Inspiring you to lead a more fulfilled life through exploration, creativity, and expression, in art, travel, and food!
One of my favorite ways of exploring a new place is try food! All kinds of food, but especially street food. I figure street food is the casual way of the locals. I love everything about it; navigating my way around an unfamiliar place, the aromas on the street that lead me down narrow alleys, the pantomiming and laughing that ensues as I try to order or figure out the what the heck I'm putting in my mouth! That's what I do: I travel, I'm inspired by my experiences, what I've seen and done, and I fill my head with painted furniture, rooms, and fine art to do for clients when I return home.
Turkey is a land of "fruit and honey", abundant, rich, and fertile. Breakfast was served with an assortment of nuts and yogurt, fruit, fresh breads, cheeses, and honey....glistening, golden, dripping honey--oozing out of the honeycomb, I felt spoiled and decadent. Don't miss the "Kaymak" (Turkey's version of a clotted cream), THE most decadent part of breakfast . Kaymak? Clotted Cream? Imagine butter and whipped cream getting together for the most blissful union. If you are lucky, you'll taste some made from the mild of water buffalo, sheep, or goats. Spread it on your freshly made bread, put it on your baklava, or eat it straight from your spoon.
Apple tea is the ever present tea in Turkey. It's a nice tradition; shopkeepers will offer you a cup as your are haggling over a deal, but the herbal tea is like a painting in a cup! The cup was overflowing with flowers and dried fruit. The shelves of the tea shop were piled with every dried flower, in every color, the aroma was heady and intoxicating. An adorably funny guy with a goofy smile served it up saying "Exsqueeze Me?" each time I asked him a question...so I kept asking questions. :-)
After exploring the Royal Harem at the Topkaki Palace Museum, the evening in Istanbul started with a bumpy car ride through the winding, narrow, cobbled streets behind the ancient walls of Istanbul. These paths were barely wider than the car itself, our driver expertly maneuvered around pedestrians, blind curves, and stray dogs with hardly a blink. The thrill of the ride elicited more than a few involuntary "ahhs" and "woah"'s as we sped along. Before we realized it, the car came to an abrupt stop, half on the curb James Bond 007 style, in front of 3 stone pylons at the end of a road. We were ushered out of the car and led down a narrow alley that had a hopeful glow at the end of it.
We emerged into a cheerfully lit fan shaped plaza with a fountain gurgling in the center, . This was the famous Kumkapi District where 6 streets meet, all lined on each side, with more festive seafood restaurants than I would have imagined. Every single restaurant was a seafood restaurant. So if we ate at 1 restaurant a day, I figured that would be enough fish to keep us busy for at least 72 days!
A stroll down the streets with the twinkling lights beckoned us. I was amazed at the back to back chairs and tables, heated by propane patio heaters on this brisk March evening. How do you decide where to eat? Some were full, some empty... remember that old "rule of thumb"? We wandered for as long as we could stand the chill then headed into a restaurant (Hosseda or Hos Seda) located at the central point of the plaza and asked for the warmest table.
Dish after dish of "mezes" or small plates start coming out of the kitchen. Olives, small sardines in a tomato sauce, phyllo wrapped cheese, eggplant, charred peppers glistening in olive oil... A favorite of mine ended up being a "butter shrimp"--small shrimp broiled in butter and spices and served hot and sizzling. According to the video clip, I had two.
Three if you count dinner the next night.
What was your favorite memorable meal while traveling?
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