Thursday, April 26, 2012

Namaste, Y'all!

Hey there! I'm writing to say hello....from India! I have been here for almost a week. I am traveling through a region called Rajasthan as part of a tour with Intrepid Travel. India has been one of the most challenging places I've visited but with challenges come rewards. I have already had some unforgettable moments here. After this two week tour, I'll move on to a town called Darjeeling. For those of you who are tea drinkers, that is where they grow the tea. :) I'm traveling light with an IPad, and many of the places where we'll be staying have no Internet access at all much less wifi. I have so many posts in mind already, but please don't forget about me while I am away. I'll try to check in with something short here and there if and when I can. I hope your week is going well. T

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Hey, y'all!

I know that I came back, threw up a teaser full of Argentina pics, and then haven't posted all week. I'm taking a little bit of a blogging hiatus. This is actually all my fault because I just didn't plan well enough in advance to make sure that posts would be coming forth as I make some moves. Don't worry; things are good. :) I'll hopefully be popping up here and there in the next few weeks, and hopefully with some surprises. Allow me a few moments to be cryptic.

I hope all is well where you are.


Monday, April 16, 2012


Hey, everyone!

Husband J and I are back from Argentina, and all I can say is that I probably will never be hungry again. I still think I am full from all of the food we ate the last nine or so days. I can say that Argentina is a country of so many contrasts and delicious (heavy) food. I also didn't have a bad glass of wine the entire time there.

This trip also made me realize how much I miss speaking Spanish. I studied the language for seven years including a semester of conversational Spanish in college. I didn't keep up my studies in college because I didn't want to take the advanced classes, which were all literature courses (nothing against Latin American and Spanish lit. I just would have preferred history or other subjects that would let me practice Spanish).

I really enjoyed getting to speak with locals, many of whom I believe appreciated my language efforts. You can get by without Spanish in the tourist areas of Argentina, but it sure does help. It's made me motivated to try to continue practicing through a local Meet Up group or something similar starting this summer.

I thought I'd share some snippets of our trip through pictures.

Statue of Manuel Belgrano at the Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires

Pizza from Guerrin in Buenos Aires

Perito Moreno Glacier

National Congress building in Buenos Aires

Meat (and lots of it)! Sirloin at Don Julio, a parilla in Buenos Aires

Trekking on Perito Moreno Glacier

High Tea at the Alvear Palace Hotel in Buenos Aires

Looking forward to sharing more in the coming weeks. If you've got any questions for me, please let me know in the comments section!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Food Porn Friday - Alfajor

I'm hoping by this point in our trip that I will have eaten a whole bunch of these:

At its most basic level, an alfajor are two biscuits with a filling most commonly of dulce de leche, a mousse or jam. If I've done my job as a food blogger well, then I hope I've eaten a lot of these by today. A lot. :)

Have you ever had an alfajor? What do you think of them?

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

ReWind - A Grand Canyon Faux Hike

Another installment of ReWind and the second half of my running around the Grand Canyon.

Faux hiking? Oh yeah! I'm not really into outdoorsy stuff. Perhaps you've noticed that. I mean I guess I'm not really destined for it. Having grown up in a Black working class neighborhood in New York City in the 80's and 90's, sleeping in a tent in the cold with no bathroom wasn't exactly what many considered a vacation. Just sayin'. Even Oprah noticed the lack o' folks o' color during her recent trip to Yosemite. (By the way, I love the name of that blog link, Outdoor Afro.) While Husband J grew up doing more outdoor related things than me, even he likes the comfort of a warm bed (hence, our stay at the El Tovar).

One of the most popular and challenging ways to see the Grand Canyon is to hike to the bottom of the canyon itself. It's recommend that you do a two day hike with an overnight camp. If you do try to hike to the bottom in one day, make sure to carry more than enough food, water and plan accordingly for the day's weather conditions. The temperature at the canyon bottom can easily reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

During our full day in the Grand Canyon, we decided to see the western portion of the South Rim and make an attempt at a faux hike. Husband J and I walked to one of the bus shuttle stations for access to the western portion of the South Rim. You can't drive to this area of the park. Only shuttle buses, walking and bikes are allowed. The bus shuttle stops off at scenic points along a prescribed route going west towards Hermit's Rest, a rest area.

I say that this was a faux hike because we really didn't go to far off the beaten path. Even though we were on a walking trail, it was right next to the main road. You could always see the buses passing by through the trees. It's not like we went off somewhere by ourselves. :)

Even if it wasn't that far into the wilderness, there was a portion of the walking trail that did get a little rough and required some work.

There were several crazy steps along this portion of the walk. It kinda got a little hairy.

Here are some of the beautiful vistas that we saw along the way:

I actually got Husband J to take a picture of me. How about that?

Can you see the Colorado River?

After quite a bit of walking (and another hop onto the shuttle bus), we finally made it to Hermit's Rest!

It's really just a cute little rustic souvenir shop but still worth the effort. It was designed by Grand Canyon architect diva, Mary Colter.

By the way, you don't have to do our faux hike. You can take the shuttle bus the entire way to Hermit's Rest.

If you have a chance while you're in the South Rim, take a trip to its western edge. It's totally worth it!

Monday, April 9, 2012

ReWind - A Grand Canyon Walk, Pt. 1

Another ReWind post for those of you who missed it the first time! Here's Part 1 of our trip to the Grand Canyon.

Husband J and I decided to enjoy the Grand Canyon like most people do, by walking its rim. Now I should let you know that we spent time in the South Rim, which is the most popular area of the park to visit. The North Rim area is also available to visitors, but has a little less going on and is closed during the winter months beginning in November.

When we first got to our hotel, it was pouring down hurricane rain, so I couldn't see the canyon at all. At first I refused to look until we got right up to the canyon's edge. I even closed my eyes when we left our hotel so that I could have my own special "first look". Pictures just don't give you the impact of what the Grand Canyon is really like in person. I joked with Husband J that all that we were seeing just couldn't be real. It couldn't be. It's that spectacular.

We set out from our hotel, the El Tovar, and literally walk less than 50 feet to the rim. I'll talk more about the El Tovar and the great advantages to staying there in another post. Since we weren't ready for a far-flung walk that day, we stayed pretty close to the hotel. I will say that the National Park Service has made walking the Grand Canyon Rim pretty easy for almost any visitor. There is a main paved walkway that provides great views, and you can take it almost the length of the South Rim.

For the adventurer, you can move off of the main walkway for an even closer look at edge.
That's about as close to the edge as I was going to go!

The Trail of Time is also a part of the main walkway in this part of the park. Ever so often there were rock markers with their scientific names and geological ages. Science buffs take note!

I was still in my initial awe of the canyon and busy taking waaay too many pictures like this.

This portion of the South Rim happened to have a few shops that are their own historic structures. Verkamp's Visitor Center has been around since the early 20th century (1905 to be exact) and is one of the oldest buildings surrounding the canyon. It started out as a curio (craft) shop and has become an integral part of the South Rim experience.

Verkamp's floor actually has a nice time line showing major points in the history and development of the canyon as a park and tourist site. I learned quite a bit myself including the fact that our hotel was over a 100 years old.

Less than a hundred feet from our hotel is Hopi House, a wonderful example of Hopi architecture as interpreted by architect, Mary Colter. What's most impressive about Ms. Colter is that she was one of the few female architects actively working in the West in the early 20th century. She designed six buildings within the Grand Canyon National Park. I'm going to give her a post-humous "You go, girl!" The purpose of Hopi House was to provide a place for the Hopi Tribe to sell their crafts and celebrate their culture within the park.
Hopi House

I wish I was more of a shopper and that we had more room in our apartment for these gorgeous pieces. Check the prices, though.

I will say that I am sad that we did not learn more about Native American culture on this trip. Arizona is home to over 250,000 Native Americans from 21 recognized tribes. At the same time, I'm going to cut myself some slack since this was really only a long weekend. :(

I'm not done with walking the canyon yet. Stay tuned for my pseudo-hiking!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Foodie Pinspiration - Easter & Passover Recipes

As this post goes up, I'm probably stuffing my face with a medialuna for breakfast, but I wanted to make sure that I popped in to wish you all a Happy Easter/Resurrection Sunday (whichever you prefer to call it) as well as Passover (Chag Sameach!).

As a kid, my traditional way of recognizing Easter was getting my hair done, a new dress for church, attending Easter service and the church's Easter egg hunt afterwards. Dinner wasn't such a big part of the day. That probably doesn't make me the most qualified person to suggest recipes for a holiday dinner; however, I believe in any excuse to cook something tasty. As for Passover, I'm still working on getting a Seder invite. A friend wanted me to come to hers this year, but I'll be out of town for most of Passover. :(

Here are a few recipes that might work for your special dinner this weekend:


Grilled Leg of Lamb with Rosemary & Garlic

Gail Simmons' Horseradish Brisket

Classic Baked Ham with Maple- Mustard Glaze

Sides, etc.

Mint Meyer Lemon Risotto with White Asparagus
via My Life Runs on Food (big shout out to Sanura Weathers!)

Matzo Pizza

Okay. This one is obviously not for Seder, but it might be nice for lunch another part of the week. When you can't eat anything leavened, I suspect lots of creativity is involved.


Coconut Nest Cookies
The colors are Easter-y, but the macaron-like cookies are great for Passover.

Cheesecake Filled Chocolate Easter Eggs

Do you have any dishes that are a tradition in your home for these holidays?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pictures of Me

I'm bad at making sure that I have pictures of me when I travel. I've been looking through pictures of our past few trips, and I realize I have very few good ones of me to add the TAO Facebook page now that it's switched over to timeline. Husband J is a great travel partner, but he is NOT good at saying, "Hey, let me make sure you have a picture of you in front of x spot." It's not really his fault. I could just ask more. I guess I have no one to blame but me?

I've never been into taking pictures. I don't mind taking them when I am at events or for special occasions, but it's not something that I go out of my way to do. I know some people who would take pictures of themselves all day just for fun. I found doing that a little frivolous, a waste of time and vain (Don't worry. I have others ways that I can be vain), especially when this was back in the day before digital cameras and the opportunity for unlimited shots. Waste an exposure on just me? Nah.

Well, I'm over it now. Bump that! I'm going to make sure I get better pictures of me on this trip!!

What about you? Are you the first in front of the camera? Do you shy away from taking pictures when traveling or otherwise? Do you take pictures of yourself just for fun?

Feel free to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and on Pinterest! I'd love to hang out with you there!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Husband J & the Canada Curse

When Husband J and I visited Buffalo, New York last year we were supposed try to hop over the border for a quick 36 hour or so visit to my family in Toronto. I haven't seen many of them in over 20 years, which is downright ridiculous considering how close Toronto is to New York (it's a one hour flight from NYC).

Husband J and I had our passports ready, and we went off to LaGuardia Airport to leave on our U.S. Airways flight last Memorial Day weekend. We were a half hour from boarding when our flight got cancelled. It was a bright sunny day, and everything seemed to be going fine in terms of flights leaving. The airline gave no reason why our flight got cancelled. Remind me to stay away from U.S. Airways, if I can.

We hemmed and hawed about whether to continue our weekend trip. Part of the reason we wanted to go at this time was because my friend was pregnant (She gave birth to a beautiful baby girl a few months later). We figured it would be easier to visit that weekend than when they had a newborn. With such little time, it seemed that we would have to ax our time in Toronto. I was a sad panda. It pained me to have to tell my family that I wasn't going to be able to see them after all that time.

I really did look like this. I was so upset.

Apparently, this is the fourth (or more instance) Husband J has almost gone to Canada. Between work and weekends away, each time he's tried to go to our neighbor to the North, something gets cancelled or botched.

I've decided to name Husband J's string of bad luck with trips to Canada as the Canada Curse. Even though we didn't make it to Canada, it might be for the best. We are going to plan a long weekend that will focus solely on going to Toronto so that we can give this exciting city AND my family the attention and time they deserve.

For now, the closest Husband J has gotten to Canada was drinking some Molson and Labatt's beer (think Canadian Bud Light) and staring at the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

Here's to you, Canada.

Have you had a string of bad luck when it comes to traveling to a certain place?

By the way, check out posts about my time in Buffalo, New York here.


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