Tag Archives: worldwide

Around the World at Compass Rose in Washington DC

Sometimes it’s hard to know which type of cuisine to choose when deciding on a restaurant, especially when traveling in a city with as many great options as Washington DC. When we were in DC we found some great restaurants from various countries, but we also found a great one that covers a bit more ground: Compass Rose (1346 T Street NW, Washington, DC 20009) in Washington DC. Compass Rose is a globetrotting restaurant with a little bit of food from a bunch of various countries. According to Compass Rose, “So while it’s great to travel around the world, we understand that’s not always possible; instead of waiting for the smells and tastes on a great trip, we’ll bring them to you—in a cozy row home right in your own neighborhood.” Each dish at Compass Rose is listed alongside its country of origin, and the selections rotate frequently, and span the globe. Some examples off the menu when we visited include arepas from Venezuela, bhel puri chaat (kale, puffed rice, potato and tomato) from India, anticuchos from Peru and lamb kefta from Lebanon.

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When we saw that they had one of our Brazilian favorites, shrimp moqueca, we knew we had to visit. It can get pretty crowded, and there are no reservations, we made a point to stop in early. The atmosphere at Compass Rose is pretty romantic: with low lights and wooden tables in a few connected rooms. There is also a special secret room in the back for people ordering the set menu (which is by reservation), when we visited it was a Bedouin Tent theme, with a selection of North African dishes. The international theme even goes to the cocktail and wine list, which spans less commonly-known wine regions like Lebanon and Hungary.

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We could have picked any number of the eclectic dishes, but we eventually landed on:

  • Camarão na Moranga (Brazil) – shrimp curry with coconut milk and dendê oil (Palm oil), served inside a small acorn squash. This seemed like a riff on the Northeastern Brazilian dish moqueca – shrimp in a creamy sauce – and is what initially drew us to Compass Rose. Happily, this was probably our favorite dish of the night. We have never had a moqueca served inside anything but a bowl – and the squash bowl was a great addition.
  • Smørrebrød (Denmark – above) – house-cured trout, with trout roe and edible flowers. The presentation of this dish was amazing, and we were very impressed by the house-cured fish, giving us a real taste of Scandinavia.
  • Grilled Calamari (Greece – below) – served over red quinoa, with toasted pistachio & feta cheese salad, and doused with lemon and oregano. We were surprised how big this dish was! The calamari was deliciously tender, with an acidic punch and without chewiness.
  • Kogi Ribs (Korea) – Berkshire pork with a sweet-hot honey-ginger scallion marinade. The ribs were delectable, and had a great touch of sweetness along with a little bit of spice.
  • For dessert we got Crema Catalana (Spain) – A Spanish version of creme brulee. This dessert was tasty, with a hint of vanilla, but we were sad that it was so small!

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Everything we sampled at Compass Rose was delicious, with fresh ingredients and clean flavors. If we went back, we would also order the Georgian flatbread – Khachapuri – with cheese, egg and butter. We saw a few being served at tables all around us, and it looked beyond delicious! Compass Rose is the perfect place to temporarily cure your wanderlust, we really liked everything we tried. Whether you are feeling like Spanish or Korean, Compass Rose will have something for everyone in your dining party.

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The top 10 bites from Chicago Gourmet 2016

Chicago Gourmet 2016 was a great time – and a complete binge-fest! We estimate we sampled over 60 small dishes. It was hard to narrow it down, but we think we have arrived at our top 10 picks.

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  • Lobster Roll from Smack Shack (326 N Morgan St, Chicago, IL) – This was the best bite of the bunch, tons of tender lobster, fresh tarragon dressing and a perfectly toasted bun!

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  • Fig, blue cheese and honey vinaigrette from Nellcôte (833 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL ) This was the definition of one perfect bite. The fig and blue cheese combo seems so simple – but all the flavors blended together perfectly.

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  • Tuna Crudo from Ēma [top left] (74 W Illinois St., Chicago, IL) – A complex dish that was both beautiful and delicious, dressed with tumeric jus, microgreens and sungold tomatoes.
  • Pineapple and Crab gazpacho from Hugo’s Frog Bar [bottom left] – A cold soup with super sweet snow crab – light and decadent at the same time.

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  • Prosciutto Butter Toast from Monteverde (1020 W Madison St, Chicago, IL) – Another deceptively simple dish, but executed to perfection – the whipped butter and prosciutto were super rich, but cut through by the crisp radishes.

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  • Pistachio chicken mole taco from Mezcalina (333 E Benton Pl #100, Chicago, IL) – this was the perfect combination of sweet and savory with the pistachio mole, topped with tender chicken and cotija cheese – a perfect tiny taco! The chapulín (grasshopper) topping was optional – but it added a nice crunch.arami
  • Nori and shrimp ebi poke from Arami (1829 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL)- Salty nori combined with tender black tiger shrimp and sweet Maui onions to make the perfect briny bite.

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  • Hamburger Macaron from Cafe des Architectes (Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile, 20 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL)- This was delicious – and fun – a macaron with chocolate filling, but shaped like a hamburger, complete with sesame seeds and candies in the shape of traditional toppings like cheese and lettuce.lula
  • Taquito shrimp and black bean cones from Lula Bistro ( San Gabriel 3030, Jardines del Bosque, Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico) – The presentation of this dish was very cute, with the little crispy cones full of shrimp and black beans hanging from a tree. Fortunately, the taste was just as good.

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  • Chilled Corn Cream Soup with chili oil from Dusek’s (1227 W. 18th Street
    Chicago, IL) – This soup was not much to look at, but wowed with a sweet corn flavor, punched up with a chili kick.

Which of these dishes sound best to you? If you were at Chicago Gourmet did you have a favorite?

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ETW at Chicago Gourmet 2016 Recap

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One of the annual highlights of the Chicago food season is Chicago Gourmet! ETW is lucky to have gone for the last 3 years, and we always look forward to this veritable Disneyland of food. You pay a flat fee to enter and then the food and booze are free-flowing throughout the day in the enclosed event space in the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The theme of this year’s Chicago Gourmet was “Food is Art,” and there were sculptures throughout, including a giant waffle, which seemed to be a fan favorite (by sculptor Christopher Newman).

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Otherwise, the setup in 2016 was similar to that of years past: the wine distributors are in two rows the middle flanked by themed tasting booths, restaurants, and other exhibitors on the perimeter of the park. Each of the themed booths had two sessions, with 3 or 4 different restaurants appearing in each 2-hour block. One of the tips we learned from last year’s Chicago Gourmet was that you can’t possibly hit everything – or even most things- especially when it comes to the booze! We focused on going for international foods this year, as in years past, as well as seafood, which always seems to be a safe bet.

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The main place for international flair at this year’s Chicago Gourmet was the Chicago sister cities tent, featuring Chicago restaurants with cuisine from one of Chicago’s 28 sister cities. First up (above) was Kamehachi (representing Osaka) with tuna tataki tartare on a crispy sticky rice cake; Avli Estiatorio (Athens) with pork tenderloin over apple skordalia with a walnut dressing; an Indian/Latin spiced rib from Vermilion (Delhi); and an unexpectedly sweet egg bao from Imperial Lamian (Shenyang, China). In the second round (below) we were treated to a Nori and shrimp ebi poke from Arami (Osaka); charbroiled octopus on pesto from Filini (Milan); corned beef from the Canadian-themed Northern Lights Poutine (Toronto); and a refreshing mango and shrimp salad from Cochon Volant (Paris).

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One of the standalone booths with an international flavor was the Peruvian favorite Tanta, which offered burrata quinoa caprese-style salad and dulce de leche-filled alfajores. One of the other standout bites came from the American Express booth: butter and prosciutto toast topped with crispy radish from rising star Monteverde, with chef Sarah Grueneberg herself at the helm (below). We also sampled some of the Korean condiment Gochujang, and we have a hunch it will be the next Sriracha sauce. Some “big name” brands were there, too, including the Shop House Southeast Asian concept from Chipotle, Barilla, and Thermador kitchen appliances – which had a rotating dessert menu (including a giant platter of Stan’s Donuts) which turned over every hour or so!

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One of the most consistent (and crowded booths) was the seafood tent, so we made a beeline for there after each turnover. Some of our favorite dishes from the first round were found at the seafood station, Hugo’s Frog Bar’s pineapple and seafood gazpacho and Ēma’s elegant tuna crudo.  In the second round we had our favorite dish of the entire event, a tiny lobster roll from Smack Shack that was absolutely full of prime lobster, in a tasty dressing with fresh tarragon, on a toasted bun (below). We could have gone back for two or three more.

cglobster Creativity was also key at some of the booths. We loved Cafe des Architectes’ “burger” macarons – which were styled to look like sliders, complete with “bread” shells, and a chocolate filling. On the unique display front, Promontory had a little brick sterno grill with octopus and veggie kebabs in the Mariano’s tent. This location provided some of our other favorite bites, Dusek’s corn cream soup with chili oil; Nellcôte’s fig and blue cheese; and broccoli with nigella seeds from Ada St. On the BBQ front, there were assorted BBQ bites at the Big Green Egg tent, or at the more secluded second tent, which used to house the Sister Cities. One of the solid bites from this area was the ever-reliable brisket from Smoque.

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Overall, there were a lot of tasty desserts at Chicago Gourmet, maybe more than in previous years. Mariano’s had an entire gelato booth where you could get a scoop of their classics, like chocolate, stracciatella, pistachio, and even the more unusual Speculoos. There was also an Gelato World Tour voting tent (above) where competitors (including Gelato D’Oro, Volare, BomboBar and Coda di Volpe) vied for the top spot with their more unusual gelato flavors. Our favorites were the chocolate cardamom, “Breakfast at Nonna’s House” (red currant, fior di latte and granola) and pink peppercorn. The Macau tourism tent also has an interesting dessert offering from Fat Rice: a sweet/savory, nori rice krispie with pork floss, sesame seeds and caramel fish sauce.

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The Mexico tent was unusual in that it offered bites from both Mexican restaurants in Chicago, and some that are actually located in Mexico. The first round had a savory brisket taco from El Solazo; creatively-presented taquito shrimp and black bean cones from Lula Bistro in Mexico; and splashy yellow and green tequila macarons from La Postreria in Guadalajara. Round two (below) were chicken taco with crema and and chapulines (grasshoppers) from Mezcalina, white chocolate “Angel” mole from New Rebozo and a beef, mango and cotija tostada from Bar Takito.

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We are not wine experts, so frankly we feel that we are always a little behind when it comes to the wine potion of the fest. We hit up the Campari booth for a refreshing Aperol Spritz, and tried a number of wines from around the world. There were also a few unique nonalcoholic drinks including a turmeric chai from Rishi tea and the new-to-us Lemoncocco drink, based on lemon and coconut spritzers found at the Lemoncocco kiosk in Rome. We also got the requisite Stella Artois beer glasses, and attempted to savor some Glenmorangie and Glenlivet. Another drink hit was Punch House’s berry punch with basil, located in one of the main tents.

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This year’s Chicago Gourmet was a real success, and left us satiated with flavors from near and far. As always, we capped off our day with one final mini-cappuccino from Illy. Chicago Gourmet also signals the unofficial end of the summer – and we think we sent it off in style. We look forward to seeing you at Chicago Gourmet next year!

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The Refugee Athlete Team at the Rio Olympics

OlympicFlagFor the first time in the history of the Olympics, a team composed of refugees is competing under their own banner. The 10 athletes representing the Refugee Olympic Team hail from South Sudan, Syria, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all countries affected by ongoing conflicts. Competing in swimming, judo and track and field, the athlete’s appearance at the game is raising awareness for their home countries’ struggles, and they received a standing ovation during the parade of nations during the opening ceremonies. This week and next we will be featuring foods and cuisines of the countries represented by this brave team. Though we have written about the food of Ethiopia, Syria and the DRC, the food of South Sudan is new to us. We look forward to seeing more of these athletes!

 

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The Olympics of Food: Rio 2016

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The Olympics have finally come to Rio! When we were living in Brazil a few years ago, the country was already gearing up for the Olympic games, so we are excited to see it finally come to life. ETW will have some special food-related Olympics coverage this year, focused on the food of Brazil and the countries competing. We already have an extensive archive of Brazil and Rio De Janeiro food posts, so we encourage you to check it out in the meantime. This year, we will have special posts on the two countries competing in the Olympics for the first time – South Sudan and Kosovo (we also covered the 7 new countries in 2014) – and the multi-national refugee team. Stay tuned! Bom apetite!

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Farm to Table at Spice Kitchen + Bar in Cleveland

We have noticed a proliferation of small plates places serving globally-inspired dishes with local ingredients – and we are excited to find a local exemplar of this trend in Spice Kitchen + Bar (5800 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH) in the emerging foodie neighborhood of Detroit-Shoreway/Gordon Square in Cleveland. Spice Kitchen is located in an old corner building with wooden floors, large windows, a vintage bar and several rooms (some with exposed brick) forming the dining space. We love the old-school atmosphere.

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Spice Kitchen by Edsel Little

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Eating the World at Chicago Gourmet

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Where else but Chicago Gourmet can you attend a BBQ demo while sipping on Chilean wine and munching tiny lobster rolls? This always-anticipated food and wine event, spanning a weekend in September, is a veritable culinary wonderland. This is my third year attending, and despite the crowds, I still think it is one of my favorite, (and most gluttonous) annual experiences.ChicagoGourmetAfter

Chicago Gourmet takes place inside the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago. The main stage hosts talks and demos by big-name chefs, while the perimeter is ringed with tasting tents where 3 or 4 Chicago-area chefs serve small bites or drinks from their restaurants. Smaller tents scattered around the pavilion host other food and beverage exhibitors, chef demos and beer and wine tastings. Another wildly popular part of the festival (the MOST popular part of the festival?) are the two rows of wine and spirits exhibitors in the center of the great lawn (below).

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Eclectic small plates at Ada Street

After our delicious dinner at Odd Duck in Milwaukee, we were inspired to try some of the eclectic small plates in our neck of the woods. We had heard great things about Ada Street (1664 N. Ada Street, Chicago), and Chef Zoë Schor’s creative dishes, so we wanted to try it out with our foodie friends D & B. We went relatively early, and were able to snag a table, without much advance notice.

AdaStreet Like Odd Duck, the menu was divided into sections that helped describe the food by category: “Pick it Up,” “With Toast,” “Forks, spoons & knives” and dessert. The dishes range in size, and all are meant to share. There is something for those that are gluten free, too, which we always appreciate. The room was a large and cool and there were giant garage door windows that could open up to reveal a large patio area. There was even a record player tucked in the corner, which we definitely liked.

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Around the world in Milwaukee at Odd Duck

We definitely appreciate the boom in casual but high-quality farm to table restaurants in the Midwest. We heard nothing but praise for one of these restaurants, Odd Duck (2352 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI), so we were incredibly excited to try it. Inside Odd Duck is a cool space, with exposed brick and pottery on the walls, buzzing, casual and friendly. The menu at Odd Duck is both locally sourced and globally inspired – a combination of two of our favorite restaurant concepts.

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You can find dishes spanning every continent, divided into two halves of small plate dishes: vegetarian and meat. When we visited there were 12 dishes in each half, and our server assured us that the selection changed daily. We decided to go for our server’s suggestion of at least 2 dishes apiece, and we tacked on one to share (though all of the dishes are meant to share….and we did end up sharing all of them). We had a hard time deciding what we wanted, but tried to do a sampling of both the veg and meat options. Along with the list of small plates you can also order individual portions of cheese and charcuterie including both local (Smoking Goose Meatery, Hook’s Cheddar) and global selections (Jamon Iberico).

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Charred Octopus

We tried:

  • Brazilian cheese bread with watercress and Kolrahbi, yogurt with spinach puree.($8) This was the first dish out of the gate. Being purveyors of Pão de Queijo, I think we were expecting too much with this one. This was a chewy, slightly tangy bread roll, but did not taste like a Pão de Queijo at all and the texture was a bit off. However, had we not had actual PDQ from Brazil as a cultural reference, we probably would have liked it much more.
  • Vietnamese fried trout topped with an herb salad, over glass noodles with a delicious peanut lime and chili sauce ($10) This was a real standout dish. The fried trout was delicate, and not greasy at all. It also contained one of our favorite food combinations: peanuts and lime, so how can you go too wrong?The sauce was strong and aromatic, without being overpowering, and there was a little kick.
  • Charred octopus with black beans and rice cake, oyster mushrooms and scallions ($10) M really liked this one, and even for those among us who are not big fans are octopus, this was a standout dish. The octopus was tender and crispy – not chewy at all.
Shortrib Stroganoff

Shortrib Stroganoff

  • Braised beef shortribs stroganoff with potato gnocchi and mustard greens ($12). This was a classic, hearty dish, with fork-tender shortribs. We appreciated the update of the classic Midwest dish, and the gnocchi were light and tender.
  • Aloo Gobi curried fired cauliflower with sweet corn yogurt, potato chips and tomato chutney ($8). Despite being fried, the cauliflower were surprisingly light and crispy. This was a good way to end the meal, though it also would have been a perfect “appetizer.”
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Aloo Gobi

We really enjoyed the food at Odd Duck. The vibe was good, the menu was interesting and the price is right. We wish there were more of these types of places in Chicago (especially at this price point). We can’t wait to go back to see what is on the menu next time!

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What is Maggi seasoning?

We have come across recipes calling for something called “Maggi” or “Maggi Seasoning” in Latin American, Asian and European recipes alike, and it had always wondered about this mystery ingredient. So what IS Maggi?!  Turns out Maggi seasoning is a thin, salty and savory sauce somewhat like soy sauce. Also like soy sauce, the role of Maggi is to give a savory umami kick to any dish. We were incredibly interested to learn that Maggi was originally a Swiss product, and was created in 1872. Maggi is now a huge international brand name which was bought in the 1940s by Nestle, and hosts a ton of other products like bouillon cubes, ramen and sauces under its banner. However, the most famous Maggi product is probably still the seasoning sauce, Maggi-Würze. You can find Maggi in a diverse array of stores given its international popularity and we have seen it in German, Chinese, Mexican and Russian food stores (the formulations may also vary by country). So what do you do with Maggi? How about make a quick Vietnamese steak, Indian-style noodles, Malaysian black pepper chicken or a Mexican michelada.

Maggi Seasoning and Soup

Maggi Seasoning and Stew by Frederik Hermann

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Food culture around the world with Perennial Plate

I recently stumbled across the James Beard Award-winning Perennial Plate, an excellent blog and video series which is self-described as “dedicated to socially responsible and adventurous eating.” Though the series started in Minnesota, they have now gone worldwide and feature videos about food and food culture from around the world: Japan to Ethiopia and beyond. Check out all of the Perennial Plate videos on Vimeo. It is hard to pick out just one to highlight! To keep with the theme of winnowing down, below is a video that is “Two weeks in Morocco boiled down to three minutes.” Having spent a little time in Morocco, this certainly captures the feeling of sensory overload. I’m definitely going to be catching up on this backlog of videos ASAP!

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538’s International Food Association World Cup: Results are In

We wrote a little bit earlier about 538 Blog’s International Food Association World Cup, where users could vote for their favorite national cuisines. While the World Cup of Futebol has been over for a while, the Food Cup just ended. The four teams making it into the semi-finals were Italy, USA, Thailand and Mexico, which seems like a pretty solid match-up. The final round was between the USA and Italy, and Italy eventually prevailed. Not too surprised with the result – who doesn’t love Italian food?

Varieties of Rum Baba (and friends) in naples

Italian Pastries – just one of the country’s many culinary delights

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The FiveThirtyEight International Food Association World Cup

We are fans of Nate Silver’s 538 for its mix of culture, sports, politics and statistics. However, now they have taken it even one further and incorporated food into the mix. Perfect! In honor of the World Cup, the 538 team has created a ranking based on the national cuisines of the countries participating in the World Cup, as well as other culinary powerhouses. Here’s their methodology:

We polled 1,373 Americans through SurveyMonkey Audience and asked them to rate the national cuisines of the 32 teams that qualified for the World Cup, as well as eight additional nations with bad soccer but great food: China, Cuba, Ethiopia, India, Ireland, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

So who’s going on to the Round of 16? Personally we think the list is pretty decent, though we’d have picked Turkey over Germany.

  • Mexico vs. Ethiopia
  • Japan vs. Vietnam
  • France vs. Argentina
  • U.S. vs. Belgium
  • Spain vs. Brazil
  • Italy vs. Greece
  • Cuba vs. China
  • Thailand vs. Germany
Acai at Tacaca do Norte

Acai at Tacaca do Norte – a taste of Brazil!

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Getting ready for the Copa do Mundo / World Cup!

The World Cup is almost here! In honor of this global event, we are looking forward to cheering on the Brazil and US teams and sharing some of our favorite stories and dishes from around the globe. Also look for special coverage about the food scene in Brazil, we still have a lot to cover from our time there! 719px-WC-2014-Brasil.svg

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The World Cup of Sausages

The World Cup is only just a few days away. Of course, we will use this global event as yet another way to highlight some of the lesser-known and more delicious foods from all around the globe. For a first little taste, why not check out Bon Appetit’s list of top sausages from every country represented in the cup, from Croatia’s ćevapi to Mexico’s chorizo to Algeria’s merguez!

chorizo taco

A chorizo taco in Chicago

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World’s 50 Best Restaurants Announced

San Pellegrino and Restaurant Magazine’s 12th annual list of the the world’s top 50 restaurants has been released. The number one restaurant is Noma, the Copahagen restaurant helmed by Rene Redzepi, of the Nordic Food Lab. We are happy that there is a Chicago restaurant (Alinea) and a São Paulo restaurant (D.O.M.) in the top 10!

DOM Restaurant

D.O.M. Restaurant in Sao Paulo by Wally Gobetz

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Around the world in beverages: Thirsty For…

Our friend Silvia recently posted about a James Beard-nominated video series with a global foodie bent, Thirsty For. The premise of Thirsty For, produced by Tastemade, is that each video introduces a new beverage from around the world. However, this goes above and beyond the recipe alone, and we love the visuals and the soundtrack. Now some of the featured drinks we have heard of, like the Mango Lassi and Atole. However, others are much lesser known, including a strawberry milk drink from Mauritius, Alouda (video below), the Portuguese coffee drink Mazagran, and something for the kid in all of us, the Milo Dinosaur. Check out the entire series here.

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Cuisines of the seven countries making their Olympic debuts

OlympicFlagThough we started off the Sochi Olympics by covering Russian food, the Olympics are perfect time to highlight food from all around the world. The US, Canada, Russia and Northern European are usually heavy hitters in the medal count because they are COLD, however, many other countries are making winter Olympics appearances, including seven for the first time ever.  Check out the Olympic Teams from each of these countries – ParaguayMaltaTogoTongaZimbabweDominicaEast Timor – and get ready for ETW posts featuring national dishes and other foodie delights from each of these countries in the coming weeks.Olympic-Cookies

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Globally-Inspired Iced Tea for Summer

Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day than iced tea. Tea (in its many forms) is one of the most universal drinks, whether in hot or iced form, so why not give the Snapple and Lipton a rest and try something new? Even though the end of summer is sadly approaching, there are still plenty of hot days to enjoy some cool drinks (preferably on a balcony or beach).

Bellocq Mint Tea from Design Sponge

Bellocq Mint Tea from Design Sponge

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Jean-François Mallet’s “Take Away”: Global street food photography

French photographer Jean-François Mallet has a lovely (somewhat) new book called “Take Away” which is an amazing chronicle of street food sellers and customers from all over the world. We were intrigued by his pictures of both familiar and new takes on street food. You can check out some more of Mallet’s food and travel photography on his portfolio site.

A mobile bread vendor in Beirut, Lebanon

A mobile bread vendor in Beirut, Lebanon by Jean-François Mallet

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