Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What I ate in Reykjavik

After dreaming of all the delicious food I ate in Mexico, I thought I would reminisce a bit on the food I ate in Iceland. Sure, the famously fermented shark hakarl was at the top of my list, but there are many more delicious things to consume in Reykjavik.

Before I left, I made a list of the things I wanted to eat. Because I didn't know so much about Icelandic food, or other food offerings in Reykjavik, the list was more a selection of places than of actual foods:

Te og Kaffi, Baejarin Bestu, Cafe Loki, Hakarl, Black Death, Indian Mango

Yay! I ate everything on my list! Now here is the recap
  1. Food I wished I had but didn't:  puffin, I'm just really curious about it...
  2. Food I had but wished I didn't:  Black Death, it was worse than the hakarl.
  3. What should have been on the list: Icelandic meat soup, so hearty and good.
  4. Biggest surprise: honestly everything. I was not expecting the food to be so good and affordable in Iceland.
  5. Most delicious meal: Well, everything was delicious, but I especially loved my last night in Reykjavik, when my sweetie and I got take out from an Indian restaurant, and ate together in our apartment. What a romantic way to spend our last night in Iceland.
Here are some of my favorite food memories:

Surprisingly delicious breakfast buffet at the Blue Lagoon. Cheese, ham, salami, fish, mustard, scrambled eggs, and wieners. Arrive early so you can enjoy it in peace and quiet! 

Muesli!!!! This was my first time to have it at the buffet in Blue Lagoon, and this started a Muesli obsession in which I had to have it every single day in was in Scandinavia. 

Pad Thai from an "Icelandic-Thai" restaurant in Reykjavik. It was absolutely wonderful, and not crowded at all.

Tom Kha, coconut soup, from the "Icelandic-Thai" restaurant in Reykjavik.

Icelandic meat soup from Cafe Loki!

Crepe from Cafe Loki.

This is the meal to order if you are in Iceland. Cafe Loki's Icelandic Plate II. "Two rye bread slices, one with mashed fish & the other with smoked trout.  Flatbread with smoked lamb. Dried fish with butter and bit of a fermented shark."

Icelandic Plate III from Cafe Loki. "Two rye bread slices, one with mashed fish & the other with egg & herring.  Loki‘s unique Rye bread ice cream."    

A waffle with caramel and whipped cream from a waffle cart.

A fantastic pizza from a local pizzeria! We had one pizza the night we arrived, and the other on the day before we left. The perfect was to start and end a journey.

Our last meal at home. Indian food from Indian Mango, with some juice from a local convenience store.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What I ate in Mexico

In a post a long time ago, I talked about all the wonderful cocktails I had in Mexico. 

Lately I've been dreaming of all the wonderful and delicious food I got to eat in Mexico. Even though I live in foodie town with some world-class restaurants, Portland is surprising lacking in the realm of authentic Mexican  food.

When preparing for a trip abroad, I always always make a list of the food I want to eat while I am there. For me, this is the only way I can make sure to consume everything I want. Here was my list for Mexico (I crossed off the things I ate there):

Enchiladas, Quesadillas, Chips and Salsa, Guacamole, Huevos Rancheros, Tacos, Sopapillas, Churros, Tamales, Licuados, Tostadas, Empanadas, Tortilla Soup, Ceviche, Horchata, Tres Leches cake, Sopes

Looking back on the list, I have a few reflections:
  1. Food I wished I had but didn't:  Ceviche, I am crazy about it now!
  2. Food I had but wished I didn't:  Tacos from the street. Sorry I just wasn't expecting a mouth full of ligaments and bone matter.
  3. What should have been on the list: Pizza and hamburgers from the street, they are delicious in Mexico!
  4. Biggest surprise: Tamales filled with cactus in Guanajuato
  5. Most delicious meal: Huevos Rancheros, which I ate in a hurry one morning because I had a bus to catch. I still dream about them...
Here are some pictures of my meals.

Amazing chips and Guacamole, which Cotija cheese,  from a a resort hotel  in Puerto Vallarta. (I didn't see this offered in many other restaurants).

My friend ordered this dish for us from a street cart in Puerto Vallarta. I loved the french fries on top. 

The best Tortilla Soup I have ever had, with fresh slices of cheese and avocado, from a restaurant in Guanajuato. 

The best pizza ever! Pizza places are all over Guanajuato, and there is no such thing as regular cheese pizza in Mexico. This pizza has onions, peppers, mushrooms, and chorizo. I topped it off with a spicy mayonnaise.

Also from the resort, we had a Mexican platter of food. mini quesadillas, rice, beans, guacamole. Basically a tourist's dream platter.

Street food: a cup of grilled corn with mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese. I grew up eating this as a child, because I loved near a Fiesta store in Texas. Ah nostalgic :)

My favorite enchiladas from the train station in Puerto Vallarta, right before we boarded a bus to Guadalajara.

On my second-to-last day in Mexico I was craving a salad. I had been eating so much bread, meat, and cheese that all I wanted was some delicious veggies. This salad from a nightclub on the Malecon was excellent!

My last meal in Mexico. This is from a very western-style cafe in the tourist section of Puerto Vallarta. I had fresh orange juice, a spinach and tomato omelet, with fruit and a muffin.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vancouver Aquarium

"Hello, my friends."

A world class aquarium, located in a beautiful  park in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. What more could you ask for?
Jelly fish, starfish, sea horses, sea urchins. They've got it all. 

We budgeted only one hour and a half for the Vancouver  Aquarium and gosh that was a mistake. 
With dolphin shows every hour, penguin and sea otter habitats, and endless tanks of fish, you want at least two hours to cover everything. 

One of the things I loved most about this aquarium was the spacious outdoor-indoor layout. Although we went on a Sunday and it was busy, I never felt overwhelmed with crowds, like I did in Osaka. The facilities were very well maintained and not all the exhibits were geared towards children. 

I wish I had taken more photographs of the building and facilities, but  I was so excited about the sea animals that I couldn't stop photographing them! 

Now, the only downside to the whole experience is that driving in and out of Stanley Park is a huge pain, but seeing as how I live only six hours away, I will definitely go again!

starfish colony

jellyfish from all over the world

this bird was super loud

The Gambia: Photo Diaries from the City

Although I flew into Banjul, I spent very little time there. Most of my time 'in the city' was actually spent in Banjul's sprawl...