Tag Archives: foodie

OMG THAI FOOD OBSESSION

I have a major addiction to Thai food, well many styles of Asian cuisine to be honest. No, it’s not just cause I saw Anthony Bordain eat some really great stall food during one of his episodes of Parts Unknown. It definitely has something to do with working on cruise ships all over the world though. People who have a chance to eat in the crew mess on board a ship never look at or taste food in quite the same way. Not to mention the days when you get shore leave and are able to eat something truly local and unique.

Travel Thailand
Travel Thailand with advice from Lonely Planet

 

I’m missing the days we sat on the beach in Pattaya, Thailand with Jon & Kat while it downpoured on the umbrellas over our heads. There was steam coming off our giant glasses of icy cold Chang beer.

Chang Beer of Thailand

We just kept ordering more food from the locals passing by. There were sweet rice balls with fresh mango slices. Lemongrass steamed prawns that some random guy was just carrying in a basket down the walkway between the vendors, guests, chairs and the beach. How he delicately balanced the baskets on the pole across his shoulders, smiling with that typical mischevous look in his eye. (If I were my Mother, I would have worried about food poisoning.)

Lemongrass Thailand Travel Buy a Taste
Wonder what that unique fresh flavor is in Thai cooking? It’s Lemongrass & you can order it from Amazon here.

 

Oh my, what fabulous memories of the swealtering heat and the cooling effect spicy food has on your insides. For me, contrary to popular belief, that’s how hot food works. On a 99% humidity and a 99 degree day, all you need is a spicy Tom Yum or a nice Red Coconut Curry and rice. Awe, yeah.

Key Thai Cooking Ingredients Shipped Directly Fresh from Amazon
Wonder how you can make these tastey Thai recipes at home? Key Thai Cooking Ingredients Shipped Directly Fresh from Amazon.

None of my homoginized descriptions of Thai food are in the Pok Pok book. He’s put way more originality, research and ingenuity into Ricker’s offering to the home cook.

Koh Samui Thailand
You can see the humidity hanging in the air
Koh Samui Thailand

After hanging around on ships with various friends from Thailand, I felt lucky to spend a few days amid their beautiful vistas, lounging on beaches and taking in the funky, fun, and in some ways outragous activities that make up their daily lives. While I was surfing on the web the other day for Thai inspired cookbooks, one really caught my eye, Pok Pok by Andy Ricker @pawkhrua on twitter. Not only does he own several restaurants in both NYC and Portland that are supposed to be stellar, he also wrote a book about Thai food. (I’m putting the Portland Pok Pok locations on my list for a soon to be planned USA West Coast Adventure.)

Pok Pok on Amazon by Andy Ricker
Get a copy o Pok Pok by Andy Ricker on Amazon

Now that I have this beautiful hard cover book in hand, I can’t wait to try some of these recipes out. If Pok Pok & Ricker are out of reach for me, I have a fall back plan from the folks at Lucky Peach.

101 easy Asian recipes
Lucky Peach and their sense of humor are also offering this homage to all Eastern influenced foodies out there, 101 Easy Asian recipes.

Detroit – A Tourist Destination

Can you believe it?

New York Times ranks Detroit as a tourist destination!

Detroit, Michigan
A comeback city set to make good on its promise.

It’s amazing to think that one of my favorite t-shirts & slogans for our fair city throughout most of my life reads, “I’m so BAD I vacation in Detroit”.

When I was growing up, Detroit was notorious for fires, crime, murder, shootings, drugs and violence. Detroit was the murder capitol of the nation. Not exactly something to write home to Mom about. I know that our fair city still has a high murder rate per capita but our local authorities and people are working hard to change this. If you’re coming to town, just be smart, play it safe and keep your whits about.

The Dirty Show Detroit MI
The Dirty Show Detroit Michigan. Where erotica meets art, burlesque and in between.

 

In the 1980’s we used to drive in to the city for a Tigers ballgame in the now gentrified hipster center aka Corktown. We’d park in a secure lot with a guard, watch the game and hightail it out of Dodge afterward. When I permanently moved to the “Metro-Detroit” area in the 1990’s, my family would not even discuss renting an apartment in the city. It didn’t matter that I wanted to be near Wayne State University. I ended up in a small flat in the blue collar neighborhood of Hazel Park. (Which happens to be the home of the Detroit Free Press 2017 Restaurant of the Year, Mable Grey.)  After H.P., I moved around from suburb to suburb, (Troy, Warren, Grosse Pointe Park, Berkley)  before finally landing my permanent residence in Royal Oak.

I know, local “Detroiters” are calling me out right now for not actually living in the city proper. This used to be a big thing around here, suburbanites vs the city. As far as borders go, I don’t really care any longer, as long as we have a prospering economy in our area, that’s the really important thing.

Detroit Michigan Melissa Behring
Detroit’s River Walk, the Rennaisance Center and city skyline.

If you’ve seen Eminem’s 8 Mile film, you know that is the border road of the city vs the suburbs. Downtown Royal Oak is between 10 & 11 mile roads off Woodward. Our location puts me about 25 minutes from downtown Detroit. Perfect for anything I want to do in all of Metro Detroit. Situated at the junctures Woodward Avenue, I-696 and I-75 freeways, Woodward Ave is a popular corridor. It’s one of our cities main traffic spokes running out from the city center on the Detroit River out to Pontiac & beyond. Where I live, I can get anywhere in the Metro-Detroit area in under an hour, give or take the traffic. (Where else in the world can you live in a somewhat urban environment and do that?)

As we’ve traveled around the world peforming for Princess Cruises, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many people who have an opinion on Detroit based on the media coverage, or one brief experience they had a million years ago, or the state of the American auto industry. I started traveling and performing full time for a living in 2011. Just after the auto industry came to a head with the governmental bail out, the actual city of Detoit then went bankrupt in 2013. I listened to so many folks disrespect our city, talk bad about our hard working people. It really bummed me out to hear that people could make a decision without any first hand experience or actual witness facts.

Many people are aware of my obsession with UNESCO & their various heritage sites across the world. I love their compilation book that most recently had an 4th edition update published in 2014. You can check out UNESCO and their other publications online.

” In 2015, Detroit was named a Unesco City of Design. But 2017 may be the year promise becomes reality. The new QLine streetcar is expected to open in April, connecting the central Woodward Avenue corridor some 3.3 miles between downtown and the revived New Center area. It passes through Midtown, home to the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the entertainment-focused District Detroit, where a stadium opening this fall will be shared by the Detroit Red Wings and, in a return from the suburbs, the Detroit Pistons. — ELAINE GLUSAC”

Fisher Building Detroit New Center Area
Beautiful interior of the Fisher Building, site of the Fisher Theater, in the New Center area of Detroit.

I’m excited for the new streetcars. However, I’m equally frustrated by this because we have one short circuit tract downtown already… This one still does not really link the city and it still doesn’t get the suburbanites an easy non-automotive route to the inner parts of our city. Funny that so many of the places we’ve traveled across the globe the public transportation is so easily accessed and obvious to foreigners. Here, Metro Detroiters voted NO in 2016 to an increase in our taxes to help link all of our existing travel systems so that there would be easier public mass transportation. I’m still beside myself.

Yet, here we are, Detroit a top tourist travel destination for 2017.

Coming to Detroit? Want an insiders perspective? Want someone in the know who can show you around? I’m happy to help, just email or facebook me!