Sunday, July 22, 2012

Food Fail: Acadian Rappie Pie

You know how sometimes you can get yourself so excited about something just because you have never heard of it? If someone offered you some exotic traditional food made of ox testacies and eye balls you would eat it just to say that you had? My trip down the French coast in search of a rappie pie was one of those times. It was rare, I had never heard of it, and so I had to go find one, eat it, and tell everyone about that time I had that thing they had never heard of.

On our last day in Canada we decided to just go for it! Take the additional three hour drive down the French coast and get one of these rappie pies I had read so much about. We found a small market, which was a beautiful drive to get to and ordered our rappie pies; clam and chicken. I was extremely excited to end my trip with a bang and this pot pie looking rarity was going to be my ticket, until, I dove into this delicacy and took a bite.

I remember hearing about gruel for the first time from Oliver Twist. With my first bite of rappie pie I knew I had found my 21st century equivalent. It was grey, soupy, heavy, flavorless and felt like you were chewing on the left over curds from the side of a pot when you over cook your pasta. In all the trip was amazing and the market was adorable. I recommend driving just about anywhere on Nova Scotia’s beautiful coast, but if you see rappie pie keep driving. I assure you without a doubt you will most likely not be wanting, “some more.”

Until next time,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ode to Oysters


The first time I had an out of body food experience was with oysters in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I have heard about other people’s experiences, but had yet to have that “moment”. I distinctly remember Rick Bayless saying on Top Chef Masters that when his happened every synapse in his brain was firing and I wanted that to happen to me. It was Oaxacan black mole for him and I told myself, if it was the last thing that I ever did, I would find my mole. Yes, I had eaten at some of the best restaurants in the world and yes, I had eaten some pretty amazing food, but in the way he described it I knew that I had not had my “moment”. Then, one day, in Halifax, Nova Scotia it happened. 


It was a plain oyster, nothing on it, straight from the water in an area known for its phenomenal seafood. I expected it to be good, but I had no idea how good. The second it hit my mouth I felt goose bumps on the top of my head and it felt like my skull had reshaped itself into a literal cone on top of my head. It was so simple, so clean, and it happened so unexpectedly. I no longer had to search for my mole; I had found my oyster.  


Hope you find your oyster,


Monday, July 16, 2012

Amherst Shore, Nova Scotia

Amherst Shore Provincial Park in Amherst Shores, Nova Scotia is by far the best places that I have ever camped at. The park offers 42 sites nestled in the woods, plenty of places to hike, showers, bathrooms, firewood and ice for purchase, and internet access upon request. Add to that the immensely friendly staff, beautiful star gazing, and surrounding scenic drives and this is a place I can say with absolute certainty that I will be seeing again someday. 

In short, Amherst Shore Provincial Park has everything you could possibly need and a few things that you will not likely find anywhere else. What is the rarity that I am referring to? That would be none other than the Northumberland Strait. 

A five minute trail walk from your campsite will lead you to this beautiful unsupervised beach which boasts the warmest water north of the Carolina’s and is home to the most breath taking low tide.  Now you might be thinking, “Wow, a low tided how absolutely boring,” but imagine walking out to a full body of water and then, within a matter of hours, the water recedes more than a half a mile leaving an endless number of  tide pools and clay as far as the eye can see. 

When I first arrived and took a walk out to the water I felt immediately relaxed. Not a soul in site and with miles of gorgeous coastline it was a fantastic place for a picnic, beach walk, and swim. Hour later I enjoyed the most shocking contrast in landscape I have ever seen. It was the perfect way to start my Nova Scotia adventure. 

Interested in visiting, head to:

Happy Travels,

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I Think I like This Tourist Trap...Mostly

Cancun, Mexico:
I am very certain that you have either been there, had a friend who went there, or woke up in a tee-shirt that was not your own from the famed Senor Frogs, which is a favorite place there. My point is; if you are a living, breathing human being you have heard of the place, and if you at one point went on a “Spring Break” chances are it was there. 

The resorts are pretty, if you go to the right ones, the food is great, if you eat what the locals eat, and the beaches are basically warm, blue wave pools with white sand. There are some things to note though before booking your flight. First, this is a tourist spot so beware of $15 pottery you think is unique because chances are you will see that very same thing 15 times for 1/10th the price at some point during your trip.

Secondly, this is a tourist spot so you will have a lot of your meals, depending on where you stay (I do actually recommend all-inclusive), paid for as well as your drinks. If you are a 20-something traveler like me this is great! You can get by day to day, eat and drink, enjoy the beach, but most importantly you will have some cash left over to really enjoy and see some sites worth seeing. As always it is best if you do some research before your trip to find something that suits you. I chose a Hacienda with an authentic dinner, wild birds, horses, and a traditional show. 

I also went out to a nice dinner, ate some great mole, had some pretty good margaritas, though Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill still takes the top spot for best margarita of all-time, and enjoyed amazing relaxing scenery that was a fraction of what I have paid for some of my other trips.

So, if you are looking to “Take a load off Annie,”and still have money to do a load of laundry when you get back, I suggest Cancun, Mexico. Tourist trap; yes, but at least it’s fun!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Oh Look the Avatar Tree!

Rainbow Falls, located in Hilo, Hawaii is beautiful, easy to get to, and surrounded by breath taking tropical foliage. 

 My description however stops there because it is not the waterfall at Rainbow Falls that struck me as a “monumental” find, it was the tree located near the top view of the falls (There is only one set of stairs you can take to view the top of the falls). What is crazy to me is that I almost missed it! I raced to the top to get a great view of the waterfall, and as it turned out the view from the top was just okay. I was about to race back down to the lower level, where you really get a great view when I saw, off to the left, an intriguing tangling of roots that seemed to go on and on. I hoped over a few and in front of me stood, as I can best describe it, the Avatar tree. 

More scientifically, thought I still prefer to call it the Avatar tree, it is known as a banyan tree. It is said in the Hindu religion that the God Krishna turned himself into a banyan leaf after consuming the entire universe. It might seem strange to say for someone that is not particularly religious, but there is something “elsewhere” about this tree. I could tell you, but like all things in life it is better if you see it for yourself.  It truly is like nothing I have ever seen. 


“I plant a lot of trees. I am a great believer in planting things for future generations. I loathe the now culture where you just live for today.”  -Penelope Keith

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Creed of Samantha Russo

"I believe in the power of writing my children’s books.
I believe in the way writing makes me feel happy, excited, and
I think in life in general would be much easier if I felt the same
confidence in more places and spaces in my life that I feel in writing.
I look forward to creating new characters, new plots, and
new pictures for my books.
I believe in the power of writing because it gets rid of my worries and
makes me feel relaxed from the Aspergers that follows me all day."

This was written by my sister, Samantha. So frequently in life we find ourselves facing challenges; obstacles. Some of them are things we can change and others are completely outside of our control. In going through my week I am going to try to think about what my sister said about how much easier life would be if we used the same confidence we feel in other spaces in our lives and applied it to the ones that are lacking.

Food for Thought,

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Tribute to All Drinks Lychee: ENJOY!

A peeled lyche
Lychee’s, which are  native to southern China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, are one of my absolute favorite fruits. Great for snacking they are packed with vitamin C and their delicate sweet flavor makes them a stellar addition to any dessert. However, there is one way in particular that I enjoy lychee’s best and that is in a drink!
You can find them at Asian markets and food specialty stores near almost every major city (the canned ones in syrup are best for happy hour usage) and they are relatively inexpensive. Though I am not a big fan of vodka I find that this is the best liquor to use when making these drinks as it tends to take on the flavor of this tropical fruit easier than other liquor. Below are a few of my favorite recipes that you can use this weekend. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!


Lychee Drinks with Vodka:

Lychee Drinks with Rum:

Lychee Drinks with Tequila:
2. (A shot because let’s face it; if you love tequila you probably love to take shots!)