Category Archives: food

bitcoin

Paralelní Polis, a Bitcoin Kavárna

Hubby doesn’t often ask to go check out a place so when he does, we go. The latest place he wanted to try was Paralelní Polis (Parallel Polis), a Bitcoin kavárna (coffee house). I was slightly pessimistic about it because a place that only takes Bitcoin. Really? The idea of coffee and chocolate cake got me over my slight pessimism.  So on a Saturday, when we both had a little time, we went on another Prague adventure. It’s always an adventure going somewhere new in Prague. Actually I’d past this unique coffee joint several times and never knew it. It’s kind of unassuming from the outside. Fairly modern in a less than modern section of Prague. It doesn’t scream at you from across the street either. Like some other coffee places with green and white signs.
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We walk in and it’s a nice space. Open and welcoming but not like your average place. There’s no counter. No apron-ed barista smiling, greeting and waiting dutifully at a register. So far so good. I like different. There’s a menu on the post. There’s cakes on display in a small fridge. There’s a large island with an espresso machine, cups, plates, and other things. A young woman comes up to help us and we ask if she speaks English. She does. Good because we don’t speak a lot of Czech and what we do know won’t get us through a conversation easily. She asks if we have a Bitcoin wallet. We do. And we’re in business.

We order coffee drinks and a piece of chocolate coconut cake to share. We take a seat and enjoy the surroundings. At the time they weren’t busy but they definitely could be. I find the Wi-Fi password and take some pictures. Our drinks arrive but we have to wait a few extra minutes for the cake. Since we’ve come in a few other people have come in after us. to order and get their coffee. Two young ladies that are in a hurry don’t stay because this isn’t the sort of place you run into to grab quick coffee. Another person is being walked through the Bitcoin purchase on the machine in the corner. You don’t have Bitcoin, no worries, you can purchase some on the spot.
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Our cake arrives a few minutes later. I really wish I’d taken a picture. It was delicious. I ate the coconut bits while hubby stuck to more of the chocolate and cookie like crust. The drinks were yummy. Hubby is still getting used to coffee. He likes filter coffee more than espresso but he really enjoyed the cake.

So this is a place we’ll  come back to. It’s a bit far from our flat but another day another adventure in Prague.

https://www.paralelnipolis.cz/bitcoin-coffee-en/

Try it out and tell me what you think.

Mexican in Prague? Sí, Señor.

Is there great Mexican food in Prague? Sí, señor. I promise. One of the things the family misses most, besides family, about Colorado is Chipotle. Currently there aren’t any Chipotles in the Czech Republic but there are some in Europe. Germany, England and France reportedly have some. We may never leave if Chipotle comes to Prague. Until then there is a fabulous restaurant in Prague called Las Adelitas. Actually, there are three Las Adelitas in Prague. Oh. So. Yum.
We’ve tried a few other “Mexican” places but this place nails it. The others not so much. One the reasons, I think, is because Czechs are not acclimated to real well seasoned Mexican food. Layers of subtle yet strong flavors that differ in spiciness. The biggest mistake is not flavoring the meat. Ever have a chicken burrito with plain chicken. No bueno.
Back to Las Adelitas. This place was recommended by two of my Czech colleagues. I know I said that Czechs don’t know their Mexican but these two gentlemen do. Or at least convinced me that they knew what they were talking about when making the recommendation. So one sunny afternoon my hubby and I decided to take a chance. We had been jonesing for good Mexican food. And they delivered.
We started with beer, of course. It was Czech beer but it’s cheaper than imported Mexican beer. Hubby ordered a burrito tinga and I ordered tacos al pastor. So yum. Absolutely. I’m speaking about my meal but hubby insists that his was amazing as well.
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Layers of texture and flavor. Spice, sweet, crunchy, fresh. Oh. So. Yum.

Awesome sidenote. They have three locations with three different daily specials. (Their daily specials are a great deal.)

One location:
Americká 684/8, 120 00 Praha 2

Second location:
Lucemburská 6, 130 00 Praha 3

Third location:
Malé nám. 457/13, 110 00 Praha-Staré Město

We’ve been to Lucemburská and Male Náměsti but looking forward to trying out the Americká location. Also have a ladies night and tequila night at Malé Náměsti. Looking forward to that as well.
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This is one of the daily specials. So good and so affordable.

Go and try it. Order tacos al pastor.
Las Adelitas Prague

chocolate

Chocolate Coffee Heaven

So you might think that I would’ve found Chocolate Coffee heaven in Costa Rica. After all, that is where the grow some of the best coffee and chocolate. And they do have some awesome coffee and organic chocolate (if you can find it, since most of it seems to be exported.) Alas, I had to wait until I was in central Europe not central America to find chocolate coffee heaven. It is located in a wonderful little place called Choco Cafe U Cervene Zidle (Choco Cafe at the Red Chair, Liliova 4/250, Prague, Czech Republic).
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When I first arrived in Prague a friend of mine from the states informed me she had a friend in Prague that she wanted to introduce me to. This friend is who I refer to in other posts as my favorite transplanted Texan (FTT). She has been in the Czech Republic on and off for about 12 years. After introducing ourselves on line we met in person a few weeks later. (Hubby and I were trying to find a flat, get adjusted to lower fall (not Costa Rica) temperatures, interview for jobs, etc) FTT and I planned on meeting at this pleasant little cafe. It was an adventure for me because I was still getting used to transit in Prague and I hadn’t done a lot of it on my own. I was being a wimp and going with hubby everywhere. This time I met with FTT near a tram stop and took a short walk to the cafe.

She had told me about Choco Cafe briefly and I was fairly excited to: 1. Have some chocolate (I was in dire need of chocolate at the time) 2. Have some coffee or cappuccino or even a straight I.V. of caffeine. 3. Have some girl time. I had been spending a lot of time with my boys and need less testosterone. As we walked a few blocks we talked a little but mostly I was getting to know my surroundings. She explained a few things and one thing I found most interesting was Bethlehem chapel. Jan Hus’ old stomping grounds.

Down the street and around the corner lies a sweet little cafe attached to the U Cervene Zidle Hotel (Red Chair Hotel). We had not made a reservation but lucked out because it was the middle of the afternoon. It still had plenty of patrons. Mothers with small children, couples, students, and ladies like us looking for some chocolate indulgence. Now you could get a regular cappuccino and quiche or you can go crazy.
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I went crazy I ordered the Choco Cafe (chocolate coffee) and the Cokoladovy (chocolate cake). My friend FTT ordered the Choco Cafe and 2 makronky (macaroons). The macaroons are delicious looking. But I needed chocolate fix. And I so got one.

Although I loved this place I didn’t think my husband would be into it. One day, a couple weeks later, I wanted to show him both the cafe and the chapel. So I brought him here because I knew he’d like the choco cafe. He ordered a panini and I got the quiche. Absolutely to die for. You should go here any day of the week, reservations are needed for the busy times. All the popular places take reservations. And whether you need a chocolate caffeine fix or you just want to hang in a pleasant atmosphere with a friend or hubby and enjoy the moment, this is the place.

By the way, they sell chocolate too. Lovely bars of chocolate. Dark, lavender, milk. Fancy. Less fancy.
Choco Cafe

Best Burger In Prague, so far

The Tavern ,Chopinova 26, Prague 2, which is located in Žižkov neighborhood, is home to the best burger in Prague. I was informed about this little gem by my favorite transplanted Texan and a Czech colleague of mine. If Americans and Czechs agree, it’s must go and try this. And by little gem I mean little. Most places in Prague seem rather small from the first look but once you go inside it’s almost always bigger on the inside, just like the Tardis. The exception is this place. So if you plan to go get the best burger in Prague you need to make a reservation. It’s what you do for all the good restaurants at the best and busiest of times.

For The Tavern, it’s best to call and reserve a spot or use their website reservation system for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It fills up really fast. The Czech owner speaks English very well and this should make it all the easier to call. I hate calling places in the US but I’d do it for this place. Usually, I use my reservation app on my phone. Technology is awesome.
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We knew that you needed a reservation but we’re unable to get one on the day we really wanted to try this place out. Our fix was to come at lunchtime instead of later. It was gloriously empty when we arrived but that was because they had just opened. Perfect for us though.

I had had a hankering for chili cheese fries. Ladies, you know what I mean, I NEEDED some chili cheese fries. This place has them. Chili-cheese Ranch Fries. So good. Also need to try the Loaded Pulled Pork Cheddar Fries but that will be another day. Hubby got the Classic Bacon-Cheddar burger. Also had a couple of beers. It was the best burger my hubby had in months since we left the States. I waited until the next time for my burger revelation.

The second time we went, about a week later, I got the Blue Smoke burger. Oh. My. Yum. It was so good. This was the burger my colleague recommended. Hubby got the same burger as last time. What can I say, when he finds something he likes he stays with it. In addition, we shared a basket of fries and had some beer as well.

Note: We have beer a lot but this is the cultural norm in the Czech Republic. Most people have a beer with lunch and it’s usually cheaper than a soda. Additionally the beer is lower in alcohol than some it’s US counterparts. Although two half liters will make not want to back to work. At least for me.
The Taverns website

Chasing Italy Asks Costa Rica Chica

Before we moved to Costa Rica we did a lot of online research.  A large part of that research was reading blogs and stories of those brave souls who went before us on this adventure. Two of  my favorite authors are Jen and Greg Seymour.  Jen is known as the Costa Rica Chica and Greg is Costa Rica Curious. We spent some time in the central valley, outside of the capital, San Jose, during the month of August and got to meet them both. They are an awesome couple living a great adventure in Costa Rica. After we met and had lunch I asked if I could interview her for Chasing Italy.

I’ve only been in country two months and it all still feels new. I’m still in that phase where I wish I had this or that from my former life. What’s one convenience you miss since you moved to Costa Rica?

I guess I miss convenience, period.  We knew when we moved here, that Costa Rica is not known for its “conveniences,” and I’m sure you’ve heard about tico time (sometimes it just takes forever to do one thing or to wait for something to get done, and you really just have to be patient).  Also us not having a car (which is our choice) makes things a little difficult sometimes – we have to time our schedule to catch the bus, and we don’t want to have too many bags to carry back from the grocery store.  Not a complaint at all – we are making it work for us, but sometimes convenience is something I miss.

We all have that first “Oh My” experience whether it’s a sunset or wildlife spotting. What’s your best Costa Rica memory?

We arrived in the middle of the night, and my first “OH MY” moment was the very next morning.  Our landlord had made coffee for us, we took it outside by the pool that overlooked into the central valley, and sat down to – PURE BLISS.  Here we were, literally in paradise!  It was gorgeous – the valley sloped down with beautiful flowers, trees and coffee plants everywhere.  There were butterflies and hummingbirds.  There were parrots!  We just sat there in jaw-dropping awe, hard to believe we were really here.

Since we know it’s not all rainbows and unicorns, what’s your worst Costa Rica memory?

I’m klutzy by nature, so my worst enemy here is the uneven sidewalks in the downtown area where I live.  I really have to walk with my eyes glued to the sidewalk, and holding my husband’s hand.  A couple weeks after we arrived here, we were walking into an area by a farmacia (pharmacy) in town, and there was an uneven gravel part in the middle of the walkway…  well I was looking up, and found myself totally sprawled out in the gravel – one knee totally torn up and bleeding profusely.  The good part about this, was that it was my first introduction to the farmacias here, and they took great care of me.  Sat me in a chair, cleaned and medicated my knee and sent me off with my knee completely bandaged up.  And they wouldn’t take any money for it!  The Costa Ricans as a whole are very sincere and kind people.  I tripped and fell a couple of other times too.

I like that I thought about my tripping and falling memories before I thought about my tarantula memories (yes, I’ve seen a few since being here!).  I had a severe bug phobia before I moved here, but am proud say how much better I am now (you kind of have to be, to live here!).

When did Costa Rica start feeling like home?

The first few months we were here, we stayed in a small efficiency apartment, which was great but it really didn’t feel 100% like home.  Then 3 months later, we found a great house to live in, and once we moved in – it was definitely “home”.  To be able to totally unpack our 9 suitcases, to be in our own space, to use our own coffee pot, to have a full size kitchen, etc. – it was like heaven.

From your blog I know that you love to bake and you’ve been cranking out a lot of recipes for your new cookbook, “Costa Rica Chica Cookbook.”  I know it’s a ton of work planning, writing, photographing, editing, etc. What kinds of recipes will be featured in your new book?

My cookbook “Costa Rica Chica Cookbook” was just published!  You can find it on amazon here:  http://amzn.to/1JmCnb9

The book contains some of my favorite recipes from the States, and in particular how to make them in Costa Rica (as some of the ingredients are different here).  If you’re in the States, don’t despair – I include substitutes so you can make these recipes at home too.   My book includes recipes for breakfast, pizzas and breads, hearty meals, and sweets.

All of your baked goods look so yummy. Has baking always been a passion? Does Costa Rica bring out your creative side?

I used to bake only occasionally back in the States, and I really was not into cooking at all.  I didn’t have time; with working a full time job, I was so tired when I got home and for sure didn’t want to stand in the kitchen for hours putting something together.  But now, having time and being in Costa Rica has definitely brought out my creative side.  Now, I love experimenting and cooking things from scratch!

In your opinion, what are 5 things to do or see in Costa Rica?

  • Catarata Del Toro (largest waterfall around)
  • Manuel Antonio (cool beach town with awesome National Park)
  • Osa Pennisula (jungle side of Costa Rica, not built up for tourism yet – you can see scarlet macaws and crocodiles here in their natural habitat, the wildlife is amazing)
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest (bucket list)
  • Hike Mt. Chirripó (bucket list)

 

 

Jen Beck Seymour

Jen is the author of the bestselling books:

Costa Rica Chica: Retiring Early, Simplifying My Life, & Realizing That Less is Best
Costa Rica Chica Cookbook: Stirring Up My Favorite North American Recipes In Costa Rica

When she’s not writing or blogging, she is either baking, hiking, playing piano, yoga-ing, sipping coffee, making arm candy or enjoying a glass of (boxed) wine… or yelling at her husband to come save her from a bug. She lives with her husband near Grecia, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Follow Jen’s adventures at: www.CostaRicaChica.com

It’s Five O’clock In Sámara

Whether you’re in Sámara on vacation or business or just passing through you might need a cold beverage about five o’clock. We didn’t go everywhere in Sámara but we explored most of it. Here are our favorite five or so places to celebrate happy hour in Sámara.

1. Lo Que Hay: This is a great place to hang out and people watch while having a beer and a taco on the beach. Happy hour here is very laid back but it’s right on the beach. I ordered a Michelada and pork taco. Kurt ordered a Pilsen and a pork taco. These were on special and they were so good. Michelada is a beer served with a glass that is salt rimmed, with lime juice and ice. Very refreshing. Especially when you’re hot and slightly coated with salt air and sand. Hang out on the beach under an umbrella. If it begins to rain just dash into the bar area for cover. The beach is amazing in the sunshine and the rain. It’s awesome to have a beach bar with great tacos and cold beer.

2. Microbar: This is a new hot spot  in Sámara. It opened while we were there for the month. It’s probably the only place you can get a tap beer. Also the only place that has at least a dozen microbrews from Costa Rica. They are still ironing out some of the details but i hear they are working on getting food in this tiny establishment.
Yes, tiny. Right next Natural Center. It’s maybe eight seats and a little standing room and taps, that’s it. But it’s awesome beer and its run by awesome people.

3. Bar Arriba: This is a sports bar. You  can grab a bucket of ice cold beer and watch the soccer match. If you do it during happy hour all the better. They have something for everyone. Except maybe wine. I didn’t see wine on the menu but I could be mistaken.
Sometimes service can be slow. But remember you’re in Costa Rica and Pura Vida man, Pura Vida. If you need another beer you’ll have to flag down a waiter or go to the bar. If you need to pay your bill just go to the bar. No big deal. Pura Vida.

4. Vela Latina: This place is a beach bar. Which means you can grab a lounge chair and enjoy a cold beverage right on the beach. Vela is an awesome place to head to to watch the sunset. Since Playa Samara faces south you won’t be seeing the the sunset over the water. If you venture toward the water an look to the right you’ll see it. Sunsets over the jungle are pretty cool. My favorite things to order here are a mojitos and Kurt enjoys the margaritas. We’ve both had ice cold Pilsens as well. Sometimes a very cold local beer is what you need after the beach. The cerviche is fabulous.
5. Coco’s Mexican Restaurant: If you’re in need of some Mexican fare on your vacation, this is the place. We went here a couple of times after class which was also after happy hour and enjoyed it. If you come for happy hour though you can get a monster margarita for a good price. A couple of those ans some nachos or pantacones you might skip dinner all together. As with most Sámara restaurants they are open air. Open air means open bugs. Do as we did and just carry bug spray with you. Especially at twilight and on the beach at night.
In addition to beer and margaritas they have shots of tequila. Fun to do with a group of friends after surviving another  week of classes. Don’t get me wrong, loved the classes, just needed to relax. Coco’s is great place to do that.

I couldn’t decide on just five so here’s an extra one.

6. Flying Taco: This fun corner of Sámara is not on the beach but has a cool laid back vibe and some gorgeous fruit trees to hang out under. Bring your bug spray because it’s the Costa Rican jungle and the bugs get hungry at sunset. They have live music occasionally and open Mic night on Wednesdays. Great tacos and ice cold beer. They might serve something besides ice cold Pilsens and Imperials but we never tried them.

Do you agree with our choices? Do you have another suggestion? Comment below and thanks.

My Favorite Restaurants In Sámara (or Where You Should Eat)

We were in Sámara for a mere month. Our goal was to attend TEFL school to get certified to teach English.  It was an intensive four week course and we passed with flying colors. In our down time on weekends or occasional evenings we would often find ourselves, sometimes with kids and sometimes with new friends, at one of many restaurants in this quaint but quirky little town. Here are my favorite restaurants in Sámara.

1. Bar Arriba: This fun restaurant has the best french fries in Sámara. My kids also enjoyed the chicken strips as well. Although they are family oriented during lunch and dinner it is a fun place to hang out watch a soccer match and have a beer or four. They have a ladies night on Tuesday and often have live music or a DJ to keep it lively. Most of the drinking crowd starts after nine so bringing the kids here for dinner isn’t too chaotic.  The hamburger is the best in town. (Some say the veggie burger at Luv Burger rules but I’m saying as far as beef burgers go, this is the place.) You can find them on FB at Bar Arriba.

2. Falafel Cafe: This was my go to for fast and fresh lunch. In Costa Rica a fast lunch isn’t always possible which is good when you’re on vacation but not when you’ve got a designated hour for lunch. Falafeño or the Tabbouleh plate are excellent choices. Hubby got tired of going here too many times in a row but admitted to it being an awesome little place to get a quick bite. It’s also fairly cheap and filling for this tourist town. You can locate them in the Nature Center part of town. You can find them on FB at Falafel Cafe.

3. Coco’s Mexican: This is a great little place to celebrate with family and friends. They serve typical Mexican fair which, being from Colorado, we crave from time to time. They also serve large margaritas during happy hour. When we finished class at Costa Rica TEFL this was where we went to get our relaxation on. They have happy hour specials like everyone else in town but they have Mexican food and tequila which was a major selling point for the hubby and myself. Kurt really enjoyed the Chimichanga and the Chicken Nachos were excellent. As with all outdoor restaurants in Costa Rica bring some bug spray to keep the bugs away. You can find them on FB at Coco’s Mexican Restaurant.

4. Sub Express: This was my kids and hubby’s second most favorite place to eat lunch. They have sub sandwiches and the boys favorite was the Italian sub. Very good and filling sandwiches and wraps. I enjoyed a few of their wraps and was never disappointed. You can also get some lunch meat and cheese to go. It’s pricey because it’s imported from the States but it’s good and worth when trying to feed two teenage boys. You can find them on FB at SubExpress

5. Restaurante Makizu Sámara: We really enjoyed our time here with friends. Kurt and I usually don’t have sushi but our friends do. Kurt had never tried sushi before coming to this place. He tried it and liked it. He ordered the Chicken Adobo and thought it was super amazing . I had Philadelphia rolls and a few bites of the sushi platter in trade for my large serving of Philly rolls. The rest of the table ordered a large sushi platter which was pretty to look at and tasted fabulous. Everyone truly enjoyed their experience. You can find this great restaurant on FB at Makizu Samara.

Honorable mention: Vela Latina, Lo Que Hay, Flying Taco, Pizzeria Paraiso. I’ll cover these restaurants and maybe more in a later post.

Waiting is the Hardest

We’ve been waiting for things to happen, but things take time. It’s like when you find out you’re pregnant, but you have to wait nine months to meet your baby. Sure things proceed and change but you have to wait until the time is right. We started planning with a six month window of time. As we wait, we research, we talk, and we dream. What do we dream about? Oh so many things.

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Five Cities I want to see the first year besides Vicenza: Venice, Verona, Florence, Parma, and Bologna. I actually want to see every nook and cranny of Italy but you have to start somewhere. Venice for the canals. Verona because of Shakespeare. Florence for the museums. Parma and Bologna for the food. I’m sure the food in every region is amazing and I’m willing to try all of it.

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Five things I want to do my first year in Italy. These aren’t in any particular order: ride in a gondola, ski on the Dolomites, soak up the sun on an Italian beach, ride on a train, and learn basic conversational Italian.

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Five things I want to try my first year. Cappuccino and espresso like a native, wine from as many regions as possible, risotto, gnocchi, and polenta. My husband and children will be all over the pizza, pasta, and gelato choices. And as much as I love wheat it doesn’t love me back. Therefore, I will concentrate my gastronomic experience to the wheat free/gluten free arena. I’m excited because I’ve read Italy is GF friendly and northern Italy has fabulous risotto, polenta, and gnocchi dishes.

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Although we have no idea where we’ll land in Italy past school, we have open minds and willingness. Dreams of Italy prevail both in our days and our nights. It’s kind of like “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” but slightly more realistic.

I’m open to suggestions for our first year in Italy. Remember I’ve got two teenage boys both with a reasonable but not overwhelming interest in art and architecture. They love to eat though.

Ready to rock and roll…Passport to the World

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