As you have surely heard by now, Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday at the age of 95 after a long illness. The great humanitarian was a multifaceted man, and often spoke of food in both the literal and metaphorical sense. Speaking of one of his favorite dishes, amasi (traditional South African fermented milk), Mandela wrote to his wife Winnie from prison:
“How I long for amasi , thick and sour! You know darling there is one respect in which I dwarf all my contemporaries or at least about which I can confidently claim to be second to none – healthy appetite.”
Nelson Mandela and his chef Xoliswa Ndoyiya
His personal chef since 1992, Xoliswa Ndoyiya, published a cookbook, “Ukutya Kwasekhaya: Tastes from Nelson Mandela’s Kitchen,” filled with his favorite recipes. “Ukutya Kwasekhaya” means home “home cooking” in Xhosa, Nelson Mandela’s first language, and the recipes in the book exemplify the hearty and delicious home cooking of South Africa: sweet chicken, umphokoqo (corn porridge), and umsila wenkomo (oxtail-stew).
However, this isn’t the only book about Nelson Mandela and food. Anna Trapido’s book “Hunger For Freedom” weaves stories about food into Mandela’s biography. Trapido’s book includes recipes by other chefs that were among Mandela’s favorites, including stuffed crabs and chicken curry. I think we will try some recipes in tribute.
Happy Turkey Day to those living in the USA. Hope you have all of your favorite foods! We’re especially looking forward to the pie!
Filed under Holidays, Note
One of our favorite tasks every couple of months is predicting what the upcoming menus at the ever-changing themed Next Restaurant will be. We went to Next Sicily and Thailand, which we absolutely loved, and the current menu is the French-themed Bocuse d’Or, which is running through the end of the year. This time we guessed there would be a Brazilian menu coming up… and we were wrong. So here’s what’s actually slated for Next in 2014. First, a reinvention (or is it more of a re-creation?) of the classic Chicago steakhouse, next, a Chinese/Modernist themed menu, and last, a menu in homage to the shuttered restaurant Trio in Evanston, where Achatz was executive chef. Sounds pretty great!
We’re turning 6 years old today! We’ve been to 89 countries so far, so we’re almost halfway there. Here’s to another 6 years of world eats!
In our travels we met perhaps the most amazing food cart purveyor in all of Brazil, nay, Latin America! His name is Picoleishion, and he is a one-man show based in the town of Itaparica, on the northern tip of the island of the same name. He sells picole, which is simply Portuguese for “popsicle” but he isn’t a normal popsicle seller. Picoleishion is readily identified by his gigantic sombrero, frenetic dance moves and the fact that his popsicle cart is actually a giant boombox blaring Axé hits like “Billie Jean” by Magary Lord. Check him out in action (and again). The Praia do Forte in Itaparica is idyllic and quiet, and Picoleishion is hard to ignore as he rolls across the beach blaring his tunes. Over the course of one beach day we sampled 4 picoles – Mangabation (Mango), Limation (Lime), Chocolation (Chocolate), and Amendoimshion (“Peanut” was basically a peanut butter popsicle –cool! que legal!). Picoleishion is definitely a charismatic guy – and had beachgoers dancing and posing for pictures, so it is no surprise to us that he is a minor celebrity and has made an appearance on the Jô Soares show, a Letterman-type talk show in Brazil (at the start of the clip below). We love you Picoleishion! Adorei Picoleishon!
After a whirlwind (delicious) tour of the East Coast, we are back in the Midwest. In other news, one of us got ‘real’ grown-up 9-5 job which starts in a few weeks, so posts overall may be a little more sporadic, at least in the beginning. However, never fear – we have many food projects and restaurants in our future. First up: preserving lemons!
We are now in Providence, Rhode Island. There seem to be a ton of Rhode Island foods that have somehow not made it past the state’s borders and we are excited to try them, especially the coffee milk (milk with special coffee syrup – see below). There are also some Rhode Island linguistic difference that have perplexed us – including calling a milkshake a “Cabinet.” People from Rhode Island are proud of their culinary heritage, and The New York Times has a piece about the big flavors of this little state.
Coffee Syrup – a key component of a Rhode Island Coffee Milk by spablab
We are out and about in Chicago, Providence, Rhode Island and Washington D.C., and will be posting only a limited amount while we are away for the next 2 weeks. We will be updating our Twitter feed, so keep an eye out. If you have a suggestion for Providence or DC, let us know! We are particularly excited about sampling Lobster Rolls in Providence and Ethiopian Food in DC. Expect to hear about our food travel adventures here soon.
Diner at Johnson and Wales Culinary Arts Museum in Providence by Joey Orso
The area around Lafitte, LA (seen by airboat)
Last weekend we had the good fortune to visit M’s dad in Louisiana – where we had a fun time exploring Baton Rouge, Cajun Country, and even spending a day in New Orleans. We had a lot of fun seeing the sights and eating as much as we could, from every type of cuisine available (including some tasty grub at an extravagant LSU tailgate). In the next few weeks we’ll be talking about some of the places we were fortunate enough to visit, thanks to recommendations from friends, family and even ETW readers. In the mean time, here are the stops we made on our food journey:
- Southern Dawgz, Baton Rouge
- Chelsea’s, Baton Rouge
- Tsunami, Baton Rouge
- Parkway Bakery and Tavern, New Orleans
- Cafe du Monde, New Orleans
- Roberto’s River Road Resataurant, Sunshine, LA
- The Cabin, Burnside, LA
We’re on the road again, it’s time for our first trip since Brazil. And this time it’s someplace completely different: Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We’re catching an LSU game and we plan to take in all of the Creole and Cajun food we can find in that short time. We’d love to hear your recommendations. Any favorite spots?
At home and abroad, finding great barbecue is one of our true passions. Cooking meats low and slow over a flame with various seasonings is a worldwide tradition, and we are excited to celebrate it this week as we highlight some of our favorite barbecue food finds from both the US and around the world. We recently picked up a new cookbook/guide, Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book, which has really made us hungry to try some more recipes in our own kitchen (no smoker yet, sadly). The book by Chris Lilly (pitmaster at the Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama) is one of the coolest, most informative books we’ve read in a while. If you’re interested in learning the techniques of US BBQ, we highly recommend it. Of course, in the US, BBQ certainly doesn’t mean one single thing, and every region has their own unique take. Check out this infographic for a cheat sheet to the major BBQ regions, and get ready for ETW BBQ week.
Filed under BBQ Tour, Note
Happy Monday – Buenos días! This week is Spain Week at ETW. On our way back to Chicago from Lisbon we took a stopover in Madrid where we ate some excellent food. However, we never put up any of our posts, and the blog was quickly taken over by our updates from Brazil. Since we are back in the US we figured it would be the perfect time to share our Madrid culinary adventures with you. Stay tuned for a new post about cuisine from Madrid every day this week. To get you started, you can check out some of previous Spain posts on ETW.
To kick off the week, why not learn all about Spanish cheeses. Though Manchego is the best-known cheese from Spain, the country has a huge cheese culture with hundreds of varieties. Catavino has a wonderful series on Spanish cheese that gives a crash course on the country’s diverse dairy offerings, divided into cow, goat, sheep and mixed-milk cheeses. The New York Times has a piece on Spanish cheese from the region of Asturias, though that is not the only place cheese is produced in Spain, and there is even a National Cheese fest in Trujillo, in the region of Extremadura.
We wrote last week about our visit to the Argyle night market, a brand new weekly event in the Argyle neighborhood of Chicago, known for its Vietnamese and Chinese culture. We decided to visit the fair on its opening night, and its second installation is this upcoming Thursday, July 11 from 4 to 8 PM.
The fair itself was only a block long, which was a little smaller than we imagined, running on Argyle street from Sheridan to Kenmore. There were at least a dozen stalls, featuring mostly food and snacks. On that note, there was also a feature M especially enjoyed – a whole roast pig on a spit. Beyond the food, there was a face painting booth and activities like a Bean Bag Toss for children. The day we visited there was a dragon dance scheduled, but it seemed to have been delayed due to the intermittent rain (note the umbrellas).
Many local favorites had set up shop: one booth sold sandwiches from perennial favorite Ba Le, and prepared dishes from Hai Yen. Tai Nam Market, a local grocery store, sold various items, including sweetened dried plantains and mango, sauces and Vietnamese candy. Local tofu producer Phoenix bean tofu sold fresh tofu and soy milk.
Though the majority of stalls were Asian there were some international treats – especially for dessert. One of our favorites was the Brazilian Beijo de Chocolat, who sold brigadeiros, along with other American baked goods like cookies and muffins (some were even gluten-free). Another sweet treat came from Uptown Brownie, with their assortment of gourmet brownies. Overall, we think Argyle Market is off to a great start, we are sure it will gain followers as the summer goes on (and hopefully if the weather cooperates). We hope to be back soon!
Filed under Note, Reviews
We love the concept of the night market that is extensively popular in Asia – food, music and general fun milling about during the evening and night hours. Most markets in the US tend to be morning and early afternoon affairs, so what’s a night owl to do? Fortunately there is a new night market in Chicago on Argyle street from 4-8 every Thursday evening. Argyle is home to a large Asian community, especially Vietnamese and Chinese communities. The first night market is tonight, June 27th, and they run through the fall. There will be food, farmers market stalls, and even entertainment. Expect a report back, soon.
We’re currently in Charleston, South Carolina (and then L graduates)- we plan to unplug from technology a little bit – posting will resume later this week. For now, we’ll leave you with this picture of shrimp and grits from our 2011 trip.
Pie Drawing from Cakespy
Happy Pi Day everyone (3.14) – hope you get to celebrate with a nice piece of pie. We will be seeking one out in Rio de Janeiro – which is actually a somewhat difficult task. If we were home we would be making Sour Cherry Pie, Chocolate Coconut Pie or Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chess Pie. What kind of pie is your favorite?
We are in Brazil! The second half, or should I say, the second two-thirds of our trip has begun. We are excited to be back in Brazil, a country that likes sweets and pastries as much as Portugal, but also has the benefit on many unique fruits, açaí bowls and amazing cosmopolitan dishes that derive from Native Brazilian, African, Middle Eastern and European influences. We are just getting settled in – and our Internet doesn’t seem to work in the rain (which Rio de Janeiro has been getting a lot of) so stay tuned.
As you see this post we are currently en route to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! We will be staying in Brazil until June, and we are very excited about all of the food possibilities. We only stayed their a brief time last year, so we hope that our 2.5 month stay will get us better acquainted with the city (after that it is off to Salvador da Bahia). We are looking forward to visiting our favorite cafe, Confeitaria Columbo, as well as finding our go-to açaí spot. If you have any suggestions for places to eat in Rio de Janeiro please let us know!
Confeitaria Colombo, Rio de Janeiro
Filed under Holidays, Note
We are back in America (for the time being). In the words of James Brown, “Superhighways and coca cola…” but perhaps most importantly for us: cheap peanut butter, BBQ, sharp cheddar cheese, Greek Diners, Taquerias and Thai food. Only one month and a few important holidays to indulge in before we leave for Brazil!
Filed under Holidays, Note