Previous month:
October 2006
Next month:
December 2006

November 2006

Hai Yen on Argyle {From The Raving Dish}

Dscf2247In a city where every great dish seems to have a gazillion words written about it, Argyle Street is the land of a thousand discoveries. Down every neon-lit block is another snug Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese restaurant, each one claiming to be better the next: Smudged windows display quippy Time Out write-ups, stamps of approval from Check Please, glowing Sun-Times and Tribune reviews or the best, a toothy photo of the Hungry Hound.
After taste-testing my way through several of the hit-or-miss restaurants, I think I've found a sure-fire winner. The bites of all bites resides at Hai Yen, 1055 W. Argyle St., a Vietnamese and Chinese combination restaurant that makes every other morsel of Asian food I've ever tossed back seem sub par in comparison.

Continue reading "Hai Yen on Argyle {From The Raving Dish}" »

Glass Pots of Creamy Yogurt = Adulthood

Dscf1928_6There is almost nothing in the entire world more civilized than a glass pot of yogurt.  I first got addicted to them when I spent some time in a small village in France and since have fallen in love with Greek Fage yogurt (they come in plastic containers with a little honey pouch on the side) BUT every day whilst in South Africa, I would dive into the free b'fast my hotel had and grab one of these little jars of peach or strawberry yogurt.  You'd never believe that a glass jar could make you feel like a million bucks, but I'm telling you, there is no way I could go back to eating out of plastic again.  As much as I love my Fage, it's all glass for me--all the time.  Weird, I know...but I guess it just comes with age~~

Red Bull Gelato~~Just a Crime if you ask me!

Dscf1969The South Africans have taken wild energy to a whole new level with Red Bull gelato.  Who ever would have thought to toss some Bull into a big fat pile of ice cream?  I seriously could not bring myself to buy a Red Bull cone (I can only take my addiction so far without buggin' out), but I did take a lickin' off a pal of mines dessert of choice.  It really tasted of frozen Red Bull and nothing else. This crazy, mind-spinning drink has totally taken over the world it continent at a time. I'm very scared of where it will show up next. Grossed out and scared at the same time....yikes!

A Mexican at Heart? El Rey Del Taco to the Rescue~

Dscf1882You'd think that Mexican food around the world would go the way of Chicago—a taco joint on every corner. Not so in Africa. I was there for close to a month and saw neither hide nor tail of anything to do with my favorite south-of-the-border cuisine. No tacos, no burritos and certainly none of my beloved huevos rancheros. What utter baloney.
The quizzical looks I got every time I asked where the heck I could grab a quick taco were priceless. Apparently, the South Africans have yet to discover God's greatest gift to the weekend hangover.

Continue reading "A Mexican at Heart? El Rey Del Taco to the Rescue~" »

Craving Diner Food from Africa

Dscf1666There are many fine things that I can say about South Africa, the gorgeous country that I am working in right now.
The violet jacaranda trees take my breath away every time I open my window; the rooibos red tea latte that I toss back every morning is a tastebud sensation; the wine is as spirited as any I've had 'round the world; and the salads are a sight to behold, giant platters of bright veggies, grilled haloumi cheese and peppery olive oil.

Continue reading "Craving Diner Food from Africa" »

Red Gold: An Addictive Drink dubbed Red Latte

Dscf1932Ruby red Rooibos tea is famous all over South Africa.  I've developed the most intense love affair with it in the form of a red latte since I've arrived.  You can't really see it from this photo, but the bright, feel-good tea is  whipped up with some frothy milk and after I sling about five packs of sugar in there, I've created a little hot tea cookie in a cup.  Though rooibos has no caffeine, I still get all wired from it (well, that and a fistful of Red Bulls) every morning.  It just makes me feel clean and happy and the health benefits abound: it's full of antidioxants that slow the aging process, it boosts immunity and it's been known to help aid with insomnia, irritability, headaches, nervous tension, and hypertension (all MST culprits).  Rooibos is very expensive back home at Whole Foods, but here, it's practically a weed--you can buy bags of it at the market for right about nothing.  I shall bring many bags home~~I'm pretty stunned that Starbucks hasn't marketed this mama.

Jacaranda Trees and A Lovely City called Johannesburg

Dscf1925Waking up in the city of Johannesburg is a site for sore eyes.  I'm on the top floor of a great little hotel in the Rosebank area and the view from my room is sprinkled with the most vibrant and gorgeous purple trees you've ever seen. They're called jacaranda trees and seriously, they are the most stunning things to lay eyes on every morning.  All their little purple petals float to the ground (it reminds me of Charleston) and everywhere you look they pop up out of nowhere and pepper the landscape with soft tufts of brilliant color.  I became obsessed with them the minute I saw them.  Interesting fact:  JBG is the worlds largest man-made forest (jacarandas are indigenous to Australia and South American) and these little trees are becoming a hindrance because of their pods and petals locking up the sewers and such.  They're talking about removing them all together but I seriously doubt that would ever happen.   Can you imagine ripping these beauties from the ground?

The Coast of Senegal--Come Early Morning

Dscf1905I've been in Africa for over 2 weeks now and still have a spell to go.  There is so much to pack into a little blog space, I just don't even know where to start.  First of all, let me just start by saying that the coast is lovely--as are most coasts from the air.  Flying in from Chicago, you refuel in Dakar, Senegal early in the AM and then head back up into the sky for another 8 hour stretch to Jo''s a long ass haul to South Africa.  But, so damn exotic.  I've read so many incredible  adventure books about all the tall ships full of sailors, spices, animals and gold that crashed into these exact coastlines back in the day when explorers still existed and there was infinite discovery around every corner.  No more, though...actually, I don't believe that...I know there is still more out there that is totally untouched.  I just read about a new waterfall, Gocta, that was discovered deep in the mountains of  Peru--it's being called the 3rd largest in the world.  Imagine stumbling across that one?  More to come on Africa and violet sunsets.