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Top Places to Sip Coffee in Iceland’s Reykjavik

February 28, 2015 by  

Photo courtesy of Alexander Jensen via Shutterstock. Iceland may be one of the most isolated spots in the entire world, but Reykjavik is a surprisingly worldly city. Perhaps it’s the limited sunlight, the chilling cold or simply the Scandinavian culture, but despite its small size, Reykjavik boasts a fantastic range of cafes.

Here are five of the finest cafes in Reykjavik’s for your sipping pleasure:

Laundromat Cafe Photo courtesy of The Laundromat Cafe.

The Laundromat Cafe

With its map wallpaper, warm lighting and bar filled with books, the Laundromat Cafe has a lovely, cozy atmosphere. Right in the center of the city, with plenty of comfy seating, the Laundromat is one of the best places to warm up over a latte. Photo courtesy of C is for Cookie. Photo courtesy of C is for Cookie.

C is for Cookie

Friendly, warm and brightly-colored (if only on the inside), C is for Cookie is a sweet little cafe that offers hearty, warming breakfasts along with its coffee. They also made delicious cakes and pies and excellent espresso coffee. The perfect spot to lounge in the warmth.

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Behind the Scenes With The Ever So Delicious French Macaron

February 24, 2015 by  

macaron Every few years, a new dessert seems to become particularly trendy. A couple of years back, it was all about the cupcake. For a bizarre, dazed moment in time, the most popular pastry seemed to be the cronut. In Paris, the choux, or cream-filled profiterole pastry, is having a moment (fans should head here for the perfect one). But perhaps the most enduring, fashionable little dessert is the macaron. Pastel colored and perfectly rounded, with a smooth casing and melt-in-your-mouth center, the macaron is dainty and indulgent. A simple design, the modern macaron consists of two symmetrical  almond biscuit meringues, held together by a thin layer of cream or jam. Traditional flavors are pistachio, raspberry, chocolate and vanilla, though present-day artisans like Pierre Hermé are famous for such masterpieces as chocolate and foie gras or candied chestnut.

You probably know the macaron is French. But how did this luxurious delicacy come to be?

macaron Some stories insist the macaron has been around since the seventh century, though most claim Catherine de Medici, of the famed Medici dynasty, brought the recipe with her from Italy when she married…

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On Indian Food and Culture, From Masala Vada & Spices to Chai

February 18, 2015 by  

indian culture Being an expat Indian, my husband and I are on the one hand, thankful for the experiences and adventures our son gets to have at such a young age. On the other hand, we sometimes rue that he doesn’t fully appreciate his roots, as he is a bit alienated from the riot of colors, sounds, smells and flavors that make up everyday life in India. So, we take him to visit his grandparents regularly. How fun are those trips for him and for us. It is so endearing to see him run around at my parents’ huge house. The little one who spent his toddler years in a sterile apartment is suddenly handed the freedom to do pretty much what he wants. “He may fall, he will scratch his knee,” I bemoan. “Let him be, he’ll be fine,” quips grandma. “Do you want to select fish for lunch?” she asks. We live in a small city down south, cradled by the Arabian Sea on one side. We still have those old-school fish mongers who bring the day’s catch straight to our doorsteps. I remember when I was little; these men came walking with…

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Behind the Scenes of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

February 16, 2015 by  

Despite being a tea drinker, when you’re given the opportunity to visit Jamaica and taste one of the finest coffees in the world — directly from the place where it’s grow — you don’t say no. I got such a fill for the history and beauty of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains that my coffee cup would be overflowing, figuratively. When Nicholas Lawes, a former governor of Jamaica, brought the first coffee plants to the country in 1728, their cultivation started in a field near a parish in Kingston before eventually being extended to these mountains. Thanks to its cool and misty climate and rich soil, this mountain range sources the beans that become a prime java export. As a single origin coffee, Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee comes with hefty stipulations resulting in prime costs. Only coffee grown in a legally defined range of the Blue Mountains – starting from 2,000 feet to about 5,000 feet above sea level – gets the stamp of authenticity: a globally protected certification mark. Only completely red cherry-colored beans are handpicked. From there, the beans have to pass inspection codes set by The Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica on everything from coloring to sizing before getting…

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5 Fabulous Cafe Picks in Vienna Austria

February 15, 2015 by  

cafes in vienna Much like the neighboring capital of Budapest, Vienna is a coffee city steeped in the tradition of the Austro-Hungarian empire. For centuries, Vienna has been known as the home of glittering, regal coffee houses adorned with gold, crystal and mahogany. Today, some of Vienna’s finest coffee can still be found in those historic coffee houses, but also in a number of new, modern cafés of a completely different style.

Here are five of the top cafes in Vienna, Austria:


cafes in vienna Photo courtesy of Phil. With its warm lamp lighting and rambling bookshelves, Phil feels more like a friend’s library-slash-living room than a cafe. And that’s part of the charm. Settle down with a mug of black coffee, pore over a book and absorb the cozy atmosphere.


Photo courtesy of Burg.ring. Photo courtesy of Burg.ring. Vienna may have a rich history (coffee-related and otherwise), but that’s not to say it doesn’t also have a burgeoning modern café scene. With its stripped-back walls and light-filled space, Burg.ring is one of the most charming spots in the city to relax over a…

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8 Not to Miss Meals in Colombia

February 11, 2015 by  

One of my favorite ways to explore a culture is through its food. On a recent trip to Colombia, I was not disappointed, as hearty dishes, street snacks and soups — not to mention sweet desserts — delighted my palate. To help you plan a delicious trip of your own, here is a guide to eight not-to-miss meals in Colombia. colombian food

1. Sancocho

I was introduced to Sancocho during a cooking class I booked through Bogota Bike Tours. The owner of the company, Mike, helps set up cooking classes in the home of his landlord, Doña Elsa, making quintessential Colombian dishes. During my class the dish we made was Sancocho, a satiating chicken and vegetable soup. Featuring chicken legs, salt and produce like yucca, potatoes, beans, chocla (corn) kernals and plantains boiled in a pot, the dish is served hot topped with cilantro and a side of avocado. While there are a number of restaurants throughout the country that serve the dish in a delicious manner, I highly recommend those visiting Bogota to opt for the cooking class. Note: The class is only offered in Spanish. While there’s no need to be fluent, a basic…

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Tasting the Best of Local in Temecula California

February 10, 2015 by  

old town temecula It seems you can’t travel anywhere nowadays without seeing McDonald’s, Subway and Chick-fil-A. Recently, I was invited to a wedding in a place known not only for its homegrown wines and beers, but an Old Town where by law only artisan vendors are allowed to open storefronts: Temecula, California. In fact, after wandering the historic neighborhood and its main Old Town Front Street, where every single space seems to be a local restaurant, purveyor offering free samples or antique shop, I became convinced this was a culture carnivore’s heaven. To prepare, I jot down a few potential stops and addresses. Once I park my rental car and find myself standing in front of a series of craft shacks selling handmade jewelry, candles and blown glass, it becomes immediately apparent no itinerary is needed. My first stop, which also ends up being my favorite even after the day is over, is the Temecula Olive Oil Company. Walls lined with olive oil, balsamics, rubs and salts greet me, as does a smiling woman holding a bottle of olive oil with a small plastic tasting cup. Score. old town temecula

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The Sandestin Gumbo Festival in Mid-February

February 7, 2015 by  

  florida_sandestin_gumboThe 26th annual Gumbo Festival takes place February 13 and 14, 2015, at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, 9300 Emerald Coast Parkway, Miramar Beach, Florida. The event takes over the Village of Baytowne Wharf during Presidents’ Day weekend. The kick-off event, a seafood boil, starts at 4 p.m. February 13. The gumbo cook-off takes place from noon to 4 p.m. February 14. Tickets are $30 on event day. A portion of festival proceeds go to the Sandestin Foundation for Kids. (Photo courtesy of Sandestin Gumbo Festival)

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