Bring on Balboa Island

When seeking something to while away an afternoon we spotted a dot on the map in the middle of Newport Bay and, on closer inspection, we discovered the little landmass had a name, Balboa Island… CONTINUE READING >> 

It’s not often that we stumble upon a place that we have never heard of, but that was the case a few weeks ago when we met up with our son in Orange County California.

When seeking something to while away an afternoon we spotted a dot on the map in the middle of Newport Bay and, on closer inspection, we discovered the little landmass had a name, Balboa Island.

With our curiosity piqued, we headed over and began with an introduction at the Museum and Historical Society where we got the full scoop on the island’s origins and a peek at the inside of one of its famous cottages.

Balboa sprung forth from the minds of a pair of brothers, James and Bob McFadden, and a good bit of dredging. Back in the late 1860s the boys began to dig out the bay to facilitate shipping that they hoped would lead to a fortune. In the process, they piled all of the dredged up silt into a new parcel of terra firma.

In 1902 McFadden sold the Newport property to William S. Collins and C. A. Hanson and, not being ones to miss an opportunity, they immediately began to partition and sell lots. Little did they know that one day those parcels would be as valuable as almost anywhere in the world.

In fact, Balboa Island is now considered the most expensive real estate in America outside of Manhattan, with a modest two-bedroom house often going for around three million dollars. Yikes! Yes it’s all about the houses on the island.

That quickly became apparent as we walked around the quaint neighborhoods, but there is one other claim to fame here, the Balboa Bar.

While the origin is shrouded in mystery, there is no doubt that these ice cream squares coated with chocolate and dipped in sprinkles or crushed candy are the signature sweet of the island…

…unless they’re not, in which case a banana treated to the same process would be.

Either way, the treats are best procured at Dad’s Donuts or Sugar N Spice, where a long standing rivalry has raged as to who has the original and the best.

We tried both, and our opinion, not that it is expert in any way, shape, or form, is that it’s a toss-up. We found both to be A-OK.

Having had our dessert (and eaten it too) we decided to pop into Crocker’s “The Well Dressed Frank” for a main course. Backwards yes, but it felt right in keeping with our afternoon island escape. The Crocker name goes back quite a ways on the island, all the way to 1927 when grandpa was the first paid fire chief.

We must say, these were no ordinary dogs. Our Chicago Frank and Balboa Bratwurst sausages had it going on. Plump, snappy to the teeth, and deliciously piled high with toppings, we were glad we didn’t try to take them walking with us.

At the end of Marine Avenue, which serves as the main drag, we hit the bay, hung a right, and found the real top end real estate. These waterfront properties are the crème de la crème and along this stretch we found two of Balboa’s best known residences.

The first caught our attention not so much for the structure, but for the fact that a life sized likenesses of President Ronald Reagan was out front saying howdy. We soon noticed that the bronze Gipper wasn’t the only figure gazing out over the bay from the porch.

The President was flanked across the patio by an African woman sitting cross-legged in the shrubbery. We didn’t see any resemblance to the Eastern mystic, but for some reason she has become known as the Balboa Buddha.

Both are the work of the home’s resident, Miriam Baker, who has also portrayed Abraham Lincoln, Mozart, Ella Fitzgerald, and Cecile B. DeMille with stunning realism and to some acclaim. Her works are shown in the Smithsonian, several universities, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in Hollywood.

Just a few steps away we were intrigued again, this time by a house that itself is a work of art. Designed by renowned architect John Edward Lautner, this is one eye catching casa. The islanders call it the Jaws house, for the jaw-like appearance of the balcony.

Lautner’s fame as an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright helped to earn the home a spot on the National Register of Historic Places and Newport Beach’s list of historical landmarks, as well as upping the ante on the price into the 4 to 5 million range. Ouch!

High as that price tag is, there is one thing on the island that remains a real bargain, the ferry. To get the full island feel we took a little trip across the sea, well, maybe a half a mile or so, for only a buck.

The little boat can carry three cars and a dozen or so people to the mainland on Balboa Peninsula, where we were greeted by a small, and somewhat cheesy, amusement park.

But judging by the signs, what the rides lacked in size they made up for in length, as the Ferris Wheel claimed to be the world’s longest.

We didn’t stick around to find out. After all, we only had the afternoon.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Getting to Know Kuala Lumpur

Sometimes it feels like we could belt out the classic old country tune I’ve Been Everywhere without too much exaggeration, but then we stumble upon an overlooked destination and remember that we are always looking for somewhere new. Kuala Lumpur is just such a place… CONTINUE READING >> 

Sometimes it feels like we could belt out the classic old country tune I’ve Been Everywhere without too much exaggeration, but then we stumble upon an overlooked destination and remember that we are always looking for somewhere new. Kuala Lumpur is just such a place.

When the blip appeared on our radar we began to investigate, and boy did we like what we found, beginning with a climate that hardly varies no matter what the calendar says. Warm tropical days give way to temperate evenings year-round, perfect for exploring the many marvels of Malaysia’s capital and largest city.

Of course the first order of business is always getting there. For that there is no better way than AirAsia. With hubs across the entire continent, they serve 25 countries including Malaysia, Thailand, China, Japan, Vietnam, India, and Indonesia while being named as the world’s best low cost airline for eight straight years.


Image via Flickr by JohnSeb

Even arriving in Kuala Lumpur, known as simply KL by locals, is a treat since the International Airport has been ranked as one of the world’s top airports. It also has two of our favorite things, free Wi-Fi and a train that runs directly into the heart of the city.

In town Merdaka Square is a great place to start, beginning with the impressive Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. This old depot is an extraordinary example of the Neo-Moorish architectural style that was prevalent in the late eighteen hundreds.


Image via Flickr by Jorge Láscar

In addition to the station, Merdeka Square has several other fine examples of this blend of Eastern and Western architecture that combines British and North African designs, especially the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Old City Hall and the Jamek Mosque.

But the plaza is best known as the place where the Malaysia flag was first raised. A black marble plaque marks the spot and now a flag flies from one of the tallest flag poles in the world, standing over three hundred feet high.

Not far from the square the Lake Gardens, officially Perdana Botanical Gardens, offer a relaxing respite from the city. This is also home to Tugu Negara, the National Monument dedicated to the soldiers who gave up their lives for their country.


Image via Flickr by Anne.David. Malaysia

The massive bronze sculpture is the work of Felix de Weldon, who sculpted the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. The similarities are apparent, with both pieces featuring soldiers raising a flag.

Without a doubt the biggest thrill, and we are always seeking one, in Kuala Lumpur is the Golden Triangle. This is the place for some serious skyscraper scrutinizing, with the Petronas Twin Towers leading the pack. Until 2004 this was the tallest building in the world, and still holds forth in the top five.


Image via Flickr by praveen3

It is possible that the view from the nearby KL Tower is even better, since the tower is built on a hill. There is also a delightfully grandiose free film about the tower’s construction, simply irresistible for us in our never ending quest for the quirky. Top that off with a revolving restaurant and we have a can’t-miss mission.

Speaking of food, street side Mamak stalls are abundant throughout KL and the city is a great place for an introduction into Malaysian food because most people speak English and can explain exactly what is about to be chowed down.

Curry is hugely popular, including as a sauce alongside of the most common quick bite in Malaysia, roti canai. This cousin of the pancake is sometimes called flying bread because of the spinning and tossing (think pizzeria) involved in its creation.


Image via Flickr by Gary Soup

Wash it down with some teh Tarik, a frothy concoction of tea and hot milk, for the quintessential KL snack. The drink preparation can rival the dough throwing for showmanship, as the mixture is poured back and forth between two pots from ever expanding heights to give it a thick foamy head.

So now we realize that we have not been everywhere, certainly not until we take a trip to Kuala Lumpur.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

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Sir, Yes Sur! Driving the California Coast

The images look unbelievable, but they are real and they are spectacular. This is Big Sur. Waves crashing against the craggy coast, mist drifting up mountains that rise abruptly from the sea, and bridges impossibly clinging to cliffs made for a perfect day trip ending with elephant seals… CONTINUE READING >> 

Waves crashing against the craggy coast, mist drifting up mountains that rise abruptly from the sea, bridges impossibly clinging to cliffs — we’d seen the iconic photos of the California shore along the Pacific Coast Highway.

The images look unbelievable, but they are real and they are spectacular.

This is Big Sur.

The name Big Sur dates back to the Spanish explorers who dubbed this area “el sur grande” meaning “the big south.”

Sounds a little like a college football conference but really, this land IS big, sir.

This region has no official borders but is loosely considered the column of coast flanked by mountaintops and ocean that meanders between Carmel and San Simeon.

Running about ninety miles, it seems custom-made for a great day’s drive. Easy, even when including stops for sightseeing and sustenance.

For most of the trip we were within sight of the ocean and often looking straight down on it.

It can make a body queasy.

The Pacific Coast Highway, California State Highway 1, is a remarkable piece of road.

Thirty-three bridges connect one wickedly winding section of cliff-clinging roadway to the next.

It’s slow going and imperative to keep the old eyeballs glued to the blacktop — hard to do considering the magnificent vista viewing opportunities.

More than once Veronica gave me a gentle reminder that certain death may be impending if I didn’t focus…

OK, some not so gentle, depending on how many wheels were hanging over the edge of the cliff.

Construction of the road through Big Sur was completed in 1937 after eighteen years of work. Prior to that this was one of America’s most inaccessible areas — even now only about a thousand people live in the region.

The surprising lack of development is due not only to the difficult terrain, but also the incessant efforts of the inhabitants fighting to preserve this pristine place.

Monterey County has banned billboards along Highway 1 and has adopted some of the strictest land use policies in America — disallowing any new construction within view of the highway.

Believe me, the unobstructed view makes a huge difference.

These policies have kept Big Sur remarkably rustic.

There are no high-rise hotels, no fast food franchises, no supermarkets — or even towns to speak of — and only three gas stations along the way.

Most of the few lodging and dining options available are in Big Sur River Valley, where the road leaves the coast and enters a redwood forest for a bit.

When we stopped for a bite and a break we discovered that Big Sur is partially inhabited by a species I hadn’t encountered since my days in the Colorado Rockies back in the seventies.

Back woods, off the grid — part Grizzly Adams, part hippy, completely fascinating. Very friendly, very groovy and unafraid to train a wolf or half-wolf as a pet. Back in the day we called them mountain goats, not sure what they’re called in these parts, perhaps “Big Sirs.”

Whatever they go by, it was wonderful to make the reacquaintance.

About halfway down is Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

We parked next to McWay Creek and took the short hike to McWay Cove where the creek drops eighty feet over the edge into the ocean as McWay Falls.

We quickly learned why the trail to the falls was called Overlook Trail — the untouched little cove is wisely protected from large, clumsy tourist feet and we had to be satisfied with looking down upon it.

Nevertheless, this is a must-see spot along the McWay.

As we wound our way south, the scenery became slightly less spectacular and more and more surfer-dude-in-search-of-the-gnarly-wave.

Little did we know, we were in for a BIG surprise.

We rounded a corner and out of the blue were saw hundreds — if not thousands — of ginormous elephant seals lazily lounging in the afternoon sun.

Piles upon piles of blubbered bodies basking on the beach by Piedras Blancas.

We slammed on the brakes and wheeled off the highway into the parking area for a closer look.

The elephant seal had all but disappeared by the early 1900s due to excessive hunting.

Then, all of the sudden, in November of 1990 about twenty of the giants unexpectedly showed up in this small cove.

We’re ba-ack!

The population dramatically grew and by 1996 this beach became the birthing place, or rookery, for over a thousand new pups.

Through the efforts of The Friends of the Seals Central Coast, parking and viewing areas were constructed for the safety of both the seals and the spectators.

Members of The Friends man the viewing area to answer questions and make sure that nobody does anything profoundly stupid like go in for a close up look at a five thousand pound bull.

The elephant seal warning sign near Piedras Blancas, Big Sur, California

Different seasons bring different activities for the seals.

In the winter the females birth the pups, wean them and prepare themselves for breeding.

Meanwhile, the males stake out territory for their harems, defending or invading with extraordinary jousting battles.

It’s quite a spectacle, with a dose of gross.

Proboscises and slobber fly as the giant bulls bash their calloused necks against each other in an effort to drive away their rivals.

These bad boys really know how to throw their weight around. The winner gets the babes, the loser tries another foe or gives up and has to watch the procreation from afar.

Pretty strong motivation to win.

When springtime arrives, the adults skedaddle and the pups are left to fend for themselves.

No boomerang pups in elephant seal land. The pups seem quite adept at learning to swim on their own when the time comes to go off into the big wide world.

Watch: A one day-old baby seal hangs with his mommy, while the big boys fight for territory!

Over the summer, everybody returns to molt before heading back out to sea to stuff their faces and make more blubber.

The fall brings the juveniles, too young to breed, in for a rest before they have to clear the beach for the next round of birthing, battling and baby-making.

We were lucky enough on our visit to see the first pup of the season — just a few hours old.

Veronica’s mommy instinct kicked into high gear and proclaimed him “tiny and cute.” I suppose he was tiny compared to his blubbery beach mates, but he already weighed in at about seventy pounds.

Cute, I’ll give him — all babies are cute. It’s a survival mechanism, this way you love them even when they keep you up all night.

Have to say, it works like a charm.

As daylight waned, we completed our journey through Big Sur by making our way to Morro Bay, the nearest town of any size, in search of a place to sleep for the night.

The city is dominated by a 581-foot ginormous volcanic plug perched out in the bay… ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear it for the Gibraltar of the Pacific… Morro Rock!

Named and charted by the Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542, stories vary on whether he meant morro, a crown shaped rock or moro, a Moor’s head when he dubbed the protrusion.

Noggin or knob, it still made a bodacious backdrop for the sunset of an exhilarating day through Big Sur.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

See all of our adventures in California!

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Roman Around Trier, Germany

We have found that often the coolest places we encounter in our travels are not well known tourist destinations. Trier, known as the oldest city in Germany, is certainly one of those places… CONTINUE READING >> 

We have found that often the coolest places we encounter in our travels are not well known tourist destinations. Trier, known as the oldest city in Germany, is certainly one of those places.

Oldest may even be an understatement. The city is certifiably ancient. Before we even made it into town we were literally crossing over history, because the bridge over the Moselle River is nearly two thousand years old.

Römerbrücke, the Roman Bridge, and the entire city dates back to when this was called Augusta Treverorum, meaning the City of Augustus in the land of the Treveri. Over time it would become one of Rome’s most important municipalities.

For several centuries this was the main outpost for the northern expansion of the empire. Then, around the year 305, Constantine arrived and things really took off. He designed Trier as his imperial city and from here his military exploits led to becoming Emperor.

We learned, once we were inside the ancient walls, that much of his handiwork is still visible. In fact, this is the most impressive array of Roman ruins, as well as intact structures, that we have seen anywhere other than The Eternal City itself.

First we passed the Roman baths, or Kaiserthermen, which were specifically designed to rival the best in Rome. Heated water from six boilers, four of which are still visible in the ruins, fed three pools for bathers.

But this was more than just a place for cleaning up, citizens could gamble, take care of business, or go to a hairdresser or a pub.

As impressive as the baths are, they are in a state of disrepair, which could not be said for our next stop. The Konstantinbasilika, or Aula Palatina, that Emperor Constantine built is still standing tall.

The Roman brick layers that constructed this Palace Basilica in the year 310 can’t take all of the credit for its longevity though, since major rebuilds have been required over time. The most extensive after the building was damaged in an air raid during World War II.

This was one of the largest covered spaces ever built by the Romans, and certainly the biggest still intact. As with many Roman structures, it became a church and today serves as the Church of the Redeemer, a congregation within the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland.

During the Middle Ages, it was also used as a home for the bishop until a more proper palace was constructed in the seventeenth century. The newer ornate quarters are connected to the basilica and look every bit fit for a king, or at least a prince.

The regal residence became known as the Electoral Palace because it was the seat for Electors and Archbishops when Trier was under the rule of the Holy Roman Empire, which had no relation to the old Romans who had ruled before.

It is considered one of the most elaborate palaces in the world and now contains the offices of the District Administration. Not bad digs as government work goes.

Because of its age the city is quite compact, so it was an easy walk to the center where the non-Roman landmarks are located. On the way we passed two of Trier’s most venerable churches.

The Liebfrauenkirche, Church of Our Lady, holds the title of the oldest Gothic church in Germany. An inscription in the church reads: “The construction of this church was started in 1227 and ended in 1243,” but due to the unreliable nature of calendars back then the exact date of construction cannot be determined.

In the same year that Columbus sailed the ocean blue (1492 for those who don’t recall the old schoolhouse rhyme) the tower was topped off and then, like so many buildings across Germany, was destroyed by bombs in the Second World War.

Right next door, the High Cathedral of Saint Peter is the oldest church of any kind in the country. After Constantine converted to Christianity in 312, Bishop Maximin of Trier was determined to create the greatest collection of religious structures anywhere outside of Rome.

The cathedral, built on top of Roman ruins, was the centerpiece before being ransacked by the Franks a few centuries later, but it was rebuilt. Then the Normans destroyed the church again in 882, and again it was restored.

Moving into the newer part of town, where some of the buildings are even less than a thousand years old, we came to the main square, the Hauptmarkt.

A Market Cross, which are more common in Great Britain, marks the place that the royalty had designated for buying and selling. In this case, it also served as a pillory and holes can still be seen where the chains and shackles were attached.

Funny how little has changed, because this is still a place of commerce today. Maybe that is what drove Karl Marx to communism. Wait, what?

Oh yeah, Karl Marx was from Trier, and his house is very near the marketplace. This is not his birthplace, that is a museum about a half a mile away, but in a bit of irony this home where he spent his teens is now a Euro Shop, or what we know as a dollar store.

Somehow we just don’t see the author of The Communist Manifesto shouting out, “price check on aisle 3,” before bursting into laughter because everything costs one Euro. No, that humor might be just a touch too capitalist.

Perhaps Trier’s most famous landmark is the Porta Nigra, or black gate, which was our way out of the old center. This is the only remaining of four original passages through the defensive city walls that the Romans built around 200 AD.

We have Napoleon Bonaparte to thank for the fact that the gate still exists. On a visit to Trier in 1804 Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be returned to its original state after being converted to a church.

Guess we weren’t alone in finding Trier to be a very cool place to visit.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

See all of our adventures in Germany!

Written aboard the Longship Odin on her river voyage with stops in ParisLuxembourg, Trier, Cochem, Heidelberg, Wurzburg, RothenburgNuremberg and Prague. Thanks to Viking River Cruises for inviting us along and providing this adventure! As always, all opinions are our own.

A Halloween Buffet: A Scary Food Tour of the World

How about a terrifying tour of the globe just in time for Halloween? As GypsyNesters, our quest is to see the world and share it in our own quirky way. But why should we have all the fun?

For some varied perspectives, we asked the web’s best independent travel bloggers to send us their best “Weird Food” experiences. We hit a goldmine of unusual, unappetizing, or just plain unnerving regional food photos from around the world!… CONTINUE READING >>

How about a terrifying tour of the globe just in time for Halloween? As GypsyNesters, our quest is to see the world and share it in our own quirky way. But why should we have all the fun?

For some varied perspectives, we asked the web’s best independent travel bloggers to send us their best “Weird Food” experiences. We hit a goldmine of unusual, unappetizing, or just plain unnerving regional food photos from around the world!

Gruesome Duck Embryo in Thailand from Living the Dream


Says Jeremy, “My weirdest regional food is Balut from Vietnam and other SE Asia countries.  Between you and me, it tastes like chicken.”

A Slimy Selection in Africa from Backpack ME


Says Zara, “If you thought eating snails (or fancy escargot in France) is too “been there, done that” try getting your mouth around these African Snails that can weigh up to 1Kg!!”

Rocky Horror Oyster Show in Montana from GypsyNester.com


What sort of outrageous ogre goes around eating the reproductive organs of innocent animals? Rocky Mountain oysters, considered a delicacy by many Montana mountain folk, are made by slicing and frying — you got it — bull testicles. More on this delicacy and the Testicle Festival

Baked House Pet in Peru from Trips That Work


Says Irina, “For me the weirdest food out there is the one that’s cooked with teeth & nails… It was crappy to eat this little guy in Cusco because I actually owned a pet guinea pig before.” (We ate cuy too- near Machu Picchu!)

Impaled Worms in Peru from Shoutography


Says Lydian: “As big as your thumb, these little worms – locally called ‘suri’ – will happily crawl around in a bowl until they will be put on the grill to be prepared for you. As a vegetarian I passed on this ‘exotic’ experience, but I have been told that as soon as you get used to the soft structure of the suri, the taste is actually pretty ok.”

Voodoo Doughnuts in Oregon from GypsyNester.com


Says David, “Portland Oregon’s breakfast of champions, for sorcerers that is. Nothing hits the spot like a “Voodoo Doll” with a pretzel stick through his heart, bleeding raspberry-blood filling. Our little chocolate frosted supernatural pin cushion was a-dough-rable, and tasty to boot. Best of all, curses don’t cost extra.” More on Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon

Abominable Snowman Chow in Singapore from Sidewalk Safari


Ice Kachang looks like simple shaved ice on the outside but then you dig in you find all sorts of goodness, like corn, kidney beans, and jello cubes.  It’s like parents conspired to hide healthy fillings in a child’s favorite treat.  It’s definitely a weird medley of flavors and textures!

The Screaming of the Lambs in Norway from of Sophie’s World


Sophie tells us, “Smalahove is a traditional delicacy in Western Norway, especially at Christmas. The lamb’s head is torched, then salted or smoked, and finally steamed and served with potatoes, vegetables, sausages and sometimes peas and bacon. So – it’s really only smoked lamb, only the way it’s served is different. You’re left in no doubt as to what you’re eating.”

No mention of whether it’s best served with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

The Vampire’s Favorite – Blood Sausage in Spain from GypsyNester.com


Says Veronica, “Warning, may cause the Transylvania Two-Step… even in Spain. True story, when we asked our waitress what it was, she mimicked slitting her wrist. Didn’t make it more appetizing! We gobbled as many tapas we could get our greedy mitts on in Barcelona

An Electrifying Discovery in Spain from Travel Past 50


Says Tom, “Gee, it’s going to be hard to top bugs, so I’ll just go with baby eels. Delicious baby eels in Spain. And a mother of pearl spork to eat them without tainting their delicate flavor with a metal fork.”

Bite Your Tongue in Newfoundland from GypsyNester.com


Says David about the delicacy of the Newfoundland cod tongues, “Fried tidbits straight from the fish’s mouth, served with scrunchions, deep fried pork fat bits. The tongues just tasted like cod, with a very slight gelled consistency. And everything’s good with a little pig fat on it.” We ate cod tongues here.

Toxic Creepy Crawlers in China from Points and Travel


Says Cacinda, “I found plenty of strange foods in China during my visit, but was particularly afraid of eating these things!”

Eat Your Heat Out. And Your Lungs in Austria. From GypsyNester.com

Says Veronica, “A meal fit for a zombie: We spotted Beuscherl on the menu, which was translated into English as “Salsburgs Calf’s Lights served with Dumpling.” Without the slightest idea what “Calf’s Lights” might be, we ordered it. Our waitress must have seen this mistake made before, because she immediately asked, “You do understand that this is heart and lungs of baby cow?” Bet she’s grabbed a torch and chased a monster back to the castle a time or two.” Ingested in Salzburg, Austria

A Ghoulish Goo from Our Oyster


Says Jade, “Ok so this isn’t as weird as some of the others – but its a Canadian favourite… Poutine! French fries, gravy and cheese curd… nom nom nom” More on poutine here!

Headless Horseman Cheese from GypsyNester.com


Now we know where ole Ichabod’s head ended up. Head Cheese, meat jelly made from the head, with chunks of meat tossed in. Creeped us out on market day in Wangen, Germany

Decapitated Bunnies from Ferreting Out the Fun


Says Heather, “I saw loads of weird food items during my two years in China. Skewered insects, fried chicken feet, bowls of rotten tofu, the list goes on. But the most memorable has to be the platters of roasted rabbit heads sold on the street in Chengdu. There was something about those curving teeth that sent shivers down my spine!”

Platter of Entrails – Argentine Barbecue (for one) from GypsyNester.com


A meal fit for a monster. We found most of it barely edible, a bit of a ghastly gastric experience. Tripe, sweetbread (which is a fancy name for pancreas or other mysterious glands), kidney, some kind of intestines or something and, udder? Holy cow! Literally, holy cow! Lots of tricks and very little treat. Cautiously nibbled upon in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Jumping Jiminy in Mexico from Lunaguava

Says FW, “I eat shrimp and other bugs of the sea, so I’m usually fine with trying some crunchy terrestrial goodness as well. Case in point, these chapulines (grasshoppers) with chile and garlic we had in Oaxaca, Mexico. They went really well with bits of orange, to cut the spice and add a bit of zest.”

A Platter of Pupae from GypsyNester.com


Says Veronica, “The incredibly unpleasant aroma led me to trying the garnish first, asking every member of the staff how to go about ingesting the worms, bringing one right up to my lips and chickening out (by the way, they most decidedly do not taste like chicken), and utilizing every other excuse I could come up with to delay the inevitable. Seriously, a medal for bravery might have been in order. Don’t believe I ate silkworms? Click here!

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: Got a fiendish favorite?