pastéis de belém

posted in: food, travel | 1

pastel de Belém

One of the highlights of my trip to Portugal was a visit to Antiga Confeitaria de Belém, considered the mecca of portuguese egg tarts. Normally you can get custard tarts in any Portuguese snack bar by asking for “pastéis de nata”, but the best ones are to be found at this bakery, served warm out of the oven, and specially called pastéis de Belém.

An excellent description of this Portuguese institution/legend can be found on Leite’s Culinaria.

lust & last

posted in: travel | 0

there are lots of ads around Stockholm consisting of pixelated 18th-century oil paintings—a marketing ploy by the national museum for their lust & last (“lust & vice”) exhibit.

according to the museum:

The exhibition Lust & Vice shows examples of how sexuality, virtue and sin have been depicted in art since the 16th century – from an age when the Church preached that sexual contact was only permitted within wedlock to today’s questioning of who erotic art is created for. A total of 200 works are on show from the museum’s own collections, a mix of paintings, drawings, sculptures and applied art. You can also see a genuine chastity belt!

the exhibit was not bad. the most amusing piece was a two-sided painting by Martin van Meytens called “The Kneeling Nun”…

front side
back side

(painting images from albherto’s blog)

Nasjonalmuséet i Stockholm
Södra Blasieholmshamnen 2
111 48 Stockholm, Sverige

Opening hours:
Tuesday, Thursday 11 am – 8 pm.
Wednesday, Friday –Sunday 11 am – 5 pm.
Monday closed.

Admission: 120 kroner

food lessons from paris

posted in: food, travel | 0

had a nice visit to Paris with my parents, and was surprised to learn a few things about food in France:

  • as expected, the food at most of the random French restaurants we tried was delicious. unexpected: the portions were huge.
  • any dessert that even mentions chocolate is swimming in it. and chocolate shops are everywhere.
  • moules frites: our waitress was so distressed to see me eating mussels with a fork, that she insisted on teaching me the correct method (“it’s so ugly to see you eating it that way, and your mussels are getting cold!”) and literally hand-fed me to show me how (yes, she was manic and more than a bit embarrassing). FYI: you’re supposed to use a mussel as pincers to pull out the flesh from another. and then you’re supposed to nestle the empty shells within each other into an orderly pile on the side of your plate.
  • foie gras: not a big fan.
  • pâtisseries: big fan, and happily you can find plenty of bakeries on every street.
  • can’t decide what to have for dessert? no problem: café gourmand includes a mini-portion of 3-4 of the restaurant’s desserts, accompanied by a cup of espresso.
  • macarons are expensive.
5-kg containers of nutella (I saw a woman buying two)
fancy chocolates at galeries lafayette
our successful search for tarte tatin (flambée & à la mode)

looking forward to our next visit!

taste of krakow

posted in: food, travel | 0

food findings from a short but sweet visit to Krakow:

cake in a can!

ok, it wasn’t *really* cake in a can, but only the filling (to my disappointment–sort of like discovering poutine in a can is actually only the sauce).

lard on bread

this time it was definitely lard on bread. not too bad, but I should have added some salt. I later found a bottled version in a fancy grocery store:

"lard with ground bacon"

along with…

"strawberry jam with polish vodka"

but my memory of the visit is blurred by the food coma from our last night, induced by mountains of honey-braised ribs, crispy pork knuckle, marinated duck and perogies perogies perogies… (all served by buxom Polish waitresses, of course.)

a day at the beach… in Dalian

posted in: china, food, travel | 0

Since it’s December and minus 15°C out, I thought I’d write about the beach. Or at least about the last time I’d been to a beach, which was in Dalian on China’s Northeast coast.

Dalian was rated China’s most livable city in 2006–a fact that kept popping up everywhere we went (or maybe we were just watching too many CCTV commercials at the hotel). Dalian also happened to be the site of a massive pipeline oil spill in July, equivalent in size to the Exxon Valdez accident (though I suppose this is minuscule when compared to what was happening in the Gulf of Mexico at the time).

Anyway, we were curious to check out the beaches since we were there barely 3 weeks after the oil spill.

business as usual

As far as Chinese beaches go, things appeared to be normal for August: i.e., insanely crowded + blazingly hot. We opted to stay away from the crowds and crossed over to a rocky area by the water. No oil residue in sight!

…and only one wedding photo shoot.

[the job of the woman behind the bride was to throw the train of the dress high into the air–imitating a gigantic gust of sea wind, I guess?]

The heat was too much, so it wasn’t long before we grabbed a taxi back to the hotel… and after some rest and A/C, we headed to a sichuanese restaurant and had some of my favourite dishes for dinner: shui-zhu-yu (fish), pickled cucumbers, and yu-xiang-qiezi (eggplant). woot!

1 2 3 4 5 6 8