Saturday, February 25, 2012

Berlin around Christmas Time

This was from a random outing in Germany. Although a lot of the city is pretty boring grey, we did find these more colorful apartments. Ashley really wanted to live in them.
Thought this was brilliant for a tree stand. A cable ties the 5 hinged metal pieces together. Then a foot stand is used to tighten it. Put the tree in, step on the peddle, done!
Going into a shop we find lots of classic coo-coo clocks. So very german!
Also some lovely steins. I'm so very glad I got one for myself while in Berlin.
We then headed to a mall just to take in some of the Christmas shopping madness that was going on.
Although this mall comes with an angle playing a harp. No that isn't a staged prop. That is a real musician playing a real harp for mall guests, dressed as an angle.
Had some fun with the camera on the escalator.
Next stop, arguably the worlds ugliest Christmas Tree. So very Berlin. It is made out recycled all sorts of stuff. Apparently it also belches fire at set times.
Great photo of Ashley here. Brought in the stage fan to get that nice hair effect and everything.
Also find a really big lit up german twirly gig. Kind of wishing it was fire powered like the small ones you buy, but I think it was an electric motor. Those german's are so conservative sometimes.
More fun times in the Christmas market.
We then popped into the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. It was, like everything, bombed badly during WWII. There were parts of it that remained and were eventually restored. This was a wonderful ceiling mosaic.
Some other really nice paintings on the wall.
And one of the saved statues.
Another mosaic. This one on the floor.
In place of where most of the Kaiser church was berlin has built the modern church. We were fortunate enough to catch the tail end of the choir practicing for the christmas concert.
The church is really beautiful, even though it looks nothing like any of the other churches we've been in.
Really quite stunning. Also very Berlin feeling.
Headed back, and cut through another Christmas Market. I found this place cooking meat on a very large open fire. Thinking this would be great to do back home for a backyard BBQ party!

Istanbul Food Tour - Part 3

After lunch we got do dig out our desert. On the left is a quince which is boiled in sugar. In the centre is pistachio baklava. To the right is a turkish cake. Both on the left and right are topped with Calmic cream. All very yummy.
Once we were done with an extended lunch, off to coffee. The bull standing in the cup signifies how thick the turkish coffee is, and thus how good it is.
So some fantastic turkish coffee.
This of course is paired with some pudding. Made with rice and milk primarily. Has some spices mixed in, and topped with cinnamon. There is a secret ingredient to this turkish variant of rice pudding. Chicken! They cook it, then shred it and mix it all together. You could serve this to a vegetarian and they'd have no idea! Mwahaha.
The fellow who ran the coffee shop was fantastic. He reminded me very much of the boiler man in the movie "Spirited away." The way he made coffee and tea and moved so smoothly was fantastic to watch.
So with all that, and our stomaches turned upside down and all around. What a day!

Istanbul Food Tour - Part 2

So where were we? Right. Left the church. Next stop Tripe Soup! The tripe is on the left. In the middle is a garlic sauce thingy, and on the right is a spice mix.
You mix em all together. Apparently this is really good for hang overs. I didn't think it was all that bad. Ashley only had one spoonful.
More food in the streets.
Stopped for some fried street food. You could get fish, muscles, and all kinds of things.
We got muscles, but almost forgot to take a photo. It came with a tarter sauce type thing.
Next stop was rather adventurous. Roasted lamb's head. This guy went to down with a clever on this thing. Not sure how many tourists have this as the whole shop came out to watch these "tourists" try their local delicacy.
The shop keeper really ensured he got everything out of that head. And I mean everything. Cheek, tongue, eyeballs, brains, the whole bit.
It is served with a small lump of spices to dip in.
Ashley tried most of it as the brave traveler she is.
I was talked into eating one of the eyeballs, seen below. Although I must say the worst part was the brain. I really had to hold myself back from heaving it back up. The eyeball actually helped keep the brain down. Can't believe I just said that.

The connected shop sold everything you could want, or not want. Ox tail, cow testicals, liver, kidney, brain, or maybe some feet and hooves.
Next stop was wraps. Charcoal fired chicken and liver. Really quite yummy.
The wraps are spiced and filled with the grilled meat and other veggies. They were quite good. Stomach is feeling a bit off still; for some reason.
Coca-cola looks a bit different here. You can also buy Fanta.
Next stop was more sweets. Although we didn't try them we just packed em to have with lunch.
Lunch was quite the spread. Turkish style perigees. On the left was stuffed with potato. On the right was stuffed with minced meat. In the center was some sort of spread for bread. Below are: mint, sumac, and chili pepper.
Toss all that on your perigees and you're good to go!
A meat pie came next.
Then finally a mix of all kinds of turkish lunch yummies.
Again, looks like I'm at the Picasa limit, so there will be a part 3!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Istanbul Food Tour - Part 1

Something fantastic about Istanbul is the food. Ashley had a wonderful idea of going on a food tour. This was run through Istanbul Eats. Was a great way to get an intro to the food here. You can also really tell food is a massive part of the culture. Every block has at least one place to eat. The grocery stores are wonderful, produce stands everywhere, and very little low quality food in sight.
We got a bit lost which made us slightly late in getting to our 9:30am start. However we were greeted by a classic Turkish breakfast. This was no Italian espresso and cornetti. Nope. Eggs & sausage both done Turkish style. The best part was bread with honey and Calmik. Not sure of the spelling. It was somewhere between butter and whipping cream. Very yummy. Tea is obviously served with all this. Forgot to take the pictures before we ate it all.
Next up was like Baklava, but not. It is the same pastry, but bot soaked in sugar or honey. The cake looking one is soaked in water and some egg added. A sort of morning lasagna.
Some the just baked, we add powdered sugar to. On the left there are a couple stuffed with potato, some with spinach, others with minced meat, and another with egg. Any day with two breakfasts is a good day!
We carry on down the road to a pickling shop. Everything you can think of is pickled here.
Anything they could get into a jar was pickled. We had a very hot pepper. Our guide hands us a glass with some pink liquid to drink. Great, a sweet drink to cut the heat. Not so much. These people will drink some of the pickling juice. So we were left with a hot and briny taste.
Going a bit further we found this really fun sign!
Lots of odds and ends. So many wonderful trinkets. Sapped a photo of the address to head back there some other time.
More streets and alleys to stroll through while we let our two breakfasts settle.
Some really wonderful graffiti.
Made our way back to ─░stiklal the main street.
Which took us to this sweet shop. Lots of yummies.
We had chocolate smothered bread things. Weren't really told what it was. It was really yummy!
Cakes and logs were also sold. So a nice break from the briny spicy taste. Yum!
Heading into the side streets we start running into the fish shops and all kinds of produce. The food here is amazing! You don't really have to seek these markets out. Every 5 blocks or so you'll run into something.
Strolling down the back streets with lots of vegetables and such on either side.
Found a spice shop. By Canadian standards these prices are fantastic. Our guide said these prices are too high. Huh. Oh, also learned that you are allowed to try any food before buying. So don't be afraid to ask.
Took another break from food and went to the Armenian church.
Our guide got us some candles, which we lit. Although he is an atheist, he really appreciates the places of worship.
Very beautiful church.
Well, that's the limit of photo that Picasa will post. So will follow up with part 2.