Friday, June 18, 2010

european adventure

cole's kitch has been empty for awhile. In fact, I haven't been in a single kitchen for the past couple of weeks. I've been in Europe for work - a lovely trip that brought me to Dublin, Zürich, and London (all places I was visiting for the very first time!). So while I haven't spent any time in the kitchen lately, I've visited plenty of dining rooms. Here are some of the highlights:

After exploring the shopping district a bit, my first night in Dublin included my first traditional Irish pub experience. I ate fish & chips with mushy peas - the latter was like thick split pea soup (in a good way) - and washed it down with a pint of Harp while listening to live Irish folk music. The next day in Dublin, I found myself escaping from the rain for some more pub food. This time it was Guinness stew enjoyed along with a pint of (what else?) Guinness. The hot bowl contained more meat than I typically eat in a month, but it was very tasty.

Next up: Zürich. I could fall in love with this town (perhaps I already have?). One reason: the primary ingredients in most dishes seems to be cheese or chocolate (two things I hold dearly). I enjoyed a nice eggplant pasta dish in Alt Stadt with a colleague one night. It was a warm evening and we sat outside watching passersby on the cobblestone streets. On the chocolate front, I visited Sprüngli, a conficerie with storefronts in and around Zürich (none are farther than an hour from where the confections are made, to ensure freshness). In addition to Swiss chocolate souvenirs to bring back to the states with me, I purchased a couple of the most beautiful macarons I have ever seen (you may recall my personal attempts at perfecting the macaron here).

My time in London included a number of good meals. On my first night there, I enjoyed some tasty Indian food on Brick Lane with coworkers prior to watching the US tie England in the World Cup. I enjoyed afternoon tea at the Goring that included tea sandwiches with watercress and the crusts cutoff, my first encounter with lovely, melt-in-your-mouth English scones with strawberry jam and cream, and a variety of sweets. One amazing evening meal included the best artichoke I've ever eaten: roasted with herbs so that parts were a little crunchy while others were soft with a fantastic sweet flavor. The same meal included both a very (very) stinky cheese (like scraped the floor of the barn, I believe was the observation of my companion) as well as a creamy, wonderful roquefort that one wouldn't dare dilute with a cracker.

So while my European adventure has come to a close, my kitchen will likely remain unused for a bit. The next week includes more local travels: first to Lake Tahoe and then to the northwest for a few days in Seattle and Spokane. By the time I'm back, the garden should be in full swing, so stay tuned for tales of tomatoes, carrots, and strawberries. Until then - tschüß!

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