A Foodie in Istanbul

foodist

Did you come here today to find some food porn? I HOPE YOU DID! Because that’s what you’re getting. Here are the best photos of the food I ate in Istanbul. All but one is vegetarian, and I’ll try to give the description and restaurant name for each. Here’s a link to my tripadvisor page so you can have the whole list of places I ate at.

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This menemen was probably one of my favourite meals. Meant for breakfast, it contains eggs and tomatoes and was perfectly warming without being spicy. Here’s a great recipe for it, but we ate them at Nakka.

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Fast food for Turkish people is the simit – a pretzel with sesame seeds on it. The main chain selling these is called Simit Sarayi and actually there’s one in Frankfurt very near to where I live. I love their potato börek and was dying to see what they taste like in Turkey. I’m pleased to say that they tasted exactly the same – so I know that the shop near me is giving me the real deal! OM NOM NOM!

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Dolma” means to stuff, and we had our chance to try a few stuffed vegetable dolma. On the left there’s seasoned rice wrapped in vine leaves and on the right there’s stuffed tomatoes. As expected, the vine leaf version is pretty difficult to make at home (but they are common in supermarkets, I think) but we had these at Fuego.

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We liked Nakka so much we went back there for an evening meal too! My meal (the falafel) was pretty awesome but Boyfriend wasn’t so pleased with his pasta. I guess I just choose awesome food (hehehehe!)

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Baklava are pretty much one of my favourite things now. Imagine biting into pastry that explodes into gooey honey buttery yumminess in your mouth. That’s a baklava. Luckily I have a Turkish bakery very near where I live so I can get these even in Frankfurt. YAY!

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Here’s another kind of baklava – with pistachios sandwiched between the gooey casing. It was SO yummy, and I got it from the spice market.

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This is çiğ köfte, which means raw meat in Turkish. And yet it’s vegetarian! How? Why? WELL! They used to use raw mince in this dish but, (as a Turkish friend explained) when Turkey wanted to join the EU they stopped doing it with raw meat and instead used bulgar wheat and ground walnut instead. You can eat it in a lettuce like I did above, or in a wrap. It was SO yummy. It’s vegetarian and vegan friendly, so check it out!

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Here are two examples of simple vegetarian food we got from a small fast food shop. Stuffed aubergine, mashed potato, beans, greens and bulgar wheat. Was very good and very cheap!

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I usually eat meat or fish once a week. I do it because I don’t want meat and fish to become alien to my body, while I live as a vegetarian most of the time. I had my one weekly non-vegetarian meal at one of these floating kitchens, where they grill freshly caught fish and stick it in a sandwich for you. I chose to eat here because they don’t use boats that go out and overfish, they use fishermen who are stood on the bridge behind, fishing with a rod.

In all honesty, I didn’t like the fish sandwich. The smell was pretty strong and it was a bit too much bread for my liking. There was one other part that coloured how I felt about the meal…

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You’re meant to drink it with this pickle juice… Now, I’m a big fan of pickles. I would even eat a gherkin and peanut butter sandwich (no, really. Try it. It’s awesome) but this was way too much. It was like drinking salty sea water.

Needless to say, I regretted wasting my one meat meal a week on this. 🙁

So that’s what we ate in Istanbul! I should add that, since we had loads of meze plates, I took lots of gluten free bread with me – that would be my one big tip for any celiacs going to Istanbul. You can tell me that you’ll choose something else from the menu…no. When you see the amazing hummus and dips and stuff you’re going to want to dunk some bread in that mess and eat it all up. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not full allergic, I’m just sensitive so I can eat a little bit. I came back with a bit of a rash next to my nose (from the gluten I ate) but it was nothing compared to what my face was like when I came back from 4 days in Berlin.

Hope that satisfied your food porn needs!

Eating in Berlin

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You know me. I like my food. It’s very important to me.

I must admit, Berlin food and I did not get along. In fact, it’s probably the biggest factor in me not liking it there so much.

Berlin and Frankfurt are very, very different creatures. In Frankfurt, people often have great jobs and eat out at least once a week, so they demand a lot of good food. Team this with Frankfurt being a pretty small town and you have a recipe for foodie heaven where you have loads of food options on your doorstep.

In Berlin people seem to be paid much less. Rent is very cheap. The food is also very cheap (about 5 euros for a dinner). People just don’t seem to eat out as much. Also, Berlin is very, very big. So with this you have restaurants dotted around the city, but not all huddled together in clumps like in Frankfurt.

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One downside to traveling is that you can’t often carry on the food habits you’d have normally. For me, it’s important that I don’t eat too much wheat because it causes a nasty rash next to my nose. For the boyfriend (and myself when we are together) it means finding vegetarian food. I keep finding myself compromising (especially at breakfast when there’s a buffet with meat, wheat and cheese) and just eating some bread. I can eat (and drink!!) a little, but I did come back from this long weekend with a small mountain range on my face.

I did make a list of lots of gluten free restaurants but with Berlin being so big, it would have taken us nearly an hour to get to any of those places from where we were, and we just assumed there would be good places to eat at all over the city.

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One wheat-ness I did feel happy having was this beer from Bamberg. It’s smoked, and tastes absolutely wonderful. If you ever happen to be in a place that has lots of different beers, do look out for it – it’s called “Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier“.

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Here’s a list of the places we ate at (all vegetarian/veggie friendly):

Arabic Karun

Sahara Sudanese 

Yam Yam Korean

I used this really awesome blog for gluten free recommendations in Berlin…but sadly didn’t get round to visiting a single one.

If you’re gluten free or vegetarian…or have any other challenging eating situation, I’d love to hear any tips you have for traveling and staying away from the things you shouldn’t eat, as well as surviving when there’s nothing that fits your diet.

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Plank Bar

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There’s a new little bar that’s popped up near the main station in Frankfurt. It’s called Plank, and it is THE hipster place to be right now.

What is it? It’s a signless corner bar on Elbestraße that is always full of smartly dressed young people and a few crates to sit at.

What’s so great about it? Firstly, their wine is amazing. They have specially selected wines for each season and when I spoke (in German!!) to the barman he told me (also in German!!! – No replying in English here!) all about the wine; he was clearly very passionate about it. They also have a nice selection of selected beers, whiskeys and other drinks.

The barman is very dapper in his bow tie and shirt, which sets the tone for the people drinking there too. I may be going way too far into it, but I think Plank is the spirit of the area around the main station right now. Sure, there are still the druggies and the sex shops but there’s a real sense of hipstery with lots of new, cool shops springing up and lots of young cool folk living there.

There’s no food sold at Plank, except for those expensive British crisps which I’ve never seen before in the UK but taste like home.

And here is the website. Make sure to stick around there long enough to watch the video embedded in the background. It’s pretty special.

Find Plank (look for a brown bar on the corner of the street – it’s not got a sign) at Elbestraße 15, 60329 Frankfurt.

Margarete Cafe

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Being slightly geeky, my friends and I sometimes like to set up camp in a cafe and sit and write, read or study. My friends like to write novels because they are clever clogs, and I tend to write more standup comedy these days.

We’d heard about a cafe/restaurant called Margarete – a slightly upmarket place was a great place to chill out. Situated near to Dom Romer, it was very easy to get to on the way home from work.

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So there were many good points and many bad points about Margarete. Let’s run through them –

GOOD POINTS –

The food was really good. I had the quiche and Boyfriend had the eggs and green sauce. The green sauce here was easily the best we’d tasted in Frankfurt so far.

The drinks were good.

I love the interior – and the big open windows at the front were really nice since it was a roasting hot day.

BAD POINTS –

The service was terrible. Even worse than the normal German level of service. I can’t even put it down to the place being busy – it just wasn’t.

It’s expensive. 7 euros for a quiche the size of my palm? Gaaah.

The card machine chewed up and spat out two cards. It just wouldn’t accept them – for no reason at all. That was pretty annoying and embarrassing.

Despite the bad points, I think this would be a cute date night place – the couple could even bond over the poor service! They do proper meals here too but you may need to take out a loan to be able to afford it…

I’d go back, but only on a day when I’m ok with really poor service.

Find Margarete at Braubachstraße 18, 60311 Frankfurt

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