The World’s Most Expensive Taco

Velas Resort’s Executive Chef Juan Licerio Alcalá, is the creator of this masterpiece. The taco is prepared with ingredients such as langoustine, kobe beef, black truffle brie cheese and Beluga caviar. The tortilla is made of corn and 24 k gold foil; it is served with an exotic morita chile salsa and finished with civet coffee and ultra-premium tequila.

The cost of this eccentric taco is $25,000 US dollars and it goes perfectly with a glass of Ley .925 Pasion Azteca Ultra-Premium Añejo tequila, which has a cost of $150,000 US dollars per bottle.

Source: Loscabos

How to Have Breakfast 18,000 Feet Up Mount Everest

Nikki Ekstein wrote . . . . . .

In December, chefs from Noma and London’s Ledbury built the world’s highest-altitude pop-up restaurant at Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

It sounded like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and in many ways, it was. But in fact, you can pop up to Everest for breakfast almost any day of the year, if you’re so inclined. All you have to do is know the right people.

Catherine Heald of Remote Lands has been planning quick-stop trips to Everest for her guests since December. They travel by helicopter from Kathmandu to South Base Camp, where they explore the surroundings for a 15-minute visit. (That’s all an unacclimated traveler can usually bear at 18,000 feet.) Then it’s back in the chopper to the adjacent peak of Kongde Ri, where Yeti Mountain Home, at 13,000 feet the world’s highest-altitude luxury lodge, sets out tables for a private Champagne picnic with Everest in full view. Nicola Shepherd, of the Explorations Co., also coordinates morning trips to Yeti, minus the stop at Base Camp; that’s an avalanche risk she’d rather not take, she said.

Both outfitters work with the same summiteer to lead the adventure: Tashi Tenzing Sher, the grandson of sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who with Edmund Hillary took the first steps atop Everest in 1953.

“He’s climbed to the top of Everest a couple of times himself,” said Shepherd, “so while you’re flying there he’s giving you blow-to-blow, first-hand accounts of what it all entails. He really brings it alive for you.”

The Logistics

Both Shepherd and Heald tend to book Everest breakfasts as part of larger packages—10-day treks through Nepal, most often—but the experience can be booked à la carte. Heald charges $10,000 for groups of up to three; Shepherd charges $7,163 for two. Full 10-day trips cost around $25,000 (everything is affordable in Nepal except for choppers).

Two things are key. First is your health: Even though you’re not spending much time at altitude, those with heart or lung conditions can struggle with the elevation. As for your hotel, it’s best to start in Kathmandu, where an AS350 helicopter will pick you up early in the morning—as early as 6:30 a.m., depending on anticipated weather patterns. From there, it takes 45 minutes to fly around Everest and land at Kongde Ri, not including the optional stop at South Base Camp.

The Highest Meal of Your Life

Breakfast itself is a private, white-tablecloth meal of eggs with bacon and sausages, croissants, and jam made from Nepalese fruits, plus plenty of Moët & Chandon, all served by a talented team of Sherpas. But you’re not here for the food, but for views you’ll never forget.

“This is as close as you can get to Everest without being on it,” said Shepherd of being on Kongde Ri. “Nobody does it closer.”

Heald concurred, adding that on your fly-around alone, you’ll get views of four of the world’s six tallest peaks: Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Everest. Don’t worry about sitting outdoors in the extreme weather; you’ll be given appropriate clothing.

Beyond Everest

Nepal is a country deeply in need of tourism dollars. After a 7.8-magnitude earthquake left nearly 9,000 dead and 22,000 injured in 2015, the country has made an incredible (and successful) effort to rebuild—but visitors have yet to return. That means it’s a great time to find yourself in the Himalayan country: You’ll be welcomed with unparalleled warmth, have sites largely to yourself, and scarcely see a European face.

Both Shepherd and Heald speak emphatically about the forbidden kingdom of Mustang, a wildly rugged expanse of countryside roughly 320 miles northwest of Kathmandu. Driving there can take 11 hours, due to difficult conditions, but Shepherd also organizes helicopter transfers to cut the journey to one hour, making it doable in as little as one or two days. (Heavy winds can bar afternoon return flights.) Stay in Dwarikas Dhulikhel, said Shepherd, and enjoy the surroundings for a bit: The resort is the perfect place to go horseback riding along the edge of the Tibetan plateau, learn to throw traditional pottery, and take Nepalese cooking classes.

In Kathmandu itself, make a pit stop at the art-filled temple of Bhaktapur, which many local experts prefer to the crowded monkey temple of Swayambhunath Stupa, and don’t miss the beautiful restoration work at Durbar Square, whose temples date back to the 12th century. But do your exploring by bike or by foot, advises Shepherd, or risk getting stuck in terrible traffic.

For one last dose of luxury, round out your visit with a few days in Chitwan National Park, just two and a half hours southeast of the capital by car. There, the ultra-plush Taj Meghauli Serai safari lodge fills your days with tiger-focused game drives.

Source: Bloomberg

Carrot-flavoured Pancakes with Maple Cream

Ingredients

1-1/4 cups oat flour, gluten free if desired
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 large organic eggs
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp buttermilk
1 Tbsp coconut sugar or other raw-style sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1-1/2 cups grated carrot
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
4 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp grated orange zest

Method

  1. In large mixing bowl. stir together oat flour, baking powder, baking soda. allspice, ginger and salt.
  2. In separate bowl, lightly beat eggs. Stir in buttermilk, sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix gently. Fold in carrot and walnuts. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes while you make the maple cream topping.
  4. Whisk together cream cheese, milk, maple syrup, orange zest and 1/2 tsp vanilla until smooth. Add more milk, 1 Tbsp at a time, if needed to reach thin consistency.
  5. Grease large skillet or griddle with butter or oil and heat over medium heat.
  6. Pour 1/4 cup (60 mL) batter for each pancake and cook until tops are covered with bubbles and edges darken, about 2 minutes.
  7. Flip pancakes and cook until bottoms are browned, about 1 minute.
  8. Repeat with remaining batter, greasing pan as needed. Keep cooked pancakes warm in 200ºF (95ºC) oven while preparing separate batches of pancakes.
  9. Place pancakes on serving plates and top with maple cream.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Sage magazine

In Pictures: Breakfasts with Toasts

Instead of Treating Heartburn with a Pill, Try Diet and Exercise

Jane E. Brody wrote . . . . . .

Many Americans would rather take a drug than change their habits to control a persistent ailment. Yet, every medication has side effects, some of which can be worse than the disease they are meant to treat. Drugs considered safe when first marketed can turn out to have hazards, both bothersome and severe, that become apparent only after millions of people take them for a long enough time.

Such is the case with a popular class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, now used by more than 15 million Americans and many more people across the world to counter an increasingly common ailment: acid reflux, which many people refer to as heartburn or indigestion.

These medications are now linked to a growing number of complications, ranging in seriousness from nutrient deficiencies, joint pain and infections to bone fractures, heart attacks and dementia. While definitive evidence for most of the risks identified thus far is lacking, consumers plagued by acid reflux would be wise to consider an alternative approach, namely diet and lifestyle changes that can minimize symptoms and even heal damage already done.

Acid reflux is more than just a nuisance. It involves the backward flow of stomach acid into the tissues above it. It results when the lower esophageal sphincter, a ring of muscle between the esophagus and the stomach, fails to close tightly enough to prevent the contents of the stomach from moving up instead of down. Sometimes, the upper sphincter, between the esophagus and the throat, malfunctions as well.

Acid reflux is a serious disorder that can and must be treated to prevent symptoms and stave off potentially life-threatening consequences. Known medically and commercially as GERD, the acronym for gastroesophageal reflux disease, repeated bathing of the soft tissues of the esophagus with corrosive stomach acid can seriously damage them and even cause esophageal cancer, which is often fatal.

Contrary to what many believe, heartburn is but one of the many symptoms of GERD, and failure to recognize the others when heartburn is not among them can result in harmful untreated reflux. In addition to indigestion, GERD can cause a persistent dry cough, sore throat, frequent throat clearing, hoarseness, burping or hiccups, bloating, difficulty swallowing and a sensation of a lump in the throat.

If, when faced with such an otherwise unexplainable symptom, your doctor fails to think of GERD as a possible reason, you might suggest it yourself. An examination of the esophagus may be the only way to find out if someone without obvious heartburn has acid reflux but doesn’t know it.

Dr. Jonathan Aviv, an ear, nose and throat specialist affiliated with Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York, was in his mid-30s when he developed a frightening symptom that turned out to be caused by acid reflux. He was suddenly awakened one night gasping for air and feeling like he was being choked. Because he’d never complained of heartburn, his own doctor had trouble believing that acid reflux could be the explanation. Yet, treating this ailment brought relief and set Aviv on a yearslong journey to learn how best to manage it.

He has now written a book, The Acid Watcher Diet, that both explains how the varied symptoms of acid reflux arise, and details a program for healing and prevention that can help many, if not most, people avoid the medications commonly prescribed to treat it.

One characteristic often associated with acid reflux – being overweight, especially with abdominal obesity – largely explains why the condition has become so common in Western countries. Someone with a body mass index in the overweight range is almost twice as likely to have GERD as a person of normal weight. Losing weight is one of the best ways to find relief without having to rely on medication.

Quitting smoking, limiting alcohol and avoiding carbonated drinks are also important protective measures. Smoking and alcohol can loosen tension of the upper esophageal sphincter and cause symptoms of reflux such as hoarseness, postnasal drip and shortness of breath by irritating the mouth, larynx and trachea, Aviv reports.

Source: The Globe and Mail


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