Who Am I?

recent pic“Ask yourself this: Which is more important to you? Who is on the bus with you or where the bus is going?”

Now, my answer to that question was and is “who”. And that got to apply to some new fun changes in my life. As of July 2005, I set out, for an indeterminate amount of time, traveling. I was going to say that I was now an “itinerant traveler” and went and looked up the definition to make sure I’d got it right. Turns out that that’s redundant – itinerant means either as a noun someone who travels from place to place, or as an adjective, the same. So, I was merely an itinerant (though, for the moment, as you’ll see, I’ve stopped in one place once again). E-mail, instant messaging, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, have become the methods of communication with my friends and family back in “the States.”

So, these days, I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the “who”, my husband, Henry Tapia. We have a lovely little duplex apartment in the Recoleta neighborhood, with two patios and a garden. I run what here is called a restaurant a puertas cerradas, or closed door restaurant, called Casa SaltShaker, but prefer to think of it like the dinner parties I used to run in New York, the Second Sunday Supper Circle. The “motto” is “Food. Wine. Conversation. New Friends.” and several times every week I bring together people from all over the world, from diverse backgrounds, of different ages, to eat, drink, converse, and, hopefully, make amigos, over the dinner table. Henry helps me out in the restaurant most nights, but his primary passion and career is teaching tango and folklore dance.

I’m not going to get into a detailed bio and work history, suffice it to say, I’m a trained chef (originally via apprenticing, later through Peter Kump’s Cooking School, now the Institute of Culinary Education), a trained pastry chef and baker (Roberto Goni’s Escuela de Pasteleros), and a certified Advanced Sommelier (Court of Master Sommeliers), and have a Higher Certificate from the Institute of Masters of Wine. I’ve worked in both award winning and unnoticed restaurants, I’ve had both my food and wine lists win awards and much ink, and even more electrons, have been spilled over both. But I’ve probably spilled more of each writing things myself. I’ve been writing since my first journalism and creative writing classes in high school (thank yous go out, respectively, to Brad Spencer and Oakley Winters, my teachers in those), wrote for my high school paper, a local “underground” paper, and newspapers and magazines ever since. I went through a “phase”, no, that’s not fair, I gave a turn at performing at stand-up comedy at one point, and I’ve got clips from some of my shows here. Mostly, these days, I write about food and wine, and a bit of travel, but the “historic” archives include a bit of other stuff too – GLBT issues, humor, space exploration, and more. The intent of this website is to bring together an archive of all of it, bit by bit, along with various scribblings that I just feel like collecting here. I’ve written two books, one a Spanish-English and vice versa food and wine dictionary: SaltShaker Spanish – English – Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary (Bilingual) (English and Spanish Edition)“ (now in its second edition: SaltShaker Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary – Second Edition“), the other, Don’t Fry for Me Argentina“, a collection of stories about living here in Buenos Aires, with recipes. And, I write a blog a couple of days a week about the wine and food scene – SaltShaker. It’s not all food and wine. Buenos Aires is a great city for all sorts of cultural things, and I try to make the most of it. And, one needs a bit of exercise – I try to maintain being in reasonably good shape, and still practice (and have a weekly online class with my sifu) kenpo, which I was quite active in while in NYC, and in 2015 received my third-dan blackbelt.

Last note about this website. Obviously, if you stop to think about it, blogging didn’t exist at the time when a good percentage of these articles, menus, etc., were written or happened. But I decided for organizational purposes it made sense to date things to when they happened, and here and there I’ve added commentary that is obviously from my perspective looking back from 2015.