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Showing posts from August, 2018

Drinking coffee in the land of fika and geothermal geysers

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When it comes to drinking coffee, Icelanders are over-achievers.They rank #3 in the world in terms of per capita consumption, with Finland and Norway taking the top 2 spots. And although this small Nordic island country only has 350,000 people, there are cafes everywhere. In fact, Iceland’s home-grown café scene is so robust that there is no need for Starbucks in Iceland.
Coffee permeates Iceland’s culture, affecting every aspect of life, from work, to play, to love. Although coffee didn’t come to Iceland until 1703 (very recently given the long, long history of Europe), by the mid-1700’s, virtually every household in Iceland had a coffee grinder and roaster.


Coffee plays an important part in love rituals in Iceland. In a famous Icelandic novel, published in 1935 by Halldor Laxness, coffee-drinking took center stage.This novel depicted the hard-scrabble life of Icelandic peasants, oppressed by debt-bondage and an inhospitable landscape. There were moments of sweetness, however, incl…

Drinking coffee at a British pub

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According to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), there are 10,500 pubs in the U.K.Pubs are an important part of British culture. They are known for their warmth, coziness, and camaraderie, as well as their drink and menu of savory foods, including ‘pies,’ chips, burgers, salads, and rich, deeply satisfying desserts.
 I don’t really go to pubs very often (though I remember going to some nice ones several times when I was a student at Middlebury). However, during a recent trip, I decided that when in London, one must experience British pub life. I simply concluded that while I could happily spend all my time at cafés, I didn’t want to miss out on such an iconic experience. 

I chose Warwick Arms, located at 160 Warwick St. in Kensington, because it was close to my hotel and had an interesting twist (which I will get to later). It did not disappoint. The interior was welcoming and warm, outfitted with leather tufted chairs, wooden tables, and a fireplace.
Warwick Arms has a men…

Summer Nights at MOMA

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In the summer, Thursday nights at MOMA are dedicated to listening to music in the Sculpture Garden. Last Thursday the featured group was OSHUN, two young women, who create Afro-futuristic music that combines hip hop, R&B, acoustic harmonizing, heavy drum and bass, and EDM. (If you listen carefully, you might just hear woven-in samples from 90’s conscious hip hop groups, like Tribe Called Quest).

The garden was abuzz with Afropunk aficionados, the after-work crowd, beautiful people with big afros, MOMA members---and random people like us, who love MOMA and enjoy drinking coffee when we’re there. 

Thandiwe and Niambi Sala are recent NYU graduates, who chose the name OSHUN for its multifaceted meaning. Oshun is a West African deity---a goddess, also known as an orisha, who is the deity of fresh water, luxury, love, destiny, divination, pleasure, and sexuality. She is revered as the goddess of the Osun River in Nigeria. Their goal is to channel “the spirit of their ancestors in orde…