My Unusual SouvenirsJanet Dore2023-09-19T09:28:56+00:00
My Unusual Souvenirs
I’d be lying if I said I never got excited about things. Some “things” are the physical embodiment of someone’s passion and creativity. Like these unusual souvenirs I discovered on—or as a direct result of—my wanders.
It was the French who taught me that real salad dressings do not come ready made in a bottle, but are whipped up quickly with pure and recognizable ingredients (including a bit of passion). The only bottle my dressing comes out of today is this one—Norpro Salad Dressing Maker.
The second I walked into the Desigual clothing store in Ingolstadt, Germany, I knew I’d finally found MY store. Born of a Swiss man in Barcelona in 1984, there are now stores in several hip cities throughout the world and—God bless the internet—online.
One of the most valuable souvenirs I brought back from wandering the world is a greater attention to all things natural—something the U.S. lags on. I am slowly replacing all the toxic stuff with healthy products, like my deodorant. The “C” word has been linked to mainstream deodorants making this one well worth the price. I’ve tried several natural deodorants and this one is—pits down—the most effective. And, it smells delicious.
When news broke that Neutrogena was one of the unhealthiest sunscreens on the market, I lost trust in all the mainstream brands. I began my search for a favorite natural one at EWG. Not only did Blue Lizard absorb the most, it stayed on in the water and passed saved me from frying in Bali.
Just after visiting Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota—about two-thirds of the way through a 45-day 10,000 mile road trip—I couldn’t help but notice the multiple billboards with an ass, a bottle of red wine…and, rhubarb. Just the thought of one of my top three fruits made me salivate. And, the fact that I was on this road trip with my teenage girl was reason enough to stop off for some wine tasting on the way out of town. An excellent decision.
I don’t make it a habit to wander into local wine bars alone, but this time it sure paid off. I think the bartender pitied my friendlessness and poured me a taste of this incredible rice wine. Now, let me just be very clear…this wine’s 16.9% alcohol content packs a serious punch. And, yet…somehow it still tastes delightfully good.
Outside of the U.S., tea is the #1 beverage. In the U.S., it’s java. [Even soda beats out tea here, but don’t get me started on that.] I love me a good cup of (foofie) coffee, but tea is more than just a beverage for me…it’s a ritual. And, this is the ONLY place I’ll buy it. They’ve got a mind blowing variety at bargain basement prices.
While walking along a Savannah street one sweltering summer day, I was lured inside a cool boutique by the offer of sweet honey iced tea…and, air conditioning. Mr. Honey beckoned me over to the bar. Honey tasting? Hmmm…isn’t honey just honey? I stand corrected. This honey is King. It has now been replaced with whipped honey.
After climbing out of a teeny plane as white as the barf bag I clutched in my fingers, I couldn’t imagine ever eating again. It’s a testament to the perfect balance of sweet and spicy in Lissette’s Secret Sauce that actually had me almost savoring my first taste of Belize-style grouper. I highly suggest bringing home a case and gifting it to those people you’d like to forever be in your debt.
I discovered this tasty seasoning several years ago while wandering the aisles of my local indie grocery store and I haven’t been without a bottle since. Sprinkle it on chicken or veggies right before they come out of the pan and…voila! You’re done, it’s tasty, and even the kids’ll love it.
The first time I tasted Tajin was in Cabo San Lucas. I envisioned spice-induced nausea as the guy shook it all over my fresh mango-on-a-stick. Oh, how wrong I was. This mild tangy seasoning of the Gods makes everything taste better…papaya, avocado, eggs, chicken, cucumbers. It also exponentially increases teen veggie intake.
Cyprus is a small country that’s HUGE on taste. Halloumi Cheese, known as “squeaky cheese” in our home, is one of a few international culinary delights that I’ve been able to find consistently at Von’s, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods. Slice it, fry it up in a pan, and eat immediately…or Google for some delish recipes!
I was enlightened by Bel Paese [real cheese!] 17 years ago in Italy. Back in my San Diego suburb, I fell into a cheese slump, unable to find anything but jack+cheddar in my local stores. Thank God, someone in San Diego finally figured it out…[and, that I left the burbs]! A visit to my neighborhood Venissimo shop is a highlight of my new life. I urge you…move beyond American cheese and find yourself a local dealer.
I discovered Waldmeister in a small gelato shop in Celle, Germany. It was the mystery flavor I decided to risk trying. Who would have thought a tiny flower that only grows in the forests of Germany would taste just like a gummy bear??? If it’s bright green in Germany, it’s probably Waldmeister and it’s definitely worth a taste. It even got me to eat jello again!
Sometimes a memory is so good, so powerful, that you can remember every detail of your surroundings. My introduction to Lemon Meringue Pie S’Mores was just such a memory. I was sitting around a campfire in the Sequoia National Forest when my girlfriend took a graham cracker, a toasted marshmallow, and some lemon curd and changed my life forever.
I have several ways I relive my trips—by using my trip photos as my laptop screensaver, posting them daily to Instagram, and uploading them to this awesome digital frame. The built in motion detector means it’ll go on when you walk into the room and shut off a few minutes after you walk out!