The head takes a bit longer to boil.
  • About Me

    I've always thought that the best way to really get to know any culture is through its palate. A steaming spoonful of grandma-style stew or a single chunk of meat prepared in a familiar way have the potential to elicit an onrush of memories and stories from the past, heated discussions about preference and preparation across the dining room table, smiles and winks of mutual satisfaction, a general breakdown of every type of barrier imaginable. It is the emotion behind food that draws me to it, the reactions it brings out in people.

    Feeling hungry? Why not take a moment and flip through my life's pages! Take a journey with me to the wet markets of Hong Kong or perhaps meet me for a nice asado in a parilla in San Telmo. Wondering what bird's nest tastes like or looking for the best Bloody Mary bar in Boston? Stick with me and I will take you to some of my favorite spots in town, some of my favorite places in the world.

    For my full bio, check out my ME page.

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Festive Fare at the Holiday Markets

Despite the grim disposition of some of its people, Budapest is all around a cheerful place during the holidays. Many of the main squares (Deák, Ferenciek, Vörösmarty) tote jingle bells all month and light up with colorful booths selling traditional Yuletide merchandise: gingerbread figures, wool slippers, Christmas tree decorations. But I tend to walk right past these on … Continue reading

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The Best Zserbó at Cafe Gerbeaud

“Well, I expected more. Frankly, it’s overhyped,” comes the grim testimonial of the malcontent Eastern European, no doubt a cheaper one would’ve impressed him more because “less good” means “more real” and “more real” is the only praiseworthy attribute by his ideology, because the linear correlation between price and value is a myth to him and he likes … Continue reading

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And the Many Things I Didn’t Try

On trips there are always some specialties I don’t have time to try and passing them on the last day en route to the airport I feel the sting of a million tiny heartbreaks. I promise to myself or whoever is by my side that I will be back for those things but so often that has not been … Continue reading

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Pickled Things in Istanbul and Budapest

During my time in Istanbul I came across a surprisingly long list of things with an identical Hungarian counterpart. One of these was pickle culture. In both Hungary and Turkey pickled veggies are considered a necessary side to greasy, saucy meats as they help with digestion and break down excess fat. In Hungary pickles are … Continue reading

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Turkish Poğaça, Hungarian Pogácsa

In the most ancient of Hungarian folktales when the youngest of three sons sets out to explore the world, his mother packs for him “hamuban sült pogácsa” or biscuits baked in the ashes of a familiar fireplace. On my most recent trip to Hungary I encountered several homemade versions among the hors d’oeuvres served before the Christmas … Continue reading

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Deliciously Dumb Hotel Pizza, This Time in Istanbul

Between the stuffed lamb intestines, the sodden ıslak burgers, the suspect seafood peddled on the street I ordered a pizza to a hotel room and ate it with room service Heineken before my last night out in Istanbul. Sometimes, that happens. On trips I stay alert, almost obsessively so, for the popular eats and among those the unique ones. Bonus points … Continue reading

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Kokoreç and Sosis Dogs: Late Night Eats in Istanbul

We found ourselves on Kadife Sokak (nicknamed Barlar Sokak or “bar street”) in the Caferağa Mahallesi neighborhood of Kadıköy in Asia. At some point in life you should too. Restaurants, bars and clubs with plenty of character line both sides of the bustling street. Nightlife rages until Istanbul’s bedtime. There’s retro and  there’s rock. There are Ottoman mansions … Continue reading

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Turkish Coffee at Kahveci Ethem Tezçakar

Among the many things the Ottomans brought to Hungary during their 150-year reign, coffee was perhaps the most influential from a cultural standpoint. Their kahve became the Austro-Hungarian monarchy’s kávé, though it was originally referred to as “fekete leves” (black soup) in Hungary. The first coffeeshops in Europe opened in the 17th century, following a trend that began in … Continue reading

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Gözleme and Mezze at Firuzağa in Fatih

A trend becomes obvious after a day spent in Istanbul: where there are lots of people there is usually also gözleme. You will come across eateries that specialize in the dish around mosques, at the most frequented metro stops and the bustling street corners that flank markets, bazaars. Behind some restaurant windows are usually two or more older ladies wrapped up in bright white headscarves … Continue reading

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Turkish Fish Bread: Balık Ekmek

I was somewhat surprised to find that Turkey’s signature sandwich is not considered by locals to be döner, which is instead an entity on its own. It’s actually a thing called balık ekmek, which translates literally to “fish bread.” As we roamed the alleys of Kadıköy Market, my Turkish friend and fixer asked me if I had had … Continue reading

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