Mango Margaritas

If I could live on the beach (in 80 degree weather, 24/7/52/365), I would.

Even if it meant sleeping in a tent or eating PB&Js speckled with grains of sand.

I almost lived on the beach last weekend, as I spent both Saturday and Sunday at my favorite beach. Instead of PB&Js, I ate sushi.

Coming home from the beach, I always get that dazed feeling  where all I want is a fruity, cold concoction. This can be ice cream, lemonade, or in this past weekend’s case, margaritas.

These mango margaritas  are from Cooking Light. Although the recipe calls for champagne mangoes (frozen and chopped), I skimped on this step and used frozen mangoes from the supermarket. I have a feeling that using the fresh fruit would have taken this up a notch, but hey, sometimes I forget that patience is a virtue. I didn’t add the dried pequin chiles because, again, I was lazy and also didn’t want spice. Just cold. Cold, thick, fruity and satisfying. This did the job.


Smooth Start to Summer

You will feel healthy when you drink (or slurp, or scoop) this smoothie.

You will feel your skin glow.

You will be proud of the fact that you ate spinach for breakfast.

You will be satisfied.

Whenever I eat a healthy breakfast, I feel like I’ve given my body good karma for the day. This is one of those breakfasts. What an awesome way to jump start your day with a full serving of vegetables, as well as a boost of sugar and filling fiber.

All you need to do is cut up a banana, grab some frozen mangoes and peaches, a handful of spinach,  2-4 ice cubes, and a glass of water. Start by placing the fruit and vegetables into a blender. Process for a few seconds and then pour in a bit of water (a few tablespoons). Add ice, if needed or preferred. Essentially, keep adding water and/or ice until you get your perfect consistency. Additional fruit can be used depending on the flavor you want, and of course, other fruits work well too. I ended up using two small bananas for a creamier consistency.


A Taste of Grapes…

Whenever I used to hear people describing wine as oaky, cherry, good with fish, bad with spicy food, dry, or citrusy, I thought wine tasted like one thing: grapes. Occasionally I would joke that wines had the taste of mahogany, starfruit, or insect repellent.

I’ll be the first to admit that my wine taste buds are not in full bloom. And they shouldn’t be. After all, I’ve only been on one wine tasting trip (my first to Napa was when I was five and I was served apple juice, so that does not count). I recently traveled to Hunter Valley, Australia where I dipped my toes into the world of wine. Though I didn’t get to smash grapes with my feet à la “I Love Lucy”, I learned a tremendous amount.

Compared to Napa Valley or Sonoma, Hunter Valley is small and developing, but still intimate and beautiful. Grapes suitable for growth in Hunter Valley were imported to the region years ago when it was realized that the warm days and cool nights were perfect for vineyards. Since then, the wine industry has expanded in Australia. The region is known for Semillon, a citrusy white wine, but many different varieties of wine are also produced, such as Chardonnay and Shiraz. Surprisingly, some of the best wine I tried was dessert wine, which I expected to be too sweet, thick, or unappealing to drink.

A lot of doors were opened for me on this wine tour. While Hunter Valley may not compare to wine regions in France, Italy, or California quite yet, this was the perfect starting point for someone that originally thought it was ridiculous to call a wine anything but grape-y.

De Medici, Bruges

Here’s another post about the glorious subject of food poisoning.

Last summer, I traveled to London with my parents where we Indian-restaurant-hopped. This would be my family’s version of bar hopping. We ate not one, not two, but three Indian meals in a row. I love Indian food, with all of its comforting deep-fried pakoras and hearty baingan bhartha. However, three meals really knocked my body out. Not in a sitting-on-the-toilet sense, but rather a nasty-food-poisoning sense. I spent the next twenty-four hours in bed trying to keep down some British biscuits. Soon after this troubling Indian food experience, we managed to take a train from London to Bruges, Belgium. I couldn’t stomach much, but we were served a most impressive meal aboard the train. Airlines could learn a lot from this:

When we arrived in Bruges, the weather was dreary so we stopped in a quaint restaurant, De Medici. This tea room and “sorbetiere” was small, cozy, and inviting. Oh, and it’s not Indian food. I ordered an herbal tea:

They served our party a dish of cured ham and olives, compliments of the house. While I don’t eat meat and my mother and I both don’t like olives, my father enjoyed this tremendously, and just the thought of a little amuse-bouche was a nice touch.

I ordered a simple mozzarella and tomato sandwich, something which my stomach could handle. Drizzled with balsamic vinegar and served with a side salad with a hard-boiled egg, the plate exceeded my expectations. De Medici is the perfect cure for an Indian food-eating marathon.