The Shakespeare | New York City, NY

Welcome to the Shakespeare, a small sorta “gastropub” near Bryant Park in NYC.  They offer great beer and “traditional British Food”.  On this night, I met up with my friend from college.  This bar is his bar, like the kind of bar you see on Cheers, it’s a place that everyone knows his name….. He comes here like 3 times a week, even more when the week isn’t going his way.  I met up with him for some after work beers and food.

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They Offer many interesting beers on tap
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I believe this is the owner. I was able to talk to him for a quick moment, the bar is called the The Shakespeare because he is a distant relative of the man himself….
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Inside it feels like a cozy English home, or at least what I would imagine one to feel like….
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After a few beers, we decided to order food….

Bangers and Mash:
Myers of Keswick bangers, mashed potatoes, onion gravy

A very hearty meal consisting of sausages on top of mashed potatoes dressed with savory Onion Gravy. The kind of meal that fills up your heart and arteries with warmth.

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Chicken Tikka Masala:
Basmati rice, toasted almonds, ginger steeped raisins

Chicken Tikka Masala made for English taste, even though this dish is like the General Tso Chicken of Indian food. It’s not as spicy as most Indian restaurants, my friend can’t handle spice at all, so this was perfect for him.

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Banoffee Pie:
“Jones Wood Foundry”
Banana, vanilla cream, shaved chocolate, candied almonds

For dessert my friend got a banoffee pie. It’s a creme pie with a very crumbly rust, topped with chocolates and candied almonds as the sweets. When you cut into it with a fork it comes apart perfectly. It’s the perfect compliment if you ate something savory like the Bangers and Mash or drank a lot of beer with a sweet tooth….

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The Shakespeare is a good pub in NYC. If you are staying near Bryant park or even Times square, I would definitely recommend this place. Try their very extensive collection of interesting English beers + English pub food that isn’t fish and chips.

The Shakespeare NYC
24 East 39th Street
New York, NY 10016

The Shakespeare on Urbanspoon

Lilo’s Plates | Hawaiian Food Truck | Boston, MA

Lilo’s Plates is a new food truck in boston that serves hawaiian dishes such as curries, loco moco, and spam musubi.

hawaiian curry chicken – potatoes, carrots, cheese, rice. it tasted a bit sweet; im guessing it’s made with pineapples?
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Loco moco – white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, brown gravy, with shredded cabbages.
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April 16, 2015-DSC02362complimentary dessert – coconut pudding. April 16, 2015-DSC02399

food was not bad and pretty good quality for a food truck. very generous portions and the complimentary dessert was a nice touch.

https://www.facebook.com/lilosplates

Boston Franklin Park Zoo | Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens Test Shots

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pork belly is helping to shoot his friend’s wedding next weekend. after renting the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens a few times, we finally decided to buy it. last weekend, we went to boston franklin park zoo to test out the lens. these pictures are unedited jpegs straight out camera. they look effortlessly beautiful. ive had a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens before, the 70-200mm is significantly sharper and has faster focus.

if you are looking for photographers for weddings, parties, or portraits, please let me know!!!!!

btw, if you have a charlie card, you can get $2 off on one adult franklin park zoo ticket by showing them your charlie card. also, from 10:00 a.m. – noon on the first Saturday of every month, all guests will be charged the children’s admission price.

Puerto Rico | Culebra | Flamenco Beach | Tamarindo Beach | Snorkeling Sea Turtles | Bio Bay

Description is at the end of the post.

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(Porkbelly) Welcome to part 3 of our Puerto Rico adventure. On this particular day we went to the Island of Culebra. It is a small island off of the Puerto Rican mainland. The island is only 11.6 Square Miles around and can only be reached by Ferry from Fajardo. The ferry situation is a bit of a mess since priority goes to the locals and everything is done in Island time. the tickets are notoriously hard to get. There is a limited amount of tickets for the ferry and if they are sold out and there is no more ferries for the day… We were prepared and bought tickets online in advance (http://culebraferry.com/). The Ferry ride was smooth and took around a hour and a half. Upon arrival we met up with our tour guide from Kayaking Puerto Rico.

Kayaking Puerto Rico was extremely professional, friendly, and organized. They packed us into a tour bus and took us to Tamarindo Beach. Our objective at Tamarindo Beach was to snorkel, this beach happens to be one of the few beaches in the world you can snorkel with sea turtles, they don’t use bait to lure them into bay like some other places in the world, it is completely natural. After arriving at the beach we received our snorkeling equipment and flippers, they even had us wash our goggles out with baby shampoo to prevent fogging. We first snorkeled around the shore and then we got on our kayaks and kayaked to another area. This area had more coral and most importantly, turtles! Bunny was super excited to see turtles. There was other interesting wildlife in this area, such as fish, stingrays, and starfish. they also take a lot pictures for you which you can download later online. (some of the pictures we used are taken by them). After we were done with this area we kayaked back to the shore and hopped on the tour bus to Flamenco Beach.

At Flamenco beach they were a few stalls selling food. We were famished from snorkeling and kayaking, so we bought a few Empanandas, Garlic Shrimp and Tostones, and their local fried fish. The empanadas were packed with flavor, we went for the Crab and Beef. The Garlic Shrimp and Tostones was hearty, filling, and did not disappoint. The local fish(sorry can’t remember the name) was perfect and tender, much better than what we had in the Peurto Rican Mainland. We washed everything down with a Piña Colada and a ice cold beer, perfect for this particularly hot day. There were stray cats all over the place, and wild chickens running around. It was like being at the cat cafe in Beijing.

after lunch, we spent the most of the day hanging out at Flamenco beach until it was time to go back. Flamenco beach is rated one of the top 25 beaches in the world rated by TripAdvisor. The beach had more waves than the other spot we were at earlier, and can catch you off guard if you aren’t careful.

We took the ferry back to the mainland. We kept changing seats because the air-conditioning was blasting cold air at certain seats in the Ferry. We had to change seats a few times, there weren’t many free seats available. After we arrived at the dock we got into our rental car and headed straight to the Bio Bay. We weren’t sure if we could even get a ride with a tour company in the bio bay since this was last minute and every tour company we called was sold out. Some girl in our snorkeling tour group earlier told us this was a ONCE IN A LIFE OPPORTUNITY, and YOU HAVE TO SEE IT. If you want to learn more about the Bio Bay watch this video…

We went to every tour group in the area to see if they had space in their kayaking group into the Bio Bay. Unfortunately everyone was sold out, this is something you have to book way in advance. Luckily we found a group that ventures into the bay via a motorized small boat. No need to kayak ourselves into the extremely dark and dense mangroves, especially after Kayaking earlier. They told us to wait for a bit, so we went around to try food. We bought some skewers from a man nearby. He was extremely nice, like most people we met in Puerto Rico and even let me try my hand at cooking skewers. The skewers were very good, bunny wanted more skewers but we had to catch our boat into the Bio Bay.  The Bio Bay was pretty cool, basically anytime the water is agitated it glows blue.  The area is pitch black so you can see every star in the sky.  They told us when it rains the effect is absolutely mesmerizing. After the Bio Bay experience I was hungry so we decided to hit up the restaurant nearby.

At the restaurant we ate paella and fish with red beans and rice.  We thought the restaurant was okay, nothing too memorable…..  With that being said, this marks the end of our Puerto Rico series.  All we did on the next day was visit the Bacardi Factory, which in my opinion wasn’t anything special and got on a plane and flew home.

Puerto Rico | El Yunque National Forest | La Mina Falls | Gran Meliá

The description is at the end of the post..

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(Porkbelly)Hey it’s part 2 of our Puerto Rico trip! In the morning we lounged around the beach at the resort. We laid on the hammock and watched the clouds go by. It was very relaxing and convenient since it was a part of our resort.

As we were driving out of the resort I noticed that the tire pressure light was on and the steering felt odd. This could only mean one thing…. Flat tire. Unfortunately we did not purchase insurance through our rental company and was sure that this would cost an arm and a leg. We booked the rental car with our Chase credit card which does offer rental car insurance. We called chase and they told us they would pay us after we fill out a bunch of forms, get receipts of all the repairs from the rental car company, and overall it sounded like a headache and who knows when we would get our money back….. I swapped out the flat tire for a spare. It was a Sunday morning and all car shops were closed. I drove around looking for a shop, after a few attempts I drove past a lot selling second hand cars and thought they would be of no help, but Bunny urged me to stop. I ran inside and asked the attended if they patched tires, the attendant told me he doesn’t speak any English in Spanish. I rolled in the tire with the puncture, pointed to it and made sounds. The attendant told me he understood in Spanish. He fixed it immediately. I offered to pay him, but he said something in Spanish like “in Peurto Rico we got you” and would not take the money. We were absolutely touched, I wanted to cry.

At this point we were starving from our tire adventure. I saw some people eating something at the side of the road.  There was a guy selling roast pork from the side of the road.  I tried a piece of it, it was like eating Chinese roast pork, I was immediately hooked and bought a pound of it to go.  The pork was soft in the center with a very crisp outer skin.  Every bite had the perfect amount of savory flavor.  The Skin tasted like Chicharones with much more substance since the big was quite big infused with pork juice.  We also stopped by the food truck next to the Pork vendor, the food truck is called Kono.  They sell crispy cones with rice and a type of protein.  We opted to get Shrimp and Fish.  It was very good and quick to eat since we wanted to get on the road to the Yunque rainforest.

The number one thing to see at Yunque rainforest is the waterfall.  We parked out car and hiked all the way to the waterfall.  I was dead when I got to the waterfall and hiking back uphill was worst.  The waterfall was cool.  We checked out some other spots, like the lighthouse where you can get a spectacular view of the Yunque rainforest.

On the way back to the hotel, I stopped to get tacos out of a bus.  It wasn’t very good.  Once we got back we walked along the beach and watched the sunset.

Puerto Rico | San Juan | Castillo San Felipe del Morro| Castillo de San Cristobal

description is at end of the post.

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thank god for my diligent airfare watching, in October 2014, we booked a  great flight deal to puerto rico for 4 days. we explored old san juan on the first day, hiked in El Yunque rain forest and saw la mina falls on the second day, took a boat to flamenco beach, culebra puerto rico, snorkeled with sea turtles, and went on a tour to bio bay when we returned to fajardo. Before our flight back to Boston we visited the barcardi factory on the 4th day.

Day 1.

we flew into san juan airport (SJU) and rented a car. car rental is really cheap in PR. if you had credit cards such as chase sapphire, it even covers the insurance. roads in PR are generally good; our small car was even able to drive into the rainforests. i reserved my car online prior arriving; its always cheaper than renting on the spot. the car rental service at SJU was surprisingly organized; we got our car in no time. we drove to old san juan for lunch and some sightseeing. streets are very narrow in old san juan; it is nearly impossible to find street parking. we parked our car in a garage and headed to restaurant El Jibarito which i discovered from lonely planet.

El Jibarito was pretty packed with both locals and tourists. they serve traditional puerto rican cooking. we ordered some tropical fruit juices (they had no fresh coconut juice what?!), fried whole fish, and a chicken stew dish with plantains. the fried whole fish was dry and the chicken stew wasn’t that special either. lunch was mediocre.

after lunch, we took a walk on the streets of old san juan and grabbed some local coffee at cafe colao. i saw they could do some intense latte art from pictures online, so i was hoping i could get a panda on my cappuccino. unfortunately, the guy that does the advanced latte art wasn’t working that day, so i couldnt get my panda. they suggested visiting them again on a weekend when the guy usually works. the coffee was quite tasty tho.

loaded with caffeine, we took another walk to Castillo de San Cristobal. old san juan is pretty walkable. there’s also a free trolley service that goes between sightseeing sites. the trolley stops are numbered and marked by pink signs. we checked out Castillo de San Cristobal first. the ticket is valid for both Castillo de San Cristobal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro. we enjoyed the view of old san juan from Castillo de San Cristobal.

after Castillo de San Cristobal, we decided to take the trolley to Castillo San Felipe del Morro, but unfortunately the trolley was completely full. we took a nice long walk along the beach to Castillo San Felipe del Morro where our car is parked as well. after taking some pictures at Castillo San Felipe del Morro, we picked up our car and headed to Gran Meliá Puerto Rico Golf Resort in Río Grande.

we had dinner at La Estacion in fajardo. the restaurant had both indoor and outdoor seating. we sat outside and ordered two mofongo dishes (one with shrimps and another one with steaks) along with a few drinks and desserts. mofongo is a fried plantain-based dish originated from puerto rico. usually made with fried plantains mashed together in a pilon and served with veggies, meats, or seafood. it was my first time eating mofongo; i found it overly oily and salty but still pretty tasty.

My favorite part of Puerto Rico so far is the fluffy clouds that float in the sky, I want to curl up and take a nap in them.

El Jibarito
Calle Sol 280
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
Phone number (787) 725-8375

PR’s Café Cola’o
Pier 2
Old San Juan
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
Phone number (787) 725-4139
prcafecolao.com

La Estacion
Carretera 987 Kilometro 4
Fajardo, Puerto Rico 00738
Phone number (787) 863-4481
laestacionpr.com

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