Sunday, 12 February 2012

Stuff I bring back from California

Hi y'all!  My other half and I are back from visiting my family in California for a week.  It was a lovely trip and it was SO cool to see my new niece.  My sister & bro-in-law had a baby back in August and we had not seen Baby 'E' yet.  Anyway, we did all the usual family stuff.  We made chilli and drank zinfandel and had a great time.  I will be posting a few more photos later this week from our California adventure.  However, I find that since moving to Ireland there are a few things I can't get in the store here.  It's funny how you begin to miss the strangest things, like green tabasco, haha.  Anyway, I thought I would post about the things that I bring back to Ireland when I visit Cali.

  • Green Tabasco --  for some reason they don't sell it here.  Irish grocery stores are nearly identical to American ones, (except for maybe a massive selection of tea) and yes Virginia, they do sell Tabasco.  The red kind.  They have bottles of it in the dining hall at work so it is very common.  BUT (and that's a big but) they don't have the green type made with jalapeños.  Think of it as a kinder, gentler tabasco.  Me gusta.
  • HotLime -- my mother introduced me to this.  It rocks on Mexican tortilla soup.  The habanero pepper adds a big kick while the lime gives it that LA palm tree flair.  Reminds me of that Don Henley song "Down at the Sunset Grill".  Like, maybe that's what they would serve there.  I am guessing it is also good on soft tacos from the food truck (a.k.a. roach coach).
  • The Pepper Plant Original California Style Hot Pepper Sauce -- whew!  That's a mouthful.  We discovered this at the Lighthouse Cafe in Pacific Grove and I was instantly hooked.  It is great on eggs and hashbrowns.  Again, it's like Tabasco, with a sh*tload of garlic and cracked pepper.  Ooooh lots of pepper.

    • Happy Camper -- My aunt swears by this stuff.  She used to have a crappy customer service job working in I.T. at the University of Madison.  She would get calls all the time from idiots saying, "I broke the Internet" or "My printer can't print.  I'm returning this goddam computer right now unless you make it work."  Sigh.  Happy Camper to the rescue.  The reason I bring it back is because it contains Saint John's Wort and Kava Kava.  Ireland has some strange rules about pharmacy items.  For example, you need a prescription here for Saint John's Wort but every Wal-Mart in America sells it for 7.99 next to the toothpaste.  Oh, but ask an Irish pharmacy for Sudafed and they'll give you boxes of the stuff.  When I asked for Sudafed a drug store in California they scanned my Drivers License and had me sign a form saying that I am not a drug dealer.  Go figure.
    • Korean Ginseng Tea (powder) -- well yes, you can get ginseng here in Ireland.  The Oriental Emporium on Upper Abbey Street sells liquid extract in little vials that you pierce with a tiny plastic straw, but they don't sell the packets of powder that are good for making tea.

      • Benadryl -- again this is a quirk of the Irish pharmacy rules.  They don't sell products containing Diphenhydramine hydrochlorite (an antihistamine) over the counter.  I was surprised that you couldn't get this when I first moved to Ireland.  They sell it at every pharmacy, grocery store and Wal-Mart in California, and most stores have their own generic brand.  By the way, the anti-itch cream is fantastic on bug bites and plant-related incidents.
      • Neosporin -- yes I know, every child has access to this in their medicine cabinet at home, right along with the Snoopy band-aids.  In Ireland they have restrictions on over-the-counter products containing antibiotics.  Sure, they sell something like Neosporin; it is simply a germicidal ointment.


      1. Glad you and your Irish Lass made it home safe and sound! I'm sure you had a fabulous time visiting with family and meeting your new little niece - isn't she precious?

      2. Yes she is a delightful baby. Quite alert and expressive and curious and OMG can that baby jump! She loves her bouncy chair. She's either going to be a professional athlete or an astronaut. Hey Obama, bring back the space program. My niece wants to be the first volleyball player on Mars.

      3. I am going to have to find me some of those sauces! Garlic and heat!? Sounds too good to be true