Voodoo Doughnut Magic

Voodoo Magic and Doughnuts come together!

Voodoo Doughnut Magic Something Fun – Something Different – Something for the Ages  is what Voodoo Doughnuts of Portland wants to be. They seem to be all that and more. Voodoo Doughnut Magic

Voodoo Doughnut Magic creates unique flavors like Bacon Maple Bars (bacon strips topping traditional maple bars and glazed donuts frosted and topped with cereal … cereal? — intriguing)

Voodoo Doughnut MagicVoodoo Doughnut Magicand they still qualify as a delicious donut! Traditional flavors such as:  plain cake, chocolate sprinkles, and plain glazed (raised and cake) are also offered.

 

 Craziness is what I call it!

How long would you wait in line for these choices?

Voodoo Doughnut Magic

 We had heard of Voodoo Doughnuts.  But when we got to Portland, we were amazed to see a seemingly never-ending line  out the door and winding around the block  at the downtown store….just for doughnuts! Are they really worth that wait?  Having a short time to visit Portland, we decided we would for-go the Voodoo Doughnut experience and not spend precious time in line. But then . . .

We discovered a second location: Voodoo Doughnuts, Too is just a few miles out of downtown and on our way to the airport! So we stopped there and walked right in – no wait!

Remember that, if you want instant gratification to your  Voodoo Doughnut craving!

Voodoo Doughnut Magic

Voodoo Doughnut Magic

Voodoo Doughnut Magic

There is an interesting connection between Voodoo Doughnuts and Rogue Beer (see: Rogue Beer . . . and Lunch: Limited Edition Beers based on Donut flavors or is it the other way around? Our first experience with Rogue Beer was when a bubblegum pink bottle caught our eye:  Maple Bacon Beer – we had to give it a try. It was surprisingly very tasty!

Voodoo Doughnut Magic

Voodoo Doughnut — The Magic is in the Hole!!!

 

Let’s Eat Cake! . . . Epic Failure?

Cake Time! Let’s Eat Cake!

The challenge: Bake one cake a month. Take photos during the process or at least of the finished product. Tell us about the experience and share the photos. EAT the CAKE!

In a totally RANDOM drawing done on behalf of each participant by Mr. Tommy, the first round of recipes have been picked and handed out.

First up:

Let's Eat Cake. . .or Not

Yellow Layer Cake with Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting

Are you ready to eat cake? Let’s get started!

 Ok – here ya go!!!  I was laughing so hard during this!  My helper was complaining that she couldn’t take pictures because I was making her laugh, too.  It was hilarious!

I bought two sets of new cake pans to start this adventure!  I have two “old” pans – don’t even know if they’re nine inch or eight inch.  I needed three rounds for this cake (each split in half so I’d end up w/6 layers), and I wanted to make sure they were all the same size, etc.

Let's Eat Cake . . . or NotThe cake batter was easy to make and I thought it turned out good – fluffy and good consistency.  The cakes took a little longer to bake than the recipe said, and ended up with “crispy” edges – kinda like when there’s too much butter in a chocolate chip cookie and it spreads and gets crispy (?) – so I didn’t adjust for altitude, and I think that I should’ve added more flour (live and learn)!  When the cakes were cooled and I cut them in half, it seemed like the “tops” were bigger than the bottoms, but I wasn’t comfortable trimming around the edges – the cake seemed too “crumbly”.

The frosting recipe was a sour cream chocolate icing – you mix it up and let it get thicker in the fridge as it cools (recipe called for 30 minutes).  Well, I let it set all afternoon and finally decided it was probably as thick as it was going to get.

So. . . I put the first layer on the cake stand, topped it with the icing, smoothed it to the edge, put the second  layer on, topped it with icing, smoothed it to the edge, then the third, etc., etc.  By the time I got to the fifth layer, things were obviously off-kilter and leaning towards one side.  I tried to smoosh everything back to the other side without making too much of a mess – there was a little movement in the right direction, but obviously not enough. Let's Eat Cake . . . or Not I went ahead and put the final layers on and noticed how uneven the layers were (as in, the edges of the layers were radically not even).  I thought I was being careful when placing the cake layers on each time, but I think the spreading of the icing created movement that made everything crooked.  The picture on the recipe doesn’t have the sides of the cake frosted, but I had lots of extra frosting, and thought that maybe I could hide some of the unevenness if I threw some frosting on the side (obviously not!).

Let's Eat Cake! . . . or NotThen there was more movement and I hollered that we needed to cut a piece quick!  and get it on a plate. We grabbed a dessert plate and cut a slice and rushed to get a picture of the inside of the cake on the stand.

Let's Eat Cake . . . or NotThen while we were taking a picture of the slice on the plate, the whole cake just started cracking and sliding so I grabbed a cookie sheet for it to fall on – it was hysterical at this point – a slow (but kinda quick as it gathered momentum) mudslide.

Let's Eat Cake . . . or Not

Let's Eat Cake . . . or NotLet's Eat Cake . . . or Not

Wow.  I think the frosting was too “slick” – maybe more powdered sugar?  But I didn’t want to mess with it too much when I was making it – the picture looked like it was very glossy and not too thick with powdered sugar.  Now I know!

None of us were big fans of the taste of the cake, either.  I’ll get the “boys” opinions tonight.  - It had a tang or sourness that’s a little unpleasant.  Which is surprising to me, because I love tangy/sour things – I love buttermilk and sour cream.  But, not so much in this recipe!  What a way to start the cake challenge!  Geesh!

OMG!  It was fun though, and I enjoyed the experience, and the girls and I got a good laugh!  :)

It’s OK if you start with the epic failure – we can only get better from here!  By the way, neither of the “boys” liked the taste of the cake either – both cut a large-ish slice and neither finished.  It looks like it should be good – it’s just not.  :(  

Recipe: Epicurious.com

Cake Image:  Stephen Lewis

 

Rogue Beer . . . and Lunch

Great Food, Fun Places, and Fun Times in Portland

Arriving in Portland mid-day, we drove downtown – for Fun – just to be downtown and get some lunch before heading to the suburbs.

We wandered around the Pearl District, enjoying a beautiful Oregon day of sunshine and fresh air (the locals were flocking downtown, in joyous celebration).  There are lots of choices for lunch but what to choose?

Then we saw the Rogue Beer banners and discovered we were in “the heart of Portland’s Historic Brewing District in the Pearl” at the Rogue Ales Distillery and Public House.Rogue Beer. . .and Lunch

Featuring outside seating – a requirement for our meal with this perfect weather – Rogue Beer . . . and Lunch  a menu with several intriguing options for lunch,  and Rogue Beers — we took a seat!

First a beer:  Morimoto’s Soba Ale –a buckwheat based. Rogue Beer . . . and LunchTASTING NOTES: The delicate flavor of our roasted Soba (buckwheat) brings a nutty finish to this light and refreshing ale. A perfect accompaniment to lighter cuisine.

 

 

 

 

Then lunch: Salmon Melt – one with cheddar and fries, one with swiss and chips. Omigosh! SO DELISH! And a lighter cuisine — perfectly paired with Morimoto’s Soba Ale.
Rogue Beer . . . and Lunch

Rogue Beer . . . and Lunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rogue Ales Distillery and Public House occupies the former home of a long-time Portland institution  – Portland Brewing and Bogart’s.

Rogue Beer . . . and Lunch

Rogue Beer . . . and Lunch

 

Rogue Beer . . . and Lunch

 

Let’s Eat CAKE!

It’s CAKE TIME!  Let’s Eat CAKE!

…at least once a week

….isn’t that what Betty Crocker, (or was it Duncan Hines or Pillsbury?) led us to believe? 

Works for me!

Somewhere along my journey from childhood, it may have been programmed into me, but I have become convinced that the proper homemaker provides the family with a luscious layer cake every week. Let's Eat Cake!

It hasn’t happened for me….yet.  It remains a standard for me to live up to and now…. we are going to eat cake!

I’ve always been attracted to pictures (& recipes) of pretty cakes. As a child, I would linger over the lovely pictures in the cake section of my mother’s Betty Crocker Cook Book… drooling, dreaming, and wishing I could taste them;

Cake Time! wishing even more, I could actually MAKE one of them – so pretty, they had to taste good too! I never actually made any of the fancy ones (Sunburst cake, or Pink Cake or Queen Elizabeth Cake, or….)

We always made a tried & true ‘safe’ cake  – usually the ‘quick cake’ which was quick – and easy – sort of a ‘dump cake’  – and eaten fresh and hot out of the oven with chocolate syrup drizzled over it….. mmmm…that was actually really good! Still… not the same as I imagined the fancy frosted layer ‘party’ cake would be. Not that I didn’t try once in awhile. Determined to make the ‘perfect’ chocolate layer cake, I would end up with a lopsided, drooping, sagging sorry excuse for a layer cake.

So – when I came across a collection of recipes on the internet for lovely layer cakes (with pretty pictures!) I wanted to make them ALL – so luscious and so enticing! (don’t you just luv the internet? -all those delightful recipes!!)

Let's Eat Cake!

Knowing it would take me a LONG time to make them all, I challenged a few fans (& relatives) to join me in raising the bar and striving to be the proper homemaker with a weekly cake. Realizing that one a week for each of us still might be a bit much in our busy lives (and healthy lifestyles), we decided a one-a-month each would work.

And so it starts – a random drawing of a recipe each month for each of us and we have: One Cake A Week! (Maybe even a Betty Crocker Cake!)

Let the baking begin and . . .

Let’s Eat Cake!

Let's Eat Cake!

 

 

 

Image Credits: General Mills, Betty Crocker.com, Epicurious.com, My Recipes.com

Sweet Treat: Spanish Olive Oil “Tortas”

Savory, Salty and Sweet – a delectable treat.

Inez Rosales Spanish Olive Oil TortasThese Spanish olive oil tortas are a sweet delectable treat with a rustic, yet delicate appearance and flavor.   Flaky and crispy thin, Ines Rosales Tortas are all-natural and made with the best extra virgin olive oil – by hand – using the same recipe and methods since 1910.

Our neighbor arrived at our door bearing these special treats that her nephew in Boston had tucked into a package he recently sent her. She generously shared with us a sampling of these fun Spanish olive oil tortas… and now —we are hooked!

Sweet Treat: Spanish Olive Oil Tortas

 

 

 

 

Sweet Treat: Spanish Olive Oil Tortas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inez Rosales Spanish Olive Oil TortasInes Rosales began making olive oil tortas and selling them at the train station in Seville, Spain, in 1910. As her special treats gained in popularity, she enlisted the help of other women in her village to keep up with the demand.

 

Today, they are still made by women in the village, by hand  and hand wrapped – in small batches and shipped all over the world. They are available in a variety of flavors: cinnamon, anise, sesame, and rosemary-thyme, and orange.

Sweet Treat: Spanish Olive Oil Tortas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find where to buy Ines Rosales  Spanish Olive Oil Tortas

 Ines Rosales Tortas

 

Top 50 Cities to See in Your Lifetime

Wow – I have some traveling to do!!

 According to minube.net,  these are the top 50 cities you must visit in your lifetime. From the great ancient capitals to the modern cities of Asia, the Americas, and beyond, these are some of the greatest destinations on Earth.

How many of these top 50 cities have you visited ?

I’ve been to some (5 actually!) and some are already on my list but now my list is a whole lot longer!!

 Any favorites?

1.) Venice, Italy

From its picturesque canals and grandiose basilicas to its colorful homes and cozy wine bars, there's simply nowhere like it on Earth.(Photo by Jesus Lopez)

From its picturesque canals and grandiose basilicas to its colorful homes and cozy wine bars, there’s simply nowhere like it on Earth.(Photo by Jesus Lopez)

2.) Seville, Spain

Seville is the crown-jewel of imperial Spain and visitors can delight at the city's narrow streets lined with orange blossoms, Moorish castles, and some of Spain's most legendary tapas joints. (Photo by Zu Sanchez)

Seville is the crown-jewel of imperial Spain and visitors can delight at the city’s narrow streets lined with orange blossoms, Moorish castles, and some of Spain’s most legendary tapas joints. (Photo by Zu Sanchez)

3.) New York City, USA

It's no wonder New York is often called the "Crossroads of the World." Nowhere else can you find such a mind-blowing concentration of art, culture, cuisine, and business. (Photo by Iker F. Gavilan)

It’s no wonder New York is often called the “Crossroads of the World.” Nowhere else can you find such a mind-blowing concentration of art, culture, cuisine, and business. (Photo by Iker F. Gavilan)

4.) Lhasa, China 

Lhasa is the spiritual center of Tibetan Buddhism and the rugged Himalayas set against Lhasa's incense-filled monasteries and palaces make for one of the most unforgettable views on Earth. (Photo by Juanjo Fontanet)

Lhasa is the spiritual center of Tibetan Buddhism and the rugged Himalayas set against Lhasa’s incense-filled monasteries and palaces make for one of the most unforgettable views on Earth. (Photo by Juanjo Fontanet)

5.) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 From the world-famous Carnival to its iconic skyline, Rio de Janeiro is an experience for all five senses. The fact that its home to two of the most famous beaches on Earth doesn't hurt either! (Photo by Stocklapse)

From the world-famous Carnival to its iconic skyline, Rio de Janeiro is an experience for all five senses. The fact that its home to two of the most famous beaches on Earth doesn’t hurt either! (Photo by Stocklapse)

6.) London, England

With its prestigious museums, famous street markets, and bustling financial center, it's no wonder that London is one of the world's most-visited cities. What are you waiting for? London's calling! (Photo by Tbtb

With its prestigious museums, famous street markets, and bustling financial center, it’s no wonder that London is one of the world’s most-visited cities. What are you waiting for? London’s calling! (Photo by Tbtb

7.) Marrakech, Morocco

 Entering the medina of Marrakech is an experience you'll never forget: endless, maze-like corridors full of vibrant souks, stunning architecture, and bubbling tagines around every corner. (Photo by Cesar Blay)

Entering the medina of Marrakech is an experience you’ll never forget: endless, maze-like corridors full of vibrant souks, stunning architecture, and bubbling tagines around every corner. (Photo by Cesar Blay)

8.) Petra, Jordan

Of all the world's great ancient cities, Petra stands in a league of its own. Set in the midst of a epic, wind-swept desert, Petra's monumental rock-cut buildings must be seen to be believed. (Photo by Husar 77)

Of all the world’s great ancient cities, Petra stands in a league of its own. Set in the midst of a epic, wind-swept desert, Petra’s monumental rock-cut buildings must be seen to be believed. (Photo by Husar 77)

9.) Rome, Italy

Walking through Rome is like exploring the world's largest open-air museum. Simply put, no city on Earth combines fine art, cuisine, tons and tons of ancient history quite like the Eternal City. (Photo by Tbtb)

Walking through Rome is like exploring the world’s largest open-air museum. Simply put, no city on Earth combines fine art, cuisine, tons and tons of ancient history quite like the Eternal City. (Photo by Tbtb)

10.) Varanasi, India

Varanasi, one of India's holiest cities, is a true experience for the senses. Seeing the sunrise as the ghats on banks the Ganges fill up with holy men, pilgrims, and locals is a sight you'll never forget. (Photo by Jordi Batet)

Varanasi, one of India’s holiest cities, is a true experience for the senses. Seeing the sunrise as the ghats on banks the Ganges fill up with holy men, pilgrims, and locals is a sight you’ll never forget. (Photo by Jordi Batet)

11.) Florence, Italy

As home of the Renaissance, Florence boasts one of the most incredible art collections on Earth, to say nothing of the gorgeous cathedrals, delicious Tuscan food, and rich, enchanting architecture. (Photo by Ivan Luengo)

As home of the Renaissance, Florence boasts one of the most incredible art collections on Earth, to say nothing of the gorgeous cathedrals, delicious Tuscan food, and rich, enchanting architecture. (Photo by Ivan Luengo)

12.) Havana, Cuba

Exploring the streets of Old Havana is like stepping back in time to a world of majestic pre-revolutionary buildings, classic cars, and the smell of home-cooking mixing with the sea breeze. (Photo by Viajesyfotografia)

Exploring the streets of Old Havana is like stepping back in time to a world of majestic pre-revolutionary buildings, classic cars, and the smell of home-cooking mixing with the sea breeze. (Photo by Viajesyfotografia)

13.) Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto was once the Imperial Capital of Japan and exploring its elegant tea-houses, gardens, and castles is the best way to discover the true essence of traditional Japan. (Photo by Viajesyfotografia)

Kyoto was once the Imperial Capital of Japan and exploring its elegant tea-houses, gardens, and castles is the best way to discover the true essence of traditional Japan. (Photo by Viajesyfotografia)

14.) Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem is a true crossroads of cultures, cuisines, and beliefs. Nowhere is this more evident than in the streets of the Old City, home to some of history's greatest persons and events. (Photo by Ignacio Izquierdo)

Jerusalem is a true crossroads of cultures, cuisines, and beliefs. Nowhere is this more evident than in the streets of the Old City, home to some of history’s greatest persons and events. (Photo by Ignacio Izquierdo)

15.) Paris, France

The City of Lights is the place to immerse yourself in breathtaking museums, enchanting squares, and tons of cafes. It's no wonder why it's considered to be the most romantic place on Earth! (Photo by Juan Z. Aranda)

The City of Lights is the place to immerse yourself in breathtaking museums, enchanting squares, and tons of cafes. It’s no wonder why it’s considered to be the most romantic place on Earth! (Photo by Juan Z. Aranda)

16.) Beijing, China

Beijing is China's historical and cultural capital and home to two of the most awe-inspiring places on Earth: the monumental Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China in the nearby mountains.(Photo by David Esteban)

Beijing is China’s historical and cultural capital and home to two of the most awe-inspiring places on Earth: the monumental Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China in the nearby mountains.(Photo by David Esteban)

17.) Lalibela, Ethiopia

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's great holy cities and is famous around the world for its unique and stunning collection of monolithic churches carved right into the rock below your feet. (Photo by Alfonso N. Tappero)

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia’s great holy cities and is famous around the world for its unique and stunning collection of monolithic churches carved right into the rock below your feet. (Photo by Alfonso N. Tappero)

18.) Granada, Spain

From the glories of the Alhambra to the narrow, cobblestone streets of the Albayzín district, Granada has an undeniable magic that's rarely found even in the great cities of Europe. (Photo by Miguel Eguido)

From the glories of the Alhambra to the narrow, cobblestone streets of the Albayzín district, Granada has an undeniable magic that’s rarely found even in the great cities of Europe. (Photo by Miguel Eguido)

19.) Athens, Greece

The Acropolis has a top spot on many bucket lists, but the city's sunny streets, flower-lined squares, and incredible museums makes Athens much more than just ancient ruins. (Photo by Gianfranco Perlongo)

The Acropolis has a top spot on many bucket lists, but the city’s sunny streets, flower-lined squares, and incredible museums makes Athens much more than just ancient ruins. (Photo by Gianfranco Perlongo)

20.) Bagan, Myanmar

Could the world's best sunrise be in the ancient city of Bagan? Many would say so. Just imagine: the mist evaporating in the day's first light, revealing a near-endless plain of ancient pagodas. (Photo by Gorka Nelson)

Could the world’s best sunrise be in the ancient city of Bagan? Many would say so. Just imagine: the mist evaporating in the day’s first light, revealing a near-endless plain of ancient pagodas. (Photo by Gorka Nelson)

21.) Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu is, for many, the gateway to the majestic Himalayas. With its mixture of sadhus, saffron-robed monks, and iconic prayer flags, it' also one of the most colorful cities on Earth. (Photo by Nic Dalla-Valle)-

Kathmandu is, for many, the gateway to the majestic Himalayas. With its mixture of sadhus, saffron-robed monks, and iconic prayer flags, it’ also one of the most colorful cities on Earth. (Photo by Nic Dalla-Valle)-

22.) Vatican City

The Vatican is a city within a city and home to the Roman Catholic Church. Even if you're just a sightseer, the columns and cupola of St. Peter's Square are enough to take your breath away. (Photo by Pablo L. Ramos)

The Vatican is a city within a city and home to the Roman Catholic Church. Even if you’re just a sightseer, the columns and cupola of St. Peter’s Square are enough to take your breath away. (Photo by Pablo L. Ramos)

23.) Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon truly has it all: sun, sea, and an enchanting and decadent atmosphere like that found amid the sunny, colorful streets of the city's Chiado and Alfama neighborhoods. (Photo by Jessica M. Infante)

Lisbon truly has it all: sun, sea, and an enchanting and decadent atmosphere like that found amid the sunny, colorful streets of the city’s Chiado and Alfama neighborhoods. (Photo by Jessica M. Infante)

24.) Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo seems straight from the future. While this glittering metropolis of 13 million is a Mecca for shopping, foodies, and partiers, it is still home to some truly peaceful shrines and gardens. (Photo by Sandra G. Arangoa)

Tokyo seems straight from the future. While this glittering metropolis of 13 million is a Mecca for shopping, foodies, and partiers, it is still home to some truly peaceful shrines and gardens. (Photo by Sandra G. Arangoa)

25.) Istanbul, Turkey

Yes, Istanbul...the city where east meets west. From its monumental mosques to its bustling bazaars, Istanbul is city that can boast millenia of history and still be more relevant than ever. (Photo by Mikel H)

Yes, Istanbul…the city where east meets west. From its monumental mosques to its bustling bazaars, Istanbul is city that can boast millenia of history and still be more relevant than ever. (Photo by Mikel H)

26.) H?i An, Vietnam

 H?i An is a historic Vietnamese port whose UNESCO-recognized Old City is a unique mix of Japanese, Vietnamese, and European influences. Oh, and just wait until you try the food. (Photo by Vincenzo Tessarin)

H?i An is a historic Vietnamese port whose UNESCO-recognized Old City is a unique mix of Japanese, Vietnamese, and European influences. Oh, and just wait until you try the food. (Photo by Vincenzo Tessarin)

27.) Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam has one of the world's highest qualities of life, a fact not lost on the millions of visitors charmed by its famous Red Light District and stunning Van Gogh Museum. (Photo by Zu Sanchez) -

Amsterdam has one of the world’s highest qualities of life, a fact not lost on the millions of visitors charmed by its famous Red Light District and stunning Van Gogh Museum. (Photo by Zu Sanchez)
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28.) Luxor, Egypt

Set on the banks of the Nile, Luxor is the most stunning of Egypt's ancient cities. Its proximity to Karnak, Thebes, and the Valley of the Kings makes it a must for history-lovers worldwide. (Photo by Pablo Charlon)

Set on the banks of the Nile, Luxor is the most stunning of Egypt’s ancient cities. Its proximity to Karnak, Thebes, and the Valley of the Kings makes it a must for history-lovers worldwide. (Photo by Pablo Charlon)

29.) Berlin, Germany

 Few cities have played such a pivotal role in recent history as Berlin and its legendary nightlife and vibrant restaurant scene also make it one of the most exciting cities in modern Europe. (Photo by Jose P. Rodriguez)

Few cities have played such a pivotal role in recent history as Berlin and its legendary nightlife and vibrant restaurant scene also make it one of the most exciting cities in modern Europe. (Photo by Jose P. Rodriguez)

30.) Jaipur, India

 Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, is home to some of the India's most spectacular palaces and gardens. It's also part of India's famous "Golden Triangle" featuring the Taj Mahal in Agra and New Delhi. (Photo by Jordi Batet)

Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, is home to some of the India’s most spectacular palaces and gardens. It’s also part of India’s famous “Golden Triangle” featuring the Taj Mahal in Agra and New Delhi. (Photo by Jordi Batet)

31.) Lyon, France

Lyon is a World Heritage city dating back to Roman times. Try visiting during the Fête des Lumières when the cathedrals, gardens, and streets are illuminated by thousands of lights. (Photo by Christian Belzunce)

Lyon is a World Heritage city dating back to Roman times. Try visiting during the Fête des Lumières when the cathedrals, gardens, and streets are illuminated by thousands of lights. (Photo by Christian Belzunce)

32.) Oia, Greece

Oia is the most famous town on the Greek island of Santorini and its gorgeous white and blue homes cascading down to the sea are the stuff that postcards are made of! (Photo by Gianfranco Perlongo)

Oia is the most famous town on the Greek island of Santorini and its gorgeous white and blue homes cascading down to the sea are the stuff that postcards are made of! (Photo by Gianfranco Perlongo)

33.) Siem Reap, Cambodia

While most come to see the stunning ancient city of Angkor Wat, but Siem Reap's laid-back bohemian-backpacker vibe and tasty food make it a worthy destination on its own. (Photo by Angel B. Arevalo)

While most come to see the stunning ancient city of Angkor Wat, but Siem Reap’s laid-back bohemian-backpacker vibe and tasty food make it a worthy destination on its own. (Photo by Angel B. Arevalo)

34.) Vienna, Austria

Vienna is a majestic Imperial city full of beautiful palaces, manicured gardens, and elegant cafes. The fact that it's consistently voted as one of the world's most livable cities is just the icing on the cake. (Photo by Machbel)

Vienna is a majestic Imperial city full of beautiful palaces, manicured gardens, and elegant cafes. The fact that it’s consistently voted as one of the world’s most livable cities is just the icing on the cake. (Photo by Machbel)

35.) Cusco, Peru

 Besides being the main entry point for those looking to explore the Andes and Machu Picchu, the World Heritage city of Cusco is full of historic temples, monasteries, and gorgeous colonial homes. (Photo by Chris Pearrow)

Besides being the main entry point for those looking to explore the Andes and Machu Picchu, the World Heritage city of Cusco is full of historic temples, monasteries, and gorgeous colonial homes. (Photo by Chris Pearrow)

36.) Cartagena, Colombia

 The colonial city of Cartagena on Colombia's Caribbean coast has a history filled with explorers, pirates, and royalty, and it's UNESCO-recognized Old City is every bit as enchanting as you'd expect.

The colonial city of Cartagena on Colombia’s Caribbean coast has a history filled with explorers, pirates, and royalty, and it’s UNESCO-recognized Old City is every bit as enchanting as you’d expect.

37.) Zanzibar, Tanzania

The ancient city of Zanzibar is one of Africa's top destinations and famous for its white-sand beaches and mix African, Arab, and Portuguese influences in the historic district of Stone Town. (Photo by Naxos)

The ancient city of Zanzibar is one of Africa’s top destinations and famous for its white-sand beaches and mix African, Arab, and Portuguese influences in the historic district of Stone Town. (Photo by Naxos)

38.) Mexico City, Mexico

 Mexico City is a delightful chaos of sights, sounds, and colors. Home to over 20 million people, the city offers beautiful colonial architecture, nearby ruins, and some seriously good food. (Photo by Azu Azul)

Mexico City is a delightful chaos of sights, sounds, and colors. Home to over 20 million people, the city offers beautiful colonial architecture, nearby ruins, and some seriously good food. (Photo by Azu Azul)

39.) Singapore

 Whether on vacation or during a layover, Singapore is a place that needs to be experienced. Exploring Little India is a must, but remember to save time for arguably the best street food in the entire world. (Photo by Dirk Vietzke)

Whether on vacation or during a layover, Singapore is a place that needs to be experienced. Exploring Little India is a must, but remember to save time for arguably the best street food in the entire world. (Photo by Dirk Vietzke)

40.) Las Vegas, USA

Sin City is a favorite among national and international visitors drawn by the city's incomparable mix of fine hotels, famous restaurants, and over-the-top casinos. Viva Las Vegas! (Photo by Surapon Sujjavanich)

Sin City is a favorite among national and international visitors drawn by the city’s incomparable mix of fine hotels, famous restaurants, and over-the-top casinos. Viva Las Vegas! (Photo by Surapon Sujjavanich)

41.) Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Samarkand is an ancient Silk Road city and the madrasas and mosaics of the monumental Registan square are among the world's most beautiful examples of Islamic architecture. (Photo by Sonia R. Salces)

Samarkand is an ancient Silk Road city and the madrasas and mosaics of the monumental Registan square are among the world’s most beautiful examples of Islamic architecture. (Photo by Sonia R. Salces)

42.) Sydney, Australia

From its iconic Opera House to its famous beaches, Sydney knows how to perfectly combine the natural and the urban and leaves no doubt about its place among the greatest cities on Earth. (Photo by Naxos)

From its iconic Opera House to its famous beaches, Sydney knows how to perfectly combine the natural and the urban and leaves no doubt about its place among the greatest cities on Earth. (Photo by Naxos)

43.) San Francisco, California

You didn't think we'd forget San Francisco, did you? It's historic buildings, nearby natural parks, and acclaimed cuisine make it the undoubted star of the American west coast. (Photo by Monica Lewis)

You didn’t think we’d forget San Francisco, did you? It’s historic buildings, nearby natural parks, and acclaimed cuisine make it the undoubted star of the American west coast. (Photo by Monica Lewis)

44.) Mont Saint Michel, France

As over 3 million annual visitors can attest, there are few sights quite as evocative or romantic as the spire of Mont Saint Michel Abbey rising above the tranquil Normandy coast. (Photo by Michel Exaim)

As over 3 million annual visitors can attest, there are few sights quite as evocative or romantic as the spire of Mont Saint Michel Abbey rising above the tranquil Normandy coast. (Photo by Michel Exaim)

45.) Dubrovnik, Croatia

The walled city of Dubrovnik is the jewel of the Adriatic and it's Old City (a World Heritage Site) is one of the most picturesque areas in all of Europe. Don't get us started on the beaches! (Photo by Serviajera)

The walled city of Dubrovnik is the jewel of the Adriatic and it’s Old City (a World Heritage Site) is one of the most picturesque areas in all of Europe. Don’t get us started on the beaches! (Photo by Serviajera)

46.) Bangkok, Thailand

From peaceful temples to exotic markets and rowdy nightclubs, Bangkok has something for everyone. It has become so popular, in fact, that it beat London as 2013's most-visited city! (Photo by Alberto S. Dosantos)

From peaceful temples to exotic markets and rowdy nightclubs, Bangkok has something for everyone. It has become so popular, in fact, that it beat London as 2013′s most-visited city! (Photo by Alberto S. Dosantos)

47.) Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is often called the Paris of South America. From the wide avenues of downtown to the colorful homes and tango clubs of Barrio La Boca, Buenos Aires is a place to savor. (Photo by Flavia Ramos)

Buenos Aires is often called the Paris of South America. From the wide avenues of downtown to the colorful homes and tango clubs of Barrio La Boca, Buenos Aires is a place to savor. (Photo by Flavia Ramos)

48.) Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

There's one word to describe Antigua Guatemala: magical. Visitors can explore the ruins of colonial churches and monasteries and dive into a bohemian cafe, all under the gaze of the three watchful volcanoes that dominate the horizon. (Photo by Sonia R. Salces

There’s one word to describe Antigua Guatemala: magical. Visitors can explore the ruins of colonial churches and monasteries and dive into a bohemian cafe, all under the gaze of the three watchful volcanoes that dominate the horizon. (Photo by Sonia R. Salces

49.) Prague, Czech Republic

An mix of history, stunning architecture, and hearty cuisine has made Prague one of the world's most-visited cities and a must for travelers searching for the soul of central Europe.(Photo by Alvaro M. Molina)

An mix of history, stunning architecture, and hearty cuisine has made Prague one of the world’s most-visited cities and a must for travelers searching for the soul of central Europe.(Photo by Alvaro M. Molina)

50.) Budapest, Hungary

The countless empires that have ruled Budapest over the years all left a trace on this city often considered to be the most beautiful in Europe. Add a rowdy nightlife scene and plenty of hot springs, and you've got a recipe for travel bliss. (Photo by Raquel Rey)

The countless empires that have ruled Budapest over the years all left a trace on this city often considered to be the most beautiful in Europe. Add a rowdy nightlife scene and plenty of hot springs, and you’ve got a recipe for travel bliss. (Photo by Raquel Rey)

 

 

For more information and photos, visit minube.net

Classic Italian PIZZA

 LIFE IS TOO SHORT . . . .

Eat Classic Italian PIZZA

Classic PIZZA

 “Life is too short to eat bad pizza”

This motto of Began’s Classic Italian Pizza in Tempe, Arizona —  is my motto for ALL food! Eating really good food is so much more satisfying than eating poor or even mediocre food. 

Began’s Classic Italian Pizza is a quaint little place tucked into a strip center between two (actually three) of my favorite places: Trader Joe’s and Wildflower Bread Co. (and Changing Hands -a delightful bookstore).

Living in our neighborhood is like living in a ‘story book’ neighborhood — friendly neighbors waving hello, walking their dogs, watering their yards…we see them at the grocery store and in the neighborhood restaurants….

Shortly after moving into our classic neighborhood, we discovered the local pizza place. . . small, tucked into the back corner of an almost empty strip shopping center.  A delightfully intimate little Italian place, offering  hand tossed pizzas and calzones from a wood fired oven.  Also on the menu – my favorite: Tiramisu! Oh Yum!! (Buon Appetito in San Diego’s Little Italy is still #1 but this is the best local option!) I was delighted.

We enjoyed it only a few times before it, too, closed up and left the strip center . We heard rumors this wonderful little place was going to re-open in a new location but months went by…..

Then I saw it:

Classic Italian PizzaAnd waited in eager anticipation for the opening…past April into June (must have been a few delays?)

 Finally it has happened – Hooray!! And the wait was worth it.

Classic Italian Pizza

Still hand-tossed pizzas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Italian Pizza

Still wood-fired:

 

 

 

 

Classic Italian Pizza

Still Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And still serving Tiramisu …. but that will have to wait for the next time!

Happy 4th of July!

Go FOURTH and Celebrate!!

Happy 4th of July

 

Fireworks over Tempe Town Lake

Happy 4th of July

 

Happy 4th of July

 

 

 

 

Fantastic Food Art – This is Cake?

This is Cake?  This is amazing!

Fantastic Food Art - Cake?

This looks like a porcelain figurine

Who would even want to ‘cut’ into this gorgeous creature – cake or not?!

 

Image: This is a cake – 9GAG

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice – a traditional time for celebrating

For those in the the Northern Hemisphere, today, (Saturday, June 21) marks the Summer Solstice — the  first official day of summer — when the sun appears highest in the sky, reaching its northernmost point.

Summer Solstice

 Longest Day – Shortest Shadow

This day is also recognized and celebrated as the longest day of year  - the longest hours of daylight for the Northern Hemisphere.

 In ancient China, the summer solstice was observed by a ceremony to celebrate the Earth, femininity, and the “yin” forces (complementing the winter solstice that celebrated the heavens, masculinity and “yang” forces.) According to Chinese tradition, the shortest shadow is found on the day of  summer solstice – also known as the longest day.

Summer Solstice The Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere is a traditional time for celebrating Nature’s bountifulness. Fruits are swelling with growth and flowers are blooming.  Twilight  lingers late  into the summer evening. If you can, get in touch with Gaia’s nurture by spending some outdoor time and breathing in her beauty.  If you have a celebration planned with friends, more’s the better!  What does the Solstice chart say about this summer quarter? — read more at Mind Body Spirit Astrology.)

In some parts of the United States, events that focus on the theme of the summer solstice are held:  local festivals featuring art or music; environmental awareness activities that focus on using natural sunlight as a source of energy; and family gatherings (especially pool parties and cookouts)

In the north, it is the time of the midnight sun – when the sun never dips below the horizon. Midsummer festivals with bonfires and feasts celebrate the summer and the fertility of the Earth.

In Poland, thousands of lanterns are launched Summer Solstice  for a Magical Midsummer celebration.

 

 

 

 

Summer Solstice

 

 

In southern England, thousands flock to Stonehenge, a 5,000-year-old site on the Salisbury Plain  to celebrate the the June solstice. Some people believe that Stonehenge was built to help ancient people know when the solstice arrived.. Interestingly, the sun rises at a particular point on the horizon as viewed from the centre of the stone circle on day of the June solstice.

 

At the ancient megalithic observatory  of Kokino, the sun rises from a rocky crest filled with astronomical stone markers.  This 3,800-year-old observatory  in the northwestern town of Kumanovov 70 km (43 miles) north of Skopje, Macedonia, is ranked the 4th oldest observatory in the world according to NASA

Summer Solstice

 How do you celebrate?

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Resources:

http://www.mindbodyspiritastrology.com

http://www.ibtimes.com/summer-solstice-2014-5-facts-know-about-first-day-summer-1606440

http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/june-solstice-customs.html