Sunday, November 24, 2013

High Tea with Agatha Christie

At the turn on the 20th century, the Pera Palace Hotel was THE place to go in Istanbul. And after a brief closure a few years ago for some maintenance, it has quickly once again become a must see. Built to house the passengers of the Orient Express, the hotel possesses a timeless grandeur that few will ever match. Hemingway has his hero of "Snows of Kilimanjaro" stay in the posh palace (and Ernest himself liked to drink whiskey in the bar), Alfred Hitchcock roamed its halls, Kemal Ataturk stayed in the famous Room 101, and Agatha Christie is said to have been inspired to write her famous "Murder on the Orient Express" while at the hotel.

Unfortunately I'm not a 1930s lady of leisure off to holiday, and can't afford to stay the night in the decadent hotel. However, I can celebrate my inner Agatha Christie with some high tea!

 Tea is from 15-18:00 every day, with a huge array of delicious treats to indulge in. The tea selection is nice (maybe 15 teas), and the food is great. Puddings, fruit cups, savory scones, macaroons (only, avoid the white one; we can only identify it as 'vaguely pinecone' flavored), sugar cookies, cheese cakes, and fruit jams. It is delicious and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon! Especially because you can sit and pretend that perhaps the man at the piano knows more than he is saying about the lovely young lady in room 301 who just inherited her father's fortune...

Tony, the friendly piano man, will play any song you wish!

The food table

The famous ceiling is as beautiful as they say. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Upcoming travel - 2014.

2014's trips are starting to be planned! After quite the slump in country-collecting, I'm proud to announce we are on a roll.

In 2014, you can look forward to updates from: Estonia, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Russia! Also, many more posts about how much I love cruises and unlimited crab cakes. Of course, there will also be 6 months of living in Turkey too.

It's going to be a great year!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bosnia - the photos

While I'm working on more in-depth articles I thought we'd have some starting photographs. Enjoy!








All photo credits go to my wonderful partner. 

195 of 'em

Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (including French Polynesia), Germany,Greece, Italy,  Japan,  Mexico,Norway, Panama, Peru, Russia, Switzerland,Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom,  United States

To go:
Afghanistan Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Australia Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bhutan Bolivia  Botswana Brazil Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Central African Republic Chad Chile China Colombia Comoros Costa Rica Cote d'Ivoire Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Democratic Republic of the Congo Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Ethiopia Fiji Gabon Gambia Georgia Ghana Grenada Guatemala Guinea Guinea Bissau Guyana Haiti Honduras Hungary
Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Israel Jamaica Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macedonia Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Mauritania Mauritius Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North Korea Oman Pakistan Palau Papua New Guinea Paraguay Philippines Poland Portugal Qatar Republic of the Congo Romania Rwanda Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Korea Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Swaziland Syria Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand Togo Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkmenistan Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Vietnam Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe

* Palestine, Vatican City, Taiwan


I'm proud to officially put another country on the "visited" list! We just spend a wonderful long weekend in Bosnia. I have several posts I'm working on about the trip, so stayed tuned. You'll be getting photos, reviews, and long posts about how much I love Bosnian food.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Funding trips

Hi all!

To help fund our travel ventures, I have put out my first collections of poems. It's ridiculous and humorous, and hopefully enjoyable. A more serious edition inspired by my travels will follow this year.

But for now, hope you enjoy the smiles! Thanks for your support!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Hey all, 

Sorry for the slow posts. We have been traveling a lot, and just sinking into life here in Istanbul. 

But I do have some great news - we have recently hit up Greece (Country #13), and are currently buying plane tickets to Bosnia and Herzegovina (Country #14).

So expect many great posts in the future!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I have finally procured a waffle!

Thursday at 4:30 appears to be the time where one can get a waffle. It was delicious.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The mystery of the waffle

Whenever you travel there is always that one food you miss terribly. Often, it is something you wouldn't necessarily want all that often but now that you can't have it you want it constantly. 

For me, my food cravings tend to be breakfast items. While I enjoy the odd pancake at home (although, more often than not I like them for dinner instead of breakfast), once I'm on the road I crave them incessantly. The thick doughy goodness of American breakfasts fills my empty ache for home.

So you can imagine my delight when we walked around my neighborhood and I saw at least 10 nearby places advertising waffles with bright neon signs and pictures of delicious kiwi waffles. I filled my head with plans to eat one every day. Every single day until I never wanted a waffle again.

Alas, there is apparently some secret of the waffle I do not understand.

It all started on Monday when I eagerly went into the nearest waffle place (which is quite literally next door) for breakfast.

"ONE WAFFLE PLEASE" I said in my horrible yet functional Turkish.
The man just shook his head. "It is not the time."
My confused expression caused him to offer a long explanation,  but unfortunately I did not understand any of it.
"No waffle?" I tried again.

I went on my way and ordered something else for breakfast. However, I still wanted my waffle and decided on Tuesday to try it again. I went to a new restaurant at a new time, and tried again. I got the same response. Around this time I realized I had never actually seen anyone eating a waffle.

So now it is Wednesday, and I shall try one last time. I will go to a new restaurant at dinner time and see if I have any luck. If not, I hope one of you readers can tell me the secret of the waffle. Because I really do want one!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

More photos from Istanbul!

I did some edits on the old photos, and also took some new shots this weekend. Enjoy! :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Istanbul - the beginning

Well, we have landed safely in Istanbul. And all I can say is - WOW. It's absolutely beautiful and charming.

I'll have more to say in the future, but for now enjoy these photos!

Hagia Sophia

Blue Mosque

Beyo─člu, Istanbul


View over to the Asian side

View from bridge crossing the Golden Horn

Crossing Golden Horn again

Inside the Hagia Sophia

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pigging Out - Peruvian Style

Whenever you go anywhere the first thing people ask you is "how was the food?".  The question is understandable-- it is the safest possible query. Even if you know absolutely NOTHING about a place - no idea of its climate, attractions, government, or language -- you can still be sure they eat food. And whoever visited probably ate food too. So go on, ask me what food I like in Peru.

1. Aji De Gallina - As regular readers probably know, I am vegetarian. Most of the time. But in Peru it can be fairly difficult to say the least. Not only because vegetarian food can be hard to find (in the countryside where I spent most of my time; in large cities it is very easy), but also because Peruvian chicken is delicious. Especially Aji de gallina. Shredded chicken in a spicy, thick, yellow cream sauce, this is one of the most satisfying chicken meals possible. It's so good that I like to have it for my last meal on a trip, as a fond goodbye.

2. Puca Picante - Beats, potatoes, meat, noodles, rice, and a spicy red sauce that may have had coca cola in it, this dish is weird and wonderful all at once.

 Originating in Ayacucho, puca picante can be hard to find outside of Peru.  Well... it was also hard to find in Peru.  Ok ok... I actually only saw it once in person, and that was at a memorial service where it was cooked in giant vats.

 I know it sounds like I'm making this dish up, but trust me. Puca Picante is divine - easily my second favorite dish. Mostly because of the beets, which makes the meat and potatoes have a nice sweetness to them. Don't think too hard about it - just enjoy the surprising flavors.

Sooo delicious. 
Women cooking the puca picante outside

3. Papas ala huancina - Like aji de gallina, but with cold potatoes. I think the coldness throws some people off - but its really quite delicious. It'll often include a fried egg and some olives too. A pretty safe start for your first meal.

4. Palta Rellena (Stuffed avacado) - Lighter fare for lunch can be difficult to find in Peru. Which is one reason why I always appreciate stuffed avacados. Usually you'll be served a giant avacado (and boy does Peru get some big ones!), with a tasty middle stuffed with tuna or chicken salad. Try it with ketchup too! It's delicious and great for a smaller lunch (so you can save up space for an enormous dinner of aji de gallina, obviously).

5. Picarones - These are basically Peruvian doughnuts. But made from delicious things like sweet potatoes. They are thicker in texture than doughnuts, and don't have the gross sweet icing American doughnuts often have. I've seen them served with fig juice - which blows my mind with deliciousness. Since these are deep fried, I will often just buy them and eat them in the market fresh. Don't let them get cold, or they get gummy.

6. Lucuma cookies - There are a lot of delicious, delicious Peruvian snack food. Especially cookies. But when it comes to my number one, I find it to be a surprisingly easy choic: lucama cookies.

 Lucuma is a fruit that tastes like butterscotch to me (although to other people it may taste different). You can't eat it by itself; it is too bitter. So much like vanilla, lucuma needs to be added to something else. Something like cookies.

Basically, think of oreos. But made with a magical butterscotch fruit. Mmmmmmm.

Also, who doesn't want CASINO cookies?

7. Cancha (Fried giant corn) - Perfect bar snack. Salty, crunchy, goes well with pisco - all around the best thing for a late night out. It is like corn nuts but a billion times better, because of its fresher texture and more intense flavor.

8. Chaplas (Ayacucho breads) -- I 've heard that when someone goes from Ayacucho to Lima they will take a giant bag full of  bread. Having tasted that bread, its understandable - I want to bring bags of it and share it with everyone too.

The breads are small, round, and the perfect size to make a sandwich. Plus, when cut open they form perfect little pockets, so no sloppy sandwich spills!  They go great at breakfast with some jam and butter. Or at lunch with tuna and avacado. Or as a snack with peanut butter. Basically I'll eat them anytime.

They are made in big outdoor ovens that produce them twice a day. Early in the morning, and then again in the evening. If you really want the best bread, you should stand in line at the oven itself. They will pop out steaming hot, and you can whip out some garlic and butter and to melt all over them - homemade delicious garlic brad.

Some days I miss these breads so much, my day is incomplete without them. So eat them with care - be prepared to never feel the same about sandwiches.

So this is just the start of my favorite things to eat in Peru. If you ask again, I'll probably give you an even longer list. ;)