Adventurous Foodie: Deep Dark Secrets of Black Rice

I remember, as a child, eating dark, sweet,and fragrant cake/pudding so sticky it got plastered to my teeth. Made of rice, it was the only kind of cake I ate until my mother learned to bake. She didn’t bake those rice cakes. Generous aunts usually brought them. Or, we bought them from street vendors, and…

The Magic that is Paris: the Hollywood Lens

‘We’ll always have Paris.“ Remember that famous line from Bogey to Bergman (Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, in case you’re too young to know) in the film classic Casablanca? Done in black and white, it’s vintage Hollywood. A must-see for film lovers. Here’s a short trailer.  Paris fascinates Hollywood. Hollywood fascinates Paris, by far the…

The Joys of Art in Paris—Edward Hopper, An American in Paris

Ah, the freedom of getting vaccinated against covid. I’m looking forward to museum-hopping again. Preferably in Paris, to me, the museum capital of the world. Many visitors to Paris scribble art-viewing into their itinerary. Not as often, though, I think as shopping and eating. But museums are great on a rainy day. Plenty of them…

Budapest—Grunge and Grandeur

Budapest has drama. It’s monumental—in a grungy sort of way. But maybe we felt that way when we visited it because the summer weather was so hot and humid that the requisite sightseeing became a miserable chore. Budapest, the confluence of royal and proletarian legacies in a country of only ten million inhabitants, seems to…

Strasbourg, French-German Fusion Alsatian City

Fusion of French and German cultures has been at the core of being a Strasbourgeois. That is what a Strasbourgeois would tell you―the cab drivers, merchants, and museum ‘gardiens,’ for instance. They embrace the idea as the way things naturally are. This blended identity of the Strasbourgeois may defy attempts to resolve the question of…

Obecni Dum, Prague’s Unheralded Treasure

Prague has a real treasure “hidden” from most tourist groups herded into the city for a day or three. The current entry on Prague in Wikipedia doesn’t mention it. And, though it’s listed as a top attraction, Lonely Planet does not showcase it as a highlight to a Prague visit. Regrettable, I’d say. Especially if…

A True Artisan Crafts A Shoji Room

My house has a shoji room. A room that’s special because dedicated artisans from an old country crafted it. To me, its walls are an homage to traditional craftsmanship rarely practiced now, replaced by machines which, I admit, can spew out very good products. I find this shoji room a thing of beauty but much…