Portuguese Food Travel Cookbook

Portuguese Food Travel Cookbook

I sometimes am still amazed at how long it took us to take our first trip to Portugal. We traveled all over Europe before finally venturing west enough to land in Lisbon. Since that time we continue to explore the country, mainly for Portuguese food! When our friend Nelson, a Portuguese travel blogger, sent us a signed copy of his Portuguese Travel Cookbook, I was thrilled. Then, I was jealous. And, I kind of hated him. Let me tell you why. The Portuguese Travel Cookbook Nelson’s Portuguese food cookbook is not a  typical cookbook. Instead, it’s a travel cookbook. It provides more than merely recipes, it tells the stories behind the recipes. It uses recipes to encourage people to not only travel to Portugal, but to explore its rich culinary history. For such a petite country, there is a diversity of cuisine unlike many other countries. The variety of fish and seafood from the coast. The variety of sausages that are different in the cities than in the country, differing from the north to the south. Don’t get me started on the Portuguese wine. And, Nelson is the perfect person to be a host on this culinary journey. A native of Portugal, he grew up eating his grandmother’s cooking. The first recipe of the book is his grandmother’s farmer’s soup. From there, the book continues through the sea, the land, and more to offer the best of Portuguese food heritage. All of this along with stunning photographs that certainly inspire one to travel to Portugal. This is why I was thrilled to see the book finally in print. Cooking Portuguese...
Jaipur Marriott – Luxury Travel in India

Jaipur Marriott – Luxury Travel in India

The drive from the Courtyard Marriott Agra to the Jaipur Marriott was, if nothing else, an adventurous one. We booked the car service through our Taj Mahal guide. Our driver arrived at the appointed time, and we wound our way through Agra, on the scenic route, to the highway that connects Agra and Jaipur. Escaping Agra took almost an hour on its own. I am not sure if the driver was based in New Delhi, and drove the 3 hours to Agra before our 10am departure, or if he was just plain old tired. But, about an hour into our trip, Eric found him falling asleep at the wheel. Eric repeatedly asked if we was okay, and encouraged him to have a coffee when we took a break at the half way point. We took a longer break than normal ourselves at the rest stop in hopes that the driver would take his own rest. He seemed to be more alert during the second half of the journey, and we arrived safely at the Jaipur Marriott around lunch time. Even traveling India in comfort has its own set of excitement and uncertainty. Dining at the Jaipur Marriott It seemed that moments after arriving at the Jaipur Marriott, and once we fully realized we arrived safely, we were off meeting Chef Sunil and his staff. Chef Sunil provided us a quick tour of Okra, their buffet restaurant. Similar to the JW Marriott Mumbai and JW Marriott New Delhi, Okra was a mix of International cuisine and Indian. Of course, I wanted to focus on the Indian. Even within the Indian...
JW Marriott Delhi – Hotel Dining At Its Best

JW Marriott Delhi – Hotel Dining At Its Best

I was not sure why we traveled to Delhi as part of our India tour. It just seemed like a city we needed to add into our itinerary, despite not knowing why. Delhi is part of the Golden Triangle, along with Agra and Jaipur, and a launching point for most Taj Mahal tours. Other than that, it just seemed like a stopping off point and the JW Marriott Delhi was the perfect place to stay. Once again, the JW Marriott Delhi staff picked us up at the airport, and quickly whisked us away to the hotel. Once again, we were escorted to our room to complete the registration process.  The hotel itself was as you would expect from a JW Marriott – impressive, grand lobby, friendly staff, luxurious room appointments. What I did not expect, though, was how well we would eat at the JW Marriott Delhi. Introduction to K3 at the JW Marriott Delhi Once settled in, we made our way down to the hotel restaurant K3 for a late lunch. K3 refers to the 3 kitchens of the restaurant, including India, China, and Italy. Three of our favorite cuisines. If it were K4, and they had Mexican, I would be in heaven. Chef Girish, large and imposing in his chef whites, greeted us with a grin from ear to ear. We assumed this was just a handshake and a hello before we started to explore the buffet selection, which was immense. Instead, we immediately bonded over our collective passion for food. But, I was a bit distracted during the conversation. We sat sandwiched between the Italian and...
Luxury Hotel in Mumbai – JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar

Luxury Hotel in Mumbai – JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar

When arriving in a new country at 3am, particularly a country with a reputation like India, I crave the familiar. I look for those touch points that can provide some sort of comfort in the uncomfortable. For us, the comfort we sought in India, came in the form of a luxury hotel in Mumbai. We stayed 4 nights in Mumbai, with the first one being a half night after our 3 am arrival at the nearby airport. The staff of the JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar, quickly escorted us to our room. In the room, we completed the registration process and received an explanation of how the room worked. The room itself was as expected from a brand new luxury hotel in Mumbai, with a comfortable bed and huge soaking tub. For Eric, there was a view of the airport. After a quick shower, and an even quicker check of email, I was fast sleep. So fast asleep that we slept through breakfast. Mumbai would be waiting for us in the morning. Dining at a Luxury Hotel in Mumbai – JW Cafe We finally emerged for lunch at JW Cafe, the JW Marriott’s hotel buffet. I ate that first lunch at JW Cafe because I did not want to explore Mumbai on an empty, jet lagged stomach. I did not want to worry about trying to find something to eat once we were downtown. The JW Cafe would provide me a little familiar comfort in India, which was what I needed. I figured we would test out the food at the hotel and make a decision about where to eat...
The Hotel Aigua Blava Restaraunt – Where Tradition and Modern Meet

The Hotel Aigua Blava Restaraunt – Where Tradition and Modern Meet

During our extreme eating tour of Costa Brava, one of our meals truly stood out. The Hotel Aigua Blava restaurant offered to host a table of chatty travel bloggers, in their very nice restaurant, for a multi-course gastronomic feast, unlike any meal I had eaten in a very long time. Costa Brava is at a geographic crossroads, where the sea offers ample seafood, the countryside offers meat and cheeses, and the plains offer orchards of fruits and vegetables. It’s also at a gastronomic crossroads. It’s a region proud of its traditional cuisine and recipes, while on the forefront of modern techniques. It is home to plenty of top, Michelin star restaurants, including the best restaurant in the world in 2015. These restaurants explore cuisine in a way that is not all that common on most traditional Spanish menus. The Hotel Aigua Blava restaurant offered us just a glimpse of this cuisine. Meeting Chef Lluis From The Hotel Aigua Blava Restaurant During our blogger stay at Hotel Aigua Blava, we enjoyed a tasting menu created by the hotel Chef. When we returned to the hotel for a stay a few weeks later, we had the chance to sit down with Chef Lluis, to get to know him and his cuisine better. We are always curious about what a chef thinks are the key dishes of his region, particularly with such an emphasis today on fusion and creativity. Luckily, we had two of the three local dishes he recommended, including suquet, which was the core of our fishermen’s lunch and Pals rice, which we ate at Casamar just the night before...
Torre de Palma Wine Hotel

Torre de Palma Wine Hotel

A friend introduced us to Diogo at Torre do Frade to arrange an afternoon drinking Alentejo wines and eating lunch outside of Lisbon.  Considering Alentejo is almost two hours from Lisbon, we did not think it would be a good idea to drive back to Lisbon in order to catch our morning flight. In fact, we were warned not to drive back.  Diogo said he had a friend who had a place we could stay for the night, in exchange for coverage in a blog post.  That is how we found our way to Torre de Palma. From what I could figure out, the area we were headed was pretty tiny, a little rural, and we had no idea what to expect. I imagined that my mention of Torre de Palma would almost be in a footnote to my post about tasting Diogo’s wines, something along the lines of “drunk and happy we crashed at Torre de Palma, just down the road.” In fact, when lunch finished around 5pm, which seemed to be a trend for our Portuguese lunches, Eric suggested we just drive back to Lisbon.  But, I did not want to have to find a place in Lisbon last minute, for just one night.  Besides, Diogo’s friend was expecting us.  I suggested we just suck it up and stay at Torre de Palma. Less than thirty minutes later, Eric was eating his words, and reminding me why I am the boss.  Arriving at Torre de Palma We turned off the rural road outside of the village of Vaiamonte in Alentejo, and drove down an even more narrow...
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