Turkish Food Porn…part 1

Oh, hello. What’s that? Where have I been? Oh, I just took a little trip to Turkey, one of the most amazing places in the entire world. How was it? Well, quite spectacular, thank you for asking. 
 The library in Ephesus
Seriously, Turkey is a beautiful conflicted modern historical western eastern fantastical place. For those of you who’ve been lucky enough to go, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who haven’t, consider it.
I went with my good friend Shelley. We were gone for 12 days, but it honestly felt like a lifetime. We packed so much in and experienced so many wonderful people and sights and food and, let’s be honest, quite a few crappy bus rides, that it felt like we were gone forever.
We used Istanbul as our jumping off point, flying directly down to Antalya when we first arrived in Turkey.
Antalya is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Southwest Turkey with gorgeous Ottoman houses, cobblestone streets (in Kaleici, or Old Town) and a breathtaking museum with artifacts dating as far back as 9000 BC. Do you know how old that is? I still can’t even quite wrap my mind around it.That’s pretty much the beginning of time as we know it.
9000 BC is when the Mediterranean was first settled. 1,000 years before dogs were domesticated; before the glaciers melted and the Ice Age happened. People were barely making huts and weapons. This is 9,000 years before Jesus was all, “Hey guys, whassup? My mom’s a virgin and I’m a messiah.”
Anyway, I was going to have 2 parts to my Turkish food posts–the first half of the trip followed by the second. I think I’ll break it down even smaller however. There’s a lot to get through! 
This is going to be pretty much straight food photos; for landscape and people and ancient ruins and swimming in the Mediterranean, I’ve got to figure out Flickr or something. Stay tuned.
Without further ado, my chronological food journey in Turkey:
This was an $11 order of chips and guac from the JFK airport. Silly looking and silly tasting, but it hit the spot.
To offset the fried-ness, we also split a salad:
I had cognac as soon as we arrived at the airport in Istanbul. Shelley and I had already been traveling for about 24 hours, and we had another 6 or so to go… I have no idea why I chose cognac; I blame it on the lack of sleep. I also ordered “Potato Croquettes” for something like 15 lira, which just happened to be about 6 tator tots. Sigh. No picture; I was too hungry and inhaled them all before I could take a picture.
We got into Antalya, and after A LOT of walking around, backpack-loaded, we found a dingy little pansion (like a hostel, but nicer, cuter, and a touch more expensive).
So many of the cafes in Kaleici are set in the garden, with grape leaves above you and cobblestone below you. Shelley and I were exhausted, but stopped in one and tried our first Raki. Similar to Ouzo, Raki is grape brandy infused with anisette. Once you add water (which you have to do, unless you want a wicked hangover) it turns cloudy. Cool.
Ali, the owner, was super sweet and kept bringing us fresh jasmine flowers, basil leaves, and then 2 fresh oranges. The oranges are very small and actually green on the outside. And DELICIOUS on the inside. 🙂
This is Ali:
Cute, huh?! He loved this picture. 🙂
We made our way back to our dingy little room and fell fast asleep. In the morning, after a semi-hilarious conversation with a woman who spoke no english, and my turkish even worse, Shelley and I decided to skip the breakfast she was trying to tell us about and just head on. While waiting for the tram, we had our first cup of fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice.
Yep, it was pretty yummers.
And that’s it for part 1! There are better quality photos and yummier-looking things coming up, I promise.

Hope everyone had a super time while I was gone!

Mexico Food Recap

Mexico. I came, I saw, I tried to eat vegan. Sometimes it was only a waffle for lunch, or a side of beans and avacados and tortillas for dinner. One time we raced through the city of Veracruz following our impromptu guide, and found a prix fix (food on the run) that was ENTIRELY vegan. not the best I’ve ever had, but super edible. Abby’s step-mother made me some delicious food. Gorditas, Empanads, Rice with carrots, spicy potatoes with green beans and cabbage… everything she made had the magic touch–SO GOOD. I miss the food there.


Check this out. The Ale House was running a Quesadilla special yesterday for lunch.

I veganized it.

What you see is:
–housemade salsa. slightly spicy, just the right consisitancy.
–black beans, spinach, tomatoes, olives, green chilis, onions, jalepenos and lettuce in a tortilla and heated.
–spicy tofu-cashew cream sauce on top

This was such an amazing lunch. I sometimes have qualms with working at a place that serves meat, but I do love that we offer some amazing vegan options, even if I have to piece them together sometimes. Without the cheese, everyone asked how it would hold together. That’s what they ask about pizza too. And I tell them, “It just works.” I mean, yeah, it gets a little messy, but it’s so freakin’ good and I don’t even miss the cheese! And this is coming from a girl who loves bean and cheese burritos so much she might pick ’em over her mom if given the choice… just kidding, mom! 🙂

Just looking at this picture make me wish I had another one right now. Yum.

Mint and Gravy

Going through my random pictures from November, I found these two I thought I’d share.

This one is a spicy and fruity martini made at Mint/820 Lounge on Russell Ave, one block from my house.The owner, Lucy Brennan, is probably the most famous mixologist in Portland. She’s written at least one book, and is known all over town, primarily for her avocado daiquiri, which I still have never tried. She’s also known for being a sugar nazi–the bartenders have to rim all the martini glasses *just so* and line them up evenly along the bar. If they fail to do it correctly, she makes them do it again.

Regardless, it’s a fun place, and there are delicious yummy sweet potatoe fries on happy hour.

This one is my breakfast at Gravy a month or so ago–wasn’t too hungry, so ordered a side of hashbrowns and a (housemade) soy sausage.

Oh my gosh. HUGE. I know, right? I don’t know if you can quite tell how big these hashbrowns are. They’re the size of my head. The soy sausage patty was delicious. The hashbrowns were delicious too, but way too much for me. When I came here, I asked for a vegan bloody mary, and they couldn’t help out. I did have a mimosa though!
A Bloody Mary is not vegan (or even vegetarian) because worchester sauce is a common ingredient, in mixes and when made fresh. I always think that in Portland, bloody mary’s would be made fresh and I could have one, anchovy-free. It rarely happens though.

Anyhoo, I had a delicious lunch today at work, and I’ll post a picture of that soon.