Top Ten Well-Known Countries I Don’t Want to Visit
Top Ten Well-Known Countries I Don’t Want to Visit
I am approaching the end of my trip around the world. As I counted one week earlier, I have visited thirty-eight countries. For somebody from Canada and has been traveling for only two and a half years. . .that is a helluva lot.
Naturally after thirty-eight countries I have visited most of the backpacking and tourist staples. France, Italy, UK, Spain, Japan, Australia, Thailand, etc.
However, a couple of obscure countries are within that count and leave some of the well-known destinations out.
People think I want to try and visit every country in the world. . .truth of the matter is I have no interest in doing that. Only ninety-six people have done it, and it costs nearly $200, 000 to visit every country on a backpacking budget. There are a few factors why I would never do it other than the money:
a) Huge impact on the environment
b) To spend an average of just one week in each country would take over three years non-stop. Could you imagine just spending a week in Spain or Japan? I sure can’t. I already want to kick my own ass for doing Bulgaria in just the span of a week.
And most importantly. . .
c) There are some countries I am in no rush to visit.
Sorry Yemen, you are not on my radar in the near future.
Instead of picking the obvious countries people don’t want to visit like Afghanistan, Syria, Kiribati. . .I thought it would be fun to make a top ten list of countries that people love to visit but didn’t reach in my initial batch of thirty-eight, and most likely not touch the first fifty or sixty I visit.
So let’s begin the list of top ten most visited countries I (currently) don’t have a desire to visit!
1) PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Population: 1.6 Billion people?!
It’s funny, really. I have been working for a Chinese company for over a year. I have been teaching Chinese children and interacting with Chinese families for over a year. Everyone knows I like my job without taking it to “nobody-really-loves-their-job-that-much” levels.
But it’s true. China is on this list. Why?
I had plans to go to China during my first journey to Asia but I scrapped it because every backpacker I met who had been to China said it was their least favourite country. No backpacker ever said they enjoyed visiting China.
They thought people weren’t friendly. They thought people stared too much at them. The language barrier was too difficult. Navigation was tough because of the aforementioned language barrier.
I have also met many English teachers who teach live classrooms in China. They say “the job pays really well but I don’t like living here. It’s lonely and you the smog only clears if there is a big international convention.”
China sounds like a place I would really enjoy if I stayed with a host family. It would probably be such a fun visit.
But visiting as a solo backpacker? I feel like I would fall in line with all of the other backpacking stories I have heard before. When nobody has a positive recommendation, it sounds like a place that needs to be delayed for now.
I love how the government is currently working on its environmental issues. When the smog clears, I think clean air would be a big motivator for me to quickly reconsider my position.
Lastly, as somebody who gets anxious in large crowds, a country of 1.6 billion people freaks the crap out of me.
Population: 250, 000
Canadians can always find too-good-to-be-true roundtrip flight deals for Iceland. Many of my friends have taken advantage of it. I have met people from Iceland too. They are cool people.
I grew up watching Magnus Ver Magnusson and Jon Pall Sigmarson showing off their feats of brute strength. It was amazing to watch as a kid.
Those flight deals I was talking about earlier? They really are too good to be true. Once you land, you will be paying A LOT for EVERYTHING in Iceland. Food, lodging, activities, transportation. . .it’s all expensive as hell.
You want sunny and warm weather? Ha. Good luck, my friend. Nearly every other country does that better. Iceland looks like the surface of the moon half of the time.
Oh, and you’ll need even more luck to survive as a vegetarian in the country.
Super expensive. No mass public transit to take everywhere I need to go as somebody who doesn’t drive. Bad weather. Cold weather. Cuisine that even locals hate. Isolated geographically.
Iceland just doesn’t sound like my type of place. I know the people are lovely and I love how it is currently run. Would I enjoy my standard two week visit there? Something tells me I would be bitching about the cost outweighing the few highlights I would have.
Does Iceland have Couchsurfing? Can I volunteer at a hostel?
Population: Over a billion
Capital: One of the Delhis.
Backpackers love India. I just hung out with a Swedish dude for a week in the Balkans who said India was his favourite country on a trip to Asia.
I love Bollywood movies.
My home province of British Columbia has the highest population of people from the Punjab province outside of the Punjab province itself.
Their women are gorgeous.
Some of their festivals look like a freakin’ blast.
Indian cuisine is my absolute favourite of any cuisine in the world.
Two things are holding me back like Tyrese:
a) The culture shock. India is frequently described as having the biggest culture shock to anybody from the West. Perhaps Bangladesh wants to step in here and say “hold my beer.”
Am I truly ready for that culture shock and when hundreds of millions of people can come up to me and speak English? I dunno, man.
b) Getting sick. One of my best friends from university is a travel vlogger under The New Travel banner and got swine flu in India. Another travel vlogger I follow is Drew Binsky and he was in an overturned bus where a couple people died.
Backpackers I meet tell equally insane stories but end it with “But I loved it!”
I am sure I will say the same one day. In the meantime, I will build up my backpacking EXP before I step foot into India.
Population: Just under 200, 000, 000?
The visa is expensive. Canada and Russia doesn’t have the best diplomatic relations. Backpackers say the locals can be as cold as the climate.
Russia is also a huge country. It is the only country bigger than my homeland. Riding the Trans-Siberian Railway alone takes something like a week if you never hop off. Russia sounds like a big investment.
This will be a common theme, but Russia isn’t known as a cheap country. Moscow is one of the most expensive capital cities in the world.
Does Russia have any nice beaches? Can you go anytime during the year and experience acceptable weather? Or would the climate be similar to that of Canada? I think I know the answer.
Judging by the stories I hear and the effort needed to be accepted into the country as a tourist, you don’t even know if backpackers are truly welcome upon entry.
I will be using this disclaimer a lot, but I know one day Russia will appeal to me. Just not now.
Population: 100, 000, 000?
The heart of Central Europe and perhaps the most well-known country people think when they hear the word ‘Europe.’
I have been to two countries bordering Germany. In fact, I have probably been just minutes away by train to get into Germany multiple times.
But I never went.
Lots of backpackers love Germany. Germany is practically a synonym for ‘beer’ in most languages. You can always find quality nightlife as a backpacker. The Amazing Race has visited Germany a countless number of times too. Germany has a very high English speaking country and is extremely multicultural and ideal for tourists.
Germany has a tiny stretch of beaches. Most locals have to travel to other countries and use it as their playground. Take a journey to Southeast Asia and Australia if you want to meet more young Germans than the homeland Deutschland itself.
Germany is such a stable country that I know I can go there whenever I want. I know the first half of the 20th century says otherwise, but I feel like Germany will be Germany for a while.
Population: 9, 000, 000
OK. Maybe Austria is the true heart of Europe. You can get to any region of Europe from Austria quickly. Look at how many countries it borders. Balkans to the east, Baltic to the northeast, Germany and Scandinavian countries to the north, riviera to the south, France to the west. . .Austria is a super convenient location.
Austria is known for Vienna being the most livable city on the planet. In yo face, Melbourne. It also has the Alps for wonderful skiing. It is an extremely stable country.
When you picture a stereotypical European country, Austria probably contains those images.
If the main sell are its museums and winter sports, I am going to be a bit hesitant to put it in the top twenty percent of countries to visit.
I am not resisting a visit to Austria–I just can’t go out of my way to put it into my itinerary. It doesn’t have a magnet for me to visit besides a bunch of Ahnold jokes.
Oh yeah, and apparently it is a very expensive country to visit. That’s big for backpackers like me. Anybody at the UN want to hire me?
P.S. My co-host from RTV Warriors podcast found Salzburg to be the most boring city he has ever visited in Europe. Dafuq you do to my friend Michael, Salzburg?
Population: 36, 000, 000
A lot of backpackers I know have been to Morocco. Spain was the first country I ever truly traveled to solo. I started at the southern tip in Malaga where I could see Morocco across the border. I couldn’t have been closer to touching Moroccan land. The opportunity was right there before me.
Two years later, Morocco isn’t even the first North African nation I visit–Egypt gets that honour.
I have been to Spain twice more since then and didn’t hop on the boat from Andalucia to Morocco.
So why have I been avoiding Morocco?
Much like Egypt, Morocco is a country which really goes after tourists. Backpackers who have been both to Morocco and Egypt say Egypt is a lot worse for locals hassling solo backpackers (an Australian guy in North Macedonia told me). Considering the extremes I went through in Egypt, it makes me shudder just thinking about doing this again.
When I was in Egypt, I stopped trusting any locals who came up to me by the end of two weeks. I was seen as a walking ATM to be manipulated by a percentage of the locals and that gets old fast as you always need your guard up.
Therefore, when I hear Morocco presents a similar level of aggression, and doesn’t contain that Ancient Egypt history I was addicted to growing up and compelled me to visit Egypt, I want to bypass Morocco for now. It also doesn’t help when it has recently become an increasingly unsafe country for travelers. I hope it goes back to its previous state soon.
Lastly, I loved Casablanca. One of my favourite films.
8) UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Population: 10, 000, 000
Capital: Abu Dhabi
UAE, or more specifically Dubai, sounds like a place to live rather than to visit as a traveler.
Hearing stories from young expats who teach and work in Dubai is super interesting to hear. It is something insane like 85 percent expats in Dubai. Dubai is essentially a world capital for the planet.
A local (but really an expat too–seriously, no true UAEians living within Dubai) tell me it is like you are living in a music video for ten years. Everyone is well off and is in this artificially created space. They have a ski resort inside of a mall in the desert! What the hell, Dubai?
I know Massari is Lebanese-Canadian, but I feel like he would fit right in with Dubai.
It is also super expensive as a tourist. Yeah, I think I need to be here long term to peel off the layers of one of the planet’s most intriguing countries. I can’t do it in a matter of one money-vanishing week.
Population: 8, 500, 000
Two words: Too expensive.
You sound beautiful as hell, though.
10) COSTA RICA
Population: 5, 000, 000
Capital: San Jose
Everyone knows I love Latino culture. . .and I love Latina culture even more.
So why is a popular Latin American country on this list?
Well, I am CRAVING a visit to Mexico. I want to spend a month in Mexico.
Ecuador has a brilliant clash between mountains, beaches, and cheap cost of living.
Peru has that Maachu Picchu thing and Lima.
Brazil has Amazon, Rio, favelas which entered my dreams as a kid when I dream of being an action hero, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts, Blanka from Street Fighter.
Venezuela has that “my parents would fr ak out right now if they knew where I was” factor.
Guyana and Suriname have the obscurity factor.
Nicaragua fulfills my Survivor nerdom factor when picking spots to visit.
Belize has the German menonite community that makes me extremely curious to see with my own pair of eyes.
Guatemala has the humanitarian factor to it.
Honduras has the “it’s not as bad as everyone thinks it is because of the news–Nas Daily had a blast there.”
But Costa Rica? I see it featured on TV shows where rich people go house hunting for real estate, and I stayed in Egypt at the house of an American woman who previously hosted birdwatching tours in Costa Rica for decades. She is an interesting lady.
My birdwatching is currently satisfied from the cover of my Froot Loop box. Habla Espanol, Toucan Samuel?
So there you go! The top ten most well-known countries I currently don’t have a desire to visit! What are your most popular countries that make you go “meh, not right now, man.” Let me know in the comments below!
Everything!! The apartment was so clean; exactly as shown in the pics and such good value for money!! They even upgraded us for free when we arrived. It was over half the price of most properties in Dubai and was so lovely! They have a 24 hour restaurant on site which does all types of food – burgers, pasta, Chinese / Indian cuisine etc Staff were great and check in / out was easy. Always taxis outside the hotel entrance even at 6am when we had to catch our flight back, so really convenient. A pot, frying pan, plates, cultury etc provided Overall amazing stay and would definitely come back!
Stayed in June 2019
Toronto Hit List: Pizza in the Park, 12 Beers of Summer, Meowfest, The Breakfast Club & more! – Shedoesthecity Events & Culture
Toronto Hit List: Pizza in the Park, 12 Beers of Summer, Meowfest, The Breakfast Club & more! Posted on July 3, 2019
July 3rd-14th Toronto Fringe Festival @ various locations. Ontario’s largest theatre festival returns for its 31st year with 151 shows at 37 venues across Toronto. $13 advance tickets available online or at the Festival Box Office at 275 Bathurst St.
July 6th-7th Maker Festival @ Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St. Maker Festival is a celebration of Toronto’s tech, DIY, and maker communities. It brings together Toronto’s most creative people and projects in order to inspire openness to possibilities, a sense of active participation in shaping our world, and a yearning for a more wonder-filled tomorrow. Runs 9 am to 5 pm Saturday and 10 am to 5 pm Sunday. Admission is free.
July 6th-7th Afrofest @ Woodbine Park, 1695 Queen St. E. Afrofest is an African music festival that celebrates the beauty and diversity of African music and culture. Featuring established and emerging artists, a marketplace with 80 food and merchandise vendors, and a Children’s Creative Village for toddlers and young children to learn about African culture. Runs 12 pm to 11 pm Saturday and 9 am to 8 pm Sunday.
7 pm Open Roof Festival: Firecrackers @ The Lower Junction, 181 Sterling Rd. Open Roof presents a screening of Jasmin Mozaffari’s debut feature Firecrackers , a powerful portrayal of two best friends who are desperate to leave their rural Ontario town + a live musical performance by Sam Polley & The Old Tomorrows. $15.75 advance tickets available online .
7 pm Music Bingo @ The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W. A FREE weekly event combining the love of music with the traditional bingo format. Each player receives a Music Bingo card which consists of an assortment of songs. Instead of calling out numbers, they play the music! Singing along encouraged.
8 pm Drake Trivia @ The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W. Teams of four or less put their random knowledge to the test as hosts Megan Griffith-Greene and Jeromy Lloyd fire off questions ranging from sporting records and celebrity scandals to geographic discoveries and culinary lingo. $2 to participate. Email or show up early to reserve a spot.
6 pm Pizza in the Park @ Christie Pits, 750 Bloor St. W. Now in its fifth year, the David Suzuki Foundation’s Pizza in the Park returns for two nights only this summer. Enjoy Neapolitan pizza from Pizzeria Libretto, veggie dishes from Banjara Indian Cuisine, Greek pastries from Filosophy Pastry and Espresso Bar, Syrian treats from Newcomer Kitchen, cold pressed juices from Angie’s Juice, and a free BBQ from realtor Alex Beauregard. All proceeds support local pollinator plantings through David Suzuki Foundation’s The Butterflyway Project. Until 8 pm.
7 pm Pop Culture Trivia @ The Ossington, 61 Ossington Ave. A trivia night with the emphasis on entertainment (movies, TV, music). This is the payoff for all the television you’ve been watching. Prizes and cheap drinks all night!
7 pm Toronto Outdoor Picture Show: E.T. @ Corktown Common, 155 Bayview Ave. Toronto Outdoor Picture Show kicks off its “Dynamic Duos” series at Corktown Common with Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi adventure E.T. It will screen with Cree/Métis filmmaker Danis Goulet’s short film Wakening . Films at sundown (9:15 pm); eats and treats from 7 pm onwards by The Aviary Brewpub and popcorn at the festival canteen. BYOBlanket. Free/PWYC ($10 suggested).
10 pm Psychedelic Soul Shack @ Swan Dive, 1631 Dundas St. W. DJ D.B. Bux plays the best soul, funk, psych, and classic disco tracks all night long.
6:30 pm Stranger Things: ’80s Revival Party @ Bloor/Gladstone Library 1101 Bloor St. W. In anticipation for the third season of Stranger Things, Bloor/Gladstone Library will be doing all things ’80s! They’ll have some nostalgic video games, horror-themed board games, and more. Until 8 pm. RSVP here .
6:30 pm 12 Beers of Summer @ The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W. Put on your favourite tropical threads and celebrate Ontario’s vibrant craft brewers at the Gladstone’s annual 12 Beers of Summer, a three-hour beer taste-a-thon featuring 12 local breweries serving up their newest and most popular brews. Tunes by Running Red Lights and DJ Crunch Bandicut + prizes for best dressed: Next Level, Best Group Costume, and “Surprise Us” categories. $42.06 tickets available online .
10 pm Wild Wild Party @ Duffy’s Tavern, 1238 Bloor St. W. All-vinyl 45 RPM 1950s-60s rock ‘n’ soul dance party with DJ Derek B. Garage! RnB! Beat! Fuzz! Hipshakers!
10 pm Big Primpin’ @ ROUND Venue, 152-A Augusta Ave. DJs Blackcat, Craig Dominic, and special guest DJ Recklezz spinning tunes for LGBTQ+ people and their guests.
10 pm Rhythm & Booze @ Stones Place, 1255 Queen St. W. R&B, soul, funk, and disco from the ’60s to ’00s with DJ Waves. $5.
10 pm Homesick: Emo Night – Blink-182 Edition @ Sneaky Dee’s, 431 College St. Slap on your Dickies and spike that hair up for this very special Enema Of The State edition of Homesick! Relive your teenage angst with all your favourite songs from Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday, My Chemical Romance, and more. $5 advance tickets available online .
10 pm Millennial Falcon @ The Boat, 158 Augusta Ave. A solid 2000s-now party hosted by Yacht Rock DJs Keith and Shandy. All the best bangers of the new millennium! Free before 11 pm.
10 pm Tutti Frutti Apocalypse @ Swan Dive, 1631 Dundas St. W. DJ Nora Noise spins from primitive rock ‘n’ roll to garage, psych to power pop, punk rock to glam, and old school hip-hop to soul.
10 pm Lazy Susans @ The Ossington, 61 Ossington Ave. Spinning hip-hop, RnB, soul, rap, trap, and dirty south.
10 pm Wax Candy Disco Party @ The Piston, 937 Bloor St. W. DJ Efsharp and Cyclist serve up platters of the sweetest soulful, refreshing, and uplifting disco in one of the best sounding rooms in the city. $10.
10 pm Beam Me Up Disco @ The Drake Lounge, 1150 Queen St. W. Beam Me Up is a disco jam that celebrates the underrated and the obscure of funk, jazz, soul, boogie, rare groove, reggae, gospel, proto-house! It’s an evening of tuneful transcendence, supplied by residents Patchouli Brothers. $10.
10 am Meowfest @ Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave. A global celebration of cats, hosted by meowbox. Experience all forms of cat-centric entertainment including workshops, adoptable kitties, shopping, food trucks, celebrity cats, insta-worthy photo ops, and live music! $20 tickets available online , with proceeds going to Ontario-based feline rescues and organizations.
11 am Leslieville Sidewalk Festival @ Queen St. E. between Empire & Vancouver Ave. Stroll, shop, and enjoy live entertainment along Queen Street East during Sounds of Leslieville & Riverside. Until 6 pm.
11 am Kensington Flea @ 214 Augusta Ave. Kensington Flea features a diversity of independent artisans and vendors from across the city and beyond! Wares on offer include handmade crafts, jewelry, and other artisanal goods. Until 6 pm. Runs every Saturday through September 7th.
7 pm Junction Night Market @ The Junction, Pacific Avenue north of Dundas St. W. A community night market showcasing local food, drink, and music in The Junction and surrounding area. Featuring vendors from the weekly Junction Farmers’ Market, local restaurants, breweries, cideries, and distilleries. Tokens are $5 each and are available on site (cash only). Until 11 pm.
8 pm BBC Night Market @ 15 Saskatchewan Rd. Spend your Saturday evenings on 40,000 square feet of stunning outdoor patio space with a full 360-degree view of Toronto’s skyline. The BBC Night Market will bring together a rotating list of top food vendors from across Toronto and the GTA along with a rotating list of food trucks from Food Truck’n Friday. Guests can grab a spot at one of the many tables throughout the space or pre-book a poolside private cabana to enjoy starry nights with friends.
8 pm The Grand Stretch @ Hi-Lo Bar, 753 Queen St. E. A monthly fixture featuring a laid-back vibe and a local crew of DJs playing a hot selection of disco, house, and techno. This edition features Shamps a.k.a. Joe Calta (Spacedust).
9 pm Deep&Disco @ WAYLA Bar, 996 Queen St. E. Disco, funk, and house music played by DJs Marrs Barrs, Big Fun (Joe Navarro and Chico U), Andy Roberts, and Iced Misto. $5 before 11 pm, $15 after.
10 pm The Breakfast Club: ’80s Music Tribute @ Revival, 783 College St. The Breakfast Club makes its long awaited return! DJ Starting From Scratch and Mista Jiggz playing all your fave ’80s sing-a-long classics + those forgotten gems too! Everything from ABC to ZZ Top. Rock your ’80s tees, hats, bangles, sweat bands, leg warmers, and all the neon colours you have because it’s gonna be a party like other. $15 advance tickets available online .
10 pm With It @ The Piston, 937 Bloor St. W. ’60s mod, soul, R&B, R&R, garage, beat, surf, and funk record dance party with DJ Nico + guests. Sponsored by Kops Records. $10.
10 pm Lucky Bitches @ The Ossington, 61 Ossington Ave. West side’s longest running glam-positive, dance party, blowout spectacular! Party jams and freedom.
10 pm Saturday Night Jukebox Dance Party @ Stones Place, 1255 Queen St. W. Sweat it out to the sweet sounds of the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll and soul music! DJ Blush plays pop, rock, and soul from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. $10.
10 pm Queer Slowdance: GLITTERature Edition @ Dovercourt House, 805 Dovercourt Rd. With a lending library of designated dancers for all the wallflowers, and a dance card-booklet to set up dances in advance (should you choose to), Toronto Queer Slowdance has all slow songs, all night long! (Except for the occasional intermission when they play the fastest songs they can find.) Come and experience why slow is beautiful, and why love is not ironic. Fabulous and inspired attire, while desired, is not required, but you’re invited to adorn yourself with bronzer, shimmer gel, tiny rhinestones, actual glitter, or basically anything shiny. $10.
10 pm Worst Behavior @ Clinton’s, 693 Bloor St. W. This Saturday, be on your worst behavior. Bangs & Blush play past and present bangers all night long from Drake, The Weeknd, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Nelly, TLC, Missy Elliott, and more! $10.
10 pm The Groove @ Swan Dive, 1631 Dundas St. W. Motown, soul, and rock with Brother Wayne. Dust off your dancing shoes and get your groove on!
10 pm PPParty @ The Boat, 158 Augusta Ave. Why all the the P? ’Cuz this party is golden! 24 Karat hits from all decades. $5.
11 pm Never Forgive Action @ The Drake Underground, 1150 Queen St. W. DJ Numeric spins quality hip-hop and R&B anthems from the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, and beyond. $10.
9 am Sunnyside Sunday Market @ Great Lakes Brewery, 30 Queen Elizabeth Blvd. A new farmers market is coming to Etobicoke this summer! Each Sunday, enjoy the sunshine and brews while you shop local Ontario farmer stands and crafty booths. Until 2 pm.
12 pm The Bentway Block Party @ The Bentway, 250 Fort York Blvd. A family-friendly day-long block party featuring installations, musical performances, games, food and drink, and much more! Headlining this year’s Block Party are Canadian indie rockers The Elwins, alt-rock band Ellevator, and indie orchestra Common Deer. Until 10 pm. Admission is free.
3 pm Promise Cherry Beach @ Cherry Beach, 1 Cherry St. Promise’s summer series continues with New York City’s Tim Sweeney, best known for his Beats in Space radio show, which has been running since 1999. Support from Roberto S, Azari, Milch, and Siviyex. All ages; ID for beach bar. $20 in advance and at the gate. Until 11 pm.
6 pm Christie Pits Film Festival: His Girl Friday @ Christie Pits Park, Bloor St. W. Toronto Outdoor Picture Show continues its “Dynamic Duos” series at Christie Pits Film Festival with Howard Hawks’ 1940 screwball comedy His Girl Friday . It will screen with the short film Dinette , a creation of Toronto’s all-women sketch comedy troupe The Templeton Philharmonic. Films at sundown (9:15 pm); eats and treats from 6 pm onwards by The Arepa Republic and popcorn at the festival canteen. BYOBlanket. Free/PWYC ($10 suggested).
7 pm Brass Facts Trivia @ The Ossington, 61 Ossington Ave. Test your knowledge and win prizes! Hosted by Famous Kirk Hero. Until 10 pm.
10 pm Sinful Sundays Burlesque @ Cherry Cola’s, 200 Bathurst St. Come be entertained at this weekly “temple of tease.” Free entry; tipping encouraged.
~ For event submissions, email Caitlyn Holroyd at Did you like this article?
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Maratha Darshan Queens Road Bangalore
The presence of Marathas in Bengaluru back in the 16th century made a lasting impact on the cuisine of our city in the form of ‘Militry aka Military Hotels’ – which became the meat-fix places for the soldiers of the yester years and foodies since.
Maratha Darshan serves Mahrashtrian cuisine, with a significant infusion of the local flavor . From humble beginnings of serving food from an auto-rickshaw near Cubbon Park, Maratha Darshan, at its present location was started by G R Shanthraj in 1989. They serve a ‘ LUNCH-only ’ menu comprising mainly of meals aka thali – served with mutton & chicken dishes (semi-gravy-based).
A typical thali comprises of white rice, gravy, rasam, single ragi mudde or 2 chapatis (choice of either), chicken/mutton dish opted for along with chopped onions and slice of lemon.
While mutton-based thalis are the most popular – chili chicken meals , chicken fry and chicken 65 are an absolute must-try & my personal favorites, washed down with a nice cup of buttermilk.
Absolutely delicious – Chili Chicken meals with Chicken Fry
They don’t have a fixed menu nor is it displayed in the hotel – feel free to ask the cashier or patrons Special Food: Biryani rice is served only on a Sunday + they do serve akki rotis only in the morning which can be paired with any of the meat-dishes (recommend to check availability) Expect a very basic but clean ambiance, quick service Pre-paid Self service with standing tables to eat (akin to a South Indian darshini) + limited seating arrangements upstairs Try to reach By 12 pm – 12:30 pm to relish the full menu – since the popular dishes such as chicken 65, chili chicken etc are cooked in a limited quantity and mostly get over by 1 pm- 1:15 pm ish Avoid the temptation to order a soft drink – opt for the buttermilk ( refreshing and tasty) Parking: no dedicated parking – 2-wheelers will find a place ( don’t take your car – hail a cab for the blissful nap after the delicious meal ) Mode of payment: cash and cards Timings: 9 am to 11 am & 12 pm to 4 pm (Tuesday to Sunday) – Monday holiday Location: 4 Queens Rd, Behind Shifa Hospital, Bengaluru Google Maps link For the motorcyclist – find the 1st table at the entrance to glance at the gorgeous lineup of premium motorcycles in the showroom opposite Maratha Darshan Delicious non-vegetarian meals, no-frill ambiance and a happy to serve smiling faces make Maratha Darshan – a true old-Bangalore experience .
Pambiche Owner John Maribona on His Passion for Travel, Architecture, and Traditionalism
Tiffin Asha: South Indian Food Built on Passion and Justice by Thomas Ross
J ohn Maribona, chef/co-owner of Pambiche Cocina and Repostería Cubana, worked in Portland kitchens for years before opening his restaurant in 2000, but he hasn’t worked a line in a very long time. Since opening, the restaurant has evolved considerably in its nearly 20 years in business: In 2002, Pambiche took over ownership of the entire building on Northeast Glisan; in 2010, they renovated their patio and put up a mural on the side of the restaurant; in 2012, they started serving liquor. These days, Maribona’s duties are more administrative and deal with big-picture plans. For our interview, Maribona calls me from Mérida, Yucatan, in Mexico, where he and his family currently live while renovating an old house they’re planning to turn into a boutique hotel.
“I kind of split my time between Portland and Mérida,” Maribona says. “I’m back and forth constantly. My wife comes for summer and spring break… it’s a little hectic, kinda crazy.”
Maribona says the benefit of living in Mérida is that it’s halfway between Havana, Cuba (where some of Maribona’s family lives), and Chiapas, Mexico (where much of his wife Hada Salinas’ family lives), and only an hour-long flight away.
Flanked by his other co-owners—Salinas and Roseanne Romaine—Maribona fuels Pambiche (and all his other projects) with a passion for traditionalist cooking, architecture, and travel.
Maribona recently caused a stir with Portlanders who lost their cool online and were “devastated” by the decision to have the building’s vibrant green-and-pink stucco façade updated with beige and off-white.
“The stucco has been crumbling for years,” Maribona says. “We had to do it. It should’ve been done last year but since we’re not [in Portland]. We kinda had to wait until this year, and so having two major construction projects happening and running a restaurant—it’s a lot of stuff.”
Maribona says that with gentrification running unchecked in Portland, and the revolving door of restaurant openings and closures, he totally gets why the paint job—paired with his move to Mérida—may have been alarming and symbolic to some.
“We’ve been talking about gentrification in Portland for 30 years,” Maribona says. “Look at a place on Division or Alberta or Mississippi… they’re all kind of that beige thing, and then we were one of the last bastions of funky-weird-old Portland, and now we’re beige too. And people are like, ‘What the fuck?’”
Maribona says he was actually inspired to recreate an old-Portland feel.
“I was inspired to do it because we found an old black-and-white photo from the ’20s,” he says. “It’s really beautiful. There’s guys with these top hats just kind of sitting out there with their suspenders and hanging out, drinking a soda pop.”
Maribona’s inclination toward reclaiming old things is a big part of his and the restaurant’s identity.
“We’re trying to make the old food and the classic old drinks. Everything that I have, or want to have, is old. I like the antique aesthetic,” Maribona says.
“I know it’s kind of unpopular these days. Everyone wants to tear every old thing down and build something new. But that’s just not me.”
Maribona’s love of everything old and traditional is apparent when you look at his other projects. Take their gorgeous Portland home for instance: Maribona and Salinas bought their Alberta Arts District house 18 years ago. With Salinas as his muse, Maribona spent years doing extravagant renovations to transform the Craftsman into their Spanish Colonial dream home. The extravagant house was made “to create the feeling of another time and place,” and uses lots of reclaimed wood, brick and fixtures, plus loads of brightly colored décor that’s inspired by his family’s travels to the Caribbean and Latin America. Maribona and Salinas recently put it on the market for a cool $1.2 million.
While Maribona and his family have temporarily relocated to Mérida and are in the process of selling their current home, he says they’re merely downsizing, and plan to move back to Portland full-time when their kids start high school. To put a finer point on it: Pambiche isn’t going anywhere. And as long as the food continues to be the-bomb-dot-com, neither are their customers. Meg Nanna
F or a small place, Pambiche’s menu of pre-revolution Cuban fare is quite expansive. And since most Cuban food is rice-based, much of their menu is gluten-free (though Maribona makes sure to clarify that they don’t have a gluten-free kitchen). Without trying, Pambiche’s also got a lot of vegan and vegetarian options like black beans and rice, fried plantains, corn/yuca fritters, empanadas, and exquisite salads. There’s also a Plato Comunista ($16), a vegan/vegetarian dish that includes yuca in a garlic mojo sauce, with a choice of beet or cabbage salad, beans, and rice.
I recommend starting with the Fritura y Frijol combo ($14), which comes with your choice of Cuban fritters (get corn!) as well as black beans and avocado salad. And even though Cuban food is known for using pork as its main meat source, pescatarians (and flexitarians) make out pretty good at Pambiche: a Pescado con Coco plate ($20) of red snapper, coconut pepper sauce, black beans, rice, and fried green plantains is exactly what you want on your birthday. A more costly plate of garlicky Gulf prawns ($26) comes with white rice, a garlic crostini, and avocado salad. That avocado salad, by the way, is $10 when you order it alone: an entire Hass avocado tossed with Cuban aliño dressing and red onion and topped with parsley. Now that’s my kind of salad. There’s also lots here for omnivores: from Cuban sandwiches, picadillo, and much more.
Drinks-wise, the traditional thing to do here is get a mojito or something else with rum. (They’ve also got rum flights, and Maribona says he’s been crafting a beer with Migration Brewing across the street.) There’s a substantial non-alcoholic drink program as well. On a recent visit, a non-dairy pineapple and banana shake ($6) hit the spot, with a thickness that survived the whole dinner. If you’ve got room for dessert, go for the tres leches cake ($8) or the guava cheesecake ($7).
“Most things that we have—arroz con pollo, the black beans, and the congri, the sandwiches and the empanadas—came from my godmother [who] had a Latin American deli,” Maribona says. “Her and this Argentinean woman opened up a place in the Yamhill Market, back in the ’80s. It was called Las Delicias, and they did Cuban sandwiches and empanadas, and a few other things. And I worked with her as a kid, just like 14-years-old or something like that. That’s kinda where I got started.”
A lot of the other Cuban basics, like the guava and cheese desserts, come from Maribona growing up with his mother and grandmother’s cooking.
Maribona says that while sometimes he has an urge to put something new on the menu, he also knows he’d have to rotate out a staple to make room for it. And some customers, who go out of their way to visit Pambiche, simply wouldn’t stand for it.
“We’re kinda stuck,” Maribona says. “I’m not complaining about it, it’s our identity. I love our identity. I love who we are. I love doing the classics. I’m a traditionalist. It’s a passion just to try to do things the way they’re supposed to be done…. I think what I crave to do is update it, do something different with the décor, update the feel. [It feels like] I’m holding back. But if you do, then everybody cringes.”
Maribona argues that the more subtle paint on the building allows the vibrant colors of Pambiche—as well as the mural on the side of the building—to pop more. Meg Nanna
In any case, making a fuss over the color of the restaurant’s exterior is definitely a first-world Cuban-food problem. Tourists who’ve traveled to Cuba in recent years report back saying the food was bland or lacking due to fewer ingredients being available. When asked about how scarcity affects the cuisine in Cuba, Maribona had insight from his experiences and frequent travels to the area.
“When things were opened under Obama, Cuba was getting a landslide of tourists and…. there’s not enough beds, not enough toilet paper, not enough gas for the cars. You know, just not enough of everything.”
Maribona explains that while plenty of money was going into the infrastructure for tourism, barely any was going to the population.
“So it was like ‘Wow, Cuba’s really prospering.’ You can see these touristy areas where things were happening, all this new construction was going on. But if you go in the neighborhoods, people that didn’t have any access to any part of that industry were really having a hard time.
“So yeah, people will buy garlic, oregano, and cumin, but sometimes you’ve got to think about tomorrow, and Friday, and Saturday. You have to think about the next day… I’ve walked for blocks ’cause we were going to make mojitos… but lime, it’s not always available. Or they’re these big limes, where you try to squeeze them and nothing comes out because they’re all dried up and no juice. You know, I’ve lived this.
“In some of the places, it can be better,” Maribona continues. “It depends on the situation and the scenario. You know, paladares get all the fish. People complain about that. ‘We’re not surrounded by water, we don’t have access to fish because all the fishermen sell to the paladares,’ which are the privately-owned restaurants. You know, not everyone has money to eat at the paladares. They’re kind of expensive—especially by Cuban standards.”
Cuba’s ongoing limited access to food and other resources should put things in perspective for those of us who live in places like Portland, where our stores, markets, and restaurants all have ample access to the natural world’s riches.
Pambiche owners recently got notice that the Glisan Quick Wash located in their building was closing and had to decide whether they wanted to take over the space or rent it out.
“We decided that you know, we’re just a little hole in the wall Cuban joint on Northeast Glisan street, and we like that vibe: the little mom-and-pop joint and just doing what we do. We’re afraid to mess with it too much… For a long time, we were for sure, like ‘Oh we’re gonna go open up a bar, we’re gonna do all these things.’ But then I think Portland is so saturated with restaurants and bars, and we really like where we’re at. And you know, constantly getting new people in, all these new people that are moving here. It’s constantly new faces, and constantly old faces. So it’s just a really good happy place.” Related Locations 2811 NE Glisan St., Portland, OR 97232 Jenni Moore
Jenni Moore is music editor and hip-hop columnist at the Portland Mercury . She also writes about comedy, cannabis, movies, TV, and her hatred of taxidermy. Follow More articles Jenni Moore
Jenni Moore is music editor and hip-hop columnist at the Portland Mercury . She also writes about comedy, cannabis, movies, TV, and her hatred of taxidermy.
31st Mango Festival: Celebrating the king of fruits
Delhi Tourism’s much-awaited Mango Festival, is back this summer season. The three-day festival will be organised from July 5 – 7, 2019 at Dilli Haat, Janakpuri from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.
Delhiites can look forward to another fascinating display of more than 500 varieties of traditional and rare mangoes from across the country.
The festival will be inaugurated by Manish Sisodia, Dy Chief Minister and Minister of Tourism, Govt of Delhi on July 5, at 5:00 pm.
Indian summers are incomplete without mangoes and the Mango Festival comes as a refreshing reminder of the love of Indian households for the fruit. An inseparable part of the Indian culture, from cuisines to ceremonies, it has always played an important role.
With the passage of time, the festival has become a major cultural event of Delhi, attracting thousands of visitors every year. Mango growers across the country including Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh will gather here to display traditional and hybrid varieties of Mangoes.
With over 500 varieties on display at the festival, this journey of mangoes from the orchards to Dilli Haat, Janakpuri, makes for a refreshing experience for the visitors. The various types of Mangoes on display will include Langra, Chausa, Rataul, Hussainara, Ramkela, Kesar, Fazri, Mallika, and Amrapali and other assorted varieties.
To indulge in the experience offered, and a chance to witness Mangoes ranging from the size of a grape to that of papaya, the 31st Mango Festival is the place to be at.
Besides providing an opportunity for visitors to savor the mangoes, the Mango Festival will also offer a package deal of fun and frolic for both children and family members.
Some major highlights of the Mango Festival are display of rare as well as commercially popular mangoes, Mango eating competition for women and men, Mango quiz and slogan writing competition for children, band performances, stand-up comedy, cultural performances, sale of Mango and Mango based products and much more.
Delhi Tourism organises the Mango Festival each year, with an aim to provide exposure to the domestic Mango Industry by exploring the evergreen love for Mango harboured by every Indian household.
The Festival also provides agro industries and food processing industries the opportunity to display their products.
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Mango festival to start on July 5 at Dilli Haat
Delhi Tourism’s much-awaited Mango Festival celebrating the king of fruits is back this summer season as the three-day festival is being organised from July 5 to 7 this year at Dilli Haat, Janakpuri. The festival will be inaugurated by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
Delhi Tourism has been organizing this festival for the past 31 years, to celebrate the magnificent variety of flavours offered by the king of fruits. Indian Summers are incomplete without mangoes and the Mango festival comes as a refreshing reminder of the love of Indian households for the fruit. An inseparable part of the Indian culture, from cuisines to ceremonies, it has always played an important role.
A Delhi Tourism official said that during the lean summer season which witnesses a decrease in activities in Delhi, the Mango festival has become a prominent feature as many look forward to the event.
“The festival has shifted venues many times, from Talkatora Indoor Stadium, Ashoka Hotel, Pragati Maidan and then, in 2010, to Dilli Haat Pitampura, following now at Dilli Haat Janakpuri,” he added. With the passage of time, the festival has become a major cultural event of Delhi, attracting thousands of visitors every year. Mango growers across the country including Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh will gather here to display traditional and hybrid varieties of Mangoes, he added.
Delhiites can look forward to another fascinating display of more than 500 varieties of traditional and rare mangoes from across the country. With over 500 varieties on display at the festival, this journey of mangoes from the orchards to Dilli Haat, Janakpuri, makes for a refreshing experience for the visitors. The various types of Mangoes on display will include Langra, Chausa, Rataul, Hussainara, Ramkela, Kesar, Fazri, Mallika, and Amrapali and other assorted varieties.
Delhi Tourism organizes the Mango Festival each year, with an aim to provide exposure to the domestic Mango Industry by exploring the evergreen love for Mango harboured by every Indian household. The Festival also provides agro industries and food processing industries the opportunity to display their products.
Orford diner brings the table to the farm
Features > Cooking-Dining Orford diner brings the table to the farm Co-owners of Isaac B’s Diner Dave Eagle and Melanie Gregg look over their menu on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, in Orford, N.H. (Valley News – Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Poblano peppers are grilled at Isaac B’s Diner in Orford , N.H., on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (Valley News – Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to email@example.com. Melanie Gregg picks herbs outside the front door of Isaac B’s Diner in Orford , N.H., on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. Gregg and her partner have recently opened what they are calling a table to farm diner. (Valley News – Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Co-owner Dave Eagle works on the menu of Isaac B’s Diner in Orford , N.H., on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (Valley News – Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to email@example.com. By NICOLA SMITH
D ave Eagle, half of the team bringing Upper Valley eaters an exuberant fusion menu at Isaac B’s Diner on Route 10 in Orford, likes to reverse the cliché about bringing the farm to the table. In fact, he said, Isaac B’s ethos is not farm to table, but table to farm.
The reason is easy to see. Look out any window in the 28-seat restaurant and you see hills, fields and gardens. Eagle and his partner in life as in food, Melanie Gregg, opened Isaac B’s in early March, in the space that used to house Ariana’s restaurant, after moving from the West Coast.
“We were so done with Southern California,” said Gregg, who grew up there and prior to coming east worked as Director of Edible Agriculture at a farm in Costa Mesa that raised produce for area chefs.
Eagle is originally from Huntington, Long Island. “I was raised by two people from Brooklyn: Our farm to table was called vacation.”
Eagle had also been working as a cook in Southern California. Prior to that he lived in Brattleboro from 2006 to 2017, and worked at a farm in Guilford, Vt.
Gregg and Eagle, both in their 40s, saw an ad for the restaurant space on Craigslist last fall and acted quickly. They closed the deal in the late fall and Eagle moved to Orford in December. Gregg came this March, after making a few trips back and forth from California to help set up, Eagle said. Despite both arriving in the dead of a northern New England winter, they are still here — and enjoying themselves.
“It’s nice to be able to walk outside into the fields and gardens. Everywhere you look it’s nature,” Gregg said.
The diner is named for Isaac Bickford, who built the handsome red brick Greek Revival-style house in 1835. Next to the house is an old carriage house, which in recent years has been a restaurant. According to Valley News stories, the property had belonged for decades to Forrest Bunten, who grew pumpkins and raised a dairy herd. After his death, in 2005, his daughter Chris Bunten, one of seven children, came back to the farm with her then-husband Bruce Balch. Apart from making cream, cheese, yogurt and ice cream from their herd of Devon cows, they also opened the Bunten Farmhouse Kitchen.
After the Balches decided to concentrate on the farm rather than the diner, they leased the restaurant space in 2011 to chef Martin Murphy, who opened Ariana’s, a fine-dining restaurant.
In 2014, Bradford, Vt., dairy farmer Paul Knox bought the property from Bunten and Balch, after there had been discussion about subdividing it. He leased it to Hal Covert and Rebecca Golding of Peaked Moon Farm, who renamed the property the Bickford Homestead. Murphy left the site and reopened Ariana’s at the Lyme Inn in January, 2018. The restaurant space was now available to a new pair of hands.
Enter Eagle and Gregg.
The diner, which is closed Monday and Tuesday, has an open kitchen plan, so that both diners and bar patrons can see the duo prepare meals and watch Eagle make bread from scratch.
The carriage house still has its original lines, and broad wooden beams. “Every piece of wood (in the carriage house) has been standing there since 1835,” Eagle said. During their tenure, the Balches also built a small addition to accommodate more diners.
Peaked Moon Farm supplies the diner with produce, pork, cheese and eggs. Gregg and Eagle try to source as much food as they can from local farmers.
The plan, said Gregg, was always to offer a lunch and dinner menu, but after surveying customers, they added breakfast.
“Let’s do breakfast at an affordable price. Let’s provide something during the day that everyone can afford,” said Gregg.
Apart from the usual suspects — eggs and hash browns — Gregg and Eagle offer The $3 Bill, a smaller plate costing $3, which the duo use for what Gregg calls R&D purposes, experimenting with ingredients, flavors and spices. If customers are enthusiastic Gregg and Eagle add it to the menu, which changes weekly according to what’s in season, what’s on hand and what they feel like making.
“We think about food in a way that’s fluid between us,” Gregg said.
The “Chicken from Turkey” dish, aka Shakshouba, started out as a $3 Bill. It consists of grilled chicken thigh with Middle Eastern spices served on homemade naan bread, topped with sauteed onions and greens, and augmented with garlic spread and tomato cucumber salsa.
The Gringo Burrito offers a grilled tortilla filled with scrambled eggs and homemade chorizo, while El Especial is an explosion of flavors: shredded chicken with salsa verde, refried beans, roasted poblanos, cotija cheese, fried egg, chipotle crema, a roasted garlic hot sauce, pickled onions and fresno chili peppers, and cilantro on a tostada shell made by the Burlington-based tortilleria All Souls.
A side order of French fries, called Bluetine instead of the French-Canadian poutine (fries, cheese curds and gravy), came from a customer’s suggestion to combine fries and blue cheese.
Somewhat to Gregg and Eagle’s surprise, such dishes, which are inspired by myriad world cuisines, including Korean, Thai, Indian and Lebanese, have proved enormously popular.
“We didn’t realize how people in the area were craving ethnic food,” Gregg said. One customer, who hails from Texas, comes to eat tamales and other Mexican dishes.
The diner has become, Gregg added, a “bigger thing than we could have imagined. A community thing. … We are more connected to our customers and our work.” People bring them flowers and art, and diners come from throughout the Upper Valley, and even the White Mountains region.
There is a nice irony at work in Isaac B’s. Both Gregg and Eagle were hyper-finicky eaters as children. As he grew up, Eagle wanted to have a different perspective on what he ate. “I became obsessed with trying food, I got off college meal plan and cooked for myself.”
For her part, Gregg said, “I have a very romantic relationship with food now.”
It was not always thus. She had her kids at a younger age and was initially, she said, a “terrible cook.” Thrust into adulthood while trying to feed a family, she had “to figure out how to do that. I got curious, I wanted to eat good food.”
Cooking is one of the best parts of Gregg’s life. “I’m process oriented; it’s creative. I would rather cook than eat,” she said.
On a recent Friday, the couple were closing up the lunch service. They would have just a few hours to prepare before opening again for dinner.
A table of six women finishing up some kind of committee business lingered. One of them addressed the other women: “I don’t even know how to answer a question like that: Are the chickens pregnant?” They conferred on when to meet again. The following week?
There was no question as to where. As they exited single-file through the door, they waved at Gregg and one called out, Until next time.
For information go to www.isaacbdiner.com or call 603-316-0885. Hours are: Thursday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dinner is offered Wednesday through Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m.
Nicola Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinion/Columns
WE REVEAL THE UK’S FAVOURITE CUISINE!
WE REVEAL THE UK’S FAVOURITE CUISINE! Posted on July 3, 2019 at 10:30 am by The Insurance Emporium
And now for something completely delicious! Recently, we carried out a survey of over 2,000 people, asking them to name their favourite cuisine – and the results are in! We’re a varied bunch here at The Insurance Emporium, and it seems the rest of the nation is too! Find out the country’s top dish in our tasty infographic!
Chow me in!
Chinese food was the clear leader of our poll, with 35% of people backing it as their favourite cuisine! Whether you go for sweet and sour or you’re a spring roll fan, it seems we’re absolutely prawn crackers over oriental food!
It’s getting hot in here! We’ve long known that as a nation we’re fans of the odd tikka masala or vindaloo, so it comes as little surprise that Indian came in a close second at 30%!
Coming in third with 21% of the vote is Italian! It seems many of us are rather partial to the occasional take-away pizza, or a trip to our favourite Italian restaurant. Who can argue with a cuisine that offers so many pasta-bilities?
This one’s Thai-tanic!
This nation’s food clearly has the eye of the Thai-ger when it comes to satisfying our palates, with Thai cuisine coming fourth place at 9%! And Thai not when it tastes so good?
There’s no taste like home!
Fifth place in our poll, with 5% of votes, comes traditional British cuisine! It seems that many of us are still big fans of a trip to our local chippy, or a roast with the most, that’s every bit as good as mum used to make!
A little something on the side!
Last, but certainly not least, here are a few of the more unusual suggestions we received!
“Big crunchy salad with a jacket potato”