A repost today from 2021. Next week we will have an all new post about amazing Mexico City. Watch for it!
A little more than two years ago we were in an Airbnb on the island of Langkawi, Malaysia. It’s unusual for us to watch television, but this Airbnb had a great variety of international programs, and I watched a series about Mexico City street food. Oh my god. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I needed to go experience Mexico City street food. And that is how I came to be eating my way through Mexico City.
I Apologize Mexico
First, an apology to Mexico. As we have traveled all over the world these past five years on the Grand Adventure, we never added Mexico to our itinerary. As Americans, Mexico seems so easy to get to…and I had visited a couple times. So we kept skipping it. I’m sorry Mexico…I was wrong. The touristy places I had visited (Mazatlan, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco and Zihuatinejo) did not show me the real Mexico. Until Mexico City.
The PanDamit gave us the opportunity to reconsider Mexico given the easy access from the USA. So I began a correspondence with a Mexico City food tour company called Eat Like a Local Mexico. Eat Like a Local Mexico offers multiple food tours, but does not usually work with clients looking for a multi-day eating tour. But owner Rocio was amazing and over a period of several months we corresponded and created four days of eating my way through Mexico City during our six day visit to Mexico City.
Red Tree House Bed & Breakfast
We landed at Benito Juarez International Airport on a Monday night in November. We took a cab to the Mexico City neighborhood of Roma Sur and the bed and breakfast that had been one of a few recommendations from Eat Like a Local. The Red Tree House Bed and Breakfast turned out to be one of the best inns I have ever stayed in. Again, my apologies Mexico…it was so much better than I was expecting. The service, staff, accommodations, location and breakfast were all five star.
Eat Like A Local Mexico 101
On our first full day we met Rocio and guide Astrid from Eat Like a Local Mexico at a lovely little coffee shop a block from our hotel. Our tour, which was supposed to be a group tour, ended up being a private tour because the other group had canceled at the last minute. So off we went with Astrid, a tiny, energetic local who intricately knows the traditional Mexico City food scene.
We spent the next six hours with Astrid showing us local street food as well as visiting two of the most famous markets, the Merced Mercado and the Jamaica Mercado. Such a colorful wonderland. We ate so much I can’t even tell you! But see the video below for more.
That night we made our way without a guide to the Frida Kahlo Museum. I highly recommend this when in Mexico City. The museum is in her home, the same home she was born and died in. I learned so much about her remarkable life. Don’t miss it.
Eat Like a Local Night Street Food
Next day, we took a “free” historic walking tour starting in the historic center of Mexico City. We always try to take a free walking tour wherever we are. Such a great way to learn local history, learn about culture and politics and all from a local. Our tour was with Estacion Mexico.
After a quick rest back at the hotel we met up with Astrid again at another coffee shop within walking distance of our hotel to start a Night Food Tour as I continued eating my way through Mexico City. We were joined by another American couple from our home state of Washington. Small world. Using Uber, the metrobus (clean and efficient and cheap) and walking, we crossed the city with Astrid to visit the hidden joints only the locals know about. It was incredible. We ate street tacos, mole,and flautas, drank pulque, and much much more.
Eat Like a Hipster Local
Day three we slept in a bit then Rocio picked us up at our hotel for a private tour she designed just for us. The food this day was unforgettable as we focused on more of the nouveau foods coming out of Mexico City. We had chocolate, cheese and craft beer. We tasted mezcal and had the freshest and most delicious hipster tacos. I am in love.
Casa Jacaranda Cooking School
Our final day of our foodie tour was spent with Casa Jacaranda Cooking School. Starting at 10am and going all the way to 6pm we explored the Medellin Mercado, then at the Casa Jacaranda kitchen we cooked mole, fresh tamales, corn tortillas, salsa and more. This was such a marvelous experience all around – I would not hesitate to do this cooking school again.
Tasty Tuesday YouTube Video
Check out our Tasty Tuesday YouTube video here about eating my way through Mexico City.
We Will Be Back
There are several other excellent things to do in Mexico City, other than eating, so next time we will stay longer. And there will definitely be a next time. I fell in love with this clean and beautiful city, so much more than I expected. Eating my way through Mexico City opened my eyes to a culture and cuisine I had been missing.
If you are even an occasional follower of this blog or my social sites you know I love food! And even more than eating, I love to learn about local foods while I am traveling. Some of our all-time most rewarding experiences in our travels have been engaging with locals, learning to cook regional food. During our recent visit to San Juan del Sur we thoroughly enjoyed a Nicaragua Cooking Class. Let’s talk about it.
What is Nicaraguan Cuisine
Although it has some similarities to Mexican cuisine, we found the delicious foods of Nicaragua more similar to Guatemala. One of my all time favorite cooking classes was in Antiqua Guatemala. In that class we used a lot of the same ingredients that we see here in Nicaragua; beans, rice, corn, onions, chicken, plantains, yucca and pico de gallo. And Nicaraguan coffee is also much like Guatemalan coffee…one of my favorites.
San Juan del Sur
We spent a month in San Juan del Sur, a Pacific Coast beach town about an hour’s drive from Granada. On arrival I did some research and found a local tour operator called Pacific Adventuras that offered several tours in the San Juan del Sur area, including a Nicaragua cooking class. So of course we signed up right away!
Rancho Tere, Escamequito
We were picked up in San Juan del Sur by Chef July, who owns Rancho Tere Restaurant with her family in the small town of Escamequita about 20 minutes from San Juan del Sur. July speaks very little English, so we also had Cesar with us as an interpreter. He is actually studying at the university in Managua every Sunday to improve his English. We had a wonderful time practicing English and Spanish through the day.
When we signed up for the Nicaruagua cooking class we requested to learn about vigoron, one of Nicaragua’s most loved dishes. It consists of a cabbage salad, boiled yucca, and chicharron, all wrapped in a banana leaf. This dish is often eaten without utensils, and it is frequently served to visiting family and guests, as it is generally easily and quickly prepared. Wikipedia. So Chef July was eager to share this popular dish with us, and she also chose to share with us how to make tostone.
Tostone is a dish we had eaten several times since arriving in Nicaragua and we loved it. The word tostone refers to the twice fried plantains that serve as a vessel for toppings such as cheese, meat and pico de gallo.
Nicaraguan food is made from simple, local, fresh and easily accessible ingredients. Honestly isn’t that the way all good food should be made? Chef July introduced us to yucca. We actually have eaten yucca before, but never worked with it in a recipe. It is a staple food in many Central American countries as it is cheap and easily accessible. It has a consistency very much like potato.
For the vigoron we placed the boiled yucca in a bowl (often served on a banana leaf) then topped it with a cabbage salad very finely grated and mixed with lemon juice. Next topped with delicious homemade pico de gallo made from fresh tomato, green pepper, and a new ingredient to me, called culantro. Culantro is similar to cilantro, but a much bigger leaf. It’s always fun to learn about something new. The last ingredient for vigoron is the chicharron, a popular snack food, which we call in the United States pork rinds.
The entire dish took about 20 minutes to make and it was very filling and delicious. And also pretty.
Another very common ingredient in Central American and Caribbean cuisine is plantain. Did you know there are more than 1000 varieties of bananas? The plantain is a firmer and less sweet variety used mostly for cooking. If you read our blog post about Granada, we ate a delicious hamburger in Granada that used a plantain tostone bun. So yummy.
To make the twice cooked tostone you first cook the plantain chunks in deep oil for about three minutes. Next using a towel so you won’t burn yourself you smash the chunks into disks with your hands, then fry them again in the oil. This is the tostone. We then fried the delicious local queso (that has a high melting point) and placed each piece on top of the tostone disks, topped with pico de gallo. So, so delicious. You can also top a tostone with meat, beans, avocado…lots of yummy things.
This dish was easy and delicious. Don’t try this with regular bananas though, you need the firmer plantains. It is possible to find plantains in the USA, sometimes at supermarkets but also at Latino markets.
Fat and Happy
We really enjoyed our cooking class at Rancho Tere. In fact we are planning to go again and learn some more delicious local foods. Because spending time with locals, learning their foods and customs, is the best part of our Grand Adventure and My Fab Fifties Life. We loved our Nicaragua Cooking Class. Muy Bien.
Maui Best Restaurants – updated with new information for 2022.
I’ve been to Maui more times than I can count and it is one of my favorite places in the world. But like everything else affected by the PanDamit, Maui has lost some restaurants (including one of my faves) while others struggle to keep their doors open. And yet still, this island is home to some amazing dining from take-out to romantic and every cuisine you can want. I have not eaten at EVERY Maui restaurant, but I feel qualified to recommend quite a few. So here they are – Maui Best Restaurants 2022 by My Fab Fifties Life.
In No Particular Order
The Sea House – Napili – Beautiful view ocean side at the iconic Napili Kai Resort. Fresh fish and always delicious. One of my top restaurants on the island. Reservations a must.
A ‘a Roots – Napili – Vegan tiny restaurant in Napili Plaza, farm to table, locally sourced and so delicious.
The Gazebo – Napili – a bit over hyped, but still delicious breakfast with huge servings. Be prepared to wait in line at this tiny spot.
Star Noodle – Lahaina – One of my top favorite restaurant in Maui. Always perfect, outdoor ocean side dining. Creative menu and excellent service. Reservations recommended.
Mala Ocean Tavern – Lahaina – Great seafood, clever cocktails, ocean side dining. Reservations recommended.
The Fish Market – Kaanapali – purchase fresh fish and poke here to take home or order up fresh prepared fish tacos, mahi mahi and so much more. Delicious and worth the wait. Take out.
Monkey Pod Kitchen – Kaanapali and Wailea – by the owners of Merriman’s (see below) a more casual restaurant for salads, burgers, fish and a great Mai Tai.
Pint & Cork – Wailea – not your usual Maui vibe, this gastropub is a great place if you want a burger and a beer. Great service and reasonable prices.
Moose McGillicuddy’s – Kihei. Sports Bar upstairs with great burgers, fish and chips, salads and more. Also downstairs (same kitchen) is Fred’s Mexican open for breakfast too.
Some Casual Options
Paia Fish Market – Paia, Kihei, Lahaina – choose your fish and how you want it prepared. Always fresh but expect a wait.
Sugar Beach Bake Shop – Kihei – come for the malasadas. Hands down the best on the island. Other yummy stuff too.
Cafe O’Lei – Kihei and other locations – a wide variety of family and budget friendly fish, burgers salads and more.
Kihei Cafe – One of Kihei’s most popular breakfast locations, expect a wait but not too long, they get people in and out. Try the banana pancakes, loco moco or eggs bene.
Sale Pepe – Lahaina – A great Italian option right in Lahaina. No view but the food is excellent and the service is great. Try the lasagna.
Coconut’s Fish Cafe – Kihei – Fish tacos, salads and more at a reasonable family friendly price. Choose your fish and your preparation preference. Always fresh.
Down the Hatch – Lahaina – Order at the counter and they will bring your food to your table. Large seating area so usually not a long wait. Nice bar options too.
Papa ‘aina – Lahaina – Top Chef Lee Anne Wong works wonders and Papa’aina often creates special dinner events too. In the historic Pioneer Inn across from the Banyan Tree in Lahaina.
Alchemy – Lahaina – I loved the sandwiches we had at this hidden gem above Lahaina Old Town. In more of an industrial area…you gotta search it out. Believe me it’s worth it.
Something For Everyone
Three’s Bar and Grill – Kihei – Casual and clever menu with both indoor and outdoor seating and a great Happy Hour menu. Try the brussel sprouts. I’m not kidding, they are amazing.
Maui Brewing – Kihei and Kahana- Pizza, fish tacos, burgers and a delicious kale salad…and of course beer.
Monsoon Indian – Kihei – my hairdresser told me about this hidden gem, located in side Menehune Shores in North Kihei. I had never heard of it. It was awesome. Very delicious and authentic Indian food with a fabulous view, perfect for sunset.
Roasted Chiles Mexican – Kihei – Only Mexican restaurant I can recommend on Maui…delicious and authentic, locally owned and family run. If you need a taco fix while in Kihei this is the place.
Honu Seafood and Pizza – Lahaina – another excellent pizza option but also lots of fish choices and fabulous view. The Mushroom Pizza was excellent and so was the Banana Coconut Cream Pie.
Miso Phat – Kihei and Kaanapali – Delicious sushi and a great variety. Easy to order on line, pick up and enjoy at the beach.
Kula Lodge – Kula – recently purchased by long time Maui restaurateur Simon Vojdani and owners of the 5 Palms Restaurant formerly in Kihei. The 5 Palms is now be part of the beautiful property at the Kula Lodge. We enjoyed the Happy Hour…but dinner is also recommended… you can’t beat the view here!
Ohana Seafood Bar and Grill – Kihei – We went for the sushi but the day we went the Sushi Chef must have been off…bummer. But the menu has many other options from burgers to poke, tacos to calamari. The calamari was delicious..
Manioli Pizza – Wailea – This place has a small menu but a lovely view. Several pizza options and just a couple pasta options but all very good. I really liked my chicken piccata. Budget friendly and family friendly too.
Some the BEST on the Island
Morimoto – Wailea – the most beautifully presented sushi I have ever had. And the ambiance is amazing at the stunning Andaz Resort in Wailea. For a special occasion or any day, just go. Great to watch the sunset too. We always come back for this one.
Ka’ana Kitchen – Wailea – We had an outstanding meal with a view at Ka’ana. Whatever you do don’t miss the watermelon salad. Everything else is good too. Also located at the Andaz.
Mama’s Fish House – Paia – Maui’s finest restaurant in food, ambiance and service. Incomparable. Reservations hard to get but give it a try.
Fleetwoods On Front Street – Lahaina – One of Old Lahaina’s best restaurants, if you want the roof top be sure to make a reservation well in advance, especially for sunset. A bit pricey, so if you want to save a little make a reservation for their awesome happy with great half price drinks and half price on selected appetizers and entrees.
Hali’imaile General Store – Upcountry -One of the islands best restaurants located in a historic building in upcountry, the menu is fresh but not pretentious…just delicious and local.
Merriman’s – Kapalua One of the best meals I have had in years, the impeccable Merrimans is where we celebrated our wedding anniversary. Amazing Prix Fixe menu for $120 per person was worth every penny. Fantastic and special place when in Maui.
Sam Sato – Wailuku – few tourists come here, but locals know about this amazing noodle shop in Wailuku. I love the Dry Noodles and the Chow Fun. Great kimchee too.
The Pour House – Kapalua – no view but the ambiance is lovely and the food is divine. If you want a break from fish and Hawaiian food make a reservation at this phenomenal Italian bistro. Be sure to try the handmade fresh burrata.
Pita Paradise Wailea – A hidden gem in Wailea. This name though…it sounds like a fast food place. It is not. A lovely menu of Mediterranean dishes with daily specials. I loved my local Mong Chong grilled fish with fresh vegetables in an aioli sauce. My husband had delectable lamb gnocchi. Definitely come here. Make a reservation during peak season.
Saigon Cafe Wailuku – This hidden gem has been going strong since 1995…highly unusual in this day and age. But that says something about the food. We hadn’t been here in years, but made our way back up this last visit and I am so glad we did. Authentic and delicious SE Asia cuisine.
Take Out and Food Trucks Are Big Biz
There are many food trucks on the island, but I haven’t visited them all. But if you are interested in take out options check the YouTube video we did in 2020 Tasty Tuesday Maui Take Out Food.
Feel free to share in the comments any other Maui restaurants you love. And I’ll take your recommendations and visit those restaurants when I return to Maui in the future. I still have several I need to visit so let me know your favorites!! Mahalo! Mele Kalikimaka!
Well, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been in Paris, either for a long stay or a quick pass through. But Paris is always a good idea, and this time we had less than 48 hours. So, we booked a food tour and a few dinner reservations and I began Eating My Way Through Paris.
Delicious or delicieuse, no matter how you say it , the French Cuisine is all that and more. It can have a reputation of being expensive and a bit fussy, but in our travels we have found the opposite. In fact, everyday French cuisine is relatively simple. Food in Paris is also international and the French embrace many cuisines and flavors.
Coffee and Steak Tartare
My favorite two things in Paris are the coffee, my favorite in all the world, and steak tartare. I can get both excellent coffee and steak tartare back home in the USA, but there is just something about enjoying these special favorites in a cafe in Paris. On our first night in Paris we had steak tartare with a bit of a different twist; it included sun dried tomatoes, at Les Fines Gueules just a block or two from the Louvre.
Since figs were in season we enjoyed a delicious and light desert of fresh and stewed figs in a yogurt like cream. Wow.
Walking Food Tour
Our second day, we decided to forego the museums and Eiffel Tower and instead make our way to Montmarte for a walking food tour with Devour Tours. This tour was kind of expensive, $100 each, but we were interested in learning more about Montmarte and the hidden places locals go for a bite to eat. So this day was all about Eating Our Way Through Paris.
It was a chilly morning but we met our guide and three other couples (2 American and 1 Canadian) and began our tour with coffee and one of the best croissants I’ve ever had. We learned about the laborious process of creating the layers and layers and LAYERS in a perfect croissant and savored every bite. Off to a great start.
The French have delicious chocolate, despite the fact they grow no cacao in their country. They have, however, perfect the art and we enjoyed a tasting at one of the cities finest chocolatier Arnaud Larher. Here we also sampled macarons, another Parisian specialty. This is macarons not macaroons (coconut) and these luscious little bites are amazing. Also expensive.
Locals are embracing shops that are popping up all around the neighborhoods offering locally grown, organic, and sustainable products. Our guide took us to a lovely shop brimming with beautiful produce from the region, as well as coffees, pickled and canned items, fresh pastas and more. We tasted incredible cheese here (the French really know cheese) and I ate way too much. The chevre was out of this world. Also included in our tasting was jamon and grapes. This was my favorite stop on the tour.
Brittany and Normandy (where we had just been days before) are the home of the French crepe and apple cider. Our next stop took us to a small outdoor cafe run by a woman from Brittany. Crepe Octopus is where we had an amazing freshly made apple cider with a warm and delicious caramel and butter crepe. Please and merci.
Of course you can’t visit France and not drink wine, but our wine tasting had a little twist. We visited an organic wine shop and tasted several local wines including a vegan wine. Vegan wine means no animals were used in any part of the process including even a horse pulling a cart. Not sure I found the wines to my taste, but it was still interesting and commendable to see this effort and passion this shop has for their niche product.
We ended our food tour at a lovely little cafe for an amazing quiche dish that was chock full of vegetables and ham and cheese. I really loved this dish. I make quiche often at home, and I will need to try to recreate this. Served with a small salad and a delicious mustardy vinegarette. Delicious.
We really enjoyed this tour and walking around and learning a bit more about the beauty and history of the Montmarte neighborhood.
Yes, even after all that, we still had dinner. After our tour we headed back to our hotel to organize and repack for our flight the next morning. Then we wandered out to meet our Parisian friends Pierre and Zineb. They chose a local Italian bistro for us to enjoy dinner with them. Oh my gosh. Il Bacaro was incredible. Remember what I said earlier about a wide array for international cuisines? You can find Italian, Sicilian, Moroccan, Ethiopian, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Brazilian….everything! And of course McDonalds is also in Paris.
At Il Bacaro we shared an amazing appetizer plate with my favorite, a bacalao mousse, also octopus,and an eggplant ratatouille.
For our main course, Arne and I shared gnocchi in a tomato and red pepper sauce. The little dumplings were made with perfection – light and airy.
I was way too full after Eating My Way Through Paris I couldn’t eat dessert. We said farewell to our friends and headed back to our hotel and prepared for our morning flight.
It was our second visit to the amazing country of Morocco, and I looked forward to sharing this trip with our two adult sons. There is so much to love about Morocco, and I suspect this won’t be my last time there. Marrakesh is my favorite city in Morocco, and we hit the ground running on arrival, with an Authentic Moroccan Food Tour Marrakesh.
Arriving Late in Marrakesh
Our flight out of Dulles/Washington DC left more than five hours late due to bad weather. So of course we landed in Casablanca more than five hours late. We were very grateful to find our hired driver waiting for us, despite the delay. Jet lagged and exhausted we immediately started the two hour drive to Marrakesh.
It was our plan to have two full days in Marrakesh, but our travel delays took away most of the first day. We were extremely grateful that our Authentic Moroccan Food Tour we had booked with One Life Trips through Viator allowed us to move the tour to our second night. Otherwise we would have missed the tour and been out nearly $200 ($48 per person).
So instead of the food tour on our first night, we walked to the amazing and famous Marrakesh market square called Jemaa el Fna and wandered around the vast and various food stalls there. Be prepared to have everyone trying to get you to eat at their stall…it’s part of the fun. We ended up enjoying a colorful meal with kebabs, lots of veg and of course Moroccan tea.
Tip: The food in the market square , though authentic, is more expensive than places outside the market square. It is also all about the tourists. Although it’s very fun and should be experienced, hopefully you can also visit some restaurants outside of the square.
One Life Trips
Through Viator we found One Life Trips and our amazing guide Yahya. Again we were so grateful this company and our guide was willing to move our tour by one day due to our travel issues. On our second day in Marrakesh we walked all over the Medina and by dinner time we were very excited to embark on our Authentic Moroccan Food Tour Marrakesh.
Yahya introduced himself and told us a little bit about Moroccan food and Marrakesh. And then he said he hoped we were hungry, and we told him we definitely were. So off we went. For the next three hours we enjoyed one of the best food tours I have ever been on. And that is saying a lot. Here is what we ate on our Authentic Moroccan Food Tour Marrakesh;
Nuts & Dried Fruits
My previous travels in Africa and the Middle East have turned me into a date lover, and Morocco has some amazing dates. Dried fruits and nuts are a popular snack as well as used in many of the authentic foods of the country. Yahya told us that when he was a child eating a bag of fruits and nuts like the one shown here was something he did often. Delicious, nutritious and local. The market area has many vendors selling dried fruits and nuts prepackaged or by the bag.
Small Pastries and Cookies
Moroccans love their sweets and their is a decidedly French influence in many of the small bite sized sweets. Many small sweets are filled with dried fruits and nuts, and honey is frequently used too. Some of the bite size confections are made from a flaky phyllo-type dough, while others are hand formed dough wrapped around a filling much like a pirogi. Yahya took us to a stall where a man has been making and selling these sweets for fifty years.
Like so many North Africa and Middle East countries, olives are present at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Both as a snack, and also featured heavily in tajines, we enjoyed olives throughout Morocco. Yahya took us to an area in the market with many olive dealers. Their stalls displaying the colorful variety of olives as well as preserved lemons and other Moroccan delights. We sampled spicy, garlic, lemon, dill and many more flavors of olives.
One of the best reasons to go on a tour with a local is because you will have a very authentic experience. This sweet old lady selling homemade Moroccan Macaroons is not someone I would have stopped at on my own. But Yahya knew what an amazing, delicate and delicious cookie she had. It was light and sweet with a hint of cinnamon. Just perfect.
Morocco has several different kinds of pancakes as well as flat breads. Msemmen is one of the most popular. On our Authentic Moroccan Food Tour Marrakesh we visited two different vendors hand making Msemmen right in front of us. The first one was a savory version with some cheese and herbs. Our second stop was a sweet version with butter and honey. The flat pancake is folded over several times and eaten by hand. Amazing. I’m gonna try this one at home.
One of my favorite foods of Morocco, the pastilla is actually from the city of Fes, but it is found many places around the country. We enjoyed it multiple times. It is a round pastry filled traditionally with pigeon but today usually chicken as well as dried fruits and nuts. We had pastilla that were nearly bite size up to 8 inches across. Sometimes it’s a very large pastry, cut pizza-style. I really loved pastilla.
I’m sure this local favorite has a local name, but Yahya called it a Moroccan Hamburger. We knew we were in for a treat at this tiny take away stall when we saw the long line of locals vying for this local fav. The bread was incredible, and the beef was served a bit like a sloppy joe…minced and cooked with a delicious variety of spices and sauce. Wow. I loved it. Snack Bachar is a hidden gem in Marrakesh.
Back in the market square of Jemma el Fna, Yahya took us to one of several vendors selling nothing but snails by the bowl full in a rich broth. I’ve had snails in France of course, and also in Asia, but the Moroccan version was sweet and earthy at the same time. Very good.
Lentils are served in many Moroccan dishes, including in soups or just on their own. I love lentils and make dhal or lentil soup often at home. The tiny bowl of lentils we enjoyed clearly had been slow cooked and made with loving hands. Delicious.
Definitely my favorite thing we had on this incredible food journey was the Marrakesh favorite known as tanjia. This was the first time I had enjoyed this slow cooked beef dish flavored with preserved lemons and olives. The meat literally falling off the bone with a tender yet citrusy flavor. Served with rice and a small salad, I was so full but I couldn’t stop eating. I need to learn to make this one at home.
Despite all the sweets around, yogurt is a favorite after dinner treat. I am a big fan of homemade yogurt. We make yogurt at home nearly every day and the version we had on our Authentic Moroccan Food Tour Marrakesh was outstanding.
Authentic Moroccan Food Tour Marrakesh
Come to Morocco. Come to Marrakesh. And come hungry. The people are friendly and happy to have visitors back in their beautiful, historic and interesting country. The culture is unique and most definitely delicious. I highly recommend One Life Trips and our guide Yahya.
I hope you will embark on your own journey soon. Watch for another Morocco blog next week about our Three Day Tour from Marrakesh to Fez.
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It’s going on two years since I made a big commitment to restructuring my diet for a healthy life. I lost 33 pounds and have kept it off. I go up and down a pound or two but essentially am holding at 149 pounds. It is a good weight for me. Most of this success is from what I don’t eat.
A few weeks ago I made a comment on Facebook when I posted a photo of me eating a hamburger. My comment was something like “I don’t really do hamburgers anymore”. Fairly innocent comment but so many people asked me about it. What do I mean I don’t do hamburgers anymore?
So, let me explain.
I Don’t Do Hamburgers
First, a caveat – I have learned what my body reacts negatively to. I’ve learned this through trial and error. I’ve also learned not to restrict any food 100%. So when I say I don’t do hamburgers anymore…well never say never. I break all these rules from time to time. Because life would really suck if you can’t break a few rules from time to time, and eat the donut (or hamburger) on occasion.
How I Lost The Weight
I signed up for Noom (NOT a diet but a lifestyle and psychology program) in May of 2020. I committed to it 100% for six months. It helped me realign my thinking and healthy choices and I am eternally grateful. Since then, I have continued to consider everything I put in my mouth on a daily basis. And I have continued to step on the scale every morning. Weighing daily has been a huge factor in my ability to see what foods make the scale go up or down, what activity makes the scale go up and down, and it keeps me focused. Yes I travel with a bathroom scale in my suitcase. No I’m not kidding.
The blog I wrote about Noom (See it here – My Self Care Journey with Noom) is one of the most read blogs I’ve ever posted. But here is the deal; Noom won’t work for you if you don’t commit. No excuses. Noom is only a tool…YOU must do the work. Failure is not Noom’s fault. I’ve had many people say to me “oh Noom didn’t work for me”. Hogwash.
This disease called Diverticulosis is something I have dealt with for a decade. Last April I had surgery to remove part of my colon (Read about it here – What is Diverticulosis). Even a year later I am still dealing with some diverticulosis issues. The reality is I probably always will.
Unhealthy eating leads to all kinds of ailments, and so it’s never too soon to start thinking about your diet. Poor eating habits contribute to a vast majority of health issues in the United States from obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. Why not take control of your health and your one and only body? It’s not too late.
All The Fish All The Time
I used to only eat fish in restaurants because I felt like I didn’t know how to properly prepare fish at home. But those days are over. We eat fish 4-6 times a week. I have fish delivered to my home and always have wild caught fish in my freezer. Having it accessible means I will eat it. And I have taught myself so many ways to enjoy cooking it at home. Check out these two posts about fish – Fun and Delicious Ways to Cook Fish and Wild Caught Alaska White Fish Recipes.
Never Say Never
As I learned about food psychology from Noom, shed the pounds, took up running again AND began to discover what foods set off my diverticulitis, I slowly developed my own healthy eating style. A style that fits my life, goals, tastes, and level of activity. But I never say never. I eat just about anything, I just eat the foods on my personal “bad” list only occasionally.
We didn’t set out to do intermittent fasting as part of our healthy eating. It actually never occurred to us. But, as we find our way in a new and healthy lifestyle, intermittent fasting became part of our life. Here’s why; we really only eat two meals a day. Again…never say never. But most days, we only eat breakfast and dinner (see below for what we eat daily). I do my morning run before breakfast, and have breakfast in the 9:00-10:00am range after my workout. Then we have an early dinner most days (never say never) in the 4:00pm range. We don’t eat again until the next day, anywhere from 14-17 hours. We rarely snack in the evening.
Why Two Meals a Day?
Back in the day I never ate breakfast. I raced around the house getting kids to school and me to work and never thought about breakfast…for decades. That bad habit resulted in my being famished by 10:30am and devouring something huge and unhealthy, often from a fast food place. Back home in the evening I could practically eat an entire meal by nibbling while making dinner…then sit down and eat dinner too. In the evening in front of the TV we often snacked on microwave popcorn, Cheez-Its or Ice Cream.
That doesn’t happen anymore. We eat two good healthy meals a day, with occasional healthy snacks or lunch in the middle. A typical day looks like this;
Coffee then Run
Breakfast is a large bowl with yogurt, berries, Kiwi, mango or pineapple, spinach, grains (barley or quinoa usually), chia seeds and walnuts or almonds. Breakfast includes a hard boiled egg and frequently half an avocado. My breakfast usually includes kombucha.
Dinner might be fish tacos, stir fry or baked cod, halibut or salmon, sometimes chicken or pork. Dinner almost always includes a salad and another green vegetable. We eat risotto a lot because it’s versatile but we don’t eat much pasta. We eat meatless one or two days week and that might be omelet or homemade bean soup, or quinoa patties (my fav) or even lentil dhal or stuffed Portobello.
It’s always filling and delicious and we don’t really need to snack. I drink a ton of water which also keeps me satiated. Sometimes I have herbal tea in the evening.
What I Don’t Eat (Well Most of the Time)
Never say never. There are five things listed here that I generally don’t eat. Removing these things from my daily intake was a quantum leap for me. I never set out to permanently eliminate these, but once I did and I saw the results everything fell into place.
Beef is something my diverticulosis finds offensive. I eat it very rarely. On St Patrick’s Day I had a delicious Irish Stew made with beef. I enjoyed it very much but suffered slightly the next day. Once I recognized the connection I really didn’t desire beef. I still eat pork, lamb and chicken and a ton of fish.
I’ve always enjoyed a good Charcuterie, or a deli sandwich, but I’ve stepped away from these things, including bacon, as part of a healthy diet low in saturated fats. It’s just not worth it…occasionally I’ll have some bacon, which I did recently in a Cobb Salad. It was delicious but it will remain on the occasional list.
CHEESE AND MOST DAIRY
When I was cooking for a family of four we ate so much cheese. OMG we had cheese everyday. Macaroni and Cheese, Spaghetti and cheese, cheesy quiche, grilled cheese, Quesadilla and cheesy tacos. Not anymore. Cheese is like a cork for my digestion so I consume it in very small quantities on rare occasions. I’ll have a little on a taco, some parmesan in risotto and occasionally a few bites off a cheese board. That’s what I miss the most. But it’s not worth it. I still eat butter and I eat yogurt everyday, but the rest of the dairy is limited.
I’ve never been a big dessert eater, even though I love to bake for my family and for special occasions. The only dessert I really miss though is ice cream. But after being on heartburn medicine for a decade (omeprazole) I was flabbergasted how cutting sugar from my diet (never say never) eliminated my need for the meds! After ten years! And no doctor ever mentioned this to me….what the heck?? If you are taking heartburn meds, cut out the processed foods high in sugar as well as homemade sugary things and see if your heart burn goes away. Let’s get un-medicated.
This one will surprise some people because you see me post pictures of drinks on tropical beaches…but the truth is I barely drink alcohol anymore. Not only do beer, wine and cocktails carry a powerful caloric punch…I just feel better when I don’t consume alcohol. There was a time in our life where we opened a bottle of wine every evening and drank it with dinner. There was a time where we, especially in hot climates, drank 2-3 gin and tonics in the afternoon. Those days are over. I have a drink at the most once a week now.
So that’s What I don’t Eat (Well Most of the Time).
These Are My Choices
These are my choices, choices I’ve made to feel the best I can in my Grey Goddess body. My choices aren’t anyone else choices. Each person needs to forge their own path. But since you all asked what the heck I meant when I said “I don’t really do hamburgers”, well now you know.
The world can be hard. Eat the hamburger if you want. But then, get back in the saddle and focus on a healthy body and mind because, life is fabulous and you want to be part of it for many years to come. Go. Be. Fabulous!
If I can help, I’m all ears. xoxox
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Disclaimer – we did our best to include every brewery we could find in the region we have defined below and using the criteria defined below. We do apologize if we missed any.
My husband and I are big fans of really good locally brewed beer from small breweries. Not only do we enjoy good, fresh, local beer, but we also enjoy supporting small local businesses. If you read our blog regularly you are likely familiar with how we support local business here on My Fab Fifties Life. So at the beginning of summer 2021 we decided to visit every local brewery in our region. It became a bigger undertaking than we originally imagined! But hey! Somebody has to do it! And so we give you Breweries of Kitsap (Plus One).
FIRST A LITTLE HISTORY
In 1985 my husband and I visited the Thomas Kemper Brewery. I was 25 years old…barely legal drinking age! Research says the brewery was on Bainbridge Island but my memory has it more in the Poulsbo area…in a farm like setting. Whichever it was, it is likely that was the first small hand crafted brewery I had ever visited. That was 36 years ago. Thomas Kemper operated in Kitsap until 1992 when it was bought by Hart (later called Pyramid). A few years later we would also visit the Pyramid Brewery in Kalama, Washington…long before Pyramid became the powerhouse of Northwest micro brews.
Thomas Kemper wasn’t the first brewery on the Kitsap Peninsula however. In 1933 just after the repeal of prohibition the Kitsap Brewing Company was opened. Later called the Silver Spring Brewing Company of Port Orchard, the brewery operated on East Bayside Road in Port Orchard until 1950 when they moved to Tacoma.
Hundreds of microbreweries would grow out of these humble pioneer beginnings through out the Pacific Northwest. Including breweries like Silver City in Silverdale/Bremerton, and Hood Canal Brewery in Kingston, both early local trailblazers still operating successfully since 1996.
Using the following criteria, we turned up twenty-four – yep – TWENTY-FOUR breweries. Then we set out to visit them all.
Must brew their own beer, although we can taste the beer either at the brewery or at their tasting room or a restaurant location.
Must brew or have a taproom within the geographical region we call Kitsap Plus One which we defined as the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to the Hood Canal Bridge (the Kitsap Peninsula), as well as Fox Island, Bainbridge Island and including Belfair (the plus one).
So that’s our criteria…pretty simple really. Based on this we set out to visit all twenty-four breweries. Below we share what we learned. We aren’t ranking our favorites here, but we will make observations that might help you when considering your own Breweries of Kitsap (Plus One) brewery tour. Let’s work our way from the South end of the Kitsap Peninsula northward.
Founded in 2015, Gig Harbor Brewing started in Tacoma and continues to brew there with a taproom. In 2017 they opened their Gig Harbor taproom in the heart of waterfront Gig Harbor. Excellent selection of seasonal and tried and true beers.
Gig Harbor’s first brewery opened in the early 2000’s, and despite bouncing around to multiple locations, 7 Seas has consistently brewed an excellent product as it has expanded. 7 Seas was the first Washington brewery to can its beer…now everybody’s doing it! 7 Seas now brews in Tacoma in the old Heidelberg brewery, where they also have a taproom, and have recently moved their Gig Harbor taproom to a beautiful waterfront location.
7 Seas Gig Harbor taproom 2905 Harborview Drive Gig Harbor WA 98335
Wet Coast brews and has its taproom in Gig Harbor, currently the only brewer doing so. Opened in 2015, Wet Coast expanded its brewing operation and taproom recently. You can find Wet Coast right off of Highway 16 at the Wollochet City Center exit.
Wet Coast Gig Harbor taproom 6820 Kimball Drive Suite C, Gig Harbor WA 98335
Crossed Arrow has been brewing for awhile, but their taproom is not yet open…really it should be any day! Their new taproom will be located in the building of the former Key Bank in Purdy right off of Hwy 16. Watch their website for opening info. In the meantime their beer is available at several locations including The Hub at the Tacoma Narrows Airport.
Crossed Arrow taproom opening soon at 14004 Purdy Drive, Gig Harbor WA 98335
Fox Island Brewing almost didn’t make this blog post because it did not show up in any of our research. We learned about FIB while attending the annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival just last weekend. Currently brewing on Fox Island but without a taproom, Fox Island Brewing beers are available at regional restaurants. They told me they hope to move their brewing operation into Gig Harbor or the Crescent Valley area soon.
Opened in 2019 this small brewery packs a big punch with excellent beer in a beautiful farm setting. The folks at Yoked offer fun events weekly, including hot dogs and barbecues, beer and bouquets, fun events for kids and more. The location is a working farm with goats and flowers and vegetables. Oh and the beer is great too.
Yoked Farmhouse tasting room 525 SW Pine Road, Port Orchard WA 98366
This tiny craft brewery is hard to find and only is open on weekends. But make the drive to their production facility and owner Steve will give you a taste of what they are currently brewing. They are still waiting for their permits to open a taproom, so you can visit and learn about brewing while enjoying a tiny taste. Meanwhile Steve continues jumping through the hoops to get a taproom, and to get his delicious beer distributed in the region. (PS they were voted best beer at last weekend’s Gig Harbor Beer Festival)
East2West Production Facility 12913 Shady Glen Ave SE Olalla WA 98359
BENT BINE BREW CO
Opened in 2017 just south of Belfair on Hwy 3, Bent Bine (‘bine’ is another word for a climbing vine like hops), is a popular location for gathering and drinking some really good beer in Belfair. Tasting room has both indoor and outdoor seating, families welcome.
Bent Bine tasting room 23297 WA 3, Belfair WA 98528
For my money, Deep Draft Brewing has one of the best stories as far as how this brewery came to be in 2015. The story is of determination, love and loss, and if you click on the link you can read it for yourself. Really amazing. Meanwhile, Deep Draft also has exceptional beer served both in their taproom and at the restored old WigWam Tavern, an excellent place to drink beer, eat BBQ and look at the eclectic collection of Naval memorabilia.
Deep Draft taproom 3536 W. Belfair Valley Road, Bremerton WA 98312
SLAUGHTER COUNTY BREWERY
Slaughter County Brewery, located on Sinclair Inlet in old Port Orchard has one of the funkiest yet most comfortable tasting rooms that we experienced…and a whole lotta good beer too. The name Slaughter County comes from the original name of Kitsap County…a throwback to the old days. Slaughter County is proud to be the first brewery in South Kitsap in 70 years. Excellent selection of microbrews to try.
Slaughter County taproom 1307 Bay Street, Port Orchard WA 98366
Well, I really don’t have any favorites, but I will say the Dog Days tasting room, which is doggy friendly, is really a fun place. You’ll find a friendly bunch here, dog lovers, comedy too and trivia nights. The beer is excellent. The first time we visited they were serving food and the menu looked amazing but we had other dinner plans. So next time we went intending to eat, but there was no food. So, not sure what is up with the food sitch…but the beer is very good.
Dog Days tasting room 260 4th Street Bremerton WA 98310
After years of home-brewing in three different home locations, brewer Dan and family made the leap to making the beer brewing dream a reality in 2017. Today Crane’s Castle has a beautiful tasting room in East Bremerton they call the Beer Hall…definitely big enough for parties and more. The beer is also very good with a wide selections of changing taps to tempt you. Outdoor seating too and food truck sometimes.
Crane’s Castle Beer Hall 1550 NE Riddell Road Bremerton WA 98311
Truly one of the pioneer microbreweries in Washington State, Silver City has been brewing exceptional beer in Kitsap County since 1996. Its flagship location restaurant (formerly the brewing location as well) is one of Silverdale’s most popular dining spots. Today the production facility is located in Bremerton where they also have a taproom. So two Kitsap choices for you to enjoy one of the mother’s of Washington brewing, Kitsap’s own Silver City.
Silver City Flagship and Restaurant 2799 NW Myhre Road Silverdale WA
Silver City Production Facility and taproom 206 Katy Penman Ave Bremerton WA 98312
Formerly known as Der Blokken and located in Bremerton’s Manette neighborhood, Chaos Bay is undergoing a transformation. Because their new tasting room is under construction, we were not able to visit. Keep your eye on their website (link above) for their new opening announcement.
Chaos Bay Brewing tasting room opening soon at 2901 Perry Avenue Suite 13 Bremerton WA
We have to say we were a little confused by our visit to Lovecraft. They were only offering their brewed hard teas as well as a few craft beers by other brewers. It’s unclear if they will be offering their own brewed beers again in the future. So that said…we didn’t taste their beers.
Lovecraft Brewery taproom 275 5th Street Bremerton WA
BREAKING WAVES BREWING
A great location in Old Town Silverdale, Breaking Waves is located in the former location of Cash Brewing. Today the operation is as much a restaurant as a brewery, pumping out exceptionally good burgers, salads and pasta, and on Tuesdays delicious tacos. But the beer is just as good…a wide range of brewed-on-site beers as well as a selection of guest brews and ciders. We will definitely be back for both the beer and the tacos.
Breaking Waves Brewing restaurant and taproom 3388 Northwest Byron Street Silverdale WA
Poulsbo is the leader in Kitsap communities for the number of microbreweries, and Slippery Pig was one of the first. They begin brewing in 2010 and opened their current old Poulsbo location in 2014. Slippery Pig promotes local ingredients and family operation (Brewer Dave a 5th generation Poulsbo native) and the result is a consistent and delicious product, with a wide variety of flavors and styles.
Slippery Pig tasting room 18801 Front Street NE, Poulsbo, WA
Opened in 2018, Western Red has an ambitious mission statement “To brew and serve the best craft beers ever made in the Pacific Northwest”. I love entrepreneurs who think big! My visit to Western Red was eye opening. The beer was fabulous and their tasting room just a block from Poulsbo’s main street is perfect, with a fun assortment of old logging implements.
Western Red tasting room 19168 Jensen Way NE Poulsbo WA
Rainy Daze likes to think of themselves as a cult following, and it’s easy to see why. Their beer has a magical mixology quality, delicious no matter which style you grab. Maybe it’s because their brewery and tasting room are in a more humble facility…so they focus more on the beer and less on the hype. I don’t know…but I do know they make a darn good beer.
Also started in 2010, Valholl touts it’s Poulsbo/Little Norway roots with a strong Viking presence in their logo and tasting room. Valholl’s award winning brews are available in the tasting room and to go as well as on tap at many local locations. Valholl is family friendly, with both indoor and outdoor seating just a block from Poulsbo’s main street. Skal!
Valholl Brewing tasting room 18970 3rd Ave NE, Poulsbo WA
Coincidentally, the day we visited Downpour it was…you guessed it…pouring down. Their small but cozy tasting room included little propane heaters at the table…a great idea in the notoriously wet PNW. We enjoyed their beer a great deal, located on the main drag in Kingston not far from the ferry terminal.
Downpour Brewing tasting room 10991 NE State Hwy 104 Kingston WA
Kitsap County’s first microbrewery, Hood Canal Brewing has been operating since 1996 when brewer Don Wyatt (formerly of Thomas Kemper) opened the brewery. The tasting room was opened in 2003 and today still operates in a warehouse-style facility with an added rough addition to accommodate the growing clientele (and need for outdoor seating during Covid.). A true pioneer in the craftbrew craze.
Hood Canal Brewing taproom 26499 Bond Rd NE, Kingston, WA
In 2012 father and son duo Chuck and Russel Everett and partner Rob Frease opened Bainbridge Brewing. From the beginning Bainbridge was about perfecting the classics while embracing new styles and flavors. They must be doing something right because they now have two locations on the island; their Alehouse in downtown Winslow and the brewery and taproom located in Coppertop Park. Brewmaster Russel is a born and raised Bainbridge Island native, proud to be brewing and serving his community.
Bainbridge Brewing production facility and taproom 9415 Coppertop Loop Bainbridge Island WA
Bainbridge Brewing Alehouse 500 Winslow Way East Bainbridge Island WA
Breweries of Kitsap (Plus One)
As we conclude we might mention that there are some great places to drink beer throughout this region that don’t brew their own beer. Zog’s on Fox Island and HopPharm in Gig Harbor both come to mind. But our criteria was to explore places brewing their own label so that is what we did.
It took us a couple months to get through all of these….and I think we would return to pretty much all of them if we were in the neighborhood. We look forward to seeing more from some of those who are just getting started, and salute the commitment and efforts that are involved in creating a fine crafted beer. We are lucky to live in a place with such a wide selection of quality, hand-crafted brews by some of the finest brew masters in the nation. Breweries of Kitsap (Plus One). Time to have a pint. Salute.
Help spread the word about these local businesses by sharing this blog post all over the world!
Let us know in the comments if you know of a brewery in our criteria area that we missed.
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