Sweet Misnamed Treat

What would a stay at the Omni Parker House be like without trying their famous Parker House Boston cream pie? So we tried it! By the way, don’t get your taste buds set for a pie; that is definitely a misnomer. This is a fluffy light sponge cake filled with a thin layer of a light custard rather than the heavy custard associated with eclairs and donuts. There is also no crust, but there is a lovely chocolate topping.

For those who are interested in savoring this treat without traveling to Boston, you can have a 10-12 serving pie/cake shipped to you through Goldbelly for $89. We can verify that these are the original Boston cream pie from the Parker house as we saw crates of them being loaded onto a truck outside the restaurant. Hotel staff also confirmed that Goldbelly only uses their pies.

Boston History and Fun

Breakfast was good but limited seating.
The park was lovely and peaceful
A one man band entertained the kids
Frogs outside the tadpole play area
Ray and I being silly
The tadpole playground
Massachusetts state house
Park Street church
Cathedral church of St Paul

Bike rentals
Solar powered pay station for bike rentals
Historic map in sidewalk
Freedom trail signs are everywhere
There was a big flash mob in front of Fanueil hall marketplace
Time for lunch
This place is popular!
Ray is contemplating the menu
Yum!
Ray’s yummy lunch
At the fresh air market
Oyster shucking is hard work
Lots of great produce. Blueberries are 2 boxes for $1!!
This sounds tasty
Quincy market
Loved some of the fun signs inside Quincy market
I wasn’t hungry but. . .
Cool decorations
Christmas in Boston
Cheers bar Christmas decorations
Map for the freedom trail

A little sticker shock. Glad we don’t have a car here
Old Courthouse

Wasn’t this a fun walking tour of Boston? It’s one of my favorite cities, especially since the food is amazing.

Owen & NM Green Chiles

Owen’s job around the homestead is security, and he takes it seriously. No trash/mail/delivery truck goes unnoticed and un-barked at. The sound of their jaengines arouse him to race through the house to the front gate, grumblings in his basset-derived chest. But, Owen also keeps the ground squirrels from raiding our green chile patch.

We set aside a small part of the backyard for flowers and a few New Mexico green chile plants. The rest is a place for indigenous flora and fauna of the high Chihuahua Desert to play out the roles prescribed by nature. New Mexico is renowned for its green chiles that the locals use to season stews, and add zest to other recipes.

The chiles from the area around the farm town of Hatch in the Mesilla region on the lower Rio Grande River have trademarked their product.

However, Hispanic farm communities throughout the state claim unique properties to their chiles and preserve the seeds that have been passed down since the Spanish introduced chiles into New Mexico centuries ago. LINK

And not just the Hispanics are aficionados of the chile. A Jemez Pueblo friend gave me a chile that had been passed down in his family since the mid-18th century.

Jemez State Monument, preserving the ruins of a 17th century Spanish mission and 13th century Indian pueblo,

The peppers from those seeds rated 10 (maximum hot) on the chile heat scale. Chefs around the state compete for the blue ribbon at the state fair that is awarded to the best green chile cheeseburger. Owen loves green chile cheesburgers.

Locals buy their stash of green chiles at supermarrkets, road side stands, and at the farm. In early fall, the air is filled the scent of chiles being roasted in store parking lots and roadside stands.

Roaster

We harvested a few chiles from the three plants in our garden.

We popped them under the broiler.

Turned them every few minutes, and out they came, ready to be peeled, de-seeded, and ready to be added to home made green chile stew.

Owen finds the chiles uninteresting as a diet item, but the green chile cheeseburgers are a hit with him.

Old Town is Always New

Explora even looks fun from the outside

I love wandering around Old Town as there is always so much to experience, from shops to museums to live music to festivals.

The museums are exceptional. Explora is a hands on science exploratation place for children. It is so popular with adults that they also offer adult nights.

The Natural History Museum and Planetarium has fun and unusual shores in addition to all those cool dinosaur skeletons. A recent exhibit brought all of Leonardo day Vinci’s inventions to life by making full sized working models. It was extraordinary.

The Planetarium at the Natural History Museum.
A great reminder that Albuquerque is over three hundred years old.

Tiguex Park is a fun place for a picnic and includes some interesting public art.

If you’re interested in Zuni fetishes, New Mexico Bead and Fetish has a great collection.

They offer explanations for what each fetish means

And while you are in Old Town, stop in for some fun candy at Old Town Candy & Sweets.

In addition to great chocolates, they stock all sorts of unusual candies and lunch boxes

San Felipe de Neri is an iconic Southwestern church. It is also still actively used for services, including both traditional and vampire weddings.

Most weekends, this gazebo is filled with entertainers playing music or demonstrating tango.

The entrance to the Albuquerque art museum sculpture garden hints at the delights inside. Its a great place to relax with a coffee and a sketchbook.

A fun mosaic invites you into Old Town

Many of the Albuquerque Museum’s sculptures are in front of the facility.

A recent sculptural addition (about border crossing) in front of the museum needs to be seen from all sides to be fully appreciated.

Wouldn’t you like to wander through Old Town with me?

Olympic Hopes

At the train station arriving in Nagano, a delightful Japanese town that hosted the 1998 winter Olympics.

These are cool statues along the access road to the shrine.

We were drooling as we passed the shops with their food samples in the windows. This is the restaurant we came back to for soba. Yum.

There is a 7 springs hike nearby.

And here is a gorgeous hand painted manhole cover celebrating the famous apples from the region. They are deservedly famous. I became addicted to the fresh apple juice, apple sake, and fresh apples.

A mn so outlines the sacred places at the temple.

The beautiful shrine appears embraced by the trees.

A fruit stand where we bought one of the famous apples.


Nagano was one of my favorite places in Japan. I think it was the apples. Do you have a favorite place in Japan? Where?

Sake Splendors

Guest blogger Ray Shortridge

Rice is the basic element in Japanese cuisine, but it is also the principal substrate in brewing sake. An official of the ExcelHuman sake company guided us on a tour of their brewery and described the brewing process. For many centuries, sake has been a favorite alcoholic drink in Japan, and images on the walls depicted the pre-modern brewing process.

The brewery produced more than a dozen varieties of sake, and we tasted a few. Brenda preferred one with a slight taste of apple, pictured in the center of the right hand column.

The brewery’s high end variety, Donkura, was priced at 13,960 yen, approximately $120.

The apple flavored sake was far less. Hooray!