MADE A RECIPE FROM THE BLOG? Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK


Spaghetti and Meatballs : Italian after all?

Spaghetti and Meatballs : Italian after all?

Italian cuisine is one of America's favorite ones and, indeed, Italians constitute 6% of the US population. But, the forever question has been is "Is the Italian food eaten in the US really Italian?"

Does the infamous spaghetti-meatballs dish really have no Italian origins?

The truthful answer to that is that is "It's complicated"...

Read More

{walk} New York: Touring the Woolworth Lobby

{walk} New York: Touring the Woolworth Lobby

For the ten years that I have lived in this city, I have never much appreciated the architecture given my preference to the European rather the American design sensibilities. Yet, even so, I cannot claim to be completely ignorant of the gems that dot the city that is my home, even if, they were built in reminiscence of cities that the immigrants originated from. Amidst all this, and, especially, since I started watching How I Met Your Mother, oh a few years ago, the name Woolworth has been rather bandied about in my hearing in the context of bucket list  to-dos, changing my mind about American architecture and all that.....

Read More

Travel back in Time.... Budapest, Hungary


Do you remember when...

You could buy eggs not by the carton but as many as you wanted packed carefully in paper cones?

You could buy milk straight from the milk man in cans?

You could taste real vegetables because they tasted of the soil and not the chemicals that made them so big?

I was fortunate to have all that in my childhood. It is unfortunate it is now just nostalgia for the most part.... But, I am glad to say that a couple of months back I had the opportunity to relive that pure and simple joy in Europe... starting in Budapest!

Budapest - Market

There was so much old world charm in Budapest. Nestled between the Euro adhering and non-Euro adhering nations, the city literally envelops both sides of the coin in its protectively local approach in food and culture while still being beheld as the up and coming destination for business in Europe.

Budapest has many a face, from history to party city, but I will remember it for the numerous farmers' markets that I literally 'stumbled' upon! Weekend markets that bring the farmer directly in contact with consumer and an opportunity to really get to know the process of farming - produce, meat or dairy. Even the regular markets are so much more farmer friendly than most places I visited on my European sojourn.


Clearly, with such fresh produce, the food is expectedly tasty and I had a wonderful experience engorging authentic Hungarian and other non-Hungarian meals both at my hosts' and around Budapest.


introduced me street foods like


(the best to be had in Szentendre, a small town that makes a great day trip from the city) and my new favorite baked Hungarian item,




Amidst all the sightseeing, we constantly stopped to taste, nibble, eat through the day! It was not at all surprising to run into non-Hungarians even from the US who came, saw and stayed - be it the young Italian duo from Milan who find Budapest a lot more entrepreneur friendly city or the agriculture student from Pennsylvania who chose to work in the Hungarian farms and fell in love with the country!


It is indeed a beautiful city with stunning architecture and gem to walk around in the night on a clear evening with everything aglow! I am one for night beauty, there is a charm in seeing a city by night that is not nearly well-captured by the sun. Looking on the Danube at the stunning view of the elegant Parliament lit up on the opposite shore is indeed a sight to behold.


Walking around the city is indeed a nostalgic experience, juxtaposed between World War II history and new found economic openness and becoming one of the best destinations for night life in Eastern Europe!

It is a place, I want to go again and again and while I definitely am biased by the company, Budapest is indeed an experience worth having many times over!


Puerto Rico Diaries: Part I - Places and Sights

Castillo de San Cristobal

Four blissful days under the sun with history, beaches and waves... and of course fantastic food. A wonderful experience for the eyes and palate indeed!

Puerto Rico is a former Spanish colony that Christopher Columbus landed on (and thus integrated into the New World) in 1493. It's first governor was Ponce de Leon whose legacy continues today in the names of streets and the region Ponce itself!

Colors copy

On the street

The prolonged Spanish rule of over 400 years has left a lasting impression in the island and much of it is well preserved in the Old town of San Juan which was a walled city in those times.

The charm of the pastel hued and vibrant houses, cobblestoned streets, rich Spanish inspired and locally adapted food cannot but bring a smile to any visitor to this old town.

On-the-streets---old-&-new copy

DSC_0203 (2)-1

View from Castillo de San Cristobal

Mural along the way

Over the four days that we spent on the island, we walked through all of old town, hiked in the El Yunque National Forest which bears the honor of being the only rain forest in US territory, walked the beaches of Luquillo while witnessing one of the most spectacular sunsets, pigged out in Guavate on Lechon, blood sausage, got tipsy on coquitos on Christmas, walked around the historic town of Ponce and sat on the balcony of our harbour overlooking room at the Sheraton and chatted till the wee hours.

Arches-of-Old-San-Juan copy

Light-&-Dark copy


Our trip was perhaps kissed with more festivity since we were there during Christmas and were caught up in the joyous spirit of it all. But, I suspect that the good people of San Juan and PR in general have more than touch of party and good naturedness that you would perhaps witness the street concerts (and impromptu dance floors) and street food vendors at other times of the year as well. I must say this for their music, it is hard to not shake a leg and that we did a lot and very happily much!

While in the region, make sure you take the Bio Bay night kayak tour. You can do this from Fajardo, which, is what we did or travel to Vieques island and enjoy what is supposed to be a more spectacular experience at the Mosquito Bay. This tour is about witnessing bio-luminiscence.




That is indeed awesome but I was more inspired by kayaking under the stars in the pitch darkness between mangrove trees. It is an interestingly introspective and calming experience (except on those heart-stopping moments when I drifted away and bumped into something-I-quite-did-not-know-what-was). But, honestly, it is absolutely safe and splendid!

Ponce Boardwalk view at sunset

Abstract Tree trunk

It was a fantastic trip indeed and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick relaxing getaway especially in the cold months now.. :)

Places to go:

Old San Juan
Castillo de San Cristobal
Castillo de Felipe del Morro
San Jose Church
Walk through the cobblestone streets
San Juan Cathedral
Museums (we did not go as they were closed for the Holidays)
Bioluminiscent Bay tour

El Yunque National Forest
A number of hiking trails of various difficulty level
Fresh coconuts

Ponce Cathedral
Parque de Bombas
Board Walk - La Guancha Paseo Tablado
El Vigia hill - for the view
Castillo Serralles - former residence of the most powerful rum-producing families, the Serralles family, producers of Don Q rum.

Eat Pig

Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK