Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

Guest Post | The Hungry Girl Chronicles: My Top 10 Restaurants

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Tausha Cowan of The Hungry Girl Chronicles was nice enough to share her favorite restaurants from all over the world with us! You’re in for a treat, enjoy!

There is something about a good meal that makes me insanely happy. I don’t question it; I just go with it, and then I blog about it. As founder of the food blog The Hungry Girl Chronicles, I get to regularly share my love of good meals and traveling by featuring amazing restaurants from all over the world. And now, I am revealing my top 10 restaurants EVER, or at least that I can remember. Let’s start with No. 10, shall we?

No. 10: Wahaca – London, United Kingdom
I have to admit, I was a tad skeptical upon moving to London after hearing some shaky thingsabout the food scene. In actuality, London has amazing restaurants, one of which is Wahaca,a Mexican market restaurant with four locations and a food truck scattered around the city.Wahaca serves more traditional items such as steak and chicken burritos but also fun and inventive tapas-style dishes like shrimp and scallop ceviche tostadas and broad bean and feta quesadillas. The interesting combinations are what I love most about Wahaca, pairing ingredients I would not normally think of, such as their taquitos with potatoes, lettuce, feta cheese and habenero salsa. This combo is amazing and I am forever grateful to Wahaca for introducing me to it.

No. 9: Rubino – Valletta, Malta
A few friends and I discovered Rubino after searching for a nice restaurant in Valletta that serves rabbit. It turns out Rubino not only serves deliciously well-flavored rabbit but also wonderful Italian and Maltese dishes that stick with you months after you walk out of the restaurant, possibly even years. The pasta (I had the ricotta gnocchi in a sage and butter sauce and spaghetti with tomatoes and sea urchin) is divine, as is one of Rubino’s most popular desserts, Cassata Siciliana. Beyond the food, the atmosphere is intimate yet welcoming to all.

No. 8: Efxaris – Athens, Greece

This restaurant is one of the more recent additions to the list and, to be frank, unexpected. I walked in with doubts and left surprised at how appetizing the food turned out to be. Located in a fairly touristy area near the Acropolis, I thought it would taste just okay due to my ownhang-ups about restaurants in touristy areas. Turns out the food was incredibly well seasoned and packed with flavor, particularly their spinach pie, Greek salad and moussaka. Even the bread tasted great, served toasted with green olive tapenade. If you have me at the breadbasket, that must be a good sign.


No. 7: Le Chéri Bibi – Paris, France
I recently visited this restaurant after a Parisian friend recommended I stop by for dinner.Located on a quiet street in Montmarte near the Sacré-Cœur, Chéri Bibi is a hip restaurant with a slightly bohemian feel and delicious food. With a menu that changes often, the restaurant offers a pretty good prix-fixe deal for an appetizer and entrée or entrée and dessert, or an appetizer, entrée and dessert. I went with the former, enjoying a risotto with poached egg and black pepper followed by roasted lamb and potatoes. All of it was amazing, leaving me slightly regretful I had not indulged in a dessert. There will most certainly be a next time, though. I highly recommend this restaurant for those looking for great food and a young Parisian crowd in one of Paris’s coolest neighborhoods.

No. 6: Taverna Kyclades – Astoria, New York
The first of several New York restaurants on the list, this is the Greek seafood go-to for those who cannot make it to Greece. Taverna Kyclades serves everything from grilled octopus, to stuffed shrimp, to fried baby shark, all of which taste great. They even have pork chops and Greek style hamburgers for those not in the mood for seafood, and perhaps most importantly, everyone is served a complimentary dessert at the end of their meal. Amazing, right? Due to the popularity of this place, expect to wait somewhere in the neighborhood of one hour before being seated (reservations not taken), but I promise you, it’s worth the wait.

No. 5: Heritage Indian Restaurant – Accra, Ghana
This might be a bold addition considering I have not been to this restaurant in five years,but it must say something if I still think about it (constantly). I happen to LOVE Indian food.Cannot get enough of it, and to this day, some of the best Indian food I have ever tasted was at Heritage Indian Restaurant in Accra, Ghana. Yes, Accra as in West Africa. In addition to great décor, the food is, simply put, amazing. From the naan and roti to the saag and vindaloo, there was not a bad item on the table. Or at least there was not five years ago. I like to think Heritage is just as good today.

No. 4: Kappacasein – London, United Kingdom
This might be cheating since Kappacasein is technically not a restaurant but I had to include it anyway. Why, you may be wondering? Because it is home to the best cheese sandwich you will ever taste. Yes, the best! Once a popular staple at Borough Market, I now make the trek toKappacasein’s new location in Bermondsey to buy the toasted cheese sandwich, a delectable concoction of Montgomery cheddar, onions, leeks and garlic on sourdough bread. It is truly a must for anyone who is visiting London but make sure to verify the opening hours because it would be a shame to miss out on this treat.

No. 3: Chez Palmyre – Nice, France
I love French food, especially when eaten in unassuming, cute French bistros. Chez Palmyre is just that, located on a small street in the Old Town of Nice. Reservations are highly recommended, as this place gets packed for both lunch and dinner. For lunch, I enjoyed an affordable € 14 prix-fixe, which included classic dishes served in not-so-classic ways. One example is the Club Niçoise, an appetizer featuring a niçoise salad in the form of a sandwich.Different presentation, same great taste. It is what I love most about Chez Palmyre.

No. 2: Casellula Cheese & Wine Café – New York, New York
Specializing in two of my favorite things, Casellula indulges the cheese and wine lover in multiple ways, all of which are equally amazing. Whether it’s a cheese flight or a glass of German Riesling, this café never disappoints. In addition to their extensive cheese and wine list, Casellula also has mouth-watering dishes, including chistorras in a blanket with radish pico de gringo and goose breast reuben with fontina and horseradish aioli. Not to mention it’s quite possibly the coziest cheese and wine café ever with a staff that creates the most delicious dishes without a real kitchen! All of this and more makes Casellula my second favorite restaurant.

No. 1: Vesta – Astoria, New York
Despite having visited myriad countries and restaurants over the years, Vesta in Astoria,Queens remains my favorite. My love for this trattoria and wine bar is never-ending. From my very first visit to my last, I have yet to walk out of Vesta disappointed. In fact, I am usually giddy because I just had an amazing meal at a restaurant that prides itself on using fresh ingredients in unique ways. With a menu that is, for the most part, constantly changing, Vesta has become beloved amongst Astoria residents and with good reason. The food is always delicious and the atmosphere is one of warmth and friendliness. They also have an unbelievable dessert known as the Baby Jesus Cake, which is worth the indulgence and then some.

So there you have it: my top 10 restaurants from around the world, at least for now. Who knows when the next amazing meal will come my way but I look forward to finding it.

For more restaurants and Tausha’s food musings, head over to The Hungry Girl Chronicles!

Guest Post | Study Abroad: My Frantastic Experience

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

My name is Afua Darkwa and I am a senior studying Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Missouri. This summer, I had the opportunity to participate in a two-month study abroad program in France. The program was designed to give us hands on experience after weeks of class instruction. The first part  was a four-week program studying Food Science at Purpan University in Toulouse, France. In Toulouse, I lived with 47 other American foodies that were on a quest to discover food and wine overseas. At the university, it was important that we understood the overall history of the European Union. We learned about special French commodities like Roquerfort cheese, Label Rouge chickens and the most important delicacy, wine. We took weekly field trips to the regions where the food was produced to obtain a more tangible experience of what we learned in class. Weekends in the program were awesome. We traveled to the Pyrenees Mountains for a physically challenging hike and Barcelona, Spain for tapas and dancing. The nightlife in Toulouse was a blast too. Toulouse is filled with pubs and nightclubs that we attended regularly.

The second part of the study abroad program entailed a four-week internship. There were two options given: Food Production (working on a farm making cheese) or Wine Agriculture (making wine on a vineyard). I chose the latter. I was placed in a small village called Gensac, right outside of Bordeaux. This is one of the world’s most famous regions for wine production. I worked on the Chateau Carbonneau vineyard. I was very hands-on in the vineyard. Planting grapes and removing weeds were the bulk of my daily task. It is indeed backbreaking work, but that’s what it takes to produce superior wine. I also had the chance to bottle, label and package the wine. At this particular chateau, they offer wine tastings. Whenever we had English-speaking visitors, I ran the wine tasting. It was pretty awesome.

My overall experience in France was one of a kind. I learned how to make wine and more importantly appreciate it. I also learned a lot about the French culture and their way of life. It is very different but in a good way. The appreciation they have for food is as strong as mine. I left France a couple days ago, but I know I’ll be back. The family that owns the farm, Wilfried and Jackie Franc-de-Ferriere produce great wine and they even have a bed and breakfast inside of their chateau! For more pictures and information about the wine or B&B, visit

Guest Post | On Getting Lost

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Will Nichols, avid traveler and writer for, the leading study abroad review website, has studied economic development in Buenos Aires, worked for a headhunting firm in Madrid, and politely feigned his enjoyment of a boiled caterpillar sandwich in Burkina Faso. He has traveled to 47 countries on 5 continents.

Author and insatiable traveler Rudyard Kipling once wrote that, “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” This statement would be entirely irrelevant if it didn’t provide a clever segue into what I actually want to point out: The second condition of understanding a foreign country is to lose yourself in it.

So get lost. Seriously, get lost! No, I’m not suggesting that you navigate away from this blog; I’m suggesting that when you begin your travel experience, you get lost. I mean it. When you arrive in a new city, the single most important thing you can do is get completely, utterly, and thoroughly lost. Only by truly losing yourself can you find your way and understand a foreign country.

But if you’ve been blessed with an internal GPS like mine, getting lost is second nature: When I woke up from an impromptu nap on bus #56, somewhere in the northern suburbs of Buenos Aires–and approximately eighteen stops past my apartment–I had no choice but to find my own way home. Relying on the one-two punch of aimless wandering and infallible intuition, I walked a whole two blocks…before swallowing my pride and asking for directions at the nearest gas station. OK, fine, so I couldn’t find my way back on my own…and yeah, maybe I was so absolutely lost that I eventually had to settle for a taxi…and maybe what should have been a fifteen-minute journey took over an hour. But my point is this: I saw a new neighborhood that I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced, I had to communicate in a foreign language to find my way home, and most importantly, I learned that being lost in the deserted streets of the B.A. suburbs in the wee hours of the morning is mildly terrifying. All things considered, it was a learning experience.

If, however, your navigational skills are more advanced than mine, you might need to try to get lost. Here’s a quick and easy recipe for losing yourself and finding your way in a new city:

1. Step out onto the street with the following essential supplies in hand: a wad of cash and your address, written down. (If you’re less extreme, you might take a city map and/or your cell phone)
2. Point in any direction. This direction may be front, back, left, right, or any permutation thereof.
3. Walk in that direction until either (a) the scenery becomes monotonous, (b) you spy something appealing down side street, or (c) your BlackBerry’s 3G signal slows to the point where you can no longer Tweet minute-by-minute travel updates.
4. At this point, pick a new direction.
5. Walk in that direction. Duh.
6. Repeat steps two through five.
7. Stop a stranger and ask where to catch the nearest bus, subway or rickshaw.
8. Board nearest form of transportation and ride until you feel like stopping.
9. Wander back to your dorm or apartment–on foot or public transportation–slowly enough to take in your new surroundings and understand your new home.
10. Congratulations. You’ve overcome the first major obstacle of adjusting to a new city.


Guest Post | Her Campus Shares Tips To Stay Safe While Studying Abroad

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The collegiates™ were kind enough to share one of their posts with us. Annie Wazer created a list of tips to keep you safe while studying abroad!

One of the perks of studying abroad, aside from having the opportunity to live in a foreign country, is having the freedom to be able to travel.  Some of my favorite memories from my past semester in London have been of exploring new cities—from Copenhagen, to Prague, to Dublin, to Amsterdam, to Paris, I’ve fallen in love with each of the cities that I’ve visited.  As exciting as traveling may be, though, you can only truly appreciate a new environment if you feel safe in it.

Preparation for travel is crucial to ensuring a safe and stress-free (or, at least, stress-reduced) trip.  Before you go anywhere, follow these steps and take note of these suggestions to make sure that you’re fully informed about your destination and prepared for whatever circumstances may arise:

What to Consider When Booking a Hostel

Read reviews of your accommodation before booking: If you’re a student, then chances are that you’ll be staying in a hostel.  Don’t underestimate this timeless rule:  you get what you pay for.  When it comes to hostels, this rule couldn’t be more accurate.  I’m a huge proponent of Hostel World; its rating system is reliable and the comments are invaluable.  A couple months ago, I didn’t take the comments about a hostel in Copenhagen seriously enough, and ended up on the same street as several prostitutes and drug dealers—this is a safety DON’T.

Head over to Her Campus for more tips on staying safe while studying abroad! Be sure to share any additional tips with us and Her Campus!

Guest Post | shows gtrot San Fran!

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

The San Francisco team at weighs in on what to eat, do and see in the city.

Jen: I host a lot of travelers. When I lived in London I hosted over 100 in one year. Now though I host less frequently, I still host Trippers at least a couple nights a week. A lot of them are first-time visitors to the city, so I tend to recommend classic places with lots of history as well as places mostly locals frequent.

Cliff House has spectacular ocean views and an interesting history.  It survived the big 1906 fire and quake but burned down in 1907 – for the second time.  It’s perfectly safe now and serves a great brunch.

Activities: Salsa dancing in the Mission District or dancing to African beats (from Congolese to Afro-Brazilian) at Little Baobab.

Must-See Spots: Twin Peaks or hiking Mount Tamalpais – unbelievable views of San Francisco!


Nate: Besides coding, I am also really into music, guitars, bikes and Mexican food.

RestaurantsTommy’s Mexican Restaurants a great selection of tequilas and great service.  Their margaritas are the best in the city - especially after you’ve had a couple.

Drinks / Entertainment: The Saloon in North Beach has great blues music!  It also happens to be the oldest bar in San Francisco - Jen likes that part.

Activities: I bike to the office every day, but even if you are not much of a biker, biking the Golden Gate Bridge is something you should do - especially if you are visiting for the first time.


Apo:  I am a student from Switzerland.  I study at the Academy of Art University.   My recommendations are places I go more often and others not as much.
RestaurantsLa Mar after walking up and down SF hills, you get to the Embarcadero. There, the perfect stop for lunch - a Peruvian cebicheria with outdoor patio, incredible fish and dishes and overall great atmosphere. A must for seafood lovers.

Drinks and EntertainmentToronado the biggest selection of beers, and right next door -  the best sausage place in San Francisco.  You go there, order your hot dog, go to Toronado and order your drink, then after 10 minutes bring back your hot dog and eat it there.

Activities: Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park or Kirby Cove beach, across the Golden Gate Bridge.


Anis: I grew up a couple hours south of the city, so some of my recommendations are old favorites but most are places I discovered after moving here 5 years ago.

Restaurants: La Taqueria in the Mission:   I have been going there since I was a kid.  Their tacos (get the “carne asada” ones) and grill-fried quesadillas are “I ate too much” good.  Don’t be deterred by long lines at the counter - they move fast.

Activities: Going for a run along the Marina Green.  If you head west, you’ll get to Crissy Field, which offers some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Must-SeeCalifornia Academy of Sciences it has a tropical rain forest, an aquarium and a planetarium.  A visit brings back that feeling of wonder from childhood.  Note:  Thursday nights they host an event called NightLife with great live music and drinks.


Katy: My parents raised me very aware of all things organic.  As an adult I feel lucky to live in a city like San Francisco that is such a hub for organic food.

RestaurantsDosa on Fillmore they have organic, free range meat, organic vegetables and really unique cocktails.

Drinks / Entertainment: Cafe de Nord it was an old speakeasy and is now a fantastic music venue.  They have really good bookers; it doesn’t matter what kind of band it is, the shows there are really good shows.

Must-See: Fort Mason  - part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area with a large grassy park to picnic or play and views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the city skyline and Alcatraz.

For more tips from the Tripping team and other locals, visit: