If you like what you see, feel free to check out my other foodie travel posts here. And make sure to check out my South Korea Foodie Itinerary to continue on week 2 of my journey on this vacation!
As we began to walk around Bloomfield Farms my mood skyrocketed...breathing in the fresh air, taking in the views and playing bocce while sipping wine with the very people who grew the grapes and made the wine from three vineyards all within miles of Bloomfield Farms. This all reminded me of an idea I had for a business years ago but had buried deep while I built my life and career here in San Francisco. As I though about this idea again while enjoying the wine and having fun with my friends I found myself saying over and over again that this experience was making me "happy in my soul". And this was all before the food!
So first things first...I will say neither came even close to my favorite lobster roll from Sesuit Harbor Cafe in Dennis, MA shown above. Let's be honest though, I'm not expecting to find a CA-made lobster roll that can rival an authentic New England one...but I sure will be happy trying! Now onto the first two contenders...Sam's ChowderMobile and Lobsta Truck.
Our first Alpaca adventure came in the form of Alpaca Tartar at Astrid y Gaston in Lima. Having been named as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, it was a pretty safe bet that this dish would be a winner regardless of the focus on this new, strange meat. The tartar was served in three ways along with waffle cut potato chips. The first preparation was traditional in style…quail egg on top with a bit of hot sauce to go along with it. The other two preparations were international journeys in their own right with one taking us to Japan with flavors of wasabi and ginger and the other bringing us back to Thailand with Thai chilies and mango. All three were distinct and amazingly delicious with the alpaca being lighter than your traditional steak tartar. It’s almost what I would expect from a pork tartar if one were to exist. And I love me some pork!
Our second taste of Alpaca was in the form of grilled skewers…slightly crisp on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. In this simple preparation the Alpaca was almost like a hybrid between pork and chicken. The texture was very similar to well-cooked chicken but it was more flavorful.
One of the first things everyone asked me when I returned home from Peru was if I tried Guinea Pig, or Cuy Chactado. As you can see by the picture above, the answer is yes. Now before you get all bent out of shape thinking about the cute little guinea pig you had as a pet as a child you have to understand the perspective of someone like me who's passion is to explore new cultures through food.
Guinea Pig has a different meaning to Peruvians, particularly in the highlands. It's not only an important source of protein, particularly in rural areas, but the guinea pig also holds a longstanding and meaningful place in Peruvian folk medicine and religious practices historically. There's even an Indian version of the Last Supper on display in Cusco that shows Jesus and the 12 disciples feasting on this local delicacy. Not trying guinea pig while in Peru would be like going to Texas and not trying authentic BBQ or going to Thailand and not trying some insects...blasphemous to a food explorer like me!
When we first moved to the Marina almost two years ago we were pretty happy with our decision after 3+ years of noise & shenanigans in the TrendyLoin, TenderNob or whatever you wanted to call our old ‘hood. However, there were two things we really missed...diversity (of both cuisines and people) and the fabulous Heart of the City Farmer’s Market in the Civic Center that we used to walk to each Sunday.
For our first 6 months in the Marina we were shocked to find that there was no Farmer’s Market at all within walking distance (with all of us yuppies? what gives?!) but then last summer the Fort Mason Farmer’s Market opened up on Sundays from 9:30-1:30 for the summer only. Lucky for us it was such a success that they decided to keep it open year round and it is still going strong 1 year later.
As I was walking towards my neighborhood Fort Mason Farmer’s Market this weekend I felt a certain buzz in the air as I approached. There were more people, more smiles, more laughter and a general uplifting feeling. As I looked a bit more closely I quickly realized why...the start of the summer produce has arrived!
I grew up in Massachusetts, so to be clear eating only what produce is in season is not something that I was brought up doing but after 8 years on the West Coast this has become second nature to me (well except for my bananas and the occasional pineapple which are never in season here but I can’t seem to give up!). In climates a bit less forgiving than CA, eating only what is in season is admittedly not quite as easy but I truly believe that it is still a worthwhile and rewarding effort...why? Well, my reasons are...
Link to the video here or with the rest of my videos on the videos tab of this site.
And of course, as always, I’ll caveat that until I get my own TV Show (anyone? anyone?) my videos are definitely amateur but for me it’s really all about sharing the experience with you not creating a perfect video. I hope you enjoy it!