by Meli C

Posts from — June 2009

I heart Venezuelan food

I am constantly surrounded by people of different backgrounds and cultures, and one thing I have noticed is that when different cultures come together, food is often a popular topic of conversation.

Listening to others rave about their own countries’ traditional dishes, and even prepare some of them for me, has motivated me to learn how to make more of my own traditional dishes to share with my friends. Because even though I must have been Asian or Italian in a past life, I have come to the conclusion that the food I enjoy the most is the one I have when I go home to Venezuela.

So in my quest to perfect my Venezuelan traditional recipes, I have started to work on my skills and have been practicing my arepas, empanadas, patacones, perico, etc, and I hope to be expanding my list very soon to incorporate more important things like desert :)

None of these aforementioned goodies are very healthy, so this process will be a very long one if I want to keep a decent summer figure. And thankfully, since my new cooking resolution, I have also coincidentally signed up for the gym which should help counter any negative side-effects!

I leave you with the recipe for one of my favorites: tostones (also known as patacones). These consist of choosing the perfect greenish-yellow plantain, cutting into thick chunks, frying them until they are golden, removing them from the oil, squashing them one by one to form a small flat cake and re-frying them until golden brown!

These little guilty pleasures are one of my favorite and they are the best with shredded salty white cheese. But there’s no limit to what you can do with these, you can top them with anything you like.

June 7, 2009   No Comments

A new-found interest in trees

On a recent trip to Argentina this past May, we visited a beautiful ranch about three hours away from Buenos Aires. The countryside in Argentina (a.k.a. La Pampa) is characterized by vast, uninterrupted plains, where trees are rare.

At the ranch though, the landscape was filled with trees of all kinds, meticulously planted through out. The ones planted on the sides of the road were my favorite, marking the passage of cars in absence of proper asphalt roads.

I walked outside among the trees for hours, inspecting the fruit, foliage and wildlife that inhabits them. There were pine trees, willows, orange and lemon trees. Some of them filled with green parakeets that spent entire afternoons chirping.

It’s fall in Argentina this time of year, so the colors were amazing! It was cool to see some trees in full bloom, colorful and bearing fruit, while others were completely bare.

I definitely came home with a new found interest in nature.

{my favorite, the weeping willow}

June 4, 2009   1 Comment

A New York state of mind

There’s something about New York City that fascinates everyone. Everyone wants to live there, and those of us who haven’t had the opportunity to do so, daydream about it, secretly plan it, or vicariously live through others who do. For those of us who don’t live there, we will often try to escape there for a weekend, or even rejoice over business trips that take us there for the day, because as one of my best friends so perfectly puts it: everything is in New York.

I discovered my love for the city while living in Boston. New York being so close allowed for many exciting and fun-filled weekend trips. The city was only a few hours away, it was the perfect weekend getaway. Back then it was as easy as going down to Chinatown and buying a $15 round-trip bus ticket to be dropped off on Bowery street. Sometimes just for the day: leave on the first bus out around 7am, spend the day walking around Soho or central park (while spending more money than you intended), and then hop on the last bus back around 8pm, and still make it home around midnight. I have many great memories from these trips, and each of them always left me thirsty for more.

Since I moved to Miami in 2005, my visits to the big apple have been few and far between, but I have still managed to make my way up there at least once a year. It’s always dawned on me why we are all so passionate about this city…what gives New York City its magnetic force? So I asked a few friends, and this seems to be (at least partially) why, in a nutshell:

– To experience one of the biggest eclectic melting pots in the world

– To fall in love

– Because anything you want is already there

– Because it’s the only city in the whole world where everyone is different, and that makes me feel like I belong

– Because you go there and anything could happen, it’s super exciting

And I am sure the list can go on and on. Yet, what I crave about the big apple is exactly all of those things – what it makes you feel to be in such a place where so many different people and ideas live together in harmony. Whether it be the art scene, the music scene, the food scene, there is always something going on. One of my favorite things to do in the city is to try different restaurants. The best restaurants I have ever been to are there, and the list keeps growing every time I go. Anything from Italian to Russian to French to Asian to Greek, it’s there and it’s the best. The same applies to concerts, museums, art galleries…you name it.

It’s a fast-paced city full of surprises that feels new with each visit, always having something new to offer,and where the possibilities seem endless. I am not sure if the opportunity to live in Manhattan will ever present itself, but one thing is for sure: no matter how many times I visit the city, it will always continue to be one of my favorite destinations of all times.

June 2, 2009   No Comments

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