Chifrijo: bowl of rice and beans topped with fried pork meat and avocado, pico de gallo, chimichurri, and lime. Mine was served with plantain chips. Tortilla chips are also an option.
Gallo Pinto: traditionally served with breakfast, it is a slowly blended dish of rice, beans, onions, red peppers, and cilantro.
Pork Casado
Arepa con pollo, queso, y huevos.
Pancakes, eggs, and papaya with coffee.
Arroz con mixto y puré
Ice Cold Imperial at Rayuela’s on Avenida 2
popular chocolate brand


feb-apr2019 San Jose, Costa Rica.



A soda is a traditional “Mom and Pop” Costa Rican restaurant where the food is cheap and delicious. Soon after I arrived to the city in mid-February, I was on one of my explorative jaunts which always, never rarely, find me lost. But, lost is good for me. It’s how I find the unique things cities have to offer. Soda Rivera is so off-the-beaten path, that it doesn’t have a website or any mentions I could find on the internet, so I can’t even give you the address. 

I wasn’t necessarily looking for a place to eat yet. Wasn’t actually hungry. What drew me to the place was this image of this man painting. The street art documenter in me was intrigued. I was just going to get a couple of shots and move on.
I must’ve stood out like a sore thumb, because this man, I think the manager, came out to greet me and usher me inside. Look at his sweet smile. I couldn’t tell him no. 
He sat me down and then said some things to his staff, who then came over to help me and take my order. 
Some Ticos (Costa Ricans) enjoying their lunches. 
My first Chicken Casado in Costa Rica! And I was not disappointed. The plate was HUGE and it cost about $3.50 (usd) = 2100-2300 colones, if I remember correctly. A casado (Spanish, “married man”) is a Costa Rican meal using rice, black beans, plantains, salad, a tortilla, and an optional entrée that may include chicken, beef, pork, fish and so on. The term may have originated when restaurant customers asked to be treated as casados, since married men ate such meals at home. Another theory is that the rice and beans and/or the grouping of dishes are married, since they are always together. (wiki)
Close-up because…damn! Salad, Red beans, Plantains, chicken, rice, diced potatoes, onions…what a happy marriage!
It was amazing to eat in a full-on Tico establishment, with no other foreigners around. My seat was the open one you see across the counter between the man in the baseball cap and the (only other) woman. 
I happened upon it again a couple of weeks later, but I still don’t know where it is. But, you can see the sign has been finished. 
Fresh melon juice included with your meal. Ticos tend to drink juices with their meals, rather than water. 
I like to see big jugs of picante sauce. 
More sauces.


I highly recommend this place if you can find it. It’s total pura vida.

FEB/MAR2019. San Jose, Costa Rica.

CHICAGO FOOD & DRINK: TOP 6 MUST-EATS! (as told to me by people who live here)

1~ Portillos. A Chicago staple. Started in 1963 as a hot dog stand. You could say it’s grown. They say “Get the hot dog, the Italian Beef, and the chocolate cake!” I tried 2 out of the 3.

wi 264 wi 289                                                                 The Classic Portillo’s Hot Dogwi 287 wi 285 wi 268 wi 269 wi 272 wi 277 wi 282hi 361 hi 362 hi 364 hi 365 hi 366                                                                 The Classic Chocolate Cake

2~ Lou Malnati’s. A Chicago Pizza institution. Many consider it as having the ‘best deep dish’ in the city. It was gooood…

gf 004 fg 036 fg 040 fg 050 fg 0533~ Al’s #1 Italian Beef. That’s their name and Chicagoans agree with it.

jh 217 jh 219 jh 2134~ Garrett’s “Chicago Mix” Popcorn. ONLY in Chicago. A Mix of Caramel and Cheese.

hi 348 hi 338 hi 343 hi 347 hi 346 hi 339 hi 340 hi 3425~ Chicago Diner. This was recommended to me as a brunch spot and a place to eat a bit healthier. Mostly vegan. Delicious and prepared with care. I got the Chilaquiles. Yum.

fd 072 fd 073 fd 0746~ Stan’s Donuts. I got a classic glazed doughnut. Soft and melts in your mouth.

fd 156 fd 148 fd 149 fd 141 fd 143 fd 144 fd 146 fd 135 fd 147 fd 134May/June2015. Chicago, IL.


Pioneering French street artist, graphic designer, comic book author, video director, designer/collaborator of specialty items for Swatch, Adidas, Coke Light, MAC Cosmetics, Warsteiner (and more!) and all-around superhuman, Fafi, can now add ‘restaurateur’ to the list of her epic accomplishments.

I first met her briefly in December 2013 in Miami, Florida, when she was a featured artist for “The Women of Wynwood Walls,” where she contributed a unique floral installation and a trademark Fafinette sporting a fez and high heels.

As I mentioned, it was a brief encounter, but the essence of her humanity shone through. She’s hyper-intelligent with a great sense of humor. She gives off a comfortable sense of being alone in a crowd. At the same time, she can be as subtle as a train wreck. For example, watching her install flowers on a gate in Miami, one naturally conjures up ideas of simplicity, purity, beauty, and innocence. Step away from the piece and one discovers the word “SALOPE” strategically placed within the colorful arrangement. I assumed it meant “pretty flower,” or something to that effect, in French. Fast forward two months later whilst studying French in Vancouver, I learnt that it actually means “SLUT.” Needless to say, the piece took on a whole new meaning after that. Such is art.

Fafi arranging the “E” in “SALOPE” for her saucy floral installation in Miami, Wynwood Walls, 2013.
Fafi. Miami, Wynwood Walls. December 2013.
“SALOPE” in progress. Miami, Wynwood Walls. December 2013.
“Fezzy” Fafinette. Miami, Wynwood Walls. December 2013. Photo: Danny Rock.
Lizzie by Fafi. On display at Gallery Nucleus. Los Angeles, CA. March 2014.
Joanie by Fafi. Gallery Nucleus. Los Angeles, CA. March 2014.
Special Edition Coke Light can designed by Fafi.
Coquette by Fafi for W Paris Hotel Opera. 2014.
Coquette by Fafi. 2014.

In addition to continuing to lead the life of a highly accomplished artist, Fafi alongside one of her dearest friends, Heidi, has opened Miss Banh-Mi, an incredible new Franco-Vietnamese fusion restaurant in the heart of Sentier. For two years, Fafi and Heidi sold their Banh-Mis at events like “We Love Green,” “Calvi on the Rocks,” and “10 Years of Ed Banger” ~ all the while pleasing the populace with delicious Vietnamese sandwiches and gaining enough momentum to eventually open the doors to their dream on January 29, 2015.

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Miss Banh-Mi restaurant front. 27feb15.
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The lunch hour makes it standing room only at the counter.
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The quaint space fills up at lunch time, causing some customers to have to get their Banh-Mis to go, and at other times the demand is so great that they run out of bread before the appointed closing time!
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Fafi at the counter. For me, that’s like how some people would feel if, I don’t know, like, Picasso was making them sandwiches!
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Floral installation by Fafi. This time, minus the “Salope.”
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Fafi and Heidi. Heidi is the chef/brainchild behind the delicious recipes.
The menu on the day we visited. It changes daily with different ‘Specials’ of the day. The Yummy, Yellow, and Bohai are permanent fixtures and I would actually change the names to Yummy, Yummy, Yummy because they are ALL so delicious! But, that would probably be confusing. (menu image from Miss Banh-Mi’s FB page) ~ Like their page to receive daily updates.
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Sandwich chef making a perfect Banh-Mi.
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The Yummy.
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The Yellow.
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The Bohai.
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All lined in a row.
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Fafi talking to a customer.
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Heidi graciously taking time to talk to a friend from Vietnam who was telling her that these are the best banh-mis he’s had in years!
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Fafi, equally gracious.
Me and Fafi.
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The sign.
Restaurant Miss Banh-Mi
5, rue Mandar
Open daily for lunch 12-2pm (except Mondays)
Brunch on the weekends 12-530pm
Open for dinner from March 5th: 6-10pm
Métro : Sentier, Etienne Marcel, Réaumur – Sébastopol
All photos by me except where expressly written.
All opinions are my own.
Research for post:,,, the little
4mar15. Written in Kiev, after a weekend in Paris.