Food Week: Reader submissions

Urban legend often attributes Marie Antoinette with saying, “let them eat cake” a phrase with associates the French with expensive taste in dining. Yet one of the best and most flavorful French dining experiences is a budget luxury- a Ladurée petit macaron priced at an affordable €1.65. — Jen Pollack Bianco,

It’s been a wild and wonderful food week here at Gadling, complete with food stories from all corners of the world and a lifetime of pictures and inspiration. If you missed the highlights, make sure you check out David Farley’s piece on a chance encounter in Calcatta, Italy, Laurel Miller’s discussion on the overuse of the term “foodie” or Kyle Ellison’s introspective on why we take pictures of food.

Things come to a close and return to normal publishing at the end of today, and to celebrate our wonderful week we’re featuring a gallery of user submissions over its course. So with further ado, please find some of the best pictures (and captions if available) below. Thanks for playing a part. — Grant Martin, Editor in Chief

The finished bowl of ramen stares up at me, a mountain of noodles in a swirling sea of golden yellow miso; a forest of bamboo shoots next to minced pork beneath crispy fresh bean sprouts. A ceramic spoon floats at the edge but I dive in with wooden chopsticks while Sakae slurps up his ramen using both utensils at once. — Andrew Evans, National Geographic’s Digital Nomad

Fresh warm spring rolls filled with mushrooms and spiced pork, folded and topped with fried garlic. From the street stalls of Luang Prabang, Laos. — [From our favorite Legal Nomad –ed] Jodi Ettenberg,

Fernando’s in Macau has some really amazing porkGary Leff, View from the Wing.

Taipei, Taiwan – Me eating my pork filet out of my toilet. — Calvin Lee

Here’s room service at the Fairmont Vancouver. Fresh & delish. — Kim Lowe, Bing Travel

The village of Njegusi, Montenegro has two important claims to fame. This was the hometown of the House of Petrovic-Njegos, the dynasty that ruled Montenegro for much of its history (1696-1918).
Njegusi is also famous for producing its own special type of air-dried ham, called Njeguski prsut. Locals explain that, because this meadow overlooks the sea on one side, and the mountains on the other, the wind changes direction 10 times each day, alternating between dry mountain breeze and salty sea air, perfect for seasoning and drying ham hocks. For good measure, the prsut is also smoked with beech wood.
Our guide took us into this local restaurant and we sampled prsut, homemade cheese and bread. — Sandra Mathewson

This is a shot of my brother enjoying a scorpion on a stick on Beijing’s famed Wangfujing Street (snack street). It is a great place to sample the oddities of Chinese cuisine (starfish, sheep penis, etc) … or watch others do it. The scorpions are well-salted and taste like popcorn. — Trent,

Food from a Viennese coffee house – up front is a cup of delicious hot chocolate made the right way, hence with milk. As well as a slice of Bananenschnitte, which is a banana cream dessert topped with a fine layer of chocolate. In the background is a traditional Viennese coffee with more than likely a poppy seed roll. Yum! — Kat Shoebox

Here’s a photo of an exotic food I would like to share. Here’s a piece of man shaped sponge cake bathing in chocolate syrup that I’ve ate in Tokyo. I hope you like it! — Patience Lee

Meet the “mitraillette” or its English translation of “submachine gun.” I discovered it in Brussels and yes, it’s a baguette covered in a meat of your choosing, the famous twice-fried Belgium fries and cheese sauce. — Ethan Adeland,

Mom’s dinner on the coast of the English Channel, Brittany, France — Mike Martin (My dad)

Postagram app turns your Instagram photos into postcards

The whole crew here at Gadling loves sending postcards. Heck, we love receiving them, too. Sadly, handwritten notes – including postcards – are nowhere near as popular as they used to be. Why send a postcard from the road when you can instantly Skype or IM with someone? Why send one stock photo when you can upload all of your own pictures? The answer to both questions is the same: sending someone a personalized, analog message shows that in that moment, at that place, you were thinking of them and wanted to put some effort into showing them just that. Thankfully, there’s a new iPhone app that combines the thoughtfulness of postcards with modern social networking. Postagram allows iPhone users to turn pictures from the Instagram app into real postcards.Our friends over at TechCrunch shared the info on Postagram earlier today. For just 99 cents, users can turn any one of their Instagram photos into a postcard, add a 140-character message and have it printed and in the recipient’s hand in 2-5 business days (longer for international shipping). Users can do everything from the Postagram iPhone app or on the Postagram website. The picture can even be popped out of the postcard if the recipient just wants the image without the message.

We think this is a great tool for sending postcards to friends, especially if you’re in a location where finding a post office is challenging. And the price is cheaper than the cost of buying a postcard and a stamp in many places.

Certainly there are downsides. The 140-character limit means that you can’t write much of a note to accompany the picture. Also, while it does save the addresses that you enter to mail Postagrams, we’d love to see it access your iPhone’s contacts to make selecting recipients and inputting their addresses that much quicker and easier. Lastly, since it won’t be mailed from your location, it lacks the mystique of postmarks from faraway lands.

That said, it’s still a unique image that you took and chose to share with someone. In that sense, it still maintains the personal feel of postcards.

Anyone who signs up today will receive their first Postagram for free, which is a nice way to try out the app and service. I just made my first Postagram (for free, since I signed up today) and it was quick and easy. Oddly, while their site says that the Postagram will arrive in 2-5 days, the app itself said that it would take 3-7 days. That’s certainly something to keep an eye on.

Postagram is free and available on the iPhone App Store.

[Via TechCrunch]

Christmas pictures from around the world

Our friend and colleague over at Thebrooklynnomad has been busy preparing for the holidays and just put together a few photos in honor of the holiday around the planet. Among his photos are Christmas shots from Paris, Lisbon, New York City, Beijing and Prague.

You can see both part 1 and part 2 of the series over at his site. Merry Christmas from Gadling!

African safari game drives – five things you must know

On my recent African safari in Zambia, I went on game drives every day, sometimes twice. I was hosted by guides from Abercrombie & Kent and Sanctuary Retreats, so I was well taken care of, but there was definitely a learning curve and I didn’t have the best practices nailed down until the third or fourth time out. African safari game drives are thrilling and rewarding, but they can also be wildly uncomfortable if you’re doing it wrong.

Here are five essential tips to take with you to Africa before you head out on a game drive of your own:

1. Wear light colored clothing.

It’s not just a fashion thing, and it’s not, as some ludicrously believe, all that functional as camouflage — most animals spot movement better than shapes anyhow. You should wear light colored clothing on a game drive because dark colors attract tsetse flies. They bite. A lot.

2. Go early.

I’m not a huge fan of a 5:00 AM wakeup call (or anything before 8, really), but I quickly learned that the crack of dawn is the best time to see game. The animals come out for breakfast and a drink of water before it gets hot. Furthermore, a morning game drive is a lot more comfortable than the sweltering hours of the afternoon or the buggy sunset.

3. Bring a pen and paper.

You may have your amazing-lens camera at the ready, but remembering which animal or bird is which is virtually impossible without some help. It’s a shame to have endless pictures of things you can’t identify properly (What kind of monkey? Is that a hawk’s nest or an eagle’s nest?). Our camps provided us with checklists for the game we could spot, which certainly helps, but keeping a simple list in chronological order will be even more helpful for identification when you’re going through your photos later.

4. Ask to see what you want to see.

Your guide is not a mind-reader. If you don’t say what you want to see, you’ll get a general tour — when it could be directly focused on what’s important to you. Some people are birdwatchers, some want to catch a leopard in a tree, and some want to make sure they see every kind of monkey. Your guide probably knows the park, the animals in it, and where they hang out very well. If you want to see lions, for example, your guide will know a couple of places they’ve been spotted recently. You’ll still be doing plenty of birdwatching and see a vast array of other animals, but by letting your guide know you want lions, your chances of encountering them are greatly increased.

5. Listen to your guide.

This last tip may sound like a no-brainer, but when I asked my guide in South Luangwa National Park what the most important tip for new safari-ers is, he said that it’s listening. Apparently, his most common peeve is when he drives near to an animal and says “stay seated please,” and then the guests spot the animal and leap to their feet with their cameras, scaring it away. If you are good to your guide, your guide will be good to you and take you to the best spots — don’t take them or their advice for granted.

Also, check out what to do if your safari vehicle gets stuck: Safari vehicles – stuck in the river with you.

[Photos by Annie Scott.]

My trip to Zambia was sponsored by Abercrombie & Kent and Sanctuary Retreats, but the ideas and opinions expressed in this article are 100 percent my own.

How green is Greenland?

Is Greenland Green? The question and oft-given answer are cliché–even you’ve heard it before: that Iceland is really green whereas Greenland is covered with ice and snow.

Well, I’m about to set the record straight, right here, right now, because after spending more than a week in Greenland, I can tell you that Greenland is in fact, very, very GREEN.

Yes, it’s true that a Europe-sized piece of mile-thick ice covers a good 85% of the country. However, the peripheral parts of Greenland are quite open and even lush, especially in the long sun of late summer. Imposing mountains and immense sloping valleys bleed with bright green, a stunning color that is made even brighter by the dry air and utter lack of pollution.

Viking explorer and cunning marketer Eric the Red named Grønland (“green land”) in 982 AD because it was in fact green but also because he was trying to lull colonists from the warmer shores of Iceland. It worked back then, and a thousand years later, the colorful name of earth’s least-known country still provokes a strange wonderment.

The following photo essay shows the true green of Greenland, unedited and unplugged. Whether or not it’s intentional, the country shows a constant theme of the color for which it is named.%Gallery-101755%