Monday, January 16, 2012

Trip to Chile Part 2: Best Things I Ate

A.  Preparation

During my recent trip to Chile with Sausalito’s Mayor, Herb Weiner, which I described in my post a couple of weeks agoI had the opportunity to try a number of traditional Chilean dishes.  In preparation for our trip I did quite a bit of research about Chilean cuisine and found the following English sites to be of the most assistance (I welcome suggestions about others that I may have overlooked):

~ Wikipedia’s Chilean cuisine site

~ The food section of the Chilean government’s This is Chile site

~ Tasting Chile, the site of an American named Margaret Snook who has lived in Chile several years.

~ Eating Chilean, the site of an American named Jim Stuart, a former college professor who moved to Chile when he retired.  Jim’s entries have in many cases a historical perspective that I found very helpful

~ FoodyChile, the site of a young American named Colin Bennett whose market tour Herb and I took while in Santiago

Unfortunately my Spanish is not good enough to allow me to make efficient use of Spanish language sites, although I did in particular enjoy visits to the site of the Círculo de Cronistas Gastronómicos de Chile, a Chilean culinary society.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Osechi Ryori - A Japanese New Year Tradition

Last night Nancy and I attended a fundraising dinner in Japantown in San Francisco sponsored by the San Francisco Japantown Foundation. The dinner featured osechi-ryori,
a special set of Japanese dishes generally consumed only as part of the celebration of the new year. Nancy and I had enjoyed those dishes when we lived in Japan, but had not had them for some time.

The event was held on the top floor of the New People building and we had a full house.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Stalking the Monkey Faced Eel - Merry Christmas!

In a truly inspired choice for a Christmas present, Connie, one of our wonderful daughters-in-law, signed me up for a inter-tidal fishing tour with Kirk Lombard of Sea Forager of San Francisco, blogger and holder of the California record for the largest monkey face eel ever caught.  Plus she threw in some snazzy ProLine waders!

So at 2:00 this afternoon, coinciding with a "minus" (i.e. lower than average) tide, my new waders and I showed up at the parking lot at Pillar Point, just north of Half Moon Bay, with about 15 other foraging wannabes, where Kirk, and his trusty sidekick Mike, met us.

From there our first stop was the nearby mud flats to secure some ghost shrimp for bait, and then to dig for horseneck clams.  In the meantime Mike had dropped a couple of crab pots in the bay hoping to catch some rock crab.
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Trip to Chile - Part 1 - Geography

“Chile, that remote land that few people can locate on the map because it’s as far as you can go without falling off the planet.  No one passes by casually, however lost he may be, although many visitors decide to stay forever, enamored of the land and the people.”
Isabel Allende – “My Invented Country”

“Where exactly is Viña del Mar?” If you had asked me that question about a year ago I would not have been able to answer, notwithstanding that it has been Sausalito’s sister city since 1960 and the plaza in the middle of Sausalito is named after Viña. However, through an unexpected set of circumstances, at the beginning of last year I became involved with an effort to revitalize that relationship. That led first to a visit to Sausalito in July by a delegation from Viña led by their dynamic mayor, Virginia Reginato (which coincided with a visit to San Francisco by the Chilean Navy’s training ship, La Esmeralda), and then, at the beginning of November, to my own trip to Chile together with Sausalito’s mayor, Herb Weiner – the first time for either of us to travel to South America.  

July 2010 - Viña Comes to Sausalito
November 2010 - Sausalito Goes to Viña    
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Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year’s Resolution

Happy New Year. Wow, has really been four months since my last post? I'm afraid I've been distracted with matters related to our Sausalito/ Viña del Mar sister city initiative, including a two-week trip to Chile in November, but hopefully I'll have more time this year to spend here. I will shortly add a couple of posts about my trip, including highlights of of the Chilean cuisine I encountered.  In the meantime, here's a shot of the sunrise taken from the Sausalito shore on New Year's Day.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Squid and Chorizo – Cross Species Delight

When Nancy is away I can indulge myself with some dishes which she would prefer not to have in the house when she is home. Hence, since she is back in New York awaiting the arrival of our second grandchild, this afternoon I decided to make myself some Sautéed Calamari with Chorizo using a recipe by Rick Stein that I came across here.

I just made half the recipe and it was more than enough for a good sized portion plus some leftovers. I was not able to find chorizo (The Spanish Table was closed when I stopped by) so I ended up using some Portuguese linguica. The chorizo would have probably been just a bit spicier and coarser and would have been a better choice.

I also mashed half of the chickpeas which was a good choice since it added a bit more body to the dish. Finally I was also unable to find arugula so used spinach. Not bad, but greens with a slightly bitter note would have been better.
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sanuki Udon – A Master Demonstration

Sausalito has for over 20 years been the sister city of Sakaide, a city located on the north coast of the Japanese island of Shikoku on the Inland Sea.  Sakaide is the point on Shikoku where the Seto Ohashi Bridge that connects Shikoku with Honshu comes ashore, and the original motivation for the sister city relationship between Sakaide and Sausalito was influenced by the two cities’ proximity to major bridges.

The most significant element of the relationship has been annual student trips – one year one way and the next year the other way. Last year a group of students from Sakaide visited Sausalito, and just this past month a group headed to Sakaide from Sausaito.

This weekend is the annual Sausalito Art Festival which has grown over its 59 years of operation to become a major event. In addition to the displays of art and live music, a number of Sausalito non-profit organizations operate food booths at the Festival which provides important operating funds for them. The Sausalito/Sakaide Sister City group has done so in the past and is doing so again this weekend.
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