11 June 2014

The Actual Gettysburg

Last year, Jeff, Phor and I saw the reenactments of some of the Gettysburg battles.  But this did not take place on the actual battlefield. 

We drove up a few weeks ago to visit the actual sites.  Neither of us had been there before and I really didn't know what to expect.  The Visitors Center is a gorgeous building and the men at the guest services desk walked us through our touring options from hiring a guide to ride in the car with us to taking a bus tour or buying a cd that talks us through the sites.  We took our chances and followed the map on the brochure.  I really appreciated this as it gave us time to go where we wanted and stop when we chose.  I was also able to show some emotion and not have to explain it.

I'm grateful that we toured the actual site after seeing the reenactment.  I can't even come close to imagining what happened on this ground.  I was overwhelmed with the fact that so many men died for what they believed was right.  It was an incredible sacrifice and all of the monuments and statues lining the drive emphasized that fact.  It was also an experience that shaped our country.  This is who we are.

This is the North Carolina monument which really touched me.  I think it was the fact that 1 out of every 5 men killed in this battle were from North Carolina (I don't remember if that was overall or just on the Confederacy).  There were so many families that suffered so much loss in a 3 day period.  If I remember correctly, close to 50,000 men were killed at Gettysburg with over 50,000 casualties. 

The Virginia Memorial with General Robert E. Lee at the top.

The Pennsylvania Monument which was obviously the biggest and the most impressive.

 The Gettysburg Cemetery where there are far too many unknown soldiers buried and where President Lincoln gave The Gettysburg Address.

The Eisenhower Farm is right by the memorial and we bought a ticket for the shuttle at the Visitors Center.  I'm not an enormous fan of Eisenhower as I just finished Truman's biography and I thought he didn't treat Truman very well.  Regardless, it's still interesting to see how Eisenhower spent his final days.

10 June 2014

Rock Creek Cemetery

Matt offered to take us on a tour of one of the local cemeteries after I told him how much I enjoy wandering through them.  We started with a picnic.

I really need to do a better job of taking photos of friends that aren't sitting directly across from me but I'm sometimes a little embarrassed about it.

Our first stop was to check out Evelyn Davis who believed in eternal life or is a vampire.  I haven't conducted any research on her but she sounds incredible. You can read more about her below.

The wife above was a descendant of Alexander Graham Bell.

There were some gorgeous statues throughout the cemetery.  And an interesting one below.  I found out later that Paul was a Democratic political strategist and died just before Clinton was elected in the election he was working on.  It's a very bittersweet memorial after I learned his story.

I found out that Alice Roosevelt Longworth was buried here and my friends made it their mission to find it.  I love my friends for their efforts.  I also love Alice and find her intriguing and witty.  

I know it can be considered odd to want to explore cemeteries.  I think I picked it up from my Dad who loved history.  There is so much history on how a civilization buried their loved ones and national heroes. I'm excited for my next trip to New York when I'm hoping to walk through a famous cemetery in the Bronx. 

Adam and Eve.

09 June 2014

Baltimore Food Adventures

I read about Emporiyum a few months ago.  It's a food festival in Baltimore and I assume that it will be an annual gathering but this was the first time.  Phor and I went up in the morning and made a day of it in Baltimore. It had been years since I'd last been and I wanted to check out some of the non-touristy areas.

There were a couple of big name restaurants that first convinced me to attend the festival but those booths were either too crowded or their offering was not that special.

These caramels at Mouth Party were some of the most delicious caramels that I've had.  And the workers were encouraging us to eat as much as we wanted.  Phor and I bought a bag to split and I ate all of mine way too quickly.  Most of these companies are Baltimore based but there were a few from other cities.

Lots of cool signage to remind you where you were.

Bryan Voltaggio was there but the line for his crab cake sandwich was far too long to make it worth it.

I loved this cute candy company from Portland - Quin.  I had read about it in the NY Times and it was exciting to see them in person.

The festival was in a large ballroom across from the Domino Sugar factory.

It was one of those gorgeous spring days and we went to the Arboretum for a short trip.  We saw lots of daffodils.

We then made our way to Hampden - a cool neighborhood with lots of restaurants and shops that I like to peruse.

We stopped at The Food Market to eat dinner kind of based on Hannah's comments about the pretzels and beer-cheese fondue.  These were alone worth the stop there.

The rest of the food was pretty good and I liked the Baltimore Club which is a normal club with the addition of crab cake.

I was really happy with dessert though.  I can't remember what it was any more but I was happy with it.  It was a crazy food day but a nice way to explore more of Baltimore.  I would love to know why Fells Point smells of like bread.  We walked around trying to find the source and couldn't not.

08 June 2014

Cookbook Club - Latin American Cuisine

Marissa hosted our April gathering and chose Latin America cuisine because of her own family ties to South America.  She sent us this link to recipes on the Food Network site and told us to choose whatever looked good.  I really wanted to make al pastor tacos but I knew the trip on the metro with the food wouldn't do it a lot of good.

We had an early dinner and it was one of those Saturdays where most of the people could attend.  I'm realizing how difficult that is especially as the summer begins.

I made the Frijoles Borrachos or drunken beans which I loved.  The recipe was not all that great because it did not specify soaking the beans but thankfully I knew enough to do that.  The beans were very easy to make and I loved the addition of bay leaves and beer.  It would be the perfect topping to nachos or burritos.  I think the group was surprised how much they liked them since they don't look all that special.  Now I know what beans at Mexican restaurants can taste like.

Julia made shrimp empanadas and yes, we did laugh at the fact that she made empanadas.  There is a well known restaurant in DC called Julia's Empanadas.  Julia made the beignets at a previous gathering and she is very good at frying which I am not.

Marissa made this dish with potatoes and eggs which I can't remember the name but it's a familiar dish to her from her family. Very tasty.

Anne made Salvadoran pupusas and did an excellent job considering she didn't have the pupusa press.  It's always fun to make recipes that we're not familiar with but it's very frustrating at the same time.

Megan made this delicious ceviche with squid and shrimp.  This was one of the hits of the night.  

The desserts look very white and not too interesting but they were incredible.  Jocelyn made tres leche cake and it was sweet and so good.  May made the passion fruit mousse as it was something she had eaten in London and wanted to try it. 

Everything was very good and I'd love to do more Latin America cooking with focusing on specific countries.  It's not a cuisine I eat too much of on the East Coast but I miss it.