‘Riding Shotgun’ Takes Viewers On A Comic Travel Adventure




Have you ever watched a travel show and felt that the glossy representation of the destination was just a little bit too perfect? As though real travel, with all its crazy, kooky experiences, was so much more than that? That’s exactly how Zach Anner – a self-confessed goofball – felt about travel, and his passion for all things offbeat has led to his own web travel show, “Riding Shotgun.”

Zach is wheelchair bound after being born with cerebral palsy, but that hasn’t stopped the Texas-based 28-year-old from quenching his thirst for adventure and seeing the world.

Zach, who has a background in standup comedy, became an Internet sensation in 2010 after he entered Oprah’s search for the next TV star. After briefly starring in his own TV show for the OWN network, Zach turned his attention to his new project, “Riding Shotgun.”The web-based comedy travel series takes viewers on a quirky cross-country trip. Reddit readers got to call the shots on where Zach and his team would go and how they’d spend their time in each city. We’re happy to report that Zach is hosting some of his excellent show over at AolOn, our video network.

Check out the videos and get to know this fun travel host.


‘Tarragona’ Takes You Away

Performing in its last week at New York’s WorkShop Theater Company is a comedy called “Tarragona.” It’s a play about a confined office worker’s transformation after being drawn to a new lover and subsequently discovering the freedom that traveling offers.
It’s a cross between “Eat, Pray, Love” and “There’s Something About Mary” and with tickets just $18, it’s something you shouldn’t miss if you’re in New York this week.
We were convinced the moment we watched the trailer:

As if the talented cast and witty dialogue wasn’t enough, after the show the actors, writer and director invited the audience to join them for an on-stage party as a fund raiser for the WorkShop Theater Company. Sangria was served by Lidia Ornero from Barcelona who nailed the part of Christina. If offered, I highly recommend this chance to meet the cast.

So if you can’t get to Tarragona, Spain anytime soon, you may enjoy this production as a way to escape from your own job.
[Photo credit: author]

Photo Of The Day: Vendor In Delhi

Street vendors – you seem them everywhere. From the newsstands of Las Ramblas in Barcelona to the Pad Thai carts of Bangkok, street side commerce is an inevitable, enjoyable part of daily urban life for most of the world. In today’s photo, taken by Flickr user clee130, we find a balloon and toy seller in New Delhi, India. The bright colorful orbs create a striking visual focal point to the image. The man’s comical devil ears add another element of whimsy to the scene.

Taken any great travel photos of your own? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Cheesey Street Foods Of Latin America

With the possible exception of Argentina, most people don’t associate Central or South America with cheese. Like all of Latin America, these countries are a mix of indigenous cultures, colonizing forces, immigrant influences, and varied terroir, climatic extremes, and levels of industrialization. They possess some of the most biologically and geographically diverse habitats on earth. As a result, the cuisine and agricultural practices of each country have developed accordingly.

The use of dairy may not be particularly diverse in this part of the world, especially when it comes to styles of cheese, but it’s an important source of nutrition and income in rural areas, and a part of nearly every meal.

While writing a book on cheese during the course of this past year, I tapped into my rather obsessive love of both street food and South America for inspiration. As I learned during my research, the sheer variety of cheesey street snacks from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego are as varied as the ethnic influences responsible for their creation. Read on for a tasty tribute to queso.

Arepas: These flat little corn or flour cakes from Colombia, Venezuela and Panama may be grilled, baked, boiled, or fried. They’re usually stuffed or topped with a melting cheese, but may also feature meat, chicken, seafood, egg, or vegetables.

Anafres: Essentially Honduran nachos, composed of giant tortilla chips, refried beans and melted cheese. Named for an anafre, the coal-fired clay pot the dish is served in.

Pupusas: This Salvadorean staple is similar to an arepa: a thick, griddled corn cake stuffed with meat, cheese–usually a mild melting variety known as quesillo–chicarrones (pork cracklings), or queso con loroco (cheese with the buds or flowers of a vine native to Central America).street food vendorChoclo con queso: Boiled corn with slices or a chunk of mild, milky, fresh white cheese may not sound like much, but this roadside and market staple of Peru and Ecuador is irresistible. The secret is the corn, which is an indigenous Andean variety with large, white, nutty, starchy kernels. It’s satisfying as a snack all by itself, but it’s even better between bites of slightly salty queso.

Empanadas (empadinhas in Brazil): Perhaps the most ubiquitous Latin American street food, riffs on these baked or fried, stuffed pastries can be found from Argentina (where they’re practically a religion) and Chile to Costa Rica and El Salvador. The dough, which is usually lard-based, may be made from wheat, corn or plantain, with fillings ranging from melted, mild white cheese to meat, seafood, corn, or vegetables. In Ecuador, empanadas de viento (“wind”) are everywhere; they’re fried until airy,filled with sweetened queso fresco and dusted with powdered sugar.

Quesadillas: Nearly everyone loves these crisp little tortilla and cheese “sandwiches.” Traditionally cooked on a comal (a flat, cast-iron pan used as a griddle), they’re a popular street food and equally beloved Stateside.

Provoleta: This Argentinean and Uruguayan favorite is made from a domestic provolone cheese. It’s often seasoned with oregano or crushed chile, and grilled or placed on hot stones until caramelized and crispy on the exterior, and melted on the inside. It’s often served at asados (barbecues) as an appetizer, and accompanied by chimmichuri (an oil, herb, and spice sauce).
provoleta
Queijo coaljo: A firm, white, salty, squeaky cheese from Brazil; it’s most commonly sold on the beach on a stick, after being cooked over coals or in handheld charcoal ovens; also known as queijo assado.

Croquettes de Queijo: Cheese croquettes, a favorite appetizer or street food in Brazil.

Coxinhas: A type of Brazilian salgado (snack), these are popular late-night fare. Typically, coxinhas are shredded chicken coated in wheat or manioc flour that have been shaped into a drumstick, and fried. A variation is stuffed with catupiry, a gooey white melting cheese reminiscent of Laughing Cow. Like crack. Crack.

Queijadinhas: These irresistable little cheese custards are a popular snack in Brazil. Like Pringles, stopping at just one is nearly impossible.

Pão de queijo: Made with tapioca or wheat flour, these light, cheesy rolls are among the most popular breads in Brazil.

[Photo credit: Empanada, Flickr user ci_polla; food vendor, Provoleta, Laurel Miller]