Mediterranean Plates

Mediterranean Plates

Isn’t it clever? This dishware collection inspired by the traditional ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet. A beautiful way to stick to a wholesome and well-balanced diet.  These plates were designed by Studio Natural for Marino Cristal are all about integrating healthy eating habits seamlessly into daily life. Each color dotted along the rims of the plates symbolizes a type of food such as green for fruits and veggies and blue for meat and fish, with each one in direct proportion to the appropriate ingredient ratio of each meal.
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Shiro Dream of Sushi

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Sushi em Seattle custa uma ninharia e o peixe é sempre fresco. Geralmente vem do Pike Place Market, o centro nervoso da cidade — um mercado centenário com tudo de mais fresco, colorido e vivo.  Mas se você tiver que escolher um restaurante só, que vai lembrar pro resto da vida, vá ao Shiro,  porque o chef Shiro Kashiba  e seu sócio Daisuke aprenderam tudo o que sabem com Jiro Ono (aquele do filme Jiro Dreams of Sushi). Ele só trabalha três dias na semana. Abre às 5:30 da tarde, mas a fila na porta começa às 4:15. A espera vale cada minuto!  Shiro é conversador e vai contando histórias diferentes para cada um enquanto prepara um omakaze a gosto do freguês. É como se você fosse cliente regular. Lá de vez em quando pergunta: ‘are you almost full?’ É preciso avisar o chef quando se está ‘almost full’, porque sua pièce-se-resistance chega no final: dessert sushi, que é um hand roll, com ovo, mackerel, uni morno, gengibre e shiso. Sublime.

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Chihuly in Seattle

“Located in the heart of Seattle, Chihuly Garden and Glass provides a look at the inspiration and influences that inform the career of artist Dale Chihuly. Through the exhibition’s eight interior galleries, lush outdoor garden and centerpiece Glasshouse visitors will experience a comprehensive look at Chihuly’s most significant series of work. With both day and night experiences, and full-service dining in the adjoining Collections Café, this long-term exhibition offers a unique experience rain or shine.” –Trip Advisor

a turkish delight

I think I was 15 or 16 when I first read agatha christie’s the Murder on the Orient Express, and I had been fascinated by Istanbul ever since (Ali Baba hadn’t done the job earlier with my fantasy, and Marco Polo had too much snow). So I grew up with Istanbul on the top of my list of to-visit-before-I-die places in the world. Then I learned to belly dance and always favored the turkish style (hips up) to the egyptian (hips down). Scheherazade, the magic carpet, the genie…all part of my dreams. So when I learned that Josh and Alex were moving here a few months ago, that was it, the chance of a life time: Istanbul!!!

after an unbelievable 24h journey (3 planes, 2 stops)  I had a great time, one week. istanbul seems to be the hot ticket in europe I guess. voted by wallpaper as the hippest city on the planet, by the new york times as the best city in europe and by the spaniards as destination of choice for easter holiday (pascalia), the place was packed.

nonetheless, the view of sultanahmet’s skyline was breathtaking, the sun sets behind the blue mosque (easy to identify because of the 6 minarets) and the pollution makes the light thick ad perfect. there is a bit of history in every corner. I was at the foot of that little tower that is in every school kid’s book illustrating “constantinopla”. it’s a city of 7 hills, and where many seas meet…the sea of marmar leads into the Aegean, the bosbhorus into the black sea. from josh’;s house I see over 180 degrees of all this… on the right, europe, on the left is asia. boats that come in and come out all day long…for over 2000 years.

there were muslims and there were tourists. 5 times a day the mosques call for prayer — all at the same time – and nobody understands a word, not even the turkish… it’s in arabic!  on friday 1pm is the big prayer. women have they’re little separate room for prayer. it’s mostly male. the men. many hot-turks and they treat women as princesses. I love it! All machos and very masculine but sweet and soft and other westernized would think womanish. they’re strong, charming, direct, no frills. love it. big moustaches at times, borat-type. pass… women are bland, no big deal.

whirling was – and still is – a means to attain higher union with god. so on easter sunday, after a cruise up the bosphorus to see the palaces and the villages and the black sea, I embraced the whirling dervishes experience. you spin me round baby right round.  softcell or marc almond? or was it new order circa 89? Dead or alive!

I walked and  walked and at the end of the day either I was smelling like fish or an ashtray. everyone smokes like a chimney. you turk? you must smoke. smoking is probably synonymous of health for the turkish. oh well. turkish coffee. kahve. good kahve. Josh’s co-worker read my cup. He said he saw “spain:”…but also saw island, buldings, water…manhattan, I thought.

Sultanahmet is the Istanbul of postcards and history. This small peninsula has witnessed more history than most countries and was once capital of the world — and it had a million people! when rome become old-fashioned, constantinopla, the city of constantine, did the job.  at the tip of the peninsula, there’s the big palace called topkaki (means forbidden); and for at least 400 years was the harem of thousands of women that the sultan kept for their mundane pleasures. women were given as gifts to them, and they’d stay there for life. guards were all eunuchs. but it was a tough gig…highly competitive: whomever had a son had a big chance to become Mother of the Sultan!!! girl fight everyday I imagine….

The Grand Bazaar is the place to shop, and live the orient trading experience. asolutely magic. merchants were all piled up on each other, labyrinth streets woven into each other, little courtyards, turks and tourists and absolutely fabulous merchandise: alladin lams, plates, silk rugs, kilims, belly dance outfits, pashminas of all colors, gold and silver and semi-precious stones, turkish delights of all flavors, baklavas, havla and nuts. it’s a place to go at least 10 times in life.  I guess this is the origin of the shopping mall. One must bargain bargain bargain. I managed to reduce the asking price of the bunch of art pieces I wanted in 350 lira (approx 300 dollars)  but boy did I sweat it. almost had sex in the little shop. I had about 10 pieces, and everything goes in the negotiation… the mustafa wanted a kiss, I asked for another 40% discount….
every single car has a 34 on the plate. why number them 34 then?? just eliminate it!
no trash cans whatsoever., no concept of customer service. cars and people on the streets on a every “organic” relationship…you think they will hit you but they don’t and you just throw yourself in front of the car and nothing will happen, a close call every single time.

this is long, and I guess I am tired of writing. in short, istambul is wonderful a true turkish delight. 

Malamado

I just flew from Chile to Argentina, excited I was to fly over La Cordillera de los Andes, see how majestic it is from above, remember the horrendous cannibal survival story I read in the 70’s, fantasize of road trips, motorcycles, snowed peaks and sunsets.  The flight over it lasted just 10 minutes; but because it’s the longest mountain range in the world, second highest, it felt more dramatic… it was pretty impressive. Right after came Mendoza,  Argentina, a region with warm, dry climate, producing the notorious Malbec grapes that, who knew,  I would come to praise.

Mendoza made a name for itself in the past 10-20 years, putting Argentina on the international wine map, to rave reviews and die hard fans. The malbec grapes ripe perfectly in the dry weather, resulting in a rich velvety wine frequently compared to Bordeaux.  I thought the only region in south america that would produce wine was where I was born (Rio Grande do Sul) but with volume available, and a gigantic unexplored market pressuring for quality , chileans and argentines figured out they had a profitable natural resource. Yes, who knew.

After a few days of work in Buenos Aires, my dear colleague gave me a belated birthday present that coincidentally was a bottle of Malbec (he’s argentine). Another surprise: a dessert Malbec amusingly called Malamado (unloved) that tastes like a spicy ruby port… I loved it.

This Malbec comes from a traditional family of producers from Maipu in Mendoza, the Zuccardis. Grapes are handpicked,  wine is estate produced in a state-of-the-art facility, and they have thousands of acres of grapes. I’ll go there next time. For now I like to think it’s what pushing me to make peace with the roots….  the colors, the land, the habits, the habits and the wine… Malamado is just fabulous.

 

Travel as Lifestyle

This week, as my friend Daniela embarked on yet another journey  (Tanzania, Kilimanjaro, Ethiopia) with her backpack, camera and the mindset for journal (Diaries of a Backpacker),  a group of us started questioning her as to what was she running away from.  Obviously, something: the inability to stay still? the non-attachment? the time to think?

Not that I was any different a while ago; however for me travel was the form of self, looking at society from the distance, leaving what I didn’t want behind and finding a new self. The road was first the way out, defense against thanatos. If I felt I had reached the ceiling, I’d pack and go. Then it became lifestyle, movement, tangible transformation.  I started envisioning cities in my mind, beautiful places, so I’d fly there to make it real…. Cliffs of Moher in the western coast of Ireland, Santorini, The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. For a while now it has been the desire to see the bold, the beautiful and the breathtaking no matter what.

Coincidently, at the same time I come across a magazine that speaks straight to those of us who “embrace travel as a lifestyle”.  High end fashion photos and long stories, and the magazine is called Trunk. It’s a little more sophisticated than National Geographic Traveler, and it’s distributed in the Thompson HotelsTheir goal is to spark readers’ adventures. Like I used to do with my dreams.  Does it do it? I don’t know… The traveler is a traveler at heart, the unknown is alluring. Oh, yes, and one year ago I had to cancel my last minute trip to Egypt because the companion chickened out.