Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

That Cheeky Woman At The Well

Today’s Gospel reading from the Lectionary is one of my favorites, and every time I read it, I am amazed. Amazed that this good Jewish boy would speak to a woman who cavorted with men, having five husbands, and being with a man now who was not her husband. It’s the middle of the day, and he is sitting by a well having a conversation with a woman most good Jewish boys would run from, a woman of ill-repute!

She must have had a rough life, five husbands, etc. but it hasn’t broken her spirit, and she is joking around with Jesus. She knows something about Jewish traditions, but has no idea who Jesus might be. Then, oddity of oddity, he reveals himself to her as the Messiah – to this woman. He reveals himself to a woman at the very lowest end of the social scale, a woman barely tolerated in her own society. This woman believes him; for all her sins, she ‘hears’ the truth of what he is saying in her heart.

John 4:1-26

4Now when Jesus* learned that the Pharisees had heard, ‘Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John’— 2 although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— 3he left Judea and started back to Galilee. 4But he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. 8(His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)* 10Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ 11The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’

13Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ 15 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’

16 Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ 17The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; 18for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ 19The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you* say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’

21 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ 25The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ 26Jesus said to her, ‘I am he,* the one who is speaking to you.’

August 15, 2012 Posted by | Character, Charity, Civility, Cold Drinks, Communication, Cross Cultural, Lectionary Readings, Relationships, Social Issues, Spiritual, Values, Women's Issues | | Leave a comment

Hopjack’s Filling Station, Pensacola

This is all about the power of the press. This morning, as I checked my news online, I saw an article about a restaurant area in East Pensacola Heights, and it mentioned several restaurants, including Hopjack’s Filling Station, which our son had told us about.

“Today, I want to go to Hopjack’s!” AdventureMan announced after having read the Pensacola News Journal, and off we went.

Hopjack’s Filling Station is all about beer. I wish I had gotten a photo of the 33 taps for their beers on tap. Next to the 33 beers on tap, there is a huge refrigerator case, an entire wall of cold beers in bottles, so many I have no idea how many there are. And across from that wall, on the opposite wall, is another wall of beer.

They also have food. 🙂 There is a cold chest full of hard-to-find cheeses, and not a huge menu, but a very very cool menu, a big city kind of brew-pub menu, with international offerings at reasonable prices:

I ordered the Duck Panini with the garlic aioli (really, a garlic mayonnaise) (“garlic aioli” is like saying “shrimp scampi” or “Vista View” LOL)

And AdventureMan ordered the Caprese Panini, which had a balsamic vinegar reduction that was divine:

And, of course, we both had beer :-). If you don’t know what you like, they have little tasting cups. I had a dark beer, just a tiny bit sweet, called Rogue, and AdventureMan had something he hoped would approximate a good German Pils, but he says we are going to have to go back and keep trying until he finds it. 🙂

Hopjack’s Filling Station will have a grand opening Friday, August 10, with wine tasting as well as beer sampling. Go welcome them to the neighborhood.

(I really want to go back and try their Belgian frites with aioli!)

August 2, 2012 Posted by | Cold Drinks, Community, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Food, Living Conditions, Photos, Restaurant | | Leave a comment

Rio Nuevo in Alpharetta, GA

Alpharetta, GA is a bedroom community of Atlanta, with a nice big mall with a Macy’s.

(Pensacola does not have a Macy’s.)

When we got to Alpharetta, it was 7 pm because we had lost an hour between Pensacola and Atlanta; we got settled and then we decided to look for a place to eat. I checked with TripAdvisor and Yelp, but we really didn’t see anything that interested us until we checked one of the sattelite strips around the Northpoint Mall, and found Rio Nuevo.

Rio Nuevo is a relatively new Mexican restaurant. I loved the hostess, who essentially looked at me and said “I don’t think you’re from around here” LOL; her Mother is European and she pegged me for European, too. She was surprised when I told her I am an Eskimo (not really true) and that I am a born Alaskan (true).

I loved the light fixtures. I wish I had the courage to put one of these gorgeous sparkly lights up in my entry hall instead of the traditional chandelier I have there, now. These light fixtures really give life to the restaurant; they sparkle!

It gave me something to think about besides the menu. The problem with the menu: too many good things to choose from, and a lot of them I have never heard of before, but they sound really really good.

Very good selection of beers and wine 🙂 I had ordered a Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet, but ended up with the house cab – and it was just fine.

I ordered the Chili Seared Scallops. They were beautiful, and tasty, and surrounded by lovely vegetables, so I felt doubly good, eating tasty scallops AND vegetables. I was just a tiny bit taken aback that the chili sauce was sweet, so it reminded me a little of Thai food; I think I would prefer them sharp and salty, rather than sweet. They were, however, beautiful and delicious.

AdventureMan, however, was the big winner. He ordered a la carte Mexican tacos, one with a Pastore filling and one with a Barbacoa filling.

Here is what Wikipedia says about Tacos al Pastore:

A similar dish is served in Mexico known as tacos al pastor or “tacos de trompo”. The cooking is different from that of the kebab. The meat is cooked and then sliced into a corn tortilla. They can be found all over Mexico, especially in street corners. They are not new to Mexico, and it is unknown if there is a direct relationship with the Turkish Kebab. In Puebla, this was introduced by the numerous Middle-Eastern immigrants, mostly from Lebanon and Syria, but also Turkey and Iraq, in the early 1920s.[42] Since then, it has become a traditional dish of the city, locally known as taco árabe, “Arabian taco”, sold in taquerías orientales, “[Middle-]Eastern taco stands”.[43] Nonetheless, it is now usually made with beef and lamb and served either in pitas –locally called pan árabe, “Arabian bread”–, leavened bread –locally called torta árabe, “Arabian baguette”, also called cemita–, or simply in flour tortillas.

It is usually accompanied tahini and labneh –locally called jocoque–[44] even though the skhug (or kharif) has been replaced with a thick chipotle-garlic sauce.[45] In other parts of the country, most notably in Mexico City, the dish has adapted to the Mexican cuisine by replacing the pita with corn tortillas, in what is now called a taco al pastor, “shepherd taco”.[45] Unlike a taco árabe, the taco al pastor is served with pineapple, cilantro, chopped onions and green or red salsa, and marinated with annatto sauce.

Regardless of local adaptations, authentic middle eastern shawarma is available in the many middle eastern restaurants and kosher taquerias that cater to the large Mexican Lebanese and Mexican Sephardim communities. German style Doner Kebab can be found too but is not common, although is gaining popularity.

In some places of Northern Mexico, such as Nuevo Leon, Durango, Chihuahua, these are usually called Tacos de Trompo if served on maize flour tortillas, and gringas if they are served on wheat flour tortillas with cheese.

A similar dish is called Tacos Árabes, which originated in Puebla in the 1930s from Lebanese-Mexican cuisine. Tacos Árabes use shawarma-style meat carved from a spit, but are served in a pita bread called pan arabe. These tacos have been brought by Mexican immigrants to the United States in the past few years and have become popular in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, the two largest Mexican and Mexican-American population centers in the United States.[46]

LLOOLLL – an Arab taco! Filed under doner kebab! And made with PORK! Well, they are delicious, and they have this taste like I imagine you could buy on a street in Mexico 😉 I have to imagine. I have never been to Mexico. Not yet 🙂

Here is what Wikipedia says about Barbacoa:

Throughout Mexico, from pre-Mexican times to the present, barbacoa (the name derives from the Caribbean indigenous Taino barabicu) was the original Mexican barbecue, utilizing the many and varied moles (from Nahuatl molli) and salsa de molcajete, which were the first barbecue sauces. Game, turkey, and fish along with beans and other side dishes were slow cooked together in a pit for many hours. Following the introduction of cattle, domestic pigs, goats, sheep, and chickens by the Spanish, the meat of these animals was cooked utilizing the traditional indigenous barbacoa style of cooking.

“Barbacoa” actually has its origins in all the countries that Tainos and other Indian populations inhabited, not just Mexico. The Tainos themselves were pre-Columbian Indians located throughout the Caribbean and which some believe included the Arawak Indians who especially dominated the most leeward Caribbean islands themselves.

The Arawak were first and foremost those who historically used the green and fire resistant flexible limbs of the hanging branches of the giant Bearded Fig Tree (Los Barbadoes) to cook meats and fish over an open fire while first marinating their foods in tropical herbs and spices found naturally throughout the southern islands to South America.

Unlike latter variations, the original and most authentic “Barbacoa” used herbs and spices, such as island prepared “cassareep” (derived from the root of the cassava plant), not only to enhance the natural flavors of meats, fish and vegetables, but preserve their cooked foods from spoiling in the heat of the tropics. The Arawak Indians called their preparations “Barbacoa,” accordingly, as these methods proved to be a boon of protection for keeping their foods from prematurely spoiling.

Rio Nuevo also had two different Mole’s I am dying to try, but when we went back for lunch the next day . . . . after hours at the Mall on the hottest day in Atlanta history ever, we BOTH ordered the tacos-a-la-carte: al pastore and barbacoa. They were SO good, served with bowls of fresh cilantro and chopped onion to sprinkle on – divine!

Service both times was excellent. This is not fast food, but there were a lot of people eating lunch there who were in and out quickly. The owner came by both times we ate there, and there are still things on the menu I would love to try.

July 2, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Cold Drinks, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Restaurant, Road Trips, Shopping | , | Leave a comment

Hilarious Carlsberg Commercial

Thank you Hayfa – where do you find these???

December 7, 2011 Posted by | Civility, Cold Drinks, Cultural, Entertainment, Marketing | Leave a comment

Zapote in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

It’s dark, and we’ve been outdoors for hours so we are hungry again. AdventureMan knows what he wants; his favorite comfort food is Mexican. We turn into Zapote and we know we have come to the right place – there are lots of customers, and they look like locals.

We order, and the first surprise is the iced tea – it comes in pitchers! It’s a lot of tea:

I order Camerones (Shrimp) Diablo and AdventureMan orders Carne Asada. Both real good. 🙂

No, I don’t know why it came with french fries, and no, I didn’t eat them. 🙂

November 2, 2011 Posted by | Cold Drinks, Eating Out, Food, Road Trips, Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Dancing and Drinks

Yesterday was our 38 year wedding anniversary, and it was a great day. Last night, we went for dancing and drinks.


Our dance class at the YMCA . . . and this month we started the waltz, which we already know how to do, but now we are learning some extras, like turns. It is barely air conditioned in the gym, if at all, so dancing is EXERCISE in the heat we are experiencing – record highs – this year.

And drinks – don’t McDonald’s smoothies count? I totally love the Wild Berry, and I try to tell myself it might even be healthy, it might even have berries, and I try not to think about the sugar. It is only now and then I have one, AdventureMan too, so our anniversary was celebrated in style. Our style, LOL, not exactly the high life, but it works for us.

June 8, 2011 Posted by | Aging, Cold Drinks, Cultural, Entertainment, Exercise, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Marriage, Pensacola | 10 Comments

The Church Brew Pub and Downtown Pittsburgh

Now this is courage. In a strange town, one set of friends says they know a great place for lunch, and we need to come through this tunnel to come out for a great view of Pittsburgh. And, they volunteer to be the lead drivers. That takes courage.

It all went beautifully. We made all the right entrances and exits, and while our route was a little eccentric, so as to take advantage of a particular view, we got where we intended to go, wooo hoooo.

Here are some views of downtown Pittsburgh:

Our goal for lunch was the Church Brew Works, where these friends had eaten a few days before with our Doha-Pittsburgh friends.

It’s an old Catholic church, de-consecrated, de-sanctified, now a restaurant and micro-brewery.

Here’s what you see when you enter:

Here’s brewery works, in the old Sanctuary:

Here’s the indoor dining area:

And here is where you can eat outside, in the hops garden, with a feel a lot like Germany:

This is the bar area and souvenier sales:

The food was pretty good, not particularly memorable, but that is often the case where the setting takes precedence over everything else. One set of friends had the beer sampler, which they shared: 🙂

It was another of those great days. It didn’t matter where we went or what we ate, what mattered was doing it together.

June 7, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Cold Drinks, Cultural, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Travel | , | 12 Comments

Butler’s Pantry

This room is kind of an LOL; it is called the Butler’s Pantry, but we don’t have a butler. It has a dual wine refrigerator, one held at 47°F for white wine and one at 61°F for red wine. We do have wine in them, but we are not great collectors of wine. The cupboards have come in handy for all the beer and wine glasses we collected during our years of living in Germany. The white wine refrigerator also holds beer, which is tasty in hot hot weather and with Mexican food.

This is a room we are in and out of all the time – on our way to the garden, on our way to the laundry, and on our way out the door to the garage. The photographs are by AdventureMan:

July 7, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Arts & Handicrafts, Cold Drinks, ExPat Life, Germany, Living Conditions, Pensacola | 2 Comments

Margaritaville on Pensacola Beach

The weather was beautiful in Pensacola, all 4th of July weekend to the fireworks. Early Monday morning, all hell broke loose, the heavens opened and it poured rain.

In spite of the good weather leading up to the Fourth, the droves that usually invade the beaches to celebrate didn’t materialize. One restaurant owner said his business was down 80% from last year at this time. We decided, in spite of the rain, to head over to the beach for lunch, do our small part for the Pensacola Beach economy.

LLLOOOLLLL! The first place we tried, Peg Leg Pete’s, (“Our Latitude Will Change Your Attitude”) had such a crowd that the wait was 25 – 30 minutes, standing out in the rain, so we passed. Our second choice, Crabs – We Got ‘Em was closed until 4 pm. Oh AAARRGH,, but there is still the brand new Jimmy Buffet hotel, Margaritaville and we’ve been eager to take a look so in we go.

Bad news is that you can’t use the underground parking lot, even on a rainy day, unless you are a hotel guest. Good news is that if you are dining in the restaurant, valet parking is free, and when you have a baby and car seat with you, valet parking is very very good. 🙂

Margaritaville is beautiful, and fun. As soon as you walk in, it is beachy; beautiful sand and sea colors, a faux straw mat floor and comfy beach-home furniture. Beach music, too.

The view of Pensacola beach, even on a rainy day, is glorious. Please note that the beaches are CLEAN. Come to Pensacola! Save the economy!

Our original plans had been to find one of the beachy restaurants, you know, family restaurants, full of kids, one more little baby wouldn’t even be noticed. The main demographic in the Margaritaville restaurant was couples, mostly 50-ish, women in sundresses they were a little too big for, and men in big bright flowered shirts, drinking fancy beach drinks (There is a whole page of them 🙂 ). There was one baby, and few other children.

We only had to wait about 15 minutes to get in, and there was a nice lounge where we could wait. We had the popcorn shrimp for starters, and we liked it. The bacon cheeseburger was good, according to my son, and the crab cake sandwich disappeared in a heartbeat. Baby Q was good as gold and had is first taste of dill pickle. He liked it! My seafood salad had macaroni in it. Aargh. Service was good, unobtrusive and friendly.

It’s a nice place. I would stay there. I love the clean lines and the sea colors. There are other places I would rather eat.

July 6, 2010 Posted by | Beauty, Cold Drinks, color, Community, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Florida, Food, Holiday, Living Conditions, Pensacola | 10 Comments

Sunset in Panama City Beach

We’ve been putting in so much time around the house that when it came time to go out of town for a family dinner, we went a day early so we would have some goofing off time.

We had a lazy drive down, checked in to our favorite hotel on Panama City Beach, The Sunset Inn, and then I asked AdventureMan “do you want to take me to the quilt shop today or tomorrow?” I have an old friend from quilting days in Germany who owns Quilting-by-the-Bay, one of the most wonderful quilt shops I have ever visited, and if I’m in Panama City, it’s a MUST visit. 🙂

On our way back to the hotel, AdventureMan said “Hey, didn’t you want to do a sunset cruise?” Yes, but I had forgotten, LOL. We drove to the dock, checked on tickets and their was a boat leaving in just a few minutes, so we bought tickets for the Sunset Dolphin Cruise and boarded the ship.

What a lovely way to wind up a day! They played hokey Caribbean music that can’t help but put you in a good mood, and they knew just where to find the dolphins:

They were playing all around the boat! It was delightful!

Back in the car, AdventureMan remembered a great beachy restaurant where all the locals go to celebrate the sunset. As the sun still hadn’t set yet, but was getting ready to, we headed to Schooner’s in Panama City Beach. If you click on the blue type, you can see the restaurant, the menu, AND the live beach cam. 🙂

The parking lot is packed and we think we will go somewhere else, we can see crowds waiting to get in, but just as we are giving up, a car pulls out, it must be a sign we are meant to stay, and we take the spot and walk toward the restaurant.

Special parking for Harleys:

The place is packed on a Friday night, but we get in with only a 15 minute wait. Everyone is visiting, having a little beach drink, and then BOOOOMMMM! I think it is a cannon! There is a countdown, and as the sun sets, the cannon (or something) explodes!

We ordered drinks – iced tea for me, a beer for Adventureman:

And a smoked tuna appetizer – yummmy, especially with the jalepenos:

AdventureMan ordered the Mediterranean Salad and a side of hush puppies:

And I had the Schooner’s Tuna BLT – it had a wasabi sauce and oh, total wow. Who would think a tuna sandwich could have so much taste?

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Cold Drinks, Community, Cultural, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Florida, Food, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Sunsets | | 6 Comments