I have been reminiscing about my trip to Istanbul a lot lately and as I picked through my thousands of photos, I ran across a few I took at a restaurant we visited tucked behind the Grand Bazaar. The only reason we found out about it was because we made friends with a local shop-owner who gave us the name and after running around the maze which is the Grand Bazaar we finally found our way to it. It’s called Gel Cor Kebap Salon and you will not find it unless you ask the locals. It’s one of those ‘hole in the wall’ type places but by all means it is not a ‘hole in the wall’. It’s just one of those amazing place that only the locals eat at. And while it has been a while since I ate there, I will let the photos do the talking for me.
The newest restaurant addition to the Warehouse District is Wood Pizza Bistro & Taphouse located just across the street from Cochon. We were in town for Mardi Gras and as expected all restaurants were packed before the parades began. Initially, we wanted to have a sandwich at Cochon Butcher but with a line up around the corner we thought twice. Looking around I noticed this unassuming new restaurant with a large outdoor seating along an old brick wall. It reminded me of many places in New York and I was immediately attracted. It turns out that head chef, Will Salisbury, grew up in Long Island (no wonder) and spent months eating his way through Italy (as I have). So it was a win-win.
The restaurant as the name gives away serves pizza and salads. Not any kind of pizza but the real wood-burning oven kind. Inside, the restaurant is cozy and small with a small pizza assembly open-concept kitchen tucked in the corner and a larger bar serving awesome regional beers (40 beer taps with lots of craft brews from Louisiana and the South).
The pepperoni and mushroom pizza was delicious with a perfectly baked crust, generous amounts of fresh mozzarella cheese, mushrooms and pepperoni. The large salad was generous enough to feed our party of 3 all washed down by our pitcher of beer. Wood has definitely raised to the top of my go-to places in Nola for good eats on a patio. If you are craving pizza, you know the real Italian kind then definitely head to Wood. You won’t regret it!
One of our favorite places to have a cozy breakfast in New Orleans is Tartine. You could imagine our excitement when we found out that the owners behind Tartine had opened up a new breakfast joint in uptown. Toast is located in the former home of Laurel Street Bakery in a once again extremely cozy and inviting space.
The menu not surprisingly, features many various options on large generous pieces of toast. A particular favorite was the toast with prosciutto,honey and ricotta cheese and the smoked salmon, egg and cheese. Also on the menu are the much talked about Danish pancakes, aebelskivers, biscuits, crepes and sandwiches.
The concept is original and like no other in New Orleans and the result is delicious. Don’t take it from me but from the crowds that line up every weekend to dine at Toast.
We were so excited to try out the newly renovated Dark Roux (formerly Brick and Spoon) in Lafayette. Everything from the fresh decor, to the food, drinks and service was perfect. The food is farm to table, focusing on local produce and ingredients and the menu is a perfect blend of traditional cajun with a modern twist.
For our main dishes, we ordered the chicken biscuits and traditional benny. The chicken biscuits was a serving of perfectly tender and surprisingly flavorful fried chicken topped with a sunny side up egg and white gravy on two biscuits. It was so delicious I was almost tempted to order a second order. The traditional benny consisted of fluffy buttermilk biscuits, a delicious house cured ham, collard greens, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. The Count ate it up in seconds but was left hungry for more as it does not come with any sides. Advice to the hungry ones, order some sides! Both the Count and I were very impressed with the food at Dark Roux. The prices are a tad bit higher than your average breakfast/brunch spot in Lafayette but I can only assume that is because of the use of local and fresh ingredients. Either way, we will definitely be going back.
Our latest trip to New Orleans had us staying in close proximity to Freret street- which was perfect for my tastebuds. A lot has changed, or rather, opened up on Freret since we last lived in Nola in 2012. So many new restaurants and new developments in the area are popping up making it a perfect place to spend a day exploring…or eating.
Post-pregnancy and in dire need of sushi we headed to Origami on Freret street based on some great reviews online. The restaurant can easily be missed as it is set in a white house which used to be a dive bar with limited signage. Inside presents quite differently as a sleek and modern minimalist Japanese bistro. Beautiful white paper chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and modern furniture give the restaurant a clean and trendy appeal- quite different from every other sushi joint in the city.
The menu is consistent with other sushi restaurants. Japanese appetizers, sushi, rolls and the likes. We ordered several specialty sushi rolls including the burning man- which all proved to be delicious and fresh. The miso soup and seaweed salad was consistent and good.
Overall I was very happy with our dining experience at Origami and will definitely be going back for more sushi!
Another Broken Egg is a Louisiana chain restaurant open for breakfast and brunch. Ever since our move to Lafayette and the multiple disappointing dining experiences, the Count and I made a conscious choice to dine mostly in the comfort of our home using local and organic ingredients. This is quite the change from our previous lifestyle in New Orleans, Philadelphia and New York where dining out was a part of our regular weekly schedule. Back then the blog was more active as there were so many restaurants and talented chefs to review. Anyhow- once in a while a girl has got to get out of the house and taste some variety, especially when this girl is very pregnant and craving a good brunch.
This led us to Another Broken Egg which is right around the corner from where we live. The wait is always horrendous, especially on the weekends. And so we waited for 40 minutes until we were seated. The serve is like most other places in Lafayette, mediocre but the breakfast is pretty decent. We ended up waiting a very long time for our meal which led the manager to come and personally apologize for the delay. There’s nothing worse than making a pregnant girl starve. Options are plenty including a section for various omelets and healthier options. For those vegetarians amongst us, there also seem to be some veggie options in the land where hunting and feeding on animal meat is a sport (see menu). We opted for the smoked Salmon Benedict and a breakfast burrito. Both dishes were delicious and large enough to satisfy a pregnant girl’s cravings.
Vancouver, British Columbia…the most beautiful place on earth. At least that is what the license plate claims. But really, it is! I may be biased since I am from Vancouver and spent the majority of my life there before moving south of the border. And while the natural beauty, scenery and wildlife may take your breathe away, Vancouver has even more to offer. The diverse mix of immigrants that now inhabit Vancouver has brought with it some of the best restaurants and food in North America. Here is my list of go-to spots in Vancouver that I never fail to visit when I am in town. I would love to hear what your favorites are in the comments below so that I can consider them on my next trip home and add it to my list!
From the same owners as Chambar, Medina serves Belgian-Moroccon cuisine. Lines up go around the block and can take hours but once inside the food will make you forget that you waited for so long. Don’t miss out on the classic belgian waffles and the lavender lattes. Twisted Fork serves some of the yummiest brunch in town. I always go for the banana stuffed french toast which is an unforgettable experience in decadence.
Or choose to spend the morning in Stanley Park, the sprawling urban oasis of greenery and water that is the West Coast’s rival to Central Park. Begin at the Teahouse in Stanley Park, a well-known brunch spot, both for its location and Canadian Northwest twists on some classic breakfast items. Ask for a table by the window to look out over English Bay and West Vancouver. Don’t miss the smoked salmon Benedict, which comes with local sockeye salmon. (7501 Stanley Park Drive; vancouverdine.com/teahouse).
It is not a surprise that really good chinese food can be found in Chinatown and while there are really authentic spots where you must visit with a mandarin/cantonese speaking friend (for which I’m lucky to have one) there are other more modern restaurants that have started popping up in this up and coming hip neighborhood. Bao Bei is a really hip/hipster restaurant that has really good chinese food with a twist. Phnom Penh is another favorite located in Chinatown. And while the name might suggest the food is a mix between Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese. It offers some favorite classics like the chicken wings.
For one of the most genuine Asian cultural and culinary experiences in North America, go to the Aberdeen Center for dim sum at Fisherman’s Terrace (3580-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond). This sprawling Asian shopping center has an entire store dedicated to Hello Kitty merchandise, a Korean barbecue and a pan-Asian supermarket, among other treasures. Many options are also available downtown in Chinatown. The Jade Dynasty Restaurant (137 Pender Street) offers good-value dim sum, or just wander along the road and choose one of the many restaurants that takes your fancy.
My favorites include Chambar (562 Beatty Street) is a sophisticated, funky restaurant serving innovative Belgium, French and Moroccan food using regional ingredients. Les Faux Bourgeois is a french bistro located in Mount Pleasant. If you want to feel a little bit of France and have authentic French food then make the trip out of downtown to Mount Pleasant. Wait times are long but it is definitely worth it. Another French favorite located downtown is La Brasserie located in Davie Village.
There is a large Indian population in Vancouver which means one thing: really good and authentic Indian food. For the real deal you must head to Main street and Fraser street to ‘Little India’. Here you will find a vast number of Indian restaurants where cheap eats are a plenty. However, for a more upscale evening, head to one of my favorite restaurants in Vancouver: Vij’s (1480 W 11th Ave). Owners Vikram and wife Meeru pride themselves on quality Indian food in a beautiful setting. The restaurant is quite small and the wait time often is over 1-2 hours long. So be prepared to wait a while and get drunk in the process. My favorite item on the menu? The Lamb Popsicles!
An area in Vancouver that should be explored if you have time is Commercial street- Vancouver’s own version of Little Italy. Here you can find a range of great Italian food. Outside of the Commercial street area are a wide range of great choices including my favorites: Campagnolo and Campagnolo Roma.
Starting off at the intersection of Denman street and Robson street is where the feast begins. For the best ramen downtown, I usually head to either Motomoki Shokudo (740 Denman Street) or it’s sister location, Kintaro Ramen. Try the black bamboo charcoal ramen. It is quite possibly the best broth you’ll ever taste.
Further up on Robson street is another all-time favorite, Guu with Garlic, a Japanese Izakaya restaurant which opened its doors in the early 2000’s and quickly gained so much popularity that it now has multiple locations around Vancouver and Toronto. (Below is the grilled squid served with a side of Lemon and Japanese Mayonnaise).
For the best hand-made gyozas in town I always head to Gyoza King (1508 Robson Street), a small and cozy Japanese bistro where you can choose from a variety of gyozas and other Japanese favorites. My number one pick: the shrimp and chive gyozas with a bottle of unfiltered sake to wash it down.
Where to begin on this one? Sushi restaurants cover the streets of Vancouver just as frequently as Starbucks. Some authentic, fresh and delicious and others are just in the business to make money. Making the hunt for good sushi a fun challenge (although to be honest even the mediocre sushi bars in Vancouver are far better than most sushi I’ve tasted around the US)! For a healthy organic sushi meal I head over to the tiny little gem, Shizen ya, located on Hornby street directly across from the courthouse. For a more upscale experience with unique takes on sushi, Miku (#70 – 200 Granville St) is the place to be. The sushi is amazing and takes on a form of art. If in Yaletown, Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar (1095 Hamilton St) offers a vast range of fresh seafood, sushi and BC coastal fare. It is a classy affair and on the pricey end but if in Vancouver for a short time it should not be missed.
Finchs Tea and Coffee House (353 W. Pender Street) is a classic Gastown gem serving some of the best sandwiches in town. Favorites include the proscuitto, pear and baked blue brie cheese and walnut sandwich. Absolutely to die for! Hubbub is another favorite due to their oh so delicious bread. My all time favorite is the turkey sausage sandwich which I describe in great lengths in my post.
When in Vancouver, eat lots of seafood, the unrivaled local specialty.There are so many that I am going to list them here for you and let you pick your favorite: Blue Water Cafe and Raw Bar, Miku, Rodney’s Oyster House and Go Fish Ocean Emporium (a food stand close to Granville Island).
What are your favorite restaurants in Vancouver? Please add below in comment so that I can try it out next time I am in town!
The Hungry Nomad
Dearest readers and followers,
You may have noticed that my activities have been limited for a while with a few posts here and there. It’s been a relatively calm year with few travels since our move to the bayou in Louisiana. And even fewer culinary expeditions since our small town of Lafayette has very little to offer in terms of restaurant options and quality dining.
That is not to say that there aren’t endless options for cajun food including the classic hearty Gumbo, Crawfish Étouffée, Fried Catfish and the likes. But unfortunately with trial and error I’ve come to learn that I am just not that into the deep fried food options of the South (minus gumbo which I can’t get enough of) and I absolutely can’t even stand the smell of crawfish let alone place one in my mouth. What a shame because I live in the crawfish capital of the world.
In other news, the Count and I are ecstatic about the imminent arrival of Baby Nomad who will be joining the nomadic clan in a few short weeks. Feelings are high and we are counting down the minutes and seconds to meet our little one. I am not sure what to expect from motherhood and how it will affect my nomadic ways, travels and culinary adventures but I am hoping that baby’s arrival will only add to our adventures and journeys. Perhaps, a more child friendly twist to the current posts including family friendly hotels, restaurants and recipes. I am still working out the details but will be documenting my journey through motherhood.
The Hungry Nomad
When it comes to eating sushi in Vancouver the possibilities are endless. If its quality, creativity and an upscale Aburi experience you are searching for then Miku is a great option. It is a relatively new restaurant located along the Burrard Inlet next to Canada Place. Every detail in the restaurant deserves a five star: from the attentive service, modern decor, and extremely fresh use of ingredients.
The experience started off with a modern take on the traditional goma-ae salad substituting kale for spinach dressed in a sweet sesame glaze and sesame seeds. It was gone within seconds.
The tuna sashimi was one of those rare melt in your mouth experiences. Again, gone within seconds. The plate of Kaisen Soba Pepperoncino was filled with fresh pieces of grilled scallops, jumbo prawns, squid and clams on a bed of soba noodles topped with arugula. It is a great plate on its own but if you are sharing you will definitely need several more dishes to leave the restaurant satisfied.
The pan seared gyoza was plated nicely but was the least exciting dish of the night. But the best part of the meal was yet to come…
The sushi…and not any kind of sushi but the Aburi kind. Rectangular pieces of rice topped with pressed sockeye salmon, the secret ‘mike’ sauce topped with a thin slice of jalapeño and the other topped with pressed prawn and ume sauce. Personally, I am a big fan of aburi style sushi and cannot get enough. These little pieces of heaven come at a price, $16 per roll. It is definitely on the high end but worth every bite.
For the vegetarians, the vegetable nigiri, especially the eggplant nigiri is a great option. The eggplant is so smooth and creamy and again, literally melts the instant it hits your tastebuds.
We also ordered several more traditional sushi rolls all of which were outstanding, especially the King Roll.
The dessert menu consisted of several european and japenese inspired dishes of which we ordered the Green Tea Opera and Coconut Mousse. The plating was beautiful and colorful and the the blend of flavors perfect.
Overall, the experience at Miku was outstanding and memorable and I highly recommend to any who want a fine dining sushi experience to visit Miku. Reservations are highly recommended.