Posts Tagged With: dinner

Eat, drink, dance and feel the love in Amsterdam!

Denise should look extremely familiar to those who have been peaking at this blog for the past 21 months as she has made many appearances. I met this magnificent lady years ago while we were studying in Alicante Spain. We reunited in Argentina for some volunteer work and more studies and have spent many of evenings dancing the night away in Amsterdam. Last year, I even lived with her family in Alphen aan den Rijn. Here is just a few pics from the years of memories that I’ve made with sweet Denise.

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Now, I return again to replenish my craving for her presence and this time, I get to introduce Mike and Hayden too! (If you’ve followed for long enough, you’d know that last year she got to meet three other of my American friends, Ian, Mike D and Marshall!).

The day starts with the introductory as we sit outside at one of the many terraces offered in Amsterdam.

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Time for a snack which leads us to a variety of options. Here in Holland, there are many typical Dutch bites to pick from. In Amsterdam however, you have a wide selection from many parts of the world. Specialty stands to Turkish, Mexican, Italian, Japanese and more. I suggest just wandering the streets until your eyes, nose or tummy decides for you. Today, I went for a home baked spelt bread cone that was filled with Salmon, sprouts and a dill spiced sauce.

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The group of us decided on trying out an extremely typical plate here in Holland which consists of herring fish, onion and pickle.

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Flashback moment! This construction site has been here every year that I’ve visited. Just for fun, we shot the first picture years ago and of course it has turned into an annual photo. Enjoy, year one, two and present!

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After a fun walk around the city, we depart from the boys to go back to her home town of Alphen aan den Rijn for dinner with my (her) family before getting ready for a night out on the town. We made a pit stop by the work place of Denise’s little sister, Manouk. Her and I connected last year when I was adopted into her family. Unfortunately this year, she is working so she won’t be able to join us out and about. Here is her “sad I can’t come with you” photo, followed by the “glad I got to see you” smile.

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A little time in the kitchen, a wonderful dinner at the table and a complete evening with one of my favorite Dutch families! Writing this page made me realize I didn’t get a photo of them… Next time.

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To get back to the city, we hop on a bus that takes us to the train that brings us to the centeral station. From there, we get her bike again and ride to find the boys.

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Along the way, Denise hinted to me that there would be a few more joining us this evening which is always great to hear… the more the merrier! News to me, it was a surprise from my dear friend Carina! All the way from Germany, she had traveled here with another sweetheart Jenni for a night out with us!

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Details about Carina and Jenni will come later. For now, here’s a peak at what a girls night out in Amsterdam can look like.

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Two fun surprises in the coat check! First we have Denise’s hairstylist that we danced with last year, always full of energy!

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Next, this wonderful woman has been taking care of the jackets and wash room here at this specific club now for 20 years! The first photo is from last year followed by this evening!

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Not feeling like a big dance party? Other evenings leave you with choices like a nice dinner on a terrace, a walk to a coffee house (not to be confused with a coffee “shop”) or one of my favorites, a picnic next to a canal. Depending on the neighborhood, time of day and weather, you can find several groups, big and small, gathering waterside. Tonight, 4 of us went to a local store, collected goodies then found a seat next to a canal for snacks and great conversation.

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Who’s the fourth in the pictures? Lets pause for a moment and reminisce of the times with Simon. He was one of the fellow travelers I met in Argentina that I reunited for the hike in Machu Picchu with. Take a look!

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Night walks can also bring unexpected surprises. On this evening, I followed the sounds of a beautiful acoustical set. These three kind girls have been playing to fund their future worldly travels. Of course I’ll donate to driven people doing something they love to support a journey they desire, well done girls! Your voices caught my attention and your attitude kept me intrigued. Keep on smiling and doing what you do!

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On Mikes last night here with us, we decided to stay low key and chat at a local pub when this woman approached our table and in the sweetest voice offered us a “reading” based on our names and birthdays. Very interesting and certainly entertaining as she called us out on some personality quirks, especially because the boys and I have known each other for so long!

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Leaving Amsterdam before us, after two weeks in Europe, Mike departs back to the states. I watch him walk away feeling gratitude for his company and happy for his experience. Mike, I truly value our deep conversations and friendly debates that not only stimulate new thoughts, but keep me on my toes. Cheers till next time my friend!

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My favorite picture of the boys this trip!

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A few more days in Holland and then you’ll find me bouncing my way through Germany. Get ready for curry wurst, live music and roller coasters!

Categories: Edibles!, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Last 12 hours at the Tropical Farm

Although these pictures will give you a decent idea of the eventful night in the jungle, I highly suggest making time to read the descriptions as the adventure continues…

I’m pleased as they show us our room for it has all of the necessities with four walls, a ceiling, a window, a bed and a door. I toss our bag to the floor and turn to see my mom intensely staring at the ceiling.

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I see absolutely nothing so I make the mistake of asking, “What is it?”. Now when you’re dealing with someone who is, let’s say imaginative, you have to constantly evaluate the true seriousness. She explains her thoughts of what might be living in there and what could possibly crawl down during the night. Oh dear… It has begun.

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Trying to explain to her that the bugs mean no harm is like trying to convince… well, you get it. After pointing out a few critters that she didn’t want to sleep with, we do a quick brush through. “Killing” things really isn’t my forte, so here’s a few “attempts” just for her peace of mind.

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After reassuring her that we’ve gotten most of the crawling, flying and jumping creatures out of the room, I get a smile from her as we leave to go help with dinner.

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Tonight’s menu is homemade tortilla bread, grilled veggies, sprouted beans and scrumptious hot oil made by sweet Gloria. The drink to complement this flavorful meal was fresh chestnut juice!

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Check out the herbs we added straight from the garden, scrumptious! After we rolled it out fairly thin they through it over the grill. Are you jealous?

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As we turn in for the night, I ask for a mosquito net. Mostly for moms sake (last year she survived dengue fever after being bitten) and partially for my sanity, as I wouldn’t get any sleep with her swatting flying objects all night.

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Turns out I’m a solid 2 feet shy of hanging it, so we call in the other volunteers to help us secure our protective gear.

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Does she look convinced?

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Sweet dreams (ha…ha…ha).

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Our morning coffee was accompanied by the fella in the first photo and I almost grabbed the second one that was headed towards my backpack. Not to mention the jumping spider that we lost track of last night.

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After the exhausting night and eight legged company with coffee, the decision is made to leave the farm. The bags are packed and you can see sadness in our eyes as we head out. Must keep faith there’s a greater reason and positive purpose in the new path ahead!
Thank you Gloria, Mauricio, Chilly Willy and the other volunteers that made the last 24 hours a memorable event!

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Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Siesta’s and Fiesta’s in Spain!

The culture here tends to feel like a slightly more “grown up” version of the college life. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but they all seem to live it to the fullest and love it!

So what is this lifestyle I speak of? Let’s run through a typical 24 hours in Spain. Of course I realize that being in tourist cities can bring out the party people, but even when I’m with the locals, they claim that they do it bigger than the travelers!

7a – 10a
If you were to stroll the streets at this time, you would mostly find a few locals bringing in the fresh ingredients to prep their shop for the day or an eager tourist family patiently pacing the streets waiting for one of the vendors to put down their coffee and open the front door.
Me? I’m an early bird and thoroughly love strolling the empty beaches and quiet streets while watching the city wake up. Smelling the buttery batch of croissants and homemade bread from the corner bakery, watching the birds search for the first crumb, while listening to the family in the back of the restaurant argue about what should go on the “Menu del día”. (Momma always wins).

Here are some random shots of the beaches, cities and cafes at this time of day,
Awh… Buenos Dias.

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Here is the view from the balcony at 8am followed by a shot taken around noon.

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This is another duo picture with the first being around 9am and the second photo was in the afternoon.

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10 – 14:00 (10a-2p)
The streets are coming alive… barely. It’s comical to look around and see the difference between who had a restful night compared to the ones who crawled out of bed to try and recover over coffee and toast at the local cafe. Let’s not forget the hooligans that are still going strong from the previous evening. The vendors are now open, the tourist are happy and the fresh sand now has little toe prints from the early birds.

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I stumbled upon this little antique street fair and caught myself wondering why things are so much more “adorable” or “cute” when you’re on the road, verses just at home.

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I passed by this venue that had chairs with little fish swimming around in the foot tanks. What? Sure I’ll give it a go! It felt like tiny little taps of dull needles all over as the hungry fellas nibbled off any old skin cells. Once in awhile you could see (and feel) a determined one get a little aggressive… And I thought pedicures tickled!

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As the heat peaks, you can see the beaches that were once made of sand now home to a number of umbrellas, towels and sun craving people.

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14:00 – 18:00 (2p – 6p)
Although not every shop closes for this length of time, most break for the typical siesta. No, this doesn’t mean the entire country goes home for a nap. After chatting with several different locals, I found that this time is used wisely depending on their personal life. Many spend these hours prepping their business for the busy night to come, others go home to take care of errands and chores while the kids are still in school. If you wander the streets, you may get lucky and catch a group of locals sitting outside appreciating this time with multiple generations of family.
If you’re a new tourist to this culture, you’ll find yourself lost in empty streets… hungry, confused and wondering if there was a bomb threat in which you didn’t get the memo to hide and cover.

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Here’s a main indoor market during “Siesta”. Only just an hour prior to this photo there were hundreds of shoulders squeezing their way through the crowds. The sounds of casual conversation mingled with the shouting of product prices and sales… Kids with chocolate covered faces playing hide and seek while their parents (with stress on their faces) reach for the last item before the doors close.

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18:00 – 22:30 (6p – 10:30)
For most around here, the earliest dinner isn't until 7p and the usual time to sit and eat is 8p – 9:30p. If you're not prepping dinner or finishing up your sight seeing, you might be out roaming the streets shopping again or in my case, having a cold beverage with a friend. Either way this is the down time before the fiestas kick into full swing!

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22:30 – Daybreak (10:30 – Sunrise)
Depending on how late your dinner or when the celebrations begin… once the sun goes down, the energy goes up!

Some evening pictures of the “calming before the storm”.

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The last night in Alicante, a group of us gathered for appetizers and drinks for a relaxing start. Pretty tricky to top tasty food, adult beverages and a variety of nationalities lounging to the relaxing sound of your friend on the guitar. Did I mention it was on the beach that sits below a castle? Kind of forces a deep breath, right?

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Here is a mess of photos that should give you a solid idea of the “party” scene in Spain (or at least the one shown to me!)

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To truly understand the excitement of my buddy Ian celebrating his 30th birthday at a show in Ibiza, you must first know TIESTO (funny that my auto correct puts his name in all caps). This DJ is award winning, Grammy nominated, and recently titled a “Universal phenomenon” after he performed at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles before an audience of 26,000 fans. That’s the largest single headline DJ show in United States history.
So here’s a glimpse of the Ibiza birthday night that started with a bus ride to a concert, traveled to the VIP section (notice that we’re standing slightly above the crowd) and ended to the sun coming up… Happy birthday pal!

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All thumbs up and a sunrise to hug us good night…

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fish N Chips x 3

I mentioned in a previous post that I would tell you what I did with the beautiful (but massive) plate of fish, chips, veggies and salad I was served back in Timaru, New Zealand.

I believe in a balanced lifestyle that best suits each individual person.  For example, some enjoy 3 large meals with no snacks in the middle, many are gluten free, others may feel at their best as vegetarians… Whatever fits your daily routine and allows you to maximize your health, energy and schedule, I say go for it! 
However, If you’re always sick and/or tired, over or under a healthy weight,  not sleeping well, (the list goes on) I would suggest evaluating not only your stress level, but your nutritional habits.

For me, I feel at my best when I eat veggie based, protien enhanced, small portions with as much variety as possible. I add products with fat by sticking primarily to the ones that have some type of benefit to my health if it be nuts, seeds, bananas, yogurt, avocado, oils, etc.
Once in awhile, I’ll throw in a scrumptious meal thats out of my norm…just to keep my body guessing and taste buds alert. Also, this world is full of amazing things, how dare I limit myself to what “I” think is the best.

MEAL #1

The first portion I ate just the way as it came. I always try it exactly how the chef prepares it out of respect for their creation and also because usually…well always… It’s made differently than I would of done it and I love new things!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

As soon it came out I separated a serving size of the fiput and put the other 2/3 in a to go box. (I de-breaded it leaving just the white flaky fish for left overs). 
I thouroughly enjoyed all of the fresh raw veggies and put a good portion of the cooked veggies aside with the remaining fish. Chips (fries) are obviously not the healthiest choice, but an unusual treat and I valued every single bite. There were a few crispy ones left so not to be wasteful, I put those in the to go box as well for a future recipe. 
With every meal or snack I try and balance protein, carb and fat. Here’s how this one worked:

Protien: Fish
Carb: Veggies and chips
Fat: Oil

MEAL #2

So now I have 2 servings of fish left, some chips and cooked veggies. I took a little less than 1/2 of the fish and the rest of the chips and put them in a bowl.   Added 1 egg white, and some raw chopped veggies including celery, carrot, onion,  bell pepper, and zucchini. Herbed it up with some cilantro, garlic and pepper (salt not needed due to the left over Chips). Mashed it all together to create a fish, veggie patty and grilled it. Once it came off the grill, I put it aside a green salad with no dressing and used the flavor of the patty and a dash of salsa to complement the greens. 

Protein: Fish and egg.
Carbs: Chips and veggies.
Fat: Oil from the fish, and chips.

MEAL #3

Remaining fish and veggies simply thrown in a brown rice tortilla with a dab of yogurt, cucumber, avocado and lettuce. A fish wrap… Easy!

Protein: Fish and yogurt
Carbs: Tortilla and veggies
Fat: Oil from the fish and avocado.

So one plate made 3 huge, complete meals with only adding a few additional items. This round I was lucky to have a fridge and grill to use for my left overs as well as a fresh market within walking distance. Score!

Categories: Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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