This weekend I met up with my friend Tatiana at her favorite New York festival. Tati has been going to San Ganarro in Little Italy since she was a little girl. San Ganarro is an eleven day festival for all the senses. It felt as if all of New York descended upon the ever shrinking New York neighborhood to partake in religious processions, musical performances and the plethora of food. One could cut the Italian pride with a knife as cigar and sweet sausage wafted smoke up my nose. I liked the large photographic displays of New York streets from the early 1900’s juxtaposed with what they look like today. Festival patrons toted sausage, peppers and onions sandwiches as the munched on biscotti’s. Here are a few shots I took as I carefully balanced my cannoli.
The North Nordic Food Festival returned to New York City with an exclusive, private dinner by Finnish chef Sasu Laukkonen. Laukkonen’s specialty is new Nordic cuisine, his innovativeness garnered him his first Michelin star earlier this year at his Helsinki restaurant Chef & Sommelier.
“I was very surprised!” Laukkonen remarked. “It’s an incredible honor.”
Laukkonen is passionate about wild and organic food. He prides himself in being a ‘no waste chef’ who uses less than desirable cuts of meat like tongue, belly and leaves, barks and stems of plants.
The milieu of North is sustainability, freshness and originality. Nordic cuisine’s tenets are simple ingredients, clean flavor profiles and lots of seafood. The dinner was staged in a pop up restaurant on Bowery Street in downtown Manhattan. Finnish ingredients were served in their simplicity with Laukkonen’s inventive culinary twists.
Helena Niskanen, marketing representative for Visit Finland admitted that she was worried about all those ingredients making it through U.S Customs. “Sasu wanted us to eat the best Finnish food tonight so he brought over some key ingredients. I was relieved when he emerged from customs with no problem.”
The highlight of the night was the sea buckthorn berry. Bright orange welcome drinks made with crushed berry, Finlandia vodka and Sprite were delightful libations. The Finns sing sea buckthorn berry’s praises because of its high Vitamin C content and anti-oxidant properties.
Before sitting down to dinner guests were treated to confit salmon and golden caviar on top of rye crisps and cracked black pepper cod hors d’ oeuvres. The highly anticipated five courses set menu specially prepared by the chef took a while to be served, but that whetted diner’s appetites. Each course was paired with a different wine to accentuate the delicate Finnish flavors.
This week I did a quick video on one of my favorite temples in Bali, Uluwatu. Hope you like. Until next time.
Thanks for your questions! Here are my answers in this first podcast. Please let me know what you think. I had fun doing this!
Hello! I have published my first e-book: ‘Eat, Pray, Stay for Days: A Guide to Long Term Travel in Bali.’ It is available for free download until July 12, 2014. Please download and leave a review on Amazon. Click on the link below. Thanks so much for your continued support and interest in my journey.
Hello! I have been getting a quite a few emails from people wanting to know my story. I am a firm believer that it is never too late to follow your dreams. So, I am opening the floor to answer all your questions in a podcast. Post your questions below or private message me. Some examples of questions already asked are:
How did I make the decision to travel longterm?
What was my biggest fear in deciding to leave America?
What’s it like being single and living in a foreign country?
What did your family say when you decided to leave?
Don’t be shy! There are no stupid questions. You have until Friday, July 11 to submit all your questions and I will record the podcast over the weekend. Looking forward to your questions!
FC Residence is an exclusive eight -bedroom property in tranquil Pererenan. South Bali has become very busy and at times feel over-crowded. Pererenan is the exception. Located just outside Canggu, Pererenan still holds on to the serenity that is the ‘Old Bali’ charm. Emerald rice fields litter the landscape, banana trees hang over narrow roads and toads serenade you at sundown.
The FC Residence fits well with its surroundings. The grounds are well manicured and it’s clear that a lot of time and energy were spent. In fact, trees were painstakingly removed to provide a stunning view of the rice fields over the pool. There is a private road that leads from the rear of the grounds into the rice fields and further out to secluded Pantai Lima Beach. The same journey can be done on horses provided by a local riding school nearby. Locals use this road to tend to their rice paddies and other crops like bananas and melons.
The property sleeps twenty comfortably and is ideal for group getaways such as weddings, corporate retreats and family reunions. Bookings are flexible as guests can rent out the entire property or single rooms. As a solo traveler, it appealed to my sense of privacy with lots of nooks for solace. I stayed in the Pool Suite and there was plenty of space. I really didn’t have to leave my room because of the ample amenities. The garden, small plunge pool and the landing above the bedroom provided more than enough room to roam and relax. The comfortable king sized bed provided much reprieve while watching international cable television. The intimate and exclusive feel of the grounds are ideal for travelers seeking privacy and groups seeking exclusivity. The deep and winding 30m lagoon style pool facilitates a proper swim and not merely splashing about. Spa services are available on call. Choose from traditional Balinese, shiatsu, Thai, aromatherapy and reflexology. I had my massage under the joglo while listening to the Dream River flow. Massage suites are located poolside, so guests can choose from either location.
FC Residence is in close proximity from some of Bali’s pristine and exciting beaches like the world famous Echo and Old Man’s. Batu Bolong and Pantai Seseh are also near by. Surf lessons with a local guide are provided. The forgiving surf breaks of beaches close-by are ideal for beginners. Guests are welcome to take a guided tour of the area in the an open top VW car, aptly dubbed, “The Thing.” Be sure to watch out for banana leaves that can smack you in the face. Deus Ex –Machina’s popular Sunday night rock ‘n’ roll party is literally around the corner from FC Residence.
The food and cocktails from the FC Bar and Grill are top notch. The cocktails are tasty and strong. My favorites were the ‘tequila best’ and the classic maitai. It doesn’t hurt that the bartender, Agus won the Potato Head competition for serving up the best mojito, which the management serves a virgin version as the welcome drink. Plans are underway to make the FC Bar and Grill a neighbourhood night -time hang. There are several villas in the area, but the FC Bar and Grill is the only place that provides food and drinks in house.
Pererenan still maintains that ‘Old Bali” charm and after visiting the FC Residence, I am planning on moving to the area. Quaint warungs, temples, cafes, restaurants sprinkle the landscape, but unlike over-crowded Seminyak, you can actually see the landscape while relaxing with a cup of tea.
Pool Suite USD $200-$250 a night
Disclaimer: I was a sponsored guest at the FC Residence. The views expressed here are my own.