Today’s Harvest

If you want to take a break from Gaudí while in Barcelona but not completely escape the fantasy of his work, why don’t you go to the source of his inspiration… nature! and see what it has to offer: a good place to start is: La Boqueria… at first glance from the Las Ramblas street, La Boqueria seems like yet another produce market, but once I stepped into it, I felt like Alice in Wonderland falling into the rabbit hall and onto an imaginary world where all my culinary fantasies were on creative display, in rich colors and abundance! It’s like a museum of Catalonian culinary tastes had come to life and I was invited… My main challenge though: for the most part, no pictures were allowed (they seem to think they’re a museum too!) but I still managed to get you some!

orange - boqueria

red - boqueria

green 1 - Boqueria

green 2 - boqueria

🍊rangey Amalgam

D&G window

I was walking by the D&G store and spotted this fruit trolley featuring a certain orangey fruit and I wasn’t quite able to pin down what to call it! Being a nutritionist, I was alarmed and on a mission to solve my dilemma!

I remembered that I’ve always called any tiny-looking orange, labeled “cutie” in the US and “easy-peeler” in Britain, Clementine. Although I knew some of these “tinies” could also be Mandarin or Tangerine, I was never quite confident which is what! After a couple of investigation trips to my local supermarkets, here is what I gathered and hopefully this will help you tie-up your orangey jargon!

Mandarin, Tangerine and Clementine can all look pretty much similar but each still got some interesting characteristics

Mandarin, Tangerine and Clementine can look pretty similar but each has a unique history & distinctive characteristics

Ultimately though, don’t let those distinctions drive you mad as nutritionally speaking they’re all a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants and rich in soluble fiber, a great cholesterol fighter. After all, despite their unique characteristics, each batch of a given type will taste slightly different as well! So just make sure you get fresh ones and you’re set.

Fruit art in my kitchen

Hamra & other Colors

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With its hilarious knock-offs (think Canal street with a Lebanese touch), to fruit colors that will knock you off your feet, to colorful characters of all ages (think old men sipping Turkish coffee & smoking shisha at local cafés with the colorful Hamra-shopping local fashionista walking by) Hamra street (Hamra means in English the red one) may be shunned today by the Beirut fashion snobs as a destination for the masses, but I certainly recommend a stroll through it to tourists as a way to get a more local feel of west Beirut and a taste of a stretch that has not wavered throughout all the Lebanese turmoil as one of Beirut’s main commercial streets. You’ll note that there is an efforts being made to bring back some lost glory and prominence to Hamra and that it certainly looks nothing like its dodgy depiction in Homeland.

The Maldives Mosaic

An enchanting collection of islands in the Indian Ocean balancing by virtue of its location and history striking tropical beauty and a devotion to religious spirituality.

Vacationing here is a speedboat trip to the senses: from dipping in the crystal clear turquoise ocean to touching the soft white sandy beaches to savoring the delicious Indian inspired food to relaxing to the healing scent of coconut oil during a traditional Asian massage to hearing the Friday call to prayer in Arabic from a small local island next to the resort… A humble traditional country drizzled by luxury resorts attracting the world to dots barely visible on the world map… The many contrasts invite you to relax, reflect and be inspired…

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Ready & Munchin’

You know labor is near when you’ve downloaded your contractions app to keep track of their length, intensity and frequency and your mom moves in and brings with her delicious delicacies to make the wait bearable!

Upper left: dried grapes (malban) with raw walnuts  Lower left: fresh-from-the-field green almonds Right: Pickled mini eggplant  stuffed with peanut & spices

Upper left: dried grapes (malban) with raw walnuts
Lower left: fresh-from-the-field green almonds
Right: Pickled mini eggplants stuffed with peanut & spices

Produce from Paradise

Stopped by a farmers’ market in the small town of Hanalei (Kaua’i island) yesterday and indulged in some exotic organic local produce. The fruits here tasted phenomenal! The main event was my açaí breakfast cup, a blend of nutrients straight from heaven! Açaí is a berry rich in antioxidants and fiber which makes it a heart-healthy and anti-cancer superfood.

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

….everywhere I go

UPDATE (11/12/13): It’s snowing today in New York City… Christmas season has officially begun!

Vintage Ventian Dinnerware

Vintage Venetian glassware and dinnerware at Bergdorf Goodman

Apple & Spices @ Bloomingdales

Fruits & Spices ornaments at Bloomingdales

Christmas ornaments at Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas ornaments at Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas decoration at Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas decorations at Bergdorf Goodman

Glitter & gold decoration at Bergdorf Goodman

Glitter & Gold at Bergdorf Goodman

Woodland Christmas

Woodland Christmas at Bergdorf Goodman

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Candy Christmas at Bergdorf Goodman

Turquoise

Imperial Christmas at Bloomingdales

Glitter & Gold

Jeweled Christmas at Bloomingdales

Sweets

Sweet Christmas at Bloomingdales

NYC

NYC Christmas at Bloomingdales

Christmas Dinnerware

Christmas dinnerware by Juliska (top, bottom left) and by Villeroy & Boch (bottom right) at Bloomingdales

Burst of Antioxidants

pomegranate

As I shopped this morning through the produce section of my neighborhood’s market I saw these fresh bursting red pomegranates and my taste buds started a dance! I can’t wait to introduce my little girl to this juicy mosaic so we can become pom-buddies! Pomegranates rush you burst-by-burst into a heavenly state of mind. In fact, the pomegranate is an ancient fruit mentioned in almost every religion symbolizing various positive concepts and has also historically appeared in art and medicine for centuries. Today there’s a renewed focus on researching and studying the health benefits of this fruit and the juice made from its seeds and white membrane (an even higher source of antioxidants), especially in the western world where it’s still an exotic and relatively unknown fruit in opposition to the Middle East and some Mediterranean regions where it’s taken for granted for cultivation reasons. By virtue of its antioxidant richness, the pomegranate is considered very healthy for the heart and an anticancer food. It’s also a good source of Dietary Fiber and Folate and a very good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K. In season starting September to February, you can indulge in these sweet and tart little red gems full of juice, nutrients and energy!