Costa Rica 2014 Day 3 Arenal – Monteverde | Sky Adventures | Hotel Belmar

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it’s day 3 in costa rica. we were leaving from our hotel tabacon in arenal to monteverde.

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there are two ways to get to monteverde from arenal: by car or by boat. by boat is the shorter and faster way because it cuts right through the water. we booked jeep-boat-jeep transportation from our hotel and they picked us up from our hotel (cheaper to book online). it was like a 10 mins drive to the water where we got on the boat.

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the boat ride was actually pretty nice. i also signed up the sky adventures tour in monteverde so we had to get there before 12:30pm when the last tour was.
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after we got off the boat, there was about an hour ride to monteverde. cant imagine driving on these roads, super terrible road conditions.
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normally they drop you off at your hotel, but since we were short on time, we asked to be dropped off at the sky adventures location.
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there are three parts to the sky adventure tour: sky trek, sky tram, and sky walk. you can sign up individually, but we decided to do all three parts.

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first part was the sky walk, a guided tour where you walk through the rainforest as well as five hanging bridges/Suspended Bridges.

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after we finished the sky walk, we were headed to the part II and park III of the sky adventures. sky tram’s like a cable car which took us to the top of the mountain and we got down by ziplining (sky trek) through 9 different cloud forest canopy.

ziplining is one of the most popular activities in costa rica. there are many places you can do ziplining in costa rica. dont be confused of canopy and ziplining; they are exactly the same thing. canopy/ziplining tours are available throughout costa rica in nearly every tourist hot spot. however, there can be different canopy/ziplining experiences depending on the location, the length and height of the cables, the overall number of cables and the duration of the tour. some canopy/ziplining tours use hand-breaking stop while the other uses automatic z-breaking system. some you zip line through the forest, some above the forest. some have more intense ones line the superman cable or a tarzan swing.

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i chose to do ziplining with sky trek was because they seem to have the safest and well built system. they also use the automatic z-breaking system so i dont have to worry about breaking myself since this was my 1st ziplining.
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this was my 1st time ziplining. i was pretty scared when i got to the top. the wind was crazy and i was really really high up. after the 1st one, it was actually not that bad.

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here’s a vid shot by my gopro. the helmet they provided actually had a gopro mount which was pretty convenient.

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thanks to my black rapid camera strap i was able to carry my dslr with me through the entire sky adventure tour. probably the most useful piece of camera equipment ive bought especially when i travel.
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we were pretty beat up after ziplining. sky adventures provided us transportations for a few dollars to our hotel: hotel belmar.

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daymnnn i absolutely loved this hotel. it was really beautiful. altho this wasnt the most expensive and luxurious hotel was stayed in costa rica, it was def was my favorite. it was really cozy, romantic, soothing , elegant, and a paradise of its own. a great place to relax and enjoy Monteverde. no wonder its rated no.1 hotel in monteverde.

here’s a vid of our room.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/lala010/15598926219/in/set-72157646747983504/

we were too tired to go out for dinner, so we decided to eat at our hotel.
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the dining room was really romantic.
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the steak was actually pretty good. we saw a lot of cows eating grass on the side of the roads in costa rica, so we wonder if this was one of them. we felt a little cruel. August 17, 2014-IMG_4644

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food was decent but nothing too memorable.
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Costa Rica 2014 Day 1 San Jose – Poas Volcano – Arenal – Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

Costa Rica 2014 Day 2 Part 1 Rio Celeste River | Tenorio Volcano National Park

Costa Rica 2014 Day 2 Part 2 Arenal – Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort | Tips on Shooting Waterfalls

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Comedor | Newton, MA Boston

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comedor is a relatively new american-chilean small plates restaurant in newton center.

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Ommegang Hennepin – Saison

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LOS VASCOS CHARDONNAY

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WILD MIXED MUSHROOM HASH
new potatoes, garlic, chicken egg
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LAMB ALBONDIGAS
toasted fideos + pickled onions
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CHILEAN SPICED PORK RIBS
sweet + sour NC mustard sauce, papas fritas
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PRAWNS IN A SNUGGIE
spicy tomato fonduta, crispy chorizo
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LOCAL SHELLFISH
little necks, shrimp + bay scallops, even more herbs
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after another 70-hour work week, i was really hoping for some good food and drinks to reward myself. the chilean american tapas concept was nice, but unfortunately, the food didnt carry out well at all. the ingredients and flavors tasted nothing special nor unfamiliar. altho the description looked nice on the menu, most dishes had no complexity or depth to the flavors. the dinner was unsatisfying all over. ambience was weird too. it looked very cozy, but the harsh lighting made me feel uncomfortable.
favorite dish: none
least favorite dish: the lamb meatballs.
will i return? no
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Comedor
105 Union St
Newton, MA 02459
Phone number (857) 404-0260
comedornewton.com
Comedor on Urbanspoon

Minca Ramen Factory | East Village NYC, NY

(Pork Belly) Ramen, I love it, I always crave it and unfortunately I’ve tried every Ramen Joint in Boston…. NYC, is a whole other ball game, so I am always on the look out for a good Ramen Ya in NYC. On this Particular night I checked out Minca Ramen Factory in East Village.

I originally wanted to check out Go Ramen’s author Keizo Shimamoto’s Restaurant in the Financial District Ramen.Co Unfortunately they weren’t opened on Weekends….
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So I called up the Uber and went to Minca Ramen Factory. They were no lines so I was immediately seated. Awesome!

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Typical Ramen Ya Choices, although they are doing the double broth!
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I got front row seats to the action. I wonder what kind of noodles they use…..

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Shoyu for the Gyoza
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Homemade Pork GYOZA
-pan fried pork & vegetable dumpling

Gyoza crisp to perfection and still hot. This isn’t the frozen ones that unfortunately most shops use…
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Spicy Miso Ramen – Pork and Chicken Broth
This was good. The double broth adds a depth that cannot be achieved with one. I wish the egg was soft boiled, I prefer soft boiled eggs in my Ramen. The meat was very tender and melts in your mouth.
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Good bye Minca Ramen, I’ll see you again.
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Overall Minca Ramen Factory is a great choice if you want Ramen without the extremely long wait of the other Ramen joints in the city. The Double Broth is a plus! The restaurant is what I love about Ramen Restaurants, just Quick Delicious food at a good price. Japanese Soul food. Oh yeah, CASH ONLY!

Minca Ramen Factory
536 East 5th Street,
New York, NY, 10009
(Between Avenue A and Avenue B)
PHONE: 212.505.8001
Minca on Urbanspoon

Eight Turn Crepes | NYC SoHo, NY

(PorkBelly) It was a hot summers day and I was wandering around NYC looking for something cold. I walked past a sign that advertised Japanese Crepes. I thought, why not.

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This brought me to Eight Turn Crepe, I saw the Green Tea ice cream and I knew I had to have this
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They have various types of crepes such as savory and desserts, I went for the later….

Azuki Berries: Strawberries, Il Laboratoria del Gelato Matcha green tea gelato, Azuki beans, Eight Turn whipped yogurt,Eight Turn Matcha (green tea) custard cream, Slivered almonds,Chocolate Pocky sticks

This crepe really hit the spot! It is perfect harmony, the sweetness of the strawberries and Red Bean with the slight bitter-sweet flavor of the Matcha Ice cream and the crunchiness of the Pocky sticks all in a warm perfect crepe. It was fucking awesome.
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I want to roll up in the crepe and sleep on the pocky sticks…….
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If you are ever looking for a quick and easy dessert, definitely try out eight turn crepes! I didn’t get to try their other crepes since they were more like sandwiches. I probably never will since there is so much in that department New York already offers.

Eight Turn Crepe
55 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
(212) 334-3408
Eight Turn Crêpe on Urbanspoon

Parla | North End Boston, MA

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i tried to avoid the north end as much as i could, but the newly opened parla looked decent to me so we went i check it out after a longgggg week of work.

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left: bootleg old-fashioned – black mission fig infused rye, angostura bitters, demerara sugar, orange, luxardo cherry (the cocktail of champions, aspiring don draper types)

right: sword swallower – ancho reyes, cinzano dry, st. germain, grapefruit bitters, lemon

i didnt like both of the cocktails

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Truffle “Capuccino” – fresh black truffle, lobster demi, crab meat cauliflower espuma
it tasted like a creamy crab soup, i really liked this.
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Braised Oxtail Arancini
crispy fried rice balls, oxtail, peas
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Crispy Duck Breast
sweet potato two ways, roasted baby carrots, foraged grape gastrique
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the meat was very tender, was cooked just right
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Lamb Leg Fettuccine
house made fettuccine, braised leg of lamb, english peas, wild mushrooms, pecorino-romano
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Mixed Seafood Brodetto
1/2 maine lobster, littleneck clams, maine mussels, fish of the day, tomato fume, black garlic bread, garden herbs
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Ramen Noodle “Carbonara”
slow roasted karabuta pork belly, chilies, poached egg, broccoli rabè, guanciale dashi, parmesan
more like a brothless mazemen. the pork belly tasted fried rather than slow roasted. the texture of the noodles were actually not bad, pretty al dente.
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pan seared sea scallops – ricotta gnocchi, brown butter sauce, toasted garlic green beans, salsify espuma, herbs
the butter sauce was a bit too oily. the scallops were nicely seared but unfortunately they were sandy.
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although i didnt enjoy the cocktails, the food at parla was decent overall. service was slow and inattentive.

after dinner, we walked down to mike’s pastry to get some cannoli and cakes and ate at thinking cup next door to parla with coffee and green tea latte.

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Parla
230 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02113
b/t Richmond St & Board Aly in North End
Phone number (617) 367-2824
parlaboston
Parla on Urbanspoon

The Boil | New York City, NY

(Porkbelly) Ever since Bunny and I went to LA and ate at The Boiling Crab (The First Time), we’ve been eating at plenty of what seems like Boiling Crab imitation restaurants on the East Coast, such as Chasing Tails in Arlington, HotNJuicy in DC, and now the Boil. Hey I’m all for it if they can nail down that signature Whole Shabang Sauce.

I thought I would check out the Boil in NYC, since it seems like a rip off of the Boiling Crab in LA….. It’s right in Chinatown(some would say LES) on Chrystie Street, just a one block from a Subway stop. Sorry for the iPhone pictures guys….

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It was only a Tuesday Evening, but the wait was around 1hr long or so they said, it was more like 30min!
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Like many places in Chinatown, it’s CASH ONLY. So be sure to bring some cash with you, if not there is an ATM on the premise.
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There is a bar in the front and a seating area in the rear.
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My friend and I were seated in the rear, a bucket was already waiting for us. The bucket is for the carcases.

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Some Hot Sauce and ketchup
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Gumbo chicken, shrimp & pork:
We started off with some Gumbo, nothing was too overpowering, tasted like standard gumbo nothing too special about this dish. It did come out piping hot, which is a plus.
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It came with some fries, they were straight out of the fryer, hot and crispy.
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They gave us some latex gloves and put a bib around us……

1lb Crawfish & 1lb Shrimp:
We ordered 1lb of Crawfish and 1lb of Shrimp (highest Spice level) with the The Boil Special sauce, which is a combination of Garlic Butter, Old Bay, and Lemon Pepper. The spicyness was just right, there is some corn and sausages in the bag too. The Shrimp and Crawfish were a decent size, unlike some restaurants were they are tiny, I didn’t feel ripped off here. It was good, better than the Crawfish places in DC and VA, still not up to Boiling Crab level though. The gloves came in handy, it is messy business eating this stuff.

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We were still hungry at the end so we ordered the Catfish Basket.

Catfish Basket:
The Catfish Basket also comes with fries. Like all of the other fried items we order, it was scalding hot. Which is awesome. It was perfect, crispy on the outside tender on the inside. When it comes to fried food, it’s all about the timing, they definitely have this down.

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Overall, the Boil is not quite up to The Boiling Crab Level, it is a solid attempt though. If I ever get a craving for Crawfish in NYC, this is my go to. Cash Only is a bummer since most non-asian restaurants of this size take Credit Cards in this day in age (Chase Double Dining Points FTW!). I liked how you can choose the spiciness of the sauce, and how everything comes out piping hot. You can burn yourself if you’re not careful. Service was fast and friendly. I think I ordered too many fillers, all of the fried food you can’t really mess up on. My next trip will be straight seafood + corn + extra sausages!

The Boil
139 Chrystie St New York, NY 10002
The Boil on Urbanspoon

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