World Cup 2014 is on fire in Rio de Janeiro and Belmond Copacabana Palace has added its own spice to the mix. The iconic hotel’s new pan-Asian restaurant MEE, fronted by celebrity chef Ken Hom, has created a beguiling concoction that’s casting a spell on World Cup fans.
The “Mandinga” cocktail is a seductive blend of Cachaça (a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice) and cashew juice with a dash of hazelnut and mandarin liqueurs.
MEE hopes this touch of Afro-Brazilian magic will carry the Seleção squad to their sixth World Cup trophy. Brazil may not have invented soccer, but they are known for perfecting it. Saúde!
Here’s the Mandinga Cocktail Recipe to mix up wherever you are in the world:
- 1.5 fl. oz. Leblon Cachaça - ¼ fl. oz. Frangelico liqueur - ¼ fl. oz. Mandarinetto liqueur - 1 fl. oz. cashew juice - ¼ fl. oz. lemon juice - ¼ fl. oz. sugar syrup
I am working from home for the first time in my life. Most days I love it. There’s such freedom in making my own schedule, working in my pajamas when I feel like it and cooking meals while taking care of business.
But other moments are quietly lonely and I miss office banter with amusing colleagues. There are days when I don’t leave the confines of my apartment building or have a meaningful face-to-face interaction with another person besides my husband.
Last week I was suffering from a serious case of cabin fever that incited a sense of panic. I started to question what I was doing with my life? Did I really want to live in Mendoza? What was my grand plan?
I was craving to put my feet on tierra firme and suck in a breath of fresh air. I wanted to climb something high to get a new perspective.
"This city is surrounded by mountains isn’t there a place we can hike without driving an hour and a half?" I asked my husband.
Months ago an expat had recommended a hike up Cerro Arco, but I didn’t know where it was. Neither did my husband. Neither did Google Maps.
Instead, we got in the car and drove towards a new neighborhood development my husband is working on. It was a holiday weekend and there were crowds of Mendocino families having pop-up barbecues alongside the road. It was like a tailgate at Giants Stadium with yerbamate instead of beer.
We spotted a deserted dirt road that headed towards the Precordillera hills. Out of curiosity we ventured down the rocky trail hoping it would take us closer to something we could possibly climb.
After about 15-minutes bumping down the road and debating whether to turn back, we stumbled upon a rustic restaurant called Puerta de La Quebrada, which turned out to be a base camp for Cerro Arco!
We scaled the towering hill high enough to see for miles and I began to feel a sense of calm settle over me. I realized that we wouldn’t have found this place even if we tried. There’s no address, it’s off the GPS grid and there’s absolutely no signage.
It seemed like a subtle message from the universe to stop obsessing about having a final destination that’s all mapped out. By indulging my curiosity and enjoying the moment I’ll probably end up at the exact place I’d been yearning to go all along.
Argentina’s tourism board recently launched a glossy publication called Che. No, it’s not a tome dedicated to the country’s famous revolutionary leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
It is a cultural magazine titled after the Argentine colloquial term “che” (which loosely translates to “hey”) commonly used in Latin America to refer to all things Argentine. Its pages feature the best art, music, gastronomy, events, and travel experiences from the country’s 24 provinces.
Through colorful photography and engaging storytelling, Che inspires visitors to journey beyond the borders of Buenos Aires and discover a country that’s richly diverse in landscapes, customs and cuisine.
The bimonthly magazine is published in English, Spanish and Portuguese and travelers can download issues to their tablets by visiting Argentina.travel or getting the free app at Android and Apple stores.
With the 2014 World Cup finals taking place in Rio de Jainero, all eyes are on Brazil’s City of God. Not that they weren’t already, what with the city’s world-famous beaches, carnivals, Afro-Brazilian samba and arguably the sexiest population on the planet.
Beyond the obvious iconic sights – Christ the Redeemer’s outstretched arms high above the city, cable cars climbing Sugarloaf Mountain and the sublime white sands of Ipanema Beach – here are our local Carioca friends’ recommendations on what to do while in town.
Boutique digs: Fasano Rio de Janeiro is a shining gem in Brazilian hotelier Rogerio Fasano’s luxury portfolio. The first Philippe Starck project in Brazil, the hotel is located in the heart of Ipanema, and honors the golden era of bossa nova with vintage uniforms and 50s furniture. Avenida Vieira Souto 80, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro; fasano.com.br/hotelaria/hotel/2
Beach bums: Ipanema Beach’s “Posto 9” is the hip spot to camp out for the day, with prime views of both Twin Brother mountain and skimpy Brazilian bikinis. Spend the twilight hours at the neighboring surf spot Arpoador, which has amazing sunsets during Rio’s summer. To hang with the locals head to Leme beach.
Bottoms up: This buzzing bohemian resto-bar is the sister restaurant to the popular Astor São Paulo. It has a mix of locals and travelers with decent food and even better cocktails. Sipcaipirinhas on the outdoor terrace, checking out the Ipanema beach beauties. Avenida Vieira Souto 110, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro; barastor.com.br
Futebol fever: There doesn’t have to be a World Cup tournament to catch an exciting game at Estádio do Maracanã. South America’s largest stadium fills up with rowdy fans year-round for matches between Rio’s major football clubs. Rua Professor Eurico Rabelo, Rio de Janeiro;maracana.com
Beauty berry: For the best juices in Rio go to Bibi Sucos in Leblon and sample Brazil’s celebrated Amazonian superfruit — the acai berry. Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva 591-A, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro; bibisucos.com.br/site/v4/
Green scene: Parque Lage is a beautifully restored sugar plantation colonial estate that is now home to Escola de Artes Visuais (School of Visual Arts). Wander the free art exhibitions and explore the surrounding tropical gardens with its lush foliage, tiny lakes and picturesque waterfalls. From here you can also embark on a challenging hike to the top of Corcovado to see Christ the Redeemer. Rua Jardim Botanico 414 (1km from Jardim Botânico), Rio de Janeiro; eavparquelage.rj.gov.br
Brazilian tapas: Snack like a Brazilian at Chico e Alaíde, a local boteco (casual bar). Order a chopp(cold draft beer) and petiscos(Brazilian tapas). Make sure you get the bolinho de Alaíde, a fried dumpling with shrimp and native catupiry cheese – it’s a house specialty (really, really good). Rua Dias Ferreira 679, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro; chicoealaide.com.br
Sunset cocktails: After visiting Sugarloaf Mountain head to Bar Urca and enjoy the peaceful setting and postcard views of Guanabara Bay. Take your drinks and apps to the rock wall out front and watch the sun go down. Rua Cândido Gaffrée 205, Urca, Rio de Janeiro; barurca.com.br
Quiet coffee: Duck into Livraria Argumento and peruse their small selection of foreign-language books and magazines over a cup of joe in the charming café tucked into the back of the bookstore. Rua Dias Ferreira 417, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro; livrariaargumento.com.br
Neighborhood wander: Take a break from the beach and hop aboard the bonde streetcar to explore the winding cobblestone streets of Santa Teresa, which are dotted with 19th century belle époque mansions. Situated on a hilltop overlooking Guanabara Bay and downtown Rio, Santa Teresa is an enchanting enclave that fell from glory in the early 1900s and was later revitalized by artists and writers in the 1970s — a creative bohemian vibe still prevails. Don’t miss Museu da Chácara do Céu (museuscastromaya.com.br/chacara.htm), Parque das Ruinas (rio.rj.gov.br), a “pastel de feijoada” at Bar do Mineiro (bardomineiro.net) and a meal at the open-air resto Aprazível (aprazivel.com.br/aprazivel.htm).
Culture vultures: Niterói Contemporary Art Museum (MAC) is considered an architectural masterpiece by the famous Rio-born modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. There’s not much to see inside but the water views from the Niterói Bridge are worth the trip. Mirante da Boa Viagem s/n, Boa Viagem, Niterói, Rio de Janeiro; macniteroi.com.br
House of Feijoada: Feijoada, a traditional Brazilian dish with Portuguese roots, is a hearty stew served in a clay pot with beans, fresh pork or beef, vegetables and a side of rice and sausages. Locals say that Aconchego Carioca is great place to try a Bolinho de Feijoada, but service can be spotty after a long wait in a not-so-stellar ‘hood. Case in point – leave your expectations at home and bring a sense of adventure. Rua Barao de Iguatemi 379, Praça da Bandeira, Rio de Janeiro; facebook.com/aconchego.carioca
Meat me: You’re going to Porcão Rio’s for the waterfront view as much as for the all-you-can-eat skewers of fresh rib-eye, sirloin, lamb, pork and chicken carved at your table. Pace yourself, the portions are generous and the cocktails are strong (with prices to match). Avenida Infante Dom Henrique s/n, Aterro do Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro; porcao.com.br
Shake it up: This 19th century cultural gem lights up Lapa with live Brazilian music and a whole lot of soul. Rio Scenarium is a three-story space bursting with vintage curios including an antique car. If dining, make reservations in advance and try the bolinhos de bacalau (cod croquettes). At night, samba, choro and forró with the locals. Rua Do Lavradio 20, Lapa, Rio de Janeiro; rioscenarium.com.br/novo
Shop ‘til you drop: For upscale finds, visit Shopping Leblon (shoppingleblon.com.br). Feeling adventurous? Check out the frenetic open-air market Saara at Estação Uruguaiana, which is chock-full of locals haggling for affordable goods. Go to Gilson Martin (gilsonmartins.com.br) for a selection of quality mementos to take home.
When it comes to nationalities, New York City is the proverbial melting pot – a fact that is unmistakably clear during the World Cup.
The United States scooped up the largest number of World Cup tickets second to only Brazil, but if you can’t make it south for the festivities, you can still get in on the action.
Just pick from this list of Manhattan bars and restaurants whose homelands hold the most World Cup titles in history. From June 12 to July 13, they’ll be showing the games, so go grab a drink and rendezvous with these world champs. They’re sure to make good company.
Brazil – Many argue that Brazil has the best of everything, including the most beautiful supermodels and the largest collection of World Cup trophies (five) in the history of the game. With home-field advantage, the Seleção might make it six.
Felix – Squeeze into this SoHo resto, where you may or may not end up standing on the bar, caipirinha in hand, rooting for the World Cup favorite. Get there early because it fills up fast. 340 W. Broadway, at Grand St.; 212-431-0021; felixnyc.com
S.O.B.’s - If you want to get wild, carnival-style, head downtown to the famous Brazilian music club, where you can get your samba on to live percussionists while watching the games. 200 Varick St., at W. Houston St.; 212-243-4940; sobs.com
Italy – If the Azzurri win, they’ll be tied with Brazil for World Cup titles.
Grotta Azzurra - There’s only one place to watch Italy shoot their way to the top (pardon the Godfather pun) and that’s Little Italy. Head to the historic trattoria Grotta Azzurra; it’s been around for every World Cup since 1930. 177 Mulberry St., at Broome St.; 212-925-8775; bluegrotta.com
Germany — Germany only has three wins, but they’ve made it to the finals more times than any other team.
Zum Schneider – This Bavarian bar is not for the faint of heart. It’s like Oktoberfest with cleats, and a rowdy good time if you’re happy to catch World Cup fever. 109 Avenue C at 7th St.; 212-598-1098; zumschneider.com
Argentina & Uruguay – Argentina and Uruguay are tied with two titles each, which is befitting since they were the same country until the early 19th century.
Novecento – Since Argentina has arguably the best player in the world, and maybe of all time – Lionel Messi – this Argentine SoHo hotspot will be packed with patriotic porteños. 343 W. Broadway, at Grand St.; 212-925-4706; novecento.com
Spain, France & England – These three European nations are all fighting to bring home their second golden statue.
La Nacional – This down-home tapas restaurant will be rooting for a repeat of World Cup 2010 when Spain went home as victors. 239 W. 14th St., between Seventh and Eighth Aves.; 212-243-9308; lanacionaltapas.com
La Opia – For an appropriately sophisticated French scene, sip Lillet at this Midtownhaunt. They’ll be showing every game.Renaissance Hotel, 130 E. 57th St., at Lexington Ave.; 212-688-3939; opiarestaurant.com
Nevada Smiths – It’s a little unclear whether this hardcore soccer joint is British or Irish, but fans from all backgrounds unite at this house of worship where football is the reigning religion. 100 Third Ave., between 12th and 13th Sts.; 212-982-2591; nevadasmiths.net
Images courtesy of FIFA, Felix, Zum Schneider & Nevada Smiths
Whether it’s a super-secret Friends and Family restaurant opening or the front row at Chanel, there’s nothing like a star-filled room. Throw some tapas and good intentions into the mix? You have yourself a party.
To celebrate its 20th birthday on June 12th, the Hotel Arts Barcelona has rounded up the hottest Michelin-stared chefs in Spain to serve a veritable tapas feast to its privileged party guests.
Forget the chorizo and albondigas your best friend prepared after her extended honeymoon in Andalusia. These are molecular kings, culinary prodigies and avant-garde visionaries whose gastronomic talents are revered around the world.
You’ll be rubbing shoulders with Albert Adrià, Joan Roca, Andoni Aduriz, Marc Gascons and the Hotel Arts’ own superstar chef Paco Pérez while they whip up their favorite tapas dish.
For some serious foodie time with the chefs, just drop €20,000 for the hotel’s best digs and get a behind-the-scenes tête-à-tête with the masters. Hey, the theme of the week is a splurge and we are here to deliver.
For that price, you’ll also get preferred reservations and VIP access for a year to Paco Pérez and Albert Adrià’s acclaimed restaurants, which are transforming Barcelona’s culinary scene. (And if you think about it, that’s saving your assistant many phone calls to the reservations receptionist. Time is money.)
The best part? Hotel Arts Barcelona will be donating all party proceeds to UNICEF. So, in addition to spending a long weekend in one of the world’s best cities sampling its finest cuisine, you save the children while doing it. Who’s the star, now?
When my mother visited me in Mendoza, I took her to my favorite off-the-grid oasis—a mountain spa with thermal baths located in the wee town of Cacheuta. I recommend this hidden gem to anyone interested in a wine-free day of relaxation in Mendoza.
You’ll know you’ve hit Cacheuta when the highway suddenly clings to vertical granite cliffs and converts into a rural dusty road.
The Termas Cacheuta Hotel & Spa is tucked away at the base of a canyon with an inconspicuous sign marking its entrance. The sandy arid terrain transforms into a glistening stretch of emerald when you reach the spa grounds. It’s like a mirage of the Swiss Alps in the middle of the desert.
The Terma Spa welcomes full-day guests with an assemblage of natural hot springs overlooking the scenic Mendoza River flowing downstream from the Andes.
The indoor/outdoor thermal spa circuit winds through gurgling curative waters ranging in temperature from 73 to 105 degrees. Bubble beds, a water volcano and a foot bath are strategically placed throughout the circuit to knead tense muscles.
The Natural Solarium has a basin of therapeutic mud for slathering all over your body and baking on the pool deck.
Once you’re good and cakey, scrub yourself clean in the bithermal hydrojet shower and kick back on the flowering Andaluz patio. Next, head underground to cavernous vaporarium and detoxify in its natural steam.
After completing a full thermal circuit, you’ll definitely be craving sustenance. A complimentary lunch is included in the spa’s entrance fee and you’ll get more than your money’s worth. You’ll need to make several trips to the buffet to sample the extensive spread of roasted vegetables, salads and tasty grilled meats.
After dining, relax on chaise lounge in the garden until you’re ready for an afternoon spa treatment or another convalescing soak in Cacheuta’s healing mineral waters.
The Terma Spa Thermal Center is open from 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM.
Entrance Fee: $370 pesos per person or $420 pesos with transportation included.
Terma Spa is located 30 minutes from downtown Mendoza. Transportation can be arranged by calling Productos de Cacheuta at +54 261 429 9133.
Pregnant women and children below the age of 14 are prohibited.
While I’m on the topic of food, I’ve searched Mendoza high-and-low for almond milk. It’s nowhere to be found. Not even in the ultra-hippie alternative health food stores. I stopped drinking cow’s milk years ago and I’m not looking to go back on the udder.
You can imagine my contentment when I serendipitously discovered that my favorite organic boutique, Indigo, was hosting a dairy replacement workshop.
Sometimes I feel like I’m on sabbatical in Mendoza, taking an immersive Home Economics course in Spanish. It only took me three decades to recognize that cooking was a necessary skill to master, but that’s what a few starving and sickly months can teach a millennial girl in a meat-loving mountain city.
The workshop was taught by Monica Hom, a lifelong vegetarian-turned-vegan who lives in the foothills of the Andes without the internet, TV or radio. I’m fairly certain that her abstinence from global connectivity is as influential in her youthful glow as her macrobiotic diet.
The first part of the workshop is theory based, providing pretty convincing reasons why human beings shouldn’t consume dairy.
I’m not proselytizing, but I do find it curious that we are the only mammals to drink milk from another species or after infancy. It’s also a bit nauseating that most cows suffer from mastitis, a disease caused from the milking process, which dumps puddles of pus into the dairy we consume.
On that note, I was geared up to learn how to make pus-free nut milk. It’s actually easier (and quicker) than I expected. Monica’s recipes are in Spanish, but here’s a good almond milk recipe from The Kitchn.
She also taught us how to prepare homemade quinoarejuvelac, a fermented probiotic juice from sprouted grains that contains beneficial bacteria and active enzymes that improve digestion.
Monica mixed the rejuvelac in her nut milks and cashew yogurt, but apparently it’s extremely healthy to drink on its own too.
I signed up for nut milk and yogurt cooking lessons, but I got even more than I bargained for.
We learned how to make faux “parmesan cheese dip” from flax, sesame and sunflower seeds, and a creamy “cheddar cheese dip” made from boiled potatoes, nutritional yeast and a few other vegan ingredients. Seriously delicious.
And there was a "hard cheese” made from cashew nuts that was processed with rejuvelac and fermented for two weeks.
My favorite part of the workshop was sampling all the recipes (obviously).
I particularly loved the “ice cream” made from chunks of frozen bananas and flavored with organic raisins as a substitute for chocolate chips. You can make ice cream from any frozen fruit and sweeten it your liking with lemon, cacao, cinnamon, stevia, etc.
I’m not much of a baker (yet), but I was inspired by her flan cupcakes made from agar-agar and liquefied bananas, and a savory Turrón-style treat, that’s a baked mixture of agar-agar, nuts, carrots, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt and pepper.
The finale was vegan dulce de leche made with dates, dried peaches and coconut milk (yum!). It was devoured by the crowd before I could get a photo!
All in all, I learned a lot, and I’ll be proud of myself if I can master making nut milk and yogurt. The other recipes seem like a stretch for my fledgling cooking status, but who knows, my inner homemaker might turn out to be a dairy-free baking goddess.