Iceland in a Weekend: Icelandic Horses and the Secret Lagoon

Having seen all kinds of cool stuff in the eastern part of Iceland, we made our way back on Route 1 to the western part. Read on for our adventures in the western part (map at end of post).

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Buenos Aires is my favorite South American city!

After all of the hiking in Patagonia, we decided to spend a lazy weekend in Buenos Aires just eating and wandering around. This was maybe the best idea I’ve had in awhile. Because while there are pickpockets everywhere (seriously, be careful near Retiro station), most of the people are awesome and the food is super delicious. Here’s what we did during our weekend in Buenos Aires. Map of places mentioned at the end of the post. Continue reading “Buenos Aires is my favorite South American city!”

From Rotterdam to real-life Disneyland aka Ghent

One nice thing about Europe is that it is densely populated so it’s quite easy to go on a weekend trip to a cool city. We decided to go to Ghent to see the Wintermarkt and just generally wander around. It was an excellent decision; Ghent is super beautiful and walkable and we really loved our time there.

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How to see penguins in Punta Arenas

You’re probably in Punta Arenas because you are on your way somewhere else. But if you have a day to spare, I definitely recommend going to Isla Magdalena to check out some penguins and sea lions. Solo Expediciones is the only company that goes there outside of high season (before December or after January). To maximize your chance of actually going to the island, you should go to Solo Expediciones HQ (shown on the map at the end) basically as soon as you arrive in Punta Arenas. Continue reading “How to see penguins in Punta Arenas”

Where to buy all the meats (and other staples) in Rotterdam

Everytime I told anyone I was moving to Rotterdam, they all told me to be prepared to eat terribly. While the number of different kinds of fried objects available here are a bit alarming, I’ve actually been eating great here. That’s due, in no small part, to the awesome grocery stores and specialty food stores in Rotterdam. Here are my favorite grocery stores that I’ve found so far in my few weeks here (map at the end of the post):

  1. Slagerij Schell: they have all different kinds of meats here (pork, chicken, lamb, beef). The prices are super reasonable and they stock a lot of things that you can’t find in a typical supermarket. We found pork shoulder (for pulled pork!), bacon (for life!), and real italian sausages. For my asians out there, they stock beef flank (transliterated as noks tijn) so you can make marinated beef or beef noodle soup!
  2. Amazing Oriental Supermarket: not sure I’m supposed to condone the use of the word “Oriental” but this supermarket indeed has an amazing number of Asian products. I go here for Shin ramen, dumpling ingredients, Lao Gan Ma chili oil, and green tea Kit Kats. They also have many different kinds of frozen goods as well as Asian vegetables.
  3. Schmidt Zeevis: this fish market is a bit far but they are ginormous and have a great selection of fresh seafood. They also have a great fish soup so you can have lunch here to boost your energy for the way back.
  4. De Kaashoeve: lest you think I spend all my time on West-Kruiskade, I also very much like this cheese shop on Oude Binneweg. The Dutch love their Gouda and there is an excellent selection here but they carry great international cheeses as well.
  5. Jordy’s Bakery: they make delicious crusty bread here and also olive oil (because you need something to dip the bread in, duh). You can also get your bread sliced here into thin or thick slices, which is a nice option.
  6. Marqt: this is like upscale Albert Heijn (see below). They have a really good selection of prepared foods as well as fish, cheese, and meats. I’m also a big fan of their beverage and pate section.
  7. Albert Heijn: The sheer number of Albert Heijn stores in Rotterdam makes it one of my favorites. I can literally have a desire for chips or peanut butter anywhere in Rotterdam and be a block away from satisfying that craving. They are also pretty well-organized and open until 10 pm every day except Sunday. Albert Heijns are not shown in the map because they are EVERYWHERE.

Two weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico: What I Ate

Mostly tacos. I had the good fortune to volunteer as a short-term photographer for Fundacion En Via (more about this later) this fall, which meant two weeks in the town of Oaxaca. Oaxaca is well-known for its food and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Here were my favorite places to go during those two weeks. Note that for every restaurant on here (with the exception of Casa Oaxaca), you can get a full meal for less than $5. Map of listed restaurants at the bottom of the post. Continue reading “Two weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico: What I Ate”

Let’s Explore NY: Eating my way through Flushing

I love the food of my people and there is no better place to get it than in Flushing, NY. Here’s a run-down of my favorite places in Flushing to get my eats on (spoiler alert, there are a lot of carbs involved). Also, you probably want to do this with a few people so you can share the food. Also, I’m pretty sure only Kung Fu has a website so you can’t really plan your meal. Be adventurous! I promise it will pay off.

  1. Kung Fu Xiao-long Bao – thin bao skin, tasty soup, and perfectly flavored meat all add up to make the perfect xiaolong bao. Their other dishes are pretty good too; I personally like the beef in scallion pancake and the turnip puffs.
  2. Yeh’s Bakery – this place has been in existence for decades. They churn out delicious sponge cakes, moon cakes, and butter cookies. If it’s your birthday, I recommend getting one of their whipped cream pies.
  3. Tianjin Dumpling House – this little stand is located inside the Golden Shopping Mall. Pick your own dumpling flavors or get pre-stuffed ones from the wall. I love the pork with chives or lamb with green squash (aka zucchini). Whatever you do, don’t forget the sauce.
  4. Express Tea Cafe – walk like 10 feet from Tianjin to get to Express Tea Cafe where they sell bubble tea but really excel at making jian bings, which are like chinese savory crepes. Get the classic, which comes with wonton crisps, lettuce, and sauce. Sounds basic but the combination is delicious.
  5. Xi’an Famous Foods – you could go to the stand in Golden but there is a far nicer outpost about a block down Main Street toward the library. Something with noodles and lamb is always the right choice here.
  6. New Flushing Bakery – get the Portuguese egg tarts. They are amazing; crispy crust and creamy custard. The regular egg tarts are also pretty good if they run out of Portuguese ones.
  7. New Mei Hwa – they specialize in meat over rice. This is a typical Taiwanese lunch. I always get the pork chop over rice, which comes with a pork chop and rice (obvs) as well as some type of green vegetable (it changes) and pickled greens (so good!). You can splurge and get the Taiwanese Railroad Bento, which for a $7.50 gets you some Taiwanese sausage and an egg.
  8. Li’s Lanzhou Hand-Stretched Noodles – beef noodle soup is king here. The broth is rich and the noodles are perfectly chewy. Also, it’s $6.50.
  9. Imperial Palace – go here if you want a traditional sit down dinner amongst many Chinese families. Peking pork chop and crab over sticky rice are my go-tos.

Featured Image by Chun Yip So

Let’s Explore NY: A day in Beacon

Take the Metro-North to Beacon and find yourself in hipster paradise. But really, hipsters are pretty good at stuff so don’t let that put you off. (Metro North has a getaway package that includes admission to Dia:Beacon, find it here)

I imagine you didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn so by the time you get to Beacon, it will probably be time for lunch. Get lunch at Harry’s Hot Sandwiches. The sandwiches here are so good. SO GOOD. The pulled pork and the Cubano are my faves.

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24 Hours in Santa Barbara

I was hanging out in UCSB for a bit and had a day to spend in Santa Barbara. The city is developing super quickly and offers quite a few things beyond its beautiful beaches. Here’s a rundown of my day there.

Breakfast at Handlebar Coffee: I don’t drink coffee but I do love a good croissant. The almond croissant here is flaky and delicious. (Also, my friends tell me that the coffee here is the best in Santa Barbara).

Morning Yoga at Power of Your Om: this cute studio is right on State St. They have classes throughout the day for all levels. The teachers are great; be prepared to sweat.
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The Dingle Peninsula in Summer

The Dingle peninsula was one of my favorite places during our trip to Ireland. There is wonderful music and great food and also SURFING. Click through for my favorite experiences on the Dingle peninsula.

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24 Hours in NOLA (again!)

So I had to go back to NOLA again but we only had 24 hours this time. Here’s what you should do there if you only have 1 day to play.

Get lunch at Turkey and the Wolf. The food here is so awesome and creative. The space is strange and fun too. You can get a rubber bouncy ball for a quarter. Their lamb neck roti sandwich with yogurt and dill is the perfect combination of flavors. The deep fried chicken pot pie was also extremely delicious; the crust was extra crispy. Finish off the meal with one of their ice creams (I’m partial to the vanilla with key lime pie crunchies.) Beware that the ice cream is ginormous.

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A food-filled weekend in New Orleans

We flew into New Orleans with basically the goal of consuming our weight in food over the weekend. Here’s a rundown of all the food we ate during our time there (with some excursions to break up the gluttony).

1. Killer Po’ Boys – I got a glazed pork belly po boy and my friend got a seared gulf shrimp po boy. We both agreed that hers was the better one of the two. My pork belly was a bit dry but the bread was good so not a bad start to our food adventure. They also had this rad California reaper raspberry jelly that was great on toast.

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pork belly po’boy at Killer Po’Boys

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Lunching in Palm Desert

While being young and wild and free in the California desert, we stumbled upon 3 very tasty lunches. Be sure to stop by these places, next time you’re out spa-ing or hiking or Coachella-ing.

1. Wilma and Frieda’s Cafe. This place has  amazing brunch. They are famous for their short ribs eggs benedict; the meat is soft and the muffin is buttery. Their blackberry french toast is also pretty great; it’s filled with vanilla custard and comes with lots of fresh blackberries.

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Short Rib Eggs Benedict at Wilma and Frieda’s Cafe

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Eating my way through the OC

I was again left to my own devices for most of the OC but this time I had a car. Though I did try to go for a walk and again people looked at me like I was insane. Anyway, the OC actually has some really tasty food. Read on to find out what I found to eat in 24 hours in the OC.

The breakfast of champions can be had at Sidecar Doughnuts. Seriously the donuts here are really awesome. I couldn’t pick just one to eat so I got four (huckleberry, meyer lemon, almond crunch, and cinnamon). Lest you think I’m a total glutton; I only ate a quarter of each and saved the rest for my hard at work friends.

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Doughnuts and Tea from Sidecar

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Walking(!) around LA

I got into LAX at 10am and was left to my own devices while my friends were at work. I decided to go to Downtown LA in the hopes that it was somewhat walkable. It was very walkable and I got to see a lot of cool stuff and ate some really delicious food while I was there.

To get from LAX to downtown, there’s a superconvenient flyaway bus that costs $9 and drops off at Union Station; it stops at every terminal so just look for the bus sign when walking out. I was headed to the OC on Amtrak later in the evening so I conveniently left my luggage at the Amtrak luggage check for $4 per piece. It’s for ticketed passagers only but you can buy a ticket for $8 so it’s still a pretty good deal if you decide not to use the ticket.

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How much can I eat in 24 hrs? DC edition

I was only in DC for 1 day but I managed to eat some really good food while I was there. Here’s an account of all the food I could get my hands on in 24 hours.

Lomo Saltado at China Chilcano: I love Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese-Japanese) cuisine so I knew I had to stop by this new Jose Andres restaurant. My favorite Chifa dish by far is Lomo Saltado, which is steak in a soy sauce-based sauce served over vegetables and French fries. The China Chilcano version comes with matchstick potatoes and adds a nice crunch. I would definitely recommend coming here if you’ve never had Chifa food. They also have a sweet lunch deal for $20, which includes an appetizer, an entree (everyone around me was getting the aeropuerto rice-fried noodle-vegetable hodgepodge), and dessert.

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Lomo Saltado at China Chilcano

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Let’s Explore NY: Flex Mussels and Joyce Theater

Let’s go to Chelsea (ish) and eat at Flex Mussels (154 W. 13th St) before watching dance at the Joyce Theater (175 8th Ave). You can take the 1,2,3 to 14th St to get here.
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Head South in San Antonio!

San Antonio is famous for the Alamo and the Riverwalk, which are both admittedly pretty cool. My favorite places to go, however, were toward Southtown, where there’s great food and great bars. It’s also within walking distance of the Riverwalk so it’s easily accessible if you are staying along the Riverwalk. Here are some of the best things I found down south this week.
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Let’s Explore NY: Meme Mediterranean and the Barrow Street Theatre

Let’s explore the West Village: have dinner or lunch at Meme Mediterranean (581 Hudson St) and then catch a show at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow St). Both of these places are located in the West Village and you can get there by taking the 1 to Christopher St or the A,C,E to 14th St.
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Fave Eats in Berkeley

My boyfriend is going to spend a week in Berkeley so I gave him a list of my favorite places to eat there; I’ll share that list here too. Berkeley is awesome because the combination of hippies and students results in lots of restaurants serving local and organic food for pretty cheap prices. One of my favorite places (Cafe Intermezzo) served HUGE, fresh salads (like weighing multiple pounds) with really tasty dressings (I liked poppy seed dressing best) for like $5. Sadly, it no longer exists (though there are plans for it to come back soon!) but a bunch of other really awesome places are still there. Here are my faves: Continue reading “Fave Eats in Berkeley”

Food in Ojochal

We had some really great food in Ojochal. Here are some of my favorite dishes and places.

Restaurante Pinuelas (about 50 meters south of the entrance to Playa Pinuelas) – this soda has super good ceviche and super fresh seafood. I don’t know how many ceviche mixtos (with fish and shrimp) I ate at this place. Be sure to get the ceviche with patacones (fried smashed salty plaintains). The lime juice in the ceviche and the salt in the patacones complement each other perfectly. They also serve a fried whole red snapper that you can get in small, medium, or large. A medium is just the right size for two people. It comes with vegetables and nacho chips. The fish is perfectly crisp. They don’t sell fish tacos, which I love, but you can make your own by ordering the breaded fish (pescado empanizado) and asking for a portion of “tiernas” (small flour tortillas). The breaded fish is crispy and soft and comes with french fries, steamed vegetables, and tartar sauce. My boyfriend loved the filete de pescado casado. Casado is a dish that you can get at most sodas in Costa Rica; it consists of some type of meat of your choosing and salad, rice, vegetables, beans, and sweet plantains. This dish was just perfect for lunch after a morning of swimming. As you can see, we REALLY liked Restaurante Pinuelas. Note that they close when they run out of ceviche, which is usually around sunset. A meal for 2 with drinks is about $20.

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Food in Taiwan (Part 1)

I was reading the NYTimes and there was an article highlighting the virtues of Taipei. It definitely made me remember the many awesome adventures I had in Taiwan while visiting my family there. Taiwan has some of the most amazing food I’ve ever tasted as well as beautiful and extremely varied landscapes. Plus, the transportation system is very well-developed so you can basically get around without a car (though I recommend renting a motor scooter for a few hours, just to see how fun it is to ride one). In this post, I’ll highlight some of my favorite things to eat (things to do will be in the next post).

Taiwan has the coolest fruits; be sure to go to a fruit and vegetable market and try all of the foreign looking fruits. Taiwanese guava usually has white flesh and is very crunchy and refreshing. I love the lian wu, which looks like a waxy red pear, and tastes crisp and sweet. Starfruit is a juicy, yellow fruit that looks like a star when you cut it. Somehow my parents always cut off the edges of each fin but I don’t know if you have to do that. Also get some asian pears, which have a similar texture to Bosc pears. The flesh is crunchy and very sweet.

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Yummy Food Stores in NYC

New York is well-known for its shopping but the shops that I find myself frequenting the most are the food shops in NYC. I love that you can find a shop that specializes in pretty much anything you feel like eating. Here are some of the best:

Pickle Guys (49 Essex St) – this place has been around since I was a little kid. I loved running around the corner and picking a freshly pickled pickle from one of the giant vats. They have salty or garlicky or spicy and the owners are so friendly!

The Pickle Guys
photo by Jay Mandel

Murray’s Cheese Shop (254 Bleecker St) – so much cheese and they have their famous cave for aging the cheeses. You can get soft cheese, bleu cheese, French cheese, Spanish cheese, all kinds of cheese! Continue reading “Yummy Food Stores in NYC”

Favorite Food Mainstays in New York

I grew up in New York and it’s always held a special place in my heart so I thought it might be fun to do a small series of NYC posts. One of my favorite things about NYC is how easy it is to find delicious food. I’ve seen a lot of places come and go but here are some of my favorite places that have been around for a while. The service in all of these places is really warm and makes you feel extremely comfortable. If you get the chance to visit any of these places, you’ll immediately see why they’ve been around for so long.  Continue reading “Favorite Food Mainstays in New York”

Food in Tulum

We had lots of really good food on our trip to Tulum. We stayed on the southern part of the beach so we had a couple of meals at restaurants along the beach road. Beach restaurants are quite a bit more expensive than the restaurants in town but some of them are really quite good. I recommend buying some snacks and breakfast stuff at either Chedraui or Super San Francisco (they’ve got good breakfast pastries too if you want to stop by on your way to an excursion) to save having to order everything.

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