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bitter expat

One last time (X-POST)

Posted by spqr_ragazza on 2008.09.13 at 15:54

OK, I'm really serious now - I'm really not going to be posting on here anymore; you'll have to go to my site to read my loft prose and scathing wit.

If you're a member of Live Journal, you can subscribe to my rss feed, christinecanter. Every time I post, it'll show up on your friends list.

If you're not a member of Live Journal, you can go to my site and subscribe to get my posts into your mailbox.

You can also follow me on Tumblr and Twitter, which feeds my posts as well.

I love hearing from you in the comments over there on my site, so if you're reading, please let me know!


bitter expat

xpost Meme! I've eaten a lot *burp*

Posted by spqr_ragazza on 2008.08.19 at 10:53
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue

8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari

12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses (a pungent unpasturised French cheese.)
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda (a warm dip from the Piedmont area of Italy)
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46. Fugu (pufferfish)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini (I've sipped one)
58. Beer above 8% (I've sipped one)
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost Que?
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu (Chinese distilled alcohol)
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini (Cocktail)

81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake



Posted by feyani on 2008.04.18 at 18:30
Current Location: nürnberg
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Any fellow exUS folk find an acceptable substitute for pepperjack cheese in germany or vicinity? i've been at a loss when i make my mexican dishes as to what cheese would be good. i decided to be brave and try out something from the cheese section at the local grocer. it's called 'landana sambal' with chilies, but i forgot to ask if it melts. just wondering if anyone else here found something that works? :)


tuc tuc

Posted by shortbutfast on 2008.02.04 at 15:28
hey, i'm new. i'm european and living in the usa. this makes for extraordinary food cravings for things from the other side of the atlantic. whenever i make the trip, i return with a suitcase full of goodies. the other day i went to the grocery store on the american end and what did i see? tuc!

tuc tuc

they used to be a big favorite of mine in europe but i never saw them here in california. apparently, they didn't exist until recently. i just had to buy some. they're not how i remember but still very tasty! similar to ritz crackers but lighter with a more buttery flavor.

bitter expat

Craving Bagels: A Love Story (X-Post)

Posted by spqr_ragazza on 2008.01.07 at 11:55
Bleeding Espresso is a blog I have come across, and I love love love reading it. Sognatrice is her name, Italy is her game, and she writes with a passion for that country that gives me goosebumps - like this recent one about Calabrianfolk music.

It was this post that took my breath away, as it reminded me so much of my own post on the same subject. And here I am, thinking I'm all by myself in this life!

However, it was her bagel recipe that ensured her a spot in my heart. You see, bagels are pretty much non-existent here, and when you do find them, they tend to be very expensive and not really like you want them to be. But, as she says, sometimes you really crave something to smear cream cheese on - especially in Italy, where one can find the worlds only real cream cheese.

Visiting friends from New York have known to not cross my threshold unless bearing at least six Ess-a-Bagels. I have taught my gay mafia about the joys of these plump little balls of doughy love, and they now crave them too. I am the devil.

My first experience with bagels on this side of the pond was in a coffee shop in London whose name I forget. I grabbed one before flying home to Montpel. It cost me more in sterling than my phone bill that month, but it was worth every chewy, doughy bite.

Next was The Bagel Shop in Barcelona. These are heavenly, and come with a variety of toppings. I eat a bagel every single morning I am in Barcelona, without fail. YUM.

Viola, the only girl I know in Italy and my former roommate, has a carrot cake obsession that has taken her to New York twice, and keeps her ever vigilant for this tasty treat. She breathlessly called me one day to report that not only had she found carrot cake - she had found bagels. In Rome. At the cleverly named Jospehine's Bakery, in the fittingly named Piazza del Paradiso. Their bagels are teensy tinsy, hellatiously expensive, and absolutely perfect.

Then - like manna from heaven - came the news that our very own chichi patisserie here in Montpel - Louis, it's called - was carrying bagels. I immediately ran over, and sure enough - there they were, a gleaming fresh stack of bagel sandwiches. I breathlessly asked if I could buy a half dozen of the bagels plain, not in sandwich form.

The girl looked at me like I had half a dozen heads. Then came the answer I have come to hear all too often in this ridiculous country: "C'est pas possible." This is not possible.

I said I could come back in the morning, before they made them into sandwiches. "C'est pas possible."

I suppose I could buy a sandwich, scrape the shit off it and rebuild it with my own treats. But it's just not the same.



Posted by bobdole on 2007.12.19 at 21:21
I'm currently living in the Balkans and can't find molasses anywhere. Not only that, but the shopkeepers have never even heard of it. How can I be expected to make holiday cookies under these conditions? So much for these beauties.

So...I'm looking for a holiday cookie recipe that is both attractive (I want to give them as gifts) and doesn't require "exotic" items such as molasses or crystallized ginger. Any suggestions?

bitter expat

French Bakeries: A Love Story

Posted by spqr_ragazza on 2007.11.27 at 18:21
I don't love France. It's perfectly fine. There are as many breathtakingly amazing things and dark depressing things as any other country. But, Italy has stolen my heart, and isn't giving it back.

That being said, if I were to choose one thing from France to bring back with me to Italy,it would be:

One's local boulangerie.

That's bakery to you. It's different than a patisserie, which is exclusively for sweets. Boulangeries can have sweets, too, but patisseries are in a class all their own.

In this country of impossibly thin people, the female half of which seem to have perfected adult bodies that mimic a 12-year-old's, it is perfectly normal to see people with a baguette under one arm and picking pieces of some scrumptious delight out of a tiny paper bag while walking down the street.

I'm not sure how other, busier cities like Paris do it, but here in Montpel, you can get oven-fresh bread three times a day - 6AM, 12PM, and 5-6ish PM. There are lines out the door at the town's boulangeries during these times. And the routine is always the same:

1. The person waiting on you always, always says, "bonjour" or "bonsoir." You always, always must say it back.

2. They might ask you how they can help you, or just look at you expectantly, and you launch into your order, one piece at a time. Depending on your knowledge of French and your relationship with the boulangerie, you can ask for advice on bread choices.

3. As they're wrapping up whatever you've just ordered, they will keep asking you for your next order until you tell them you're done.

4. Then they give you all your purchases - in separate tinsy bags or, in the case of the baguette, with a piece of paper wrapped around the middle quarter of it for holding - and ring up your total. (Sometimes they'll ask you if you want them to rip the baguette in half for easier transport, and many will take them up on it, but there's something so romantic about a full baguette under the arm that I abstain fmor this service.)

5. You pay them - preferably in coins, or else you'll be asked for exact change and they look at you all disappointed if you don't have it - and before you can leave, you must always, always, always exchange goodbyes.

I love leaving with my yummy bread and hearing the next person in line go through the exact same routine with the counter person. It's reassuring. It's been happening like that since the beginning of time, and no matter what advancements are made in our modern world, that's the way it will always happen.

My favorite things to buy at the boulangerie are tiny one-person quiches with mushrooms, small French-style pizzas, and of course the ever-present fresh baguette. Other popular choices are flaky croissants made with what seems to be one stick of butter per croissant; gourmet, food-based versions of Hot Pockets filled with veggies, or saucisson, or chicken and peppers, or beef; twisted cheese sticks; and other specialties of each individual boulangerie.

But, there really is nothing better in the whole world than a fresh baguette with butter. It's, in the religious sense of the word, divine.

I hope they never go on strike.

bitter expat


Posted by spqr_ragazza on 2007.11.23 at 16:31
This evening, Cal and I went to Brasserie du Theatre (with 900 accents on that last word, but I can't be arsed) for a non-Thanksgiving dinner.

(That last link is just because I like the phrase, "Cooking without pants.")

Cal started off with a gin and tonic, which in France means they give you a lowball glass with a shot of gin in it and a tiny bottle of Schweppes tonic. I had a glass of champagne, because I am classy like that.

For grub, Cal started with a delightful and buttery grilled foie gras served with creme freche (again, with the accents) and artfully placed potato crisps, while I chose to go sea with about 147 crevettes (yes, heads and all) with a garlicky aioli and a high-society finger bowl on the side.

For our entrees, I had an enormous piece of steak-like and hearty lotte with a sesame crust, onion confit and carrots gratin. Cal enjoyed grilled veal brochettes, which he labeled as "interactive" since he had to disassmeble the brochettes, cut a bite-size piece and then pour the caramelized sauce over each bite.

I had a tinsy bottle of Riesling, my favorite white wine EVAH and a most satisfactory complement to my fish dishes, and Cal had another gin and tonic because he is allergic to wine and felt strange buying a beer in such a class joint.

We finished our meal with a calvados to offset his diverticulitis and I had a chocolat fondant with creme anglais, which frankly I could drink creme anglais until I literally got sick, and it was exactly as it should be - a bit crusty on the outside, but break it with a fork and chocolate half-liquid lava flows from the inside, and the creme anglais is cold.

I wore many layers of pearls and Cal looked like a respected rock star in exile at an interview in a Paris bistro, with his layered look and his always-trusty blazer but without the fey cravat more like this and his chipped black fingernail polish from the Marilyn Manson show last weekend and his titanium glasses.

We then went up to the Vert Anglais to see the band and Le Huit for a righteous cocktail. Le Huit looks like the bottom of a swimming pool and has impossibly cool patrons who are an average of 12 years younger than Cal and myself, but surprisingly it's not hipper-than-thou and was packed for a rainy night.

Cal went back to watch the rest of the bands's set, but I am back at home in my comfy PJ's and ready to kick some butt on CSI for Playstation.


bitter expat

Where to Eat in Rome

Posted by spqr_ragazza on 2007.11.13 at 11:47
I've been in a write-y mood lately! Here are some of my closely guarded secrets to dove si mangia bene - where one eats well in Rome.

--Definitely have a drink on the roof of Hotel Mediterraneo, via Cavour, 15 right near Termini, anytime of day or night. Because nothing in Rome is very tall, this hotel happens to be the tallest structure in Rome and has awesome views. Italo, the waiter at night, is a sweetheart.

--Piccolo Abruzzo, via Sicilia off piazza Fiume near Villa Borghese, v.Sicilia 237, 06/42820176 - this place has no menu, so don't ask for one - they keep bringing you food and then when that's done they bring you liqueurs off the shelves and a jar of biscotti. Alessandro the host and waiter is awesome and so generous. Only go here if you can marathon eat a ton of awesome food for not a lot of money.

--Cantina Cantarini (But the sign outside says "Marche" or something) P.zza Sallustio, 12, great place with outdoor seating. This is a good place to go to lunch before or after going to Villa Borghese. Only eat here on Thursday through Saturday, when they have their all-seafood menu. You must make a reservation. Order the fried calamari/shrimp plate to start and the mixed fried fish ("fritto misto") for second - it's lightly lightly fried and oh so good . SO AWESOME. Also order the house white wine with your meal, it begins with a "k" and is yummy, I can't remember the name. And make the men sit on the outside seats to the aisle because the host will try to feel up the ladies if they sit on the outside.

--If you are near the Colosseum, find via dei Serpenti (runs perpendicular to via Cavour). There is a gelato shop directly behind the 117 bus stop that is awesome. Right behind via Cavour on via Leonina is an amazing and cheap and authentic pizza shop to eat stuff to go - Pizza Leonina, it's called (not the place on the corner called "WANTED") - the pizza comes in slabs and you tell them how much you want and you pay by weight. The pizza with roasted potatoes and rosemary is awesome.

--Up the street from Pizza Leonina is a sandwich shop called Polvere delle Stelle. You point to whatever you want behind the glass and the lady makes a sandwich for you, deli-style. The roast pork sandwiches are to die for, but my favorite is the zucchini frittata with hot sausage on a roll.

-- On the other side of via dei Serpenti, via Leonina turns into via Madonna di Monti, you want to follow this street until you get to a place called Taverna Romana, across from a tiny food store and they have 2 large potted plants outside. Order the antipasto plate, cacio e pepe (butter, cheese and black pepper) or spaghetti carbonara, and the meatballs. The meatballs are to die for but every single thing is amazing on this menu, I have eaten it all. The old couple that owns it are gruff but use a tiny bit of italian and they will warm up a bit. Tell them the girl who orders cacio e pepe and the meatballs ("polpetti") says hi to the old man and he will be thrilled.

--There is a chain of restaurants you will see called Pastarito/Pizzarito. They specialize in fresh pastas and you can mix and match the exact stuff you want. It's a bit franchise-y but the pasta is cheap, served in family style bowls, is not bad, and if you go with a group it's great becaues you can try all kinds of different stuff. Do not order the pizza here. It sucks.

--If you are jetlagged and can't sleep and are starving, La Base on via Cavour is open til like 4am. Not that I have ever been up that late of course, but I've heard.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Posted by _angelwings_ on 2007.11.07 at 12:46
Any Americans out there planning a Turkey Day menu and want to share it? Recipes would be great too :)

I am in Denmark and plan to make:

-Smoked Turkey. We actually found a whole one at Super Brugsen. I was afraid at first I would only find breasts. I decided to smoke it in the "weber" grill since oven space isn't very plentiful and there are lots of other things to go in there.
-Macaroni Pie.
-Cornbread Dressing.
-Corn Pudding. Really more like a creamed corn casserole.
-Sweet potatoes if we can find them.

I wish I could find fresh whole cranberries. Or pecans. Or canned pumpkin puree. This will be my Danish Family's first exposure to the Gluttony Holiday and I want to make it special muahahah.

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