about We are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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Tag: Africa
lions rest

We spent four years in and out of the United States, eating from street food vendors who have probably never even heard of the word "sanitation inspection," ordering from menus in countries where we don't speak the language, and eating pretty much everything under the sun.  On top of that, Amara has been to India and Costa Rica.  We thought we had stomachs of steel.  Or, at least iron.  Or, some other strong metal.

But, apparently four years of travel has nothing on two days at a local Atlanta daycare.  The last two weeks have primarily consisted of one of the three of us groaning and moaning and wondering why the heck I threw out all our Cipro when we returned to the United States.  Ugh.

The only positive side to all this is that, last weekend, we thoroughly disinfected and cleaned our entire house, from top to bottom, because I don't want to see this virus ever again.  And, the thing about cleaning is that once I start cleaning, I keep cleaning.  Which is how I found this video.

I don't know why I never posted this video.  It's all edited, compiled, and ready to go.  I can only assume that I forgot about it in the mammoth digital photography and video files that I've got stored on our backup drive.

I watched it over again and sat back and smiled.  I mean, it's got lions.  And lions cubs!  Really cute lion cubs!  And, a little bit of frisky mating!  And lion cubs!

It's been three years since we've been in Namibia and I'm still in awe that we got to experience this wonderful place.  So, here you go: lions resting (and a little bit of getting it on) at Etosha Reserve in Namibia.

the taste of two years

The savor of the last two years lingers on our lips.  We have eaten countless meals at street stalls, restaurants, cafes, cooking classes, and homes in 19 countries but no meal has been the same as any other.  This post collects the most memorable tastes of our travels and we hope that you enjoy this (mostly) salivating journey through the world, as seen by our cameras and remembered by our stomachs.

Drinks outside of Sydney Opera House

The effervescence coating our tongues and minds from our first champagne and beer toast to our round-the-world trip. Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia.

Mamak roti canai

Impossibly light, flaky, and sweet roti canai with vanilla ice cream that we tracked down on three different nights, claiming that we had "photography issues" and needed to take better pictures. Mamak, Sydney, Australia.

Mangoes and papayas

The weeks spent in small towns in Australia where we ate EVERY SINGLE meal with french fries (even my lasagna came with fries), and our relief at finally finding fresh fruit. Port Douglas farmers' market, Port Douglas, Australia.

Charles Melton vineyard

The explosion of strawberry and flowers in the dry 2009 Rose of Virginia wine , which continues to be the best rose we have ever tasted. Charles Melton vineyards, Barossa Valley, Australia.


The creamy, oniony, and healthy mujadara we made with our own hands while camping through New Zealand, a much needed respite after a month eating restaurant food. Our kitchen.

Milford Sound

The fact that we were too exhausted from flipping over our kayak in the frigid Milford Sound to photograph the best meal we had in New Zealand , including a beetroot cream cheese, a basil pesto, and a white bean hummus served with wheat bread on a rustic plank, roasted and stuffed red peppers, and venison with roasted portobello mushrooms. Redcliff Inn, Te Anau, New Zealand.

Blue cheese souffle Wairau River

The sinful smoothness from eating a blue cheese souffle under a deep blue New Zealand sky with fields of vineyards at our feet. Wairau River vineyard, Marlborough region, New Zealand.

St. Joseph's Belgian Tripel

The rich nuttiness of a MOA Barrel Reserve beer, each aged in a wine barrel from the Marlborough region. MOA, Marlborough region, New Zealand.


The wormy appearance and texture of the delicate whitebait , which tasted somewhere between crab and a white fish, and is much sought after in New Zealand. Cafe de Paris, Hokitika, New Zealand.

Hangi sweetpotatoes

Our amazement that noxious sulfur makes vegetables and chicken taste delicious when cooked hangi -style. Cosy Cottage International Holiday Park, Rotorua, New Zealand.


Learning how to make sweet kozhakattai (coconut dumplings) from my grandmother, the woman in whose kitchen I first learned to appreciate food. Patti's house, Chennai, India.

Noodles at Wat Chedi Luang

The generous welcome from the Thai people as we arrived for the feast at the head monk's funeral at Wat Chedi Luang , and ate plate after plate of noodles and rice with masses of Thai people dressed in black and white. Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Red chili paste

The eye-blistering smell of red chilies being mashed for what would become the best Thai curry we have ever eaten. Asia Scenic Cooking Class, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Mushrooms on a stick Lampang

Pulling semi-dried mushrooms off bamboo skewers with our teeth while wandering around the colorful throngs as night fell on Lampang. Weekend night market, Lampang, Thailand.

Bamboo in elephant's mouth

Sharing a meal of vegetarian fare, bananas, and bamboo with our elephant friends --- and, yes, they ate way more than we did. Patara Elephant Farm, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Spring rolls Rice fields
Spring roll dough Rice paper wrappers

Realizing that the rice paper wrappers we use to make simple spring rolls take months of toil in rice fields and hours of back-breaking labor over a fast-spinning stove in Southeast Asia. Rice fields, Sukhothai, Thailand; rice paper wrapper visit, Battambang, Thailand; spring rolls made in our kitchen.


The joy of purposeful charity as we watched Cambodian street children make and serve us amok , a stew of coconut, fish, and curry, as training for future jobs in the hospitality industry. Romdeng and Friends, restaurants run by Mith Samlanh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Introducing our traveling friends to the best vegetarian restaurant we have ever tried ; their mushroom and eggplant dips were akin to the nectar of gods. Chamkar, Siem Reap, Cambodia. (sorry, no picture here)


Tofu fried Tofu flecked with vegetables

Awakening to the power and beauty of tofu , boiled and served with soy sauce, served as cold yuba (tofu skin), grilled with miso paste, flecked with vegetables, or any of the other innumerable ways it may be served. All over Kyoto, Japan.


Discovering that though okonomiyaki --- a light pancake filled with cabbage, cheese, meat, barbeque sauce, and mayonnaise --- may sound disgusting, it is actually one of the most delicious food finds in this world. Okonomiyaki joints, Hiroshima, Japan.

Sashimi bowl

Eating the best sushi ever in a bar with laminated countertops and stools that could fit no more than 20 people at any given time, right outside the Tokyo Fish Market. Tokyo Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan.

Kaiseki dinner

Indulging in a kaiseki dinner , the ultimate Japanese meal, at a traditional ryokan after spending the day relaxing in mineral baths. Kamesei Ryokan, Chikuma City, Japan.


Adjusting to the sweet and squishy world of Japanese desserts . All over Japan.

South Korean food

Ordering four items that appeared to be vegetarian in order to find one Korean vegetarian dish because vegetarianism simply does not exist in South Korea. Busan and Seoul, South Korean.

Pizza Hut South Korea

Our ninth anniversary meal: an amazingly delicious Pizza Hut pizza , with a crust ringed by cheese and sweet potato puree, found in a South Korean subway station after five exhausting hours spent on a bus. Seoul, South Korea.

Lays potato chips

The bag of potato chips and Coke that burst all over my lap on our worst travel day ever in China. On the way to Hohhot, China.

Fake Peking duck

Peking duck
Discovering the beauty of mock meats and Chinese ingenuity, as we tried flavorful "Peking duck" and crackling Peking duck , both two of the best meals we had in China. Beihai restaurant, Peking Duck restaurant, Beijing, China.


Savoring jiaozi (dumplings) whether made by tiny wrinkled men with swift moving hands or by our own much slower fingers. Hutong Cuisine, Beijing, China.

Nausea sauce park

Laughing every time we opened a Chinese menu with English translations ( nausea sauce pork , anyone?). All over China.

Bunny chow

Believing that discrimination, division, and dissimilarities can be overcome by experiencing the unity of food --- especially bunny chow --- in South Africa. Oriental Restaurant, Durban, South Africa.

Beetroot tart La Colombe Risotto La Colombe
Beef La Colombe Chocolates La Colombe
Reveling in our first experience in a top 100 restaurant in the world by eating far more than any one person should eat at a single sitting. La Colombe, Constantia Uitsig, Constantia, South Africa.

Village Bistro

Discovering one of the most beautiful (and tasty) desserts we have ever seen --- a thick chocolate mousse in a peanut brittle pot held up by chocolate stands with spun sugar curls and baskets --- in a local restaurant with little fanfare and a humble name. Village Bistro , Bergvliet, Constantia, South Africa.

Cake Africa-in-Focus

Delighting in the puddings made over a campfire by our Africa-in-Focus cook and then grumbling over having to wash those pudding dishes afterwards. Africa-in-Focus overland expedition.

Chopping vegetables like a Zambian

Chopping vegetables like a Zambian, without a cutting board and a single knife, and eating greens and vegetables with circles of creamy soft nsima. Zambian cooking class, Victoria Falls, Zambia.

Chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake

Biting into a soft chocolate cupcake and finding a thick fudgy layer of chocolate chip cookie dough at the bottom. Mabel Francis Potter's Cupcake Emporium, Savannah, Georgia.

Mrs. Wilke's

Sitting with eight strangers at a table groaning under true Southern fare , with at least twenty different platters of vegetables, three types of meats, biscuits and cornbread, and as much sweet tea as a man could consume. Mrs. Wilke's Dining Room, Savannah, Georgia, United States.

Fig vegetable plate

Discovering the beauty of the Jerusalem artichokes , a vegetable we had never tried, fried with butter and salt, in one of the best vegetable plates I have ever tried. FIG, Charleston, South Carolina, United States.

Kulfi chocolate Sipping chocolate
Indulging nearly every other day in the best sipping chocolate we have ever tasted, flavored like kulfi with rose water, pistachio, and cardamom. French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Asheville, North Carolina, USA.

Sunny Point cafe Sunny Point cafe
Papa's Papa's
Putting away our credit cards and relishing cheap and phenomenal cuisine : huevos rancheros that I would go and stand in line for every weekend, and Tex-Mex so good that we would have sworn we were in the Southwest. Sunny Point Cafe, and Papa's, Asheville, North Carolina.

Being surprised when a waiter brought me a gold anklet wrapped around an orchid-strewn napkin with a bottle of champagne at a nice restaurant for our tenth anniversary. Couples San Souci, Jamaica.

The best fruitcake we have ever tasted --- which would surely convert any fruitcake naysayer --- at high tea served by white-gloved waiter. Queen Mary 2 cruise ship.

Cream tea

The joy of clotted cream , which I would put on just about anything if I had my way in this world.  As far as I can tell, it's the only good reason to brew a cup of tea. Cornwall and Devon, England, United Kingdom.

Cheese festival

Stumbling upon a cheese festival where we tried sheep's milk, cow's milk, and goat's milk cheese aged traditionally and produced by farmers. Tavistock, Devon, England.

Chocolate con churros

Reminiscing about being in Spain fourteen years ago on my first night in Bilbao as I indulged in my favorite Spanish dessert, chocolate con churros , and introduced Patrick to the same. Cafe del Arenal, Bilbao, Spain.

Patatas bravas

Rediscovering the joy of tapas, pintxos, and two hour dinners spent lingering over slow-cooked food and good conversation in the pleasant evening air. All over Madrid and Barcelona, Spain.

Jamon iberico

Stumbling upon jamon iberico , cured meat from acorn-fed black-hoofed pigs, which left Patrick saying for weeks on end, 'Man, that jamon literally melted in my mouth.' Mercat de San Miguel, Madrid, Spain.


And there you have it: forty-five tastes of the last two years.  Thank you for joining our journey to find great and memorable food all across the world.

lions wake
September 23, 2011

It seemed only right that for our weekly photo as we celebrate two years on the road, we share with you videos that I am FINALLY going through --- one year after we took these videos, no less.

If you love lions, I think you'll love this short 2 minute video.  Heck, even if you don't love lions, I think you'll really enjoy the interactions between the babies and their mother(s) and aunt(s).

September 2011

savoring zambia
a cooking class
September 6, 2011

August 2011

three perspectives of victoria falls
in zambia, zimbabwe, and livingstone island
August 30, 2011

moving on
south africa in video
August 23, 2011

south africa: the low-down
a wrap up
August 17, 2011

penguins at boulders
on the cape drive
August 12, 2011

lunch at la colombe
at constantia uitsig
August 12, 2011

views from table mountain
in cape town
August 9, 2011

the ethics of shark diving
in gansbaii
August 8, 2011

in the trees at tsitsikamma
on the garden route
August 4, 2011

July 2011

finding relaxation on the wild coast
at cintsa
July 26, 2011

kirstenbosch gardens
blooming colors
July 11, 2011

June 2011

surprising addo
elephants and dung beetles
June 30, 2011

waffle house south africa
unexpected yum
June 27, 2011

food unites
south african cuisine
June 6, 2011

April 2011

brown skin, white skin
travel as an interracial couple
April 20, 2011

kruger itineraries and lodges
inside the park
April 14, 2011

March 2011

how to plan a trip to kruger national park
the basics
March 31, 2011

February 2011

the butt shot
at kruger
February 16, 2011

January 2011

africa-in-focus overland: the low-down
a wrap up
January 31, 2011

strange shot: two-headed giraffe
January 7, 2011

cheetahs are awesome
January 6, 2011

the first wildlife
coast of namibia
January 4, 2011

December 2010

mountains of sand
namib desert
December 22, 2010

day in the life overlanding
fish river canyon
December 17, 2010

overlanding 101
nuts and bolts
December 14, 2010