Tacos in DC – The best according to 6 chefs


Clyde’s Tower Oaks Lodge executive chef Jeff Eng: Taqueria & Pupuseria El Paso, a taco truck outside of the Gaithersburg DMV. He likes the face and tongue tacos: “The meat is really rich and caramelized, and they serve the tacos with radishes and their own hot sauces.” He adds that there’s always a line, and he almost enjoys going to the DMV now.

Mandu co-owner Danny Lee: “Chinito’s Burritos near Union Market! My buddy Jin Chong owns it, and it is absolutely delicious. It’s great because everything is incredibly fresh, and you can taste it in the food. I love getting a chicken taco with his salsa verde. He makes all of the salsas in-house and roasts almost everything that goes into them. He also makes a few hot sauces too that are delicious and incredible spicy.”

Ghibellina executive chef Jonathan Copeland: “My two go-to taco places are Taqueria La Placita in Hyattsville, MD, and when I want to stay in my neighborhood, Super Tacos on Columbia Road in DC (recommended by fellow chef Johnny Spero [of Minibar]). I love lengua, al pastor and cochinita pibil. All the tacos are super traditional with minimum garnish and on two corn tortillas.”

Carolina Kitchen chef-owner Lance London loves TaKorean at Union Market: He likes the caramelized tofu tacos topped with fresh ingredients like cilantro, spicy slaw, kale and Sriracha served on a warm tortilla. “I love it because of its fresh, healthy, interesting flavors. [Plus], fast service!”

Red Light Cocktails & Dessert Bar chef-partner Robert Underwood: “I am half Mexican and originally from out West so have searched high and low for some good Mexican home cooking in these parts and I have found it mainly in Riverdale, MD. My recommendation would be Taqueria Tres Reyes on Kennilworth Avenue just outside of DC. I always get the Tacos Dorados (golden tacos) or, as we call them in Cali, “taquitos.” They are corn tortillas filled with shredded beef then tightly rolled and deep fried. They come covered with queso fresco, an avocado sauce and shredded lettuce. You can also get them in chicken, pork, chorizo or beef tongue, but I like the shredded beef the best. While there, you can pop a dollar in their jukebox and your selection will play at a volume that makes the whole building shudder and shake as you crunch away on the taquitos. Good times!”

Alba Osteria chef de cuisine Amy Brandwein: She hits the El Chilango food truck in Arlington when she has a craving. “The tongue and chorizo tacos are great. The salsa verde has a nice kick, and the owners work really hard to make you happy. Prices are fantastic.” (By the way, there is also a brick-and-mortar Tacos El Chilango in DC at 1119 V St. NW).

– From Zagat – posted on April 29th 2014

Happy taco eating!

TripAdvisor TripIndex Room Service

Asia Travel is by far the most rewarding experience  – especially to places like south India, Indonesia, Sir-Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos. China.

Once you get there, it is the cheapest place on the world to stay comfortably for a month with money spent on 10 Starbucks Venti Caffé Mocha Cappuccino per day. I am serious – you can live comfortably (good room, delicious food – breakfast, lunch and dinner), conveyance, and money to spare.

March 2014 release, amounts in British Pound Sterling. 1.7 US Dollars = 1 British Pound.


This report indicates

Europe as a whole dominates the most expensive list laying claim to six of the top ten. Helsinki in Finland and Oslo in Norway take first and second place respectively while Zurich, Stockholm and Paris are placed fourth, fifth and sixth. Seoul is the only non-European city to be named in the top five most expensive destinations.

Travelers looking to bag a bargain should head south to Africa where three of the continent’s destinations feature in the top five places offering the best value – Tunis in Tunisia, Cape Town in South Africa and Marrakesh in Morocco. In Europe, the least expensive city destination for room service is Budapest, where a full set of basket items will cost over a third of the price of the equivalent items’ cost in Helsinki.

London is often considered one of the world’s most expensive destinations, but when it comes to the common costs incurred once checked-in to a hotel, the capital actually provides better value than many rival European cities. This year, the capital city is ranked 13th place in the priciest list – making it a cheaper option than New York, Paris or Tokyo. On average, London is more than two times cheaper than the most expensive destination, Helsinki, for each TripIndex Room Service item. In London, a club sandwich is £11.90, bottle of water £0.42, peanuts are £4.67, a can of coke £2.85, mini bottle of vodka £5.82 and to dry clean a shirt is £6.00. All together the basket of items costs £31.66 in London

Jakarta best value for room service and room rates combined.

While Tunis is revealed as the number one destination for best value room service, when you consider the cost of room service and room rate combined, at £111.87, the North African destination drops down to eighteenth place in the league table. With a total combined cost of £71.02, Jakarta, Indonesia replaces Tunis as number one destination for value overall.

In the most expensive list, it seems that pricey room service and pricey hotel room rates go hand-in-hand as eight of the costliest destinations remain in the top 10. This time however, New York City replaces Helsinki as the most expensive with a total cost of £258.35 compared with Helsinki’s £173.25, taking it down to eighth place in the league table.

Happy Traveling

Nikon Coolpix S9700

Yesterday, at Costco, I saw a great camera. It has a built-in WiFi, and a GPS! and If you want a compact camera that shoots stunning Full HD! with built in zoom lens.

One of the considerations when backpacking or traveling light is the weight you are carrying.The approx. Weight of this camera is …drum roll please 8.2 oz.(232 g) including battery and SD memory card and the built in lenses!!  The D7100 which I like a lot is 3 times the weight of S9700 and that too without the telephoto lenses, and 3.5 times the cost of S9700 on amazon.

Now, S9700 is a very powerful, nifty, portable, compact camera. You don’t have to take the load or packing spaces required with other cameras and their costly lenses.

S9700 has 30x optical zoom NIKKOR lens (supports 60x zoom when Dynamic Fine Zoom is enabled) despite its slim body with a depth of approximately 34.5 mm. It offers four exposure modes—[P] programmed auto, [A] aperture-priority auto, [S] shutter-priority auto, [M] manual—that allow users to attempt new forms of expression by reflecting their own intent according to the subject or impression they wish to convey with shooting.

Nikon has this :  Its outstanding 30x optical zoom NIKKOR glass lens packs more reach than many bulky super telephoto lenses, yet it retracts safely into an ultra-slim camera when not in use. Lens-shift Vibration Reduction helps combat the blurring effect of camera shake—crucial when shooting at far distances—and Nikon’s free mobile app lets you use a compatible smartphone or tablet to see what the COOLPIX S9700 sees, take photos and instantly share them by text message, email or uploading to your favorite social networking sites—complete with GPS coordinates! Slip the COOLPIX S9700 into a pocket and share amazing views of your adventures.

It has 30X zoom!!

Now let me show you the progression of the zoom through a series of photos

1X Zoom

Progression of S9700_zoom_015X Zoom

S9700_zoom_0210X Zoom

S9700_zoom_0315X Zoom

S9700_zoom_0420X Zoom

S9700_zoom_0525X Zoom

S9700_zoom_0630X Zoom

S9700_zoom_07Isn’t that incredible!

Built in GPS and Points of Interest : The COOLPIX S9700 records the exact location of each shot you take, so you can follow the path of your adventure and every stunning view along the way! Share your journeys on Google Maps, Google+, and other social networking sites, or with the Nikon View NX2 software. Built-in mapping and Electronic compass also help you navigate unfamiliar destinations, and Points of Interest (POI) show you nearby photo-ops like scenic lookouts and historic landmarks.
Extreme Macro Mode:
MacroTurn on Macro Mode and capture extreme close-ups of everyday subjects –  food, flowers, insects, jewelry.

HD Videos : Full HD 1080p means exceptional video quality. Record the action, then connect to an HDTV* and watch your videos come alive. A built-in mic records high-quality audio in stereo. Your videos will look and sound phenomenal.
Now COSTO has it for 340 dollars which include this

  • Nikon S9700 Camera
  • 16 GB SD Card
  • Camera Case
  • AN-CP19 Strap
  • UC-E21 USB Cable
  • EN-EL12 Rechargeable Battery
  • Charging AC Adapter EH-71P

amazon has it for 330 dollars without the extra accessories.

Happy snapping good pictures

Nothing like a good egg – for the foodie human experience

Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient is a guide to perfecting the most familiar of egg dishes — from poached to hard boiled — but also mastering béarnaise sauce and meringues By Michael and Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Check out the egg flow chart, Incredible!!

Here is a great recipe from the book (courtesy NPR)


Serves 4

1 small potato, peeled and cut into small dice (about 1 cup/225 grams)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


1/2 onion, cut into small dice (about 1/2 cup/100 grams)

6 eggs, thoroughly blended

1/2 cup/60 grams shredded cheddar cheese

Freshly ground black pepper

2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced (optional)

Preheat the broiler.

In a medium nonstick fry pan, combine the potatoes and olive oil over medium-high heat and stir or toss them in the pan to coat the potatoes with oil. Add a three-finger pinch of salt, just to coat the surface. When the potatoes are lightly browned, add the onions, salt to coat the onions, and continue to cook until the onions are tender, stirring or tossing the potato and onion.

Place the eggs in a medium bowl and add the cheese, along with ½ teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper, and stir to combine and disperse the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and onions and reduce the heat to medium, swirling the pan so that the eggs even out. Cook until the edges are set, a couple of minutes depending on the heat level, checking to make sure that the eggs aren’t sticking. Place the pan underneath the broiler until the eggs are just set, a minute or two depending on your broiler. When the top is set, invert the frittata onto a cutting board, cover with the diced avocado, if using, and cut into wedges. Serve.

Happy eating!








Pulicat Lake and Bird Santuary – Madras (Chennai)

Pulicat book Cover page Pulicat book Cover page


Pulicat Lake is the second largest brackish water lake in India ( Brackishwater has a salt content (salinity) via media, between freshwater and sea water. Estuaries (river-mouths) and lagoons (bays or backwaters) usually have brackishwater. Brackishwater in such ecosystems is said to be highly productive biologically, more productive than fresh or sea water. Over and above this, tropical brackishwaters are more productive than temperate brackishwaters.)

It is very shallow lake (around1 meter depth, less than 3.5 meet!), and therefore a very large boon for migratory birds. A total of 168 different fish species have been identified in the lake.

Every year approximately 15,000 Greater Flamingos are reported to visit the lake along with pelicans, kingfishers, herons, painted storks, spoonbills and ducks. The highest concentrations of flamingo are found in the periphery of the lagoon where the water level is below40 centimetres (16 in). The concentrations of flamingos are also associated with high algal, fish and benthic diversity. Other water birds in the area include Spot-billed Pelican, seven species of herons and egrets, Painted Stork, Greater Flamingos, ducks, 20 species of shorebirds, gulls, terns, Little Grebe, Indian Cormorant, Little Cormorant, Asian Openbill Stork, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Lesser Whistling Teal, Spotbill Duck, Great Thick-knee and Stone Curlew.

Several species of wintering waterfowl have been noted including Bar-headed Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Brown-headed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Whiskered Tern, Gull-billed Tern and Caspian Tern Birds of prey which appear in winter are the: White-bellied Sea Eagle, Osprey, Harriers and Peregrine Falcons.

It is close to Chennai (Madras), and also Andhra Pradesh

the lake is around 350 Sq.km. only. 84% of the lake is in Andhra Pradesh and the remaining 16% is in Tamil Nadu. This lake is divided from the sea by a spindle shaped island Sriharikota where the Satish Dhawan space centre is located. Three rivers namely Arni, Kalangi and the Swarnamukhi flow into the Pulicat lake at different points. At present the mouth of Swarnamukhi on the north, is fully silted up. River Kalangi meets on the North West and the Arni meets the lake on the South. The lake contains two inhabitated islands on the northern side namely Venaadu and Irukkam.