Then: At 5:30 a.m. on a Tuesday, I was rattled from my sleep with an idea. The sit-up-straight-out-of-bed kind of idea. Instead of setting up shop at one French cooking school, what if I hopped around the European continent and sampled from a variety of courses in different cities and countries? That's how Culinary Hopscotch was born. Follow me on an epicurean tour of cooking schools in countries around Europe and beyond. I'll be traveling and cooking for about three months, so if you're curious about where I'm headed, just ask. Otherwise, I'll be updating my whereabouts in the Twitter section on the right. The culinary crusade starts on January 29, 2010, and I'll be doing it all in a carry-on.

Now: We live in Portland, a culinary capital in its own right. I man the stove chez nous and plan our meals weekly on a colorful pad from Anthropologie. Things have changed a bit from the old school days of Culinary Hopscotch, but it makes sense (to me) to keep it alive. Look for posts on restaurants we visit, culinary happenings in the news, what's on the menu in our kitchen, and more!

Been There, Cooked That

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You Get What You Pay For

Italian trains leave a lot to be desired. A LOT. Our departure was delayed by a half hour (along with every other train on the board), and we’ve crawled maybe 300 yards from the station in Pisa and have stopped about five times for no apparent reason. I could get out and pogo stick pulling my suitcase faster than this.

The one exception I’ll make to this complaint involves their tariffs. For €5.60, we got our onward tickets to Florence complete with a KISS FM-style concert in our cabin by two harlequin-haired Italians. I’m actually not sure if they even know that anyone else is sitting in here. Or maybe they don’t care. It’s like an American Idol audition, and in their most recent ballad (an Italian song), I recognized only one word: “vaffanculo.”

Ironic, because that’s how I feel about this train right now. I’ll let you look that up yourself.

Next Stop: Florence

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