In the jungle, the mighty jungle...

Here's a little video clipped together from a trip to the Darien region of Panama last year. Darien is a pretty gnarly bit of jungle (and the largest province in the country) separating Colombia from the rest of Panama. We stayed with the Embera indians pretty far up a river in the middle of nowhere. I don't want to discourage you from going, so I won't even tell you what a hassle it was to get there, but the four-hour hike to a Harpy eagle's nest the following morning was well worth the trip.


Belgium is to France as Canada is to the USA.  You make fun of them a little cause they talk funny, but when you get there it really isn't very different.  I finally made it up to Brussels this week for the first time, a quick hour and fifteen minute train ride from Paris, and I don't know why I never went before. It's a city that's easy to get around, and fun to get lost in. The purpose of the trip was to visit Nemo33, the world's deepest indoor pool (33m deep), but we made sure to check out what else Brussels had to offer.

the first statue we saw upon arrival... suiting!
Grand Place
Best friends forever at Parc de Bruxelles

While we didn't wind up eating any waffles, chocolate, or french fries drenched in mayo, we did sample a lot of local brews.  At first I had a little trouble straying from my favorite, Chimay bleu (I was in the motherland! I couldn't help it!) but after-dinner drinks at Delirium cafe changed all that. With over 2000 beers to choose from, we decided to narrow it down and sit at the bar, where they have 27 local beers on tap. A few good tips to our bartender and he helped us narrow it down even more, by providing samples of almost every beer they had.

Cool old-school dive gear at Nemo 33


Hot sauce. One of my most favorite things in the world.  I don't know why I never attempted to make my own until now.  Let me introduce you to my favorites:

Susie's. This baby I discovered after spending a lot of time in Antigua one winter.  Last time I was there I bought two gigantic bottles and went through them within six months.

Sriracha.  One friend described it as "the culinary duct tape, a quick fix for anything." Another explained, "it's like hot sauce and ketchup had a baby that's waaaay cooler than either of the parents." I put it on pretty much everything.

D'Elidas.  This bad boy is really spicy at first, until you get used to it.  It comes from Panama. So good with plantains.

Las Vegas Hot Sauce.  This is one of my new favorites, discovered by chance on an overnight stop in Sin City.  I can't decide whether the roasted garlic, orange, or red savina flavor is my favorite... I'll take them all!

When making my own I wanted to incorporate all my favorite elements from each sauce: the chunkiness and kick of Susie's and D'Elidas, the garlicky sweetness of Sriracha, and the orange and roasted garlic of the Las Vegas sauce.

What you'll need:

2 heads roasted garlic (for a great roasted garlic recipe click here)
2 shallots, minced
1 small onion, minced
2 orange segments, chopped
1/2 tomato, finely diced
2 tablespoons honey (this is a rough guess, I just gave it two good squirts, you can adjust it to your taste)
2 tablespoons Harissa (Moroccan chili paste, normally used for couscous. Again, this is a rough guess.)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

-Heat up some olive oil in a small saucepan, add the onions and shallots and stir until golden.
-Add tomatoes, roasted garlic and orange segments.
-Turn heat to low, add water and allow to simmer and reduce. You will do this about five or six times over the course of an hour, stirring from time to time, to allow the ingredients to break down.
-Once desired consistency is achieved, add honey, harissa, and salt and pepper to taste.

Store in refrigerator.