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Photo by Christine Mignon

Photo by Christine Mignon

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Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Words and Photos by Linnea Covington

Tap into your inner explorer and put this Wonder of the World on top of your travel list. The time to go to Machu Picchu is now; well actually, it was 10 years ago before this 15th-century Inca site in the Cusco region of Peru became one of the hottest destinations. This area became known after 1911, when American historian Hiram Bingham stumbled upon it, and after cleaning up the foliage that had taken over, visitors could see how these peoples in this immaculate village lived, worshiped, and cultivated the land before the Spanish invasion. Now many tourists clamor to climb around the 2,430 meters-high ancient and beautiful ruins, and soon, I predict it won’t take too long for them to put an even stronger cap on the visitors. Heck, already you can only have 2,500 a day, so make sure to get tickets in advance.

While visiting Machu Picchu, stay in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes (also called Machu Picchu Pueblo), a quaint spot filled with tourists and locals alike, and soak in this truly wondrous place.

When to go: Peru has two seasons, wet and dry. Though both work for visiting Machu Picchu, and I was assured it gets tons of tourists all year long despite the weather. However, the dry season in July and August is the best for walking around and hiking up the precipitous stairs of Wayna Picchu, that large mountain you can see in the background of many photos. The wettest months take place in January and February, so unless you like mud and water, try and avoid this time of year.

What to do: Of course, the main reason to go to this area is to explore Machu Picchu (get tickets from machupicchu.gob.pe, about $40 or 128 sol), and honestly it’s the best thing to do. This is not a late-night town, so get up early, explore this Wonder of the World, and then take a dip in one of the hot springs Aguas Calientes was named after, like the Santa Teresa’s Cocalmayo, where, for about $4 or 10 sol, you can relax your muscles after climbing all those steep steps. Also make sure to check out the large handicraft market by the train station for all your Peruvian textiles, alpaca, and clay figurine needs.

How to get around: Unless you are the adventurous type who wants to wander the Inca Trail for days, the only way to get to Machu Picchu is by taking a train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, the town closest to this magnificent monument. From there, you can hop a bus at the Puente Ruinas Train Station, which will drive you up the steep, winding side of the mountain to Machu Picchu. Tickets cost around $6 or 17 sol, and the last bus leaves the site for the town at 5:30pm. As far as Aguas Calientes go, it’s a small place and you can easily walk it.

Where to eat and drink: One of the best meals can be found at Inkaterra Café, located right across the train tracks overlooking the hills. Order the quinoa pancakes for breakfast, and for lunch, quinoa-crusted chicken, and Soltero salad, a traditional dish made with chopped cheese, buttery Andean corn, fresh fava beans, chilies, and egg. You can also find causa rellena, a classic yellow potato dish often stuffed with chicken and olives, and plenty of bright ceviche. This café also serves cuy, aka guinea pig, and if you want to try alpaca, head to El Antojito for their take on this meat. Get a jar of cuba libre, pisco sour, or the traditional purple corn drink chicha at just about any bar around, just make sure to drink early, there are laws about consuming liquor past 11pm.

Where to stay: If you have extra money, splurge and stay at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, a gorgeous luxury property built to evoke an Andean Village. Stone paths run the length of this quite, lush, 12-acre property, which is only a five-minute walk to the train. They offer private tour guides, a gourmet buffet breakfast, and on-property excursions like bird watching and an orchid walk. Rates start at $274. For a more economical choice, book a room in the center of town at El MaPi Hotel. The breakfast is just as good, but the rooms smaller and more modern. Rates start at $200.

(Source: snapm.ag)

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Marrakech


Marrakech

By Jen Pollack Bianco

Rock the Kasbah
K
nown as the Red City, Marrakech has a bohemian mystique that has been drawing the cool kids since Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones visited during the 60s. Equal parts gritty and glamorous—and only a few hours by plane from major European cities, it’s never been easier to ride the Marrakech express.

Sheik Sleeps
Traditional Moroccan homes that have been converted into private hotels are called riads, and staying at one is a must.

Located within the ochre colored walls of the medina is the stylish and intimate Riad Farnatchi, with only nine suites. The staff is excellent and serves the best mint tea in town next to the gorgeous courtyard pool. It’s also close to the not-to-be missed Maison de la Photography. 

Arabian Nights
For dinner, head to Dar Marjana, a magical restaurant located in a former Pasha’s palace. Local Gnawas musicians set the mood while you drink and feast on endless plates of chicken tangine and pigeon pastille. Then the belly dancing begins.

Desert Oasis
Escape the chaos of the city and head to the nearby Agafay Desert and spend the day at the La Pause eco-resort. There you can ride a camel and visit a Berber village. Stay for a relaxing lunch served under a nomadic tent. 

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Sopporo, Japan


Sopporo, Japan

By AJ Heiner

Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, is the northern most prefecture in Japan. Hokkaido is the birthplace of ramen and is well known for its crabbing and farming industries, Hokkaido cheese, and staples in Japanese northern cuisine.

While Sapporo is famous for its countless number of ramen shops and beer breweries, Furano is famous for its pizza, and Hakodate and Kushiro are most known for seafood specialities such as squid and crab. So, what can be gathered from these quick tips? A trip to northern Japan is not complete without ramen, crab, beer, or pizza. 

(Source: snapm.ag)

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Bean to Bar: Making Chocolate in Ecuador


By Linnea Covington 

In the tiny town of Balao, Ecuador, Vicente Norero grows and produces some of the best cacao in the world on his plantation Camino Verde. Every step in the process —outlined below — involves a watchful eye, attention to detail, and Norero’s approval on each move. The result: Quality cacao that gets made into amazing chocolate bars like Red Thalhammer’s Antidote, which you can find all over the United States.

1. Select the cacao pod
2. Break the pod to get the seeds
3. Clean and cull the seeds
4. Ferment the seeds
5. Dry the fermented seeds on wooden slates in the sun
6. Ship finished cacao to producer
7. Make a liquor, or liquefy the cacao
8. Blend sugar and cream to make chocolate
9. Add fennel, lavender, salt, cardamom, and coffee to bar
10. Package and sell

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Foie Gras Pate with Black Truffles and Confit Lamb Neck

Recipe by Marc Zimmerman of Alexander’s Steakhouse

INGREDIENTS

For the Confit:
1 lamb neck, defatted and skin removed
lamb fat 
lamb curing mix

For the Cure:
100g maldon salt
5g cayenne 
50g brown sugar
1bay leaf
20 leaves fresh mint
5g fenugreek seed, crushed
20g dried chanterelles 

Remove spine (reserve for stock or sauce) and open neck up flat. Coat in curing mix and place on a rack uncovered in cooler for 36 hours. Rinse lamb. Remove the fat and skin and reserve.* Place into rondeau and cover with infused lamb fat. Cover and place in oven at 135C for 6 hrs. Cool in fat and then pull by hand.

LAMB FAT:
Cured lamb neck skin and fat. Render fat and skin in rondeau. Chill remaining cracklings, finely chop, and reserve.

FOR THE FOIE:
1 lobe foie gras, tempered, completely deveined and sealed
sous vide. Place in a 60C circulated bath until fat is rendered. Place bag in ice water bath until fat begins to solidify, but is still malleable. Open bag out onto a tammis and pass the foie. Pass one more time through a chinois into a bain-marie.

ASSEMBLE:
Fold in pulled neck meat and chopped cracklings. Using a microplane, shave a generous amount of black truffles into the farce and fold in as well. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Place in jar and chill. 


(Source: snapm.ag)

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Istanbul, Turkey


Photos and Words by Sezgi Olgac

As Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “If the Earth was a single state, Istanbul would be its capital.” In Istanbul, simply by wandering the streets, you can feel the heritage of centuries of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman times. On the other hand, the simple daily life has its own charms. Take a walk along the Bosphorus or Golden Horn, watch the ferries passing by, carrying crowds of people and seagulls chasing them. This is a simple but charming composition Istanbul creates for you everyday, again and again.

If it is your first time in Istanbul, you should start with the historical sites and then discover the culture, the music, the art scene and the tempting Turkish cuisine. Or simply get lost in the narrow streets around Karaköy, Galata and Çukurcuma areas and get amazed by the things that you’ll see.

Welcome to the unofficial, humble and soulful capital of the earth.

 

(Source: snapm.ag)

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David Loftus



David Loftus

This award-winning photographer has been serving up tasty snaps for years, making us all a bit more aspirational (and hungry!) when it comes to our food. 

Photos by David Loftus. Words by Molli Sullivan.



When you see a David Loftus food photo, you immediately ask 1 of 2 questions: How can I make that, or when I can eat that? And sometimes, if you’re like us, you ask both.

David is an internationally-acclaimed photographer, excelling in portraits, travel, and our favorite, food photography. When it comes to the latter, he’s best known as Jamie Oliver’s right-hand man, having photographed several of Jamie’s books which have now sold in excess of 30 million copies.

David is the inspiration behind our beloved foodie lens, the Loftus, and he’s also one of our greatest friends from across the pond. Take a peek at some of David’s photos from his personal collection, and get hungry, get inspired, and get to snappin’. 

 

(Source: snapm.ag)

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