Saturday, December 15, 2007

viva espana...

We’ve recently come back from a stay in Madrid, and I have to say, I don’t know why people so often pick Barcelona over the two when visiting Espana! Madrid is cosmopolitan, exciting, and full of good food and drink. Here is the key to enjoying Madrid- the great secret no one knows that is guaranteed to make you fall into life as a Madrileno …. don’t bother adjusting to the time difference. That’s right, arrive jet lagged, go right to bed, and throw your mother’s advice out the window. Its simple.. real Madrilenos wake up and have a quick cup of coffee on their way out the door, nothing more. By about 11 am, they are starved and they break for large snack (meal number one of the day). Meanwhile, stylish American girl arrived at Barajas airport about 8 am, slipped into a waiting car in the hopes that no one saw the bags under her eyes from 8 hours in coach (we can’t all fly first), checked into a hotel and went straight to bed. Waking up around 11 am, she’s rested and ready for a meal, so she joins the Madrilenos for breakfast! Its perfect. The day continues with sight seeing, shopping, or lounging in a café. Lunch is served at 3 pm, the largest meal of a Spaniards day, and dinner follows at 10 pm or later. The later you dine in Madrid, the more chic the traveler. You haven’t bothered to adjust to the time, but somehow it has all seemed to fit together perfectly.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

traveling a bit closer to home...

In between jaunts to exotic locales, between buying trips to marketplaces in far flung places, it is sometimes necessary to do some traveling a bit closer to home. It is often these trips that prove the most enjoyable, however surprising you may find it to be blown away only a few hours distance from your boring, old home.

With this in mind, I recently skipped down to New Orleans for a weekend getaway. At this point I have to comment on a phrase I have two often heard over the last two years when someone was discussing the current state of affairs of New Orleans: We should wait to go visit when things get settled down from Katrina. I firmly believe that New Orleans needs our tourist dollars now, more than ever. Go to the Big Easy and spend, spend, spend people!

Well, I certainly gave them my fair share of my measly checking account this past weekend, but it was well worth it. The shopping, the cafés, the oak trees, the architecture… the FOOD. New Orleans food will blow you away time after time. When you are next in the area, try out my favorite poboy hole-in-the-wall in uptown New Orleans. You have undoubtedly never driven by this low-slung locals joint where “Aunt Dot” has been serving up amazing poboys for almost 70 years! (I still haven’t figured the math on that one) You stand in line behind a dozen locals at the counter, behind which three ladies are crammed between a fryer and a grill slapping together fried shrimp and fried oyster poboys. You take a step backwards to allow yet another local in the door and crash into the five foot long paper bags filled with fresh French bread that was delivered early that morning.

Order your poboy “dressed” and you know the fixings will be just right. Grab a seat (if you can find one) in this cramped room and be sure to catch a glimpse of Dot’s living room when the door at the back of the room swings open, then move to the bar for a Pabst Blue Ribbon and a bag a Zapps.

New Orleans heaven. If you can find the place, find a seat, and figure out how to maneuver the line of locals, you are in for a real treat! Whew!