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Food/Wine

Experiencing Shabushabu in Kyoto Japan

September 17, 2014 by  

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shabushabu One of the most interesting restaurants I ate at during my trip to Kyoto, Japan, was at Gion Gyuzen (323 Gionmachikitagawa, Higashiyamaku) and partaking in some traditional shabushabu. Upon entering the restaurant I was asked to remove my shoes and was escorted to a private room with sliding doors and a low table adorned with two potable hot clay pots filled with water flavored with seaweed. Pretty soon, plates of Kobe beef, pork, octopus, jellyfish, Japanese pumpkin, prawns, crab, scallops, sweet potatoes, enoki mushrooms, sprouts, konnyaku (glass noodles), Chinese cabbage, onion and more were brought in an unlimited fashion for myself and my dinner companions to cook ourselves in a hot pot. It’s particularly fun saying “shabushabu” quickly, over and over, until your food is ready to be smothered in your ponzu and sesame seed sauces and eaten. For a quick bit of history, the name shabushabu was introduced by a restaurant in Osaka called Suehiro. They trademarked the name in 1955. That being said, actual shabushabu — just not called so — has hot pot origins, thought to come from Mongolia over 1,000 years ago. Today, shabushabu is one of Japan’s most popular…

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6 Off-the-Beaten Path South American Festivals For Your Bucket List

September 15, 2014 by  

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Of all the people, on all the continents, South Americans really know how to party.  Their indigenous roots and Christian colonization leads to an amazing assortment of fiestas.  Chose from indigenous harvest festivals to religious holidays to music performances, with celebrations that range from unbridled chaos to more serene and structured.  If you want to visit South America, these South American festivals are worth planning a trip around. Oruro Festival, Bolivia. Photo courtesy of VMT Bolivia. Oruro Festival, Bolivia. Photo courtesy of VMT Bolivia.

1) Celebrate The Virgin Of The Mineshaft At The Oruro Festival In Oruro, Bolivia

Travel back in time in one of the highest and most remote countries on earth. Bolivia is rich in both silver and local culture, with more indigenous peoples than any other country in the Americas. You can experience this diverse mix of multi-ethnic cultural experiences first-hand combined with the importance of salt mines if you visit during the Oruro Festival in one of Bolivia’s old mining towns. Legend has it that in 1756, a mural of the Virgin Mary miraculously appeared in a mineshaft of the city’s richest silver mine. Ever since, the townspeople have honored the…

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Argentina Travel: The All Things Culture & Arts Guide to Buenos Aires

September 15, 2014 by  

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  buenos aires For your next trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, learn how to immerse yourself in local culture, savor tasty delicacies and go beyond the guidebook in this fascinating city. 1. For those wanting to have a Buenos Aires experience not typically found in guidebooks, Buenos Aires has a lot of street art. There are many places in non touristic areas, like Colegiales and Boedo, where you can find the work of our “local Banksy.” If you are interested in a different experience, like Gaucho Culture, every Sunday there are places called Jineteadas. Gauchos gather here for folk and music and to ride on wild horses and eat local food. Of course there are many Estancias that offer a “gaucho day.” All of them are good, but if you want to know real gauchos in Buenos Aires you must go to a Jineteada. These meetings are every Sunday in different places, about 30 minutes from downtown Buenos Aires. They don’t have a pre established schedule, and to find it is not a easy work. I typically need to listen a local radio to find the next meeting. Ask your hotel if they can help you…

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Chiang Mai Thailand: From Elephants & Festivals to Food & Local Culture

September 14, 2014 by  

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Yi Peng Festival Thailand isn’t all about beaches and Bangkok. Be sure to check out Chiang Mai in the north. Below are some interesting food trends, local culture and tips on travel to Thailand’s north including background on how to travel responsibly. 1. For those wanting to have a lesser-known Chiang Mai experience, some of the best things about the city aren’t the things a guidebook would write about. To me, the best thing about this city is how friendly and open people are and that the experiences you have when you just wander outside of the walls of the Old City can truly be some of the most memorable moments from a visit here. So, for those wanting have a Chiang Mai experience not in the guidebook, my advice would be to go and get lost. To go, map-free, for a wander across the moat that separates the “old” from the “not as old” and explore. Head to some of the more local markets, like Warorot, and across the river and through the maze of sois (small streets that oftentimes are barely large enough to fit a car). Get in one of the…

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62 Restaurant in Salem For To-Die For Homemade Pasta Dishes

September 14, 2014 by  

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62 Restaurant in Salem Massachusetts was quite “the surprise.” Sure, they have great appetizers on the menu ranging from chickpea and risotto fritters, grilled calamari, mixed (and oh so fresh) baby heirloom tomatoes with burrata mozzarella to their yummy braised pork belly served with a spicy red cabbage salad and sea salt. And, of course they have fresh fish on the menu since Salem is on the sea – their filet of sole locally caught over a crispy polenta with salsa puttanesca and the pan-roasted day boat cod with potatoes, roasted fennel & black olives with a broccoli rabe pesto are both out of this world. They even had a to die-for duck breast, with cipolla dolce, wood grilled peaches & vin cott. (below) But what I think Chef Antonio Bettencourt do so well that you’d be beckoned to come back again and again, is his homemade pasta. (made by hand). He and his team are dedicated to using the best locally -sourced, all natural ingredients in season and at the peak of flavor. They put a lot of heart into it to show its “true…

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A Trip to Monterey California for Fabulous Seafood

September 13, 2014 by  

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    Unlike many gorgeous tourist oriented cities by the sea, Monterey California doesn’t necessarily shunt you down to a few tourist-friendly reconditioned blocks of bad and overpriced chain restaurants (Chart House, anyone?). Yes, there is a section of the old Cannery Row that has spawned a whole string of the most goddawful avoidable businesses in California and the special torture of $18 prix fixe parking lots.  I know there’s a Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Factory, and maybe an IMAX theatre and I’m guessing there’s a Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, though I haven’t really been down there in years, because it’s totally unnecessary to go there to get a good (and often cheap) meal or a great view amidst the heady smell of kelp forests and the background music of barking sea lions. There are many great and celebrated restaurants in Monterey Bay and the surrounding environs.  Here I’ll skip piling on to the raves for places like Tarpy’s Roadhouse on the road to Salinas or Pacific Grove’s Passion Fish, which specializes in local and sustainable seafood, and just say, yes, they’re awesome.  Instead, I’ll hone in on four of my favorite out of the way places…

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Bangkok Thailand: 10 Cultural Things for the Foodie & Responsible Traveler

September 13, 2014 by  

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  For your next trip to Bangkok, Thailand, take in the following food trends, local culture and must-have experiences in this fascinating city.1. For those wanting to have a memorable Bangkok experience, head to Chinatown and Silom Road to enjoy some traditional Thai street food (yum!). Also, take a dinner river cruise on one of the small boats. Banyan Tree has their own rice barge that has been made into a beautiful restaurant. It can be a little pricey but worth it, as the service and the food is excellent. It also provides for a better experience than one of the big “party boats.” Make sure to also go for a ride on the Sky Train. This is probably nothing for people who come from a country with a good public transport system; however, for us coming from Australia where our public transport isn’t very impressive we had a lot of fun riding the Sky Train. 2. For those wanting to experience local culture in Bangkok, street food is must. Also, check out the Royal Grounds and the temples in the city, but be sure to wear the appropriate clothing (pants and a t shirt, no short skirts or singlets).…

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Ramen at Noodle Cafe Zen in New York’s St. Mark’s Place

September 12, 2014 by  

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L1010509 Far back in the day, I loved Ramen Noodles.  Not only did I eat them as they were intended them to be eaten, I’d also crunch the noodles up and eat them dry…add a bit of Prego and eat them ala Italiana…even soak them in butter and sprinkle with cinnamon for a delicious makeshift dessert.  Palate of a 5 year old, I tell you!  But I digress. Up to this point in my life, I had never had REAL Ramen.  When I was in Japan I was scared to try it because it was really hard to communicate “vegetarian” effectively, and I didn’t want to risk ingesting bits of pork (shudder!).  So when I saw a veggie option on the menu of Noodle Cafe Zen last weekend, I gave it a go. They have a great lunch special served with a salad, huge bowl of soup, and a side for about $10. It’s hard to beat that in New York City. L1010510

 
WHERE: Noodle Cafe Zen
31 St. Marks Place 
New York, New York 
   


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