Tag Archive: wine

I have spent my first day in Istanbul with my mother and sister. We did some shopping and from there we went to have a lunch at “Papermoon”. The Milanese restaurant that opened in Istanbul, and since had a great success. It is located by “Akmerkez”, which is one of the first shopping malls in Istanbul. Whenever I visit the city, I need to have lunch there with my girls. My lunch is generally composed of lots of wine, and “Spaghetti alla Bottarga”, (botargo) which is a cured fish roe delicacy. I love it so much that even if it is not on the menu, I ask the chef to make it for me… and guess what this is Turkey, where service is the key word, so I always have it

This time, as I have spend so much time in Italy eating pasta in all its shapes and ways, I decided to change and took a “Carpaccio of Pesce Spada” (swordfish carpaccio) followed by a “Cotoletta Milanese”, the classical breaded veal that you can also call Wienerschnitzel. But let’s admit sounds less sexy and appealing.

So after having good food, good wine, watching the Istanbul socialites having their lunch, we left the restaurant to continue our errands. And go back to our hotels for some rest.

In the evening I was meeting some friends at Biber, which is a bar, restaurant where you can taste good wines or drinks while nibbling tapas. It is situated in Sortie
For the ones who have never been to Istanbul in summer and saw those spots let me try to describe it for you. Imagine a great space by the Bosporus, in the middle of the space you have a big lounge bar, and around you have 4 – 5 restaurants. And each year great restaurants rent for summer those spaces (no kidding, they have to afford the rent…) and Biber is on the right of the main Bar, just by the water.

Biber is the hot spot this summer, everybody goes for happy hour and stays until wee hours, and I understood why… Service great, music and crowd great. Great selection of wine and yummy food…. And the best? It is not expensive!!!! So no kidding it is the happening spot, they found the secret ;)
So after staying there for a very long time, we decided to leave but were not ready to sleep yet… and some of us were hungry after all that chatting and drinks. So we took a cab and went to Kircicegi, which is in Ortakoy. It is a restaurant open 24/7, and has the best pide. The best way to describe a pide is Turkish folded pizza, the fold the pastry like a little boat and they fill in with whatever you want. The best combinations starts with Kasar cheese (Turkish parmesan), and then you add sucuk (Turkish spicy sausage) or pastirma (Turkish cured beef), or simply ground beef… I mean you have thousands of possibilities, and they are all yummy yum yum…

To sum it all, another “healthy” day, lots of food, lots of drinks and lots of shopping… but guess what, it is the pleasure of life…. so it is worth it. I would be healthy again when the sun would go away. And it is a crime to not eat in Turkey, and a bigger crime to not drink when you are with friends… and well you know me and shopping ;) ))

Yesterday, there was the bikini, beach towel and jewelry sale of friends, and a percentage of the profit would be going to an association called “Act In Kind”. So I went to see them and check out the beautiful stuff.
After the sale, my friends and I went to have a drink at “Le Soleil Rouge”, do you remember the wine and tapas place? Well if in winter it is a good spot, in summer not that much. As the weather was warm, everybody was outside, but different crowd this time. It seemed people who saw the crowd on the side walk… stopped. The wine was still good though, and the tapas … as long as you stick to the basics, fine. I would not advise any fish related tapas there (personal experience talking).
So after a while we wanted to go to a place where we could sit and nibble, as these tapas weren’t exactly what we were looking for. So we decided to go to “the Cottage” café. It is a restaurant on rive droite, just across the Richmond Hotel (actually it used to be their restaurant). The menu is composed of Mediterranean tapas, and they have a great terrace. The only thing I reproach them is the service. The owner keeps hiring these students, they are lovely but every time I go, either they forget to bring something or disappear on me. The restaurant lost a lot of lunch clienteles, simply because people had enough of waiting, and had limited time.
So last night before going there, I told to my friends, the food is great but don’t expect much about the service. And I wasn’t wrong, beside the fact that they missed one order, our pulpo didn’t seem very fresh. I didn’t even try it but the smell of it was unbearable. And they literally forgot us, no one came to see us for at least half an hour, at a point that we were about to leave without paying… even then not sure they would have noticed. The service crew is lovely but has no idea about service, or even the product they are selling. They brought this “artisanal” drink that was supposed to be with berries… The color was beautiful, but the taste was all chemical, and when you read the label, beside chemical formulas you couldn’t read anything else. So you start to ask questions about their “artisanal” teas and ice creams as well.
Thanks god most of the food is yummy, and makes you forget a little about the quality of service :)

Last night I was invited by friends to a “blind dining experience”. The concept is simple, once you arrive you wear a mask that completely block out all light. And you eat a five course dinner, and sip a different wine with every dish. During the whole process, you have a blind person who is present and helps you go through the adventure.
One of my biggest fears is to lose my vision, when they put me the mask, I completely panicked, I felt that i was claustrophobic and hoped that it would end soon. Someone helped me to walk through my seat… believe me thanks god I wasn’t wearing my 10 inch high heels. I was walking like a baby who just learned how to walk. Once seated, I started to listen who was seating where, and with my hands felt where my plate, cutlery and glasses were. I felt a bottle of water, tried to fill my glass, happily noticed operation was a success.
The food started to come, the first appetizer was easy cause used my hands and had a tooth pick, the second dish “after touching it and smelling it”, was a “foie gras” with toasted bread and salad, I was really tempted to eat with my hands. I guess my plate was a massacre, at a point found a piece if foie gras on my lap, used all the knifes cause kept losing the one I had on my plate, ate a lot of air… thanks god this was a blind dining and not a blind date, cause I guess my date would have left me on the spot…
Then came the risotto where I felt like a champion, the only problem was to cut the scallops (honestly as everyone was blind I didn’t care so instead of the hassle showered the whole thing in my mouth), and we arrived to the chicken with polenta puree, I was done trying, cut the air few times, managed to catch few bites to put in my mouth…
For the wine, I mastered a system; every wine that I didn’t like pushed it away, and kept the ones that I like close to me.
Funny facts, as we were blind, everybody felt the need to talk louder, and apparently everybody had their head up (now I understand Steve Wonder when he sings), and some people lost the track of time, believe me I didn’t was really waiting to be over and recover my sight.
Finally in the middle of desert we all decided to take the masks off, looked at the room, my sensation wasn’t that wrong about the room and the shape of the table. Looked every persons plate and glass settings, the glasses where all over their plates, and looked at mine… oh god, where is my sis who will tell I am a control freak… on my right side three glasses of wine were ranged one after the other on a perfect line, with open eyes I couldn’t do that perfect. On my left side my glass of water, with the bottle ready to be served.
After all it was an incredible adventure, I recommend to everyone to try it once, everyone tries it to experience the quality of their palate, and I was 99% right about every dish. My observation was on a different level. The first one is we have to thank god every day to have our vision, damn it is hard and although the blind person seemed to be well adjusted to his life (he even owns a restaurant in the dark, where he serves), when I asked him what he misses, he replied my autonomy, I would love to be able to drive, and also see people’s eyes when I talk to them..
The second observation I had is different. Girls I am telling u, leave the South Beach , Atkins, or any other diet… just try the blind dining, you will definitely lose weight, as you exercise your arms when trying to eat, and basically eat more air than food, I am telling you this is gonna be a new diet book!!!!
Joke aside, it is an incredible adventure and I urge everyone to try it, yes for the gastronomical level it is interesting, but the real experience is to live, even for a short time, what blind people live every day…