Who Cut the Cheese?

Cheese is gross.  No really, it’s disgusting.  It’s essentially old, moldy milk.  When you think about it – it’s nasty.  But in reality – it’s fucking DELICIOUS.  I mean, it’s just so WONDERFUL.

So many flavors, so many textures, so many smells.  How many other times do you smell feet that ripe and think “pass me a cracker!”

It’s delicious by itself, it’s delicious on a cracker, in a burrito, on a taco, sprinkled (heavily!) on your meatballs, baked, toasted and burnt.  Cheese doesn’t have an ego – it can be the star of the show in a perfect grilled cheese or it can be a loyal backup dancer on your burger and it’s always happy to share equal billing with eggs or turkey or ham.

And, it’s pretty much loved worldwide.

My favorite cheese experiences…

#1 Maui, Hawaii
@surfinggoatdairy was the absolute highlight of my trip to Maui.  I was traveling alone and I signed up for the “Grand Dairy Tour” – you milk goats, you learn about all the skills and processes that go into making cheese, and you get to sample so much cheese.  They do things with goat cheese that just simply make your mouth happy! If you are in Maui… make a point to visit! And they’ll even ship to you!! Oh yeah, and did I mention the goat cheese truffles!  

#2 Kangaroo Island, Australia
It was the summer of 1999 (before the world ended at Y2K) and I did the 2-day Kangaroo Island Tour with a couple classmates from my study abroad program.  The first day was centered on the wildlife, especially the penguins (penguins UP CLOSE!!!). The second day was a “tastes of Kangaroo island” focus – there was a lobster farm and another local farm up first, but then we got to sheep milk dairy.  And that’s where I met the most wonderful cheese I’ve ever eaten. It was this cheese that when you dropped a ball of it into a hot pan, it cooked itself in its own oils and turned into these little patties. Move over Mozzarella Sticks, I’ve got a new love.  And I’m super, super sad that my 20-year-old traveller didn’t think to remember the name of it. But hot damn, I’ll never forget that cheese.

#3 Cabarete, Dominican Republic
We were staying at the Areca Hotel in Cabarete.  Friends of friends referred us to this delightful apartment style hotel set up feet from the beach and we had the extreme good fortune of being welcomed into Cabarete by one of its legendary citizens.  She had us over for breakfast – a traditional Dominican Breakfast – which consists of mangu, cebollas, salchichón, huevo frito, queso frito, and aguacate. You’ll be full for days – look it up, its possibly the best breakfast ever.  Queso Frito – seriously, I’m going back, just for more of that cheese. It was heavenly.

The moral of this blog… EAT THE CHEESE!  EAT ALL THE CHEESES!

#Cheese #australia #maul #dominicanrpublic #cabarete #cabareteDR  #kangarooisland #goatcheese #sheepcheese #sheepsmilkcheese #chocolate #truffles #eatthecheese

Learn more:

Surfing Goat Dairy

Kangaroo Island – It was 20 years ago, and I don’t remember exactly which tour we did, so I’ll leave you in the trusted hands of TripAdvisor 

Hotel Areca

Nashville Loves Johnny Cash

Angela and I recently took a trip to Nashville – a girls weekend with our friend P.  It was a trip born from a dare in a bar called Losers at the MGM in Las Vegas. And we actually made it happen.  Then, by sheer coincidence it ended with us sitting with some random strangers at Losers Nashville, where one of the random strangers ‘won the bet.‘ Perfect.

I love Nashville.  I loved it from the minute I rolled through with my mom on my cross-country move to Los Angeles.  I loved the vibe of the city. I loved the live music everywhere. It’s fair to say that had I not been with my mom, I might have just stopped, planted roots and never made it to the west coast.

When I left Boston for LA, it was assumed that someday I’d be back, but after I visited Nashville, that all changed.  At first it was just a weird thought in my head, but overtime when people asked me “will you ever leave LA?” I started telling them I had a feeling Nashville might be a stop on my journey.

In the 14 years since then, I’ve travelled in some country music circles but I’ve never made it back.  As a card-carrying member of No Shoes Nation, I’ve travelled 6,000 miles round trip each summer to see the last night of the Kenny Chesney tour at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA, I’ve wished plenty of friends ‘safe travels’ on their trips to Music City, but until October I had never made it back.

I still love the vibe and the live music.  For a Bostonian West Coaster the general friendliness of the city is a little shocking at first.  “Oh, you’re just saying hello.” Oh, right, people in other places do that. The food was great – to be fair we’d come equipped with more than a few lists of reccos from trusted sources – the beers were cold (I try to only drink local beers when I travel – cause, why not?  Two thumbs up, Nashville!) and the city was welcoming.

Each of us picked one thing that was a MUST for Girl’s Weekend.   I just wanted as much live music as I could get. I’d done most of the touristy stuff in 2004, and I’ve travelled so much this year, I just wanted to relax and soak in the tunes.  Angela and P’s MUST was the Johnny Cash Museum. Zero complaints from me.

I love Johnny Cash, I love museums about people’s lives.  Solid wins all around. This was a great museum, totally worth it if you find yourself in Nashville.

Recently, I’ve been working on a book (it’s a YA novel, set in the 90s).  A book I intentionally left at home because I didn’t want to be distracted on Girl’s Weekend.  I’m in the editing and reimagining phase – my head goes to some interesting places in this process.  I certainly didn’t expect Nashville to draw up feelings, much less the Johnny Cash Museum.

At some point during our visit, we all got separated.  I turned into the section centered on the end of Johnny’s life, and just inside Johnny’s “Hurt” video was playing on a monitor.  I stopped dead in my tracks. The same way I did the first time I saw it. The original NIN song factors deeply in my feelings about the book (and its subject matter), and when I first heard Johnny Cash’s version during college, it ripped me apart.  Just like it did in Nashville.

I must have watched it at least three times, through the tears in my eyes.  I’m not sure where Angela and P were during that time, but I’m glad neither of them saw that, because I’m not sure I would have been able to explain.  But I’m infinitely grateful they had it on their MUST list.

‘Til Next Time, Nashville!

Ciao , TCurtis