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Alma Restaurant at Casa San Agustin – Cartagena, Colombia

Casa San Agustin is a world class luxury boutique hotel sitting in the heart of Cartagena’s enchanting Old Walled City. It is the epitome of romance and old world charm mixed with the lively culture and history of Cartagena. We spent some time there and loved every minute of it. Their hospitality is excellent, the property is stunning, and the dining is unforgettable! I can’t say enough good things about the hotel. It is by far the best hotel in Cartagena and worth a visit.

Whether you stay there or not, you should experience their mixologists and exquisite dining at Alma Restaurant, under the direction of Executive Chef Heberto Eljach. We had one of the best meals we’ve ever had abroad at Alma. There is a variety of seating areas, from their beautiful open air courtyard accompanied by tropical foliage to their indoor rooms, filled with rich leather furniture and rustic tables. The bar area is swanky and understandably gets quite busy at night.

To start with, Jonathan tried a Caipirinha, his South American favorite, and I had a fancy gin and tonic made with 24 year old gin. Alma is well known for its craft cocktails. We spoke with the bartenders, and they truly are passionate about creating unique and tasty drinks.

Following cocktails, we tried two cold appetizers. One was a burrata di bufala (buffalo cheese) surrounded by a nest of tomatoes, lettuce, tomato chutney, pesto, and balsamic vinegar. It was a more advanced version of a caprese salad and tasted better too. Our other appetizer was a unique ceviche with a Cartagena twist. It featured shrimp in a Kola Roman sauce and double fried plantains, which really are twice as crispy and delicious as regular fried plantains. Kola Roman is a red soda made famous in Cartagena in the 1800s, and it reminds me of Big Red if you haven’t had a chance to try it for yourself. The shrimp ceviche paired with the soda-based sauce was a unique and tasty twist on regular ceviche.

Now on to the mains, where I had the best soup of my life. Alma makes a Cartagena style seafood chowder that is to die for. Name a seafood, and it’s in this dish. It’s made with lobster, shrimp, squid, octopus, prawns and mussels, all in a lobster bisque made with coconut milk and served over coconut rice. This is something you must try if you are in Cartagena. Do not leave the city without trying it. I mean it! The other main course we tried gets five stars for presentation. It was a red snapper cooked with onions and tomatoes, all wrapped in a palm leaf. Delicious!

Did we try dessert? Of course we did. Something is wrong with us if we don’t get dessert. We tasted coconut lemon sorbet, coconut pie, ghost berries with shimmery gold dust, and a meringue with ice cream. They topped the meal off in a sweet, refreshing, and very Colombian way.

Overall, we give Casa San Agustin and Alma a solid five star review for creating a luxurious ambiance, amazing food, and excellent hospitality. This hotel is a must-see while in Cartagena and a perfect combination of romance and culture!

Floral maxi dress here

Perini Ranch Steakhouse

You know you’re good when you invent a new genre of food. That new genre, thanks to Tom Perini, has become known as “cowboy gourmet”. We recently travelled to the legendary Perini Ranch Steakhouse to delight our tastebuds and overwhelm our senses with the infamous steak that has fed presidents and heads of state since 1983. Arriving at the ranch involves driving across a cattle guard, down a dirt path, passed the iron armadillo and parking underneath Mequite trees. Stepping inside the building is like stepping inside of an old bunk house from the 1800s. Everything is weathered the natural way. This is no ordinary steakhouse.

We started with the jalapeño poppers, a bacon wrapped slice of jalapeño filled with cream cheese. The steaks, however, are the main attraction. There isn’t a bad one on the list. You’ll pay top dollar for a filet, but it’s worth every penny. The peppered strip is highly touted and as delicious as it is plentiful. Good luck finishing the whole thing. Wash it down with a Texas-brewed Shiner Bock and maybe some jalapeño cheesecake or bread pudding for dessert. You can’t go wrong!

Tom Perini’s love for ranch life began as a young boy, growing up and working on his family’s ranch. In 1973 he turned that passion into a career and has since become America’s quintessential cowboy gourmet. After perfecting the traditional cowboy cuisine and creating a few recipes of his own, Perini moved from the back of the chuck wagon into his own restaurant on the family’s working ranch. Since 1983, Perini Ranch Steakhouse has served as home to the best chuck wagon style food in America. Perini Ranch Steakhouse is proudly located on the Perini Ranch in Buffalo Gap, Texas (population 463).

Learn More: Here

Centara Rooftop Bar & Restaurant

We love eating, and we love seeing new places (what this entire blog is about). Bangkok is such a great city to do both of those things at a rooftop restaurant or bar. The weather is warm year-round, so it’s a perfect city to explore from above while enjoying cocktails and tasty cuisine.

Naturally, we wanted to partake in the trendy rooftop scene, so we spent a fun evening at Centara Watergate Pavillion. They actually have two rooftop hangouts. One is a restaurant called Chili Hip that features Thai cuisine and other Asian delicacies. The other is a modern bar called Walk that serves craft cocktails and specialty snacks.

At Chili Hip, we tried a variety of dishes like roasted lamb, red curry chicken, and chocolate ganache cake for dessert. They have a specialty cocktail made with vodka that has an actual chili pepper in it. It’s one of the bravest/coolest looking drinks I’ve ever had! The entire restaurant is trendy and romantic without being ultra cheesy. 

At Walk, there is modern furniture, glowing lights, and a giant screen featuring models on a catwalk. Basically, it felt like we were at a fashion show after-party, not that I know what that actually feels like, but a girl can dream. The bar alone is edgy and posh, and the rooftop aspect and beautiful views of the city make for an incredible night out. 

To best enjoy stunning views of Bangkok, we recommend getting to Centara near dusk because the lighting is phenomenal for photography, and then continue to enjoy the mesmerizing city at nighttime. Start at Chili Hip for tasty fusion cuisine and then make your way up the stairs to Walk for a more upbeat cap to your evening. Check out the pictures from our experience!

Thai Cooking Class with Outrigger Phi Phi Island

One of the most fun things we did in Thailand was learn to cook traditional Thai food in a cooking class with Outrigger Phi Phi Island Resort. We learned how to make Yum Moo Yang, Tom Kha Talay, Geang Kiew Waan Gai, and Kluay Buad Chee. That translates to spicy grilled pork salad, savory coconut milk soup with seafood and Thai herbs, green curry chicken, and a sweet banana coconut milk dessert. It was all delicious!

How to Eat Piranha

It was 8:00 AM. I had been awake for nearly an hour already. I had a strange, lingering headache from what I feared was one of those brain-eating amoebas. I suspected I contracted it while swimming in the Black River, an Amazonian tributary. Will I die at the advancing age of 26? Perhaps, but not before I catch some piranha. I felt good, energetic.

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Fries of New York

French fries are a curious food.; as unique as they are ubiquitous. This is especially true in New York City where, this past week, Sir Kensington’s put on a display called, “Fries of New York”. This New York-based condiments company, celebrated the fry in its many forms and iconic iterations with a food culture exhibition celebrating ketchup’s potato-based companion.

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Quinn Popcorn

When you think of a campfire, cold weather and warm blankets, chemical coatings, preservatives, artificial flavoring and even a susceptor probably don’t factor into that. Even so, these things have adulterated popcorn thoughout the years. But the ingredients in today’s bag of microwave popcorn shouldn’t leave you scratching your head, right? It’s popped-corn, afterall. That’s why we are so in love with the Quinn Popcorn, a simplified, healthier approach to microwave popcorn.

Quinn Popcorn’s mission is simple — to bring you the best bag of microwave popcorn. All of their popcorn is organic, the cheeses are rBGH-free, they’re maple comes from Vermont (yeah, they have maple popcorn) and their bag is even grease-proof and compostable. Their humble project was successfully launched on Kickstarter in 2011 and has grown awareness about the industry, challenged our perceptions and delighted our tastebuds along the way.

Their farm-to-bag popcorn comes in unique flavors like Vermont Maple & Sea Salt, Parmesan & Rosemary (our favorite), Olive Oil & Herbs, Hickory Smoked Cheddar and even Kale & Sea Salt. Each bag is identified with a batch number that allows you to find out more about where the ingredients come from. You can even take a virtual stroll through their website and meet their suppliers. Simply put, there is no better, healthier and tastier popcorn on the market.

Buy Now: Here

Studio Neat Ice Kit

It makes sense that a company based in Texas would know a thing or two about keeping drinks cold. The Studio Neat Ice Kit is the perfect solution for making fancy ice bricks at home. The kit comes with an ice mold, chisel, muddler, and Lewis bag to create a variety of different ice types, each tailored to a specific drink or cocktail. Dress up any drink to serve to friends. It gives a whole new meaning to “on the rocks”.

Buy Now: $80

Bees Knees Spicy Honey

What do you get when you mix two of nature’s finest ingredients? That’s what the fine maker of Bees Knees Spicy Honey set out to discover. The result is nothing short of culinary genius. Each batch is hand-made with raw honey from the Hudson Valley and a special combination of chili peppers carefully infused for maximum flavor. Weighing in at eight ounces, Bees Knees Spicy Honey pairs perfectly with just about anything. We grilled some Asian shrimp kabobs and drizzles this stuff on top. Kabobs have never tasted so good.

Buy Now: $14

Keep reading for the full recipe.

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Plated Review

We watch Shark Tank, too. That’s where we first heard about the gourmet delivery service, Plated. Every week, seven chef-designed recipes are featured on their “menu” (four healthy meat & fish, three unique vegetarian). You select which days you want your food delivered, and voilà, they send you everything you need to prepare the meal of your choice.

We’re skeptics, naturally, but we also love food. So when we heard about Plated we had to give it a try. One of two things was going to happen: 1) we were going to prove why home delivery of food is a bad idea, or 2) we were going down as culinary legends among our friends for the gourmet meals prepared in our kitchen. I’ll cut the suspense – it was the latter.

Read on to find out what happened.

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