Tag Archives: Dining

The Noodles Anthony Bourdain Dreamed Of

I stepped off the icy street into a bustling food hall. This is Urban Hawker — a Singaporean market that was one of Anthony Bourdain’s last projects.


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Hawker centers are everywhere in Singapore. The descendant of street stands, these food courts bring together people from all walks of life to enjoy dishes like chicken rice and pork noodles.

Singaporean hawkers were the first street food ever to win a Michelin star.

These humble stands selling some of the best food on earth captured the imagination of Anthony Bourdain. The chef and travel show host worked to bring hawker centers to his home, New York City.

The original plan called for a massive complex on Pier 57 in Chelsea. But negotiating the lease proved impossible, and the plan was abandoned.

Sadly, Bourdain committed suicide a few months later. It looked like his dream for a Singaporean market in America might never be realized.

But one of Bourdain’s partners, KF Seetoh, refused to give up.

In September of 2022, he opened Urban Hawker, the first Singaporean hawker’s market in the United States. While smaller than the original plan, it contains 17 stalls offering a wide variety of Southeast Asian specialties.

My friend and I circumnavigated the market, mesmerized. Everything looked so good!

“Let’s not get distracted,” I told her. “We have to make the right decision.” 🙂

We landed at Prawnaholic. Prawnaholic specializes in seafood noodle dishes, one of my favorites.

I ordered Singapore Char Kway Teow. The chef kindly substituted fish cakes for the pork, a thoughtful touch.

The dark noodles and glossy sauce had a deep, rich flavor. They reminded me a little of squid ink pasta, an Italian specialty.

The shrimp were perfectly tender, the fish cakes light and delectable.

My friend ordered an oyster omelette. She offered me a bite, and I couldn’t resist.

I thought I didn’t like oysters, but I was wrong! They were tender and delicious, not overcooked and chewy like so many others.

Next to our table were the beautiful cakes of Lady Wong. I only wished I had room — next time!

This is a market Anthony Bourdain would’ve been proud of. I only wish he could’ve sat there with us, eating and laughing.

What are your favorite restaurants in New York? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on food:

Korean Noodle Heaven at Food Gallery 32

Puerto Rico’s Finest at La Casa

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

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Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

Puerto Rico’s Finest at La Casa

We filed into the dim, narrow space full of expectation. I didn’t even know what Puerto Rican food was — but I was about to find out.


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La Casa in Hoboken offers Puerto Rican classics in a cozy atmosphere. Each dish is deeply flavorful and cooked just right.

For starters, we ordered a papa relleno. It’s essentially mashed potatoes stuffed with meat and deep fried.

Just what the doctor ordered! And as delicious as it sounds.

Next, I ordered the camarones al ajillo — garlic shrimp — with yellow rice and black beans. I’ve had gambas al ajillo in Spain, but Puerto Rico’s take is richer and more mild.

Spain’s heavily fragrant, oily sauce is replaced by a creamy one with a more subtle flavor. Even after I finished the shrimp, I lapped up the sauce like a hungry dog!

Unlike many restaurants, the shrimp are properly cooked. No tough little stones at La Casa!

The fluffy rice perfectly complemented the black beans with their deep cumin flavor.

I normally don’t like chicken breast — too dry. But my friend John urged me to try his, and it was moist and juicy.

Overcooked food is a common problem at restaurants. But at La Casa, they do things right.

On our way out, I swung by the kitchen to thank the cooks. They smiled broadly and one gave me a fist-bump.

When people take pride in what they do like the cooks at La Casa, the results are worth writing home about.

La Casa is open every day and in addition to the fine dinner we had, I’m told they serve a delicious breakfast!

There can be a wait on weekend nights. Given the small number of tables, they don’t take reservations.

On weekends, your best shot at getting a table right away is to arrive at 8:30pm or later.

What’s your favorite Latin dish? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on food:

Korean Noodle Heaven at Food Gallery 32

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

NJ’s Best Apple Cider Donut

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

Whole Fish and Banku, Ghanaian Style

They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. As I dug into the whole tilapia’s succulent flesh, I couldn’t have agreed more.


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Delicious as it is, Ghanaian food is little known in the United States. Even in the New York City area, a Google search reveals just a couple of options.

“Ghanaian food is a whole process.”

Anonymous pal

Fortunately, I had a connection. A Ghanaian friend of mine buys homecooked meals from a woman who runs a restaurant out of her house.

Turns out Travis Kalanick didn’t invent ghost kitchens!

We popped open the warm clamshell containers to reveal a massive, whole fish. The tilapia was marinated and served with two spicy sauces.

The flesh was moist and succulent. I always thought I hated tilapia, but cooked whole like this, it’s wonderful!

Alongside our plates: a massive and scrumptious-looking dumpling. These are called banku.

Banku are a staple of Ghanaian food. They’re made of fermented corn.

Banku’s mild flavor is a perfect match for spicy sauces. It’s kind of like chips and salsa.

The only downside: they’re sticky! My friend dug in with her hand, but I soon switched to a fork.

I guess I can only become so Ghanaian in one day. 🙂

Cooking fish whole as they do in Ghana yields a more tender and flavorful flesh. And never forget to eat the meat from the head — it’s the best part!

I saved the fish bones for a stock I’ll be making soon. Never let anything go to waste!

If you haven’t tried Ghanaian food, I strongly recommend it! It’s flavorful and relatively healthy — mostly protein and vegetables with a modest amount of starch.

What were your most interesting meals this year? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on food:

Korean Noodle Heaven at Food Gallery 32

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

NYC’s King of Sugar: Posh Pop Bakeshop

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

Korean Noodle Heaven at Food Gallery 32

I stepped off the ice cold street into a place I’d never been. This was going to be an amazing meal.


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Food Gallery 32 sits in the heart of Manhattan’s Koreatown. As you wind through the stalls serving everything from taiyaki to bulgogi, you’d swear you were in a market in Asia.

My friend and I were pulled toward a noodle stand in the back as if by gravity. The plastic model of a spicy seafood noodle stew looked so good I almost took a bite.

We both ordered it, and I took a black hockey puck that promised to light up when our noodles were ready. I looked at it expectantly, willing it to erupt in vibration and flashing lights.

Food Gallery seems small, but seating is actually plentiful if you head upstairs. We found a cozy spot on the second floor and settled in, tense with anticipation.

Buzz…buzz! The noodles were ready!

I slowly navigated the stairs with our trays, careful not to spill our noodles. Friendships have ended over less.

As I began to slurp down the steaming noodles, a grin spread across my face. The piping hot, spicy broth warmed me from the inside.

I picked shrimp, mussels, and octopus from the bowl as if it were a treasure hunt. The shellfish was fresh, supple, delicious.

No matter how much I ate, there always seemed to be more! And all for just $13 plus tax.

Take that, inflation!

Stuffed, we sat for hours in Food Gallery’s toasty cocoon, chatting and laughing. You can’t help but be merry in a place like this.

Food Gallery has something for everyone, from pork buns to bubble tea, even karaoke! Stop in for a taste of what’s best about New York.

What’s your favorite spot for Korean food? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on food:

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

New Jersey’s Jelly Donut Heaven

Move Over, Cake Boss: There’s a New Sheriff in Town

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

Classic Coffee and Cake in North Jersey

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Mocha cake

What could be more classic than coffee and cake? After a recent dinner out, my wife and I stopped at Paris Baguette in search of this venerable combo.

We found cases filled with some of the most beautiful, artistic cakes I’ve ever seen. They’re so pretty you almost don’t want to eat them.

Almost.

Tiramisu cake

We ordered a tiramisu cake and cappuccino for her and mocha cake and a small coffee for me. They were ready in no time and we sat down at the handsome marble tables, ready to feast.

The tiramisu cake was novel with a deep espresso flavor. But the star of the show was my mocha cake.

My fork sliced through the rich icing into a deliciously moist, crumbly interior. I closed my eyes as I chewed, transported to chocolate heaven.

The finely brewed coffee was a perfect counterpoint to the chocolate. We sipped and relaxed, content as could be.

As we finished up, I noticed my wife furtively eyeing the dessert case. I mean, you only live once right?

So she grabbed a scrumptious twisty donut thing whose name I don’t know, holding it triumphantly in the air like a trophy. Oh, and a mini cheese cake for the morning, too.

Who’s counting?

In addition to numerous locations across northern New Jersey, you can find Paris Baguette in New York City, Philadelphia, and numerous other locations across the country. Stop in for delicious coffee and baked goods in a relaxing atmosphere!

More on food:

Our Man in Hunan

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

Manhattan’s Burger Baron

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been great so far.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me.

Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor.

I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

Our Man in Hunan

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On a quiet block just south of bustling 42nd Street, my wife and I ducked into a doorway and disappeared.

This isn’t a spy novel. But it is an incredible lunch.

Hunan Manor in midtown Manhattan serves outstanding Chinese food firmly rooted in the traditions of the motherland. You’ll find American dishes like an excellent General Tso’s, but also traditional recipes like scallion pancakes.

We sat down today in the surprisingly spacious dining room and within minutes, our waiter brought my wife’s spicy hot and sour soup and my enticing spring roll. Biting down with a satisfying crunch, I could tell this torpedo of flavor was freshly fried.

A few minutes of conversation later, out came the entrees. For the lady: ginger shredded beef with peppers. For me: Hunan style shrimp in a thick, piquant sauce.

The shrimp were cooked perfectly. Their texture was springy and yielding, unlike the little overcooked stones so many restaurants pass off as shrimp.

But the missus’ beef stole the show. The char on the thin strips of flesh, coupled with the perfume of ginger and tender peppers, made for a perfect dish.

I found myself wishing for tortillas to put the beef in, fajitas style. It’s interesting to see how different cultures approach similar ingredients and put their unique stamp on them.

We both ordered off the lunch combo menu, which I highly recommend. Everything is between $9.50 and $12.50, and that includes rice and either soup or a crispy spring roll.

You’d be hard pressed to find a better deal in town!

There will be no blog tomorrow. I have an acting gig. 🙂

See you Thursday!

More on food:

Manhattan’s Burger Baron

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

Alphabet City’s Best Pizza

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Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been great so far.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me.

Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor.

I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

Manhattan’s Burger Baron

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I’ve been going to this restaurant so often, I might have to move in and save the bus fare.

Schnipper’s in New York City is American food done right. Done with respect.

On Thursday, my wife and I rushed in for the third time in two weeks. From a mouthwatering burger to artistic salads, everything they make uses the best ingredients and technique.

I had a massive, juicy bacon cheeseburger. The meat is incredibly fresh.

It’s telling that even the lettuce isn’t some sad, wilted vegetable. Instead, they use crisp bib lettuce that snaps as you bite into it.

You might even be able to convince yourself the burger is health food.

My wife had a beautiful fried chicken salad. It was topped with beets, sweet corn, and housemade sourdough croutons.

A triumph!

I also heartily recommend the tuna melt. I made sourdough for years and alas, the bread in that sandwich is better than anything I ever produced. 🥲

Schnipper’s also makes an outstanding milkshake. I had sip after sip of the one my wife ordered.

For research purposes.

You’ll notice that the food takes a little longer to come than most fast food places. It’s worth it; they’re actually making your meal from scratch!

For years, I walked past Schnipper’s and smelled ambrosial odors wafting forth. Why I never stopped in until now is beyond me.

Schnipper’s has two locations in midtown Manhattan, both east and west. If you’re in the city, stop in for a reliably outstanding meal.

More on food:

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

Alphabet City’s Best Pizza

The Best Bakery in NYC (It’s Not Levain)

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If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Facebook/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been great so far.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me.

Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor.

I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

Alphabet City’s Best Pizza

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Last week, my wife and I found ourselves in New York’s Alphabet City for reasons obscure. It was dinner time, and we were peckish.

As we crossed 14th street, an inviting sign came into view. It spelled out the two most beautiful words in the English language: Burrata Pizza.

We raced across the street heedlessly, moths to the neon flame.

You know we had to order the signature burrata slice. I accompanied it with a Hawaiian (no Twitter mentions, please).

The missus added a chicken slice. Nontraditional, but intriguing.

We sat outside the restaurant on a bench like true New Yorkers.

As I dug into my slice, the balls of soft burrata burst in my mouth like little water balloons of flavor. The crust was crisped to perfection.

On to the Hawaiian. The slight char on the Canadian bacon really made this pie.

Bravissimo!

One of the things I liked best about Burrata Pizza was the service. The owners are very cordial and make sure your slice comes out piping hot.

This is a joy after receiving far too many lukewarm slices at lesser pizzerias.

If you’re in lower Manhattan with a jones for a pie, I strongly recommend Burrata Pizza!

What are your favorite pizza spots? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

There will be no blog on Monday. I’ll be filming an episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel!

Have an awesome weekend and see you Tuesday! 🙂

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More on food:

A Frozen Valentine in New York

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

The Best Bakery in NYC (It’s Not Levain)

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Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been great so far.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me.

Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor.

I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

A Frozen Valentine in New York

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Considerate husbands begin planning Valentine’s Day months in advance.

Flowers are ordered. Reservations made. Wine chilled.

Yeah, I didn’t do any of that. 🙂

So I was left scrambling to find a dinner reservation in New York City on what is probably the busiest night of the year!

The wife and I wound up eating outside in temperatures of 23 degrees. Winter wasn’t going to keep us from the meal of our dreams!

Fortunately, the food at Bar Boulud made the cold an afterthought. I thought I’d share this amazing experience with you guys so you know where to go next year!

The appetizers:

Ora king salmon tarte with avocado, crème fraîche, and caviar. My wife being willing to give me a bite is the definition of true love.

The caviar was the best I’ve ever tasted, with an earthy quality a little like truffles.

Lobster Bisque. Unctuous, delicious. The little bits of lobster swimming in the soup were a nice touch.

The entrees:

Halibut with farro. When I sampled this, I marveled at the perfect, soft flakiness of the fish.

I had never had farro, but with this champagne beurre blanc sauce, I shoveled it in eagerly!

Beef duo. Braised short rib and tenderloin.

The short rib stole the show. It fell apart in my mouth, full of moist, fatty, umami flavor.

Dessert:

An assortment of ice creams for the missus: brown sugar, vanilla, and a pear sorbet.

Every Boulud restaurant has ridiculously good ice cream, made in house. The depth of cream and vanilla bean flavor made the vanilla my favorite.

A dark chocolate entremet for me. Don’t ask me what an entremet is.

All I know is this yummy chocolate mousse, along with hazelnut ice cream and some kind of little chocolate crumbly things, was amazing.

I’ve never seen hazelnut ice cream anywhere else. This needs to be in stores!

If you like Nutella, you’ll love this.


In all, outdoor dining, even in frigid temperatures, was pretty comfortable. A well-built shelter to block the wind plus patio heaters go a long way.

After a tough two years for our little blue planet, I was grateful just to sit down with someone near and dear and enjoy a good meal, both of us healthy. I hope that once this crisis recedes, I can maintain that gratitude.

How was your Valentine’s Day? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

P.S. This place also has the best burger in NYC.

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More on food:

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

The Best Bakery in NYC (It’s Not Levain)

New Jersey’s Jelly Donut Heaven

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Facebook/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been great so far.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me.

Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor.

I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

The Kings of Cuban Coffee

Last summer, as the lockdowns were lifting, my wife and I sat at a little table on bustling Bergenline Avenue. I lifted a tiny cup to my lips and tasted some of the boldest, most flavorful coffee of my life.

The place was Sweets and Cortaditos in North Bergen, NJ. It sits near the top of the lively shopping street near leafy Braddock Park.

This small shop serves the most outstanding cortaditos and cafes con leche I’ve ever had. The signature cortadito has a deep, rich flavor complemented by the smoothness of steamed milk.

It goes beautifully with a slice of creamy cheese cake or a delectable cupcake.

Originally from Belleville, Sweets and Cortaditos opened its North Bergen location in 2016. From what I can tell, it’s been an incredible success. A steady hum of customers pass in and out, dainty coffees and satisfying treats in hand.

Sitting at the outdoor tables, painted after the Cuban flag, and listening to a street festival play Cuban music made us feel like we were in Havana. At a difficult time for our neighbor Cuba, it’s wonderful to be able to enjoy a bit of their culture close to home.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

More on food and Cuba:

How to Get Internet to Cuba

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

New Jersey’s Jelly Donut Heaven

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order.