The veggie, the vegan, the raw.

My grandmother used to take my family to Chester, Connecticut once in a while. There was a French restaurant called Restaurant du Village that served the loveliest vegetable terrine.

Chester, Connecticut

Chester, Connecticut

I hadn’t been back to Chester in years. But now there’s a vegan/vegetarian/raw food restaurant there, named for its address: Six Main. It’s the subject of my latest food story. Read it here.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, writing

A sweet tooth’s guide to New Haven.

Or, in other words, my guide to New Haven in the Hartford Courant.

With some photos that didn’t make it into the article.

1 Comment

Filed under food, writing

Apostrophe Day

(Today isn’t the official Apostrophe Day, but who cares?)

From @samtanner:

“An apostrophe is the difference between a business that knows its shit and a business that knows it’s shit.”

Meanwhile, the New Haven Public Library has sent out a flyer stating that it is “accepting donations for it’s big book sale.”

No!

Library people, please consult one of your many books. Or The Apostrophe Protection Society.

And finally, for amusement, I offer you:

Apostrophe Catastrophes.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under random

Cooking up the CSA

This year, I bought a share in a CSA (community-supported agriculture). My first farm share.

I don’t really do recipes, but I did want to share some delicious combinations of foods that I’ve stumbled upon while cooking up my weekly baskets of food.

Lemony greens and rice

Arborio rice, cooked risotto-style with vegetable broth and a chopped onion

+

Kale and chard, chopped and sauteed with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and walnuts

Not your average mac and cheese

Sauteed cauliflower + onion + green bell peppers + penne pasta + cheddar cheese sauce

A New England Jewish girl gets over her fear of collards

A chopped and sautéed onion + a few ears of fresh corn, cut from the cob + a chopped green bell pepper + blanched collard greens  + a little salt, pepper, and cumin

Fresh Peaches

Take one peach. Wash. Eat. Make sure to catch the dripping peach juice before it falls.

Repeat.

Actual Recipes

If you want real recipes, here are two from people who are famous for such things. I’ve made them both and love them.

Tomato and Corn Pie (from Smitten Kitchen)

Tomato Sauce with Eggplant, Caponata Style (from Mark Bittman)

Enjoy.

2 Comments

Filed under food

Influence, schminfluence.

As  I was just looking at Klout and finding great amusement in its assessment of my online influence.

screen-shot-klout

According to Klout, I am influential about:

  • Music (duh)
  • Homosexuality (hello, gay now!)
  • Photography (yes, I take pictures)
  • Instruments (musical?)
  • Blogging (welcome to my blog!)
  • Family (I have parents and a brother and a sister-in-law and aunts and uncles and cousins, and once I wrote about my family’s Thanksgiving…)
  • War

War?

I’m influential about WAR? Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under random

Gnaoua or never

Essaouira is a great place to end a trip through Morocco. The cool air and wind from the sea felt wonderful after the intense heat of the desert. Seagulls wheeled and cried, and waves crashed on the rocky shore and nearby islands. The smells of salt and fish blew through the air.

essaouira

Walking through the narrow streets in the medina, I fell in love with the shades of blue. Against the high white walls of the old houses, shutters and doors are painted pale blue or turquoise. Sometimes they’re surrounded with a border of yellow. I wanted to paint everything in my house white and golden yellow and pale blue.

essaouira

And Essaouira is mellow. Even full of Moroccan visitors and European tourists, it felt relaxed and peaceful. If I lived in Europe, I might make it a regular vacation spot.

We were there for the Gnaoua and World Music Festival. (It’s also spelled Gnawa, but I seem to gravitate toward spelling Moroccan names the French way rather than English). Pronounce all the letters: Guh-now-ah. The title of this post, by the way, is stolen from some posters and t-shirts we saw at the festival.

main stage at the gnaoua music festival, essaouira

The New York Times described Gnaoua music in a recent article:

West African slaves, transported far from home, held on to rituals that praise saints and spirits with songs, dances, galvanizing rhythms and trance possession. That’s the story of voodoo and Santería in the Americas, and it’s also the story of Gnawa music in Morocco, made by descendants of slaves brought north from what is now Mali….

The music is spiritual yet never sedate. Most songs are driven by quick-fingered bass riffs played by the leader on the three-stringed sintir and by the bright clatter of large metal castanets called qaraqeb, with call-and-response vocal melodies arching over the beat. The musicians are also singers and dancers: crouching and leaping, twirling and even somersaulting as the polyrhythms grow denser and the songs accelerate.

krakebs

Here’s what qaraqeb look like.

 

 

Here’s an example of a performance at the festival:

Here’s a short promo video for the festival.

And here’s a longer but better one.

People come to the festival from all over – Moroccans, Europeans, North Americans like us, even further away. One Moroccan had said to Mara before we went, “It’s a hippie festival!” And it is. Our bus from Marrakech to Essaouira was filled with European hippies, a couple of boring-looking travelers like us, and just a sprinkling of Moroccans. We were both amused by the French girl in front of me making a hemp bracelet as we rolled north past dusty hills and olive trees.

The first night of the festival was chilly. People drew together, crowding forward to see the stage, everyone close and lively and happy. The appeal isn’t just the music but the dancing, the performers’ acrobatic moves, and the infectious happiness of the crowd. We found ourselves next to a group of Moroccans who shouted and sang along and danced, and who drew us into their circle to dance and sing with them.

performers-at-gnaoua-music-festival

Vendors sold balloons, roasted corn, Rasta hats, slices of pineapple and coconut, sesame candy, and festival swag.

Seagulls kept soaring into the light above the stage, shining white before vanishing into the unlit sky.  Two guys nearby waved Moroccan flags overhead. People lifted children onto their shoulders. The screens of cameras and cell phones glowed amongst the crowd. Fabulous.

5 Comments

Filed under arts, music, photo, travel

Sahara road trip, Part I

We were a little nervous about renting a car in Morocco. But we asked a lot of questions, listened to stories from other travelers, and decided to do it.

Sitting on the couch at Mami Tours, we asked: is it an automatic? Does it have air conditioning? Does it have a CD player? Yes, yes, yes, he said.

Two out of three isn’t so bad. It’s just that it’s been a long time since I’ve driven a car with manual transmission. And that was in New Zealand, on the other side of the road. And car.

But it comes back to you.

Even on roads like this.

winding road in the atlas mountains

With goats crossing. (Sorry for the windshield smudge in the photo.)

goats crossing the road in the atlas mountains

Mara took the wheel first and navigated the traffic and roundabouts of Marrakesh and our first taste of Moroccan highway. Once we started to approach the Atlas Mountains, we switched.

goats grazing in atlas mountains

The Tizi-n-Tichka Pass is Morocco’s highest road pass, reaching 2260 meters (7413 feet) before descending again. The road winds through pale rock, green valleys, red rock, cedar forest, and black rock before it brings you into the desert. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under photo, travel