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About Nicole Jacobson

New Jersey-native Nicole got a taste for international travel at the University of Delaware where she majored in Spanish & Communication and studied abroad in Mexico, Argentina and Spain. Years later she decided to leave her career in food & beverage PR and bought a one-way ticket to Vietnam to embark on her first solo backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, eating her weight in pho and Thai curries. She’s currently living in Cartagena, Colombia where there is no shortage of fresh fish, coconut rice and patacones. Follow her travels through Colombia on Instagram @NikJacobson.

Doña Eutimia, La Habana, Cuba

Visiting Havana, Cuba is like riding a time machine back to an era of vintage muscle cars and crumbling colonial buildings, before there were cell phones or Internet. For budget travelers, finding a high-quality paladar (privately-owned restaurant) without overpaying can be a daunting task. Enter Doña Eutimia: a well-known yet authentic restaurant in the heart of Old Havana. Hidden down a cobblestone alley off the regal Plaza de la Catedral, Doña Eutimia boasts consistently-superb Cuban cuisine at surprisingly modest prices. If you can stand the heat, outside seating provides the occasional stray chicken circling your feet while street musicians perform popular Latin tunes. The shrimp appetizer ($5) is simplistically grilled [...]

Pachapapa, Cusco, Peru

If you've ever wondered what upscale Andian cuisine tastes like, Pachapapa — which translates to father earth — is a must try in Cusco, Peru. Not adventurous enough to eat the local specialty of whole guinea pig, we did try the marinated alpaca skewers (26 soles/ $8.21). An interesting texture, the closest comparison is beef, with an earthy flavor. The scent of the wood fire oven prompted us to order the smoked trout pizza (29 soles/ $9.15) with mozzarella, capers, onions and arugula. Being inland, river trout is typically the fish of the day in Cusco, and the mildly sweet tomato sauce contrasting with the salty and savory taste of [...]

Capital Cocina y Cafe, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Wandering the cobblestone streets of bustling Bogotá, it may be easy to overlook the tiny restaurant Capital Cocina. Located in La Candelaria, a vibrant and historic neighborhood filled with hostels, university students, bars and street art, this restaurant serves one of the best steaks I've ever eaten -- and for a huge bargain. Upon returning the second night, the waiter recognized us and brought over a crispy baked potato chip appetizer with creamy dill yogurt and a spicy red pepper purée for dipping. The main event, the steak entree (Filete de Res: 26,000 pesos/ $10.24) is a hearty portion, perfectly tender and cuts with a butter knife -- no steak knife necessary! That night [...]

By |2017-10-24T07:30:22-04:00August 15th, 2015|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants, xyz misc|0 Comments

La Cocina Pepina, Cartegena, Colombia

La Cocina Pepina, Cartagena's hard-to-find Carib-Colombian restaurant in the lively and funky Getsemani neighborhood, is worth the hunt. Blending in to the colorful street with a bright yellow facade, the restaurant's interior is relaxed with rustic and traditional decor. Cartagena is known to have a booming culinary scene with Caribbean and international fare that can rival any American metropolis. This restaurant is no exception. The outstanding appetizer of camarones en aguacate (22,000 pesos/$8.52) is a flavorful and fresh medley of sautéed shrimp, avocado, tomato, red and green pepper, finely chopped onion, cilantro and lime. The perfect starter on a hot afternoon. The dorado asado (29,000 pesos/$11.24) is the dish I [...]

By |2017-10-24T07:37:56-04:00July 11th, 2015|World, World Restaurants, World Travel|0 Comments

La Bodega, Tamarindo, Costa Rica

While the touristy beach town of Tamarindo offers a plethora of international options from Mexican to Israeli, it's La Bodega, the small and unassuming cafe off the main road that packs some of the most impressive flavors in town. The friendly service and relaxed atmosphere are an added bonus to the daily specials (all local and organic) like Greek chicken salad, fresh fruit smoothies and tasty breakfast dishes. The omelet filled with fluffy eggs, queso fresco, bacon, onions, tomato, green peppers and basil (2500 col/$4.70) is flavorful perfection. The iced coffee from Terrazu, known as the Napa valley of Costa Rican coffee is top notch and refreshing. There's even an [...]

By |2017-10-24T07:37:42-04:00June 20th, 2015|World, World Restaurants, World Travel|1 Comment

Ranchos Morgan, Ometepe, Nicaragua

Situated on the Lake Nicaragua shoreline of Isla Ometepe, Ranchos Morgan is a hidden gem with fresh local dishes at a serious bargain. Sunset dining means sipping mojitos (45 Córdobas/$1.69) with basil from the property's herb garden while watching the locals ride by on horseback with a backdrop of Maderas Volcano. For dinner we shared the chicken filet with a creamy mushroom sauce flavored with onion and garlic (150 Córdobas /$5.65). It was accompanied by our-soon-to-be favorite side dish in Latin America-- patacones-- lightly breaded and fried plantain patties, a salty sweet delight. The clear winner though, was the tender filleted fish in a parsley, garlic and olive oil sauce [...]

Usine Gastro Cafe, Bangkok, Thailand

Escaping the chaos of touristy Khao San Road, I ventured to Bangkok's predominantly-Thai residential neighborhood, Ratchathewi, to stay with an expat friend living in the city. It was there in the minimalist and modern Usine Gastro Cafe that I enjoyed one of my favorite meals in all of Thailand, coincidentally it was also my last meal before leaving Asia. We shared three dishes, all incorporating traditional Thai ingredients. The soft shell crab salad for 250 baht ($7.83) was a delectable way to start the meal. The crispy crab sat upon a mix of fresh cilantro, roasted peanuts, carrots, diced chillies and onions. We shared two main courses, Larb Woon Sen [...]

By |2017-10-24T07:39:01-04:00November 21st, 2014|World, World Restaurants, World Travel|0 Comments

Porgu Tallinn, Estonia

It's not everyday I can go to hell for dinner, but Porgu, which literally translates to "hell" in Estonian is worth the trip to Tallinn's underworld. The inventive menu drew us to this cave-like cellar adorned with wrought iron chandeliers and blood red walls. Contrary to the name, the service is both attentive and prompt, the food delightfully decadent. Starting with the unassuming baked pork ribs "snack" ($7.90 euro/ $10.38), a portion arrived that could have been the main meal. If Porgu is hell, their ribs are heaven -- coated in a spicy, slightly sweet glaze and topped with minced garlic, chillies and parsley. In between bites, we sipped a [...]

By |2017-10-24T07:34:58-04:00October 29th, 2014|World, World Restaurants|0 Comments

Trei, Kep, Cambodia

Growing in popularity, the small nation of Cambodia has become a desirable stop for both bucket-list travelers visiting Angkor Wat and backpackers searching for a beachside paradise to rival Thailand. This hidden gem is a surprising destination for some of the tastiest crab. Reading about the must-eat crab in our guidebook, my travel companion and I ventured to Kep, small fishing village,a two hour drive from the coastal hub city Sihanoukville. The crab market there is a row of rustic clapboard eateries on stilts lining the water. We wandered into Trei, one of the more charming huts with a shady table overlooking the water and a cool sea breeze. Their [...]

By |2017-10-24T07:40:00-04:00October 3rd, 2014|World, World Restaurants, World Travel|0 Comments