Book review: The Devil’s Cup by Stewart Lee Allen

For all you caffeine fiends and java junkies out there, this is your book!

Stewart Lee Allen has travelled around the world and chronicled the history of the world according to coffee in The Devil’s Cup. From Ethiopia to India and from Paris to Oklahoma, this books leaves no ground unexplored – coffee grounds, that is.
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Travelling through food in Vancouver

I recently returned from a 4-day trip to Vancouver, British Columbia. For a $13 Amtrak ticket, it couldn’t be passed up. Once I decided to go, I discovered my Dutch CouchSurfing host from Amsterdam last year had just moved there, a Chinese surfer I met in Bellingham could host me and there were a few CouchSurfing meetings organized for the Cherry Blossom Festival and Vancouver’s 125th Birthday Celebrations! I knew the four days would be packed with CouchSurfing activities, but in the end, the focus was all on food.
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There’s more to Ireland than Guinness

Beer drinkers are crazy about St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday has, over time, lost it’s religious meaning and has been replaced with an incredible party tradition. While the color green historically represented the shamrock St. Patrick used to explain the Holy Trinity to the Celts, it is now the color that is worn and that beer, rivers and even food are dyed. While excited celebrators often reach for the well-known Guinness, I’m here to enlighten you to the fact that there are other stouts that give you a more authentic Irish drinking experience.
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3 German cities, 3 German street foods

Germany offers a lot of culinary variety.

From the Turkish-influenced city of Berlin to Frankfurt, the homeland of the hot dog, and on down to the pretzel capital of Munich, Germany has something to satisfy every stomach (except one on a diet).
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3 of my favorite beers in Germany

If you like beer, you must visit Germany! As one of the top beer-consuming countries in the world, they have a lot to offer! Especially in Bavaria and certainly in Munich’s Oktoberfest, there is a beer to fit everyone’s taste- whether you want dark beer or light, high alcohol or low.  Once you find your beer, it can be like finding your soul mate.
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Dumpster diving for dinner and back riding a bicycle in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a great place to let your hair down and relax. The laid-back canals offer a nice place to sit, munch on a space cake and watch the world float by- literally. Coffeehouses around the city serve up soft drugs which are legal (hard drugs are definitely illegal) and controlled under a tolerance policy making them not nearly as much of a problem as in countries where they are illegal. The country’s progressive view on drugs is one thing many tourists remember about Amsterdam and the reason why many young, rebellious backpackers love the city! But my two weeks in Amsterdam taught me less about coffeehouse menu-reading and more about how to scavenge markets for leftover produce in markets and how to ride ‘sidesaddle’ on the back of a bike.
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Chocolate, waffles and fries! Oh my!

If you want to gain weight and enjoy doing it, head to Belgium. The country’s street food is amazing. Turn any corner in a city center in the country and you’ll likely find a frietkoten (fry shack) take-away window, a waffle cart or a chocolate shop. Or, if you’re lucky, all three! The culinary wonders of Belgium have reached far and wide. Pomme frites (fried potatoes) are a mainstay in North American restaurants, waffles are a common breakfast food and chocolate… well… chocolate is chocolate and needs no words to describe its powers in the world. Sadly, all three have been commercialized in their worldwide travels and are now sold frozen, fattier and sweeter and are not as authentic as they should be. Yes, I’m telling you frozen fries, frozen waffles and sugary chocolate just don’t cut it after savoring the best of each in Belgium.
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