Archive for the ‘trains’ Category

What to eat at the airport

February 1, 2011

Also on the train or in the car. Fresh through security at the airport, we head for coffee, but there’s nothing appealing about the lineup of dry muffins in the case – or, for that matter, the container of cutup fruit (how do they get apples so dry?). (Of course, at the Florence airport, you can get hot brioche, but the trip home is another matter.) I bake this cake to take along – it’s somewhere between cake and shortbread really, not too moist, so it resists being squished in your bag.

What – six egg yolks? Yes, and just think: You can make an egg-white omelet for dinner the night before you leave on your trip. Enjoy!

MARTY’S ALMOND TRAVEL CAKE

1/3 (heaping) cup almonds, toasted and ground

1 1/2 cups flour

2 Tbl. cornstarch

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cut butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

6 large egg yolks, beaten to blend

2 tsp. grated lemon peel

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Butter and dust with flour one 8-inch-round cake pan. Mix together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and ground nuts; set aside. Beat together butter and sugar; gradually add egg yolks. Mix in peel and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Transfer to pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until the cake is firm to touch. Cool in pan, then cut and remove slices. Wrap individually for a quick snack or breakfast.

Trains and trains and trains

August 23, 2009

Just back from Portland and the Farwest Show and, of course, we took the train. The Seattle-Portland trip on Amtrak Cascades is lovely and relaxing from the moment we step into the station.

Portland station's ceiling

Portland station's ceiling

Stepping into the Portland station is stepping back in time—motifs on the ceiling, marble arches and ceiling fans. In Seattle, King Street station is still undergoing renovation, as it has been doing for at least 15 years. When will it be finished? They’ve opened up an area of white marblelike walls that looks appropriately old, but the dropped acoustic ceiling still covers the original beauty. There’s one gap where you can see through all the way up, accompanied by a sign that shows you what’s to come. Some day.

In London, we love the organized chaos of stations such as Paddington—everyone is going in a different direction, and yet all movement seems choreographed. We stand in a crowd watching the letters and numbers flip by on the big board until our platform is announced, then off we go to find decent seats and wait for the tea trolley.

Smaller train stations around England provide charming anecdotes. In Taunton one year, a polished steam engine came puffing through. At the station in Cheltenham two summers ago, a Spitfire flew over us; it had just performed at Proms the night before at Sudeley Castle.

Not all train stations are as enjoyable.  Gare du Nord makes me nervous. How will I feel in Rome?