," he began to explain, almost out of breath, while taking my fork and knife, "to eat with our hands."  He picked up the fis...

Three Tapas Bars in San Sebastian

11th Dec 2007

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We were in a tiny silver Citroen, maps strewn all over the dashboard, Elin in the passenger seat, me driving us in circles (literally, around the roundabout over and over) trying to get us to the correct highway and out of Madrid.  Elin was reading Bill Bryson’s Notes From a Small Island during our trip--and while overall she couldn’t help but write him off as a mostly unfunny curmud...

Three Tapas Bars in Madrid

6th Dec 2007

As I mentioned, Madrid is a city easily covered by foot (at least, the city center is--I’m sure the outer boroughs, so to speak, are worth exploring), which leaves a visitor quickly able to see the Prado, Plaza del Sol, and any other major tourist destinations in an afternoon.  What’s left is to submit yourself to the ebb and flow of Madrid’s infectious lifestyle: eating, drinking, and neve...