Sunday, April 18, 2010

Announcing My New Food Blog - Mario's Kitchen!



Why start a food blog you ask? Well for one, I like to cook. In fact, I find myself doing it practically every night. That can add up to a lot of content for a blog! I’ve seen many food blogs post one recipe only to fall off the edge of the internet never to be seen again. Second, like most of us with a mouth and stomach, I like to eat! There is no argument; food blogs are hugely popular on the internet. Finally, I like to take pictures. Put all that together and I now have a great way to show people I may never actually meet how to cook stuff while doing what I love!

The truth of the matter is that in my ongoing quest to somehow do something good for humankind, with this blog I could count on one thing; people need to eat. Not only would it be really fun to display my culinary exploits on the internet, but it would actually give me a chance to write about something that more people are actually interested in. I mean, we all like pretty flower pictures, but who doesn’t want to know how to grill the perfect steak, or make eggplant parmesan that’s to die for?

That being said, Mario’s Kitchen is everything in one for me, encompassing many of the things I enjoy doing; writing, photography and cooking, a technical challenge and a logistical nightmare. Personally, just the kind of thing I live for! So bust out the spices, turn on that oven and stop by Mario’s Kitchen!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jamaica, Jamaica.



The new gallery titled "Negril, Westmoreland Jamaica" is up at circlestockphotography.com! Click this link to check it out!

...and as always, don't forget to check out www.circlestockphotograhy.com for awesome, unique images!

Jamaica is an amazing and beautiful country. The people are friendly and even though considered poor by the majority, Jamaica is a land of plenty. Black soil, fertile mountains, sweet fruits and pristine beaches.

Flying in over Mentego Bay, the first thing you notice is the amazing phosphorescent colors of the Caribbean. Although these colors eluded me many time as I tried to capture them from the shore of our pristine sandy beach at The Palms Resort in Negril, I was able to pull off a few shots that seemed to give the viewer a pretty good idea of what would await them if they were to venture there themselves.

After an exhausting day of travel, and a somewhat surreal van ride from Montego to Negril, my wife and I were warmly greeted by the staff at our resort, given an orientation of the grounds and were told that anything we could want or need was at our beckon call. After a few fruity drinks at the ocean side bar, we took a table and settled in to an amazing dinner of Jamaican jerk chicken and a creamy seafood pasta that was pretty much to die for - and we thought we'd be losing a few pounds! So much for that!

Walking the beaches the next few days was also quite a surreal experience. Vendors up and down the shore, colorful and downright pushy in some spots. Don't have too many drinks before attempting these hike, or you may find yourself being too generous! Oops!

That being said, it was easy to spend lots of money there, and we totally did. We felt good about it though. Tourism is one of the biggest forms of revenue for this island, next to the unmentionable "pink elephant" that is. The bottom line is to remember that a smile, a thank you and a little respect go a long way.

Dining was strictly limited to our resort by choice, reason being, the food was AMAZING! Reasonably priced for a boutique resort, and prepared by a local chef who all you had to do was ask and he would prepare any of the dishes to exact specification. Although not much augmenting was necessary, as everything was nearly perfect as served.

Jamaica is also a very musical country. I could pretty much say it is the blood and religion of the region. Up and down the beaches are stages for nightly performances from rap, to dance-hall to traditional vibes. CD's for sale everywhere and promoters literally walking the beaches with bullhorns and fliers to try to drum up audiences for their scene-breaking artists.

One of the very last things to really "hit" me so-to-speak, was that amount of pull Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" still has for Jamaicans after all these years. In the pre-dawn hours as we were leaving Negril, I must have heard the song about 3 times. Each time our driver would meticulously tune his radio so as not to let it fade in and out as we wound our way through the dark mountain roads on our way back to Montego Bay - it hit me with so much emotion! I left Jamaica with a feeling of love, appreciation and respect and as our plane lifted off the runway and the first rays of light touched the aircraft, then the hills below I made a promise to Jamaica. The promise that we will be back soon!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Negril, Westmoreland Jamaica!

Being of European descent, 100% Italian to be exact, one would think I would be more inclined to book my vacation itineraries around visiting the "homeland" - to get back to my roots, so to speak. Thing is, see, I was born in America! So there really is no homeland for me to "get back" to! Many friends, my wife included, always tell me of their exotic journeys to the many countries in and around Europe with the always added, "Oh, you really should get to see where your ancestors are from! It's beautiful!" And I'm sure it is. However, the way I see it is that they left for a reason! So while it is always on my "to-do" list to go and see for myself the marvel and beauty of the much-adored continent, I am content, at least for now, to stick with booking my trips to tropical destinations. Besides,um hello? It's freaking COLD in Europe this time of year! Duh!! When I go on vacation, I want beaches! I want fruity drinks with umbrellas in them! I want surf and sunshine! C'mon man!

This leads me to today’s posting – Negril, Westmoreland Jamaica.

Ever since I was a young boy, I enjoyed listening to the throbbing beats and bass lines of Jamaican music. Eventually becoming a bass player myself, I seem to incorporate a lot of those beats and melodies into my own style of writing. The question I now ask myself is, why on earth has it taken me this long to get to Jamaica?? The answer, I guess, is simply that up until now I may not have been truly ready to appreciate it. I think back to my travels across the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico at the tender age of 12, and how my father would order me foods that literally stared back and me, and me going "EWWW!!" Now, at the ripe 'ol age of 39, I can't wait to go and stare me down some of that tasty tropical cuisine! (In the words of No Reservations' Anthony Bourdain - "When do I get my shellfish tower?!")

In any case, I am truly psyched to finally be giving myself the opportunity to see the island first hand. So, now I go to make my final preparations, gather last minute belongings and, of course, clean our 4 cats' litter boxes before we leave! Irie Eits and see you on the beach!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Circle Stock Photography Welcomes Photographer Joel H. Davidson

Joel H. Davidson hails from Portland, Maine. His current focus is on black and white photography using traditional media and alternative processes, although as I can personally tell you his color work is also fabulous. Joel employ's traditional methods of 35mm photography using single focal length lenses with an occasional use of a waterproof point and shoot. Visit his gallery at circlestockphotography.com and make sure to check out his own personal website traditionalblackandwhitephotography.comHere is just a small sample of the quality and artistic ability of Joel's work.


Go see his full gallery at circlestockphotography.com

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another Sunday, Another Road Trip!

Well, baseball may have officially ended here in New England today with the Angels sweeping the sox in the ALDS, but the peak fall foliage is just getting started! So we decided to take a little road trip through the hills of Western Massachusetts this past Sunday and do some leaf peeping!

Our first stop was the French King Bridge, an arch bridge which crosses the Connecticut River between Gill and Erving, MA. The pics of the bridge were not too spectacular, but I did manage to snap this shot from the car as we were getting back on the road.



Ah, what the heck. Here is one from the bridge too.



Our next stop was the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, MA.









Our third stop was nowhere specific. I believe we just pulled off to the side of the road somewhere in Savoy, MA and wandered down to the Cold River.



Onward to the Western Summit in North Adams, MA. Great views, but the coldest temps experienced so far this season!



Our final destination was the summit of Mount Greylock. Elevation 3,491 feet, making it the tallest peak in Massachusetts.







Some pics from the descent off the mountain.





Finally, we were back on the road and on our way home.



But not without paying tribute to one final stop "Hail to the Sunrise" in Charlemont MA.





Full resolution pictures will be up at circlestockphotography.com within the next day or two.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rainy Fall Sunday in New England

Well, Fall is upon us in New England! Circlestockphotography.com will be launching as a Beta site soon and I am getting really excited about it. In the meantime I will be posting updates of things to come as well as recent photos I take along the way!

Here is my post for today.

As a first time homeowner, I have really enjoyed watching the different seasons roll over our land for the first time. Fall has always been one of my favorite times of year. Rain or shine, every day is full of so much peace and beauty!

Here are some pictures I took as we were out and about this past Sunday.