Monthly Archives: July 2018

Cafes and Culture at Chicago Restaurants

Chicago – with a rich cultural background and great shopping, it is no wonder tourists are attracted to this fun-filled city. When you have high end shopping down Magnificent Mile and State Street, or beautiful Millennium Park with an ice skating rink, Crown Fountain, sculptures, and outdoor theaters with bands, where else would you want to visit. Chicago immediately sucks you in with a night life of music that ranges from gospel to hip-hop or punk. Now that you are in this great city, where do you go to eat? Well here are a few suggestions and great cultural and fun Chicago restaurants to check out while you are in town.

A Middle Eastern restaurant called the Chickpea is a great place to start on your tasting tour of the best Chicago restaurants. This diverse place is decked out in American movie posters in Arabic and Islamic patterns and decorations. Its family own and run restaurant serves up an assortment of fine dishes. Their Palestinian and Middle Eastern menu sports items such as mussakhkhan, falafel and hummus. It’s a fun little cultural experience, but don’t forget to bring cash or a credit card, they don’t accept travelers checks. They serve dinner and lunch and meals go for under nine dollars. As most reviews say, this restaurant pays more attention to the food they serve than the atmosphere. So enjoy good food and a bit a culture at this Chicago Restaurants.

Another great one of the many Chicago restaurants to try out is the unusual Café Bella. With brick walls, an open kitchen and hardwood floors creates a mix of casual atmosphere. They serve quick lunches and dinners as a café during the week, and on the weekend, the place is full as it becomes more of a restaurant. They are open from eleven to nine pm daily. And they don’t seat more than thirty people. The menu consists of items such as salads, Caribbean Chicken, soups and Latin, Italian or French based foods. One important thing to note, this restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol, but they do have BYOB (bring your own booze). Expect the meals to be around or under nine dollars per person. This place is great for a small get together or a quick meal during the day.

Looking for a great Mexican restaurant? Why not try out La Palapa. It’s a one of a kind Mexican restaurant that serves real traditional Mexican style seafood. This place is easy to find and to spot with a large life-size shark on top the restaurant. Once again this is bring your own booze restaurant, but they will cork them for you at a fee of a dollar fifty cents. Their menu contains items such as mariscos, ceviche, and handmade quesadillas. If you visit this restaurant during the summer, you will have option to eat outside at tables under large thatched umbrellas. The average meal will cost between nine dollars and fifteen dollars. The restaurant is open from ten am to nine pm and on weekends from ten am to ten pm. The menu makes this one of Chicago restaurants a must for authentic Mexican seafood.

Holiday and Food Fusion

The food on Malta is a fusion of complimentary styles and fine flavours. Whilst the idea of fusion food might appear to be a modern idea it is, in fact, the basis of traditional Maltese cooking. Ever since the conflicts fought on Malta between Christian and Islamic forces in the mid 1500s, the primarily Mediterranean diet adopted some elements of Moorish cuisine, creating a unique combination of Southern Italian dishes with Turkish influences. In recent years, the British have contributed to influencing Maltese culinery directions. During Malta’s spell as a British colony, numerous English and Scottish foods were adopted by the island’s native population. Holidays in Malta are a great way to taste the result of these various influences in cooking first hand, allowing you to enjoy usual dishes such as Kusksu soup and Ftira. Malta also offers a number of drinks unique to the island, including Imbuljuta, a homemade drink that comes from sweetened chestnuts cooked with cocoa, tangerine zest and cloves.

Traditional Maltese ingredients include the usual Mediterranean staples such as olives, tomatoes and fish, as well as local sea food. National cuisine is still popular in homes throughout the country, and there are countless restaurants and cafes serving their own versions of traditional Maltese foods all across the island. Malta also has plenty to keep you busy between meals too, with fantastic historical buildings, great diving spots and stunning beaches.

Malta villas offer you the chance to experience the nation’s cuisine first hand. Walk along Valletta’s Waterfront, enjoy a coffee at one of the many cafes that line the main street and spend a lazy afternoon at one of the local markets discovering the variety of local produce that you might like to try. Villas in Malta provide guests with a unique opportunity to try out new flavour combinations in your own personal kitchen, whilst the luxurious Mediterranean décor makes them just nice places to spend time in. As food is central to the local way of life, Malta villas have well equipped kitchens with both traditional and modern equipment.

No trip to Malta should finish with a visit to Gozo – home to the oldest free-standing structures in the world that date back to before the pyramids at Giza. Less geared for the tourist trade, Gozo represents some of Malta’s most authentic flavours and impressive sights. This little island is a must-see attraction if you’re really want to see the best of traditional Malta.

Unless you live in Sicily or mainland Italy, travelling to Malta is likely to involve flying. The main airport is handily placed close to the capital Valletta. Malta holidays are ideal for those interested in rediscovering traditional Mediterranean food and some of the world’s oldest recipes. Both Malta and Gozo offer fantastic historical sites as well as world-class diving opportunities, luxurious new developments and talented local artisans. Getting there is easy, and numerous airlines run regular flights to and from the island’s international airport. There are also numerous ports which are suitable for a range of vessels – from cruise liners to private yachts.

Things To Do and Food to Eat in Fukuoka

Fukuoka isn’t that small of a place. Actual numbers bring the population to about the 5 million mark, with the city having roughly 1.3 million people. With that amount of people around, you know there has got to be something to do. On any day of the week if you look you will be able to find something that interests you. There are often festivals in one area or another in Fukuoka city. With a little help from a friend or the domestic foreigner magizines and information centers you will be able to find out where the festivals are being held.

The center of Fukuoka city will have to be Tenjin (though others may argue it to be Hakata). It is the shoppers haven of the prefecture. Feel you need to do a little shopping for some nice named brands from Italy or France? head on over to Tenjin. Want to blow off some steam and hit a bar (including foreigner bars)? Tenjin is the place to be. want to meet some new friends? Rainbow Plaza in… you guessed it, Tenjin, is the place to do just that.

Right next door to Tenjin is Nakasu. Nakasu hosts nightlife entertainment but tends to cater to the more affluent individual. However, Nakasu also has a huge shopping complex named Canal City which has so many shops that you wouldn’t be able to count them all. The complex holds many restaurants, two hotels, a large cinema and in the center of Canal City is an area called Sun Plaza where it is common to find street performers doing their acts.

Of course Tenjin and Nakasu aren’t the only place you can have fun. I live about 10 minutes away from Tenjin by subway in a town called Nishijin and I can do nearly as many things here as I can in Tenjin. Bowling, swimming, soccer, billards, game centers, and even a movie theater are just a few of the things Nishijin and the nearby area has to offer.

Yahoo Dome (formerly Fukuoka Dome) is located in Momochi which boarders the sea. Yahoo Dome is home to the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. The Hawks are a strong baseball team, beloved by the city and its residents. In fact, there are only two teams in Japan’s professional baseball league who attract more than one million fans to their home games per year, and the Hawks are one of them. When the Hawks don’t have a home game you can sometimes find other activities occurring in the Dome. Yahoo Dome hosts various flea markets and concerts throughout the year.

Food, food, food!

As far as I’m concerned, Fukuoka has the best food to offer in all of Japan (though I hear food in Sapporo is quite good). Fukuoka has its own well known dishes and of course the chefs here are well capable of recreating dishes found throughout the world.

Yatai

When night begins to fall on Fukuoka city you may suddenly notice many little street vendors (usually operating out of their vans) popping up all over the sidewalks. These vendors serve a variety of foods ranging from ramen to yakiniku to tempura. Yatais themselves are really a site to see.

Hard Rock Cafe Fukuoka

On the occasions when I miss American and Mexican food, I always have the option to head on over to Hard Rock Cafe right next door to Fukuoka dome in Momochi. Momochi is adjacent to Nishijin so indeed I am in luck. Hard Rock Cafe Fukuoka boasts the largest restaurant of its kind in Japan. The food is fantastic and of course the atmosphere is like all other Hard Rock Cafes out there. The staff is very friendly and since I frequent their establishment often I am treated extremely well with occasional benefits.

Izakaya

Though not only found in Fukuoka, Izakaya restaurants deserve a notable mention. Izakayas offer a wide variety of food and more importantly drinks at a low price. University students as well as business men can often be found in these restaurants chatting with colleagues and drinking up a storm. All Izakayas offer a different ambiance, and with some searching you will be able to find one that suits you.

Famous Fukuoka food

Fukuoka ramen

Have you ever had that cup O ramen or that freeze dried packaged ramen? bah! throw that out and try some “Tonkatsu ramen” (pork ramen) famous in Fukuoka and well know throughout all of Japan. First time I tried it I was instantly hooked and to this day try and eat it once every week or so.

Mentaiko

Another famous food which Fukuoka is renound for is mentaiko (very tiny fish eggs). To some people mentaiko may not seem very appatizing but please don’t knock it till you try it. Mentaiko spagetti, as an example, is a delicious treat around these parts. And there are of course many other recipes which have use for mentaiko.

Transportation

Unlike the nickname given to New York, Fukuoka does tend to get a little tired at night but usually not until quite late especially on weekends. One of the reasons for this in my humble opinion is the transportation shutdown at around midnight. Thats right, the subway, train, and bus system all but stops once you hit the AM. Which leaves the weary and, more often than not, drunk to either take a taxi home, walk, or I have even heard the “I will just stay up until the subway starts again at 6:00 before I go home” line used by those who just aren’t finished partying when its time for the transportation system’s last call. This isn’t just a Fukuoka special, for the shutdown happens throughout the whole of Japan.

Though the transportation system does shutdown at perhaps inconvenient times, it is a wonderful system. Perfectly clean trains, buses and subways (which are amazingly quiet) are the consequence of the shutdown for they are all cleaned during the wee hours of the morning.

Brisbane Restaurants, Cafes

In the not too distant past Brisbane was seen as poor cousin to other Australian cities, viewed as provincial and behind the times. But no more! These days it has five-star restaurants, cool bars and quirky cafes to rival the best anywhere.

Here are some of the best:

To shake up your idea of a great cocktail bar, make a booking at tiny Anise in the evolving neighbourhood of New Farm. Sip on absinthe, nibble on gourmet snacks or top quality meals, and know you’re at the epicentre of Brisbane cool.

For a terrific lunch or dinner out with friends, head to Isis in funky Fortitude Valley. Verity Byth, Chief Experience Officer for NeoNeighbourhood.com says it delivers “a close-to-perfect combination of the elements of great urban living: relaxed and sophisticated decor, food that is clearly the result of great attention to detail, and floor service that’s smooth and personal”.

For a café that nourishes mind and body you can’t go past Riverbend Tea House. Its outdoor deck and shady ‘tree-room’ make the most of Brisbane’s tropical climate. The food is terrific, and the café adjoins the acclaimed Riverbend Books, so you can browse your latest literary find while you eat.

If it’s an alfresco getaway in the middle of the city you’re yearning for, go straight to Watt Modern Dining. The menu has something for everyone (even a martini with weekend breakfast, if you’re up for it!) and the lush riverside location can’t be beaten.

When it comes to cool urban cafés, James Street in buzzing Fortitude Valley is the place to be. At the bottom of the hill you’ll find Cirque Café. All the breakfast favourites are on offer, the coffee is worth seeking out, and everyone, no matter how newly arrived, looks right at home.

Food Here, Brew of Many Moods

Wouldn’t it be hard to imagine a restaurant named after an Austrian composer that serves Indian, Oriental as well as Western cuisine and is located in Gurgaon India?

Worth noticing at The Mozart Café

The Mozart Café is inspired by & named after the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This café is a mélange of many things varied like interiors, music and, of course, the fare it offers! But never misses its goals.

The brain-child of four people; mix and match is the mantra for The Mozart Café. The interiors are inspired by very modern and urban chic existence, the food is a spin-off of the traditional and the atmosphere is a brew of many moods.

Like the timelessness of Mozart’s Magic Flute, the tune that played for a better part of the evening, everything at The Mozart Café falls into place even though it always ran the risk of spilling over.

One of partner’s at The Mozart Café’ is said to be a leading exponent of bar tending in India and the medley of drinks reflects this. Besides the usual poisons the bar menu features an assortment of classic cocktails with a mega makeover, which isn’t for the faint hearted.

What to Eat at The Mozart Café’?

Ever thought of a Tom Yum Martini? Yes, the thought of the tangy Thai soup in a Martini avatar might be fascinating but come on, who in their right mind would have conjured up something as bizarre as this? The mish-mash of flavors in some of the other martinis like The Third Degree, Vodka shaken with in-house spice syrup that has a star aniseed chaser, Monta Rosa, green apple Martini taste good to say the least but most of these would fall in the acquired taste gallery but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from giving them a shot! Besides vodka, the bar has similar concoctions in other spirits as well and Zaza, a mix of cooked plums and rum stands out.

Just like the grand piano shaped DJ console, the elegant lighting and a host of other features that one would find difficult to blend, the food from across the globe comes together in an unexpected fashion. The menu consists of universal favorites but just like the drinks the food too undergoes layers of transformation before making it to your table. The man behind the food, Chef Niranjan Chauhan’s deftness at boldly mixing varying flavors infuses freshness in otherwise mundane regulars. Marinated with Thai chilies and red bell peppers the taste of the Chicken Tikka here is an experience in itself! Similarly most of the starters include a dash of some wild taste that just makes it diverse; do try the Braised Lamb, Hoisin and Five Spices Chicken (a tad dry but appealing nevertheless) and for the vegetarians it’s the Malai Tikka, which just melts and not to miss the Achari Pineapple.

For the main course the Rosted Fennel flavored Sea Bass along with the pernod sauce was tried and let’s just say this one’s strictly for sea bass lovers but if you are a white meat person then the Chicken Scallopine in hazelnut cream sauce should be the call of the day. Even if you’ve had your fill; do try the Bailey’s Crème Brulee, the exceptional flavored dessert is the perfect way to sign off.

Featuring gigs on the weekends, the 70 plus seating which doesn’t include the outdoor seating The Mozart Café is a relatively new name in Gurgaon’s food map. It still remains one of those places that are yet to be fully discovered. The atypical combination of cuisine attaches a certain sense of uniqueness to the place which explains a regular clientele that includes a healthy number of expats. This is a place that might need a while to grow on you but once it does chances are you won’t let go that easily.