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The Hungry Nomad: 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011

January 30, 2011

Sweet & Savory Streets (Istanbul, Turkey)

Another great post from our resident blogger, Kim. Enjoy!

Surely I love a good restaurant as much any other girl. But sometimes the best treats can be found out there on the streets. Just imagine enjoying fresh ice cream while strolling in the summer sun or warming up on spicy hot cocoa on a crispy winter day. So when I went to Istanbul, of course I had to try all the Turkish on-the-go delights. 

It took a long time for me to open up to chestnuts, but on a cold cold day these hot roasted little treats are exactly what you might need to warm up and continue your adventurous walks around town. I have seen chestnuts stands from Northern Italy and Geneva to Athens and also in Istanbul people munch happily on chestnuts while out and about. Also, keep your eyes out for chestnut treats in coffee shops and restaurants as there are some seriously deliciously chestnut cakes and deserts to be found. 

A new discovery for me when I went to Turkey was fresh pomegranate juice. All around the city you may notice small coffee shops and kebab stands squeezing and selling orange & pomegranate juice to take away. Extremely refreshing, I love how it makes for a healthy change from sipping on (also very enjoyable) Turkish coffees and black teas.

Much less greasy than the varieties I have tasted in Greece, kebabs in Istanbul are a popular fast food. My favorite is the döner kebab with a thin pita, lamb meat, sour pickles and veggies (which you see in the picture), yum! Couple it with a pomegranate juice, relax on a bench and enjoy the bustle of the city around you.

Salep is a sweet and spicy drink which will definitely do you good on a rainy and chilly day. Originally made from the salep orchid, it is now usually made with hot milk, cinnamon and salep flavorings. You can see salep being sold by some traditionally dressed men pushing their carts and shouting "Hot Salep, hot salep!". A word of caution: Salep is extremely hot, so don't burn your tongue. 

Simit ("koulouri" in Greece) stands are present on every street corner in Istanbul. Considered breakfast by many in this neck of the woods, you almost can't go wrong with these simple bread rings sprinkled with sesame seeds.

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January 24, 2011

Put on a bib and get dirty at Mr. B's Bistro (New Orleans)

Mr. B's Bistro:  201 ROYAL STREET | NEW ORLEANS, LA | 70130 504.523.2078

This is one of our favourite restaurants in the French Quarter. The chic setting and cozy atmosphere make for a great dinner out. Upon entering the restaurant through the revolving door you get a feeling that you've stepped through a machine back in time. Everything from the decor, the servers and the experience could be straight out of a turn of the century movie.  

Each time we have gone to this restaurant there has been a wait...but its never a problem since many come just for the bar where you can have yourself a bloody mary, mint julip or a sazerac while you wait for your table. The restaurant serves contemporary Creole cuisine in a warm relaxed atmosphere. Signature dishes include Gumbo Ya Ya, Barbequed Shrimp, and Bread Pudding with Irish Whiskey Sauce (see menu). The service is amazing- the waiters always happy and welcoming. If you happen to have the Barbeque shrimp (which is really a must if you go to this restaurant) they even go so far as to put on your bib for you (needed to peel the shrimp), bring you hot towels and lemon and continuous servings of fresh out of the oven french bread, which ofcourse you proceed to dip in the bbq shrimp sauce (probably the best part of the meal). The gumbo ya ya is also a must- definitely one of the best I have had since my time in New Orleans...and I have had ALOT of Gumbo. Finishing off with a plate of desert you really can't go wrong with anything on the menu: my favorites- the profiteroles (a french dessert consisting of light fluffy dough filled with vanilla ice-cream and topped with dark chocolate sauce (TO DIE FOR), if you want something more New Orleans in flavor then try the home made breadpudding. You will not be dissapointed. Not with the dessert. Not with your meal. And definitely not with the service you receive at this charming restaurant in the quarter. 

Famous Mr. B's BBQ Shrimp

Clean bib before 
getting dirty in the dirty south

Gumbo ya ya

Delicious Bread Pudding with whiskey sauce


Fried Oysters

Mr. B's Bistro on Urbanspoon

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January 23, 2011

Thai Lounge and Elefanta Restaurant(Cancun, Mexico)

Thai Lounge: Bulevar Kukulcán Km. Plaza La Isla Shopping Village
Thai Lounge- Thai food in Mexico? It's possible! Thai Lounge is a beautiful restaurant located in the La Isla Shopping Center overlooking the lagoon.  If you do happen to go here, make sure to call ahead to book one of the cabanas (cabana #7 is the nicest one-includes a bed and a table for two). The place is very intimate, cozy and romantic. It is one of the nicest places to go for dinner in Cancun and I highly recommend it.

The food was really good. As good as the dishes I had tried in Thailand...just not as cheap. My favorite Thai dish that I discovered in Thailand (Glass Noodles with Prawns) was also on the menu and I was not disappointed. The setting is very romantic, especially if you make it in time for the sunset.

Adjacent to the Thai Lounge is Elefanta Indian Cuisine. I would have liked to have tried the Elefanta as well but didn't have time. They are both set on the edge of the lagoon with magnificent views.

Make sure to ask for Cabana #7 (did I already say that?)

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Istanbul Impressions (Istanbul, Turkey)

Istanbul has been on my to-go list for a very long time and finally this winter I made it! Such a wonderful place. Literally at the border between East and West, its long history remains tangible everywhere you walk in this vast city. I was dazzled by the beauty of its historical mosques, palaces and churches while I thoroughly enjoyed all the modern city had to offer. Tea houses and wine bars, modern art galleries and ages-old mosques, eastern bazaars and western malls all make for an exciting mix for the traveler. I will be sharing more of Istanbul with you soon, for now a few colorful impressions. (by The Dutch Nomad, Kim)

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January 19, 2011

Athens International Airport (Athens, Greece)

Here is the first post by the new addition to the blog: Kim. Enjoy!

What better way to kick off my guest blog here at the Hungry Nomad than to start where most travels start: the airport! I love airports, with their air of adventure, observing all the people wondering what exotic places they might be heading while snapping a pic or two.. Mostly though, my airport experiences are the same with the occasional little treasure. My point of departure nowadays is Athens International Airport, where you may find two such treasures.

One I'd like to share with you is Korres, a Greek store offering natural and organic beauty products which to my opinion all smell delicious and come in beautifully designed packages. I simply can't choose what I like best about Korres: their philosophy on nature and beauty, their great design or perhaps just their delicious guava butter, fig body milk and spicy fragrances.

The other one is the Mastiha Shop selling products with mastiha, the resin of mastic trees growing only on the island of Chios. The resin has a long history of use and is believed to have many good qualities. Mastiha with its lovely distinct flavor and scent is used in tons of different products from ointments and liqueurs to sweets. My personal favorites are the little choco delights with mastiha. Mastiha is a favorite also outside Greece, I have tasted some scrumptious mastic desserts in Istanbul. So when you're in the neighborhood, keep an eye out for mastic treats!

The Mastiha Shop can be found only at the 'all passengers area'.  Korres stores can be found at both the 'all passengers area' and 'extra-Schengen passengers area'.  The Mastiha Shop & Korres also have stores in some major international cities around the globe such as Paris and New York and can also be found at Sephora.

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January 17, 2011

Destination: Brooklyn (New York)

A trip to New York is NEVER complete without a journey over the bridge and into Brooklyn. Although there are many ways you can reach Brooklyn I recommend for those who have never walked across the Brooklyn bridge to actually take the time to do so. I absolutely loved every step across. Perhaps its my deep love for anything and everything in and around New York City but I  loved the Brooklyn bridge and it was not till after that I realized that is is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. No visit to Brooklyn is complete with out a stop over at Grimaldi's Pizzeria directly underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. However, do expect long line ups as it is a major tourist destination.  If you are lucky enough to visit NYC during the summer you should find out about the free Brooklyn Park outdoor film series. Grab a picnic blanket and a bottle of wine and head to the park to watch your favorite classics outdoors while looking over to the New York City skyline. Sigh. Why am I still NOT living in New York? It remains a mystery.

The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge began in 1869. It was completed and opened to the public in 1883. The first automobiles drove across the bridge in 1925, and the last elevated train crossed in 1944.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art ( New York)

The MET: 1000 5th Ave, New York, 10028 (212) 249-8998 ‎ 

On my last trip to New York I decided to play tourist and started off with the museums. First on the list: the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Similar to the Louvre in its collection it is truly magnificent and don't be surprised if you end up getting lost as its massive. The building itself is set on the border of Central Park and is a beautiful work of art meriting a visit if not to the museum but just to see the architectural beauty. Try to get there early as it gets busy quite quickly and you will find yourself hovering over a crowd just to get a look at artwork.

Photos taken with my i-phone so I apologize for the quality

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