Lunchtime in San José

Lunchtime in San José

Lunchtime. If you’re leaving work in San José, Costa Rica, you’re lucky if you’re not in the dead center of downtown, where well-designed and overpriced American chains like Taco Bell and McDonald’s infest every street corner and occupy cherished on-the-ground, tourist-accessible real estate. If you are there, plan on walking a few cuadras or taking a bus to escape the constant press of people. It shouldn’t take you long to spot some sign, probably hanging above an open door and most likely sporting “SODA” in bold sans serif. Don’t let the name mislead you; if you’re looking for caffeine, you’re more likely to find freshly ground black coffee from the hills of Heredia. The soda isn’t a drink bar; it’s a café. Whether or not you’re a regular, you’ll greet the café (“Buenas”) and the diners will echo your greeting. The señora at the counter will call you señor or señora if this is your first time meeting. If it’s not, then she’ll call you whatever adjective most superficially describes you, be it fatty, cutie, blackie, whitey, skinny, or good-looking. It’s never meant as a compliment or an insult; it’s a guileless observation. You could order an olla de carne and pick through the nearly-whole vegetables in the rich, dense beef stew if it’s cold outside. You could ask for a chifrijo and enjoy fried pork cubes on rice and beans with a generous helping of tomato, avocado, and cilantro piled on top, protected by a fence of tortilla chips marching along the rim of the bowl and sealed with fresh lemon juice. But more than likely, you’ll order...
Four Corners of the Kitchen: Cilantro

Four Corners of the Kitchen: Cilantro

Curries, marinades, soups, and salsas—although cilantro is used in all of these dishes and more, it remains one of the most debated ingredients in cooking. Despite the fact that this herb elicits a wide range of reactions in the taste buds of food critics, it carries a deep history across continents. Cilantro was found in the Egyptian tomb of Tutankhamen, Neolithic levels of the Israeli Nahal Hemar cave, and the writings of ancient Greek tablets. Read the included recipes to discover some of the ways that cilantro continues to be used and enjoyed all over the world. — Sophia Harper   Mexican Cilantro Lime Rice Ingredients 3 cups of long-grained cooked rice (1 cup uncooked) 2 small limes (or 1 large lime) Zest from 1 lime 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro 1 1/4 teaspoon salt (divided) Directions Cook rice. (In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and rice is just tender, 16 to 18 minutes.) Once rice is cooked, fluff with fork. Add lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, and 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste). Stir well and serve warm. Adapted from food.com and marthastewart.com   Cilantro Thai Grilled Chicken Ingredients 2 garlic cloves (coarsely chopped) 1/2 cup cilantro 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts Directions Place garlic, cilantro, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Pour marinade over chicken breast and let flavors sink in for 15 minutes in the refrigerator....
Building Morocco

Building Morocco

Morocco is a country shaped by influence—from the Spaniards in the north to the Saharan desert sands blowing from the east. The Moroccan people have built entire fortified cities from clay and have carved intricate designs into wood with Arabic messages thanking Allah for the beauty of creation and invention. All of these political, natural, and progressive influences have led Moroccans to construct unbelievable architecture that boldly showcases color, stability, and detail. Among these Moroccan architectural creations are ksour, mosques, riads, and mausoleums. Each of these constructions carries its own unique set of features that distinguish it from other buildings and monuments around the world. As travelers learn more about Morocco, they can discover what sets these structures apart and find the best places to witness their beauty within the country. The Ksar قصر Made from mud or stone, the castle-like ksar is usually found seated in a mountainside for the greatest level of protection. This fortified village was often built as a collection of attached homes surrounded by one powerful wall. Native Moroccans built most of the sand-colored cities many hundreds of years ago, but a large number of ksour can still be visited today. See it in Ouarzazate, Morocco, at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ksar Aït Benhaddou. The Mosque مسجد As the centers of various religious activities, mosques are built with the utmost precision and care. Every element of a mosque—from the delicately painted ceilings, to the marvelously tiled walls and floors, to the corners of the rooms carved to look almost like lace—is constructed as praise to a higher being. While not every mosque...
Born and Bread

Born and Bread

Boudin Bakery in San Francisco has been baking up famous sourdough bread since the Gold Rush, and tourists and locals alike line up to get a taste. You are surrounded on all sides by loaves and loaves of freshly baked bread. The smell is almost intoxicating.    No, you’re not in heaven—you’ve just stepped into Boudin Bakery. This San Francisco gem first opened in 1849 at the height of the California Gold Rush. And the miners who lined up each morning for a loaf of Boudin Bread struck gold.   In the midst of the ever-hipper foodie paradise of San Francisco, the bakery hasn’t changed much about its look—or its recipes. Bakers saved the original sourdough in a bucket from San Fran’s Great Fire of 1906. Picture that for a moment. In all the chaos of a massive earthquake and the destructive fire that followed, these bakers knew what was most precious to them: bread. That original starter is still used in all of Boudin’s sourdough bread. Current head baker Fernando Padilla apprenticed with the former Boudin owner and has been a part of the bakery for almost 30 years. That dedication has paid off. Bread at Boudin is perfectly crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The only thing that makes it better is pairing it with a huge bowl of clam chowder like a true San Franciscan.    A traditional recipe isn’t the only thing that keeps tourists and locals alike flocking to Boudin. The bakery is famous for creating bread in shapes like crabs, fish, teddy bears, turtles, and the iconic San Fran cable...
It’s Gonna Be Lit

It’s Gonna Be Lit

Indian-American Millennial Views, Diwali, the festival of lights Every generation has its take on traditions. And it’s no different for the tradition of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, a five-day festival celebrated near the end of each year. It’s a time of worship, family, and celebration. Sukanta Nanda was born in India and emigrated to the United States in 1995 with his family, including a millennial-era son. He said that his children see Diwali as a party, a time to dress up and go dancing. But Diwali was about four main things when Sukanta grew up in India: ancestors, worship, fireworks, and food. First, it was about paying respect to ancestors. By revering them, Sukanta said it’s as if he were saying, “You made our lives great. You brought us to this world, so this way we are conveying gratitude.” Diwali is also a religious holiday in which Hindus perform puja (the act of worship). The main god worshipped during this time is Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. During this festival week, people also set off fireworks to celebrate the light. And finally, Sukanta said that Diwali is about “good, great food.” Sukanta’s experience with Diwali is a little different in America because of restrictions regarding fireworks where he lives. And to add to that, not everyone around him is celebrating Diwali, so it seems like more of an individual holiday. But to Sukanta’s children, and many other millennials, some of the meaning behind Diwali is less religious and more festive. A Party Week Shaina Verma is an American-born Indian millennial who grew up in India but spent...
Talk to the Hand

Talk to the Hand

Deaf people across the world have a deep, vibrant culture and a sense of unity that often goes unnoticed by the general population. They pride themselves on their ability to adapt, and they actively work to make hearing people aware that Deaf people are just as capable, innovative, and intelligent as any other group. A new trend in the food industry is helping them out. When Anjan Manikumar opened a tiny restaurant in Toronto, Canada, in July 2014, he had no idea that it would affect people all around the world. Signs, staffed entirely by Deaf employees, provided an immersive sign language experience from its opening year to 2016. It was created in response to the 40% unemployment rate for Deaf Canadians, a rate five times higher than the national average. Signs didn’t just provide Deaf people with an ideal environment to work. It sought to teach the natives of Toronto more about Deaf culture. Patrons were given sign language “cheat books” to learn how to order in the new language, and the patient wait staff enthusiastically encouraged them in their efforts. Manikumar’s endeavor went viral, with publicity from large companies such as CBC News, Buzzfeed, and Upworthy, resulting in millions of views online. Despite all its marketing success, however, the business venture did not succeed, and Signs closed its doors in December 2016. What Manikumar couldn’t know is that though Signs wasn’t the first Deaf-staffed restaurant with a goal for educating the hearing, these other establishments around the world were largely unheard of until Signs’s popularity brought them into the realm of tourism. His efforts also led to...