Wednesday, November 11, 2009


So I am back from my recent sojours.  Husband and I vacationed in Thessaloniki, Greece and Istanbul, Turkey.

First, thanks to everyone for your nice comments and well-wishes for safe travels.  They were appreciated!

Since this is a food blog, I thought I'd share the culinary highlights of our journey.

Both cities had really great food.  The picture above is fresh feta for sale at Thessaloniki's Modiani Market.

The feta in Greece was much milder than in the U.S. -- the difference was similar to that between fresh and packaged mozzerella.  I've always liked feta, but sometimes it can overpower a dish.  Fresh feta is just categorically different, and I have a much better  understanding now of why it's the Greek go-to cheese and not just a salad garnish. 

They also had lovely bins of fresh olives for sale at the market.

Turkey, of course, is famous for its Lokum, or Turkish Delight.  This is widely available everywhere; husband snapped this pic of slabs of it for sale in Istanbul's huge and fascinating Spice Bazaar.

Most Lokum is sold in the cubed and powdered squares you're probably familiar with -- and that's the kind we brought home, as it seems like that will keep better --  but the slab Lokum makes for a fun picture.

Istanbul also had innumerable street vendors selling food and drink.  One can buy roasted ears of corn for 1 Turkish Lira (about 75 cents) and yummy-smelling bread rings studded with sesame seeds for 50 cents TL.  We never bought these these, but our hotel's breakfast buffet served the bread rings, and they were tasty indeed.

We did try roasted chestnuts.  You can't shake a stick without running across a chestnut cart such as the one pictured below.  They smelled like heaven, and even if I'd just eaten, I couldn't walk by one without feeling a twinge of temptation.

This little bag of chestnuts was 3.50 TL, or about $2.25.  They were delicious and about the only healthy thing I ate that day, which we otherwise spent grazing our way through baklava, halvah, and other confections at the Spice Bazaar.

Our absolute favorite thing in Istanbul food and drink, however, was the cheap fresh pomegranate juice.  There were juice vendors on just about every street.  Sometimes, these were just lone guys with a juicer, a pile of fruit, and a cardboard sign; more often, they were small booths or offshoots of fast food Doner Kebab restaurants.  Most sold orange and pomegranate juice, and a few had grapefruit juice and other combinations besides.

I love fresh-squeezed orange juice, but it's not so hard to come by in the states.  But the pomegranate juice -- it was just another plane of delight altogether.

Turkey is a major grower of pomegranates, so they are super cheap.  A large glass of fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice, which uses up about 5 fruits, usually cost 3 Turkish Lira, which works out to about $2.  I fear that I'm ruined on bottled pomegranate juice forever.

Here's the husband enjoying a small glass.


Full Thessaloniki vacation pics are here.

Full Istanbul vacation pics are here.


  1. OH Bekcy I'm sooo jealous~ Those goodies in the market and fresh pomegranate juice look absolutely delicious^^ Can't wait to hear more about your trip!

  2. Thanks -- and thanks for the happy travel wishes. It was pretty great!

    I hope you've been having fun and haven't been stressing too much with classes in the past couple of weeks!