Delicious Food

Ruffles Sour Cream & Onion Chips – A Graph

Ruffles

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One Day in Santa Fe (Part One)

One-Day-in-Santa-Fe

As previously mentioned, I was travelling for work last week and had the opportunity to spend a day on my own in Santa Fe, lovin’ life and other things of that nature. Having a single day to go through an entire place… especially one that was so full of STUFF to do, was understandably daunting, so I just put my little head down and conquered things one at a time.

First – the New Mexico countryside is F-ING beautiful… like, with cacti and tumbleweeds and like, spiders dragging old pieces of junk across sand to build their spider-nests.  Exactly how you pictured it.  THAT’S HOW IT IS.

I decided to start the day with a hike around the countryside with a guide who was really knowledgeable and allowed me to take multiple pictures that slowed down the rest of the group. Bad for them, GOOD FOR YOU!  So many arty pictures of tumbleweeds and shit.

This is an old tree that couldn’t survive the drought one year.  Negatives: it’s dead.  Positives: It provides a dramatic frame for my “taking a picture of the landscape with a dramatic frame” goals.

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Below is a pear-cactus, which are all over the place.  They really hurt if you, say, trip while trying to take a picture, then submerge your knee bone into them.  Hypothetically.

Also, apparently they are tasty if you take all the pricklers off then slice them up into a delicious salad.  I never did this.  It’s just the rumour around town.

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Here is another cactus.  Dramatic frame for my picture?  SUCCESS!

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This is a Yucca plant.  The Yucca flower is the state flower of New Mexico – WHAAAT learnin’ things!  Apparently the native tribes in New Mexico used to/still use the little stringer things on the side of the Yucca plant to like, repair their clothing and sew their moccasins and other things of a “string-requiring” nature.  I tried to pull one out but it didn’t work.

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Dramatic tree-frame!

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So.  Seriously.  It’s pretty beautiful down there.  The landscape just folds out in front of you with hill after hill of browns that melt into each other… then the horizon undulates in rolling swells that become more and more transparent until you aren’t sure where one stops and the other begins.  POETRY SLAM WHAT!

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TREE FRAME, WHAT!

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ROCK FRAME, WHAT!

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After about 90 minutes walking around in the New Mexico desert/drylands/whatever-they-are-called, I decided to cross “Nature-Stuff” off my list and mosey on over into town.

Being a big ol’ fatty, the first thing I needed to do was eat something.  Some people really hate travelling on their own because they have to sit in restaurants by themselves and eat without talking to anyone.  Me?  I LOVE going to restaurants by myself and eating what I want when I want without people bothering me while I stuff my face.  Paradise.

There are quite a few restaurant options in Santa Fe, but I heard about one over and over called “The Shed” that has been around for a really long time and apparently is packed all day long with people wanting to get a table, so I tried it out.

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First, their patio is adorable.  Small enough to feel intimate, but roomy enough not to feel stifling. and full of bright umbrellas and stuff that makes you feel all happy and shit.

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Wheat beer in the foreground, happy family in the background… how much more idyllic can you get?

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I started with the Corn Chowder, which was AMAZING.  Really, I gobbled that shizz down in about 3 minutes.

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For my main I didn’t want to go too ‘outside of the box’, because I had heard that “New Mexican-Mexican” food was really spicy and different than most Mexican food, and I didn’t want to walk around with a “tummy ache” (read: the runs) all day long, so I went with “Light Huevos Rancheros”.

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Now, I’m not saying it was spicy, but IT WAS DAMN SPICY.  They put this “red chili sauce” and “green chili sauce” on it and it basically tastes like you are swallowing fire.  HOWEVER… it was definitely yummy.

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Speaking of New Mexican foods… there is this thing called “Frito Pie” in Santa Fe that everyone was talking about.

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Turns out Frito Pie is smashed-up Fritos with Chili poured over top.  At the Five and Dime (above), they literally open up a bag of Fritos, smash ’em up a little bit in the bag, then pour Chili INTO the Frito bag, then you walk out with a spoon and a Frito bag full of Chili.

Best idea ever or source of long-term diarrhea?  Both, I’m thinking.  I never had the privilege of trying Frito Pie as I was full of my Huevos.  BIGGEST REGRET EVER.

In the afternoon I headed to Coyote Rooftop Cantina for some chips and beer.  The atmosphere was OK, but it was really hot and they were playing an awful radio statio… like Gin Blossoms styles.  Not in an ironic “remember when you were in high school and the Gin Blossoms were cool” – kind of way, in a like, “this is some cool new music – it’s called the Gin Blossoms” – kind of way.

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The town is quite pretty and magical and again, exactly what you would expect when you think of New Mexico – short, clay-like buildings and bright colours and stuff that makes you happy:

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Ok, so I checked “Nature stuff”, and “Eat a whole lot of spicy chili” off my list, and I decided that I wanted to spend some time getting all cultured, so I decided to stop by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

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So, I KNOW that everyone thinks of vaginas and vagina-related flowers when they think of Georgia O’Keeffe, but in reality, her vagina-related-flower repertoire is only a VERY SMALL part of her art and it really overshadows a lot of how TRULY AMAZING she is.

I went to the museum knowing little to nothing about her, which was a great thing, because I really learned a lot and came out with an amazing amount of respect for her.

Turns out she is BAD-ASS and a wicked-cool smart and strong lady and like, walks around with skulls and shit.

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Her artwork does have a sexual undercurrent, which is amazing and powerful.  What strong woman didn’t have struggles with gender roles and sexuality in the mid-20th century when women’s rights were in the forefront both socially and politically? Cue the vagina-flowers.

Her photographer husband, Alfred Stieglitz, took numerous, sexually suggestive pictures of her when she was young and starting out, and that image of her as a sexual being constantly overshadowed her work.  People searched for sexual meaning instead of just looking at the art.

Later in life, she decided to take control of her image and invited photographers to her New Mexico home (“Ghost Ranch” – what?  coolest), and her BAD-ASSERY was shown in full effect.

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A lot of her artwork was focused on New Mexico and the area surrounding Santa Fe.

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Being as hipstery as possible, I bought a print of the skull/flower piece below, along with another skull piece.  Skulls, skulls everywhere.  That’s how you know you’re cool.

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As you can tell, I haven’t said “peep” about my shopping and vintage item scouring, which is very detailed and lengthy, so I’ve decided to isolate that information into a separate, SHOPPING ONLY Santa Fe post, which I’ll put up like, within the next day.

Spoiler: I bought a lot of turquoise.

 

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Farfalle with like, Mushrooms and Bacon and Creme

Farfalle-Recipe

Whhhhaaaat?  Pasta, you MUST be tired because you have been running through my mind ALL day.

So it’s possible that I’m going on vacation to paradise in about three weeks, and it’s also possible that I am allowing the monsters of peer pressure invade my strong feminist mind to tell me that I should lose weight and not be a fattybobatty.  I have decided that my translucent-white whale skin needs to be wrapped around thighs that are as small as possible to detract from their horror.

At the same time, I want to resist against the oppressive social machine that tells me whaley white jiggle thighs are bad.  I MEAN, I would clearly survive the longest in some kind of horrible, meteor-inflicted famine. SHOULDN’T THAT be the REAL indicator of hottness?

With this in mind, I decided to craft a recipe SO FATTY… so BUTTER INFUSED… so CARBOHYDRATE-UNNECESSARY, that it would easily add on one extra day of survival (read: three extra thigh-pounds) in the unlikely event of a famine.

Farfalle with Exotic Mushrooms & Bacon Creme Sauce

  • A heap of Farfalle Pasta
  • Like, three handfulls of Cremini, Portobello & Oyster Mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • Five strips of Ready Crisp Bacon
  • 1/2 chopped up Sweet Onion
  • Tablespoon of chopped garlic
  • 1/2 glass of white wine (leaving 2.5 glasses left to drink while cooking)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • Parsley or Thyme (Thyme is always better)
  • Some shakes of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Cooking Creme
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

Wash your bowl of fungus:

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Melt butter under medium-high heat and add salt & pepper.  Throw in chopped onion and garlic and let that stuff simmer and make your house smell like food-sex.  Chop up fungus and put in butter/onion/garlic heaven:

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While that shizz is simmering, cook the Ready Crisp bacon in the microwave and pat out all the grease.  Chop it up to like, I don’t know, like 0.5 centimeter chunks.  Use your judgement.  I’m not your mother.

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Chop up that parsley too.  Parsley was all I had but next time I’ll use thyme.  Let’s be honest – parsley is like the Celine Dion of herbs.  It’s totally overdone and everyone is bored with it and when you experience it, you don’t even really notice unless someone puts fireworks behind it.

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WAHOO look at that steam all up.  Throw in the white wine now, if you can bear to part with it.  The alcohol evaporates off while you simmer it, which is pretty depressing.  I guess you could put your face over the pan with your mouth open hoping to let some of the vaporized alcohol enter your mouth and like, eye holes.  It would be a pretty efficient way to get drunk probably.

Anyways, let the pan of delicious shizz simmer until the liquid starts to evaporate and your dealing with a chunky, non-soupy type mixture…

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Ok, so now put in the Cooking Creme.  I don’t really know the different between Cooking Creme and like, Normal Cow Creme, but in the grocery store there was a normal creme and a cooking creme, and since I was cooking with it, I was all like, “I guess I should get the cooking creme.”  Pour it in, then add the bacon and parsley.

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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that you should probably have the pasta on the stove and like, be boiling it so that it’s ready soon.  So that should be pretty much ready.  Sorry if I screwed up by not mentioning that earlier,  but I mean, learn to be kind of independent sometimes. Man, you are getting clingy.

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WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.  I want you in my mouth.

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Ok, so when the pasta is ready and well-drained, throw it back in the pot, and add in the delicious sauce mixture.  Toss it all around to get all the fattiness well-distributed.

Add some Parmesan cheese on the top.

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I think we need a closer view:

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Even closer.

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Ok that last one was a little too close.  Something in between.

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PERFECT.  EAT THAT SHIT AND WATCH YOUR THIGHS EXPAND BEFORE YOUR EYES.

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Roasted Red Pepper & Carrot Soup!

Awwww yeah, I made this last night and friggen loved it.  It’s also really good for you and low in calories so if you are trying to de-lardify, like I am, it’s a great recipe.

Here it is.  Make it, then eat it, then feel doubly satisfied.

  • Olive Oil
  • 3 big red peppers
  • 2 big, phallic carrots
  • 3/4 of a sweet onion
  • Big tablespoon of minced garlic
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parsley & Thyme
  • Box of Chicken or Vegetable Soup Stock (500 ml?  I think that’s how big they are…)
  • Tablespoon of Light Feta Cheese

Step One: Roast the Peppers

This is easier than you think it is – basically you chop the pepper in half, take out the inside seeds and stuff, then put them on a baking sheet and kind of smash them a little bit to make them flat.  Then broil them until the skin starts to go all gross and black and blistery (about 10 or 15 minutes).  Take them out of the oven then put them in a pot with an airtight lid immediately, because you have to take the gross slimy skin off and you want them to steam all up then the skin will peel off.

Leave them in there for about 10 minutes then peel the skin off.  It’s gross and slimy.  Like, really.

Step Two: Sautee the non-pepper stuff

Chop up the onion and carrots and throw them in a pan with the herbs and all that junk (basically everything but the peppers, feta, and stock), and saute them until the onions start to go all floppy.  Then throw the peppers in.  Then throw the soup stock in.

Step Three: Simmer and Pulverize

You bring everything to a boil then let it simmer for a while.  Basically until the carrot chunks start to get all soft and you can mash them with your fork.  ADD SALT.  SALT MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER (except your health).

Then you have to puree it all up.  IMPORTANT NOTE: I highly recommend getting one of those hand-held blender things, because I put my soup in an old-fashioned blender while it was like, PIPING hot, which is a *really* stupid idea, because all the steam creates some kind of explosion vortex and then the hot, hot soup explodes out of the blender and into your delicate eyeballs.

Regardless, I was able to puree it slightly, despite my permanently destroyed eyeballs.  If I had a hand-blender, I would have made it much less chunky.

Step Four: Add the Delicious Cheese

Then, put your crumbled feta cheese on the top.  You can add a sprig of thyme if you are fancy like me.

Then eat it and feel superior to all other humans.

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Dublin Day One – I Was Tired.

Being a baller, I had the opportunity to travel to Dublin for work last week and tack on an extra couple of vacation days for some sightseeing (read: beer-drinking).  I have always wanted to go to Ireland because, in my mind, the country is full of emerald-green fields with red-haired tall men with accents wearing oatmeal-coloured Aran sweaters who know how to play the fiddle… and who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by that?  No one wouldn’t, that’s who.

For some reason the New Releases options on the airplane didn’t really interest me so I decided to watch Wayne’s World two times in a row (as you’ll recall, I am physically/mentally/emotionally unable to sleep in airplanes).

Just so you know, Wayne’s World is a fucking awesome movie and you should watch it again.  Soon.

I took the overnight flight and arrived in Dublin at 7:00 am.  Having not slept for 24 hours meant that I was very delirious and hungry and couldn’t really string two words together, and all I wanted to do was get a coffee and eat something delicious for breakfast.

Fortunately for me, my hotel is awesome-slash-I’m a baller, so I arrived to my suite and found a full fresh breakfast waiting for me with fresh cold juice and hot hot coffee.  I almost cried from joy.  Then I ate that whole basket of pastries like a fat lardy whale.

I had one day to recover from my flight before I had to go to work, so I decided to walk around aimlessly in a sleepless haze with no direction or end goal like a stupid idiot.  I didn’t have my bearings and was barely coherent and could have probably fallen asleep on the side of the road like a hobo and could have been kidnapped and turned into a slave in an underground Irish Aran-sweater knitting slave operation or something equally as dramatic.  So yeah, I probably should have taken a nap first.

All I remember from my walk is thinking “IS IT SPRING OVER HERE?  HOLY FUCK THAT’S AWESOME.”  Apparently I took many pictures of flowers and other spring-related things:

There was some art selling thing going on.  The art was actually really good I think.  I don’t remember too much.

In the background of the picture below it looks like some kid is kicking the lamp post for no reason.  Amazing.

IS IT FUCKING SPRING OVER HERE?  AWESOME.

I imagine all of rural Ireland is covered in this heather-y flower, forming a perfect backdrop for all the tall red-haired, fiddle-playing men just waiting to serenade me.  Note: I did not see any hot Irish fiddlers during my stay.

I guess I was aimlessly wandering towards Grafton Street, which is a big pedestrian touristy type street.  I walked around for a bit. Pointless, though, considering my lack of brain-power.

Finally headed back to the hotel and got an amazing dinner.

I know this wasn’t very interesting.  I promise it gets better tomorrow.

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konopište castle + puppet opera

Since I had a long and luxurious six days to spend in Prague, I wanted to take some more time out from the “tourists-in-Crocs” scene that was the city center and find some cool day trips and explore the countryside.

First trip was Bone Church and Kutna Hora, which was OK, but it took a little too long to get there and back, and there were just as many ‘tourists in Crocs’ over there, and there was that married couple in front of me eating crunchy chips with greasy fingers the whole way over there as per my in-depth description which sucked.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t have very high hopes for my second day trip to Konopište Castle.  It didn’t have nearly as many recommendations in my city guide as Bone Church did, and when I asked my concierge about it (because I’m fancy and I have a concierge that I ask things to), she was like “Yeaaaaah, I *guess* you could go there.” …which didn’t exactly blow my skirt up with anticipation.

There were two main reasons I wanted to check out Konopište:

  1. It was Franz Ferdinand‘s (the Archduke, not the band… i.e. the person the band named themselves after…) castle.  That dude who basically started World War I when he was assassinated… that stuff interests me; and
  2. Apparently Franz was *obsessed* with game hunting and has hunting “trophies” (read: horrible remnants of unnecessarily killed animals) all over his house.  This seemed too nuts to believe and I wanted to see it.

  

So you take the train to Konopište, which is actually a really pretty drive through mountains and countryside.  The train stop is at the foot of a beautiful park land, and the castle is basically at the top of the park land.  My concierge tried to convince me that I needed a car to drive up to the Castle, but I was all like, “No, I’m bad-ass”, so I walked.

You totally don’t need a car.  You can walk.  Unless you are like, an elderly person or on crutches.  You can walk.

I mean, look how pretty this shit is?  Why would you want to get in a stinky car when you can walk in this paradise?

October is  “off” season, and it was dead, and there was only one available tour.  BUT that was actually awesome… because the T.C.Q. (Tourists in Crocs Quotient) was extremely low.  There were four people on my tour including me, and no gross crunchy chip-eaters.

So… you are not allowed to take pictures inside the house.  Which SUCKS.  I snuck three – the one at the beginning of the post of the huge antler hallway and the two below before my tour guide got mad at me and swore at me in Czech.

 

Yes – that Mary figure is surrounded by goat horns from kills.  And that entry-way?  Again, more goat horns… and those fan-things around the top near the lights?  Pheasant tails.

The house was C-O-V-E-R-E-D with dead animal trophies.  I can’t express to you how covered it was.

You would go into one room, and it would be, like “The Mountain Goat Room”, and there would be 200 – 300 Mountain Goat antler sets on the walls – they would be from FLOOR TO CEILING.

And then there would be a huge eagle that had been stuffed and turned into a chandelier.

And then there would be three tiger-skin rugs.

And then there would be like, a stuffed wild baby elephant in the corner.

IT WAS INSANE.

At first you’re all like…”Dude, these things can’t be real.”  But then you look at them all and they are real.

And then you’re like… “Dude, there is no way that he killed all these animals.  Impossible.  He bought them or some shit”.

But then you look at the mountings and EVERY SINGLE set of antlers has a location and date of when he killed the animal.  And apparently there are COPIOUS records to prove that it was him that killed them.

FUCKING INSANE.

 

Apparently, over the course of his life, he killed just over 300,000 animals on record.

Let’s just pause here.  Being a mega-nerd, I decided to try and calculate this into “kills per day”.  Let’s assume that he started recording his kills at the tender age of 15 (which is even kind of young, I think, but still…).

Let’s not forget that he was killed early and died at the age of 50.  So that gives him 35 years of killin’ time.

300 000 kills / 35 years = 8571.4 kills per year

8571.4 kills / 365 days = 23.48 KILLS PER DAY

THIS MAN KILLED 23.5 ANIMALS A DAY EVERY DAY FOR HIS ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE.  F’ed up.

Anyways, aside from the fucked up animal trophies, the tour was actually really, super interesting.

Since his assassination was unexpected and the family basically left the castle almost as soon as the assassination happened, they managed to keep things almost exactly as they had been in 1914 when he died.  There were notes and diaries and journals on the desks, and his children has drawn pictures that were up on the wall… it was really interesting.

Also, he was really “modern” and ahead of his time – the house was one of the first that had plumbing and flushing toilets and even an elevator.

They also had the bullet that killed his wife on display as well as her repaired (yet still faintly blood-stained) dress.

Seriously, it was fucking cool.  I have no idea why a bazillion people would go to Bone Church and not to this place.

Anyways, we walked around the grounds for a bit, then back on the train for the return to Prague.

Incidentally, there was this guy in our train car who came in with a giant woven basket full of CRAZY F-ING mushrooms that were the size of your fist and like pink and red and brown like in a wicked-cool fairy tale.  He said that he went out and picked them in the park grounds and was going to take them home and eat them like a bad-ass.  I wanted to take a picture so bad but maybe it’s normal to walk around with a giant basket of freaky mushrooms in Prague and I didn’t want to offend the mushroom-carrier guy.  Just thought I would tell you because it was COOL.

So we get back to Prague and there was a balloon floating over the Charles Bridge out of nowhere like we were in oldy-time days. NO BIG DEAL:

Truly, the best part of Prague is the magical things you come across when you aren’t expecting them:

Tra-la-la-la.  Anyways, later that night I had a delicious dinner of truffled crepe in a soup:

Then off to the PUPPET OPERA.

Yes I said PUPPET OPERA.

They show Don Giovanni every night at this Puppet Opera show and I almost plottzed my pants when I found out, so we went.  I haven’t seen a puppet show in like 20 years so I was really excited.

Then I realized that they were selling tall boys of Czech beer for the equivalent of $1.50 Canadian, and then I was REALLY EXCITED:

Although the puppets were funny, we only stayed for two acts because Don Giovanni is the longest opera of all time apparently and the puppet theater wasn’t ventilated and all the kids smelled like farts and I felt like I was going to pass out from heat.  So we went for…

PALAČINKA.  OF COURSE.

I went with apricot jam this kind.  IT IS BY FAR THE BEST ONE.  Just so you know.

Tomorrow I go to the *actual* opera like a fancy person and I decide to come back to Canada for some reason.  Le sigh.

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Prague Palačinka + Prague Fried Cheese = Prague <3

Despite the fact that the whiskering on my jeans makes my thighs look like two pork sausages, I like this photo because my letha makes me feel bad ass.

Anyhoo, second day in Prague I decided to get a walking tour to investigate the city.  It was significantly easier to get a walking tour in Prague than in Vienna.  In fact, there are at least SEVERAL THOUSAND walking tours operating in Prague every minute.  It is much much much more touristy than I thought it would be.

And when I say touristy, I mean that there are more tourist stands selling sparkly “PRAHA!” magnets than there are molecules in the air.

Our tour guide was a pretty cool old man who spoke six languages and lived in twenty countries and like, fled Prague during the war and was an Acoustic Sound Engineer.  Made me feel pretty inadequate as a human being.

  

Yeah.  Tons of tourists.  At least in the main square.  Tours kept criss-crossing each other and getting all mixed up – we were *this* close to holding hands in a line like kindergartners out for a walk during recess.

The walking tour brought us over the Charles Bridge at around 11:00 am.  FYI – THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO WALK OVER THE CHARLES BRIDGE.  That is, unless you want to be overwhelmed with like, organ grinders with robot monkeys and people doing 5 minute caricatures of teenagers and Peruvian pan flute bands and people selling shitty homemade jewelry made of wires.

For this reason, I decided to take minimal photos during this walk over the bridge, and I ask you to wait until my next post when I’m a bad ass mutha and get up at 7:00 am to take MANY MANY arty pictures on the bridge *without* women in pink capris and fanny packs and Crocs gumming up the works.

There were lots of interesting things on the walking tour and I really recommend it blah blah blah.

After the walking tour I became fixated on going to find the John Lennon Wall, mostly because it made me feel like a cool guy.  It’s not that easy to find, and I got lost three times trying to find it and had to turn my iPhone roaming on so that I could see my map.  That made me feel less like a cool guy.

Anyways the wall was pretty cool I guess, AND it was the only touristy place where there weren’t very many people climbing all over each other to take pictures.  You know what that means… ARTY PHOTOS FROM ME HA HA HA HA

The one below is my favourite, mostly because I like the message, but slightly less mostly because of my awe-inspiring photography skills.

The walking tour and arty photo session of the John Lennon Wall took the majority of the day, but we still found time to squeeze in a beer before dinner.  In case you didn’t believe me DOGS ARE ALLOWED IN RESTAURANTS IN EUROPE AND IT’S THE BEST THING EVER.

Here is your first lesson on how to not be a tourist in Prague.  Walk two blocks away from the square in the opposite direction of Charles Bridge.

There you will find the following:

  • People who actually live in Prague
  • Czech food and drink, with no menu items entitled “Spaghetti Pasta Meatball Americanski”
  • Cheap local beer
  • Cheap local wine

We went to this place called “Lokal” which definitely seemed local-friendly.  I ordered the fried cheese with tartar sauce, which is apparently a speciality.

The place focused on (surprise) “local & fresh” ingredients and stuff… they even had their own beer brewery storage cask things so you could get the beer super fresh.

The Czech beer thing is Pilsner, Pilsner, Pilsner, everyday Pilsner.  I’m not crazy about Pils because they are so fucking hoppy that it tastes like my throat is eating itself from bitter horror, so I bought (several) glasses of cheap wine to make myself feel better.  Perhaps too many glasses…

Yes, one sexy lady.

In order to keep my extremely unattractive buzz going, we then walked BACK over the Charles Bridge to this small little wine bar where they have hundreds of wines and you can get a taster glass of ANY of them for 1-3 Euro. 

I forget the name of it because I was drunk, but I do remember that you have to take a sharp right when you get off the bridge, then basically walk almost back under the bridge and it’s beside this sketchy hostel that looks like it’s from the movie “Hostel” and when you go to the bathroom in the wine bar you realize that it’s actually a shared hostel bathroom and there are people in there washing their armpits.

Other than that, the wine bar was awesome and I rediscovered the loveliness of a off-dry white.

Then baaaack over the Charles Bridge in a drunken haze…

To re-discover the most amazing, delicious, fantastic thing in the world…

PALAČINKA!

If you don’t know what palačinka are, then I feel sorry for you because you are less of a human than you could be.  When I was a little Croat girl my mom used to make me palačinka all the time and I LOVED them and they are delicious.

They are basically big ol’ flat floppy pancakes that are stretchy with delicious things in them. They are NOT crepes.  They are palačinka.  They are better.

For my first night, I chose to eat a chocolate and banana palačinka.  See below for pending deliciousness.  I assure that is not poo.

 WOO HOO.  I say my “first night” because I managed to buy palačinka SEVERAL times while in Prague and I will tell you all about it.

Then, back to the hotel, drunk and full of wine and palačinka to discover that my big-pimpin’ bad-assery had led to the hotel leaving me a little treat in the hotel as a bedtime snack. 

Piiiiiiimp. 

What flavour of palačinka will I eat TOMORROW????  The anticipation is killing you, I know.

Posted in Delicious Food, Drunken Observations, Travel No Comments »

Prague – Prague Castle and Other Items

I’m not going to go into tons of detail here for two reasons:

  1. I am still really super busy at work, and if you want me to go into tons of detail, you’re going to have to wait until I have more time, which will be a while, so DO YOU WANT TO WAIT OR DO YOU WANT TO JUST GET TO THE MONEY?
  2. The pictures are pretty enough to carry the weight of this post.

Arrived just in time for a glass of Bohemian Sparkling Wine (or Sekt) at Kavarna Slavia, which used to be an artsy-fartsy bohemian literary place where people thought big thoughts about big things.  Sekt is essentially shitty sparkling wine.  I was actually really excited to get a glass of Absinthe Sekt (which is exactly what it sounds like…), but go fucking figure, the only time I’m in Prague there is frigging balls vagina PROHIBITION in place because some stupid idiot accidentally laced their fucking bootleg booze with methanol and 19 people died, so all of the damn Absinthe was prohibited until they got that shit under control.  After I left.  Of course.

To make myself feel better I got a giant coconut sundae.

First morning the goal was to find a good, real, strong, delicious espresso.  And I found one.  It was delicious.  And the sugar wasn’t granulated sugar, it was delicious SUGAR PASTE that you stir into your coffee.  Everything in Europe is in delicious paste form.

I’m not sure if I told you about this (if not, I’m sure you can tell by my thigh jiggles), but I am obsessed with croissants.  The croissant pictured below was awesome, so I decided to have one every day for the rest of my trip.

The main square in Prague is really beautiful – there’s, you know, just some random big freaky Bohemian church just abutted to some random houses, and when I ask people – “WOW, what is the deal with that church?”  Everyone is all like “Meh, it’s just some church.”  If that church were in Canada, the Prime Minister would spooge gold all over it everyday and announce it Canada’s prize jewel and we would have a “National Freaky Church Day” holiday every year.

It was a bit drizzly when I was walking around taking pictures, but I was not upset about it at all – it kept the AVALANCHE of tourists at bay, and I thought the colourful umbrellas made my pictures significantly more arty.

  

This clock is an astronomical clock that makes a whole bunch of whistles and dingies and diddles and whoo-has every hour on the hour.  However, the REAL spectacle is watching the huge, overwhelming crowd of tourists fight each other to take the exact same picture of the clock over and over again while trying to push each other out of the way.  It’s heartwarming.

I lucked out here because it was like, 8:00 am and raining.

Pictures of things:

  

There is a story about the statue below that some chick stuck her head in the empty head-hole and she got stuck and no one could pull her head out and they had to call the fire department and when they finally pried her head out of the head hole she had AGED INTO AN OLD WOMAN.

I’m skeptical.

  

This is one of the Opera Houses.  Yes.  One of them.  I went to it later to watch the opera.  I’ll tell you about that later.

A quick walk across Charles Bridge to take some pictures…

Theeeeen a walk up a million stairs to visit Prague Castle.  It’s a Castle in Prague.

The Castle is really a giant network of buildings that takes about 7 hours to visit.  In case you were scheduling your time. Which I didn’t.

Below is the cathedral.  Pretty mind-blowing.

  

Arty rain photo, comin’ up:

  

Here is me in an old mirror.  Also some torture devices that they used on prisoners.

  

Hey, just a friendly tip – if you’re planning on visiting Europe, you better f-ing LOVE looking at churches over and over and over and over.  And over.  And over.  Here is more church-related photography:

  

Hee hee hee little church boys.

The castle is up on a hill, giving you multiple arty views of the city.

Anyway, after spending hours at Prague Castle, I went to a market.  They had sex dice.

Yes.

Dice that you throw and then it tells you how to do it.  I was going to buy some but then I didn’t due to my cowardly nature.  I was also going to take a picture but I didn’t because I didn’t want to offend the sex dice vendor because, like, maybe it’s a normal and not a hilarious thing to have sex dice in Prague, and you know, I want to be respectful of other countries’ sex practices.  So I took a picture of some people standing around:

They also had freaky marionettes.  They had sex dice and freaky marionettes.

I have many other stories to regale you with.  Some sex dice related, some not.  Most not.

Posted in Arty Art, Delicious Food, Travel 1 Comment »

48 Hours in Vienna

Who likes pictures?  IT BETTER BE YOU.  Because I took a lot.

Left Oktoberfest the morning after our third day of getting “piss your pants” drunk en route for Vienna.  The plan was to stop over in Vienna before heading to Prague for a couple of days, but I soon realized that we literally had 48 hours in Vienna and had to PACK IT IN like packing fucking nuts into the mouth of a squirrel… as it were.

I managed to find a fantastic boutique hotel that was adequately fancy for my “high-falouten” tastes, while staying within the range of my “dead-beat loser” budget.  LOOK AT THE DUCK-LEGS LAMP.  That is all I have to say about that.

  

Headed to a restaurant called Gigerl for dinner.  Just so you know, if you go to this place, you should get the like “taster” dinner or whatever the fuck it was, because you get like a three course meal for about like, fifteen dollars, and you can pack your face like nuts into the mouth of a squirrel.

Yeah whatever, spinach pastries and cheese paste.  Cheese paste is like 60% of every European’s diet.

SPEAKING OF CHEESE… in Europe, they have this stuff called sweet cheese strudel.

IT IS THE BEST THING ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH AND YOU SHOULD EAT AS MUCH OF IT AS POSSIBLE.  NUTS –> MOUTH OF SQUIRREL.

Next morning, I was pleased to find that the “complimentary breakfast” at the “high-falouten” hotel I was staying out was basically a luxury buffet with like, mason jars of yogurt and organic granola and like, sea salt butter patties tied in brown kraft paper with twine bows and shit like that.

I was NOT SO PLEASED to find that the “complimentary breakfast” was, actually NOT a complimentary breakfast, and I had to pay 30 Euro for a mason jar of fucking yogurt.

Anyways, once I got over that fiduciary hurdle, I busted out onto the city.  I ONLY HAD 48 HOURS, so I had to do some jam-packery, stat.  Not unlike jam-packing nuts into the mouth of a squirrel, etc.

Here is the first of about A BILLION churches that I saw.  I *think* this was St. Stephen’s Cathedral, that big ol’ main church right smack dab in tourist town.  Pretty nice.  Pretty nice indeed.

  

Arty-est photo-taker ever.

Now, the second component of the plan was to “hook up” with a “walking tour” in order to see as much of the city as possible in the morning, then decide what to focus on in the afternoon.

You would *think* that would be easy to find, you know, in a HUGE TOURIST CAPITAL in Europe.  HA HA HA.  Nope.  Walked around St. Stephen’s square for about an hour… there were tons of guys wearing ornate old Mozart “capelets”, who were trying to convince me to watch the Mozart Symphony… but no walking tours.

So the strategy was to walk around aimlessly.  Here are some arty “walking around aimlessly” photos:

  

Although they are nostalgic and cute… I actually felt really bad for the horses lined up for the carriages.

Alright. Time to get my shit together.  With no walking tour, we decided to actually set a destination and go to Naschmarket, an open-air market with like CHEESE CHEESE AND MORE CHEESE.  So basically, a Natalie paradise.

…well, cheese and mutant fruit.  Zucker Melonens and Jack Frucht!

At about 2 we finally stumbled upon a walking tour.  It was good.  I guess.  Meh.  A little Natalie tip – if you have the choice, get a tour that does not have multiple languages in it, because you have to wait for them to talk in the other languages and shit and it’s TORTUROUS and you keep thinking “… that fucking German explanation was DEFINITELY a minute longer than the English one… I’m getting SCREWED here.”.  It’s very distracting.

Here is a building.

Weathered guy on horse.

SO many outdoor cafes.  Even more than Toronto in the summer, which is A LOT.  AND they were all full, all the time.  I mean, do people have jobs in Vienna or what? 

Here is a cascading sunbeam through a perfect tree onto a park with wonderful people enjoying life.

Here is some chick being stupid.

THEN, I went to the Schmetterling House, which is German for BUTTERFLY HOUSE.  WHAT?

BUTTERFLY HOUSE?  Yes.  Butterfly House.

Except saying Schmetterling House is BETTER in every way.  SCHMETTERLING HOUSE!

Seems like a Schmetterling House would be like, a beautiful paradise of schmetterlings all schmetterling-ing around.  And there WERE a large number of schmetterlings…

…however, little known fact is that schmetterling houses are like 150 DEGREES and about 400% humidity.  I’m pretty sure I sweated out every drop of beer I drank in Germany.  My camera started getting all foggy with schmetterling fog.

Also, most of the schmetterlings are like comotose, floating in pools of apple juice provided by the schmetterling house professionals  in the searing humid heat.  Not as romantic as you would imagine.

Back to aimless walking photos.

   

I must admit even I am impressed with my continuous arty-ness.

SO ARTY!

The day came to a close and I was so tired from my walking around that all I wanted was to collapse.  But I forced myself out for some delicious food – french onion soup and steak tartare at a place called Specht.

HEY DID YOU KNOW THAT IN EUROPE YOU ARE ALLOWED TO BRING DOGS INTO RESTAURANTS?  It’s true.  It’s so true.  It’s so true that my brain exploded with happiness.  This dog was just like, hanging out licking his lips, bein’ awesome.

  

Next morning before leaving on the 11:00 am train, the objective was to go see the Lipizzaner Horses… they train for ten years to be like, “Super Horses”, and every morning they walk from their fancy stables to their fancy training arena and I wanted to see them real bad.

However, I needed to get some breakfast first.

Oh, whatever, here is a super adorable outdoor fall market tucked away in Vienna with like, no one here but you.

And they sell sweet cheese strudel.

Here is the only acceptable shot I got of the Lipizzaners.  And a cat just chillin’ out.

  

After that we had to run to the train to head to beautiful Prague.  Sorry this was quasi-boring and very picture-heavy… I’m getting boring in my old age. Boring and fat mostly.

Posted in Canines, Delicious Food, Travel 4 Comments »

Oktoberfest Day Two – Too Hardcore for Oktoberfest

So the next day at Oktoberfest was my birthday.  Truth.  Birthday at Oktoberfest like a piiiiiimp.  I was pretty excited, because it gave me an excuse to do the following things on my birthday without being seen as a “self indulgent weirdo”:

  1. Dress in costume;
  2. Drink copious amounts of beer; and
  3. Demand attention from old German men.

As you can see, the day had all the ingredients to be amazing.  We had reservations at the Schottenhamel Tent and we got started early.

So, apparently there is this thing at Oktoberfest where you buy people you “like” cookies that have various German sayings on them.  Since my friends are completely awesome, they all pitched in to buy me a HUGE (and expensive) German necklace cookie that said “Happi Borsdai”.  It was like two feet across and like ten pounds.  

 

We started the day with some ‘cheese paste’ and turnips with salt on them.  You know, the good stuff.

They really like their salted turnips.  Trust me.  Look how drunk I am already:

Alright, let’s get down to the nuts.

There’s this thing at Oktoberfest called “chugging”.  If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s when you “chug” the contents of your beer down your throat all fast-like.  Since the steins at Oktoberfest are a full litre, it’s understandably a big deal when you chug your stein.  There is this tradition around it and everyone goes MENTAL when you chug.  ESPECIALLY if you are a girl.  So the deal is this:

  1. Stand up on your table
  2. Chug your beer to the insane drunk cheers of your thousands of new European friends

If you succeed in chugging your whole beer, you get to revel in the idolatry of inebriated old German men while sunlight shines down on you like in the beginning of The Lion King when Moufasa holds Simba up in the air.  If you fail, you get simultaneously pelted with pieces of old pretzels by hundreds of people.

So… it was my birthday…

And… I can chug a tidy beer…

And… I had on my giant birthday cookie of confidence.

So I decided that today was the day that I was going to stand on my table and chug a litre of beer. 

Let me preface this story by saying I intentionally traded in my “half full” stein of beer for a “totally full” stein of beer before I started chugging because I didn’t want to be a “giant pussy”.

Let’s view the video below to see how things went:

YEAH.  I was about 2/3rd of the way through my LITRE of beer, when the German security guard stopped me.

WHY??? You ask?

BECAUSE APPARENTLY, girls aren’t “allowed” to chug full steins.  GIRLS AREN’T ALLOWED.  That’s what the guy told me after. 

Now, I can understand that this rule is *probably* based on past experience they’ve gathered from years of girls trying to chug full steins then projectile barfing all over everyone.  However.  THOSE GIRLS AREN’T NATALIE.  Natalie can chug a litre of beer then ace a Physics exam.

At least I can take comfort in the fact that the whole tent of drunk people was on my side and booed the security guard then threw a bunch of pretzels at him.

The thesis of this story, as you can probably tell by my previous displays of awesomeness, is that I AM TOO HARDCORE FOR OKTOBERFEST.

Anyways, I was happy that I worked up the nerve to even try.   Incidentally, should you ever try to chug a litre stein, here is a tip – make sure you take a deep fucking breath, because it’s not the beer that’ll get ‘cha, it’s the fact that your nose and mouth are fucking sealed off in a glass with no oxygen for like a minute. 

Personally, I was *SO* nervous that I was breathing like an overweight Texan, so it was ten times worse.  Here is an artist’s rendition:

The table next to us was full of nice German people, and they took a liking to us, probably because we were playing Uno, which is apparently the United Nations of card games. 

They were SO nice that they even gave us their desserts, which were the most fucking delicious apple crisp things with apple sauce on the side EVER.

 

In the afternoon we decided to walk around the fairgrounds and go on roller coasters and drink more beer.  This roller coaster is called the Munchen Pooping, and it was in the shape of the Olympic rings. 

Since Munich hosted the Olympic games in 1972, and since there is no real other reason for it to be in the shape of the Olympic rings OTHER than the fact that it was built for the Olympics, that makes this roller coaster (that gets torn down and rebuilt every year by carnies) FORTY YEARS OLD.  I did not ride it.  I chose to stay back and drink more beer in the sun with my giant cookie.

That night, we went to an amazing dinner at a German restaurant and I ate  more ‘cheese paste’ and salted turnips.  IT WAS AMAZING. 

I also was instructed to bring my giant cookie to ensure my embarrassment would be as prolonged as possible, which was also amazing. 

Plus, the restaurant was so wonderful and nice that they gave me a free ceramic birthday stein. 

Incidentally, with my toque and my weird cookie and my cup everyone thought I looked like a homeless person and we were so drunk that it was hilarious to everyone.

 

Best Oktoberfest birthday ever.  Despite lack of full chug.  Here is an arty picture I took while we walked home drunk:

Tomorrow, my last day at Oktoberfest :(, but then on to more European adventures…  stay tuned.

Posted in Delicious Food, Drunken Observations, Favorite Things, Travel 5 Comments »