Thursday, August 28, 2008

Long overdue update

If you've been refreshing Viva Robusto for the past couple weeks in frustration, your patience is about to pay off. I have finally been able to upload the final pics from Mexico, as well as a whole bunch of delicious food pics from our return home.

Diving right in...

On our way to Mexico City from Puerto Escondido and the Oaxacan coast, we got to spend a few nights in our old apartment in Oaxaca City. And that meant another chance to enjoy tacos arabes from Salomon Tacos on Independencia. These are a little like al pastor tacos in that they only contain meat carved from a spit, but they're served in a fluffier, pita-like flour tortilla. Delicious.

Our last of many bus rides. Cause for celebration.

Mural by Diego Rivera in a government building near the centro historico.

One of the biggest "pinas" we ever saw. (Note: not actually a pina.)

More from the botanical garden at the same building.

More shirt-sightseeing coordination.

Mexico City is the biggest city we've ever visited; it's the 2nd largest in the world behind Tokyo. Look at how far ahead of us they are in walking-replacement technology!

This, unfortunately, is the last picture our sad little elph camera will ever take. It survived a drop in Florence, countless sandy beaches and took well over 10,000 photos (not even counting ones we deleted) before finally giving in. Liz was mad because this particular photo was just a poker-related in-joke.

So... that's it for photos from Mexico! It's a little anti-climactic, I know. But we did have a brand-new Canon Digital Rebel xTI waiting for us at home! We didn't know how to use it very well at first, but we could tell right away that it was capable of taking some amazing photos. Muffins at my parents' house.

We finally reunited with our dog! Poor Ash had gained about 10-15 pounds and was consequently pretty lethargic at first. But now that we've got him on Atkins and a strictly regimented workout plan he seems to have regained some of his youthful energy.

After riding scooters around in Asia and Italy, it was nice to come home to a real bike. Once I got the battery charged she ran like a dream despite sitting for over 10 months.

Speaking of dreams, American Dream pizza. This is the stuff I was obsessed with all year long. All that buildup and anticipation, and it was still even better than I could have hoped it would be. If you're ever in Portland or Corvallis, do yourself a favor and try it for yourself.

The sunsets in Portland rival the most beautiful we found anywhere else in the world.

Right away we had occasion to ditch the T-shirts and flip flops for a wedding.

We're still eating pretty dang well. The wedding was catered by Papa Hayden.

We may have left Mexico behind, but a little bit of the culture will remain with us always.

Too bad we didn't have this camera during our trip. Low-light photography is no longer impossible!

Just a heads-up: About 99% of the rest of our pics are of food. So if you don't care about that, check back in a few days for a final Viva Robusto wrap-up - Viva Robusto by the numbers.

After the wedding, we headed up to Crippen Creek to see Liz's family and continue indulging in amazing food. I'm usually not much for beets, but these were home grown and actually pretty tasty.

Don putting the final touches on dinner.

Which was homemade biscuits....

... fried chicken, mashed potatoes and beets.

A few of the veggies from the Speranzas' hoop house. First, basil.

Some kind of pepper.


And baby bok choy.

Okay, now the rest of the pics are really all just food. There's always a pile of fresh-baked focaccia around at Crippen Creek.

Kitty's award-winning sticky buns.

Did you know that you can make dulce de leche by boiling a can of sweet and condensed milk? Me either. Google it before you try anything; according to Don, explosions can be an unwanted side-effect if this isn't cooked properly. Anyway, this went into homemade dulce de leche ice cream.

Homemade cinnamon roll and scrambled eggs from their own hens. Doesn't get much better than that for breakfast. I take that back. It will be slightly better when their pigs are mature and we can have home-raised bacon too.

I made up an extra batch of dough so we decided to try focacetta as an appetizer. According to my grandmother, you just make your regular focaccia dough, cut it into small pieces and roll it flat. Let the dough sit for about 10 minutes, then deep-fry it in oil. That's it. The results are dozens of fluffy, airy dough pockets that you can rip in half and stuff with prosciutto, salami and/or cheese. Or for a dessert, you can dip them in a cinnamon/sugar mix.

Steak with homemade chimichurri sauce. Don was paying attention to the Argentina portion of our blog and wanted to try his hand at some chimichurri. I think this was the best one I had.

As if that weren't enough, we also had risotto that night. Incredible.

From one feast to another... back in Portland, our friend Aruna invited us to a dinner party where she would be preparing Indian food. She's a great cook; how could we say no?

Her homemade samosas next to an assortment of spices.

This is a store-bought sauce but it looked pretty and tasted even better, so what the hell?

Everything else was from scratch, including saffron rice, a couple curries and several other excellent dishes that I feel ashamed to not know by name.

Ok, at this point we'd been home from Mexico for a couple weeks and I was craving Mexican food again. Here's a quick black bean, rice, chicken and homemade salsa dinner I threw together.

Last but not least, one of the prettiest pizzas I've ever made. This will be important evidence when my book comes out because I rag pretty hard on certain countries for not being able to produce a decent pizza. I should at least know how to make one myself if I'm going to criticize others.

Here's how it turned out. Bellissima.

That's it for now! I have one more travel-related post to make, and then I think I'll just keep on updating this as a food blog. I'll also continue to post news about the book here, so stay tuned.


ivanjay said...

Thank you so much!

During the last 20 or so minutes I have just read and felt about the most best budget backpackers off the beaten path , tasted, smelt, enjoyed, rode, tried to cook,curied (sp?), felt, but never got married ... BLOG I have ever read. I have been blogING for almost 9 years before I ever heard of the word blog.

Thank you.

I have forwarded your tale from your heart, pics and all to almost 500 members of my group. Many of my members are members of many groups and blogs.

Very cool man.

Peace be with you dude.


Playa Zipolite, Oaxaca, Southern Mexico, on the Pacific, welcome to the beach of the dead.

ivanjay said...

Oh. The sticky buns pic I think was my favorite.

Again, thank you for taking the time to post and share.

goooooood girl said...

Very fine......