Tag Archives: Octopus

St. Lawrence Market – Toronto – Canada

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After our marvelous morning at Clafouti’s Patisserie it was time to explore more of Toronto

We are just in day two of our two week journey across Canada with Uncommon Journeys train exploration known as Canadian Panorama..

We hopped the Trolley to head back downtown……we exited the trolley early to walk about a bit and enjoy the sights…

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Our destination was the Famed St. Lawrence Market

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This market has achieved the status of Number One Food Market in the WORLD

……..well you know the Tin Man…..if it is about food, it must be explored…..

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We enter the Market and the World of all Culinary Delights embraces us….

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Okay…..Okay…..Okay…enough temptation……..time to eat (again)

Canada 056Hey, it is Home of the Oink…….gotta be good………

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Oink……….Oink……….it was good!!

Time to explore some more….

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 ….and then before us …….. WHAT….THEY ARE GRILLING OCTOPUS…..my favorite….

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We find a table out on the patio and place our order….

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Soon the Delights of the Sea are before us……the aromas exotic and marvelous…

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Oh, Pure Heaven, this is the place to visit when in Toronto……but it is time to take to the streets again…

We do need to meet our Tour Group for Dinner Tonite…………ha….

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A quick stop at the hotel to freshen up and have a cocktail….

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Then it is off for our last meal on solid ground for the next four days…….so excited about getting on the train…

Excited about Dinner at Joe Badali’s Italian Restaurant…..

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We are a large group, so an Italian Restaurant is the perfect place…..the service is great and the food fantastic…

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Now that Dinner is done……we being the train trip…..stay tuned for that exciting adventure…

Hope you enjoyed our stay in Toronto…

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Napoli – Italy

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100PX-~1Naples is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world.

Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the Naples area in the second millennium BC.

The city was refounded as Neápolis in the sixth century BC and became a lynchpin of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society and eventually becoming a cultural center of the Roman Republic.

Naples remained influential after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816.

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 Naples became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861. During the Neapolitan War of 1815, Naples strongly promoted Italian unification.

Naples was the most-bombed Italian city during World War II.

As the train neared Napoli, the sights became more beautiful…

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We had booked a room at the Hotel Mecure while we were in route…

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….we never expected these views……..

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…my goodness a Castle with excavation in progress with much older sites…..and that with just from the bathroom balcony!!!

As the sun began to set we looked down and saw this marvelous restaurant ….

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Off we went to find some of the most delightful food…Mussels, Squid, Octopus….

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followed by the most marvelous pizza…

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just delightful………….

In the morning we found breakfast on the hotel roof…..

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……we dined looking out at this marvelous view…

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Layer upon layer of history…….

It was a short visit to Napoli this time around, but she continued to delight and inspire us.

Pena Palace – Sintra, Portugal

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We decided to take a private guided tour to the town of Sintra in order to visit the many palaces and learn more of this marvelous place.  Our guide was a lovely young Portuguese woman who had a real passion for the history of her country and knew some great places to eat!   Off we went in our minivan to find new and amazing places……….

The palace stands on the top of a hill above the town of Sintra, and on a clear day it can be easily seen from Lisbon.   It is a national monument and constitutes one of the major expressions of 19th century Romanticism in the world.

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The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.   It is also used for state occasions by the President of the Portuguese Republic and other government officials.

The palace’s history started in the Middle Ages when a chapel dedicated to ”Our Lady of Pena” was built on the top of the hill above Sintra.  According to tradition, the construction occurred after an apparition of the Virgin Mary.

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In 1493,  King John II, accompanied by his wife Leonor of Viseu, made a pilgrimage to the site to fulfill a vow. His successor, King Manuel I, was also very fond of this sanctuary, and ordered the construction there of a monastery which was donated to the Order of Saint Jerome.   For centuries Pena was a small, quiet place for meditation, housing a maximum of eighteen monks.

In the 18th century the monastery was severely damaged by lightning.   However, it was the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, occurring shortly afterwards, that took the heaviest toll on the monastery, reducing it to ruins.   Nonetheless, the chapel (and its magnificent works of marble and alabaster attributed to Nicolau Chanterene) escaped without significant damage.

For many decades the ruins remained untouched, but they still astonished young prince Ferdinand.   In 1838, as King consort Ferdinand II, he decided to acquire the old monastery, all of the surrounding lands, the nearby Castle of the Moors

Castle of the Moors

Castle of the Moors

and a few other estates in the area, including Monserrate Palace..

Monserrate Palace

Monserrate Palace

The Monserrate Palace is an exotic palatial villa, the traditional summer resort of the Portuguese court. It was built in 1858 for Sir Francis Cook, an English baronet created visconde de Monserrate by King Luís

and the Convent of the Capuchos…

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of course we cannot forget the home he built for his second wife, The Chalet of the Countess of Edla…

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King Ferdinand then set out to transform the remains of the monastery into a palace that would serve as a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family.

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The commission for the Romantic style rebuilding was given to Lieutenant-General and mining engineer Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege.   Eschwege, a German amateur architect,  was much traveled and likely had knowledge of several castles along the Rhine river.   The construction took place between 1842–1854, although it was almost completed in 1847:  King Ferdinand and Queen Maria II intervened decisively on matters of decoration and symbolism.   Among others, the King suggested Vault architecture,  Medieval architecture and Islamic architecture elements be included.

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….., and he also designed an exquisitely ornate window for the main façade inspired by the chapter house window of the Convent of the Order of Christ in Tomar

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After the death of Ferdinand the palace passed into the possession of his second wife Elisa Hensler, Countess of Edla.    The latter then sold the palace to Luís I of Portugal,  who wanted to retrieve it for the royal family, and thereafter the palace was frequently used by the family.   In 1889 it was purchased by the Portuguese State, and after the Republican Revolution of 1910 it was classified as a national monument and transformed into a museum.   The last queen of Portugal, Amélie of Orléans,  spent her last night at the palace before leaving the country in exile.

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The palace quickly drew visitors and became one of Portugal’s most visited monuments. Over time the colors of the red and yellow façades faded, and for many years the palace was visually identified as being entirely gray.   By the end of the 20th century the palace was repainted and the original colors restored, much to the dismay of many Portuguese who were not aware that the palace had once displayed such chromatic variety.

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In 1995,  the palace and the rest of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra were classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Pena Palace is so large and so magnificent.    We so enjoyed our visit …………. now off for some food!

Caldo Verde……….delightful……recipe at end of post…….

………followed by one of my favorites……….Roasted Octopus….

what a fantastic day……..oh yeah, here is the Caldo Verde recipe…

  • 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, minced
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 6 Potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 quarts Cold Water
  • 6 ounces Linguica Sausage, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  •  1 pound Kale, rinsed and julienned

Directions

 In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in 3 tablespoons olive oil for 3 minutes.  Stir in potatoes and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes more.  Pour in water, bring to a boil, and let boil gently for 20 minutes, until potatoes are mushy.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook sausage until it has released most of its fat, 10 minutes.  Drain.

Mash potatoes or puree the potato mixture with a blender or food processor.  Stir the sausage, salt and pepper into the soup and return to medium heat.  Cover and simmer 5 minutes.

Just before serving, stir kale into soup and simmer, 5 minutes, until kale is tender and jade green.  Stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and serve at once.

Castiglione della Pescaia – Grosetto – Tuscany – Italy

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Coat of arms of Castiglione della Pescaia

Coat of arms of Castiglione della Pescaia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever see myself dining in a castle perched high over the beautiful Italian Coast….

……oh but yes…….it happened!!!

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The beautiful city by the sea with its ancient winding streets, invited us to slow down and be embraced by the past…….

we so enjoyed walking about and enjoying the shops and markets……

you see where my nose takes me……….so predictable….

our host led the way to the beachfront….

the magnificent castle looking down upon us….

as we approached the beautiful beachfront…

 we found that our host had prepared a marvelous welcoming feast……

We stayed and ate so many delights and enjoyed the beautiful wines,

as the sun set and we thought our perfect day was ending…..

……..but no we are told that now……the evening will begin!!!

we take our walk up to and into the castle!!!

then the culinary delights begin…..

the most delightful and succulent octopus I have ever tasted……….

and then when one believes there can be no more………..a whole sea bass……oh swoon…..

a perfectly delightful and magical evening spent inside this most majestic castle…

Lunch on the Beach – Ristorante La Pineta : Marinella di Selinute – Sicily

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The weather was perfect, about 70 degrees, the sky clear and the Mediterranean breeze so very refreshing.  We were off on an exploration and my senses were heightened with anticipation of what we might encounter. 

We pulled the car over to the side of the road, at the edge of a cliff, sloping steeply to the beach below, as I peered over the edge the most beautiful, isolated beach came into view.

 
It was then that my companions turned to me and informed me that I was in for the culinary experience of a lifetime…………all I saw at the base of the earthen staircase was a small unassuming building with some beach chairs outside. I thought perhaps that we did not share the same culinary visions…………….but I trusted, so off we went to Ristorante La Pineta

I was reminded about so many beach front restaurants that I have visited in the past…………extremely casual, relaxed and promising below mediocre food and service. Inside I groaned and thought of all the other wonderful places on the island of Sicily we could now be. Then it began………….
A pure symphony of food and service…………I nearly swooned and soon forgot that there were any others in my presence; I so became one with this culinary experience. The very lines between reality and the tastes, smells and vision of the most marvelous food became blurry and the air around me seemed to shimmer with the perfect harmony of smell, taste and sight. This was nirvana!

I had been transported to a celestial table and Edesia herself was presiding over this magic.

The notes awaiting the skillful hands of the Chef to arrange them into a marvelous symphony

The antipasto arrived one dish at a time………..here they are nestled together…..

Octopus – Swordfish – Anchioves – Shrimp

…but now it was time……..the orchestra had warmed up and the room filled with the fullness of the majesty of the symphony…..

The melodic sweet and light clams dancing like the notes of the woodwinds in front of the uplifting notes of the French Horn – Trombone and Trumpet Pasta entwined by the Drums – Snares and Tympani of the Olive Oil and Herbs

……….the composer does not rest……….. he completes the symphony by joining the complex movement of Mussels – Shrimp – Clams into a euphony that brings the participants to a near euphoria….

the eyes are rolling back, the palms sweating profusely………the heart no longer rhymthic….the conducter senses that the audience must be calmed and introduces

a simple melody of fresh fruit to return us back to the earthly plane……..


………..we slump in our chairs and hold on to the fleeting glory that just passed us ……… like satiated lovers…..

we wander into the sunlight and delight in our experience….