Friday, June 19, 2009

Hotel Las Águilas en Puerto de la Cruz

Hotel Las Águilas en Puerto de la Cruz
will be our destination in Tenerife.

Pretty nice, eh?

Besides the wedding, there are a lot of fun things to do in Tenerife: a big water park (Siam Park), Loro Parque just next to our hotel (like Sea World), botanical gardens, a big mtn to climb, monkey zoo, beaches, sports and games at the hotel. In one of the pictures I even saw a pool table (as in billiards) by the pool (as in swimming).

Sonsoles' father also trains jumpers, as in horses. I've already been promised a tour of the stable.

Did I mention the monkey zoo?

And then, there is the wedding. Ah, it's hard to have to wait till August!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jamón ibérico, Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain

Also known as Pata Negra, is a type of ham produced only in Spain. What makes the meat of these pigs so special is what happens to them after their are weaned from their mothers plethora of breasts.

First they are fattened on barley and maize for several weeks. From sows milk to barley and maize (corn) before being allowed to roam the Spanish countryside feasting on what they find in the oak groves: acorns, truffles, herbs, roots and grass until the grim reaper appears.

The hams from the slaughtered pigs are salted and left to begin drying for two weeks, after which they are rinsed and left to dry for another four to six weeks. The curing process then takes at least twelve months, although some producers cure their jamones ibéricos for up to 36 months. Along the way, during the drying process they experience the natural breezes of the Spanish countryside in the same way when the meat was on the hoof in the oak groves. Imagine the fastidious care that goes into this production!

The final product is sliced very thinly and from what I have witnessed from watching Tony and Andy, it is like butter in your mouth.

In any meat it is the fat that holds the flavor. Pata Negra's unique characteristic comes from the hint of nuts in the fat that is exquisitely positioned throughout the ham. The result is a silky, smoothness in your mouth that is unforgettable.

I can't wait to experience this for myself. Thanks to Paul and Sonsoles falling in love.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

And the next trip.....Madrid and Tenerife!

As I started out to write about my next trip I contemplated starting a brand new blog. I already have I really need one more?

I started this one, "Laugh Along the Way" as a tribute to my coming of age. 50 years old. But then I started traveling.

First I went to Mauritania to visit my brother. Ruth Garvin headed back to the desert with me to see how things were coming along at the coffee shop, now transformed into a restaurant/quest house/oasis.

For two weeks Ruth and I walked alongside Paul, met his friends, met Sonsoles.

You can read all about it in the blog that I have linked above: Discovering Mauritania.

Then, in a turn of events that still has my head spinning, I spent three weeks in Papua New Guinea with a group of students and a faculty member, Rhett Luedtke from GFU.

After three amazing weeks in PNG, birthplace of my son, home of my family for two years, I visited Luke and Esther Davidson in Australia for a week. Truth be told, it's been a bit tough coming home.
The closeness that we all felt on our journey to the other side of the world is something that one never forgets and hopes to recreate for a lifetime.

Thanks to the arrows of cupid and a miraculous, providential intervention, my brother, my brother is getting married. To a lovely lady from Spain. She's from Tenerife in the Canary Islands. August 14th. We are all so excited to welcome this wonderful lady, Sonsoles, into our family. Two families from across the sea becoming one. It's a wonderful gift that we can hardly comprehend.

So that's the reason for the journey to Spain and the Canary Islands. My taste buds can hardly stand the anticipation.