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13 foods you have to try in Costa Rica

A BIG PART of breaking out of your routine and experiencing someplace new is exploring the local cuisine. In the case of Costa Rica, you can’t really go wrong — but here are some extra special items to keep an eye out for.

1. Rondon

Composed of whatever the cook can “run down,” rondon dates back to earlier times of subsistence diets in the Caribbean. Though the only thing consistent is that it changes, there are a few fundamentals to this spicy coconut soup.

Typically, you’ll find a fish head and assorted catches of the day, along with a variety of tubers like sweet potatoes and yucca, simmered in coconut milk for hours over an open wood flame that imparts a smoky depth. Toss in a couple Panamanian chilies for that signature lip singe, and there you have it — rondon. Hands down, this is my favorite Costa Rican dish.

2. Naturales

Wherever you are in Costa Rica, you’ll see standalone kiosks dedicated to juicing tropical fruits. Climb on a stool — if you can find an empty one — and take your pick. Mango, pineapple, blackberry, melon, and banana are the usual favorites, though watch out for seasonal offerings like my personal go-to, cas (sour green mango), or horchata (rice, cinnamon, and milk). These delicious beverages also go by the name refrescos.

3. Cacao fresco

Photo: EverJean

When cacao pods ripen, they look like little yellow footballs. Crack them open and you can eat the tender white flesh encasing the cacao beans (from which you get cocoa powder when twice roasted and ground). The fruit’s sweet and tangy taste will give you a whole new outlook on what you thought chocolate was.

Costa Rica has several cacao farms, where you can take tours to learn about the product’s cultural importance in indigenous communities, as well as chocolate’s role in the nation’s history. Try the southern Caribbean — there you’ll find everything from plantation tours to chocolate museums, cooperatives, and local chocolate artisans. On your way through the coastal towns, keep your eyes peeled for roadside stands selling homemade cocoa butter.

4. Picadillo

A typical Costa Rican side dish, you’ll see picadillo accompany many meals, most notably the casados (see below). Picadillos are diced vegetables, a common one being the chayote squash, that are parboiled and then fried with onions, carrots, garlic, and sometimes a little ground meat. Though versions vary, ask any Tico and they’ll tell you their mom makes the best.

5. Gallo pinto

Photo: arvindgrover

You can’t set foot in the country without encountering the Costa Rican take on rice and beans. Local lore points to its origin in the tiny town of San Sebastían, where long ago a local resident, Don Bernabe, boasted widely of his prized gallo pinto (spotted hen), which he was saving for the town’s Christmas celebrations. Small-town gossip spread and grew to daunting proportions when Don Bernabe unexpectedly received a crowd of townsfolk eager to try his spotted hen. Being the quick thinker that he was, Don Bernabe decided to pay homage to the appearance of his gallo pinto by frying up copious amounts of white rice and black beans so that everyone had something to eat.

The true Costa Rican twist? A few dashes of Salsa Lizano, the ubiquitous national sauce that’s tangy and smoky with a hint of cumin.

6. Rice ‘n’ beans

Wait, didn’t we just cover this? NO! And you’ll be met with an equal measure of admonition if you call it gallo pinto to someone who grew up with limonense cuisine (from Limón, on the Caribbean coast). This difference exemplifies Costa Rica’s cultural diversity within its own borders. What sets this particular dish apart from gallo pinto is that it incorporates coconut milk, red beans, thyme, and spicy Panamanian chilies.

7. Chifrijo

Photo: robertorodriguex

Controversy abounds regarding the birthplace of chifrijos, including failed attempts at establishing intellectual copyright and charging royalties. Regardless, all evidence I know of points to Chepe (aka, San José, the capital) as the source.

Chifrijo is a popular layered dish of rice topped with black beans, twice-fried pork bits, and pico de gallo (tomato salsa with onion, cilantro, and lemon), served with fresh tortilla chips. A fixture in the bar scene, chifrijos are a drunken rally brick and next-day booze mop wrapped in one.

8. Granizados

This is a cold treat to stave off the heat when hitting the beach. You’ll see men pushing wooden carts down the sand shouting ¡Granizados! Line up with the local kids and watch the vendor shave a solid block of ice, and layer it with powdered milk, condensed milk, and any flavored syrup that tickles your fancy. I go with coconut every time, but the classic flavors are cherry, blue raspberry, grape, and mango.

9. Ceviche Tico

Photo: slopjop

While Peru is the country most often associated with ceviche, for me, ceviche Tico is the measuring stick for all other versions. The Tico variety is clean, light, and refreshing. Fish (typically sea bass) is cut into tiny cubes, mixed with diced red onion, cilantro, and some red pepper, then marinated in citrus juice. The acid in the citrus delicately cooks the meat, leaving it tender and flavorful. The dish is then served with soda crackers or fried plantains.

10. Trits

It’s like a baby’s first taste of ice cream — the world will never be the same. National dairy company Dos Pinos produces these addictive ice cream sandwiches comprising a generous portion of vanilla ice cream swirled with fudge ripple and nestled between two cookies that totter somewhere between sugar cookies and graham crackers. At a buck a pop, you’ll find yourself buying out the local corner store in a matter of days.

11. Casado

Photo: LeafLanguages

Translated literally, casado means “married.” Found in nearly any soda (small restaurant serving typical Costa Rican dishes) across the country, casado is the fixed pairing of white rice with a side of savory black beans, a vegetable side (like cabbage slaw dressed in citrus), and a protein — usually a fish fillet, charcoal grilled chicken, or pork chop — smothered in sautéed onions. Pretty much everything you need.

12. Agua de sapo

Don’t let the name of this treat — agua de sapo translates to “toad water” — deter you; the moniker derives more from the look than the taste. It’s a refreshing twist on lemonade made with brown sugar and ginger.

13. Coffee

Photo: rockindave1

Costa Rica’s recent history has been largely shaped by coffee, and the country’s beans rank as some of the best in the world. The rich volcanic soil at high altitude lends them their characteristic silky body, and the taste of the beans ranges from crisp fruitiness to smoky chocolate.

To see the process firsthand, head to the Central Valley region, where the altitude and climate help the coffee bushes thrive. Plantations scattered about the mountains offer educational outreach programs — you’ll see just how a ripe red berry is transformed into a steamy cup of high-grade coffee, and you’ll be taught how to use your palette to distinguish between varieties.

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The world’s 50 best restaurants

1. Eleven Madison Park (New York City)
2. Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy) *best restaurant in Europe*
3. El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)
4. Mirazur (Menton, France)
5. Central (Lima) *best restaurant in South America*
6. Asador Etxebarri (Biscay, Spain)
7. Gaggan (Bangkok) *best restaurant in Asia*
8. Maido (Lima, Peru)
9. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)
10. Steirereck (Vienna)
11. Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, New York) *highest climber*
12. Arpege (Paris)
13. Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athenee (Paris) *highest re-entry*
14. Restaurant Andre (Singapore)
15. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)
16. D.O.M. (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
17. Le Bernardin (New York City)
18. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)
19. Geranium (Copenhagen)
20. Pujol (Mexico City)
21. Alinea (Chicago)
22. Quintonil (Mexico City)
23. White Rabbit (Moscow)
24. Amber (Hong Kong)
25. Tickets (Barcelona)
26. Clove Club (London)
27. The Ledbury (London)
28. Nahm (Bangkok)
29. Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)
30. Arzak (San Sebastian, Spain)
31. Alleno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen (Paris) *highest new entry*
32. Attica (Melbourne) *best restaurant in Australasia*
33. Astrid (Lima, Peru)
34. De Librije (Zwolle, Netherlands)
35. Septime (Paris) *sustainable restaurant award*
36. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London)
37. Saison (San Francisco)
38. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)
39. Relae (Copenhagen)
40. Cosme (New York) *new*
41. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (Shanghai)
42. Borago (Santiago)
43. Reale (Castel di Sangro, Italy) *new*
44. Brae (Birregurra, Australia) *new*
45. Den (Tokyo) *new*
46. L’Astrance (Paris)
47. Vendome (Bergisch Gladbach, Germany)
48. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin)
49. Tegui (Buenos Aires) *new*
50. Hof Van Cleve (Kruishoutem, Belgium)
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March Equinox – Equal Day and Night, Nearly

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There are two equinoxes every year – in March and September – when the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of night and day are nearly equal.

March Equinox in Budapest, Hungary was on
hétfő, 2017. március 20. 11:29 CET (Change city)

March Equinox in Universal Coordinated Time was on
hétfő, 2017. március 20. 10:29 UTC

The Sun Crosses the Equator

The March equinox marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north. This happens on March 19, 20, or 21 every year.

10 Facts About the March Equinox

Northern Spring – Southern Fall

Equinoxes and solstices are opposite on either side of the equator, and the March equinox is also known as the “spring (vernal) equinox” in the Northern Hemisphere and as the “autumnal (fall) equinox” in the Southern Hemisphere.

Why Equinox?

On the equinox, night and day are nearly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it’s called an “equinox”, derived from Latin, meaning “equal night.” However, in reality, equinoxes don’t have exactly 12 hours of daylight.

What Happens on the Equinox?

The Earth’s axis is always tilted at an angle of about 23.4° in relation to the ecliptic plane, the imaginary plane created by the Earth’s path around the Sun. On any other day of the year, either the Southern Hemisphere or the Northern Hemisphere tilts a little towards the Sun. But on the two equinoxes, the tilt of the Earth’s axis is perpendicular to the Sun’s rays, like the illustration shows.

Used to Measure Tropical Year

The March equinox is often used by astronomers to measure a tropical year – the mean time it takes for the Earth to complete a single orbit around the Sun. Also known as a solar year, a tropical year is approximately 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds long.

The time between one March equinox and the next can vary by only a few minutes or by as many as 30 minutes each year. For example, the time between the March Equinox in 2015 and the March Equinox in 2016 was 365 days, 5 hours, 44 minutes, and 56 seconds, while the same duration between the March Equinoxes in 2016 and 2017 will be 365 days, 5 hours, 58 minutes, and 36 seconds.

Celebrating New Beginnings

The March equinox has long been celebrated as a time of rebirth in the Northern Hemisphere. Many cultures celebrate spring festivals and holidays around the March equinox, like Easter and Passover.

The Snake of Sunlight

One of the most famous ancient Spring equinox celebrations was the Mayan sacrificial ritual by the main pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico.

The main pyramid – also known as El Castillo – has four staircases running from the top to the bottom of the pyramid’s faces, notorious for the bloody human sacrifices that used to take place here.

The staircases are built at a carefully calculated angle which makes it look like an enormous snake of sunlight slithers down the stairs on the day of the equinox.

The Mayan Calendar was very precise in this respect, but today the Mayan calendar is most famous for ending exactly at 11:11 UTC on the 2012 December Solstice.

Knowledge of the equinoxes and solstices is also crucial in developing dependable calendars, another thing the Mayans clearly had got the hang of.

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British Vs American English

Given the amount of places around the world that English is spoken, various differences are bound to emerge. Despite how much the USA and UK have in common, there are enough differences between their two versions of the English language that someone may not always understand exactly what someone from the other country is saying. Fortunately, the US State Department has created a series of useful graphics to help clear things up.

The US and the UK’s imperial histories and modern influence over the world have changed the English language forever. Because it was exported to countries all over the world, it has been forced to accept different

Even if you’re a native speaker of UK or US English, there’s a good chance you’ll learn something new here.

British & American English

British & American English

British & American English

British & American English

British & American English

British & American English

British & American English

British & American English

British & American English

Source: boredbanda.com

 

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Top 10 Reasons to Visit London

Top 10 Reasons to Visit London

 

London is a diverse and exciting city with some of the world’s best sights, attractions and activities. With so much to do, it’s hard to narrow down the long list of reasons to visit, but below you’ll find our top 10.

Top 10 London Attractions

 

You can’t fail to be excited by London’s amazing attractions. See the city from above on the London Eye; meet a celebrity at Madame Tussauds; examine the world’s most precious treasures at the British Museum or come face-to-face with dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.

London Theatre

 

London has the best theatre scene in the world. It attracts the best in acting talent so don’t be surprised to see a few famous faces on the London stage. Take your pick from long-running musicals, classic plays, or brand new works making their West End debuts.Read More

Accommodation in London

There’s accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes in London. The city has many famous luxury hotels, but there are plenty of cheaper options too. Meet other travellers at hostels; enjoy the comfort of a friendly B&B, or even try camping in London.Read More

Free London Attractions

London is home to some of the best museums and galleries in the world – many of which are free. Spend a few hours in the British Museum, Tate Modern, Natural History Museum or the Science Museum browsing the collections at no cost.Read More

Food and Drink in London

Take a culinary journey around the world with London’s diverse restaurants, ranging from Michelin-starred restaurants, to gastropubs, traditional British restaurants and afternoon tea. London’s bar scene is equally varied, so check out rooftop bars, riverside pubs and champagne bars.

Best Views of London

 

London’s famous skyline continues to evolve. There are plenty of places to view the iconic skyline along the river, but make sure you take in a panoramic view of London from up high at locations such as View from The Shard or the London Eye.

Shopping in London

 

You’re spoilt for choice when shopping in London; from the flagship stores on Oxford Street, to gifts and bric-a-brac at London’s markets. Shop in Europe’s largest urban shopping centre at Westfield Stratford, or visit an iconic department store such as Harrods.

Sport in London

 

London attracts the biggest sporting events in the world. See a match in London or take a tour of the capital’s spectacular sporting venues, from the home of the English football team Wembley Stadium, to Lord’s Cricket Ground or Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum.

Parks and Outdoor London

You don’t need to travel far to find green space in London. The capital is home to eight beautiful Royal Parks, including Hyde Park and Richmond Park. There’s also Hampstead Heath, with amazing views over the city. Alternatively, visit one of London’s peaceful outdoor places such as Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

London’s River Thames

River Thames skylineThe Thames provides a stunning backdrop to many of the city’s top tourist attractions. River bus services and river tours are great ways to beat the traffic and enjoy wonderful views. Don’t forget London’s canals as well, including Regent’s Canal and Little Venice.

Source:

http://www.visitlondon.com/discover-london/london-highlights/ten-reasons-to-visit-london?ref=mosaic#qjp7CyHDUsXt0hi0.97

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