International Club of DC


This story is courtesy of my dear friend Lynn Burnett (dcasw), who turned me on to this wonderful organization in the District of Columbia, The International Club of DC. Thanks Lynn!

If you plan to visit the Washington DC area or you live near the district, you may want to check out the list of weekly cultural activities offered by The International Club of DC.

The International Club of DC is a social/cultural organization that arranges these amazing weekly artistic, culinary and touring activities in Washington DC. Many of their activities are sponsored or offered in partnership with Washington DC embassies and museums, so you get a chance to take part in authentic cultural events like tango dances in the Argentinian Embassy, or cooking classes in the Greek embassy.

This month for instance, there are Potomac river boat tours to view the Cherry Blossoms, tours of the Capitol and of the Finnish Embassy, the first ever "green" embassy in DC and there's a Gala evening in the Embassy of Greece with dancing and Greek food. This is just a couple of the events, the list just goes on and on.

In my opinion, it is best to sign up for their periodical newsletter, but you can also check their official website for updated information on monthly activities. Here's their site's address: http://www.internationalclubdc.com

If you attend any of their swanky cultural events in any one of these gorgeous embassy buildings in DC, let us know how it goes and have fun in the district like a sophisticated insider!


El Morro, Puerto Rico


This past week, I visited El Morro - a historic Spanish Citadel located in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was originally built by the Spanish during the 1500's to protect the island from it's numerous invaders. Today, it is a World Heritage Site that sits on the edge of the water overlooking Old San Juan.

If you are interested in visiting El Morro, you can either take a taxi from the hotel to Old San Juan for around $16.00 each way or you can take the city bus #21 like I did, from a few steps away from the hotel (ask concierge for directions) for $.75 cents each way (have exact change in hand).

Get off at the last bus stop. This is the start of the historic district of Old San Juan. From here, you can reach El Morro after an easy walk through the charming cobbled stones streets of Old San Juan.

As you walk towards El Morro, take your time to get lost in the narrow streets of Old San Juan. Peak inside the quaint art galleries, the colorful stores and the inviting restaurants along the way. You'll have enough time to eventually end on the other end of the old town and by the water, you will find the monumental El Morro site.

To enter the the citadel, there's a $3.00 admission charge. Pay it, its worth it, I promise. Also, it contributes to the maintenance of this gorgeous site.

Have your camera ready. There will be many fantastic photo opportunities around the fort. If you wish to read more about El Morro's history, please click on the following link. El Morro, Puerto Rico El Morro, El Morro History.

Here are a few of the photos I took while I visited El Morro and Old
San Juan.


10 Common Ordering Mistakes People Make in Paris - David Lebovitz


This is a great article by written by David Levovitz on "the most common mistakes people make in Paris".

10 Common Ordering Mistakes People Make in Paris - David Lebovitz.

Additional Possible Mistakes when ordering food in France, by me:

- When ordering kidneys from the menu ( if ever ) don't mistake Rognon (kidney) for
Rognons Blancs
- the latter are testicles.

- Don't confuse Riz (rice) for Ris - the second one is sweetbreads - pancreas.

- Poule is hen/ Poulet de Bress is free range chicken / Poularde is capon or fatted chicken /
Poussin is spring chicken.

- Potage is a thick soup / Soupe is soup / Consomme is broth / Bisque is chowder.

- Pomme is an apple / Pomme de Terre is a potatoe.

- Haricots Verts are green beans / Haricot de mer are small clams / Haricot de mouton
is a mutton stew.

- Glace is ice cream / Glace Cremeuse is ice cream / Glace de Poisson is fish sock / Glace
de Viande is concentrated meat stock.

- Fromage is cheese / Fromage de Tete is not cheese; its a sausage made from the the meat
of a pigs head cooked in gelatinous meat broth served cold (ewe!)

- Foie is liver / Foie de veau is claf's liver / Foie de Grand Mere is calf's liver sauteed with
onions, bacon and potatoes / Foie Grass is fattened goose liver / Foie Grass de Canard is
fattened duck liver.

- Escalope is not scallops, its a cutlet, as in veal cutlet / Coquille is scallops, as in Coquille St.

- American coffee is Cafe Elongee / Cafe Creme is coffee with cream / Cafe Frappe is iced
cofee / Cafe Glace is coffee ice cream or iced coffee / Cafe Noir is black coffee / Cafe
Expresso is expresso / Cafe is expresso / Cafe Decafiene is decaf.

- Boudin is blood sausage or "black pudding" / Boudin Blanc is white sausage / Boudin
is spicy blood sausage.

- Unless you specifically wish to eat these, stay away from ordering them:

- Abats or Abattis
- organ meats
- Cervelle - brains
- Cochon de Lait en Gele - suckling pig in aspic (gelatin)
- Hure de Porc - Pigs head
- Jambonneau - pigs knuckle
- Museau de Veau - calf's muzzle
- Panne de Porc - The fat from the kidneys of a pig
- Sanglier - wild boar
- Steak Tartare - raw ground beef served topped with a raw egg
- Tablier de Sapeur - Grilled breaded tripe
- Tete de Veau Vinagrette - calf's head with vinegar and oil dressing
- Tripe a la mode de Caen - Tripe baked with calf's feet (yum!)
- Tripes - Tripe in any form

I hope this helps you some to navigate the slippery road of ordering meals in France.
Bon Appetite!


Cherry Blossoms in DC


If you're in Washington DC anytime in the next few weeks until mid-April, don't miss the Cherry Blossoms by the Jefferson Memorial in The Mall. It's a sea of spectacular pinks and whites that mark the start of spring in the nations capital.

You wont be alone, so get there early! I mean it! Otherwise, it will be just too crowded. I planned to arrive on The Mall by 7 am this past Saturday to avoid the crowds, but when I got there, I found hoards of people already parked at the tidal basin with their tripods and cameras angling for the best morning shots of the gorgeous blooms. Who can blame them really, it was magnificent.

Here are some shots I took of the Cherry Blossoms. If you want more information on possible dates of the blooms, you can click on the enclosed official site for the Cherry Blossoms. Bloom Watch.

ps- The best way to get there if you're already in the district, is either by taxi, or by Metro to the Smithsonian Exit or by bike (my favorite way). To rent a bike, go to the Georgetown boathouse located at the end of Wisconsin Avenue, on the river. It's almost in front of the Watergate buildings on the river's edge. Bring your license and a credit card. The rental, plus a lock (get one so you can park the bike while you visit the museums or the monuments if you want) should run you about $20 to $30 dollars for the day. By far, THE BEST WAY to see The Mall, the Lincoln Memorial, the WWII Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, The Smithsonian Museums and The Capitol.


MOSCOW - Hot Baked Potatoes!


Sometimes all one craves after a long international flight is a small, hot snack before crashing into deep REM in your hotel bed. In Moscow, you can go to "Mr. Potato"- at least, that's what I call the place, since I can't read the sign in front of the store. They serve perfect sized, large, hot baked potatoes stuffed with a variety of fillings of your choice to eat there or to take out.

"Mr. Potato" is a diminutive store no larger than a walking closet. It's primarily a take-out place, but they do have three or four stools along a tiny, cramped bar in case you prefer to eat your potato right there when you purchase it.

"Mr. Potato" is located across the street from Coffee Mania, on Nikitskaya Street, with in walking distance of our downtown layover hotel. Ask the concierge for directions before you leave the hotel. Hint, the inside is bright yellow and the logo on the entry door, is a circle containing a man carrying a huge potato (photo enclosed).

A baked potato with one or two fillings at "Mr. Potato" will set you back a couple of bucks and it will leave you tummy warm and full. Eat one and you will feel "just right" to head back to your room for some badly needed sleep.

"Mr. Potato" is a chain, so wherever you see the logo around the city, you'll be able to step in for a freshly baked and stuffed potato.


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