Amsterdam Travel Journal

4:43 AM, THE NETHERLANDS: Hanging out in this tiny hotel lobby with a sleepy eyed clerk at the desk. Drinking a 7-up, and eating Paprika flavored Lays and a candy bar named Lion. I just can’t sleep anymore tonight because of the time change. That ✈️ lag got me like…

Despite the junk I’m eating right now, I can’t begin to tell you how utterly amazing the food is here. It is beyond any comprehension of fresh you can imagine. Today I went to the “Marqdt” (grocery store) to buy stuff for a bed picnic this rainy evening. 
It was a small urban type store (all of them are) and the food selection and freshness left us with dazzled moon glow eyes. I stopped at a Fromagerie (cheese shop) who made me a gorgeous sandwiche, and a bakers’ shop on the way back to the hotel. The baker’s assistant wanted to kill me because I wanted one of everything (no, seriously-one of everything.)

Needless to say I had a veritable feast sitting in bed watching King of Queens in incomprehensible Dutch (hilarious) while the rain dribbles down on the streets outside. The hotel room is ground level, facing the street and a canal just past it. This is both a blessing and curse. It’s convenient because I am able to pop outside quickly but the Dutch like to sing, and since the preferred mode of travel here bicycle, they tend to blithely pedal past all hours of the wee morning singing at top volume. 
So far, Amsterdam is as quaint, charming and thoroughly European an one could imagine in their head. Crooked streets. Mind-blowing food. Just happy people everywhere you look zipping about their lives quite merrily. 

I am ready to move here. 


Traveled across the world including Europe and Asia.

Lived in London, Tokyo, Miami, LA.

I had never been to New York City until this year and I went twice. Incomparable. Well….maybe a little comparable. Tokyo is also a vertical city. The food was also amazing there. Lots of people everywhere, which is important to my soul.

NYC though…. The food. That park. Those boroughs. My first trip I had 3 days. When asked what sightseeing and tourist things I wanted to do, I was having none of it. The only thing I wanted to do was get to all five boroughs and eat the local food from that area. Goal accomplished! It was legendary!

#heartexplosion #foodieinparadise #queens #manhatten #bronx #brooklyn #statenisland

Boxing, Cooking & a Father I Could Never Connect With

My dad was a scary dude to me growing up. I spent most of my childhood in my room because it was a haven away from the devastating words he used as effectively as wielding a sword to my burgeoning child psyche. I tried to spend as little time around him as possible. 

But at a time in my life when we couldn’t talk to each other, no…., we couldn’t communicate with each other, I managed to absorb two passions of his, nearly by osmosis. The first was boxing. This was back when boxing meant something. Mohammed Ali. Leon Spinks. Angelo Dundee. Mills Lane. And yes, in later years, Tyson. Boxing had heart then. Two men. Two sets of determination. Two different skill sets. Get in a ring and let the best man win. 

For this, I would actually emerge from my safe place and sit in front of the telly, and we’d share some time cheering on our champion. These were glorious moments.

My dad’s only other discernible passion was food. Preparing it. Finding exotic recipes and replicating them. Going out to eat to places my peers never went to. Hell, I never ate at a McDonald’s until I was 18 years old because he considered it garbage. Kids I went to school with didn’t eat pate or escargot or caviar. They ate macaroni and cheese or chicken fried steak and such. My dad would fix borscht. He’d make his own sausages. He didn’t discriminate, and cooked dishes from all over the world.

Me, eh, I loved eating it but preparing it, having that passion just didn’t exist. Somehow though, his cooking commentary, and his willful education of my palate made a huge impact on me without my even knowing it at the time. 

Later in life, much later, I just started cooking one day, and I’ve never stopped. All that rabble he would summarily explain when he cooked stuck in my head somewhere. Now, I cook the most amazing kick ass food, and it has all come so naturally to me. I dream of food and wake up with the taste of it in my mouth. I visit other countries and my goal is basically to eat my way across it.

We’ve all got our shit when it comes to our parents, and I’m no different. I never did really connect with him. But still…. there is a part of him in me, in my DNA, that he delivered up to me because he had a passion for it, and my life is better because of it.

Thanks Dad. This was a good thing you did and you never even understood that it was a gift you gave me.

My Love Affair with Food Continues

  • Soft fresh dark pumpernickel topped with savory trout smoked fish dip.
  • Mini Baybel cheeses in their delightful red suitcases.
  • Slices of honey ham or roasted turkey.
  • Straight from the Jewish deli, a nice white chicken salad spread with optional red currant jelly topping. 
  • Banana slices with almond butter dollops.
  • Lychees in heavy sweet syrup.
  • Green, black and kalamata olives with roasted red peppers and Pearl onions cold salad mix.
  • Über buttery hard pretzel sticks.
  • A pale Sleepytime tea with individual honey pot.
  • A small glass of chilled white wine as a digestive.
  • Icy cold glass of Coca-Cola. 

Coca Cola and China

I learned pretty quickly not to drink anything in China that didn’t come in a can. Here are some of my cans. BTW – the pink stuff was supposed to be a yummy treat but was colored tofu in a custard consistency. Very unfun.









Japanese Bulk Buy Machines

In America you can take a 5 gallon jug to the market and fill it with spring water from a machine. Those wily Japanese take things a step further, and you can do the same thing with your 5 gallon bottle only instead of spring water, you can choose to fill it with miso broth or even green tea!


Candy Aisle in Japanese Grocery Store

Colorful. Crazy. Delicious candy from Japan.











And then there is this depressed fucker…..

Although, in retrospect, I think this picture could be from the feet section and might be for inserts you put in your shoes to keep them from smelling bad.

Tasty Clam Snack

If you find yourself in the Aomori, Japan airport and you’re feeling a mite peckish, hit up the convenience shop and have some fresh clams. I watched the guy replenish the tank. Grab a bag. Grab some clams, and voila, you too could sit in front of gate and crack’em open for a tasty delight.

Here’s the guy loading up the tank.



Here is a side shot of the tank.


Here they are from the top.


Kentucky Fried Christmas

Back in the 80s, Japan truly opened itself up to doing business with Western countries and Kentucky Fried Chicken swooped in and established itself as the fast food restaurant du force. KFC did such a great job becoming a part of their culture that it is THE Christmas meal to provide to your family at Christmas.

KFC’s business is so great during the Christmas season that the Japanese call months ahead to place their Christmas order.

All of this I find very strange because if you go into a grocery store you’ll find they sell hardly any chicken products. They don’t really cook chicken there. Beef? Yes. Pork? Hell yeah. Chicken? Not so much.

BTW – go into a KFC and you won’t be able to get any mashed potatoes. They don’t eat them that way. But, you will be able to order an eggplant milkshake. It’s purple.

Go figure.


Squid, Glorious Squid

They do love squid snack in Japan.