Palm trees and snow covered mountains:
C’est la Californie du Sud
The Kasbah Chronicles
Les Chroniques de la Kasbah
January/February 2020Travels in Cuba (suite)
A night on the Queen Mary
Une nuit sur le paquebot mythique Queen Mary
The BEST restaurant in the US (according to YELP)
In San Diego!
Kitty in the media
Boozy Black beans
from 365 Ways to Cook Vegetarian
Links of interest en français and in English
A new cookbook germinating:
About Champagne, pays de ma mère
Ha Ha and Ha
Where to begin? So much to do, so little time. Thus, the Chronicles are a month overdue. NO time to waste!
Cuba is still on my mind, and may call for a return visit in the not too distant future (after petting whales in Baja California, travelling to my mother’s birthplace in Champagne to research my next cookbook, and spending the night on THE, yes THAT, Queen Mary, now a floating hotel moored in Laguna Beach, CA).
Back to Cuba, this most extraordinary island 90 miles off our coast, cut off from the United States, and caught in a 50s time warp. I already mentioned how much Havana reminded me of my hometown of Casablanca in the fifties. Old buildings crying for a coat of paint, intricate and rusted wrought-iron balconies, splashes of original art deco, and a “quartier” named “Fusterlandia” on the outskirts of Havana–an area covering several blocks inspired by the mosaics of Niki de St Phalle and Gaudi. Yes, we rode around in 1950s vintage automobiles, a kick in itself, we pretended to puff on a cigar (I have NEVER smoked), and we listened to musicians playing in the street. We stayed in casas particulares (b and bs), and rode around an eco-farm on HORSEBACK (YIKES!! I don’t even ride, but that was FUN). So much more, you will have to read my upcoming article for the award winning, online, Wine Dine and Travel magazine.
What comes to my mind regarding Cuba, is that despite extreme hardship and pervasive poverty, Cubans have such a friendly and open disposition. Amis francophones? Vous rappelez-vous du tube des années 60 : Cuando Sali de Cuba ? Dejé mi vida, mi corazon… He bien, il est inconnu à Cuba, car évidemment, c’est une chanson d’exil. De nos jours, l’accès à l’Internet est strictement règlementé. Une politique irrationnelle de tous côtés il me semble.
Gracias once more to our superb guide, Carlos, and to Karin of www.espiritutravel.com who handled the land arrangements. US citizens can go to Cuba as individual travelers. We purchased our Cuban visas at JFK’s Jet Blue counter, along with retrieving our boarding pass.
This video might give you a little flavor of Havana en fête.
Conga and Carnival in Havana
Two weeks ago, I spent a night on the Queen Mary, the transatlantic ship now moored in Long Beach.
Le Queen Mary a fait bien des traversées entre les Etats Unis et l’Europe—et a même servi de navire-hôpital pendant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Saviez-vous que le Queen Mary est plus long que le Titanic ? (Moi non plus!) Long Beach est l’un des plus grands ports des Etats Unis, au sud de Los Angeles. Si vous allez vers le sud, vous suivrez le bord de mer jusqu’à Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, et autres villes mondialement connues des surfers.
Did you know that the Queen Mary is longer than the Titanic? I attended an exciting Adventure by the Book event (www.adventuresbythebook.com) on board—20 authors from around the US conducted presentations and book signings. Sign up for the organization’s newsletter to learn about other exciting literary adventures. Would be authors and established authors too—don’t miss next year’s event.
Our Adventure took place in the Queens’ salon, one of the most beautiful ballrooms on board The Queen’s Salon: talk about Art Deco, wooden panels, authentic light fixtures, all restored. Turn a corner to face a picture of Churchill, Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper, mafiosi, presidents—and dozens more.
The Queen Mary is worth a visit (skip the food on board, however. A rip off). Our room was an authentic cabin lined in original wood panels, with a vintage armoire, original bathroom fixtures (that worked!) and two portholes.
Another gastronomic adventure awaited in South Park (one of the hippest places in San Diego) in front of a food truck considered as The Best Restaurant in the US according to YELP reviews. It was even mentioned on the CBS Evening News with Nora O’Donnell. The parking lot of a liquor store on the corner 30th and Grape shelters the footprint of The acclaimed Shawarma Guys! So I ordered their freshly made falafel and a marinated wagyu Beef shawarma with homemade garlic paste (to DIE for), wrapped in a toasted pita. One bite of the golf ball sized falafel, and fireworks broke out around me: they are not only HUGE, crispy, and piping hot—they are the BEST falafel I have ever tasted. Go there!
Sit on plastic chairs in the parking lot, and go at off hours because the line can wrap around the block. I asked Brian, one of the Chaldean chef/owners, about the fresh herbs and spices in the falafel: ”It’s a secret!” Bien sûr. They come in a box of 6—and a doggie bag. (http://www.theshawarmaguys.com/menu)
3012 Grape St, SD
While you are waiting (a solicitous server will put you on a list and phone you when your name comes up) go across the street to a darling florist/gift shop called Native Poppy (www.nativepoppy.com)
Would you believe the Pope approves of A Biblical Feast?!! Photo taken at the Mission San Luis Rey (Oceanside, CA) gift store:
Kitty in the media:
Crown City magazine, a magazine in Coronado, CA.
Televents of Coronado, first cable TV station in San Diego, was the start of my “brilliant” career! Read about my reminiscences as a young Navy wife!
Book club visit booked through Novelnetwork.com:
Thank you Carey fort he lovely welcome from your book club.
Wine Dine and Travel online magazine:
I am now a staff writer at Wine Dine and Travel online travel magazine (www.winedineandtravel.com)
You might enjoy my article on Barcelona’s incredible food:
La Boqueria, Barcelona’s binge-inducing public market
Head spins! What to sample? That is La Boqueria–
As a docent at the CA Center for the Arts in Escondido (CA) I invite you once again to call ahead and request a docent for your private tour. (760) 839-4149. The present exhibit features artists bringing awareness to our environment. Endangered: Exploring California’s Changing Ecosystems and Finding Heaven in Hellhole Canyon open from Saturday, January 11th through March 8th, 2020. This exhibition focuses on artworks that address the wonder and destruction of local flora and fauna throughout California. An interactive and educational contemporary art exhibition, Endangered, brings greater awareness to the current environmental issues in California. Finding Heaven in Hellhole Canyon (Valley Center) includes the work of 14 local artists advocating for the preservation and enjoyment of California’s natural environment.
FYI: The art scene in Los Angeles:
Donnez moi des idées !
Je pense à un nouveau livre de cuisine basé sur des recettes familiales. Je me dirige vers la Champagne, pays où est née ma mère, au moi de mai prochain. Pouvez-vous me suggérer des plats traditionnels champenois, et surtout des endroits à ne pas manquer à Châlons en Champagne et dans les environs ?
LINKS OF INTEREST :
NEW! A First in Morocco and North Africa, a public TV channel, à la PBS—
The reason: le “piratage”. There was no way to protect the contents from hackers. Thus, the content is now free for everyone. Brilliant!
Vive les idées géniales des français :
A novel idea to fight hunger à la française.
Les français combattent la faim :
et en Amérique, sur beaucoup de campus, les étudiants n’ont ni assez à manger, ni où se loger : CHOQUANT :
One of America’s most serious housing crises isn’t where you would expect it. https://www.ozy.com/the-new-and-the-next/universities-combat-their-next-crisis-homelessness-on-campus/253173/
Tunisie, où les dates manquent d’eau :
I spent a good while in Tunisia, first to study Arabic at the Bourguiba School, and then to research my book, The Vegetarian Table: North Africa (Chronicle, 1998). Climate change? Of course not says our government. . .
And from Australia:
I could hardly bear to watch the pictures of Oz burning and magical Kangaroo Island too:
I have visited this extraordinary continent on 3 occasions, twice to participate in food related events. Australians know how to throw a party, and their cuisine is unlike any other thanks to the strong Asian influence. I was fortunate to meet many of Oz’s best-known food tv personalities at the time, including Margaret Fulton, Australia’s counterpart to our Julia Child. Maggie was the one who introduced French cooking to her fellow Australians.
PS: Thank you to all those who have taken the time to write a review on the Amazon.com page for Mint Tea and Minarets.
Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued a une page Facebook. Pouvez-vous la « like » ???
Et, si le coeur vous en dit, vous pouvez telecharger Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued sur amazon.com (et non pas Amazon,.FR). et ecrire quelques mots au bas de la page.
Si vous avez une liste de correspondants e-mail, vous pouvez leur envoyer le communique de presse pour Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued ou le lien sur la page Facebook..
Every little bit helps.
sent to me by a reader of these Chronicles! Isn’t this a lovely sight? Spring is around the corner in Oakland CA..