#159: Andorra

“Life’s a dance. You learn as you go. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow”

That’s about right. It’s a metaphor, obviously. But, this girl literally got her two step on this week. I love love l-o-v-e going out dancing…though admittedly (shamefully) in my adulthood, the times I actually get to go dancing are less and less. It’s at a point where we seem to be lucky if we get out of the single digits over the course of the year. Life gets in the way and many of my old dancing buddies are now married and otherwise occupied. To make up for this, I routinely dance in the car, lab and, yes, of course, the kitchen. This week’s trip to The Rose brought back this thing that my mentor, the incomparable Robert Pruitt, used to tell me all the time when I was working in DC, “It’s not always moving forward motion that makes progress. Sometimes you go one step forward… and two steps back…. and few steps sideways. KBrov, it’s not failure! It’s a marimba! Enjoy the dance.”

So, here we are. Enjoying all the steps and the missteps and all the twisty turns. I’m ready for many more trips around the floor. Dancing shoes are ready. Let’s boogie, baby!

THE DINNER: I had brunch with some of the gang today… it was lovely, utterly classy and all things adult. Pinky’s out. Now, speaking of classy. It doesn’t seem to get much classier than Andorra. Bear with me. This little nation happens to be the 14th OLDEST country in the world and is the first for life expectancy (read: 81 years average). They’re tiny. In fact, they’re so tiny that their militaristic budget is completely based on donation. Could you imagine? But they haven’t seen a war ever, so it’s probably very feasible for them all things considered. Andorra is nestled between France and Spain (we hit those countries in week #77 and #40 respectively). She is snuggled up in the peaks of the Pyrenees; and therefore, like we have here in the 303, there is no shortage of mountain sports like skiing and hiking. They’re also the highest capital city in Europe at 3300ft. It’s adorable, but we’re at 5280 here in Denver, kiddos 😉

One might expect that cuisine from this hidden gem would be both French and Spanish in collaboration and you’re not wrong. Last week we have a “collab” with England and France, so this falls into the theme of November so far in this blog. Look at all these super powers getting along so nicely…at least on a food scale. Armed with Google Translate magic, we picked a Andorran burger that features a country staple called “trinxat”. Think latke but with cabbage and ALLLLL the garlic. The burger is served on a bed of trinxat and topped with bacon, Camembert and tomato salad. If it sounds lovely, you should have smelled it.

Andorran Trinxat Burger Recipe: http://burgershereandthere.com/2011/02/05/andorran-burger-recipe/

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Ease of prep and cooking: FOUR STARS out of five this recipe!
This one was hard. I’m not going to split hairs over it. There were moving parts, conversions and lots of irons in the fire. So, to be fair here, make sure you’re on your toes and you’ve got what you need. I would be willing to bet, you can make the trinxat beforehand or early and it would go smoother all around if you’re looking for a work around. The best laid plans though, tend to work out well. We didn’t have to make any specialty market excursions, so that was a good spot in the process.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR of STARS out of five for this meal!
We aren’t sure what’s not to like here… except some people might not be fans of thyme that’s a small component. There’s creamy, molten cheese; crisp sweet tomatoes; juicy pork; smoky bacon and all served on indulgent mashed potatoes with cabbage. When you really get down to brass tacks, it’s meat and potatoes. It’s rib sticking Sunday family meal. For all the bells and whistles, it really is more farmhouse cooking which would be appropriate given the position geographically of the country. There was a problem with saltiness, but once everything was mixed together, honestly, it reminded me of meatloaf. Which is both great and sort of a letdown because that’s hardly exotic. All that aside, it was delicious and earned all four of those shiny stars. We would make this one again (without any salt).

Heading into American Thanksgiving week, we will take a detour to Venezuela for the even #160. Coming off Veterans Day– to all the service men and women here and overseas. To the police officers and all branches of the military both active and retired: we are so incredibly overwhelmed by your often thankless sacrifice and that of your families/friends. Thank you for making it possible for all of us to rarely give a second thought all day about our safety, freedoms and happiness. You have given everyone the immeasurable gift of “peace of mind” for which no amount of gratitude can repay. May we all be so mindful of this more than one day a year.

Happy Veterans Day and thank you all for your service,
– L & K

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