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    Infinite Jest
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    i'm marti.

    Thanks for coming. This is me —what I'm doing, loving, and, most importantly, eating. I hope you enjoy.

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    Tuesday
    Sep162014

    pintxo astearteak (tapa tuesdays)

    la cueva de lobos:::tartar de bonito con aguacate (tuna tartar with avocado)

    Jose Miguel Barandiaran Kalea, 32 ::Donostia-San Sebastián

    This new bar/restaurant in San Sebastián has a dubious location, unless your life revolves around the big-wave side of the surfing beach. However, it's cozy and offers all the classics, from croquetas to tortilla to mushrooms to some more ambitious items, such as this tartar of tuna. 

    Thursday
    Sep112014

    Vermouth Watermelon Punch

    If you know me at all, you know I am a big fan of vermouth.

    No, not the old dusty bottle you have that you sometimes use to mix a martini. I actually still have yet to really fully understand the concept of the martini cocktail. Is it not just chilled gin/vodka? What's the big deal? 

    When I say vermouth, however, I'm talking about the red stuff. The sweet vermouth that in many parts of the world is drunk by the glassful before a meal.  

    At our recent vermuteke, the monthly party organized by Maite and I (aka International Society for the Preservation and Enjoyment of Vermouth), we got all choked up about summer coming to an end and decided to create a special cocktail to serve at the event. We based it around the artisan vermouth we were featuring this month, Martinez Lacuesta.

    The inspiration started when Maite essentially lied to me, telling me she was bringing home two gigantic watermelons from her vacation in Croatia. Taking her words to heart (what was I thinking, that suddenly RyanAir has a fresh fruit baggage allowance?), I set to scheming up a simple drink, servable in mass quantity, that would really play up the unique taste of sweet vermouth. 

    The result was this punch, which was more delicious than we ever could have anticipated. I leave you the recipe below, which is of course scalable if you are at home with no army of vermouth lovers to help you put it away.  It stays good for a few days in the fridge, though, so make enough to last!

    vermouth watermelon punch

    • 6 bottles red sweet vermouth, such as Lacuesta
    • 1 bottle vodka
    • 3 large watermelons
    • 1 cup lime juice
    • fruits for garnish (kiwi, orange, peach, think summer)

    Carve off the watermelon rind, and, using a stick blender or food processor, liquify the watermelon flesh.  Pass through a sieve if there are seeds.

    Mix all ingredients and taste. I found that more vermouth could be added to a positive effect. Add the fruits for garnish and if desired, serve in one of the carved-out watermelons. Ladle over ice and enjoy!

     

    Saturday
    Sep062014

    Unlikely Eats: Spain’s Airport Food

    People don’t usually think of airports as places of luxury. Many would think that these looming structures are nothing but terminals – places that we walk through and walk past as we travel to faraway lands, where the adventure and the excitement really are.

    Today’s airports, however, have been on a quest to reinvent their image and change the way we see them (see Paris CDG's new terminal, above). Top airports from all over the world have undergone renovations to make them seem less of a gate that passengers need to get through, and more of a place they can actually enjoy spending time in. Airport authorities have begun to slowly try to be more affordable for all sorts of travellers, eliminating the reasons why they’ve been given a bad rap in the past.

    Thousands of people have complained, for example, about exorbitant parking fees at airports, and the world’s major airports have come to the rescue. Gatwick Airport, which Parking4less explains has both short-stay and long-stay packages that come with convenient perks such as a valet service, has apparently introduced a new parking scheme that saves their customers up to 3% on parking fees.

    Gatwick airport has also joined the effort of airports to be more "social"....like this recent instagram campaign that carries the hashtag #TemptedBeforeTakeoff.  

    How cute is that?

    But that’s not all. Inside the airports themselves, a wealth of treasures unfolds. Restaurants have begun popping up in airports all over the world, transforming airport food into something that rivals the fanciest dinners. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), the World’s Finest Airport Food was found to be in Spain’s own Porta Gaig restaurant in Barcelona.

    Porta Gaig is owned by Carles Gaig, and this Michelin-starred restaurant serves a wonderful array of classically Catalan dishes. The restaurant’s interior design is by architect Richard Bofill, a Spanish architect who has also designed much of Barcelona airport, the National Theatre of Catalonia, and even the new headquarters of global fashion company Desigual.

    Of course, Spain may not hold this title for much longer, as celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck have also established their own restaurants, nestled deep within the spacious halls of their respective airports. It’s very likely that Spain will have to give up the crown and step down for another Michelin-starred airport restaurant to be named as the World’s Finest Airport Food.

    I leave you with a shot of one of my favorite newly renovated airports...can anyone name it for the win?

    *hope you enjoyed this guest post! 

    Tuesday
    Sep022014

    pintxo astearteak (tapa tuesdays)

    bar labrit:::tortilla de pulpo (spanish omelette with octopus)

    Calle Zabaleta, 57 ::Donostia-San Sebastián

    One of the most original tortillas in town, heavily speckled with spicy paprika. Delicious, the house speciality.

    Tuesday
    Sep022014

    Juice: Never Out of The Bottle

    So you have a sweet tooth.

    Me too.

    Every day, usually around 4 p.m. or so, my body craves a bit of sugar. Sometimes I ignore it, sometimes I eat an almond blondie. 

    However, this summer, my Spanish kitchen welcomed a new gadget....the juicer.   (Cue life-changing drum roll sound)

    Now, instead of baking cookies, I press some carrots, oranges and nectarines into a glowing orange glass of fresh juice. It helps, of course, that it's hot outside, and that turning on the oven at home is not an appetizing thought after baking all morning long at work.  But honestly, the main reason I love the juicer is that it's just so easy. 

    And that it helps me feel all super-healthy self righteous.

    And that it's really good for juicing watermelons for a delicious vermouth-watermelon punch (recipe coming soon!)

    Modern technology is both our bane and our salvation. It gives us time to ponder both the important and unimportant, obsess over things our ancestors wouldn’t even be able to identify, and time to, well, waste.  But it has also changed the ways that we prepare our food. If you were like me, put off by the thought of purchasing another kitchen appliance, then just hear me out.  

    Juice is hot. So hot right now. It's also real expensive, if you go out to the nearest strip mall to grab some. Or, if you live abroad, impossible to find in those exciting, Cali-inspired combos.  But there's so much goodness to be got from the leftovers in your fruit and veggie drawers, and without spending 5-10 bucks for a designer drink.

    Modern juicers rule. They are highly efficient and produce little waste. And they just make your life a lot easier.…no peeling, no squeezing, just juice—fast. While many of us may associate juicers with as the means for producing a healthy beverage, guess what? You can also use them for mixing pastes, processing garnishes and blending sauces. 

     Basically, a juicer isn't just a juicer, if you know how to use it. Since we added one to our kitchen arsenal, you'd be hard-pressed to wrest it from my super healthy hands.  I know you might be thinking, I don’t have the space. But it’s one of those things that, once you get the hang of using, you can’t imagine life without it. The truth is these appliances can be so useful in preparing healthy foods and upping your kitchen wow factor. 

     Here’s the juice that, for me, epitomizes summer 2014:

     marti’s summer juice

    (serves two)

     

    • 2 carrots
    • 2 ripe peaches
    • 1 orange, skin removed
    • 1 apple
    • 1 TBSP ground flax seed

     

    Add first four ingredients to the juicer. You can peel the carrots, and you should peel the oranges.  However, I leave the rest of the fruit whole. Stir in the flax seed to the finished juice for added omega-3s.