A Reflection of the High Line (at West 14th Street)

High Line at West 14th Street

By: Siddhi 

This leg of the High Line feels like a living frame of some delusional surrealist film.  It’s just so strange. Barely visible railroad tracks squash the fledgling green life below them. The rails are prison bars, the grass their victims. Above the ground looms a high-rise with clean glass windows and clean glass doors. It stands like a man on Wall Street, erect in a black designer tux that’s too elaborate, too expensive, too out of place.  This sight is a collage of hideously misplaced magazine cutouts.  Shattered windows against sleek new buildings, black gravel and trash against spotless paths, fading graffiti art against blocks of new concrete. But in the midst of the woefully incoherent setting is a symbol of redemption. It is a man shaving ice. Inhale, shovel, exhale. Inhale, shovel, exhale. The block of frozen water hides his torso.  Only his face and working hand are visible. He is calm, at total peace. Every nerve on his face is relaxed, every ounce of taxing effort his block of ice demands dissolves in his serenity. At first, his presence is almost as displaced as the concrete jungle this High Line has become. He is too human, too real to be standing against such a plastic backdrop.  But that very authenticity is what makes the rest of the atmosphere bearable. The contentment on the man’s face is a small but powerful beacon of hope. The broken windows and scattered rails no longer feel like disturbing memories of what was once a beautiful past.  The man is still smiling. Everything is in its right place, part of an endless cycle of construction and destruction. Because, no matter how much the urban monster kills the monuments of the past, no matter what knocks down beauty and brings up concrete walls of gray, the man’s face will always be at ease. His art is his spirit, his spirit is eternal.

Prima Bruschetteria in Rio de Janeiro

By: Siddhi 

Traditionally, we like eating at hole-in-the-wall kind of places when we travel to truly live the culture we are fortunate enough to be a part of. So we did feel guilty stepping foot (multiple times, admittedly) into Prima Bruschetteria, an Italian restaurant that surely  wasn’t serving us typical Brazilian fare. But the decision to eat at Prima was one that none of us will forget. Not just for some of the best Italian food we’ve eaten outside of Italy, but for the ambience that made us feel like we were living the life we always dreamt of : cafe-hopping people of the city who can enjoy great meals in places that care about quality over anything else and at the same time, soak in the amazing world that surrounds us.

Less than a five minute walk from the coast of Leblon Beach, Prima Bruschetteria is a small restaurant that despite its sleek modern elegance manages to make you feel like you’re eating in your own dining room. When the heat of Rio isn’t overwhelming, you can sit outside the restaurant on bright red barstools and people watch (something nobody can get enough of in a city as culturally rich as Rio). I can’t point my figure on exactly what it was that made Prima so distinct design-wise, but the closest description I can give the place is a diner designed by Ikea. You feel like you’re in a modern getaway, yet at the same time, in a place of comfort.

The food at Prima had some of the freshest Italian flavors I have tasted internationally. The highlight of the restaurant is the same dish the place’s name proudly boasts: their bruschetta. It’s hard to imagine just how good a usual tomato, mozzarella, and basil spread over a slice of bread could get, but the freshness of every item even in something as simple as a bruschetta was very much mood medicine, curing our jet lag, heat-induced moods, and of course,  huge appetites after climbing Sugar Loaf and hiking across Ilha Grande.  The desserts were also standout (although served in somewhat small portions). This is the dessert kid talking here, the one who eats real food just to get to the sugar. The tiramisu was just irresistible.

To reiterate- we understand that eating Italian food if you find yourself in Rio de Janeiro may not be a priority. It certainly wasn’t for us. But sometimes, a sudden craving can lead to a very memorable discovery, as it did for us when we walked into Prima Bruschetteria.

Prima Bruschetteria is located at Rua Rainha Guilhermina, 95 – Leblon  Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22441-120.

Phone Number: 21 3592-0881

Check their menu out here:

http://primab.com.br/

Authentic Falafels at Mamoun’s in Greenwich Village

By Lakshmi:

Falafels – just the mention of this divine creation from the Middle East makes me salivate.  I have eaten Falafels in many lands….from the roadside stands of Athens to the small cafes in Istanbul to the little restaurants in Amsterdam.  And each place brings it own distinctive touch to the mouth-watering Falafel.

We had heard about Mamoun’s from friends, but what drew us in was the long line of customers waiting to get one of the cheapest yet satisfying meals in the city.  And Mamoun’s does not disappoint!

You could have a Falafel sandwich for under 5 bucks, a combo platter for under ten with Baba Ganouj and Hummus.  The place can barely hold 5-10 people but is packed to the rim most evenings.  After all, when you are a student and want a delicious hot meal, what better choice than digging into a hot Falafel sandwich that seems to hit a high note across all senses!!

Mamoun’s is located at 119 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012.  Phone:            212-674-8685

If you’d like to give them a try, please take a look at their menu at:

http://www.mamouns.com/menus-overview/

With Food, Travel and Experiences

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