Category Archives: Travel

a #pintxos primer for San Sebastian, #Spain

Spain's green coast - costa verde - near San Sebastian - photo - Karen Anderson

Spain’s green coast – costa verde – near San Sebastian – photo – Karen Anderson

Pintxos are small appetizers pierced with a toothpick and served from large plates on bar tops. You take what you’d like, order some drinks, take a few more goodies if you have a hankering to do so and pay before you leave. The bartender simply counts up your toothpicks, remembers what you drank and charges you accordingly. Everything is on the honour system. Everything – drinks and food – is priced from one to a few euros. The atmosphere is chilled, relaxed; easy.

This post isn’t about naming names of places you “must try” for pintxos when you go to San Sebastian in Spain’s Basque Country. It’s more about priming your palette and your mind to maximally enjoy the experience. The ritual of enjoying pintxos is a bit about food and a lot about visiting and relaxing.

Read on to see how my family got along on our recent trip to Basque country’s culinary capital.

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Art Installation #9 – Falling into the Guggenheim in Bilbao and coming out looking for more of the architecture of Frank Gehry

Guggenheim Bilbao – Exterior Walkabout – from a distance


If you are traveling to Spain, Bilbao’s Guggenheim is worth adding to your itinerary.

The value of art and architecture, for me, is how they cause me to live completely absorbed in the moment. The moment is all that really exists so it really is the best place to spend your time.

The value of contemporary art and architecture – if they achieve what they set out to do – is to allow each of us to take away our own interpretation and meaning of what we see in its presence. You have to be present in its presence to access that and when you are it can be a powerful experience.

I went to the Guggenheim in Bilbao and lived so in the moment that when four hours had passed it felt like one moment. I was drawn in to the depths of this place, I was amused and engaged by its surroundings and I was raised up in what it held inside. My interpretation was of experiencing life as seamless oneness. Perhaps this is what a fish feels like in water. This giant fish of a building with all its seams, sails and scales ended up feeling seamless to me.

This art installation on my blog will have more photos from Bilbao and more info on architect Frank Gehry – where he’s coming from and what he’s done lately.

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My latest @AlbertaatNoon column podcast – #pintxos #tapas #paella and a trip to #Spain

Lots of fun talking about Spain and “what I ate on my summer vacation” today on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon with host Donna McElligot.

Here’s the podcast in case you missed it. I’m on at the 10:05 mark in the show.

paella on my plate photo - Karen Anderson

paella on my plate
photo – Karen Anderson

You can find the recipe for this delicious paella here. Watch for posts on pintxos and tapas coming soon.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Great ingredients, Recipes, Travel

An #Apricot Awakening – thanks to my friend Gail Norton of @cookbookcooks

Inspiration  photo - Karen Anderson

Inspiration
photo – Karen Anderson

I don’t know how it came up. I think I asked my friend Gail Norton for a new recipe for a summer dessert. I was bored with my usual repertoire.

Apricots, she said.

Make a Tatin. I’ll send you a recipe.

She did and that’s where this story starts.

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Filed under Cooks I know, Food markets of the world, Great ingredients, Recipes, Travel

Back on Joy Road – an alfresco dinner with @joyroadcatering and @LaStellaWinery

the setting for Joy Road Catering's al fresco "cuisine de terroir" Okanagan dinners  photo - Karen Anderson

the setting for Joy Road Catering’s al fresco “cuisine de terroir” Okanagan dinners
photo – Karen Anderson

Last week I made my annual summer pilgrimage to Penticton in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. It’s year 15 and each year gets better and brings more joy.

We have rituals that make this place a haven for our family.

Early morning cycling with friends, time for a coffee and chat, a dip in the lake when the notion strikes or if it is really hot – a chance to float lazily down the channel that cuts through this isthmus; this city lodged like a too tight belt between two very curvy lakes.

We shop at farmers’ markets, lunch at vineyards and dine on the patio. The air is soft and caresses the skin. Lavender, roses, Ponderosa pine and the smell of fresh fruit drift to the brain’s memory bank of scents and deliver a sigh and a smile in recognition. Blue sky meets blue water with pale faced clay banks lined with grapevines sloping to their steep cliffs. Life is grand and then it gets even better.

We go to an alfresco dinner with Joy Road Catering at a retreat called God’s Mountain and life feels quite complete. I’ve written about the very talented owners Dana Ewart and Cameron Smith and you can learn more about why I’m a fan of theirs here.

Read on to see what was on the menu this year, who the winery was and what it all looked like with the few photos I thought to snap here and there as the dinner progressed. I’m sorry there aren’t more. I was enchanted by the evening.

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Whoot! what a thrill to be featured in @AvenueMagazine – “5 Great Calgary Food Tours” by @JenntotheH

I love my company Calgary Food Tours Inc. and all the fun people I get to work with. Cheers to them for making our company a world-class one! photo - Cole Anderson

I love my company Calgary Food Tours Inc. and all the fun people I get to work with. Cheers to them for making our company a world class one!
photo – Cole Anderson

Cool thing #23 – Calgary Food Tours is featured in Avenue Magazine

5 Great Calgary Food Tours.

Thanks to Calgary’s Avenue Magazine Executive Editor Jennifer Hamilton for so clearing capturing and highlighting my company Calgary Food Tours Inc in the article above.

Yes, it’s true. When I’m not writing, I’m out on the streets of Calgary leading food tours. The tours are amazing because of the depth of Calgary’s food scene and the terrific partners we choose to showcase. Yet many people still don’t know what a food tour is or what we do.

Read on for a photo journey that will help you see why food tours are quickly becoming the number one attraction in cities around the globe.

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Filed under Cool things, Restaurants, Savour food, Travel, Wine

17 Reasons Calgary #yyc is awesome via @CalgaryHerald writer @meghanjessiman

17 Reasons Calgary is awesome.

There are so many reasons I find it easy to savour it all in Calgary. This article speaks to 17 of them.

What are you waiting for? Hop on a plane. Come to Calgary and Savour it All

What are you waiting for? Hop on a plane. Come to Calgary and Savour it All

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