Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Buyuk Keban Hotel @ Istanbul

The good thing about taking long holidays is I get the fun of staying in different hotels and districts to experience a city more than just sight seeing. Buyuk Keban is located within the Arakatoy district which was quiet at night and walkable to Grand Bazaar.

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We were given the room on the ground floor without windows, which we were really thankful for since that meant no road noise at all.

The room was terribly small however, clean and comfortable.

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Breakfast was a crazy crowded affair I must say - no verification required at the entrance and upon entering we basically found ourselves a table, got someone to remove the used plates and started queuing for food. Almost a fastest hands and fingers first with children running all over the place and dashing to the queues whenever a crowd favourite appears.

It was an adequate buffet table and I loved the cigar cheese rolls best.

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Spoilt by olives, the access I had to olives was pretty amazing and the types I got to try were countless.
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Cheese cigars that I have come to love in Turkey. Crispy cheesey things!

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Scrambled eggs and sausauges are universal breakfast items. These curled up sausages brought back childhood memories I must say!

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Soup that we peppered with enough spices.

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The parting shot of their branded ware. They seem to have had quite an illustrious past and recently refurbished for a swankier look.

Buyuk Keban is a comfortable little gem - loved the souvenir magnet that was given at the end of the stay.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ILayda Hotel @ Kusadasi

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We opted for Hotal Ilayda at our stopover in Kusadasi during our Ephesus leg of the tour. It was rather well located in this touristy part of town, with Migros a good 15 minute walk away and a pavement full of eateries.

The main problem I had with this hotel is the noise that disrupted our sleep, the same horrors repeated itself with nightlife continuing through to the wee hours of morning.

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Breakfast was served in the terrace.

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The view was stunning. I could see a Santorini in Kusadasi.

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Pardon the dirty windows but the skies were so blue!

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I always start the day with their fresh produce and in this case, baby tomatoes. They tasted so fresh, as if they were plucked from the garden.

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More greens and olives.

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These goat cheese shreds became the favouritest cheese by the end of the trip and I wish I had enough resolute to lug back some! They were selling by the kilo in the markets.

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These cutely shaped sausages are all over Turkey, at least in the breakfast tables that I went to.


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Turkish coffee for the kill.

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I spotted some of their turkish pastries, Simit and chocolate cake.

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More of the picturesque view.

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I very audaciously packed Aryan from the supermart to try and had to finish it since we were moving off to another city. 
 





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Salty yogurt drink not meant for the faint hearted. As much as they say this is nutritious, it was an acquired beverage to stomach.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Serene Hotel @ Istanbul

serene hotel

Our first hotel upon touch down in Istanbul, right smack in Taksim Square and nobody ever mentioned how inaccessible this turned out to be.

noise levels

Our adequately sized room.

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I thought it was comfortable until the Hubs broke out in rash.

kitchen

Literally a no frills hotel with no driveway, no clear signage, no elevators, no breakfast and best of all no sound proofing in rooms. We were treated to an entire early morning symphony of cars honking, road works, drunkards strolling the streets, bar music and in short, an insomniac night.

Then I wonder why I even booked this place. The 3 nights free airport transfer did not even apply to me and we painfully stayed for 2 nights.

Book at your own risk despite its really central location.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Nameless shop @ Sultanamet

no signboard

After the less than satisfactory lunch in the inner lanes, we resorted to the supposed "tourist traps" on the outer most lanes. Walk we did and chanced upon this friendly looking eatery, without a signboard too.

bread

We made our choices at the stall and proceeded into the bustling coffee shop. Within seconds a basket of bread was plonked onto the table. It did not take long for me to realise that these were left overs from the previous diners - I spotted the waiter take the uneaten loaves to the back to add in fresh ones and reuse them for new customers. It already numbed the appetite quite a fair bit witnessing it.

meatballs

I filled my plate with a side of meatballs and potatoes and what looked like a baked potato dish. It turned out to be chicken with a baked potato on top and glazed with cheese.

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Kebab that was mostly deconstructed.



rice and chicken


A turkish version of cai png with rice, chicken and vegetables.

It was a bland meal coming straight from a kitchen of cooks that probably did not know much about seasoning and only bothered about the ringing cashiers. I wonder why really because only tourists visited the shop and most seemed happy with their food.

The greatest discovery is, a meal like that threw us back by 40 TL which worked out to be the most expensive cai png in my life. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Naossa @ Santorini

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Fira is a part of Santorini that we spent a fair amount of time at and Naossa, having been mentioned in a number of food blogs seemed to be the place to be at to view the sunset and also enjoy homecooked food at pocket friendly prices.

I was not sure how big Fira is and how far we can venture so I did not bother with reservations.

Since it was too early for dinner at 6pm, we took the time to venture around the town area and figure our route to the Old Port for our cruise ride the very next day.

shops

Spotting chinese words used in a menu overseas never fails to make me laugh.

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The view of Fira.

Until it was dark enough for dinner did we finally make our way to the restaurant.

greek salad

Greek Salad (EUR 7.8)

Salad, always a good start and this came in such huge portions, we were literally stuffing our faces with greens.

dips

Pita Bread with Yogurt Dip (EUR 5)

I love a dill infused yogurt dip and this came with a dash of olive oil and warm pita bread. Double score!

hummus 

Fava Local (EUR 6.9)

I love fava,  beans grated so smooth with a wee bit of grit for some texture. Lovely with bread and nothing beats mopping it all up with bread!

cheese pot

Saganaki Mydia (EUR 10.2)

This is apparently a greek favourite, cheese and tomatoes in a clay pot. As friendly as it looks, it was an overload of molten cheeses. I wish I have the appetite for this really and had it not been for the other appetisers, I would be able to polish this off.

fish

We really could not resist another sea bass because it would be the freshest place for seafood on the trip. A simple grill with a dash of lemon, simplicity at its best.

potatoes

Roast potatoes

chocolate mousse 

Chocolate mousse on the house

white wine

fira by night

Friday, September 26, 2014

Morganfields @ Suntec City

Special thanks to Juliana for the invite. This is guest written by J. 

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Morganfield’s is styled as a refreshing take on a BBQ restaurant. The blend of the modern cooking and interiors, but not forgetting the rustic barbecue tradition that is always coupled with warm hospitality. It is well known for its signature dish – Sticky Bones – truly authentic, old fashioned prime pork ribs slow-cooked and smoked to tender mouth-watering perfection, and smothered in a oh-so-good  sweet and tangy hickory flavored BBQ sauce.

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Candied Bacon

The night was off to a great start with the a very delicious candied bacon that’s done just right: not too sweet. The smokiness lingers on your tongue after you’ve chewed on it. 

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Bacon-wrapped Prawns

Now if you were a cook and you didn’t know how to make your already great food taste better, you probably would wrap it in bacon, my most favourite thing in the world. That’s the right answer, as always. Deliciously seared prawns that’s springy in texture, bursting with savory bacon goodness.

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Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar (beer)

A world beer cup gold medal winner in 2011 and 2012, this beer is great for if you like a bit of sweetness in your pale ale. Really refreshing and easy to drink.

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 Caesar Salad 

When pigging out like I do, you should always have some greens to make sure your system stays healthy. Not hard to do since this was quite yummy; the sauce was slightly tangy and made it all the more better.

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Baked Mushrooms 

Nothing fanciful here, but just plain yummy after being baked in butter, my second most favourite thing in the world. 

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Popcorn Chicken

This surprised me because this was one of the best of the night. The batter as light, crisp, and had a dash of cooking wine. Maybe a huadiao, or even brandy.  The mayo dip that went with me was tasted like a mix between tartar sauce and home made mayo. Deliciousness explosion.

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Rogue Dead Guy (beer)

They suggested that I try this pale ale since I loved them; this came from a small craft brewery in Oregon. And boy they were right; very smooth and light for a pale ale, with bright floral flavours on first sip drifting away to a slight mouth-watering bitterness at the end.

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Morganfield’s sharing platter

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Can you ever have too much ribs? Morganfield’s sharing platter includes their signature Sticky Bones ribs, soft and juicy after being slow cooked for ages, fish and chips, corn muffins, salad, and chicken and pork sausages. Bring an appetite. Or 4. 

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Yum!

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Vanilla Ice Cream Bread Pudding 

This is easy to like; very light texture that’s sure to satiate that sweet tooth without creating a bulge in your belly. It’s not overly sweet, which I enjoyed very much.


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Lava Chocolate Cake

Who doesn’t like lava chocolate cake? But this one actually has molten chocolate lava in it, and generous amount of chocolate. If you like black chocolate with a tinge of bitterness, this is it. The vanilla bean ice cream with frozen caramel balances this bitterness perfectly.

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Morganfield’s has done justice to being a quality casual diner that serves great ribs at decent prices. Be sure to catch their 1-for-1 ribs offer this month, and if it is your birthday month, you get a cake free! 

Morganfields
Suntec City