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FOOD ADVENTURES, PAULIE SAYS

Un post vegano

De niña me daban “fuchi” los vegetales. Siempre me he considerado una persona melindrosa, no empiezo a comer hasta no sacarle cada trozo de cebolla a mi comida y no imagino mi vida sin nuggets de pollo.

Hace un par de años en un parque de la localidad durante una proyección cinematográfica conocí a Roy, amigo de la adolescencia de Ed. Es un sol, un excelente amigo y es vegano. No siento que sea cierto eso de “eres lo que comes”, es un pensamiento arcaico de mal gusto que nació con el fin de crear un sentimiento de vergüenza, pero si creo que conociendo la comida vegana, puedo llegar a conocer mejor a mi amigo y lo importante que es para él seguir ese estilo de vida.

Mi experiencia con platos veganos es muy, muy limitada. Antes solía visitar un restaurante vegetariano y era mega fan del gluten agridulce, hasta que mi cuerpo dijo “uno más y te mato”. ¿Intolerancia? No lo sé con seguridad pero tengo mis sospechas. Roy poco a poco ha derribado mis barreras culinarias de niña picky y le he dado la oportunidad al veganismo.
Con mucha emoción nos invitó a almorzar a su casa en compañía de sus gatos y puso en práctica sus dotes culinarios. Y me sorprendió tremendamente con su menú:

  • Moussaka
  • Tortas de garbanzo
  • Chutney de tamarindo
  • Limonada con jengibre, mastranto y raspadura
  • “Parmesano”


¿Mi elemento favorito? Las tortas de garbanzo. Las comería siempre, frijolera soy. La Moussaka de berenjenas estuvo deliciosa, me recordó mucho a las berenjenas gratinadas italianas y el chutney tenía un sabor muy hindú. Definitivamente un plato con sabores complejos y bien logrados.


Si son carnívoros y melindrosos como yo, denle una oportunidad a la comida vegana y vegetariana. Pueden llevarse una sorpresa contra todo prejuicio.

Si desean la receta de este menú para preparalo en casa, se las dejo luego del link. (créditos: Roy A.)

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FOOD ADVENTURES

Unagi

Tuve la oportunidad de ir a un Foodie Meetup cortesía de Degusta Panamá y para mi suerte era comida fusión japonesa.

Unagi lleva 4 meses en operación, y para el poco tiempo que llevan, me han causado una buenísima primera impresión con su menú de degustación preparado para los comensales. En Panamá hay lugares de sushi en abundancia, por lo cual un menú impecable y las buenas referencias son clave.

Nos recibieron con un Mojito(sin alcohol) a base de moras, yerbabuena, albahaca y limón. En lo personal no soy fan de los mojitos ni bebidas con sabores verdes, pero estuvo delicioso.

Luego, el primer plato acompañado de una copa de vino blanco italiano cual nombre no puedo recordar. Un “sample platter” que iniciaba el viaje dentro del menú. Sopa Misoshiru, gyosas de queso gouda y cerdo, rollo de tuna primavera con una salsa ponzu, ¿y mi favorito? El Ebi Yuti (camarón relleno con fideos fritos). Me comería como 10, así de tragona soy y lo bueno que estaba.

El trío de ceviches… Marisco mixto (cangrejo/surimi, camarón y corvina), pescado apanado y tuna tartare. El tartar era sedoso, casi como para limpiar el paladar. El mixto era un clásico. ¿Mi favorito? El frito, con su respectiva salsa de anguila.

Una vez terminada la degustación de ceviches, llegó el momento del plato fuerte. Tengo entendido que la porción era más pequeña por ser el menu especial, sin embargo no perdió la calidad del plato. EL FAMOSO SUSHI DONUT. Acompañado con un trio de makis. Me hubiera gustado que tuviera una salsa, como la de anguila tipo drizzle arriba, pero tal cual estaba buena.

Me llamó la atención que utilizan un papel de soya en remplazo del Nori para algunos de los rollos, y lo tiñen de colores, supongo para darles un plus en el extenso mundo de los rollitos.

En este lugar tienen una iniciativa llamada Mini Susherito, donde niños pueden ir a tomar clases de cómo preparar sus propios rollos, que me parece fabuloso porque de niña me hubiese fascinado aprender.

Nos dieron la sorpresa e invitaron a una de sus estudiantes, quien nos preparó un rollo que no tenía NADA que pedirle a un rollo hecho por un chef adulto.

 

Y ya para finalizar, y QUE BUEN FINAL, nos sirvieron helado frito (unf, lo amo) y un mochi de fresa con fresas frescas, el dulce del mochi con el ácido de la fruta fresca era el balance perfecto.

Definitivamente regresaré por más mochi, helado frito y camarones rellenos. Y mojitos. Y rollos. Y rodaré si sigo hartando.

La cena fué una cortesía de Unagi y Degusta, pero mi review está basado en mi experiencia como foodie local. Unagi está ubicado en Balboa Boutiques, 2do piso, Ciudad de Panamá.

FOOD ADVENTURES

Caliope

Yesterday I flew in from my Disney trip, and to my surprise I was being emailed about being chosen for a fancy course tasting dinner courtesy of a local phone company I am NOT affiliated to yet still managed to win over a story on how I lost a tooth to a Jolly Rancher at a restaurant when I was a kid. Thanks though! and it was TODAY. Ed is also currently traveling so I took my mom as my date.

According to Wikipedia, Calliope is the muse who presides over eloquence and epic poetry; so called from the ecstatic harmony of her voice. She is spoken of by Ovid as the “Chief of all Muses.”

img_4987-1Caliope, a Farm-to-Table fine dining restaurant is located at Casco Antiguo (the old quarter) right next to this popular venue called Teatro Amador. They offer valet parking for $5, which I find a bit steep considering my car was parked right at the curb and not a private parking lot like previously told as I handed in my keys. Could’ve done it myself, you know?

On to the restaurant… It was fancy and breathtakingly beautiful.

Before heading there I did a bit of research and found it was rated as Panama’s #1 restaurant on Trip Advisor. And it generally had excellent reviews on other platforms. Their cuisine style is said to be Mediterranean Fusion and they offer appetizers, entrees and a wide selection of deserts, and individual prices on their menu range from $3 to $35. I was greeted by a very attentive staff and seated in a table for two next, and offered drinks. I had a Cosmopolitan (spur of the moment) and my mom had an Amapola. Then, the deliciousness took place when our first course showed up.

Portobello, Cremini and Champignon cream with rosemary, salt and ginger infused cream. Great texture and I was told it would open my appetite. Gurl, you clearly don’t know me!

Pickled eggplant, fine herbs butter and artisanal bread

img_4984Crudo del Mar: Jack fish slivers (corvina) with citronette, caramelized onion jam, melon sherbet and bread tiles. I almost shed a tear on how beautiful it looked and how amazing it tasted.

img_4983Wonton ravioli stuffed with duck ragu, fontina cheese foam, bechamel and bacon crumble

Beurre blanc trout with diced bread croutons on a bed of sauté potatoes

Mango sherbet for palate cleansing

Cinnamon infused Catalan cream with caramelized raspadura (unrefined brown sugar)

img_4993

Mago Montii being a good sport and letting me take a picture for my ~humble~ blog post

To end our dining experience, because all good things must come to an end…we had a magician wait for us on the ground floor right before we exit the building.

I was too amused to snap any photos during his tricks, but I was impressed! He did a few simple tricks with red foam balls that I am still trying to find some logic to. I should’ve asked if he could make a Pug appear from thin air but I guess a different kind of sorcery would be required.

Life has been full of magical moments lately and tonight was nothing less than that, literally. Tonight’s dinner was sublime, every course was absolutely delightful and it was a refreshing Friday night for sure.

If you’ve got a restaurant you’d like me to review, I’ll do it in exchange for some tasty food. Opinions on this blog are of my own and I was not paid to advertise anyone, their services and/or products.

 

ART, DESIGN + NICE THINGS, PAULIE SAYS

WISH DAY

My parents were part of the The Lions Club and wanted me to follow their footsteps, but I never did. I saw how they helped gather stuff for people in need, but oddly, I didn’t feel identified with the cause, maybe because I felt these organizations only benefited the rich and were more of a social status label, for the most part.

I think it was a couple of years ago when a friend contacted me for a volunteer job. At the time, I didn’t have much time off to go on activities, so I offered my graphic design skills. Then I got to know a little bit more about the Make a Wish Foundation.

You may wonder… what’s that?

Founded in Phoenix, Arizona in 1980, when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities.

After the start of Make-A-Wish in the United States, interest in granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions quickly spread to other nations. In 1993, Make-A-Wish International was officially formed to serve the five countries outside the U.S. – and now helps to serve children outside the United States in nearly 50 countries on five continents through its 39 affiliates. Make-A-Wish America grants the wishes of children in the United States through its 61 chapters. With the help of generous donors and over 32,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish has collectively granted approximately more than 350,000 wishes worldwide since 1980. (source)

Late last year I even granted a wish, along with my coworkers. We held a bake sale and sold ice cream sandwiches to fund it. Little by little we gathered the money and it felt so good. Something as simple as a new bike can make a kid’s day, or his entire year. If you have the chance, resources, skills or just want to bring a smile to a kid, and yourself, do it.

So, two weekends ago I had the honor to volunteer again, this time it was not design related (yay!), so I got up early on a Sunday morning (I know, the horror) and drove my way into the venue for Wish Day.

April 29th is World Wish Day®, the anniversary of the wish that inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish® in 1980 and a worldwide day of gratitude to thank our donors, volunteers, medical professionals, sponsors, wish kids and families.

 

Wish Day was basically a party/fun fair for the kids, their healthier siblings and their parents. I was in charge of the “Duck Pond” and gave away prizes for the children. I may and may have not cheated a bit and helped them out so everyone got something…and maybe I did give away extra prizes to some kids… but It was a day for them go to all out. There was all kinds of games and things to do. I couldn’t even take many pictures, those kids kept me busy. Not surprised though, they had free popcorn, cotton candy, raspao'(Panamanian shaved ice), popsicles, burgers, hot dogs… and a freaking CANDY BAR. There was a candy bar, okay?! Even I walked out with my Jolly Rancher stash. My precious.

Most importantly, the children had fun and once more, taught everyone in the room how appreciative we should all be of the little things in life, like fishing a rubber duck off a kiddie pool and it being the biggest achievement ever. Those little people have probably been through hell and they are still fighting through it all with a smile.

If you’re interested in taking part as a volunteer for Make a Wish, you can contact them directly by clicking here or through me. There are many ways to do it and it doesn’t take much, but gives you back a whole lot.

EDGAR SAYS, POPCORN TIME

A la deriva

Artículo escrito por Edgar C. Mans

Si a un antropólogo se le preguntara algo complejo y pesado como “¿cuál es la solución a la situación en el Medio Oriente?”, lo más probable es que responda comenzando con el origen de un conflicto y siguiendo con algo como “el primer paso es la comprensión. Porque solo sabiendo el por qué, se puede comenzar a solucionar una situación social”.

¿Qué sentimos cuando vemos el peso de la justicia caer sobre un culpable? El cine es el arte morboso que no permite un clímax en el cual un monstruo sufre, porque en la vida real la mayoría de injusticias ocurren sin retribución newtoniana, causando nuestra gran mayoría de frustraciones a pequeña escala acumulándose en enfermedades crónicas.

El cineasta Miguel I. González confesó que se le pidió que callara el tema del dietilenglicol, ante vítores y aplausos de un público justamente conmovido. Pero más allá de una historia de un director, A la deriva es la historia de tres mujeres y las ramas y raíces que se extienden y crecen de ellas. Las hojas de su vida, las flores de sus sueños y las semillas de su indignación.

Como izquierdista social, me alegró que el monstruo del documental no fuera la Caja de Seguro Social. Como humanista me pareció satisfactoriamente ético el enfoque en lo humano. Hasta el monstruo de la historia es humano: cada culpable del consumo de dietilenglicol. Como socialista, me agradó la perspectiva femenina en un mundo incrementadamente consciente de la igualdad de género, compensando por milenios de desproporcionado privilegio masculino. Como público, me cautivó el tono tan orgánico, las texturas tan vívidas, y el ritmo tan delicado con el cual el filme toca los temas más sensibles y acaricia la psique con un susurro de esperanza ante la más perseverante de las adversidades: el dolor constante.

A la deriva es en mi prematura opinión el paradójico ganador de una competencia en la cual no compite. El premio del público claramente es uno guiado por conmoción y empatía. Y la película, done o no a la causa con sus procedencias, es la pieza clave en este movimiento que no descansa mientras haya afectados por el dietilenglicol.

Si a mí me preguntaran, sin ser antropólogo, ¿cuál es la razón por la que olvidamos tan rápido? Mi respuesta sería: para vivir. Allison, una niña gravemente afectada a nivel neuronal por el dietilenglicol, se ve temprano en el documental luchando por comunicar que entiende el concepto del cero. En la película claramente vemos víctimas, pero más que nada vemos sus esfuerzos en sacudirse tal fúnebre título. Lo más fuerte de A la deriva es la cotidianidad de todo. Como confusiones burocráticas en expedientes médicos pueden poner vidas en riesgo. Como un envío casual de glicerina para producir anticongelantes puede terminar en medicamentos otorgados por una entidad gubernamental para mejorar la salud. Como un cambio de receta puede terminar en un padecimiento de por vida. Movimiento reducido, cansancio constante, debilidad muscular, desorientación y otra gran cantidad de síntomas afectan a quienes han tenido el compuesto químico C4 H10 O3 en su organismo sin tratar por más de un día. Y día tras día, las protagonistas de la historia no olvidan, sino que luchan para vivir una vida con un semblante de la dignidad que merecen, cercenada por los síntomas de la intoxicación.

La película busca justicia. El movimiento que genera es uno de indignación. La misma indignación que causa ver niños privados de acceso a sus sueños, a un aprendizaje pleno y a una vida con salud. La misma indignación que siente una mujer al ya no poder ser libre para caminar, para ser esposa y amante, para ser ama de casa o compañera de vida. Los héroes de A la deriva son puramente humanos, viviendo un día a día con una realidad incómoda, pero unida a cada silla en la que se sientan.

Apropiadamente, A la deriva no sucumbe a la trillada herramienta de cámara en mano. El pulso de este documental es tan solemne como debe ser: la fotografía se mueve junto a los sujetos que retrata. El sonido captura el ambiente en el que juegan niños, en el cual se desplaza una silla de ruedas, o en el cual un pincel revive el rostro de un esposo difunto sobre un lienzo.

La delicadeza que logra A la deriva es admirable, y es sin duda un fruto de amor. Un amor a la vida que sobrepasa la amargura por no tener justicia ante los culpables de una calamidad masiva que afecta a miles dentro de Panamá y otros miles en decenas de países diferentes. Y es por todo esto, por el montaje de respiro esperanzado, por los planos de un paisaje pulsante, y por el cariño con el que tres voces lloran y sonríen colores del pasado y el futuro, es que A la deriva es una obra audiovisual incambiable. Urgente en su llamado, permanente en su efecto, necesario en su voz.

 

POPCORN TIME

IFF PANAMA 

Roughly 2 weeks ago, the International Film Festival of Panama took place. On its 5th edition they showcased more local films than before, living proof that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Cultural projects are often neglected by the government and associations that are meant to support emerging talent. This event lasted around a week so naturally, with design and film titles under our belts and a thirst for entertainment, we managed to attend a few of them.

I might get a bit in trouble for saying this, but the organization and their ticketing system SUCKED. You weren’t able to buy them online unless you had a Mastercard. And when you tried purchasing them from an authorized seller (brick and mortar shops) you ran the risk of them telling you there was just one seat available or they ran out of tickets to print. It happened to me and I missed a couple of movies I really wanted to watch like Magallanes, Viva and The Thin Yellow Line/La delgada línea amarilla (and meeting some celebs as well, who roamed among us mortals during that time). Also, I couldn’t get in for the Opening/Closing galas. At $30/each, I couldn’t bring myself to shower them with my pretty pennies. The Thin Yellow Line was only going to be shown at the Closing event, so unless i cashed out and got all fancy for the night , I didn’t stand a chance.

On Monday night we attended the Premiere for Salsipuedes, a Panamanian film about life in one of Panama’s most famous neighborhoods – all of its idiosyncrasy and violence. Took us about two hours to get to this particular theater cause we got caught up in a Friday night traffic jam. The National Theater, which they used for this particular set of events, got shut down last year for lack of maintenance, so we got the Teatro Balboa left. 

The film itself… I give it a 3/5. I was expecting to finally be blown away by a national film but I left underwhelmed. The cinematography was nice, I believe they took a risk with some shots and they were a hit, but the acting left much to be desired. Apart from a few actors, I felt they failed hard at casting people aptly qualified for film (or they were not well trained for the part). You know how theater acting is different from film acting? That.

The storyline itself was a bit poor and predictable for my taste, but cinematographically I feel it succeeded.

a-la-deriva-2016-1

Now let’s move on to A la deriva. What a documentary. We waited at the rush line cause we failed at getting tickets (read above). 10 years ago, over 200 thousand cough syrup bottles were distributed to the Caja del Seguro Social patients. Little they knew they had used chemicals intended for the automotive industry. People died from poisoning and survivors live with permanent damage, inside and out. Physically and emotionally. It was a touchy subject with raw emotion that moved across the movie venue. It was filmed and edited almost flawlessly in my opinion. 5/5.

afiche-sin-filtroDays later, because our busy schedules kept us away from the venues… Sin Filtro. Technically, we didn’t watch it ~during~ the festival, but at a private screening from my workplace that took place simultaneously. It was featured at the IFF though. A chilean film about being your true self when with others. I felt identified with it. It was about a lady who had a seemingly well-put home life, a successful job…but she was a pushover and it was affecting her health, physically and emotionally. She worked at an Ad agency – hello! And they were trying to overlook her experience and hard work for a Youtube Vlogger with bird poop for brains. That, among other things. Until she began speaking her mind. It was wonderful, refreshing, hilarious and approachable. 5/5.

Last but not least…Dheepan. My boyfriend suggested we watched it. We saw “Indian themed things” and went for it without knowing what we were gonna sit down for, so we proceeded to buy the tickets and called it a date.

dheepan_1Dheepan was more than that. It was directed by Jacques Audiard, the same guy who brought us Rust and Bone. The story began in Sri Lanka, in the middle of a civil war, and was about a Tamil freedom fighter who fled to France, along with a woman he barely knew and an orphaned kid. They formed a family to the eyes of others, in hopes of building a better life for themselves in France, and relatively safe haven. It was raw, emotional and sadly, the true story of millions from anywhere and everywhere who have flown home just for a chance of a future, for better or worse. I liked it a lot. It was a bit slow at times, I attribute that to the director’s style, but it grabbed your attention right from the get go. 4.5/5.

And that’s a wrap! These reviews are based on no other than my personal opinion and experience. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your own experiences, reviews and suggestions in the comment section below.

 

 

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