Archive | beef RSS feed for this section

Fantastic Tapas Abroad: Ficcin, Istanbul

29 Dec

Ficcin, just off İstiklal Caddesi is a restaurant well-known to locals in Istanbul. For good Turkish food, stay off the main drag and duck into smaller alleys – that’s where you find the good stuff like Ficcin, where the hosts don’tneed to  pester you with invitations into their restaurant. This was one of the best meals I had while in Istanbul.

Dinner at Ficcin

Mixed vegetables in olive oil (left) | minced chicken – a cross between chicken salad and pate. It looked plain but was delicious! (right)

Stuffed sundried eggplant

Stuffed sundried eggplant, my favourite dish of the night

DSC03482

Ficcin’s specialty: Circassian pastry, stuffed with beef. A huge portion!
 DSC03483
Manti (Turkish style dumplings) filled with meat, served with yogurt

 

Info: Ficcin,  İstiklal, Kallavi Sok. No:13 D:1, Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey

Unique Steak Experience: Bern’s, Tampa

26 Apr

From the outside, Bern’s Steak House is a plain white building with few windows, marked by a plain sign. However, its size hints at the gastronomic adventure to come. Inside, the many dining rooms of the Steak House are bustling; we sat at the end of the long Rhone Room.

DSC01616

We kicked off our meal with steak tartare and heart-shaped toasts. The regular portion is large enough for 2-3 people to share.

Bern's Steakhouse: steak tartare

Perfectly grilled butterflied shrimp served with two slices of garlic crostini. DSC01573

Unlike most steakhouses of this caliber, steak entrees at Bern’s come with appetizers and sides: French onion soup and a simple garden salad.Bern's: French onion soup Bern's: salad

I ordered a 7 oz Chateaubriand, which arrived a perfect medium-rare as I had requested. The steak had a great crust and a melt-in-your-mouth red interior. It was accompanied by the best fried onion strings I’ve ever had – delicately battered, and not greasy at all. Shredded carrots and sauteed kale were the vegetables of the day – probably not something I would have chosen on my own, but alright.

DSC01581 Continue reading

Boston’s Best Baklava and Pastries: Armenian Market & Bakery

1 Sep

Could this be the Boston area’s best baklava? Quite possibly. From the outside, the Armenian Market & Bakery in Watertown doesn’t look like much, on a side street across from the enormous parking lot of a second-rate mall, home to such fine establishments like Target, the Registry of Motor Vehicles, and the Old Country Buffet. But step inside the market, and you’ll find shelves full of spices, cheeses, filo pastry…and a counter full of house-made baklava.

Armenian Market - baklavaI had never been a fan of baklava…I found it to be overly sweet and sticky, getting my fingers dirty and getting stuck in my teeth. Until now. The Armenian Market makes their filo dough from scratch, so it doesn’t dry out, and they don’t need to add extra sugar to keep it shiny and pretty. Layers and layers of extra sugar are what make inferior baklava so incredibly sweet. One bite into a sample of the Market’s pistachio baklava and my husband and I were immediately sold. We bought several different pieces of pistachio baklava, a couple of the walnut variety, and a Nutella piece (the box of baklava above came to $7.66).

To be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference between the different pistachio pieces – they tasted very similar….but which is to say, they all tasted amazing. Flaky, delicate, and with just the right amount of crispness and sweetness. I could eat these all day long.

Armenian Market & Bakery

At the other end of the counter you’ll find delicious savory pastries.

DSC00848

The perfectly golden-brown pastry is a crispy, thin layer, surrounding generous amounts of spinach and cheese (above) or ground beef (below).

DSC00851

It’s worth making the trip out to Watertown for these goodies!

Info: Armenian Market & Bakery, 23 Elm Street, Watertown, MA, USA

Armenian Market & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Amazing food abroad: Madame Janette’s, Aruba

27 Jul

Ask anyone where to eat in Aruba, and Madame Janette’s will likely be on the list. It’s not a place you need to try once if you take a trip to Aruba…. You’ll want to go back a second time. (Yes, we did go twice, during our 8-day trip to Aruba. They were perfect as our first and last dinners on the island).

Madame Janette's - bread and pickled onionsFrom the high-rise hotels in Palm Beach, Madame Janette’s is only a 10-minute taxi ride away. The restaurant’s large patio, lit up with strings of coloured lights, glows in the middle of a quiet residential area. The atmosphere is amazing whether you’re sitting out on the terrace under the lights around the little gazebo where a guitarist plays all evening, or on the covered deck area around the terrace.

Each meal kicks off with a basket of soft garlicky bread, served with garlic butter and pickled onions. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the bread basket – this is really yummy bread!

Madame Janette's - Hungarian Goulash SoupHungarian Goulash Soup

Madame Janette's - Kasi’s ChorizosKasi’s Chorizos 

DSC00029

DSC00025

Above: Madame’s Termidor Gratin – chunks of lobster and shrimp gratinated with spinach and Gouda cheese. It’s definitely one of the heavier appetizers, but great for sharing.

Another big draw at Madame Janette’s is the extensive beer list – at least sixty bottles, about half of which are Belgian beers. Whether you want a Belgian Trappist beer, a German wiessbier, the original Czech Budvar, or something from San Francisco, Madame Janette’s has it, and serves it with the proper glass.

Below: The Old Butcher Steak – cooked to a perfect medium-rare as my husband requested. The almond mashed potatoes on top were a terrific twist.

DSC00030

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: