February 2012March 2012 April 2012

03/31 - Valparaiso - Part 2

Valparaiso is a little like Venice. It was hard not to find something amazing to look at, so we took lots of pictures.

Exhausted from pressing the shutter of our camera, we collapsed in a charming family seafood restaurant in neighboring Vina del Mar and loaded up on razor clams, mussels, scallops, congrio and reinata. Chilean portions are quite substantial, but it was hard to resist.

Another view

A street scene

Another promenade

A little restaurant

Pastels predominate

One of the hillsides

A view downtown

Yet another street scene

Up the hill

It's a vibrant city.

A view from our window

Keywords: chile

03/31 - Valparaiso - Part 1

We took a tour of Valpairiso, Santiago's port city, and it was just as well because Santiago was very hot and humid while Valpairiso, on the sea, was cool and even a bit foggy. It's an old city and the center of Chile's naval power. It's also a working port with cargo ships, cruise ships, naval ships and pleasure ships all using the port. We explored the city and the steep streets leading up the hills that surround the harbor. There were spectacular views and wonderful old buildings in pastel colors. There were also terrifying funiculars which ran up and down the side of the hills. We were offered a ride but declined.

Wine country, en route to the sea.

An old Victorian building

One of the many views

Another view of the working port

The naval museum, the exhibit on the war with Bolivia and Peru in 1879

Up the steepy mountain

That's a Chilean palm

Yet another view

One of the promenades

One of the many city dogs, fast asleep

Inside one of the hotels

Keywords: chile

03/30 - Patagonia Medley

We are in Santiago now. These photos are a quick summary of all the hikes we took and adventures we had in the land of guanacos and rainbows.

Guanacos everywhere

Lago Nordenskjold and the mountains behind

More mountains

Rio Pingo

More Rio Pingo

The waterfall (cascada), our goal for the morning

View across the guanaco filled planes near Aonikenk

More mountains and plains

Some petroglyphs

Mountains and a rainbow

Laguna Azul, the blue lagoon

Keywords: chile, waterfall

03/29 - Lago Grey - Part 3

To make a long story short, the boat took us to the face of the glacier that is feeding Lago Grey. We passed among the icebergs and sailed close to the wall of ice. The ice was blue, a bright, almost unreal, blue. There isn't a whole lot to say other than that this was one amazing hike.

P.S. The boat took us into a mysterious cove alongside a gravel beach which was an adventure in and of itself, but it pales beside our encounter with the ice.

The wall of ice

Close up

More ice

Even more ice

Guess what

Some parts of the glacier are more crumpled than other parts.

The rocks glistened

More glistening rocks and ice - sort of the theme of this post

More crumpled ice

More glistening rock walls

A rainbow at our parting

Keywords: chile

03/28 - Lago Grey - Part 2

Yes, we are milking this.

Here are some more photos from our walk along Lake Grey. There were magnificent waterfalls, great old trees and autumn color, but everywhere there were memories of the recent fire. Everyone we spoke to remembered the shock, the decision to evacuate and all the loss. We are new to the area, so it is all new to us, but we can feel their sense of loss second hand.

We made our way past the viewpoint and followed the shore of the lake, but inland and much sheltered. We had a steep descent along a rocky trail. Near the bottom, we saw a female Magellanic woodpecker. She was a big bird, maybe six feet above us, pounding on a branch. We were in danger of getting hit by wood chips, but she wasn't bothered by us at all.

There was a shelter at the end of our hike, complete with bathrooms and running water. There was even a little store. We ate our lunch and made our way down to the beach. There, our boat was waiting. Cautiously, we made our way down the rocks to the Zodiac launch.

Stay tuned. We said we are milking this.

Lago Gray

Memories of fire

More memories


More survivors

The icebergs below

One of the waterfalls

A female Magellanic woodpecker

Someone looked up this hawk for us, but we forgot what kind it was.

Glaciers above

Our ship

Keywords: chile, waterfall

03/27 - Lago Grey - Part 1

We began our mission before dawn without a flashlight. This meant feeling our way down from the hotel to the pier with our hiking sticks, as if we were blind. The launch headed towards the distant lights where we began our walk through a dimly lit valley. There were mountains beside us, capped with glaciers, and we walked through a valley among the burned trees from the recent fire. Then we climbed out, over a saddle to Lago de Patos (Duck Lake). From here we headed towards Lago Grey, following its shore several hundred feet above on the forested slopes. We took a side spur to a viewpoint and had our first glimpse of the glaciers. They blocked the far end of the lake. These were our goal. We pressed on.

Our hike began at dawn.

The day brightened as we hiked.

The forest

The mountains

Lago de Patos (Duck Lake)

Great trees of the forest

Autumn color

A view across the lake

More autumn color

The glaciers


Keywords: chile

03/26 - Lago Sarmiento

Lago Sarmiento is one of the lakes not fed by a glacier. It is the home of a blue green algae that grows in layers to form calcified structures that look like corals, but are structured like stromatolites. The lake is much lower than it was. It has been shrinking since the last ice age, so it is now rimmed with exotic calcium deposits.

We walked down from the road. The vegetation is mainly bushes and grasses, the bushes clustered against the wind and guanacos. If you look carefully, you can see that the gentle hills are full of guanacos, relatives of the llama. There were also a number of birds, including a large snipe with an extremely long beak.

Our guide told us that there was a family of foxes living at the entrance station to the park which was where our hike was going to end. We really didn't expect to see them, but there they were. We almost tripped over them, so our hike ended with a lovely surprise.

A guanaco - a major theme of our hike

A large snipe

The view back

One of the many plants growing in a tight cluster

The lake proper

Another view of the lake

The calcified deposits line the shore.

They do look like coral.

One of the beaches

Another view of the calcium deposits

One of the foxes, posing nicely for us

Keywords: chile

03/26 - First Dawn

Here are some pictures of our first dawn in Torres de Paine. That's the view from our window, the dining room and so on. It really is that pink.

Rosy fingered dawn

More rosy fingers

Maybe fifteen minutes later - still spectacular, but not as rosy

Keywords: chile

03/25 - To Patagonia

We made it to Patagonia. That was 3 1/2 hours by air, but back in time to saner security screening and flight attendants in high heels, who change into more sensible shoes once aboard. Then came the four hour drive, broken by a stop for lunch. The braised lamb was exquisite, if you must know.

The pampas

As we head north, the land gets greener.

A far glimpse of the mountains

Wild country

One of the many beautiful lakes

A lake and the mountains

A view from the car

We arrived towards sunset.

The hotel, sturdily built

The view from our room

The trails beckon, but first to bed

Keywords: chile

03/24 - Santiago

We've made it safely to Santiago and are resting from the heat of the day after our walk around town. It's a fascinating city, and much of the central area near the cathedral and museums is closed to cars. We explored a bit, checked out the central market and did some exploring. Our Spanish is neglible, but what we have is useful.

UPDATE: Did we mention a 5.5 Richter scale earthquake on our first night in town? That's terremoto in Spanish.

It's just like us to check out the fish first.

That's interesting looking corn there.

The Farmers' Market

One of the statues

The Mapocho River in autumn

Another scultpure in a local shopping plaza

The view from our hotel, right near the zoo

City streets

The park

Keywords: chile, farmers' market

03/19 - Munchings and Crunchings

We haven't been doing all that much, but we have been eating well. On the right is a member of the rapidly vanishing species of Parker House buffalo burgers. That's a Parker House roll, a southern specialty made with butter, lard and milk, named for a downtown Boston hotel. Inside, is a good, solid buffalo burger, melted New Moon cheese, kosher dill pickle slices, walla walla sweet onion, some out of season tomato and a healthy dollop of our home brew Kaleberg Ketchup.

The last of its kind

Chicken shishkabob without the shish, or is it without the kabob?
On the left is one of our favorite dishes, grilled chunks of chicken thigh marinated in lemon, olive oil, oregano, garlic and sumac. Sumac is a tart eastern Mediterranean spice and brings out the best in the lemon. We usually marinate the meat overnight, then grill it in one of those little wire baskets. In keeping with the theme, we also grill up some onions and red peppers, so we have all the ingredients of a lovely chicken kabob without having to put everything on skewers.

Keywords: food, kale

03/11 - Clark Family Beef Cheeks

One rarely hears about beef cheeks. Everyone knows sirloin steak and filet mignon, and even oxtails and beef tongue have their followers, but beef cheeks seem to be neglected. We recently bought a few beef cheeks from the Clark Family Farm at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market and braised them using a variant on a Gourmet Magazine recipe. Beef cheeks have a rich meaty flavor, and properly prepared they are as tender as silk. We threw in a pack of oxtails we had missed the last time we cooked up a batch of oxtails, but the beef cheeks were the star of this show.

Kind of scary looking
  • 4 tbsp olive oil (or so)
  • 2 lbs (or so) beef cheeks with the fell removed, plus any oxtails you may have flopping around
  • 6 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp cocoa or chocolate nibs or other unsweetened chocolate
  • 2-3 cups dry red wine
  • 1 large can whole tomatoes (28-32oz)
  • salt and pepper to taste
There's obviously a lot of flexibility here. We like lots of vegetables, so we add lots. You can probably add some garlic as well if you wish. You do want to remove the fell from the beef cheeks if it has one, as well as any extra fat. Also, we are lazy choppers, so we mainly just slice, except for really fat carrots.


This is a pretty generic beef recipe. You can cook beef cheeks, oxtails, short ribs and probably other cuts that benefit from long, slow braising this way.

  1. Use a pot, with a cover, that you can use on the stove top and in the oven. We use a big old Le Creuset. Heat it up on the stove top with a few tablespoons of oil and brown the meats on all sides. Do this is in a few batches, so you can caramelize the meat a bit. Raise the temperature gently, but you want that Maillard reaction. After browning each batch, put the meat aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  3. Brown the vegetables over slightly lower heat. Don't panic if a brown crust forms on the bottom of your pot. Just use a plastic spatula and it should dissolve with the water beig released by the vegetables.
  4. Put the meat and any juices back in the pot. Add the cocoa powder and the wine and bring to a boil. Let it cook down a bit, but you'll want enough liquid so that the meat is largely submerged. Gourmet says to cook the liquid down to half its volume. We just boiled it for five or ten minutes and declared it ready.
  5. Then add the tomatoes with their liquid, some salt and pepper. Bring to a boil again, then put the pot, covered, in the oven for at least THREE hours. It can't hurt to cook it longer. Braised beef cheeks are not about cooking a pointe.
  6. Let it cool and stash it in the refrigerator overnight, or better yet, for a day or two. Remove any fat, reheat and serve.

Keywords: clark family, farmers' market, port angeles, recipe

03/10 - Joule in Wallingford - Our Kaleberg Review

We have been trying new restaurants, but we haven't been updating our reviews online. Joule is one of our great new finds. The chef, Rachel Yang, was originally at Coupage, but she's opened her own place in Wallingford, and it is wonderful. The cooking is based on solid Korean cuisine, but with an eclectic touch, following the seasons and borrowing freely. This means beef shortribs and tamarind lamb shanks, savory mochis and chickpea agnolotti, and a broad range of local vegetables including our Kaleberg favorites like kale, broccoli rabe and fennel. For more, read our glowing review.

The restaurant towards dusk

Keywords: restaurants, reviews, seattle, kale

03/09 - Volvelleteer Updates

We've done a few updates to our volvelle making program Volvelleteer. We've fixed a few bugs and cleaned up the interactions. It also works better with more modern Windows systems. Volvelles are those pairs of rotating cardboard disks, one with little windows in it that show a variety of information as you turn the back disk. Volvelleteer is a tool for making these given a table of text or numbers. If you are curious, check out Volvelleteer or check out our Kaleberg software page to see what other goodies we have lying around.

A volvelle in the making

Keywords: software, art, science, kale

February 2012March 2012 April 2012