Just plain food related . . . our Home.

Here’s a very interesting and well communicated documentary about the earth. The earth provides our food.  And for anyone living in this generation, we’re the ones to blame. ‘Nuf said. This film is also in several different languages. Good.

Published on May 12, 2009

We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth’s climate.




An exploration of Cuba – part 1

I have my own personal thoughts and interpretation of ‘all the things going on down there in Cuba’, but one of my last moments on the streets keeps replaying in my head; and it just might set the tone for the stories that follow.

“Mucho color” (Spanish for ‘very hot’ when referencing the weather), I said to the somewhat frail older Cuban gentleman sitting atop a somewhat rickety chair under the shade of a beautiful, somewhat rickety Cuban architectural structure. I was shopping in the street vender area of Cienfuegos when the sun began to really beat down on me this last day of our visit. As I stepped up onto the curb to finally get a bit of reprieve from the mostly humid heat, the gentleman replied, “No it’s not” in perfect English. He then asked if I was from the cruise ship in port. I replied, “Yes”. He asked, “Are you from America?” Again I said, “Yes I am”.

My beautiful wife had graciously and lovingly provided me with one of the best birthday gifts one could ever imagine. Although she bought a new watch on “my” birthday for herself this year due to a ship credit refund that could only be spent in the ship store, I had succumb to a year-long sister-to-sister plan for a Viking Cruise from Miami, Florida to our ultimate destination of Cienfuegos, Cuba.  This trip was my gift. I had met some very interesting people, visited some very interesting places, ate some great food and learned a thing or two along the way. And, just to let you know, I had several hundred pictures that were lost from my IPhone, just a day after the trip; so I will try to do my best novelist writing so you can visualize along with what memories I will still have along the way in this multi-part series. I had many great photos. It’s a shame. Sorry.

Cienfuegos is a fishing port city along the southern coast of Cuba. This day we were part of a street walking tour from our cruise ship in this quiet, yet robust city. Our tour guide for the day was a local Cienfuegos resident of 29 years and a very proud younger generation of that city. She had allowed our tour to walk the streets unattended and the wife and I needed to buy some last minute trinket gifts before returning to our ship for the afternoon ride back out of the channel.

The gentleman on the chair asked, “What state do you live in?” I told him I was from California as I fussed with the bags of gifts I was carrying. I had mostly made my interpretation of this remarkable island of Cuba by now as being mostly a sound country under a socialist rule that was really no different than some other countries I have visited while in the Navy. Cienfuegos, Havana and the outlying countryside we had traveled through the past few days seemed quiet, reasonably clean, graffitiless, devoid of any billboard advertising, except for mostly Castro political posters, and the very interesting display of automobiles and warm Cubans desiring our tourist monies. Most of our ship were visitors from America but I had observed visitors in both cities that were from different countries around the world.

“How’s everything in California?” the gentleman on the chair asked, again in perfect English. I kinda himmed and hawed and mumbled a bit then said , “It’s ok, life moves forward”.  He replied, “It sucks here”. That was the first time I heard anything, or any words about how bad the country might be. We spoke only a few more words after that about the tourism in his country, and the repeated visits from our particular Viking Ocean Cruise Lines ship over the next several weeks. I parted from the old man in the chair, yet I still saw the hope in his eyes. The hope I had observed everywhere in Cuba; a land that I saw bountiful with wonderful people, food, culture and splendid architecture. There is so much history here to learn. I am extremely grateful for my opportunity to witness this country first hand.

I hope to bring more stories to you over those next several weeks while the information is reasonably fresh in my head without my reminder photos.

Good luck hanging in there.





Café Sevilla, old-town Riverside, CA

A quick trip to some godforsaken area called Yucaipa, CA . . . seemed like we traveled f o r e v e r  on back roads north of I10, finally released us to explore a bit of Riverside, CA before the breakfast. “Breakfast” will be explained later. However for now our trip will take us into “old town” Riverside to a restaurant we’ve know of for years here in San Diego. Café Sevilla has been a culinary mainstay locally, and the wife and I had just spoke of revisiting again until we happened upon it while amused and immersed in the quantities of activity in Riverside’s old town region. Sevilla, as it is now known as, didn’t let us down.cafe-sevilla-home-nav-logo-smaller-wider_2

We were to meet my sister for some pre-wedding reception libations in the old town region at another of the multitude of restaurant establishments, but had changed our plans when we saw Sevilla. We found ourselves also very hungry for something else than breakfast. Our breakfast was to be served as dinner for a wedding reception in another hour or two in the Riverside Art Museum just a block away. More on the breakfast later.

At Sevilla we ordered waaaay to much food that included the traditional Paella Velenciana. While the flavors of the traditional dish were there, it lacked the qualities of texture that are synonymous with a finely prepared Paella, like the crunchy layer of slightly charred rice on the bottom and each type of fish being properly cooked to its correct doneness. A very complicated dish to prefect.

Sevilla did have “The Best Restaurant Chimichurri” my wife and I have ever tasted. Perhaps it is as close to my secret recipe, that I am beginning to market, as we have found. I’m thinking it’s because of the olive oil used. Most restaurants that make a Chimi find a comfortable balance between saving a few bucks on buying olive oil blends and their taste. Sevilla didn’t skimp on quality of any menu items, as we had nearly devoured everything brought our way, including the Saphire Martini from the bar for my sister . . . she was staying at a hotel just walking distance away. Both the Beef and Wild Mushroom Empanadas were delicious and that’s how we ran into the Chimi. We ordered a few Tapas including the Champiñones al Ajillo which were a nice start with garlic, mushrooms, chile arbol & white wine and the Rioja Short Ribs, not overly rich, but delicate on the fork.

Stuffed now and walking slowly to the wedding reception, which we found out was being paid for by the kids (19 yrs old) themselves. The bride had graduated from cosmetology school and worked very hard to show her immigrant family that she could do it (life) on her own by starting her married life off with breakfast. And it was a regular breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and wonderful pumpkin pancakes. The pancakes were special because of the pecans and butter toffee sauce. They were good.

The reception had the other usual stuff going on but they also had hot cinnamon buns to take with you, and a small jar of the butter toffee sauce was left on everyone’s plate. A nice reception for 120 guests. Wow, she showed she could do it . . . on a shoestring. It was a nice affair.

I still give Sevilla the best marks. The combination of a nice lunch culminated by a brilliantly sculpted wedding reception had us back on the road again South.

Already starting to enjoy the holidays.


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