My favorite restaurants this summer was La Zarza, a small Spanish/Argentinean tapas restaurant in the East Village. I loved the candle-lit atmosphere, the authentic Spanish-decor, and the long rustic tables filled with noisy, sangria-buzzed crowds. Croquetas filled with hot goat cheese, chicken/cheese-stuffed empanadas, chicken skewers, sizzling paella platters… It can’t match the tapas in Madrid, but I’d say Zarza is a close second.
My housemates and I went to Toro during restaurant week and gorged ourselves on some of the best tapas I’ve ever eaten. The menu is inventive and affordable and true to its roots, with new takes on classics and real Spanish staples. Their special, the corn, is one of the best things I have ever eaten. Drinks and desserts are also delicious, and the neighborhood is an interesting place to explore.
Mcleod Ganj in northern India is where the Tibetans live in exile, and it feels entirely different from the rest of the country. Stray dogs roam the streets on this mountaintop city frequented by soul-searching yogis-in-training. Everyone is incredibly friendly to foreigners, many of whom enjoy trekking and feasting on India and Tibetan food (I’d kill for a momo right now). I went with friends to hear the Dali Lama speak, then smoked hookah inside a waterfall surrounded by mist and monsoons.
Chicago. I fell a little in love with this city during a weekend visit. Maybe it was the striking architecture, or the river running through the city, or the sprawling botanical gardens, or the bar with 75 board games and even more take-out menus, or…you get the picture.
New Orleans is Jazz and Decadence and Humidity and Fried. Bourbon street is mess, drunks sipping and spilling and dipping in and out of bars where people seldom wear shirts. Frenchmen street is music in every room at every hour, old rhythms and new twists under red and blue lights. N’olinz-ers are friendly and wobbly and happy-go-lucky, and tourists are glad to find the mood infectious. Po’boys are piles of meat or fish or shrimp on frenchbread, french like the Gothic ironwork that covers New Orleans’ buildings. New Orleans is one of the best cities I have ever had the pleasure of being hosted in.
“Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO
Festival Rock-en-Seine, Paris
Odd Future, Cudi, The Horrors, The Streets, Eddie Sharpe, Lykke Li: three days of wonderfully talented haze. Tens of thousands show up for the fun and an impressive diversity of ethnic food makes trudging between stages a pleasure. Security couldn’t have been more apathetic. You could feel the bass in your lungs.
“She Was a Vision” by Active Child