Volvo Classic Pan Americana in Cusco Peru

A few days ago my friend Mark was able to identify a really cool car I saw in San Diego from a picture I posted on Facebook.  The car was a Morgan 3-Wheeler and was part of a cross-country Gumball Rally.  The picture had me thinking about cars and how much fun it would be to be a part of a rally.  Then I remembered seeing cars that were part of a rally when I was in Cusco Peru back on January 1st 2012.

The Volvo Classic Pan Americana was a 40 day rally that brought the participants through most of South America.  I caught the cars on day 25 of the event.

I was sitting in Starbucks when I noticed the cars down below.

View from Starbucks of  Volvo Pan Americana

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Umami Burger at Fred Segal in Santa Monica

On a cold overcast afternoon last week I started craving a burger and fries.  I don’t know if you ever have days like this but I was feeling like a bottomless pit and in the mood for comfort food.  I decided to go to Umami Burger at Fred Segal in Santa Monica. Umami Burger is a small chain restaurant that uses the umami flavor to season their food.  Umami is considered the fifth taste (sweet, sour, salty and bitter being the others) and is a savory flavor.  It’s a taste that is unlike any I’ve ever experienced before and I highly recommend that you try it for yourself.

I went for it with the Truffle Burger that has house made truffle cheese and truffle glaze.  It was delicious.  You can see in the background that I also had the truffle fries.

Truffle Burger with Truffle Fries

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MSG Pop-Up Restaurant by Chef Derrick de Jesus

Monday night I went to the opening night of a pop-up restaurant in Venice by Chef
Derrick de Jesus called MSG. A pop-up restaurant is a restaurant that
temporarily takes over another restaurant space to test out their latest and
greatest dishes. The event was hosted at the Brick House Café which
in only open for breakfast and lunch on Monday’s.

MSG offered one sitting at 8:00 pm and the meal consisted of 5 courses. The
restaurant was sold out and every seat in the house was taken. All of the
courses offered unique flavors and I have to say they did an excellent job with
only a couple of staff members in an unfamiliar kitchen on the first night.

The meal started out with warm bread.  The butter was amazing.  I think there must have been cheese in it.

Bread with Salted Butter

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Chelsea’s Kitchen in Phoenix Arizona

It was late in the afternoon and the weather was beautiful in Phoenix so I asked the Concierge at the hotel for a recommendation of a place where I could eat lunch outside and enjoy the beautiful day.  The restaurant he recommended was Chelsea’s Kitchen.

Chelsea’s Kitchen has a cool vibe as although it was already around 3 pm when I arrived, there were plenty of people both inside and outside on the patio.

Outside Patio at Chelsea's Kitchen

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Rock Springs Cafe in Arizona

I’ve made the drive from Phoenix to Sedona many times and I really didn’t think there was anywhere interesting to eat between the two locations but while watching a TV show that featured the top 10 bakeries in America they just so happened to mention the Rock Springs Café.  Coincidentally, I happen to watch this show on Netflix while I was in Sedona and thought it would be fun to stop in and try a piece of their famous pie on my drive back to Phoenix.

This middle of nowhere café sells close to 200 pies a day and many of their pies are ordered and shipped across the country. The Café was really cute and probably has never been updated since they opened in 1918 but I think that’s part of its charm.

Rock Springs Cafe in Arizona

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Barrio Café in Phoenix Arizona

Last year I was at the Phoenix Airport I arrived much earlier than expected because I was hoping to go standby on an earlier flight but needless to say it didn’t happen. So I came across a Mexican restaurant and decided to give it a try.  The restaurant was called the Barrio Café and they had a fantastic guacamole that had pomegranate seeds in it.  While I was eating I had a conversation with the person sitting next to me and she told me about the restaurant in Phoenix so I decided that I would try the actual restaurant during a future visit since the “real” restaurant is always much better than the airport version.  I love Mexican food so it’s always on the top of my list for lunch.

The side of the Barrio Café.  I thought the wall was so cool!

Outside the Barrio Cafe

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My Beloved Rose Garden

There is a rose a garden a short walk down the street from my house and although it isn’t mine, I call it mine. It’s located in a public park on the bluffs overlooking the ocean.  I’ve always loved this garden and have shared it with you before.  It is a place of refuge for me when I am having a bad day and on good days it just makes my day even better.  I often walk down to the roses and ponder what is happening in my life.  By the time I get to the garden I’m usually ready to let go of whatever is on my mind and wipe the slate clean.  I do this by smelling the sweet scent of the fragrant roses.

Roses in Full Bloom

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Harrods Food Hall in London

During my last trip to London I visited Harrods department store.  Harrods is the largest department store in Europe boasting over 1 million square feet and occupying over 5 acres of space.  Harrods has been open since 1849 and has over 330 different departments where you can find just about anything you are looking for under the sun.  One of Harrods most famous owners was the Fayed brothers who brought the store in 1985.  Mohamed Al- Fayed was the father of Dodi Al-Fayed who dated Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles.  The Fayed brothers sold Harrods in 2010 to Qatar Holdings.

Outside of Harrods

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A Unique Afternoon Tea at the Grand Imperial London

During my visit to London, I made sure I indulged in Afternoon Tea every day I was in town.  I love Afternoon Tea and only partake in it when I’m in the UK.  Otherwise, I could never justify eating such sweet and fattening foods on a regular basis.  I don’t know how the British are so thin considering they have so many wonderful treats like scones with clotted cream and jam. By the time I left London, I’m sure if you tested my blood the two things running through it would be espresso and clotted cream.

Before I went to London I decided that I wanted to try a unique Afternoon Tea.  After doing an internet search I found a Chinese option at the Grand Imperial London in the Grosvenor Hotel on Buckingham Palace Road.  Besides the unique menu, they also had a large variety of teas to choose from.

Afternoon Tea Presentation

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Hit and Miss Breakfast Spots in Charleston South Carolina

During my trip to Charleston South Carolina, I took the opportunity to try three different restaurants for breakfast, all of which I found online.  I had two good meals and one very disappointing meal, although according to their signs they were voted,  ”The Best Breakfast” in Charleston.  All of the restaurants were within walking distance from my hotel in the Historic District.

Day one brought me to Barbara Jean’sBarbara Jean’s is a causal, laid back restaurant with good Southern food.  It’s conveniently located right across the street from the Market and was right around the corner from my hotel. I ordered the eggs with ham, grits and jalapeno corn bread.  The service was slow but I was in the South so it was to be expected.  The restaurant was decorated in a country feel which was fitting considering I was in the low country.  Nothing was fancy here but everything was fresh and tasty.  The entire meal was about $6.  The total bill when I added in my coffee was about $9.  Breakfast was very filing and satisfying.  Barbara Jean’s was great and I would recommend coming here.

Breakfast at Barbara Jean's in Charleston SC

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