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Archive for November, 2010

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21 Nov

We are home now. We had such a great time! We still find it hard to believe that we drove across the country, and into Canada and back. What a great trip. We are so excited about all the experiences we had, and all the people we met along the way. This country really is an amazing place. So much to savor, and experience and enjoy. We really feel like we just scratched the surface, and have already found excuses as to why we need to go back to this place, or that place. I think we all had our favorite stops, and places we could definitely skip next time.  If any of you have the opportunity to make such a trip, I highly recommend it. Or if not, get to know all the wonderful stops, and places in your immediate area. We find it funny that a lot of the people we talked to, don’t actually do a lot of the touristy stuff, or take the time to enjoy what’s around them. Ourselves included…. We live minutes from the beach and hardly ever go. Most of the people we came in contact with were very proud though of what their particular region has to offer. Whether it be the cheesemakers in Wisconsin, the BBQ joint in Nashville, the goat farmer in Tennessee, the maple syrup makers in Vermont, the bike pedi cab driver in DC, and even the ladies at the Waffle house in Texas. It’s a fun place, our country….go check it out!

For now, we are spending the day getting caught up, and celebrating Kevin’s birthday. We have a busy week already coming up, and then of course it’s the holidays. Big food time!! We will be very busy for the next few months, and we are so grateful for the opportunity we had to make this trip. Happy Birthday today to Kevin, and I need to get busy to create a birthday feast for him. Thank you for reading our blog. We will continue to put more pictures up, and update the blog as we have more experiences. Happy Exploring!

 
 

Where we left off….

21 Nov

Before we headed out of Albequerque, we wanted to stop at a Mexican grocery store called Pros Ranch Market. Holy Cow! That place was absolutely amazing! I have never seen such a store! We walked into the huge bakery section. There was all kinds of Mexican pastries and desserts. Continuing on there was a whole section of fresh squeezed juices, and drinks, then a huge salsa bar, a whole section where they were busting out so many homemade tortillas, a section of fresh Mexican cheeses, and then of course a deli counter of different fried pork skins. The meat section was very cool as well, although there was a huge beef head for sale. Not something you see in your everyday grocery store 🙂 We had so much fun looking around in this store, and then decided to get something to eat at their huge “restaurant” style counter they had. I had taquitos, rice, beans, and I gotta say, it was the best Mexican food I have ever had!! It was so fantastic! I had a horchata beverage to go with it, and a wonderful churro for dessert. We were so stoked at finding this place. Kevin and Nicole also enjoyed their lunches of chicken tacos, and tacos al pastor. So wonderful, so tasty!!!

Bellies full, we headed out on the long drive to the Grand Canyon. We stopped for a brief moment in Gallup, New Mexico, which is the town I was born in. Interesting town….we stopped at a trading post, that my Dad once worked at. It was cool to see. We bought a few goodies, and then headed out. After many hours of driving we arrived at the Grand Canyon…just in time for Sunset! So beautiful! The Grand Canyon is so trippy, it is so vast it looks like a huge painting. We took several photos, and enjoyed the the sunset, and then headed back out again, arriving in Vegas around 10:00 pm or so. We stayed with wonderful friends of ours. We took Nicole out on her first trip to the strip. We walked most of the strip, and checked  it out, sat and relaxed in the Paris casino, and then headed to catch some sleep. It was a very brief trip to Vegas, but we were so grateful to see our great friends, Michele and Jasmin! Thank you so much for having us!!

When we headed out of Vegas we were on our way to Sacramento. We drove through the mojave dessert…anyone made this trek? WOW!!! It’s everything you would think the mojave dessert would be. Man was it depressing!! Happy to get out of the dessert, we headed up the highway into California, we stopped at Bravo Farms Creamery. What a fun little stop. They make some cheeses I have used many times in my cooking. There was a lot to see, but the creamery was shut down for the day, so we didn’t get to see cheese being made, but they had all kinds of stuff there. Fun stop! If you are ever in the neighborhood….:) We got to Sacramento, and stayed with some more great friends of ours. Don and Karen. We had such a fun evening! We went to Fat’s which is a Chinese Bistro. We have been before, and we just love it!!! We ordered so much food, and had such a wonderful meal! We had a great time with Karen and Don and their daughters. Thank you so much for your hospitality!! Can’t wait to see them again!

The next morning we relaxed with Don and Karen, and then ate at a nice “comfort food” restaurant called Crickets for lunch. Nice, good, honest food! After shopping around a bit we headed out of Sacramento in the late afternoon.

The final stretch home!!!! We managed to avoid a pretty big snow storm on the way, by cutting over to the coast early. We still got hit with some snow, which we found funny. We managed to have fantastic weather the whole trip, until we got just a few hours from home, and there was snow…on the Coast!!! We made it through safe and sound, thanks to the mad snow steering skills of our North Idaho girl, Nicole. We arrived home safe and sound around 2 am!!!

 
 

Where are we?

18 Nov

Well, after a couple of VERY LONG car rides, we are in Albequerque, NM. Wow, what a long ride. But after we left Nashville, we had a really great experience. In some searching out on the internet a few months ago, on building an in ground cheese ripening cave, we came across a really cool website. It is this cheese creamery in WAY out there Tennessee, and they built their own cheese cave underground. We wrote them to see if they give tours. They wrote back, and welcomed us to come for a tour. We drove several hours, into the deep Tennessee to see this place. It was fantastic! They are a strictly goat farm. The people who own it moved out to Tennessee from California, so they could have their own goat farm. There was literally nothing on the property they bought, except a pre-civil war chimney. They have built everything they have. Seriously, check out their website http://www.bonniebluefarm.com/ and look at their cheese aging cave….I sense a project in the works 🙂 Anyway, they gave us a tour of their farm, and all the facilities where they make, and age cheese. Way fantastic!

That was pretty much the highlight of that day….As I said, we had a long drive into Texas through Arkansas. The next day we started our day with a Waffle House, and a SUPER TARGET!!! What a wonderful thing! We quickly headed out on our way to Roswell New Mexico. This was the longest drive of our life….or so it seemed. It was basically all day on 1 highway through west Texas. WOW! The sun was beating down on our car all day, and we saw a lot of cotton fields (which was pretty cool), and oil drills. Not much else! We didn’t even see a restaurant for hours, and as the evening progressed we got hungrier and hungrier. We came through Tatum, New Mexico, and found a steak house. A little apprehensive at first, because it looked like the type of place that every eye would glue to you the second you walked in. We went in anyway, and had a great “comfort food” type dinner. Kevin and Nicole were happy as clams with the Steak fingers they had. And of course we finished with a slice of homemade pie. All in all, a great meal, and very friendly people!

That brought us to Roswell, late into the night. Not much to see, and believe me….I was looking :), but we stopped at an “alien store”, and the clientele late at night in Roswell is very interesting! Present company excluded of course :). Interesting little town, Roswell. Their street lamps are alien faces!

We are now in Albequerque, and headed out this mornig bound for the Grand Canyon, and then onto Vegas!

 
 

State Welcome Signs

16 Nov

just a brief note about this. We planned on taking a photo and posting as we went from one state to the next. For one reason or another we have failed at this every time so far. It has reached a very comic point. We know it’s coming… 1/2 mile, 1/4 mile 1/10th of a mile. And then… Lots of “colorful metaphors” and just some old fashioned swearing but not one damn “welcome to (insert state here)”. IT IS TRULY HYSTERICAL!!! BTW we just crossed in to Arkansas so that makes about 18 strikes and counting… 🙂

 
 

Tara’s post

15 Nov

Well, we have moved quite a bit over the last few days….Man, have we covered some ground!! It’s kind of trippy when we think of where we have been. Since I last blogged we went to NYC, Hershey Pennsylvania (yes, we checked them out 🙂 ), on to Gettysburg, and to Amish Country. Then we headed to DC, and did a long haul overnight to get us to Nashville! Man, I’m tired just thinking about it! I have been to DC a few times, as I spent 6 weeks there a few years back working. I have also been to Amish country, Gettysburg, and Hershey before. I don’t tire of seeing such rich American history. My Dad is a fabulous source of History knowledge, and the Civil war is 1 of his specialties. We had the pleasure of going to Gettysburg a few years back with my Dad, and he shared with us so much knowledge of the battles. I so much enjoyed going back there, and now there is this incredible Visitor center and museum. We also saw the Sunset over one of the main battlefields. What a beautiful sight!

In Amish country we went to the famous “Miller’s Smorgasbord”! I generally don’t much care for Buffets, but this was a good exception.

While in DC, we went to 1 museum at the Smithsonian. This was about all we could fit in. Again, I very much enjoy the history of seeing the original American flag newly restored, Julia Child’s kitchen, All the wars and the memorabilia, and of course Dorthy’s red shoes, or Fonzy’s leather jacket! What a trip! We did get lost several times around DC, and ended up seeing several things again, and again, and again. The scene from the European Vacation movie where they go around a European circle many times, and see big Ben over and over again comes to mind 🙂 The funniest part was the bike cab we took. As Nicole pointed out, we ended up laughing hysterically the whole time!! Man, poor guy! He said it was no problem though!! He must have the killer quads! We also ate in China town, great food! We took the time to walk several of the memorials at night, and that of course is always sobering, but we were grateful to have the oppurtunity!

We drove another crazy alnighter here to Nashville, where we covered the Opryland Hotel (first day back open after the flood last spring), the Grand Ole Opry, and Jack’s BBQ. Which brings me back to where we are right now. Sitting in the Hotel, getting ready to go back out into Downtown Nashville, and back to Jack’s BBQ. As you may have read Kevin’s post, he is so ecstatic to be able to visit his old friend the BBQ. It brings us much joy to be able to eat at one of my husband’s favorite places ever. Brings a single slow tear to the eye! Gotta go, more BBQ to eat!

 
 

Picture book

15 Nov

Several people have asked us for pictures of our trip. In the right top corner of the page is an icon that says Coastal Mist tourist photos. Just click on that, and we have created a book to flip through. We will add to it as we can. There is also a dessert/chocolate page as well.

 
 

Washington, D.C.

15 Nov

We made it into Washington D.C. early in the afternoon yesterday. After driving around and finally finding some parking we made it to our first stop: the American History museum at The Smithsonian. They had some cool exhibits set up, and it was a trip to see the original flag that inspired the national anthem.

After leaving the museum, we walked the mall and then decided to go back to our car to check out some of the monuments that were further down the way and drive by the White House. So, as we were walking back towards where we had parked, we saw a few pedicabs and decided to ask how much it was for a ride, and see if two were available. After finding out the rate we decided it would be fun to take a couple back to our car. Then we were told that the one was the only one around to take us. After much convincing on his part that it would be no problem with the three of us in the back (he said he had hauled seven people one time, comparing the cart to a VW Bug), we piled in and off we went. Most of the ride was spent laughing like little kids, until we got to a hill that was close to where we parked and we took pity on the poor, now exhausted man. No worries, we tipped him well for his efforts before heading off to our car.

The rest of the night was spent eating some fantastic Chinese food in Chinatown (where else?) and going to the Vietnam War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial. All were beautiful, but none of them have quite the impact that the Vietnam memorial does. Just seeing all the names etched into the stone and knowing what they signified was something else.

 
 

Jacks BBQ

15 Nov

So as I mentioned at the very start we had to scratch our plans to go to KC and Arthur Bryant’s and I was deeply saddened. Well today I get to have Jacks BBQ in Nashville for lunch and for dinner! All is right in my world again! Lunch was FANTASTIC!!!!!! Pork, beef brisket and Texas sausage with a side of mac & cheese and their oh so famous baked beans. Also several glasses of sweet tea!

SHIIIIT HOWDY I’M A HAPPY BOY!!!!!!!

Before the Joy!

After, Aaahhhh the joy 🙂

 
 

Vermont day #2, and NYC

14 Nov

So, Day #2 in Vermont. It was a quick day in Vermont, as we needed to get on the NYC. We enjoyed a really nice drive through Vermont. How great it is in the fall! What a beautiful drive! We stopped in Brattleboro to see Grafton Village Creamery. We met a representative from this company last month at a food show in Portland. We told her we would be coming to Vermont this month, and would love to see their facility. She invited us to come over when we were out here. What  a nice place. The facility is very nice, and very busy producing a lot of cheese! We got to see the cheese making process start to finish, and all the way to their giant, giant, giant cheese cave! We sampled a few goodies, and headed out! Thank you GraftonVillage Creamery, for showing us around, and for your hospitality!

After leaving Grafton Cheesewe then got on our way to New York City. It took us several hours, and of course, we happened to arrive right at 5 pm, so needless to say, we spent a little time in traffic…and then we got lost a few times….and then we got lost a few more times…and we finally found our hotel in New Jersey! We did see the tree on a truck on the highway on it’s way to Rockefeller Center. Pretty cool! After arriving, we quickly checked in, got our bearings, and took the bus into Times Square. The weather could not have been more perfect for November, and it was such a great night! We wandered around Times Square, and living in a town of 2000ish, it’s weird to get used to the thousands, and thousands of your closest friends all around Times Square.We had a great “Old School” diner type dinner at a place called “Juniors”. Kevin was so stoked to have a Reuben, and a classic Egg Cream. As some of you may know, they pile the meat very thick on sandwiches…..Tricky to eat!

Nicole’s thoughts:

New York City!!! This was my first time here in the city, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than lots of people and noise. I love it, not enough to want to drop everything and move here, but I really had an amazing time while we have been here. Our first day, or night I guess, we just decided to wander around. Our bus dropped us at the station right on the edge of Times Square, so we went through there first. Talk about sensory overload. There were too many places to look at once and so many people wandering around and so many noises it was overwhelming.  We wandered to Rockefeller Center, where we found that the skating rink was already set up. So we stood there for about 20 minutes and watched the skaters, giving nicknames to the ones that caught our attention and who fell the most.  After that, we went on a hansom cab ride, which was a pretty fun way to see a little bit of the city. Dinner was great, although that was probably the most turkey I’ve ever seen stacked on one sandwich.

Our second day started with a bus ride into Hoboken to catch the train to the park to go to the Statue of Liberty. After finding our way to the right train platform and getting to the Liberty State Park, we found out that the shuttle that runs to the ferry only runs during the weekends. So, rather than pay $10 for a cab, we decided that it didn’t look too far to the ferry, and went for a little walk. Two miles later we made it to the station. Needless to say, we got our exercise for the day. So we went out and checked out the statue and made our way over to New York. Our first stop: the New York Chocolate Show, the main reason we planned our trip in the first place. After paying $30 each we wandered around for a little over an hour, checking out the 60 vendors set up around the room. It wasn’t what I was expecting; when I thought of the show before, I had imagined this huge venue and just tons of stuff going on all having to do with chocolate. I personally thought that the chocolate show we do every year with the Forestry Center in Portland was just as good, if not better.  Needless to say, we probably won’t be going back to see it as customers and definitely not as vendors.

After we left the chocolate show, we wandered over to Maison du Macarons/Madeleine’s Patisserie. It was recommended to us by the very nice man who does the Paris Patisseries blog.  He said the macarons were almost as good as what you would find in Paris, and he was right. They were fantastic, and I can’t wait to go back to New York so I can go back and get some more. (Yes, I do know how to make them, but it’s nice to find somewhere that does a very good job).

Our next stop was Kee’s Chocolates, which we heard was one of the best places to go for chocolate. We were definitely pleasantly surprised by what we found. We had been expecting a pretentious shop, but found the gal who assisted us to be very friendly and personable and very helpful with selecting our chocolates. My favorite that we got was the black sesame truffle. The nuttiness of the sesame went beautifully with the dark chocolate.

The rest of the night was fairly uneventful, just a quick stop for some pizza (which was fantastic) and a cab ride back to the hotel. I love the cabbies. I got to ride up front several times since there were three of us, and was entertained the entire time by just watching them drive and listening to them hum, sing, and mutter under their breath (each guy had his own little thing).

 
 

Desserts & Photos

11 Nov

I don’t know how many of you have gone to Europe but it is something I do as often as I can. There is one thing you don”t do and that is try to take photos in a bakery or chocolate shop. Montreal is from what I saw no different! So I TAKE GREAT INSPIRATION from my travels and seeing what my fellow patissiers are up to. When someone comes into our shop with a camera they are welcome to snap away! Hell bring a film crew if you want!

My point is that we are all making chocolates or desserts using tried and true methods coupled with our own individual styles. Do these people really think they are the first to add cream to chocolate or flour, butter, sugar and eggs to eachother and bake? I am not saying to hand out your recipes or secret sources but damn let people take photos. What the hell are you people so protective of??? Let people snap photos of your work and perpetuate your quality work! what have you got to loose?

Kevin