Color Porn: The Farmers Markets

Farmers markets is a source of so many beautiful things all in one place. The color, the samples, the random conversations, the freshness of the products and all the fresh meals that will soon be in your pie hole.  Farmers markets are wonderful places to grab a few things and picnic right then and there.  I’ve found myself purchasing some fresh bread, tomatoes and cheeses and have a simple lunch eating my newly purchased wares.  (Lets be honest here…I couldn’t wait to get home so I had to wolf down all my purchases on the quick.)

Supermarkets are convenient and wonderful in their own right but farmers markets are a great place to purchase fresh ingredients and do something great for the farmers and merchants that are available right there in your community.  Plus….all the vivid colors from nature right there for your viewing pleasure!  Oh and also the samples.  Delicious fresh fresh samples.

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R: 187 G: 255 B: 125 X:42164 Y: 0 S: 0 Z: 21 F: 252

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Ideally I wish I could just grab my fruits and veggies straight from the source, like these cherries from my grandfather’s tree in Hungary.  But living in the bustling city this is simply not as easy.

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SUSHI, ANIME, CHERRY BLOSSOMS OH MY!

If I could have dinner anywhere in the world where would it be?

Without a question in my mind.  Japan.

Japan seems like a world of mind blowing stimuli.  All things adorable, kawaii, themed restaurants, Nintendo, bento boxes, shiba inu dogs, tea culture, hot springs, anime, robots, gardens, Samurais, and endless street food?  All the things I love in one place?  My brain can’t handle it.  I’m overwhelmed just fantasizing about it.

Tokyo tops Paris with the most Michelin star rated restaurants.  Not that this matter to me, it is a good indicator of what’s happening though.  Japanese food culture has a distinctive style, attention to detail and the freshest ingredients anywhere.  Small dining spots where you sit at the counter right in front of the chef makes dining a very intimate affair.  American dining has us trained to order meals through servers while the chefs are cooped up in the kitchen and rarely get a chance to interact with the people that is enjoying their food.

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The food in Japan is still a great mystery to me.  Yes, I’ve eaten at hundreds of sushi restaurants here in America, I regularly eat at “hole in the wall” ramen joints in Little Tokyo and can fry up a mean ‘tonkatsu’ on the solo.  But eating at the birthplace of it all seems like almost too good to be true.

Heres a quick guide on how to make your own Tonkatsu at home.
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Food:

Street food in Japan seems like a wonderful thing.  Anytime you see an open flame and some meat on skewers you cant help but get excited.

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Street food never looked more chaotic and colorful.  Just point to the ones that look tasty to you.
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My love of soft serve ice cream is undying.  I will go on a wild manhunt to find the place that sells all these soft serve ice cream flavors.  When I find it I will immediately get fifteen cavities and gain a ton of weight.  Its going to be glorious.  There’s really nothing better than soft serve ice cream.  Nothing.
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Wacky Vending Machines:

So, are you thirsty from all that ice cream?  How about an ice cold beer to quench your thirst?  BEER from a vending machine?  What?  So you mean they actually trust people? I’ll take four for the road please.
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Maybe after several vending machine beers the novelty of “hot” vending machine food would appeal to my drunken tastes.
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I couldn’t talk about Japanese vending machines without adding this picture of a giant Hello Kitty vending machine.
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Nature:

Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu, Japan fairy tale flower tunnel. The gardens are home to about 150 Wisteria flowering plants spanning 20 different species.  This place is truly a visual feast for the eyes.
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The cherry blossoms must be quite the site as well.  This is in Sakura.
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The intricacies and attention to detail in the beautiful tradition.
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Sometimes when I’m sitting in my cubicle at my mundane office job I wander off in my head and daydream about travel. I think about wandering the streets of an unknown place and trying food I know nothing about.  Travel is an exciting mystery you try and solve as you go.  Language barrier is an added challenge but we are lucky in this day and age to have translator technology on our phones.
I like to think I have a plan while traveling but usually its a simple rough draft.  Sometimes getting swept up in the momentum of what’s naturally happening is the true way to go.  Sometimes I like to do a little research on the internet before I leave and map things out a bit but sometimes I’ll find myself on sites that don’t use website translation software and are written in other languages and I quickly go to my iphone or web translators.

It’s nice to hope some people speak English (or Hungarian which is highly unlikely unless I’m in Hungary).  Best thing to do look at sign with pictures on them. Easy to understand food imagery helps.  Besides look at how cute this is!
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Just this amount of cuteness brings a tear to me eye, just like that little onion bear on the bottom row.
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Tokyo has unique architecture.  These apartments look like little doll houses!  So beautiful!
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Sleeper pods.  Efficient and semi creepy.
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Unique stores and restaurants.
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How about the creative genius that is Hayao Miyazaki.  There’s a museum in Mitaka dedicated to Studio Ghibli.
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So back to my original question….If I could eat dinner (or breakfast) anywhere in the world where would it be?

Sushi Dai 

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I stand by my dream to have a fine sushi-for-breakfast experience at Sushi Dai, located just steps from the Tsukiji fish market.  Some would ask me why wouldn’t I choose a Michelin rated sushi establishment?  Or why not at a fancy and sleek dinner in the stylish part of Tokyo so I can bust out my top hat and bow tie?  Me?  No.  I stand by my love of “hole in the walls” and street food.  Some of the finest food in the world are the places that are the most unassuming and modest.  Go where the fisherman go.  I respect a modest place with beautifully tasting food.  After all, Its whats inside that counts.  Fish that is cut with a Samurai-like precision and rice that is kissed by the gods themselves.  Omakase menu, which features 10 pieces hand picked by the talented chefs based on seasonality of the fish.  I like the idea of the chefs choosing what they think is the best for you.  The chefs are the composers of this beautiful symphony that is your meal, in this case my breakfast.  Also the best thing about breakfast is that you have two more meals waiting for you over the rainbow.  Fresh fish out of the ocean sure beats your regular breakfast of Cheerios eh?
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Hell yeah it is.  Just look at this sexy monster.

Helpful websites:
http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/%E5%AF%BF%E5%8F%B8%E5%A4%A7-%E4%B8%AD%E5%A4%AE%E5%8C%BA
https://hungryhungarianblog.com/2014/08/14/lets-bento/

Because I have not traveled to Japan (yet) I found all my photos on the web and I sited where I found them below.
photo credits to:
http://udivitelno.com/plants/item/155-tonnel-glicinij-v-japonskom-sadu-kavati-fudzi
http://inlovewithjapan.tumblr.com/
http://www.kawaiistudyjapan.com/
https://www.pinterest.com/

LET’S ROAST SOME BACON AROUND THE FIRE!

As a young child I would visit my family in Hungary.  There were certain traditions that we brought back home to America and still practice today.  Some of these traditions make more sense on a farm in rural Hungary but sometimes you gotta make due with whichever setting you’ve got. Plus some food traditions were just too delicious to leave back in the motherland. This pastime is best enjoyed in the countryside, camping or in your garden.
Szalona Sutes‘ or ‘Bacon Roasting‘ is a tradition that is best enjoyed with family and friends.
This is a Hungarian style BBQ!  So instead of one person standing in front of a hot flame cooking, you’ve got several people sweating it out.  This is really fun and builds a since of community.
Before the meal begins everyone enjoys  a shot of Palinka (Hungarian brandy) to celebrate the gathering.  Beers can also be consumed throughout the cookout. Highly recommended!  After all, its a barbecue.

Here’s what you need:
A fire and heavy sharpened sticks (or a long metal skewer will do for all you fancies out there).
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Fresh cut veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions and radishes.
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Pork products such as pork belly or thick cut bacon (preferably with lots of fat), Hungarian smoked sausage and some nice smoked pork tenderloin.
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Bread…preferably thick rustic french bread, shepherders bread or if you’re lucky then this delightful Hungarian style bread.
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Put all your meats on the stick and it is rotated on the fire.  You gotta keep spinning or your fat will burn.  You want to make the bacon crispy not charred.
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The key is to get the bacon drippings on your fresh bread and even let them drip on the veggies.   You’ll notice the bacon and sausage drippings will activate the flames as it drips into the embers.
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You cant rush the bacon.   Give it some time.  While you wait and continually spin you can snack on your greased bread.
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After you see you’ve crisped your bacon you can start chopping the cooked bits off.
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This is a great old-fashioned tradition that’s great fun with good people. There’s really nothing better than laughing at the one person that constantly keeps getting smoke in their eyes. Because we all know ‘smoke follows beauty’.
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All photos are taken by me or my cousin Anita from Hungary.
The old timey photo courtesy of
http://lacacseke.hu/