Thursday, March 31, 2011

La Mar Cebicheria Peruana

Even though I've heard mixed reviews, I've been wanting to try La Mar for a while now.

With sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s, Louise and I decided last night was ideal to check out their bayside patio.

We split the cebiche clasico, which was halibut and the empanadas sampler - shrimp, chicken, beef and vegetarian. Despite it touting itself as a "Cebicheria Peruana," we agreed the cebiche was disappointing. The halibut was tough and Louise thought the sauce needed seasoning. The empanadas, however, were terrific and the views were unbeatable.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On the Boat in Bangladesh

We headed south out of Dhaka on a 23-hour steamer trip. Some sights along the way:

Kids at the bow.

Fishermen. Shrimp is the country's top export.

We made about 10 stops along the way. Out in public, I saw about 100 men for every woman. Really.

Net fishing. People get paid 100 taka or a bit more than a dollar for 1,000 shrimp larvae. And, yes, they count them by hand.

Did I mention Bangladesh produces six different types of bananas?

Cutest baby ever!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Dhaka

Kids at the port.

Old Dhaka market.

The ubiquitous rickshaw. (Yes, I rode in one. Yes, it was scary.)

Shave and a haircut.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Steamer Trip in Bangladesh

Three steamer ships are currently in operation in Bangladesh. They were built in India in the early 20s.

Until fairly recently, the paddle wheels were powered by a continually stoked wood fire. Now, they rely on diesel fuel.

I was lucky enough to get an air-conditioned berth in a first-class cabin.

There were several others "classes" of service, but most people paid very little for a spot on the floor.

It was a 23-hour trip from Dhaka to Morelgonj.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Departing Dhaka

Sadarghat is the name of the boat terminal in Old Dhaka. It's absolutely crazy crowded. After a two-hour car ride through Dhaka, I had about 30 minutes to spare before the steamer left the station. Here are some sights:

With so many waterways, boats are used to transport everything from goods to people.

Shanties on the shore.

I didn't know there were so many different types of bananas. They're much sweeter than ours in the U.S.

Yes, they're smiling at me - the crazy tourist.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Not Dhaka

The meeting I'm attending is being held at the BRAC Centre for Development and Management. It's about 30 km outside of Dhaka. And, judging from the harrowing, 90-minute van ride from the airport, it's an oasis outside the capital city.

It specializes in sponsoring conferences and other international events.

The grounds are peaceful and well-kept and the accommodations are clean and comfortable - by Bangladeshi standards.

Unfortunately, the compound is surrounded by barbed wire and a guard mans the entrance gate 24/7.

We meet here, eat here and sleep here. I've been advised - repeatedly - not to leave the compound. And I won't.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Room With a View

After 30 hours and too many time zones to count, I've arrived safely in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Not feeling the joy of travel right now, but I will say arriving at my humble abode feels like a respite from an utterly insane city. I'll save more first impressions until after I've had some much needed rest.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Puerto Alegre

I returned last night to one of my favorite spots in the city - Puerto Alegre.

I even tried a different dish this time - a shrimp quesadilla. What a treat! Thank goodness Georgia and I split it. For great Mexican food and tasty margaritas, Puerto Alegre is highly recommended.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Why do some people pitch in and help - even when no money is involved - when others stand by and watch?

I don't know the subject of her thesis, but I recently participated in a graduate student's focus group of volunteers. It was a small group, but everyone there had volunteered in more than one capacity during their adults lives and nearly everyone had a parent or family member who volunteered. Perhaps it's genetic?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Old Ship Saloon

The Old Ship Saloon is a great neighborhood place right across from my office.

They have wonderful food, speedy service and a pleasant ambiance. Try the ahi tacos or the homemade veggie burger.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Brenda's French Soul Food Cafe

Fans of Brenda's French Soul Food Cafe will be thrilled to learn that the restaurant has expanded into the space next door. Instead of 6-8 tables, it now has about 20 and, thankfully, neither the quality of the food nor the service has suffered.

Molly and I shared the crawfish beignets, a shrimp and goat cheese omelet (which could have used a few more shrimp) and buttermilk biscuits.

The crawfish beignets dusted with a cayenne-paprika mixture are simply a delight.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sugar Cafe

I really wanted to like this place. It's a great space with comfy couches, a lovely bar and a nice fireplace.

I had visited for lunch, but I wanted to try Sugar Cafe their alleged "happy hour." What a disappointment! Overpriced, bad service, underwhelming. When I pay too much money for food I could've prepared better myself, I am not a happy camper.

I suggest they choose an identity - lounge, coffee shop, bar, cafe - then try to do that well.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Polish Dill Pickle Soup

I'm Polish. Both sides of my family are Polish. I speak some Polish. Heck, I've even visited the homeland. And I never heard of Polish Dill Pickle Soup. But a soup recipe that combines a few of my favorite things - pickles and potatoes - has got to be good, right?

A Veggie Venture scored another touchdown with this recipe. I made it last night and it was terrific! Note: you really need a food processor or blender to make this soup. I also made use of my new immersion blender to get it to just the right consistency. I also used Claussen dill pickles, which are super-garlicy. If you don't like pickles, don't despair. The soup ends up with a mild potato-dill rather than "pickly" flavor.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

At the Beach in Bangladesh

Yes, this is how people dress for the beach in Bangladesh - a very conservative Muslim country. I guess I'll be investing in a few traditional Bangladeshi ensembles known as shalwar kameez.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gott's Roadside

I met a few friends yesterday for lunch at Gott's Roadside at the Ferry Building. We sat outside in the sun and caught up on gossip.

We also enjoyed some yummy, but expensive, fish tacos. Delish!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh

In less than two weeks, I'm headed to the capital of Bangladesh for work. After my job is finished, I'm taking a week off to explore the country.

Have you been to that part of the world? If so, any and all advice welcomed!