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Showing posts from 2008

Favorite places to eat on Kauai

Hamura sign 2 yrs ago. On a previous visit back in May 2006, I compiled a list of eateries that were the utmost favorites of mine. These places were located in the west to southeast areas of the island, in towns along the stretch of miles between where I lived and temporarily worked. Suffice to say that a lot can change in the course of two years and I had great fun working on a new list of favorites. Most are tried and true from the previous list, while a few are new faces and places that haven't even been in business for a year. The listing is not in order of preference, but follow a clockwise direction beginning from the north shore of Kauai, so without further ado...1.Pau Hana Pizza/Kilauea Bakery - Kong Lung Center, KilaueaWritten up in the NY Times, my only regret is not living close enough to this wonderful bakery-slash-pizza shop. What's so great about it besides the breads, delicious pizzas (loved the Billie Holliday one), delicious pastries and casual island dec…

I see sea glass by the seashore

Last month I had the opportunity to go beachcombing along a rocky shore hidden behind a sugar plantation. As you can see, that canefield is cultivated on red dirt that extends all the way out to the Pacific coastline, yet I can't imagine that this less-than-glamorous scene would ever be a visitor's idea of a day on the beach in Hawaii. Where are the swaying palm trees? No swimmers, surfers, and babes in bikinis? No sandy white beach?Rest assured that those things do exist here (Waikiki and Oahu's North Shore for example), but if you're a jewelry designer this type of "glass" beach is like stumbling upon gold. Among the rocks and pebbles and chunks of dead coral, broken shards of colorful glass and porcelain fragments "litter" the water's edge. Worn to a smooth, frosted finish by sand and sea, beach glass is what my uncle collects to create beautiful one-of-kind pendants of his own design. Each shard is inspected before the best are transf…

Eating in Trentino: traditional food and drink

Where there is avid hiking, there comes a hunger to match, so I saved the best part for last. We spend a fair amount of weekend time in the regions of upper Lombardia/Trentino but I've never written about the food in great detail. The cuisine in Trentino-Alto Adige takes some influence from neighboring Austria, individually unique foods that aren't generally thought of as italian, especially when you note that kraut and wurstel is on the menu. There are a few well-known meat dishes that stick out in my mind but the real bragging rights goes to a fruit that caused Eve a bit of embarrassment (quick! grab me a fig leaf!!) and a lifetime of disgrace. See the sign below where it says strada della mela? That's Roadway of the Apple and they mean it. This is Italy's apple kingdom. Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Renette, Pink Lady and much more. Like them apples? MotH doesn't (fresh ones anyway), but he has nothing against apple strudel, so when in Trentino, we d…

Lake Como: the Brunate - Montepiatto - Torno trail

Ahhh...the celebrity allure of Lago di Como (no small thanks to Clooney). This is a repeat hike accomplished in full compared to the shortened version that we went on 6½ months ago in Hiking above Lake Como: 2 hours tops. This itinerary includes a steep descent to the village Torno where a slow boat takes you back to Como. The path is easy to follow if you look for the Strada Regia signs at the beginning and stick with the Montepiatto trail markers along the way. It's advisable to take the funicular tram up to Brunate (10 minutes). From there, exit the tram, go down the steps and head right. At each of the two forks in the road keep to the left. At the very end of the campo sportivo (sports field) the trail begins.The main points of interest are ice age stone formations and several tombs which have been carved out of granite rock. (Don't worry, there are no dead people in them.) The tomb (masso avello) has an interesting history in relation to the Roman Empire and mor…

The Initiation of Mister B

How to introduce a 6-month old dachshund to the thrills of alpine hiking
We're going WHERE? Wake him out of his cozy dog bed, fasten the collar and leash, and tell him that you swear, you SWEAR on Maddie's prosciutto bone that he'll have the time of his life. And what better trail to work out his solid little legs than one that is named, sort of, after himself — the Sentiero dei Tedeschi, or German's Path.

In Italy a dachshund is a bassotto tedesco, coming from the word basso (short) and tedesco (german). Pondering the Sentiero dei Tedeschi, you don't need to be a history buff to reason that this mountain path was once used by soldiers during World War 1.The clincher, you may be surprised to learn, is not for the sake of the path's name, but as to how we were going to reach the starting point. Walking was an obvious option but with an altitude difference of 764 meters (2506 feet) spanning between the base town of Peio/Pejo (Trento) and the beginning of the tr…

Linguine with cantaloupe, cherry tomatoes and mint

Try this as soon as cantaloupe or charantais come into season, but take note of the following:
[1] the cantaloupe/muskmelon must be super sweet and flavorful. Taste it. If your melon sucks, no amount of sweetener will help make it better. And
[2] forget using calorie-saving substitutes. NO. So there's butter, heavy cream, parmigiano - this is a rich, sensuous pasta dish, yet for some reason it left me feeling quite positive in the knowledge that I contributed toward my 5 a day. And you know, it's not like you're going to eat this stuff everyday anyway.Recipe (serves 4)Linguini or egg tagliolini/tagliatelle for 4 persons (1 pound)
2 - 3 tablespoons butter
4 cups of 1/4-inch dice fresh, sweet cantaloupe
1 cup fully ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered (better if you can get datterino tomatoes)
2/3 cup heavy cream
Salt (best if fleur de sel) and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Grated parmigiano to garnish
10 large fresh mint leaves, cut into chiffonade
1/2 lemon1. B…

Hiking in the Gole di Sagittario

Castrovalva to Anversa degli Abruzzi (AQ) - Our studio rental was located in the near-deserted hamlet of Castrovalva (fans of dutch artist Escher may be familiar with his lithographic depiction). The hamlet's proximity to Gole di Sagittario, a WWF-designated gorge and natural preserve, presented us a well-trodden loop trail which led down the mountain to a natural oasis created by the Sagittario river below, and to neighboring Anversa degli Abruzzi before circling back. The river hosts an environment which nourishes a microclimate of flora and fauna that will appeal to nature lovers and photographers -- it seemed quite like a miniature Eden in the middle of all that sheer rock cliffs and rugged mountain tops.
Yellow star marks define our path. We are such map fanatics that I've taken the liberty of scanning this one to give an idea of what can be done in 3 - 3½ hours if you're in Castrovalva or Anversa. It seems a lot of people think that you can't get down to the b…

Gubbio: Dining Amongst Wolves

Where else would you expect to dine than at the Taverna del Lupo and anyplace else that had marketing smarts to add wolf to the name of their establishment. Out of the four restaurants that we visited - two with lupo and two without - these three are worth mentioning. All are located in the center of Gubbio.***Taverna del Lupo lives up to the hype despite a lack of photos. Tartufi / truffles unabashedly used on the menu.Left: Sfogliatina del Lupo con tartufoRight: Frittatina gentile con lamelle di tartufoVia Ansidei 21, lunch and dinner, reservations suggested, major credit cards, closed Monday**½ Enoteca/Wine Bar “La Madia di Giuseppe” was discovered by chance when I picked up the glossy ad flyer at our hotel's front desk. This is a great “chill” place to unwind and discuss everything from the state of affairs to how Maddie will take to her new doxie brother (we are picking him up this Saturday!). Something about the casual ease of this wine bar urged us to pay a visit twice…

Gubbio in the month of April

Another couple on the road traveling in classic style.Take two winter-weary adults and a feisty westie and what do you have? Aside from three compatible road companions, you've got a setting where the urgent yen for dining and hiking prompts the travelin' trio on a sightseeing tour of Italy's central and southern regions. Since April 25th and May 1st were holidays in close proximity, we turned them into one extended week to visit Umbria, Abruzzo and Molise. With the weather being ideal spring conditions (wonderfully sunny, with just a slight nip to the air), all that was required were light pieces of clothing enabling us to layer like an onion. Packed to the gills with hiking gear, a plug-in refrigerated cooler for the goodies, and our Slow Food guidebook, we set off for the place where St. Francis befriended the big bad wolf.Focusing on the highlights for each region, I'll be covering a slew of topics within the next two weeks. Umbria is breathtakingly gorgeous. …

The Wolf of Gubbio

Oh no no no, the pointy-eared canine looking over the back seat is not that particular wolf in question but in reality is what will be staring at me from the rearview mirror for much of today. I'm not at the pc as I'm taking advantage of blogger's scheduled-to-publish feature which is the most useful option yet. I find it easier to write on several subjects at one go, and with this new tool of having posts self-publish on a specific day and time, updating is suddenly, what's the word here, liberating? Chalk up another one for freedom to do other things. Like.. like... taking pictures of your dog in the car.Speaking of freedom, today's date marks the liberation of Italy from Nazi occupation and fascist rule, making it a major holiday for the whole country. This means vacation time, and we're off for some hiking, dining and wolf tavern experiences, and naturally, sagra/festa events in Umbria and Abruzzo, squeezing in time for Molise if there's a chance. …