J’ouvert in July – Carnival in Trinidad – Lime and Wine

JDxPsyxf6dlWvOdpR9HWeGshdX2TQfZ-Ob7oA6Jxv3PNoyXuuTsOI8LK5SI69-yOl7Vc5FIDf9Z3BZOqjrxOTP1ZLIm3UPQLowk3cUw2V1FQsebfTey6G1GnaHSNz5TyZ909b7lfbn7p1ZopVrQq8W2IT6WKnv8UZVfYXH2XY_22atWtO74CfzXocATruth is that it’s not carnival. That’s in February. But, it’s a small taste of carnival. With chocolate. You don’t have to get covered in chocolate but you certainly can if you want to.

r2w6RIMsIbuEvg-hgjcDEujCLWkUSvNvf2UqHVlL9PnbcBP1qjmpT79LfVSbRvPIz_YcZWwjdMObb4b1vooatRwF_EmwFTSXefWSFGPBVR-615xFTFdS9ChWCMENJl-mJDut5s8l5uCwtgh4iAWf_ugHymPT4QCcxoRDbXlYW02Jl1ssZ6znKhZeD2The truck/float/group called Cocoa Devils have a party in July called “J’ouvert in July” to celebrate their trucks. It cost 650 Trini dollars ($100 U.S.) for one-night party that starts at midnight and lasts till daylight. For that price, you get a t-shirt and a drinking cup. Plus endless beer, tequila, wine, and food.

Pbc91PmFactFrFmRoViUEQaOGEttZKyXxAVumL3wT7pOKKxDUDfHEF5PP2_3VP48eK8eRNxFgo1RLv8zqR1ENdJl37E9y65mSzprso0DBP5r69wSOptBn08PWQqHeNWVzYQl0PjOMSuppVdwrGkHM8XzPZCz5wqwI6iQfdseIxEn45qpUVysjn_951Aside from the main DJ truck, there are drinks trucks, supplemental speaker trucks to blast out the music, and food trucks. At one point, the trucks drive around the stadium providing a drunken parade for revelers to follow.

FhY8-Si5eidOEwNpzz5hRMVxrJg8AaBh0sg7w102Akkf4sbgQkRIJwvXctIuYhjBWQb-MJKoVuJw8HWOQBP34tvTkxU_Tzu_DsQ_OSlB1N7ycW04huE4GsUOzznomhyx6hs1zkteV6lHTgrOMZigid0-phPbnzpvccLb90jH_v1ya0PzGJNJwa5FelThe food is hotdogs, beef pies, and “doubles.” Good drunk food to sop up the alcohol.

cTZBC9nuR7tKVOJz9TbNKnsRVoOZKOwAfb8Ut5TcH2HP8x0A1iDoxufX90WE275wOt6Ztf49H1UQ7m8ozsa8rmojVYQzOYWOB-3EyEj6cTfcg2B4O4XCAjddSamb_CgqD8ntZoBSaMJFrPVGez50Utmv_Oxo7lCZpHtTaA_CSs8pSgoCyi5paqTeFZBy 2 a.m., the party was well under way. Apparently, Trinis like to “wine” and “lime” which are to twerk and to drink. Actually, they like to do it in reverse: lime’n and wine’n.

JQ-_ZuMNLMazgo84FXS73vqNSmIMwI33azWSrSRkP8douy03-IF3cswLx4laT-8tCsFzO1rhDi_zqiQogwT1npIH2qKeccr6OZI1JyQvbCPtbA2_5W9xtjg0UtiJI0TAncDfi2fBGr6ycMu6bfeM-l9BNJTmxNwVesVMbJoRvzHAJ8oXkmKPs_eO2uWhat amazed me was the creative ways that people (mostly women) had altered their t-shirts into outfits with various forms of holes and tailoring.

xJbYGfzt-Xkl9KZEARoLldfzQBi_w0knwlPkZSqc1Tf042nWt-d-qsUKBbW0ylDtyLzDXRTikYhmEuOfNOeH4es1SulxSi39NhsOVgAzl-ndmsY_XaKZPK8XJCVvvjWxLgn0AQcaN5SGKc9fTadTwxV568kpD1jao4NN5Tt7jdSw3Qgh_4RXpAEXSoThe whole event is well organized with lots of security, toilets, and first aid. While it looked like debauchery, it was actually very neatly done.

JohaoxghUkuOXiOQdFQ5LNNFXJXCJB68vSk6ze0K5EtPsr0lObiYuPe5Ssk20QKzCYKXhgQBLVNMbJwOMPwhV9RlTFX3yFn-_xgg_WSZ_T5AiH8I94ODlGWn-mNCN0GO-yD27AYwIs4-DLXNyhqNHdBkKa3FBq6l8G9AbGOv2fhpaJXjQ6G-DpRrGfThe music was so loud that I wondered if my ears would bleed.

Eating Street Food in Bogota

Bunuelo, a cheese ball bread.
Bunuelo, a cheese ball bread.

Don’t be afraid. Go for the goods. Bogota’s street food is very easy to try. There’s is everything from fresh juice, fruit salad, bunuelos, empanadas, arepas, hotdogs, sandwiches, coconut, and even breakfast carts where they will fry up an egg and put it in a sliced arepa, sandwich style. Because the tap water in Bogota is drinkable, the street carts are also fairly clean.

Spiralized mango dressed with lime, salt, and pepper.
Spiralized mango dressed with lime, salt, and pepper.

I enjoy the luxury of being able to find, on almost any street corner, a fresh pressed glass of orange juice, or carrot and orange juice, or mandarin juice, or sliced pineapple, or a watermelon slice, or a deep fried yucca dumpling.

A classic sight here in Bogota. In the foreground is a fruit mix with papaya.
A classic sight here in Bogota. In the foreground is a fruit mix with papaya. This lady’s juice was good because she removed the pips.

During Ciclovia, there are lots of stalls offering all kinds of food, though most of it is fruit.

I think they were going to grill chitlins and sausage.
I think they were going to grill chitlins and sausage.

10 Iconic American Eats In Washington, D.C.

Recently, some of my Bangladeshi friends visited the U.S… which made me think about iconic American foods to make them try while visiting D.C. The following are some of my recommendations.

1. Krispy Kreme: Who does not love a freshly fried yeast doughnut, hot and fresh from a sugar glaze waterfall?

2. Five Guys and Shake Shack: The last decade has seen the rise of the new hamburger restaurant which makes me happy. Freshly made with fresh French fries – it sounds simple but we, the consumers, put up with so much less for too long. Five Guys is a nationwide chain that started a few miles from D.C. and if you have peanut allergies, you must stay away…

A burger from Shake Shack.
A burger from Shake Shack.

3. All-American classic restaurants and bars: These are classic modern restaurants and bars in the “old boys’ club” style of dark wood, etc. — The Hamilton, The Lincoln, and also Old Ebbitt Grill, the Willard, and Ray’s the Steaks.

4. Ben’s Chili Bowl: Visitors like this historic place which has recently become a chain and it will soon be opening a branch at National Airport.

5. Honey Pig (noisy Korean BBQ restaurant), To Sok Jib (hole-in-the-wall Korean restaurant), and Bon Chon Chicken: Annandale, Virginia is a well known Korea-town but Bon Chon has just opened a branch in Clarendon. There is also Lighthouse Tofu which serves more than tofu and Oegadgib which serves all-you-can-eat Korean including shabu-shabu (shabu-shabu are the words you should say to time how long you swish your meat in the broth to cook it.).

6. Pho soup: Eden Center is a little Vietnam in Falls Church, Virginia, where the restaurants serve pho and other Vietnamese food.

Vietnamese pho soup, fried rolls, and summer rolls.
Vietnamese pho soup, fried rolls, and summer rolls.

7. Ravi Kabob: It’s a northern South Asian/Pakistani place that is “hole-in-the-wall” and serves delicious food. The most famous local chain is Moby Dick’s.

8. Edy’s Chicken or El Pollo Rico: It’s Peruvian style rotisserie chicken. Anthony Bourdain went to El Pollo Rico but I like that Edy’s serves yucca fries. There are also several other Peruvian style restaurants in the area where you can explore some of this world famous cuisine, although I’m still waiting for the celebrity chef level restaurants to open.

9. Ramen shops: This is a fairly new trend in American food, thanks in part to David Chang of Momofuku, and I like the trend. Yummy, homemade soup. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but it is.

10. El Salvadorean food: Try a fresh pupusa as the El Salvadorean population begins to emerge on the culinary scene (there are not that many Mexican places in this area but Jugalita is authentic).

Of course there are also many Ethiopian restaurants to try and loads of food carts serving all manner of new American foods (Korean kalbi taco, anyone?). Every new group of immigrants contributes a new flavor to American cuisine.

When tourists visit the U.S., many want to try Chipotle and other famous restaurants. I recommend using Yelp to find the locations. Speaking of American foods, there is, of course, pie, lobster, grits, collard greens, chicken and waffles, barbecue, etc. to be had here in D.C., but, maybe I’ll write about that another time. And not to forget, I’ve done some research and it looks like there is only one Colombian restaurant in the area… y claro, por supuesto, voy a visitarlo.