Saturday, November 28, 2009


WOW I cant believe I have not posted since being back in NY! Guess I have been pretty busy. One of my latest adventures here in NY had NOTHING to do with athletics or training. I had made a Giant mistake ... I made a promise that was almost impossible for me to keep...

I promised to bring Cuban style Croquettes just like my Mom makes.


I dont know what possessed me!!! I don't cook! I have no cooking equipment! The only actual experience I had in making these things was when I was a kid helping my mom grind the meat with our old manual grinder.

I can only chalk it up to trying to impress. Anyhow the first hurdle I faced was the fact I needed a meat grinder. No meat grinder in sight where I am staying, so out I go in search for a simple meat grinder. My Mom tells me she just bought one for 35 bucks in Miami, and its "ELECTRIC!" she proclaimed on the phone. Not like the manual one I had used growing up.

So obviosly there are options to this!! Since T day is just a few days away I figured I will definitly find this in Manhattan, so why order online? I did look to get a price range and it looked like I could get something between 20-50 bucks! Sweet!!

So off I go, looking and looking and lo and behold....NOTHING!! WTF!!!

I am getting desperate now. Then I realize I never promised I would make the croquettes! I could buy them! Of course! GOYA to the rescue!! There are frozen Cuban style croquettes in just about any store in Westchester, surely the markets in Manhattan will be practically overflowing with them since this is a culturally savy city that I am now living in.

Well I went to Gristedes ( one on almost every other freaken block, whats up with them and Duane Reade? ) Food Emporium, called Whole Foods.....Zilch. Un ...Freaken ....believable!!!

How is it possible that Manhattan, with more spanish folks than just about anywhere does not seem to have a single frozen Goya Croquette?! As a latin man in Manhattan I am offended!

But anyhow, I was back to square one. I need to make these things myself. I felt my old sporting self coming through, I would dig DEEP to find the will to complete this task!

If I can complete and Ironman, then dammit I WILL MAKE HAM CROQUETTES!!

SO I went to Macy's figuring there may be a premium to pay, but they MUST have the equipment.

It didnt take me long to spot through the suffocating masses in macy's the Phrase "Meat Grinder"! Oh JOY!!

I did not even take any time to look at it, saw the picture on the box, the price, and off I went. I could not wait to get the heck out of that store. The crowds were just sooo much!! They were driving me crazy!!

How come it is when the isles are packed, that I always seem to have the family in front of me, that has to stop and look at just about EVERY....SINGLE....RACK.


Anyhow I was out! With grinder and headed to the store to get the ingredients. WAHOO!!

So got everything and decide its a good time to rest until the night before Turkey day.

T-1 ( Thats the day before Thanksgiving for you civilians)

I bust out the gear to get the Croquettes prepared so that they only need to be fried ( Thats right you health Freaks!! FRIED!!!) on T day.

I bust out the Grinder and amazingly there is only a feeder tube.....WHAT THE!!!! O...M...G

I look at the box and it says in smaller print words that will forever be burned in my psyche to be associated with disapointment......."Attachment", it is not a meat grinder but a Meat Grinder attachment to a much larger food processor!!!! WTF!!! I was in such a rush to get out and so elated to even see the words "Meat Grinder" that I did not even bother to read the whole package.


So here I am with 2 lbs of cooked ham, 1 lbs of grilled chicken, onions, garlic and a whole host of ingredients and no way to put it together. I have failed.....

As I sit there in the shock of failure my eyes casually gaze over to the blendor, and I start counting the buttons, Sure has allot of buttons. I get closer and see buttons like "Grind", "puree", and my favorite "Liquefy". Then it dawns on me...I'll blend the meats together!

And thats exactly what I did!! My God it took hours!! Because after you have just an inch thick of meat it just sticks to the side of the blender, so it was a tiny batch at a time. But little by little ( mind you I could finish a Marathon faster than this) I finally got all the cooked meats blended. Then to bread them and shape them.

NOTE: It did occurr to me to throw the combined meats to the ground and stomp them till they were "ground" but I tossed the idea out since I figured I would actually have to eat one of them.

By the time I was done I had spent about 5-6 hours doing something that with the right tool could have been done in about 90 minutes. But happily I will say they came out OK. perhaps a bit chunky sometimes, but not so bad.

So the lesson? Get the right tools? Nope. Make friends with a Chef? Nope.

Its KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT the next time I feel like impressing with any form of cooking skills.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sao Paulo

So my journeys have now led from Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo Brazil. I have been here before several times and each time I seem to be around for a historic event of nefarious or not so good consequences. There is the Wonderful prison riots that resulted in street gangs attacking the police on the streets of the city. This resulted in several days of marshal law where we could not be out after 8PM. Then just this week I just arrived at my hotel just 10 minutes before the Great Blackout that affected 50% of the country. Awesome I am a witness to Brazilian history haha

Anyhow I was looking online at wikitravel for info on what to see in Sao Paulo, and came across this line regarding customs and specifically when to kiss on the cheek:

"Men kiss women on the cheek and women kiss women as well, but two men will not kiss unless they are gay"

I have to say that was refreshingly honest haha

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Buenos Aires

Well here I am traveling again. I am now in Buenos Aires for a couple of days on business, then I onto Sao Paolo Brazil for a week and a half. At first glance it would seem that this trip is well timed considerring what is happening in my life. For those that do not know me personally, or that I speak to on a regular basis, I am going through a divorce, I dont think I ever said that here, so there you have it. This also explains the lack of posts on my part. Life has not been steady, nor has there been much time for me to focus on triathlon or athletic much recently.

So not much to post. But now as I begin to settle into a life of being separated, (thanks to a great amazing friend who has let me stay in this beautiful apartment in the upper east side of Manhattan) I have found that despite all the change, I am settling in quite nicely. This business travel does not help however. But such is life.

One of the good things about travel is the oportunity to see different things. Even during business travel whose main purpose is work I still get glimpses of a different culture. Today I arrived in Argentina early, so I had the rest of Sunday to settle in and see a little. I went out and started to walk because it was such a nice spring day here. Eventually I came across a park that was full of monuments. At least thats what it looked like to me. There was one monument that had 2 guards stationed in front. It was dedicated to all of the fallen in the Falkands war. Very reminiscent to the Vietnam war memorial. A Black Marble wall with hundreds of names on it.

There were also a number of other standard "general on horseback" statues and such. Beautiful all of them. The city itself is very european in feel. In fact so are the people. When looking at how they dress and act and physically as well I feel as if I am in Spain. Not what most americans would think of as Latin American.

Anyhow its very nice here, after my walk I did a 1 hr run, of course the Garmin was low on battery, so I dont know how far. And now I am having a late lunch. The rest of the day will be for preparing clothes for work and relaxing for a bit. Also start to think of what I am going to do with my coaching business which I plan on building on (slowly) and my focus for next years races. I havedecided to keep short races focussing on speed, but Iam feeling the pull of the marathon lately. May have to throw one of them infor next year also.

Stay tuned