Travel

A Successful Introduction to Indonesian Wine

Wine in Ubud In Ubud, we drank when the clouds came in. Every afternoon of my stay in the hub of traditional Balinese arts and crafts, the skies became overcast around 4 p.m. Like cigarette smoke weaving a singular sheet of haze across a crowded room, the clouds steadily drew in, blotting out the sun. The threat of an imminent ...

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Is This the Syrup We’ve Been Waiting For?

Hickory syrup in Indiana My drive to work in Indiana is mostly flat, mostly corn and soybeans, mostly uninterrupted. So when one of my co-workers mentions she’s made a locally foraged syrup, similar to maple but different, using the local hickory trees, I’m ready for it: I’m ready for change. The bottle she gives me is lighter in color than ...

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The Cave Hunter of Serra Gaúcha

Pulling his candy red Fiat to a stop along a narrow dirt road in southern Brazil’s Serra Gaúcha, Dr. Heinrich Frank grabs a business card from the stack he keeps in the dash and approaches a nearby farmer putt-putting along on a small, blue tractor. “I’d like to ask you a strange question: Are there any caves around here?” It ...

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Goddammit, Democracy is Dying in Darkness in Cambodia

Warm beer in New York The Cambodia Daily has been shut down, and I can’t think of a better way to mourn its passing than drinking several (ok, four) watery and warm beers. I interned one summer at the Cambodia Daily 13 years ago, and it took me a couple weeks to understand how truly out of place I was. ...

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The Endless Benefits of Living in French Wine Country

Macvin in Rotalier I stop cooking for a second and decide it’s time to open a bottle. My friends have just arrived from New York to spend a week in my dad’s house in Rotalier, in eastern France; the kitchen is loud and we are tired. I’ve been here a few days already, and got a head-start on the wine ...

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The Laksa Origin Debate, Borneo Edition

Laksa in Sarawak I had done a bit of research about Sarawak laksa before arriving. Not that I was any the wiser. Depending on who you believe, the most authentic pastes have 20, 30, 36 or even more components, among them garlic and lemongrass, as well as various spices. It’s often said the first laksa vendor in Sarawak—a Malaysian state ...

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Can Mexican Corn Be Saved?

“So, you want to know about corn?” Rafael Mier asks, grabbing two suitcases out of the back of a beat-up station wagon. “We are having a crisis in Mexico.” It is, as it always is, a bluebird day in Baja California, Mexico. When I heard a man was in town who was trying to save Mexican corn, I zipped over ...

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How to Resist Colonialism and Instant Coffee

Café Touba in Senegal “Baye Fall kheweul!” The calls soar across the sands, summoning us to breakfast. As I greet everyone gathered on the breakfast mat with “Salaam aleykum,” then ask if they slept well, my friend pours me a steaming cup of Café Touba. I bring the mug to my lips; the coffee smells of clove and pepper, dark-roasted ...

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