Thursday, November 12, 2009


Although Copa Airlines had provided us with a “meal” that consisted of a hot pocket (seriously, ham and cheese) and two small cookies we chose to grab a quick meal in our hotel’s restaurant when we arrived in Panama Friday night. We didn’t venture into any Panamanian cuisine that night as the hot pocket did at least fill us up enough to not want the buffet. We did, however, dive right into some Panamanian beer. We tried Atlas, Panama and Balboa and I have to say they weren’t great. I’m not a huge lager fan anyway but even Julie didn’t care for them.

Saturday we were treated to probably the most authentic Panamanian meal possible…cooked over an open fire by a lovely Embera girl, Sara, we enjoyed what I will venture to say is the best fried fish I’ve ever had with some delicious fried plantains all served neatly in a banana leaf. The fish, a peacock bass, had been caught that morning by one of the men from the river and the plantains grown in their garden.




Back from the jungle we took the recommendation from our tour guide and dined at a local favorite; El Trapiche. Ceviche is wildly popular in Panama and we started with a mixed ceviche that had fish, octopus and shrimp. With such hot and humid temperatures you can easily see why the Panamanians love it so much-what could be better than fresh chilled seafood infused with that cooling citrus deliciousness?

Our restaurant offered two dishes with an assortment of Panamanian fare; one an appetizer and one a meal and we ordered one of both. The appetizer was of the fried variety and had some good, some okay and some bland offerings.



Julie ordered the platter and found herself with some repeats of from the appetizer. It started with a wonderful soup that reminded me of pot-licker. For those non-southerners, that’s the broth from making collard greens- if you’re ever in Atlanta you must go to Mary Mac’s Tea Room and get some! Her dish also came with some bbq style beef and pork which was really nice.



I ordered the Corvina (sea bass) with a shrimp sauce. It was pretty good but I think the sauce was a bit heavy for the light flavor of the fish.



All in all Panamanian cuisine was to our liking. Bordering two oceans makes it a seafood lover’s paradise and although they could work on their breweries they serve a mean sangria.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

move over andrew zimmern



she's been talking about it since before we left in january and i have to say i didn't believe half of what she said she eat. i, now, humbly admit i far underestimated my wife's threshold for bizarre foods and her gag reflex.

a balut is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled or steamed. it is very popular street food in the philippines.

behold...champion of the balut:
video

what kills me is how nonchalant she was about it. lets just say there were no kisses on the mouth that evening.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

lechon



we finally had some of the famous roast pig, lechon, while at the pearl farm. jules thought it was okay. but, i wasn't too impressed. then again, we're southerners so we have high pork expectations.



i look forward to trying it here in cebu next. the cebu lechon is supposed to be far superior to that of any other filipino lechon. anthony bourdain actually dubbed it the best pig in the world. i'm skeptical but i'll let you know.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

lessons in fishdom

okay, i'm an idiot...or maybe that's a little harsh. i didn't see any of you commenting that the lapu-lapu below was in fact just a grouper. as grouper is one of my favorite fish it's no wonder i fell in love with the lapu-lapu.

anyhoo, just thought i would share that we weren't eating some exotic filipino fish-just some grouper with a fun name.

we also found out last night at dinner that the fish we had been calling a "pirate fish" was actually a "parrot fish". which makes me laugh. not because we misunderstood the lady we asked last weekend because, hey, i got about every tenth word she was saying...but, because when she told us the name the wife said "oh!" and then preceded to do her best hook impression and scream "argh matey".



the lady just smiled and nodded.

Monday, September 14, 2009

introducing...



that big red guy is a lapu-lapu fish. this fish is gets his name from the famous chief lapu-lapu (warning- slight history lesson ahead) who defeated and killed the spanish explorer, ferdinand magellan...although he was technically from portugal but he did work for the spanish crown...okay, okay... in 1521. chief lapu-lapu is quite the hero here on mactan island and this fish seems to be a mainstay.

it can be found at any restaurant or market selling seafood and we've already had our fair share. grilled, sweet and sour or in a soup it has quickly become one of my favorites here in the philippines.

i'm seriously thrilled to have so much wonderfully fresh seafood available to us... but, i'm sure just as i hope to avoid steaks for the rest of the year, mr. lapu-lapu and i will probably part ways on bad terms.

until then i'll just keep getting too much of a good thing!

best meal of 2009?



Obviously, when visiting Japan eating sushi is a must.

Kristy and Will were kind enough to take us out for a true blue sushi experience at one of their favorite places. We saddled up to the sushi bar and from there our experience was totally in the hands of our skilled chef. The extent of our order was drinks as the menu for the night was filled with whatever looked good to our chef at the market earlier that morning and he felt like serving up.



Every single thing placed in front of us was of the highest quality, immaculately executed and ridiculously fresh. Even the best sushi I’ve ever had before pales dismally in comparison.

Seriously, I have no idea how Will & Kristy will ever be able to eat sushi in the States again without groaning in dismay…it will be hard enough for us.

**apologies-everything was gorgeously plated and i wish i had taken more photos.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Argentina-the good, the better and the gross

Argentina thus far has proven to be a meat lovers heaven...even more so than South Africa. The Argentine diet consists mainly of steak, steak and more steak with a side of sausage.

You can get steak at fast food places here and we're talking good steak. At parillas (restaurants with charcoal or wood fire grills) you can get amazing steaks and usually for under $10 USD.

Outside of steak (but not too far because sometimes they're stuffed with steak)another favorite down here is empanadas.



Delicious little savory meat pies...we've yet to have one that wasn't at least pretty darn good.

Dessert in Argentina means one thing...dulce de leche. No matter what dessert you order you better believe it is coming with a huge scoop of this decendent and sinful stuff. They even have their own "oreo" type cookie called alfajors which are stuffed with dulche de leche.

As you can imagine we're enjoying the fare in Argentina but that isn't to say we've not had any bad experiences.

Okay, so it was one bad experience, and it was totally me and it was stupid and the only reason I'm telling this story is because the Wife already told Dr. Pants without prior authorization...so it's already out there.

Anyway, on our tour of the Andes we stopped in a tiny town (population 7, no joke) right by the Chile border. It was a very basic restaurant with a woman behind a counter with what was obviously some homemade dishes. It was cold, like snow on the ground cold, and I wanted some soup. I spied what I thought to be a chicken stew. I asked the woman "pollo?" to which she replied with a string of Spanish that I couldn't begin to decipher. I just nodded and said "si, load me up". At this point I was thinking it was a fish stew.

It wasn't until I sat down and got a good look at my plate that I realized this was no fish...I'd watched enough Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel to recognize cow stomach when it was on a plate in front of me.

Back before we left I really thought I'd be pretty brave about trying different foods. But, it seems that is not the case. A couple of pieces of stomach were hidden under my mashed potatoes so I did technically try it though. Really outside of the taste it was the texture was really the issue...and the look of it...not pretty.

The obvious lesson here is if you know the words for meats and you're told something you don't recongnize move it along and pick something else for God's sake!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Stellenbosch

Although I didn’t bring my camera to dinners, this weekend provided us with the best meals since arriving in South Africa so I'm still going to share...

Our hotel package included two three-course dinners. One at the hotel restaurant and the other at the Klein Zalze winery’s acclaimed Terroir Restaurant.

Although we were looking forward to our dinner at Terroir, Friday’s dinner at the hotel restaurant did not disappoint. I started with a beautifully prepared prawn risotto (you know I’m a freak about risotto being cooked properly), had a some delicious Thai style noodles and we both chose the homemade vanilla and hazelnut ice cream with chocolate sauce…so good that even the Wife enjoyed it and she’s not much for ice cream.

Terroir is consistently in the top 10 restaurant list for the wine country. It has a wonderful atmosphere and a gracious staff that caters to your every whim without being overbearing. The Wife started with the duck confit with braised lentil puree…it was divine. I had the crispy pork trotter. It was deboned and wrapped with truffle in a light and flakey pastry parcel. I had always prided my Southern self as never having eaten “pig’s feet” but I have to admit, it was glorious.

For our main course I went with the fillet and the Wife went for the pork belly with caramelized apples. Although my fillet was delicious in its own right she so out ordered me on this one. It was only our second time eating pork belly but I pray not our last. I closed with the apple tart which was caramelized to perfection. Paired with the winery’s Pinotage it was a meal to remember.

Stellenbosch is also home to a Culinary School and we had a lovely breakfast prepared by some third year students at the school’s restaurant.

We also had some wonderfully fresh sandwiches at the Fairview Wine Estate made with their own cheeses.

We’ve had some nice meals in South Africa but Stellenbosch definitely took it up a notch.

Wines you should look out for in the States: Klein Zalze Pinotage ’06 or ’07, also their Sauvignon Blanc…Fairview (apparently a world first) has a great red called Pinotage Viognier look for these guys on the label…

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

home-cooked

I miss cooking. Like, I really miss it. But, just as much as I miss cooking at home I miss eating home-cooked meals. It just so happens I was usually cooking them.

We’ve had some great meals on the road and tasted the work of some very talented chefs but, I don’t think anything compares to food made at home by ordinary people with extraordinary care.

On our way to Kruger we stayed at the Utopia of Africa guesthouse in Nelspruit where we were treated to our first home-cooked meals since leaving the States.

Friday night all 8 of us piled around the table and passed around dishes of flawlessly spiced lamb and spinach curry, perfectly roasted winter veggies, provolone and prosciutto wrapped asparagus topped with chutney and salad overflowing with fresh berries and nuts. We ended the already amazing meal with a heavenly pineapple bundt cake served with warm cream.

Why I never served cake with warm cream before is beyond me…but, I promise to never make the mistake again.

Breakfast the next day was just as lovely with fresh fruit, yogurt, eggs, bacon, breads, quiche and yummy locally grown and freshly squeezed orange juice.

A big thanks to the proprietor, Patricia and her cook, Emily, for making us feel at home in the best way possible- around the table with friends, enjoying good wine and scrumptious food.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

carnivore heaven


last night we went to "the butcher shop" in sandton mall. the mall is pretty close to where we are staying now and the restaurant came highly recommended by our hotel. in truth we had tried to go to an african music/dance show but when we got there we found out it was cancelled. we were already out and hungry hence why so we were spared yet another night in the lounge at the hyatt.

this place was a meat lovers dream...they had a huge meat counter and cooler after cooler of hanging beef and game. i've said before that south africans don't mess around when it comes to grilled meats and our experience here only furthered this belief.

i chose the t-bone (above)...mainly because at home the wife only grills fillet and with the t-bone you get the tender fillet side and and the tastiness of a sirloin. it was pretty darn good. the wife got the fillet, shocker i know.

our dear frenchmen went for the steak tartar. in atlanta (excluding flip) when we've ordered tartar it is an appetiser and usually a slightly thicker version of beef carpaccio. not here...here you get a huge pile of raw ground beef with a raw egg on top...




i love meat and all but that was too much for me. the wife on the other hand loved it...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

78 days

that is how long it takes after leaving india to revive your love of indian food. our hotel in zambia had an great indian restaurant complete with a chef from northern india. i ate the delicious chicken tikka masala three times in 2 1/2 days and am still craving it now.

most people i know say they don't like indian food when in actuality they've never had it or only tried one dish. if you've never given indian food a fair shake i really recommend you hitting bombay cafe on briarcliff for their brunch buffet on sunday. it is pretty authentic except now that they have so many non-indian customers on the weekends the spice level is pretty low.

check it out and eat your weight in chicken tikka masala, dal and paneer for me!

Monday, May 25, 2009

cape town catch


something about being on the coast makes it difficult for me to eat anything other than seafood. living in landlocked atlanta most of my life if there is actual fresh seafood to be had, i'm going to have it. we enjoyed a lot of wonderfully fresh seafood this weekend in cape town. we chowed down on lovely local fish (the above photo being some of the best fish and chips we've ever had), prawns, mussels, calamari and even had some pretty decent sushi, which is something we haven't had since we left the states.

i did veer off track sunday afternoon and had some beef goulash soup. it was rainy and chilly and they didn't have clam chowder. the soup was incredible thanks to the delicious chunks of ridiculously tender beef.

we've found that south africans don't mess around when it comes to their meats and since captonians really know their seafood it turned out to be a pretty tasty weekend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

open letter


dear indian, greek, and south african restaurateurs:

we've enjoyed many of your various offerings but would like to point out that "doritos" are not the chips to use when offering "nachos" on your menus.

thanks in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

sincerely,
mav & jsv

Monday, May 4, 2009

la perfección



i admit one of the biggest reasons i wanted to go to spain was to eat. i really think food says so much about a culture and i had little doubt i would not fall in love with spain's.

our first tapas was unfortunate but i believe it was due solely to our inability to order in spanish. and although our first meal wasn't spanish but mexican i think it says a lot to be able to get decent ethnic food in a country. the tacos al pastor were impeccably done, the margaritas perfect and the guac was really some of the best i've had anywhere...even mexico. in greece you can't even get decent italian much less something as exotic as mexican or sushi.

breakfast at the hotel was lovely and fresh beyond fresh. after living in a city where almost all coffee is instant i could have kissed the coffee machine when i saw it was freshly grinding beans.

at lunch on friday i went straight for the jamón ibérico and cheese plate...



madrid is really gaga for this ham. it is produced only in spain and huge legs of it can be found hanging in every single restaurant. you can even go to ham cafes where you literally stand at the bar drinking cerveza and eating nothing but plates of ham. these pigs are fed a diet almost exclusively of acorns and i found it to be delicious. i already made jules promise me that after our 2 years are done we'll stop in spain on our way back so i can get a big ol' leg for our kitchen.



can you find a better cuisine when even their salted boiled potatoes are spectacular...



on saturday we had crispy seafood paella in plaza major...



and saturday night we had what i really came here for...hot chocolate and churros. this chocolate was so thick your spoon could rest upon its surface for hours. the churros were fresh and a delicious vehicle for the chocolate goodness.



the aftermath...



gastronomically speaking spain is by far my favorite place we've visited.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

ooh-la-blah

i know i may hear it from my foodie friends, but i can say without hesitation that the only part of our paris weekend that disappointed us was the food.

apparently we just don't care for french cuisine. going out to eat was the only part of the day we dreaded and each meal was as disappointing as the previous.

the only thing i did love was the ice cream scoop (salted butter caramel) i had at the royal garden. it was probably the best ice cream i've ever had and that is saying a lot since we just went to the "land of gelato" last weekend.

listen, we've been to fancy french restaurants all the way down to the crepe we ate by the eiffel tower...our obviously unsophisticated palates were just not impressed.

i'm not sure anyone can go to paris and not fantasize about living there, but each time my daydream began i kept asking myself if i could really live off croissants and ice cream alone.

let them eat cake? okay, because the rest of it isn't very good anyway.

Monday, April 13, 2009

mangia!

We were perusing a menu at a restaurant near Trevi Fountain when the waiter came up and encouraged us to eat there. I asked him "Is it good?" but to guilt him into an honest answer also said "Seriously, though because this is my very first meal in Italy, is it good?". He later told me that he really took that to heart and that if we'd asked him last year when he worked at another restaurant that he would have told us to go somewhere else. He didn't want my first taste of his country's cuisine to be sub-par...and it wasn't. We started with a lovely bruschetta and a warm sheep's cheese that we ate with honey. It was divine.



We both had pasta for dinner that night...Jules had a tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and I had something he said was very typical and good. I can't remember the name but it was a tomato sauce and it had parma (ham) in it. Both were delicious...so delicious I forgot about photos until we had already eaten everything.

After our first dinner we had our first gelato at Trevi Fountain. Jules made poor choices but I loved both my latte and tiramisu.



We grabbed a quick lunch the next day...ordering pizzas we thought would be small and personal sized...




Jules and I stuck to our previous mushroom and pork (prosciutto) choices...they were thin crust and so, so good.

Our last night we headed to the Pantheon where we grabbed dinner just outside its doors...the waiters were wonderful, the atmosphere couldn't be beat and the food was impeccable. We had the best bruschetta I've ever put in my mouth, a great Shiraz and my Penne Arriabiata (spicy tomato sauce) was shear perfection.



We ended our night with another gelato for our walk back through Rome...



a sweet ending to a very sweet weekend.

Monday, April 6, 2009

hip to be square

since i've banned any further ordering of tzatzki which the greeks put so much garlic in it takes 3 days to rid your breath of its smell this is by far our favorite greek appetizer.



called "saganaki" it's a flat square version of a breaded and fried cheese stick.

you can get sagankis made with different cheeses but we usually order the traditional hard cheese variety. it isn't as melty as a mozzarella stick but i think it tastes much better. no need to gunk it up with marinara sauce...just squeeze some lemon on top and enjoy.

Friday, April 3, 2009

favorite "greek" restaurant...


okay, so it is a little weird but our favorite place to eat dinner thus far is a korean bbq restaurant.

we just happened upon it one night while trying to find somewhere to eat. we had been to a japanese place the week before but were sorely disappointed. the sushi was really pricey and not very good. but, you don't see a lot of restaurants outside of cafes and tavernas so we decided to give it a try.

it's called Dosirak which i think is the korean word for bento box (kinda like a lunch box meal) and it serves these, rice and noodle dishes, bbq meats and even has sushi too. from what i've seen from other tables it all looks pretty good. but, in truth neither of us has eaten anything other than the bbq beef. we both got it on our first visit and both refuse to order anything else.

eating a nice greek meal can easily take you up to 3 hours. we tend to be pretty lame during the week so it is nice to have a fairly healthy (not fast food) and fairly quick (less than 2 hours) place to get dinner.

we've already eaten at this place 4 times and i'm sure it will continue to be on heavy rotation for the next 5 weeks. i'm also sure when we go to asia i'm going to be kicking myself for not eating more meat and potatoes!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

breakfast of champions

okay, maybe i'm not a "champion", per se, or in any way...but i do love the breakfast here.

i get to look out at the acropolis while eating and i am confident in the fact that i will never tire of the choices here. i was so sick of the breakfast buffet at the hotel in india i thought i'd scream if i saw one more egg white omelet.

who could get tired of eating this?



while looking out at this?

Monday, March 30, 2009

rikki-tikki-RAKKI

While in Arahova we dinner at a great restaurant named Flox...the hotel owner had recommended it and promised great food and an even better atmosphere. It did not disappoint in either cases.

Jules had the rooster with pasta...she thought it just tasted like chicken but I thought it was a little gamy, in a good way. I also thought they did a nice job cooking it for 3 hours so it was juicy and tender like a hen.



I had the traditional lamb (sorry Beth Y. but hey, I am in Greece) with potatoes. I adore the simplicity of the dishes here...just some olive oil, a little oregano and you've got yourself a wonderful meal.



We all had too much Rakki- a traditional Greek liquor (think gasoline) served warm with honey mixed in.



The owner was a merry old soul and brought us pitcher (yeah, pitcher) after pitcher of the stuff. It was my first time drinking it and I pray my last.

Monday, March 23, 2009

cheese plate

Maria and I ordered a "small cheese plate" at a cafe in Nafplio this weekend. We made this choice from a section that also offered a large cheese plate, a small and large meat plate and a small and large mixed plate of both meat and cheese.

This is what we received...and believe me other than the small bowl of feta in the middle everything else was meat. Even the stuff I thought had to be cheese ended up being turkey.



We asked our waiter about 3 times if this was the "small CHEESE plate" and he assured us it was. He even brought over the menu, pointed to "small cheese plate" and assured us that it just came with "a little meat".

I suppose if we had ordered the large meat plate we would have received whole pigs, chickens and lambs.

What? I love Chicken Ruggets!

From the menu of a restaurant in Nafplio. I'm sure if Scooby would have been with us he'd have ordered them.



They also served "beat steak" if you were looking for some "red" meat.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

heaven, i'm in heaven....

We arrived in Greece on Sunday around 1pm...we had eaten on the plane (btw- not too bad Emirates) but were pretty hungry after we got to the hotel. We wandered around the Plaka until we spotted a cafe, where we may or may not have dined during our honeymoon (we're still debating), and grabbed a couple of seats outside under the heater.

I, of course, ordered a Greek salad and Jules went for the turkey and cheese crepe. My salad was sadly a big disappointment. Not only did it have lettuce, the tomatoes were just so-so and worst of all- NO OLIVES?!?!? Luckily, the crepe was delicious and even better luck my Wife shared it with me :)

Our exhaustion and jet lag beat out any hunger that evening so we skipped dinner all together.

Breakfast the next morning at our hotel was lovely...it's very Greek with hordes of beautiful cheeses, meats, and veggies...not to mention the restaurant overlooks the Acropolis so you can't really beat it.

Last night we had our first dinner at a restaurant I had found online recommended by some guy named Matt who is apparently a Greece expert. Owned by a brother and sister (their parent's place is up the street and we're hitting it soon) it turned out to be a pretty typical taverna- small in size and big in name-Oinomagerio Paradosiako.

We started with some tzatziki which was great and so heavy on the garlic that it burned our mouths in that really great garlic-y kind of way.

I, again, went for the Greek salad. This time there was not a lettuce leaf in sight...only a huge hunk of feta, olives, onions, cucumbers and gorgeous tomatoes...the way a Greek salad should be...



I had also ordered some roasted lemon potatoes to round out my meal. If we've ever talked food then you know I believe potatoes to be the most perfect food. I've never met one I didn't love and these were no exception. I adore Greek style potatoes...all crispy on the outside, wonderfully soft in the middle and infused with lemon. Combined with my favorite salad it was, for me, a truly perfect meal.

Jules went for the beef steak and was more than pleased to receive a huge hunk of red meat for dinner...


I think it is safe to say they have not seen the last of us.

Monday, March 16, 2009

desert bbq

we had some pretty good bbq in the desert in dubai...all the meats were delicious and although i don't normally eat hummus and rice with bbq it was a nice combo.

i ate all the dal before remembering to take a picture. as sick as i am of indian food i will say that the dal will be missed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

mexican...indian style

for jules' birthday i chose a multi-cuisine restaurant. we've more than had our fill of indian food and with the team being so diverse it seemed a good choice for everyone.

"the fox" turned out to be pretty great. they had 2 for 1 drink specials for their happy hour and even better their happy hour lasted until closing time. we had some live music and even though it was pretty empty we used the extra space to create a dance floor all our own.

even with an extensive menu (where do you see spring rolls? uh, page 7 i think.)that spanned continents in cooking styles they actually delivered in staying pretty authentic. whether it be chinese, indian, italian, american...we all were really happy with our meal.

they even had enchiladas which were pretty freaking close to the real deal. of course the "chips and guac" still left us laughing more than chewing...


yep. doritos, squirts of something green, toasted baguettes and peanuts...what could be more mexican than that?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dinner with an ex-Pres


Okay so not really, but we did eat at Bill Clinton's favorite restaurant in Delhi. A fact they can't seem to tout enough...you can order the Presidential Platter with all of Bill's faves or even a Chelsea Platter.

As we were out with Jules' work peeps there was a set menu but with the amount of food brought out I'm sure we had at least of few of Bill and Chelsea's choices.

Bukhara, named after the lentil dish Dal Bukhara, is the most expensive restaurant in Delhi and described as "the finest Indian cuisine on planet earth". Pretty high standards to live up to and amazingly enough it did not disappoint.

Everything from the lamb kabobs,to the dal, to the chicken tandoor, to the paneer (cheese), to the giant naan and even the mystery dishes was delicious.

We were a little wary of the hug bibs we had to tie around our neck but when we realized we were eating with our hands it seemed pretty appropriate.

Definitely a meal to remember and the best Indian food we've had thus far.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

WILL WORK FOR SALAD


I know we've been pretty lazy about our food blog so I just wanted to update you on our eating habits here in India...

Due to Jules working late we tend to eat in the hotel most of the time. The food here is pretty good and more importantly they have "non-Indian" items on the menu...so when we can't take another bite of anything with masala flavor we chow down on a thin-crust pizza, a sandwich or some shrimp fried rice. They actually have the best ristotto I've ever had, perfectly cooked wild mushroom and lamb.

The food at the hotel is about 10-15 times what you pay outside of the hotel so we have ventured into some local eateries. In this case it is easiest to stick with what names I recognize. This means I'm pretty much guaranteed a meal of Chicken Tikka Masala or some sort of Dal (lentils) and bread. I've had some good CTM and some that was a bit iffy. Dal is a safe bet saving its spice level which can range from "spicy" to "make you want to rip your tongue out".

The hardest thing is that when you are ordering an Indian meal you either chose "veg" or "non-veg"...meat dishes contain no real veggies. You're lucky if the gravy is made with tomatoes and you see an onion or two floating around in there.

Because of health reasons we have to avoid things that are not cooked, like salad. Which, I thought I'd be pumped about but in truth I would probably do just about anything for a freaking salad right now.

Although, I love Indian food it does get tiring...everything from potato chips (although I have become fond of the "magic masala") to soups to the seemingly innocent crispy bread served with dinner is highly spiced and usually hotter than Hades.

In general though the food, although prepared in an unfamiliar way, is fairly normal. We get the normal meats outside of beef and pork...a lot of chicken and mutton/lamb. There are some strange veggies and with the majority of the population being vegetarian there are endless choices of veggie curries.

All I can say is at this point Jules is dreaming of a hamburger and I'm really looking forward to eating a Greek salad every single day!

We'll try to be better about recording our dinners/eating experiences...the good, the bad and the ugly.