Tag Archives: Food

Al que madruga Dios le ayuda en la Central de Abastos de Bucaramanga – Rise and shine at the Central Food Market in Bucaramanga

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Aunque a veces cuesta madrugar, siempre he sentido que comenzar el día temprano me brinda cierta satisfacción.  Ver como la gente va llenando las calles, como los negocios van abriendo sus puertas y como la vida cotidiana va comenzando, son uno de mis placeres favoritos.   La reciente visita a la Central de Abastos de Bucaramanga (Colombia), Centroabastos, fue una experiencia inolvidable.  Fue muy gratificante ver como los agricultores, comerciantes, coteros, y un sinfín de emprendedores se reúnen fielmente en esta plaza para que los santandereanos podamos disfrutar de los alimentos exquisitos y frescos que caracterizan a  la región.

La rutina diaria en Centro Abastos comienza temprano.   Las puertas abren a las 3am y las frutas y las verduras no se hacen esperar.  Tampoco se hace esperar el frenesí de la gente…descargan bultos por un lado, regatean por el otro, hacen cuentas, cierran negocios, gozan entre ellos, y sudan hasta la última gota haciendo lo que les apasiona.  Y no solo se trabaja en esta plaza…hay tiempo para un tinto, una arepa, el caldo de costilla y hasta para una que otra copa de aguardiente que calme el frío mañanero.  En un abrir y cerrar de ojos van desapareciendo kilos y  kilos de alimentos y van desfilando cualquier cantidad de camiones rebosados de carga.  No faltan tampoco los famosísimos Renault antiguos que bien saben aprovechar los colombianos.  Como pude descubrir…es un sitio mágico.

Tal y como está organizado Centro Abastos, no lo recomendaría como un sitio turístico necesariamente.  No tiene la infraestructura necesaria para albergar turistas cómodamente y siendo justos, ese no es el objetivo actual de este lugar.   De todas formas, es un lugar abierto al público en general y aunque no sea un punto de interés turístico, recomiendo está experiencia a todos los que de alguna u otra forma están interesados en el campo, en la agricultura, en consumir productos locales y en apoyar el campo Colombiano.  Y por que no?…podemos pensar a futuro y que lugares como este y como las plaza de mercado que abundan en Colombia, se conviertan en sitios que los turistas quieran dejar de visitar.

Les comparto algunas fotos de esta experiencia y de la gente de la cual tenemos que estar muy orgullosos en Colombia.

Para mas información acerca de Centroabastos, favor visitar:

http://www.centroabastos.com/web/

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Although sometimes is hard to wake up before the sun rises, I’ve always felt that starting the day early is very satisfying.  Watching as people fill the streets, businesses open up and daily life unfolds, are some of my favorite pleasures. The recent visit to the Distribution Centre of Bucaramanga (Colombia), Centroabastos, was an unforgettable experience. It was very gratifying to see how farmers, traders, “coteros”, and countless entrepreneurs faithfully gather in this food market so that ‘santandereanos’ can enjoy the delicious and fresh produce  typical of the region.

The daily routine starts early at Centroabastos. Doors open at 3am as the fruits and vegetables do not wait.  Neither does the frenzy of people …unloading crates on one side, haggling on the other, adding the numbers, closing deals, having fun with each other, and sweating till the last drop doing what they love.   And is not all work and no fun in this place… there’s time for a tinto (sweeten black coffee), an arepa, rib stew and even an occasional glass of “aguardiente” to calm the morning chill. In a blink of an eye, pound after pound of produce  disappear and the parade of overloaded trucks begins.  You can I also catch some of the antique Renault cars famously used by many farmers in Colombia.  As I found out…this is a magical place.

As Centroabastos is organized, I don’t necessarily recommend it as a tourist attraction. It does not have the appropriate infrastructure to comfortably accommodate tourists and to be fair, that is not the purpose of this place.  Nevertheless, it is open to the general public and although it is not a common point of interest, I recommend the experience to all those who in some way or another are interested in farming, in agriculture, in consuming  locally and supporting the Colombian countryside.  And why not? … We can think forward and imagine markets like this becoming places that tourists won’t want to miss.

Here are some photos of this experience and of the people of which we should be proud of in Colombia.

For more information on Centroabastos please visit:

http://www.centroabastos.com/web/

A bit of Paris in Tokyo at Quatre Café.

If you happen to be in the beautiful and mind blowing Tokyo, are feeling overwhelmed with the crowds, dazed from the culture shock, and in need of a delicious cup of coffee, then take a breather and head over to the welcoming  and intimate Quatre Café.  This jewel is tucked into the 4th (hence the name) floor of a not so attractive business building.  The atmosphere alone will make you want to spend the whole afternoon chatting up with someone special as you try the many delicacies on offer.  From Shibuya station, head up the Miyamasuzaka about three blocks.  On the left hand you will find Quatre…and you’ll be glad you did.

Address: 〒150-0002 東京都渋谷区渋谷1丁目8−5

For more information on Quatre Café you can visit their website:

http://ctn139.com/shopmap.html

Other links:

http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1303/A130301/13024336/

Si de casualidad te encuentras en la hermosa y alucinante ciudad de Tokio, te sientes abrumado con las multitudes, aturdido por el choque cultural, y con el deseo de beber una buena taza de café, toma un descanso y  prueba el acogedor e íntimo Quatre Café.  Esta joya está escondida en el cuarto piso (de ahí el nombre) de un no muy atractivo edificio de negocios. El ambiente solo hará que desees  pasar toda la tarde conversando con  alguien especial en compañía de las muchas delicias que aquí se ofrecen. Desde la estación de Shibuya, sube unas tres cuadras por  el Miyamasuzaka. A mano izquierda se encuentra Quatre … y sin duda alguna haberlo encontrado te hará muy feliz.

Dirección: 〒150-0002 東京都渋谷区渋谷1丁目8−5

Para mas información puedes visitar la página web de Quatre Café:

http://ctn139.com/shopmap.html

Otros enlaces:

http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1303/A130301/13024336/

Happy 2014 in Japan – A new year for the soul and the senses

Many around the world celebrated the new year with bells and whistles, champagne, and fireworks.  In Japan on the other hand, the New Year’s festivities are more about connecting with nature, getting in touch with the past, preserving tradition, eating meaningful food, and enjoy the majesty of nature.  It is a serene and discrete way to welcome the year ahead and an experience  I am fortunate to have live through.  Visiting the shrines at Fujinomiya and Ise, eating a delightful Osechi-Ryori with loved ones, and witnessing the first sunrise of the year over the Pacific Ocean, are all unforgettable experiences that can only be a great sign of things to come in the year that begins.  So in the words of the japanese “Akimashite Omedetou Gozaimasu”.

http://www.ise-kanko.jp/english/

http://www.city.fujinomiya.shizuoka.jp/kokusai/english.htm

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2013/01/03/【japanese-culture】the-meaning-behind-osechi-ryori-traditional-new-years-food-in-japan/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirako,_Chiba

Croissant Perfection in Montréal

I have always been a firm believer that every turn you make in life has a consequence in your future.  Opening one door instead of another, biking to work instead of taking public transit, or taking a new route different from your usual one to get home; These simple decisions can sometimes provide us with experiences that might have never occur if we had continued our routine.

Well, this is exactly what happened while in Montréal a couple of months ago.  While visiting the Plateau neighbourhood with my girlfriend (Kako) and her  sister (Moeko), we stumbled upon the very authentic and unpretentious “Au Kouign-Amann Boulangerie-Pâtisserie.  Our plan was to try out Le Couteau, not to far from Kouign-Amann, but (fortunately) it was close and we had to wonder in search of another option.  Wether destiny or not, we made a couple of turns around the neighbourhood and voila!

Kouign-Amann has the best croissants I have ever tried!  Baked to perfection, the croissants are always crispy and fresh.  Of course fresh, every hour the baker needs to bring out a new batch as most of the customers walkout with at least a half dozen of this golden delicacy.  Other treats on offer, such as the sandwiches and clafoutis, are equally delicious.  And on top of the delicious food…the service is friendly and welcoming!

I will definately be heading back to Kouign-Amann next time I visit Montréal.  What are you waiting for?

A Classic Gem Montreal Style

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The search for the best and most authentic farmers’ markets took me recently to Montreal’s iconic Marché Jean Talon.

Having been to Montreal several times in the past, I don’t understand how I’ve never included this gem on my “to-see” list while in town.  It is by far one of the best markets I have visited recently and from now on, it will be a the top of my list of things to do when visiting Québec.

The atmosphere at Jean Talon is colourful and very lively.  The beautiful food displays all around, entice the visitors to try everything, and try they do!  The “GOUTEZ-Y” signs invite you to try samples of the fresh fruits and vegetables…THIS IS HEAVEN!  Bright tomatoes, juicy pineapples, tasty cucumbers, crispy brussel sprouts, you name it and they have it!  A must while at Marché Jean Talon is definitely Aqua Mare.  The oysters, which are chuckled right in front of you and served on a wooden box, are to die for!  Also try the bhajis, which although not the classic ones, they are delicious.  And don’t leave the market without getting a pint or two of Québec’s Maple Syrup…it is worth every penny!

The wonderful food is complimented by the merchant’s friendly attitude.  Always with a smile on their face, they make the experience at Jean Talon an unforgettable one.  Drop-by Aqua Mare and say hello to the very funny and charismatic fish munger…yes, the one playing with the fish!

Jean Talon…á la prochaine!

Finds at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market

Recently, my quest to visit as many farmers market as possible this year, took me to the historic Hamilton Farmers Market (HFM).  Lately, I have been curious about what makes “Steeltown” tick, and being only about a half hour drive away, it seem only fitting to pay a visit to this popular community gathering.  Although, the HFM is missing the quaint and country-style character unlike other markets I’ve visited, I found a very special community feeling and a warm atmosphere in this market.

The vendors at the market were very friendly and the product offerings were culturally diversed.    Two vendors that stood out the most on this visit and for which I will definitely to go back are Vinnie’s Fresh Pasta Factory and Odessy Olive Oils and Vinegar (http://www.odessyoliveoilsandvinegars.com/index.html).  Vinnie’s fresh pasta is a mouth-watering treat (spinach-red pepper fetuccini) for a very reasonable price of $4 per lb; not only is it made fresh right in front of your eyes, but it is also made with a smile.   At Odessy you will find a wide variety of organic olive oils and vinegars (a yummy sicilian lemon balsamic) and the expertise and great service of Robert Lalla.

Farmers market are all about the people that gather every week to showcase their goods and about finding those special treats that give visitors joy.  Based on these two factors, the Hamilton Farmers Market is worth the drive  and a visit!