Uncorked Cooking Workshop | Santiago | Chile

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While traveling the world, one thing I have come to appreciate is the vast choice of spices that are available in different regions. Exploring those flavors is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. When researching cooking classes in Santiago before our trip, Uncorked stood out from the rest. I was a bit hesitant at first because of the cost for the package but in the end, it was well worth it!

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Our tour started in the market district of Santiago. Read more about our tour of Mercado Central here. From the markets, we took the train back to the kitchen. We were immediately impressed with the beautiful, spacious facilities. Since we were in Chile in the off-season, it was just the two of us in our class but this gorgeous kitchen could comfortably accomodate larger groups.

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Point Aldeia do Açai | Brazil

Let me tell you a secret. Churrasco (or grilled meat) is not the best that Brazilian cuisine has to offer. That would be açai (ah-sigh-ee). Açai is a small black fruit grown on a specific species of palm tree and sold as a frozen fruit sorbet. You might have seen this advertised at health stores Stateside or on the boardwalk in California but do not be fooled. Unless purchased at your local Brazilian co-op (Dallas), this is likely a sad imitation of this Brazilian delight. Do yourself a favor and try the real deal!

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For me, açai was an acquired taste. My first year in Brazil, before Felipe and I started dating but had already been hanging out in groups for awhile, we met up after work one day to go to Becco do Batman. After we arrived, he asked me if I liked açai. I said sure, trying to be agreeable and impress my crush, and ended up with a large purple bowl of frozen goop. I tried to shovel down a few spoonfuls to be cordial but my body was not having it.

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Once we started dating, Felipe convinced me to try it again one afternoon after visiting his family across town. This açai was different. It was delicious (or maybe I was just tired from conversing in Portuguese and hot from lack of air conditioning). Regardless, it became our weekly tradition. There is one place in particular that has the best açai in all of Brazil: Point Aldeia do Açai. This is our friend. He owns two of these shops.

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Like ice cream, açai can be topped with sugary delights. In two years, I ate a considerable amount of açai and this is the best ratio I have found: peanuts on bottom, açai, peanuts on top, condensed milk. The perfect ratio of salty to sweet. This summer (Brazilian winter), we got to eat açai every. single. day. YUM.

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Philadelphia | USA

In an effort to see all 50 states before we move on, we took a quick weekend trip to Philadelphia. The weather (mostly) cooperated and Felipe learned a lot about American history! We also took a drive to Gettysburg and stopped off in Amish country for while. There is nothing quite like the beauty of fall in the north!

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Los Angeles | USA

I don’t know at what point Santa Monica became the annual Irons family vacation but I wouldn’t change it for the world! We generally travel around the Fourth of July because of my dad’s work schedule. This year, we spent the holiday playing volleyball on the beach!

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Dead Sea Float | Israel

After experiencing the desert flood and checking out the Dead Sea Scrolls, we made our way to the Dead Sea. We were granted a reprieve from the day's drizzle just long enough to go for a float. Though it was still unpleasantly chilly (see below), the water was surprisingly warm. Shout out to Kyle Keeter for manning my camera on the shore for the group pictures!