The food in Turkey was ridiculously good. And oh so fresh!
There were markets with beautiful fruit. I had sooo many cherries at breakfast every morning. Given that we were near the water, there was also wonderful local seafood and we enjoyed seabass 4-5 times during the trip.
The Turks start their meals with mezes, small dishes or snacks that are usually served cold. I was obsessed! The only problem was that we would often order a couple and eat them with lots of bread, and then be too full for our entrees:)
Another dish I was in love with was warm hummus served with hot pastrami. I could eat this for days.
For snacks, we would sometimes stop by one of the many juice stands for freshly squeezed juice,
or duck into a spice store for giant medjool dates.
And the bakeries, oh the bakeries, were delightful, and on every corner. Matt and I made it our goal to try all the varieties of baklava and would search for the best-looking bakery after dinner each night.
Waffles stuffed with toppings were also a thing over there. Although it doesn’t look as delicious as it tasted, this soft waffle was filled with dark chocolate, caramel, bananas, strawberries, and sprinkles; it was to-die-for.
I drank lots of Turkish wine. Although most food in Turkey was less expensive than in the US, the alcohol was pricey. I stuck to local Turkish wine and beer, because cocktails were $15-$20! The Turkish reds weren’t too flavorful (although we had one or two good ones), but the roses and the whites were great. I’m not usually a rose girl, but I got into them on this trip. Side note: the bar below is called Mikla and had the most incredible views of the city. You MUST go for a drink if you are ever in Istanbul!
The local beer, Efes, came in a dark variety that both Matt and I loved.
We had many wonderful meals, and I obviously didn’t document all of them, but here are a few highlights:
Meze by Lemon Tree (above). I choose this for our last night of the trip (we were back in Istanbul) because the menu is mostly modern mezes. We ordered 6 cold ones and 3 hot ones and every dish was incredible. It was phenomenal.
Another great restaurant was Banyan in Ortakoy. Although this restaurant was Asian fusion and not Turkish, it had the most beautiful view of the water and I had to share the caramelized sea bass and quinoa shredded salad picture because it was probably the best salad I’ve ever had!
Lastly, we had a really nice meal on our first night at a modern Turkish restaurant called Lokanta Maya
Above are shredded wheat balls stuffed with feta and honey and below, fried zucchini.
We also had fresh clams and more seabass!
I think the Turkish food was my favorite part of the trip! After avoiding dairy for most of this year, the feta and yogurt tasted extra heavenly. Aside from being uncomfortably full some nights, I didn’t have any issues with bloating. I was religious about taking my probiotics while traveling, and I think they are making all the difference (either that or I’m just not stressed about finding a job anymore:) Anyway, I’m just so thankful that I was able to enjoy all the Turkish food and still feel pretty good!
I’ll share some pictures from Bodrum and Matt’s 30th next!Read More
Happiest of Mondays to you guys!
We did a whole lotta nothing on Friday and Sunday so that we could go all out on Saturday! For the first time in a while, we didn’t even put any effort in Friday dinner – we just had leftovers and went to bed.
Saturday, we drove out to the burbs to celebrate the adorable Rosco – he turned one! Time is flying – I can’t imagine how fast it moves when you’re a parent!
I was so excited to see the wine list because they had many bottles for $25-$32!! I love this restaurant just for that! We splurged for this bottle of malbec and it was wonderful!
We skipped the entree and just ordered a few small plates. Less is more these days.
This is the pork belly tacu tacu (lentil cake) with fig compote. It was absolutely perfect and the pork just melted in my mouth.
Next, the lobster sweet corn tamale with fried avocado – also fabulous.
The duck tacos were probably my favorite and they came with two salsas, cilantro, and a little tower of limes for seasoning!
Last of the small plates was the crab arepa.
The waiter talked us into desserts too, which were incredible: the sweet banana tamale (holy moly, so good),
the sweet potato donuts!!!
I was already completely in love with San Salvaje and then Chef Pyles stopped by our table to chat!! He’s been traveling to South America for years and created the restaurant based on his experiences. We’re hoping to plan a trip down there in the near future and got his recommendations for cities. He was so sweet and even went into the back to look up some names of restaurants in his notes and came back to share them with us later. He was down-to-earth and friendly, and now I’m an even bigger fan:)
Have a good week.Read More
Pizza and wine is becoming a Friday favorite! We opened a local bottle that we received from a friend. It was light and spicy.
I threw together a pizza with leftovers from our pineapple crockpot chicken along with sheep’s manchego, spicy bbq sauce, and cilantro. Pizza is always good. And we watched Rent because I had never seen it! I was impressed Matt knew many of the songs:)
Saturday we hit up bootcamp and made a hearty lunch in preparation for some beer drinkin. We were supposed to attend a crawfish boil, but because of the weather, the gathering turned into a visit to Community Brewing. We had been once before, and this time they had a new bar area and many more choices. I accidentally drank all three pints, and after hours of conversation, we decided to go in search of dinner. It was a lovely afternoon and I made new friends in addition to catching up with newish old ones.
We wanted something low-key, so we walked to the Rustic for Texas homestyle cookin.
They had a great beer list, but I decided on a pricky pear margarita in honor of our trip to AZ (but really because I was tired of beer!).
We shared two apps and a burger. Above, the cactus fritters (soo good), and below, the smoked catfish and crackers.
The burger was a bit dry, but I loved the bun and the green chilies that were served with it. The mashed sweet potatoes were amazing!
We rarely get dessert in restaurants, and were def. not planning to order one on Saturday, but then I saw this go by….
A giant peanut butter pie – who can resist?
I usually get to the grocery store on Friday or Saturday, but didn’t make it this week, so we decided brunch was in order on Sunday. We went to Sundown on Granada, which is officially my new favorite brunch spot! It’s on the hippy side and has incredible vegetarian and vegan options. We had been once before, but only sat at the bar for apps. I started with the vegan green drink made with kale, bananas, berries, cucumbers, mint, agave, and it really hit the spot.
We definitely only needed one brunch entree, but I had no idea they were gonna be so big! I had their version of a vegan benedict, which was swiss chard, sweet potato hash, chipotle-avocado sauce, and fire roasted salsa, over a housemade quinoa burger. I’ve been a bit disappointed in quinoa burgers lately, but this one was full of flavor (and giant).
Matt’s benedict was ridiculously good too, and consisted of Shiner brisket and bbq hollandaise over whole wheat molasses toast. I was in a definite food coma after this brunch, but it was good for grocery shopping afterwards because I stuck to my list exactly. And good fuel for the week! I’m working three days and have yet another interview. Hope yall had a good Monday! Adios.Read More
The weekend was lovely. I hadn’t really seen Matt in a while because of Key West and his weekend soccer tournament plus weekday travel for work. It was wonderful to go on a date! HG Supply has been on our list for quite some time, so we were both really excited to have dinner there. HG stands for hunter gatherer and the menu is Paleo-inspired; the food is simple and clean, and so was the space! I had a fabulous vanilla cinnamon Manhattan in the lively bar while we waited for our table.
We started with the bacon wrapped pork shanks with chipotle-cider glaze. These were giant and delicious.
HG Supply is famous for their bowls of flavorful combinations of meat and vegetables. Matt wanted to try ‘The Hunted’ bowl consisting of duck confit, sweet potato hash, spicy broccoli & bacon. We both loved it.
We also shared the quinoa burger with olive tapenade and hummus. We will definitely be back to HG supply, not just because we liked the food and atmosphere, but because of the chocolate kettlebell that arrived at the table beside us. It was the size of an actual kettlebell and the server poured hot caramel over it to melt the chocolate and reveal a piece of cheesecake inside. It was insane.
After dinner we watched Blackfish, a documentary about killer whales in captivity. I really enjoyed watching it, but also felt really sad about the poor whales and trainers. I dreamed of being one of those trainers after my first visit to SeaWorld when I was little and had no idea that so much information had been kept from the public:(
Saturday, I baked up a storm! A friend was celebrating her 30th birthday, and I volunteered to make the desserts for the party. I attempted a new recipe for brownie surprise cupcakes, and made an old faithful mint whoopie pie recipe.
I wouldn’t recommend the brownie surprise – freezing the brownie batter was supposed to keep it from cooking all the way through so that it would remain gooey, but it didn’t work at all. The brownies still cooked until they were dry and cakey. They weren’t bad at all, but I’m just not a chocolate cake person and that’s basically what they tasted like on the inside. The peanut butter icing on top, however, was incredible!!!
And the whoopies were good!
The party was awesome – they had one of my favorite wines and a wonderful spread of Mexican food from a local restaurant. I could not stop eating the sweet potato chips with salsa verde!!
Sunday was nice and relaxing. Matt and I took a long walk to the tennis courts, but were sad to find them packed because of the nice weather. We eventually gave up.
I picked up some cajun turkey burgers for dinner and we sipped on rose to end the weekend.
And another week begins.Read More
I had two more parties this weekend, so I baked on Saturday! Confession: I used Trader Joe’s gingerbread cookie dough because it’s awesome and easy. I cut each round of dough in two and pressed the balls into mini cupcake holders to make gingerbread cups.
And because I love Icing, I whipped up some ‘buttercream’ and put dollops in the middle. Mmmmm.
I loved these and think I’ll make them again for Christmas. I just ordered new icing tips too, so I can make better dollops!
After filling the apartment with wonderful smells of gingerbread, I finally finished decorating our tree! How funny is that one tall branch at the top? I can’t decide if I should trim it or leave it.
We ventured out to our first party of the night – a going away gathering for our friends who are moving to Paris!
I brought the gingerbread cups, but there were all kinds of goodies!
After 2 rounds of drinks and conversation, we headed to our second stop – a Christmas party hosted by my college roomie. Here’s Matt with his bff Chris!
There was lots more good food, this time with a Mexican twist – pork tamales and the best guacamole ever from Mi Cocina (as in a restaurant here in Dallas, not my actual kitchen:))
I met so many new people and chatted for hours!
Matt and I finally walked home at 1:30 after helping clean up millions of beer bottles. Miraculously, I was able to sleep until TEN this morning, so I didn’t feel that tired today. It was a lazy Sunday, but Matt and I took a long afternoon stroll because the weather was gorgeous.
I’m ready for a productive week and then it’s time for two weeks of family, holiday food, and pure relaxation. Night!Read More