Water, Water, Everywhere

Roads & Kingdoms

Photos by Allie Wist, Written by Emily Ziemski 

Clear waters surround Isla Grande, an island that’s little more than a leisurely hour-long boat ride off the coast of Cartagena. Part of the Coral Islands of Rosario, the archipelago is considered to be the “Caribbean of Colombia,” marked by beautiful scenery but also sweltering heat and humidity. With that comes the imperative of staying hydrated.

“If you want to see where people drink a lot of soda, go out to Islas Rosario,” a local told photographer Allie Wist while she was visiting Cartagena. Every 15 days, a barge comes bearing clean drinking water to Isla Grande. But in between those shipments, multiple boatloads of soda are carted to the island. Curious, Wist decided to make the trip.

The most popular beverage on Isla Grande is Kola Román. Created in 1865 by Carlos Román Polanco, the signature electric-red liquid is found in every store and is even used in classic Colombian dishes like platanos ententación–plantains simmered in a sauce made from cola and cloves. Another classic soda, Inca Kola, has a champagne-like color and tastes like overly sweet bubblegum.

Read more on Roads & Kingdoms

Nothing says "Play Ball!" like Hot Noodles

Roads & Kingdoms

The crack of a bat; the slurp of noodles. These are the sounds that fill baseball stadiums across Japan. Forget portable snacks; for baseball fans that flood the 12 NPB—Nippon Professional Baseball—stadiums throughout Japan, it’s all about one thing: a steaming bowl of udon.

Read more on Roads & Kingdoms

A League of Their Own

Roads & Kingdoms

Photos by Karen Dias, Editing by Emily Ziemski 

It’s a cold, foggy morning in the village of Mangali, a few hours northwest of New Delhi. Groups of young girls are slowly filing into the pink, brick-walled compound of the Government Girls Senior Secondary School. Dressed in long pants and sweaters, many carry plastic bags with a change of school clothes.

The girls gather to play soccer on these grounds every morning at 6 a.m. After their school day, they’ll train here again at 3:30 p.m. before heading back home to help their families in the fields or with cooking.

Mangali is a rather large village by Indian standards. Its population of about 12,000 people is spread out over large swathes of land interspersed with fields of wheat and mustard. When Sukhwinder Dhillon was assigned by the government as a coach to train girls at this school 12 years ago, only about 16 girls came to practice.

Read more on Roads & Kingdoms

Memories on Ice

Parts Unknown 

"For God’s sake, look after our people,” Captain Robert Falcon Scott wrote in a final diary entry, dated Mar. 29, 1912, after a failed attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole. The British Royal Navy officer was beaten by a Norwegian expedition party that had arrived five weeks earlier. He and his crew perished on their journey back from the South Pole, leaving behind a small wooden hut on Cape Evans that would yield historical riches a century later.

In 2014 the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust announced it had found 22 photo negatives inside the hut.

Read more on Parts Unknown

America in 40 Years: a Q&A with Gene Wu

Roads & Kingdoms

The 85th Texas Legislative Session in Austin created an unlikely video star: Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston), who stood at the podium—voice breaking, eyes welling—and urgently denounced SB4, a bill that would give law enforcement unprecedented powers to demand immigration papers based only on “reasonable suspicion.”

News outlets around the state and beyond picked up the video of Wu’s emotional speech. “Some are here as citizens. Some are here without papers,” he said. “But they are all my people.” La emotiva defensa, as Univision called it, was fitting for Wu, who moved from China as a child and now represents Houston’s District 137, one of the most diverse districts in the country. SB4 ultimately passed the House in a party-line vote in the early hours of April 30. Wu talked to R&K from his office in Austin.

Roads & Kingdoms: What’s the emotional climate in Houston right now?

Gene Wu: When we started out that day, we had known it had been coming down the line for a while. I think a lot of us had been dreading that day for a while. Most legislation is merely about policy—in my state it’s all about tax dollars. It’s usually not something members would take personally. This bill was something that members took personally. 

Read more on Roads & Kingdoms

Alimentation Station

West Side Spirit

BY Emily Ziemski

To a New Yorker, a long line is the sign of something worth waiting for. This proved true Sunday afternoon, when below-freezing temperatures and long waits couldn’t deter the masses waiting to get a taste of some of the best food trucks in New York.

The NYC Food Truck Fest, hosted by Grand Bazaar NYC and The New York Food Truck Association, showcased a dozen colorful trucks on the school playground at West 77th Street and Columbus Avenue. The playground is usually devoted on Sundays to the white tents, haphazard collections of antiques, ornamental rugs and vibrant costume jewelry of Grand Bazaar NYC, an Upper West Side staple that moved all of its artisan flea market finds inside the school building, so the moveable feast could take over the playground.


#NoshTheVote: Registration With a Snack

NYCity News Service

Houston’s #GuacTheVote voter registration campaign proved so successful this year that Mayor Bill de Blasio adopted the idea with a New York accent, launching #NoshTheVote with a fleet of food truck vendors across the city.

The four-day event, which used 12 local food trucks to bring registration forms to eligible voters, took place from Oct. 11 until Oct. 14, the registration deadline for New York.

“I think we can safely say this presidential election is very dramatic,” said DeBlasio in front of Amdo Tibet Momo Truck in Jackson Heights, Queens. “It has huge consequences for the future and it’s so important that people participate.”

The New York and Houston Twitter-based initiatives were aimed to drive a boost in registered voters ahead of the presidential election on November 8. While #GuacTheVote employed taco trucks to spread its message, #NoshTheVote, a nod to the Yiddish phrase that means to snack, enlisted a variety of ethnic food trucks to represent the diversity of New York City.

One of the trucks represented NY Dosas, an award-winning vendor based in Washington Square Park for the last 15 years. The truck serves samosas, chickpea-filled savory pastries, and dosas, fermented rice pancakes stuffed with lentils.

Thiru Kumar, owner of NY Dosas, watched approvingly as 20 of his regular customers picked up registration forms on the first day. “I know a lot of people don’t like to register because they’re embarrassed they can’t read the form or they just don’t know how [to register],” said Kumar.

Read more on NYCity News Service


The editors behind Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn created this filling roasted squash dish that’ll satisfy even the pickiest of vegetarians and delight meat-loving guests.

What You’ll Need:
1 winter squash (acorn, kabocha, or delicata) halved and de-seeded
Olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup barley
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup pepitas
1 small celery root, sliced into small rounds
1 Bosc pear, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Grated parmesan, to taste
Sage leaves, for garnish

What to Do:
Drizzle squash halves with oil and roast in a cast iron or on a baking sheet for 45 minutes at 350*. Set aside and leave the oven on.

For the barley salad, in a small saucepan, combine barley and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. While barley cooks, place pepitas on a sheet tray and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until slightly brown. Set aside.