Cheers to our adventures and journey.

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Cooking with WOW

WOW is a group of wonderful women…. We like to think of ourselves as Women of Wisdom, Women of Wine, or Women on Wednesday’s having lunch. I started WOW in Dallas with my gal pals. WOW gave me the opportunity to experiment with new recipes and the ladies a chance to bounce ideas off each other.  WOW continues in Panama. I have been blessed with so many wonderful ladies that enjoy and appreciate my efforts.  Everyone requested an Asian influenced menu.  So asian it is, but everyone will have to slice, dice, chop and roll. As many of you know the ingredients are not always available. I prepped and prepared homemade sauces, Thai chili, peanut sauce, srirachi aioli and teriyaki glaze for 3 days prior to getting the WOW ladies together. We had such an amazing time cooking, laughing, sharing stories and just spending the afternoon together.  So good in fact, that I did another one a month later for the second group of WOW gals.  You know laughter is so good for the heart and soul !!

Watermelon radishes
Check out the gorgeous watermelon radishes. They were used in the lobster spring rolls and Asian mandarin orange salad with a Thai chili dressing. The radishes are wonderful just served on a charcuterie board with smoked meats, cheeses and crackers.

Alicia on the lobster spring roll station filling each rice paper with organic mixed greens, soba noodles, radishes, peppers, mint and cilantro.

spring rolls
WOW… gorgeous lobster spring rolls… these are my favorites.

WOW lunch at Cynthias 007

The eggrolls were made with fresh ground pork, napa cabbage, garlic, lemongrass, ginger and rice noodles. We all took turns rolling and creating the perfect eggrolls. Nancy volunteered to be our Fry Master on the wok.


We started off our lunch with wasabi cream cheese and teriyaki spread, fresh grilled tuna on a wonton crisp served with srirachi aioli, followed by sticky rice, eggrolls, spring rolls and Asian salad. Dessert  was homemade vanilla ice cream drizzled with a banana caramel and crystalized ginger.  So a toast to all the WOW gals for making our lunch the best ever and special thanks to Debbie and Cynthia for sharing their beautiful homes with us.  What a fun day!  So you never know what’s cooking in Boquete with the WOW gals.


Playa Coronado

coronado and WOW January 002

View looking from the top floor towards Boquete

After a brief trip to Panama City, we needed some sand, sun and surf, so we checked out the Coronado Bay Resort and Solarium.  Coronado is about 1.5 hours from Panama City and is the first destination for many from all over the US, Canada and Panamanians escaping the city on weekends.  This was our first stop four years ago when we started our process of locating a destination that we loved.  Coronado offers many grocery stores, shops and restaurants, not to mention the fresh fish coming in every day and the beautiful beaches with gold and black sparkles. Coronado has a large expat community from all over the world and a fun happy hour at Picasso’s every Wednesday. We arrived just in time to make the happy hour and loved meeting new friends, discussing moving experiences with others while sharing a pizza and vino. The views from the top floor of the Coronado Bay are stunning.

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View from the top floor looking towards Gorgona and PC

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Byron taking a cool dip in the pool

One of the pools is located on the top floor of Coronado Bay where we spent many hours relaxing and enjoying the day. Most days it was only a hand full of people sunning… but got busy on the weekends.  The second pool is located right on the ocean and can be seen from my suite.

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Ocean Side Pool

Coronado has many great condo’s for sale or rent and great shopping at the new boutique grocery store Riba Smith.  The Rey,  Super 99, Machetazo and Organcia are all located close together for all your foodie needs.  Speaking of food…

One of our favorite restaurants is Luna Rossa offering homemade Italian food….pasta, pizza, seafood and much more. The new owners have over 30 years experience in Italy and the US. We actually dined there 3 times and loved our dinner and service each time. They were kind enough to put together a special birthday dessert sampler platter for Byron and we had one of our favorite wines, Glorioso… a  wonderful Rioja from Spain, light, dry and perfect for any occasion.

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One of our favorite wines

I know it has been a while since my last post, but wanted to share Coronado with you.  I now have three friends that have moved to Coronado from Boquete.  I will be making many trips to see them.   Cheers to living the dream every day in Panama.

Bocas Del Toro… The Carribean

Yes.. we are off on another adventure to Bocas Del Tora Islands located on the extreme western part of Panama about 25 miles from Costa Rica.  The flight from Panama City is about an hour, but the drive from Boquete is about 3 hours of beautiful winding roads.  Our group of 12 left Boquete at 8 am with luggage, coolers and great music for the drive.  Since Bocas is an island, you have to park the car in a huge lot and take the water taxi… a first for me. Bocas Del Tora reminds me of The Florida Keys with all the restaurants, hotels, shops and bars lining the waters edge.

Transporation around the islands

Our next stop is lunch at Gringo’s Mexican Restaurant.  The owner, Gary is from Texas and has lived in Bocas since 2001.  We had the large table on the patio and immediately ordered margaritas, homemade chips & chipotle salsa.  Yes Al, you can have a margarita too! The menu had many favorites to choose from including enchiladas, tacos salads, chile rellenos, fish tacos and much more. The chef was wonderful in assisting us with our order.  If you are ever in Bocas you should certainly check out Gringo’s for fresh mexican food.  A new Gringo’s is slotted to open just outside of David in January.  We will be looking for the opening event.


After a wonderful lunch, we got back on the water taxi and headed for RED FROG beach.  It is a short 20 minute ride and then a 5 minute golf cart ride to our Villa.  We had a lovely Villa atop the hill overlooking the Carribean.  Once unpacked, we had a dip in our pool and then  joined our friends for a simple dinner of roasted chicken from Gourmet Market in Bocas.  Oh yes.. and the brownies that Diane made were the best…

Transportation on Red Frog

View from our Villa

SR. Bob was kind enough to take us to Star Fish Beach the next day.  We meet him at the Marina and took his boat to Bocas where we had breakfast and picked up a few items before heading to Star Fish Beach.  We saw over 25 large Star Fish and signs were posted please do not touch.  I used my foot to show size and did not touch them.  Not much on this island, but a couple of huts serving drinks … Even though it was early, we had a fresh coconut pina colada with a very generous pour of rum.  What a great way to start the day.

Star Fish and my toes

The rest of the weekend was spent at Red Frog Beach enjoying the sand, sun, surf and developing lasting memories with our freinds.  I am truly blessed and Living The Dream Every Day….Happy New Year to All.

Red Frog Beach

Culinary Delights in Guatamala !!!

Agua Volcano overlooking the cobblestone street in Antigua

Antigua, Guatemala is one of the worlds best conserved colonial cities with stunning architecture, three volcanos Aqua, Fuego and Acatenango, 75 spanish schools and a plethora of restaurants and great chefs.  We spent two weeks walking the cobblestone streets and enjoying culinary delights daily in this beautiful setting.  Naturally our first order after unpacking was to have an early dinner at Hector’s, rated #1 on Trip Advisor. The restaurant has 20 seats with tiny tables and even smaller kitchen. We spent several hours just watching the chef prepare all the tasty meals in this kitchen. Who says you need a large kitchen to make fabulous food?

Hector’s tiny kitchen

We had the spicy pepper crusted Duck Breast with potato carrot gratin and roasted grapes, Beef Tenderloin open face sandwich with homemade mayo, ketchup and fries, and Veggie Quiche with fresh greens.  They were all fabulous and made with the freshest of ingredients.

Pepper Crust Duck Breast with Roasted Grapes

Beef Tenderloin Sandwich

Veggie Quiche

And of course, we needed to select a wonderful wine to accompany our entrees.  We selected a dry, light and fruity Spanish Tempranillo that I love. Casa Solar became my wine of choice at every restaurant. The price is a little higher than I like to pay… $20 per bottle in the restaurants and $10.00 at the liquor stores.  The wine selection is smaller and pricier than what we have in Panama. I am now searching for Casa Solar in Panama.

Casa Solar Tempranillo

Another of my favorite spots was Exotic Ice Cream…the inspiration for my next test kitchen. Alex, the owner and chef of Sobremasa restaurant opened the Ice Cream shop after so many of  his customers would come in and just order ice cream. All the ice creams were amazing, but I love the ones with a hint of spice…  Fig & Wasabi, Banana Jalapeno and Apple Chipotle were at the top of my list.  Byron loved the chocolate peanut butter and pistachio cardamom brownie.  Let me know what your choice would be.   I will be experimenting with some fun flavors soon.

Exotic Ice Cream Flavors

Tartines Restaurant has a wonderful outdoor patio on the second floor with a view of Fuego volcano. One afternoon while having lunch, Fuego was blowing smoke.  An active volcano was definitely a first for us.

We had a wonderful lunch of asparagus crepes with creamy mornay sauce and the best part of the meal was fresh strawberries with raspberry coulis over mascarpone cheese. A simple, beautiful and divine dessert. We wanted to lick the plate. Once again, more inspiration for test kitchen.

Asparagus Crepe

Fresh Strawberries with raspberry coulis

And last but not least… we had an eight course tasting menu at Casa Santo Domingo.  CSD was once a monastery with beautiful grounds and chapels that has been converted to a luxury hotel. It was reported that President Obama was at the hotel the week before.  The chef, Mario Enrique Sarti attended the French Culinary Academy and this year won best chef of the year in Latin America. His eight course tasting menu was wonderful and beautifully presented. We loved each and every bite. Don’t worry, I will not post all the courses…. but here are a couple of the tasty plates….

Salmon with cilantro puree

Mini Pastries

Well, needless to say we had a wonderful trip and enjoyed many fine meals. Now I am starting my foodie adventure at home creating some of the tasty treats we enjoyed in Guatemala… and Living The Dream Every Day.

Coffee Tour in Boquete

Roasting Coffee

We have been enjoying the fabulous fresh roasted gourmet coffee in Boquete, Panama for well over 4 years.  I am embarrassed to say this is our first actual tour of a coffee finca. At the end of the tour we roasted our own coffee.  I can still smell the wonderful robust scent.  There are many coffee finca’s in the area and yes , we do try them all. Most mornings I wake to coffee roasting at Cafe Ruiz, just a few blocks from my house. We are so lucky to be drinking fresh roasted organic coffee daily.  The coffee harvest is December through May depending on the area of Boquete where the finca is located.

Today, we are spending our morning with Rich at Finca Dos Jefe’s leaning about the history of coffee and Rich’s entertaining journey.  In 2003 Rich from California purchased the 7 acre abandoned coffee farm and brought it to life with lots of hard work and help from other coffee farmers and friends.  What a beautiful setting.

View of Baru from Finca Dos Jefes

Finca Dos Jefes organic farming is done in alliance with the lunar calendar and phases of the moon along with the hand picked tradition.  Hence the name of the coffee… cafe de la luna

Byron at Finca Dos Jefes

We tasted 3 different roasts… light, medium and dark.  We loved discussing the flavors and characteristics of each, but decided we would take home the medium roast.  The longer the bean roasts, the richer the coffee.

coffee cupping

After  the tour, tasting, discussions and laughter,  we toasted to our morning at Finca Dos Jefes with a cool beverage.  Cheers to more coffee drinking in Boquete.

Byron, Jim, Dede and Rich… Jim was our official roaster…



Boca Chica Yacht Trip

The Boca Chica Plantation Club & Resort Pool

What a wonderful trip and adventure !! We started our trip at the Boca Chica Plantation Resort poolside with 3 other couples.  The drive was about 2 hours from Boquete. We arrived at 1:00 with plenty of time to enjoy the pool, views of the ocean and the mountains. Byron was first, taking a refreshing dip in the pool. Happy Hour treats of  wine, beer, and snacks were served on the patio.  Claudia, the manager was a delight and made us feel very welcome.   Our dinner of fresh grilled fish, chicken and pork chops along with chocolate brownies & ice cream were prepared with much love and care. We retired early in the luxurious king size bed for a great nights sleep.   What a treat and a perfect weekend getaway!

Byron enjoying the pool

The next morning, after a wonderful breakfast, we headed to The Boca Chica marina to meet Larry & Dottie and board their 57 foot Fleming Yacht.  We had plenty of room on board with 2 staterooms and 2 bathrooms and tons of deck for sunning or just hanging out.  Dottie captained the Yacht to the Gamez Island where we anchored for the day and enjoyed the beach along with a fabulous lunch. We located many interesting shell treasures, coconuts and two gals from the US that were camping.  Camping would certainly be a little too primitive for me.

The boys...John, Byron, Larry and Jim anchored at the Gamez Island

Dottie and Diane

Needless to say, I would certainly purchase this trip again and support the Bid 4 Boquete Auction, even though I am not a big boating person. The costs for the trip was $200 per couple which did not include the nights stay at The Plantation Resort. The Auction raised over $65,000 for 4 different local charities.  Larry and Dottie were wonderful hosts, and all my new Boquete friends made me laugh and smile all day with their stories. A good time was had by all.

Larry, Dottie & Byron

Larry, Dottie & Byron

Brisket Taco’s & Fresh Roasted Salsa

Brisket … our  favorite new recipe to share with our friends in Panama.  The grass-fed beef here is called Faldo and we buy 10 pounds at a time to prepare.  First, we marinate in Coke over night or up to 48 hours.  The Coke will tenderize the meat since the beef in Panama has very little fat.  I  make my own dry rub of chile powder, cayenne, sea salt, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder,  cajun seasoning and any other favorite spices that I have on hand. Drain the coke and rub the meat with olive oil and the dry rub mix and let set overnight.  Byron always chars the meat on the grill  before putting it in the crock pot for 10 – 15 hours along with white wine, jalapeno, onions and fresh grated ginger.  Shred the beef,  heat up the flour tortillas, saute onions & peppers, and serve with mixed greens  and fresh roasted salsa.

The roasted salsa recipe is easy and so much better than the jar kind you can purchase.  Since everyone keeps asking for the recipe, I thought I would just post in the LTDED blog.  I use 2 lbs of roma tomatoes, sliced in half, 1 large onion quartered, 1 whole garlic clove peeled and 4 jalapeno’s sliced.  Place all on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil, salt & pepper.  Roast at 425-450 for about 30 minutes.  Let cool.  Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  If it is too thick add a little water.  I add one jalapeno at a time and taste to check for the degree of spicy heat.  A couple of times it has been very spicy.  I love it that way, but a lot of our friends prefer a milder version.  Just before serving, chop fresh cilantro and squeeze a  lime over the salsa for the extra burst of flavor.  The salsa is fabulous with your favorite chips and beverages.  Roasted tomatoes are so versatile , you can use this as a base for marinara or spaghetti sauce.  Just leave out the jalapeno’s and add crushed red pepper, oregano and italian spices.  YUM… Let me know how your tacos or salsa turns out.  Cheers to living, loving and cooking with passion !

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