Da Greco

I found a little piece of Italy right here in Barcelona, and it is called Da Greco. Upon my family’s arrival this past weekend, I was looking into new restaurants to try in Barcelona. My mom, brother, and myself, all love Italian food so I figured I would narrow down my search with that. While looking online, I stumbled upon a restaurant called Da Greco, and although they didn’t have an official website, it was continuously talked about extremely positively on Yelp, Facebook and other restaurant review sites. I decided to look up the menu and found some of their popular dishes on Foodspotting. They all looked delicious so I called and made a reservation for Friday night.

My family and I arrived at nine pm, to an intimate, white furnished building, completed with pleasant mood lighting, and elegant Italian decor. We were sat almost immediately despite the crowded, business of the restaurant, and I was evidently pleased with myself for making a reservation ahead of time.

Our waiter was both friendly and attentive, and spoke English very well which helped a lot. Everything on the menu sounded absolutely delicious, and I struggled to make a decision. I was torn between the  Gnocci al la sorretina, Fettucine al gorgonzola, and Spaguetti a la putanesca originally. However, I continued to change my mind before finally  deciding upon the Risotto al parmigiano.

da-greco

 

I realized my earlier struggle to decide what to order was unnecessary once our waiter brought us our food; and this was for two reasons. One, upon trying my parmesan risotto, I knew I had make the right decision. And secondly, Da Greco does an incredible thing that makes it unlike any restaurant I have ever been to before.  For each entree the table orders, a plate is brought to each person with samples of everyone else’s dish. Having to ask people to try their food, and then awkwardly attempting to transport a bit of your food to another or vice versa, was no longer an issue. I got to try every member of my family’s food and it was arranged neatly on a plate personal prepared just for me.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

My mom ordered Raviolis con setas ceps y queso parmigiano (top left), my brother ordered the Spaghetti putanesca, and my dad not much of a foodie, simply ordered Spaghetti with pesto. Although all distinct and delicious in their own sense, my risotto was by far the best, and both my brother and mom agreed. The creamy, thick parmesan sauce of the risotto was so rich, I had trouble finishing it all. Luckily, my family was more than willing to help out. Although extremely full from our entrees, we all decided to split one dessert, and ordered per suggestion of our waiter, the Tiramusi. It, just like everything else was absolutely wonderful, stacked high with light whipped cream that complimented the coffee flavoring perfectly, the dessert was a great  ending to an already memorable meal.

place-36

Advertisements

Cereal Killer Cafe

Cereal Killer Cafe was truly a childhood dream come true. Located in London, England, and with two locations, one in Camden and more recently in Birmingham, the cafe is truly a one of a kind experience. Decorated with bright colors, childish furniture, and 80s’ and 90s’ memorabilia, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic about my own childhood. My friend, Abby who was with me, even looked at me and said “its’ like we just went back in a time machine.” The Cafe offers over 120 different kinds of cereals, both British, as well as imported, 30 varieties of milk, and 20 different toppings. The options are beautifully displayed on a vintage chalk board, in bright, colorfully assorted writing. The milk alone varies from traditional types such as whole milk, and even almond and soy milk, and then continues on to unique flavors such as Salted Caramel, Banana, and even Bubblegum. The cafe does offer a menu of specialities such as the “Stacked Hot Chocolate,” and the “Lucky Charm Milkshake” but the best part is being able to customize your order. The cafe allows you to build your own cereal masterpiece with all your favorite additions, and although the endless options were a bit overwhelming I finally decided upon Frosted Flakes with chocolate milk, whipped cream, nuts and caramel.

16997818_10210714181204020_7423351384057688651_n

The presentation was more than impressive in itself with the large glass mug seeming to be overflowing with whipped cream, drizzled nuts and caramel, and perfectly finished off with a vintage blue and white straw.

16711837_10210714181004015_1912444985813063070_n

The combination was evidently like nothing I have ever had before. The sweet mixture of the various flavors was overwhelming sweet, but incredible because of it!  To say eating it gave me a sugar rush, would be an understatement.

Besides the absolutely delicious cereal creations, part of the reason my experience was so pleasant was because of the environment. The retro furniture and brightly colored rooms looked like something out of a comic strip, and made the Cafe that much more inviting and enjoyable. This feeling was evidently exactly what they were striving for, because they actually have a “Cereal Killer Cookbook” they sell at the cafe, and online! The book features two silly characters, displayed on the cover eating and seeming to be literally inhaling a large bowl of cereal. The book features cereal recipes, games, and other humorous cereal-related content such as the “important rules of eating cereal-slurp all you want, make sure you choose a deep bowl to avoid spillage on the way to the sofa.” Other products included vintage corn flake notebooks, “cereal killer cafe” stickers and even their very own set of trading cards the “the cereal killer trading pack”.

The Cereal Killer Cafe was a unique, fun, creative, and above all tasty experience! I highly recommend it if you find yourself in London, and I look forward to someday going back,  maybe when I have kids of my own!

Check out their FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for more information, pictures, and updates!

The Pancake Bakery!

Amsterdam is a spectacular city full of endless tourist attractions and hundreds of”must-see” locations; just one of these is The Pancake Bakery. Located in a two floor historical warehouse, and with a beautiful view of the Prince Canal, The Pancake Bakery with its abundance of historical charm, lives up to its’ reputation of timeless quality, variety, and excellence.

The Pancake Bakery evidently specializes in Dutch pancakes, but they offer much more than just the traditional pancake served with maple syrup and powered sugar. The extensive menu is separated into several categories including Omelets, International Pancakes, Traditional Pancakes, and then “Our Specialties-for the pancake expert.” Within this heading there are two subdivisions depending on your preferred taste, savory, or sweet. Sweet pancake options range from bananas with chocolate, to pancakes with peaches, cherry liquor, and even ice cream. The savory section of the menu includes various meats, cheeses and vegetables including chicken, bacon, tomatoes, onions and mushrooms.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Pictured above: (Left)-Caprese: Pancake with mushrooms, onions, melted mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, and fresh basil. (Right)-Pancake with pineapple, banana, and chocolate sauce.

With the menu displaying countless options of both sweet and savory tastes, I evidently had to get one of each. Although I struggled with the menu, fluctuating between what seemed like endless options, I finally decided on two. The two humongous plates were brought out together within approximately twenty minutes, and piping hot. I decided to first try my savory order, The Caprese, as my main meal and then would proceed with my sweet pancake for dessert. Well, that was my plan originally, but I could barely get through half of the first one before I realized I still had a whole other pancake to eat! Although the pancakes are thin, they are extremely filling. The Caprese was absolutely delicious with fresh vegetables, and warm, melted cheese completed with a delicious herb seasoning. Next, for my sweet pancake. I ordered it with pineapple, banana, and chocolate sauce, and it exceeded my expectations. The pineapple and bananas were thinly sliced and baked into the pancake and even topped with it as well. Completed with chocolate sauce and my personal addition of powdered sugar and maple syrup, the pancake was absolutely heavenly. I can confidently say these two were some of the best pancakes I have ever had.

img_2038

The traditional, cozy atmosphere, largely in part to the 17th century building its located in, along with it’s large menu, quality products, and friendly wait staff made for a wonderful experience. And, regardless of your taste preferences, The Pancake Bakery is sure to have something for everyone to enjoy! Next time you’re in Amsterdam, make sure to put The Pancake Bakery at the top of your list for breakfast or lunch spots, you will not be disappointed!

Mobile Journalism: The New Media

Mobile journalism is a recent form of media that has emerged as a result of our advancements in technology. Nowadays, almost everybody has a smart phone, and if so, they carry it around with them wherever they go. As a result, people are constantly giving live updates to applications such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and even through text messages and email, to name just a few. These updates are often posted as they occur in real time and can take various forms such as text, video, audio, and photographs. The smartphone really does it all!

7106752497_847e70082b_k-624x418-1

Mobile journalists, or mojos, as they are often referred, have used these developments to their benefit. Instead of having to bring bulky tape recorders, or oversized video cameras  to events or interviews, they can just simply bring their iPhone out. Neal Augenstein, a radio journalist stationed in Washington D.C. expresses this perfectly, “Since 2010 I’ve been doing all my field reporting just with my iPhone and iPad.” Applications have even been created to assist in smart phone editing, recording, and posting, to make news reporting from a mobile device that much easier, and the presentation that much more professional. Applications range from Call Recorder, which records phone calls and interviews, to shooting and editing software applications such as Splice, and Magisto that assist in delivering precise and relevant content.

In addition to smart phones’ many features and capabilities, another advantage of the hand-held device is it gives journalists the ability to capture anything that may occur while they’re out and about. If something happens when journalists are on the move, they can simply take out their phones, capture it, and then share it with their audience. This accessibility is most likely one of the biggest advantages of having a smart phone. Anything can be posted to an online newspaper or application directly from a phone, as quickly as possible, or even live, as it is happening. Journalists no longer have to wait to get back to the office or to get to their computers to record what occurred because they can explain it and even show it as it is going on. Stephen Quinn, an experienced mojo, defines mobile journalism, “mojo is editing on mobile phones as well as the shooting..It’s also captioning, putting headlines and credits. Real mojo, true mojo is doing everything with a mobile phone.” And it’s easy! With the availability of smart phone access and with apps that allow us to record and capture events in real time, journalism coverage has taken a whole new form, and, it is faster and easier than ever before.

All Hail-Storify

Storify! The social media tool that combines everything, all in one. I have long waited for a service that would be able display and allow me to make use of all my daily used applications-Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all in to one area, and I have now found it. Storify allows you to create a wall type outline, or timeline, which shows you updates of what is going on throughout all your applications . It is up to date, and is a great tool for things such as blogging. You can easily pull from multiple sources pertaining to your topic, in an easy to use, fashionable outline. Not only is it fast and efficient, but Storify also allows for interaction, collaboration and feedback from others. You can get realtime responses and feedback from others users, something recently coined,”Live-blogging.”

logo-square

Storify’s website gives a clean outline of everything their service offers users. Features include “Real-time collaboration”-which allows you to publish, edit, update, and review your story from anywhere, anytime. “Create stories wherever you find them”-there is now a Storify app which allows you to post content as things are taking place. “Immersed, engaged audiences”-which allows you to pin content and key stories along with notes, allowing feedback from others and also a direct link back to your site! And lastly, Storify is free! However, there is two options or versions. Storify Free and Storify 2 which you evidently have to pay for. The website clearly outlines the features of both to see which better fits you as a blogger and user. Storify is unique in that it provides an area to post about what interests you, whenever you want, and wherever you are, and even more importantly using all your favorite sources and applications to do so. The large search bar with various options such as “recent” and whether you want results to include “links” and “retweets” helps to narrow down the large amount of content that is readily available. Content can also be narrowed by which applications you wish to use, and from there allows you to easily drag and drop the desired material from other sources to your timeline. Once you’re ready, you can then choose which applications you want to publish to in addition to your Storify timeline. Users can simply click to post to all social media, or choose specific applications such as Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, or Facebook, depending on the content. Storify is truly is the wonder tool of social media, incorporating essentially all major applications and sources in one area. If you haven’t used it yet, its’ absolutely time to start!

The New Form of Communication: Snapchat

Nowadays with the availability of thousands of phone applications and device services, there are countless ways to communicate and message with others; whether its’ primarily through written messages such as iMessage, text messages, email, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter, or through photo messages such as Instagram and now, Snapchat. Originally invented in September of 2011, it wasn’t until 2012 when it really began to take off. Snapchat offered a new concept, as described by Snapchat CEO’s Evan Spiegel’s in 2012, “Snapchat isn’t about capturing the traditional Kodak moment. It’s about communicating with the full range of human emotion — not just what appears to be pretty or perfect. Like when I think I’m good at imitating the face of a star-nosed mole, or if I want to show my friend the girl I have a crush on (it would be awkward if that got around), and when I’m away at college and miss my Mom…er…my friends.We’re building a photo app that doesn’t conform to unrealistic notions of beauty or perfection but rather creates a space to be funny, honest or whatever else you might feel like at the moment you take and share a Snap.” Spiegel and his team used Snapchat to offer a quick second, real-time photo which showed reality, not an edited, photoshopped, idealized moment that Instagram and Facebook sometimes convey.

2-snapcode-to-special-discover-channel

Although Snapchat originally debuted in 2011, it wasn’t until late 2012 that it began to take off. By November 2012, the ghost emotion app quickly became the must-have app for communicating with friends. A sharp contrast from earlier in the year in May 2012, where just 25 images were being sent per second and, “November 28, 2012 saw that users had shared over one billion photos on the Snapchat iOS app, with 20 million photos being shared per day.” The quick disappearing images were fun, fast, and created a certain security in the fact that they didn’t last forever. You couldn’t be held accountable for a 10-long second photo for it disappeared as quickly as it came in, and couldn’t be shared with others who weren’t intended to see it. For the first time, you could control who saw what you posted,and for how long. The long time idea that photos shared online lasted forever was gone and people were sending riskier, more exciting photographs to one another. Since then snapchat has expanded and taken off exponentially expanding, and by November 2016 Snapchat users were sending 6 billion videos per day. In addition, Snapchat has expanded to include text messaging, “stories” which can be shared with all Snapchat friends and “Discover Weekly” which includes current news and national events from various networks such as CNN, and even US Weekly. Although it’s uncertain what is the future holds for Snapchat, it is certain that it is not going anywhere soon.

Social Media & Traveling

It seems as of late, people spend a lot of their time creating an online identity that are idealized versions of who they really are, myself included. We use social media as a confidence boost, and measure our self worth in terms of likes, retweets, favorites, and comments we receive from our peers, and even complete strangers. When we travel, go to a concert, or any place we feel is worth telling people about, we take a picture or video, and post it to our various social media accounts. A moment is almost never fully embraced and enjoyed before someone is reaching for their cell phone to take a picture of their surroundings. We are almost never left alone with ourselves, to explore, or truly experience. Instead of focusing on ourselves and our surroundings, we think of others when something happens. How it will impress them, effect them, etc. Our first instinct is surprisingly not to grasp the moment, we think of others, how we will appear to others when we show them what we’re doing. Think look how cool people will think I am when I post this on my Instagram. Almost all outings are an opportunity to brag to the world about how great your life is. But if we really know someone, the pictures and posts on social media do not usually reflect what they themselves, or their lives are really like. We use it to hi-light impressive moments in our life and idealized versions of who we really, in hopes that people will see them, be impressed, and admire us because of it. It comes to a point where we seem to be doing things just in order to get a photo of it and share it with others. Outings are no longer for pure enjoyment, but based on imagining “how cool the pictures will be!” Just a few days ago my roommates and I were discussing travel destinations when one of them said, “Oh my god we have to go, I need to get a picture in front of The John Lennon Wall.” Going to Prague was no longer about seeing, exploring, and experiencing the city ourselves, but instead of the picture opportunity just one small spot created. Despite the thousands of things the city has to offer, her main reason for going was the opportunity it created to share with her friends and get positive feedback because of it. As enjoyable as it is to be able to share these wonderful experiences with our friends and family, in real time, these “photo opportunities” seem to be taking away from the real life experience we should be having with these places. Do you even really see where you are if you’re only looking at it through a camera lens?
Think of concerts before the invention of hand-held camera phones. It was a room or stadium of people, together, singing, dancing and enjoying, and living through music. People weren’t on their cell phones, they were present, and when the band turned the lights off and asked them to illuminate the crowd it was with lighters, not cell phones. Now, people use cell phones which are usually already in the air in hopes to capture the perfect shot of their favorite band or musician. Even going online to find pictures before and after cell phone camera inventions, you can see the transition from the class lighter photo, to the cell phone screen illuminated room. One article I found partially interesting was on CNN, written by Jarrett Bellini where the featured photo was a sign from a band called the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. It has been blurred out for inappropriate language, but it reads “Please do not watch the show through a screen on your smart device/camera….Put that away as a courtesy to the person behind you and Nick, Karen, and Brian. Much love and many thanks! Yeah yeah yeahs. This was just one small attempt to bring people back to reality, to really enjoy and experience the show and not be on their phones. “Be present.” is often something my parents say to me when I seem to be glued to my phone during a family trip, and as frustrating as it is to hear, they are right. It’s time to be selfish! Actually enjoy our experiences, and stop trying to capture them for others to see.

CNN Article: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/26/tech/social-media/apparently-this-matters-concert-phones/

 

130426044922-bellini-yeah-yeah-yeahs-blurred-shit-on-black-horizontal-large-gallery.jpg