La Tagliatella Provides an Italian Option for Vegetarians

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I recently attended a blogger dinner hosted by the Association of Food Bloggers in Druid Hills, GA. La Tagliatella is an Italian chain restaurant based out of Europe with locations in many different parts of the world, including Spain, France, Germany, China, and the United States. The Emory Point location has been around for couple of years, and features a nice outdoor area that provides a great atmosphere for cool summer evenings. The restaurant boasts that it’s food is an authentic representation of Italian cuisine, although I’m not sure if I agree with that assessment.

First, the restaurant served its version of a Caprese salad as a Buffalo, Mozzarella and Tomato Carpaccio, which consisted of grated fresh tomatoes dressed with black olive pate, and topped with buffalo mozzarella and anchovies. The main difference between a traditional Caprese salad and this dish is that the tomatoes were served grated instead of sliced, to the point that it was almost like eating fresh salsa. It sounds weird, but I actually loved it. I don’t normally enjoy eating tomatoes, but the way they combined with the buffalo mozzarella, made this a delightfully fresh dish, perfect for summertime.

caprese salad

Next was Tagliatella pizza, which consisted of tomato sauce, mozzarella, and fried eggplant slices, drizzled with honey and balsamic glaze, and topped with freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The crust was rolled out very thin, into an almost cracker-like consistency, which I’ve been told is typical of authentic Napolitano pizza. This was by far one of the most unique pizzas I’ve ever had, mostly due to the honey, which added a sweet component to an otherwise savory dish. While it wasn’t necessarily a bad combination, it wasn’t something I would normally expect on a pizza. Overall I enjoyed this particular dish, but I don’t think it’s something I would order, unless my sweet tooth was having a serious craving.

tagliatella pizza

The main course consisted of three different pasta dishes. The Cuore Pasta in Pesto Rosso Panna, was stuffed with butternut squash, served in a light cream sauce with Sole di Puglia tomatoes, pine nuts, and Grana Padano cheese. The light cream sauce combined well with the butternut squash, was light and flavorful, and didn’t leave me feeling like I needed to run 10 miles after eating it. This was my favorite dish of the night by far.

Cuore Pasta in Pesto Rosso Panna

The second pasta dish, Tortellone pasta in Quattro Formaggi, consisted of round, green pasta stuffed with mozzarella, tomato, and basil, served in a cream sauce of Grana Padano, gorgonzola, gruyere, and emmental cheeses. The amount of cheeses in this alone was more than enough to get me excited. However, I found that the combination wasn’t as stellar as I had hoped. Triangle di gorgonzola pasta in pesto was the downer of the night. This pasta was triangle shaped, stuffed with gorgonzola cheese and pear, and served in an olive oil based sauce made of basil, pine nuts, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  Maybe it was the pesto paired with the gorgonzola, or the fact that the pasta was undercooked, that left a bad taste in my mouth. Whatever it was, it definitely didn’t work and I would suggest skipping this dish.

pesto gorgonzola

A Bocconcino custard and cheesecake drizzled with salted caramel, with a wafer on the side was served for dessert. A shot of Limoncello di Capri paired well as an after dinner drink. This dessert proved to be the perfect ending to a refreshing meal. The bulk of the dish consisted of a light and airy lemon-flavored custard, with a slight cheesecake consistency. I couldn’t stop eating it. Normally after any sort of Italian meal, I’m so stuffed that the prospect of eating anything else is unappealing, but this dessert was light enough that I had no problems eating more than my fair share.

Bocconcino

About halfway through the evening, someone commented that the meal seemed to be heading down a strictly vegetarian route. To be honest, I hadn’t realized that all of our courses were vegetarian until someone mentioned it, which surprised me considering how much I love meat. I typically run from the word “vegetarian,” due to the picture of a vegetable garden, and the meals I used to make for my late rabbit, Snowball. However, I’m glad this meal turned out to be vegetarian, as it gave me a different view on what a vegetarian meal constitutes. For vegetarians, I think this restaurant offers some great options that would also please meat lovers like me.

~ By Allie Williams, a recent graduate of the University of Georgia. Allie explores her passion for food, travel, and learning about different cultures though her internship with Go Eat Give.

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Culture, Community and Culinary Finds in Ann Arbor

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International travel is wonderful, and can truly change your life. It can get pricey, not to mention the long travel time to your destination. This can certainly be difficult with children. Before you head on over to an exotic locale, you might be surprised to know of the unlikely destinations right here in the USA that have an exotic flair, like Ann Arbor, MI.

Michigan

Yes, that’s right, Ann Arbor. Though known for the University of Michigan, the city boasts much more than you’ll find in your average college town. The city is hopping in the summer time with lots of sidewalk cafes and fun outdoor activities.

Make time to visit the Peony Garden and botanical gardens for some vibrant blooms. When the peonies are in full bloom (peak time is June) the gardens are blanketed in a sea of pinks, purples, and reds.

Peony Garden

Stroll along the downtown shops and discover many of their offbeat stores with items you won’t find elsewhere like specialty gift and craft store, Rock, Paper, Scissors. Or peruse bookstores like Aunt Agatha’s, Kaleidoscope or Literati for rare books and collectibles. Make sure to visit Cherry Republic, for about 100 different ways you can use cherries. Salsas, chocolate covered, bbq sauce and more!

Cherry republic

Of course, you can’t visit Ann Arbor without a trip to the University of Michigan. Everyone wants to visit the Big House, aka, University of Michigan Stadium, the largest stadium in the US with a capacity of greater than 100,000. But the lesser-known Baird Carillon is of particular interest, especially for anyone with a general music interest. Carillons, a group of bells, which have at least two full octaves, date back to the 15th century. Sit at the keyboard and play your heart out.

All around Ann Arbor, you’ll see the locavore movement (support of locally produced foods) is strong. Not only do restaurants tout where their foods have come from locally, but there is a popular farmer’s market where you can expect to find all sorts of goodies just wandering around.

Ayse’s Cafe - There are many ethnicities in Ann Arbor, but perhaps the most prominent one is the Turkish. You’ll enjoy Ayse’s Café with items like the beet salad and some of the best stuffed grape leaves (Dolmas) you’ve ever had.

Slurping Turtle - Aptly named since it is customary to slurp noodles in Japan, the Slurping Turtle is casual, street food. Created by James Beard Award winning chef, Takashi Yagahashi, this modern, yet laid back restaurant features small plates like mini Hamachi tuna tacos in a taro root shells, duck fat fried chicken, steamed pork belly buns. Larger dishes like noodle bowls warm the soul on any day of the year. Desserts like green tea cream puffs and raspberry-wasabi macaroons are a nod to chef’s French culinary training.

ST ramen

Aventura - Switch it up a bit and move to Spanish tapas. Order the Alcachofas fritas (fried artichoke hearts) as well as the patatas bravas (fried potatoes) topped with fried egg. Don’t miss out on their specialty – Gazpacho made with grapes, jalapeños, pistachios and honeydew.

Aventura Patatas BravasTeahuas – Tea snob? Stop by Teahaus for some of the best quality teas available. Proprietor, Lisa McDonald is a certified Tea Sommelier from Germany. That’s correct. In Germany, you must have your sommelier certification to sell teas. It is a lengthy four-year process. And let me tell you, this lady knows her teas. Choose from oolong to lavender black tea.

Zingerman’s Deli - A visit to Ann Arbor isn’t complete without a visit to Zingerman’s Deli, a staple in the Ann Arbor community. The nationally known organization, made famous by the movie The Five Year Engagement, ships it’s Reuben sandwich kits nationally to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and The Office’s Mindy Kaling.

For decades, Zingerman’s has been selling deli sandwiches, unique meats, cheeses, bagels and condiments including sauerkraut from a local business named The Brinery (run by the exuberant David Klingenberger – a fanatic of brining). Ever had prosecco soaked cheese or Mousse Basquais made of duck fat and liver with port wine? Go visit Zingerman’s and see what the fuss is all about.

Many of Ann Arbor’s talented chefs move to food towns like Chicago or New York for training, but something seems to bring them back to their roots. “Ann Arbor feeds my soul,” a resident spouted off to me without any prodding on my part. After just four short days there I could see why -  a sense of community support, vibrant restaurant scene and diversity all add up to a winning summer destination.

Disclosure: This trip was sponsored by the Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors Bureau.

~ Malika Bowling is the author of  Food Lovers’ Guide to Atlanta, Food Blogging 101 and founder of Atlanta Restaurant Blog. She has been a contributing writer to USA Today and Urbanspoon. Malika holds the title of President of the Association of Food Bloggers. Follow her on twitter @ATLEatsNTweets and on Instagram @malika_bowling.

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8 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were of Trinidadian Descent

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Did you know all these famous people were from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago?

1. Alfonso Ribeiro

alfonso

You probably know him as the quirky character Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but did you know that both of his parents hail from Trinidad and Tobago? His grandfather is even the late famous calypso singer and composer Rafael de Leon, aka Roaring Lion.

2. Nicki Minaj

Nicki-Minaj-Singer-Wallpaper-e1383450800358Born Onika Manaj, this top rapper is one of the few on this list who was actually born in Trinidad, Saint James to be specific. She has used her career to show love to Trinidad, performing there, featuring the island in her MTV special, “My Time Now,” and even filming her most recent video there, “Pound the Alarm.”

3. Nia LongNia-Long-1

The actress has stated many times that her mother is from the island of Trinidad, and recently was spotted on the island snapping photos in Port-of-Spain and visiting extended family. As she told The Trinidad Express, “We enjoyed lots of real coconut ice cream every evening from St James, and of course I love curry, so I had rotis every day!”

4. Mike Bibby

mike bibby

This point guard for the New York Knicks was born to an African American father and a mother from Trinidad and Tobago.

5. Romany Malco

romany malco

This actor caught the public’s attention in movies such as “The 40 Yeard Old Virgin” and “Think Like a Man,” but a majority of people probably don’t realize this Brooklyn native was born to two Trinidadian parents.

6. Lorraine Toussaint

lorraine toussaint

Born in Trinidad, this actress moved to New York with her family at the age of 10. Since coming to America, she has made a name for herself as an actress, studying drama at The Juliard School and landing roles in popular T.V. shows such as “Saving Grace,” “The Young and the Restless,” and “Orange is the New Black.”

7. Jackee Harry  

jackeeharry

She has been making a name for herself since her first T.V. role on the show “Another World” in the early 80s. While her father is African American, her mother comes straight from Trinidad.

8. Heather Headley

Heather+Headley+png

This singer and Tony-award winning actress was born and raised in Trinidad, where she lived until she moved to Indiana as a teen. Before then, she was said to be inspired by the calypso and soca music of her land. “Trinidad is where I learned to sing and to appreciate music. One of the beautiful things about home is that there’s so much music.” She has returned to Trinidad to perform, and is considered a huge star in Trinidad.

~ By Allie Williams, a recent graduate of the University of Georgia. Allie explores her passion for food, travel, and learning about different cultures though her internship with Go Eat Give.

On July 19, Go Eat Give is hosting Destination Trinidad at Tassa Roti Shop in metro Atlanta, where the public can witness live music, speakers and an authentic Trinidad buffet.

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Into the wild : Yogi who camped and hiked

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There exist several well documented examples demonstrating that one week of camping sans electronics, not only resets our biological body clock but also synchronizes melatonin (hormone) production with sunrise and sunset.

camping in north GA Armed with the knowledge of these studies, I decided to undertake a camping trip, in the midst of wilderness and in the very lap of nature. Although, the move was prompted by a very dear friend of mine, Andrea, coupled with my own notions of the universe, and its role in every life, was compelling enough for me to take up this challenge.

We decided to camp at The Desoto Falls located off Highway 129. The drive itself instigated me to surrender to the bounty of nature and the wilderness which nourished my soul. I believe that camping is a silent form of adventure, which brings clarity to mind as well as allows the soul to soak in the positivity around. For me, it is a stress buster, wherein, I can be myself and enjoy my surroundings without worrying about the every day mundane tasks.

Divya Sarin

Deciding the campsite, setting up the tents, arranging food and starting the camp fire, requires immense strength. Yet, despite the strenuous tasks, our bodies oozed energy like never before and our quest for adventure grew by leaps and bounds. When at last, we did start to feel at home, we spent time making smores and talked our hearts, not mention that some of us were also strangers for one another. By the time, the day lapsed into night we had cemented that awkward relationship into a budding new friendship – our hearts were lighter, the summer became cooler and our energies were higher. We had the best sleep in years with just the sounds of crickets and the nearby creek as lullabies. To further quench our thirst for adventure we started our day-two with yoga in the company of trees by the creek, followed by a staggering 4.8 miles hike from Neel Gap to Blood mountain- the Appalachian trail.

yoga camp north Georgia

It rained while we hiked, which was soothing, and the majestic view from the top raised our spirits to an unknown level of ecstasy and elation. The trip concluded three days later with quality time spent with friends and most importantly nature. Our zeal for adventure has reached a pinnacle, not to mention our inquisitiveness to know more about nature. I now know that mountains are my calling, for I have left a piece of my heart there.

Every year Andrea from You Yoga Me Yoga  take the interested yogis amidst nature to make them disconnect from the daily routine. Camping once in an year helps in relaxing the mind. It sets the natural alarm clock for the body, helps with mood-swings, and also engaging with nature by turning off the mobile phones/laptops lowers the stress levels and is believed to be equivalent to meditation. I urge each one my reader to camp once in life and I promise you will not be able to stop yourself from camping again. Let loose and for a change, party with nature. Smell the moist earth and take home the fragrance you would love to wear.

~ By Divya Sarin, a yoga enthusiast who can’t sit idle, and wants to create some magic in each person’s life. Follow her on her blog on happiness and life. 

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Whirling Dervishes of Konya

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On my recent visit to Turkey with The Atlantic Institute, I had the opportunity to learn about America’s favorite poet, Rumi. I visited Rumi’s tomb and museum in Konya, heard his philosophies at the Mevlana University, chatted with a real life dervish, and attended a whirling dervishes performance at the cultural center in Konya.

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (1207-1273) was born to Persian parents in a village which is now located in modern day Afghanistan. Rumi’s poetry spread across Persian countries and influenced literature and lanugages such as Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Punjabi, Pashto and Sindhi.

Rumi’s father, Baha’ ud-Din, was a world renowned scholar who later became the head of a madrassa (religious school). After this death, 25 year old Rumi inherited his position as the Islamic molvi. Rumi practiced Sufism as a disciple of Burhan ud-Din, became an Islamic Jurist, issuing fatwas and giving sermons in the mosques of Konya. He also served as a Molvi (Islamic teacher) and taught his adherents in the madrassa.

Rumi was buried in Konya, Turkey, and his shrine became a place of pilgrimage. Following his death, his followers and his son Sultan Walad founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for its Sufi dance known as the Sama ceremony. Rumi believed passionately in the use of music, poetry and dance as a path for reaching God. For Rumi, music helped devotees to focus their whole being on the divine and to do this so intensely that the soul was both destroyed and resurrected. It was from these ideas that the practice of whirling Dervishes developed into a ritual form.

dervish1

The Mevlâna Museum in Konya, was once a dervish lodge where students and teachers lived and practiced the Mevlevi Order. New students had to sit in stillness for 3 days while they were tempted by the sounds and smells of the kitchen. Once they passed this test, there was another 1001 days of training, followed by 40 days of testing, before one qualified as a Dervish. At the museum, one can visit the Dervish quarters, see their costumes and other memorabilia, and get a sense of the life they led.

dervish training

The Dervishes wear a long white robe symbolizing shrouds of ego. At the beginning of the ceremony, the black cloak is discarded to signify their liberation from the attachments of this world. The tall camel’s hair conical felt hat (called sikke) literally translates to “tying down an animal” or controlling animal instincts and letting go of feelings. They whirl from right to left because, they believe God lives in the heart (which is on the left side) and one should never loose the connectivity. There are no strict regulations or techniques in whirling, although you would typically see the right arm up reaching out to the sky ready to receive blessing, and the left hand directed toward earth, keeping him grounded. Once the Dervishes start, they just allow their bodies to let go and take whatever form it likes.

whirling dervishes

Just outside the premises are what appear to be souvenir shops, but many are craftsmen working with felt, silk, pottery and more. I walked to the second floor of Kece Sanat Evi felt art house, owned by a real life Dervish. Jalaluddin started his practice at the age of 6, as everyone in his family did. He went on to study Whirling in Istanbul and Bulgaria, mostly for himself. Now, he practices on certain religious days, at home when he feels like, or even sitting down.

Jalaluddin real life dervish

“The electrons, moon, galaxy, entire universe is whirling, and when we whirl, we become attuned to our surroundings”, says Jalaluddin. He described the experience mediation-like, where he looses track of time or control over his body. It is an expression of feeling thankfulness for everything around you and to God. The main belief of the Order is to not question creativity and your reason for existence, but appreciate what’s around you. This is sought Through abandoning one’s ego or personal desires, by listening to the music, focusing on God, and spinning one’s body in repetitive circles, the Dervish aims to reach the source of all perfection, or kemal.

With the foundation of the modern, secular Republic of TurkeyMustafa Kemal Atatürk removed religion from the sphere of public policy and restricted it exclusively to that of personal morals, behavior and faith. On 13 December 1925, a law was passed closing all the tekkes (or tekeyh) (dervish lodges) and zāwiyas (chief dervish lodges), but now Whirling Dervishes are seen as a cultural tradition and allowed to practice only for the sake of music and dance.

In Konya, there is a free performance every Saturday evening at the Konya Cultural Center, which is worth attending. Watch the video below…

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20 Homemade Tea Recipes

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Tea production, tea brewing, tea ceremonies and tea drinking, are an integral part of many different cultures. Every region favors its own variety of tea leaves, depending on what is locally grown and available, as well as regional flavors. Here is a mind boggling glossary for tea lovers and wannabe’s from around the world. What better place to experience it than in the Spice Bazaar of Istanbul?

Tea_and_spices Istanbul_spice_market

 

1. ISTANBUL TEA

Istanbul Tea includes herbs (golden flower, roses, hibiscus) and fruits (orange, apple, strawberry) that gives sweet and sour taste. Istanbul tea can help you get the daily vitamins that your body needs by drinking a cup every day.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

2. ANTI-STRESS TEA
Anti-stress Tea includes herbs (melisa, chamomile, amaranth, rose, hibiscus) and fruits (orange, rosehip) that calms and relaxes. Anti -stress tea can help you to get a better quality time of sleep.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

3. OTTOMAN TEA
Ottoman Tea includes herbs (green tea, amaranth, cardamom, rose) and fruits (apple). Ottoman tea is good for digestion. You can drink it after a heavy meal to feel comfortable. It also helps your metabolism to be stronger.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

4. APPLE TEA
Apple Tea includes natural apples. You can drink it by itself or you can add it into other teas such as black tea, green tea. You can also boil it to use it for different purposes as fruit salads, deserts and alcoholic or non- alcoholic beverages.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also give it a boil to make it stronger and faster. After straining it, you can drink the tea and with the left overs you can make apple pie as mixing the leftovers with powdered sugar and laying on the pie-dough.

Cup-of-tea-circle

5. ORANGE TEA
Orange Tea includes natural orange peels. You can drink it by itself or you can add it into other teas such as black tea, green tea. You can also boil it to use it for different purposes as fruit salads, deserts and alcoholic or non- alcoholic beverages.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also give it a boil to make it stronger and faster. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

6. LEMON TEA
Lemon Tea includes natural lemon peels. You can drink it by itself or you can add it into other teas such as black tea, green tea. You can also boil it to use it for different purposes as fruit salads, deserts and alcoholic or non- alcoholic beverages.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also give it a boil to make it stronger and faster. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

7. VANILLA TEA
Vanilla Tea includes vanilla beans and black seylon tea.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also boil it with milk for 4-5 mins, strain it and put cinnamon powder on top to have “hot milkshake” . You can also use the boiled vanilla tea “milk” for your pudings to have “vanilla tea puding”.

Flowering-tea-1

8. GREEN TEA -JASMINE TEA
This tea includes green tea and jasmine flowers. Green tea is very good for immune system and jasmine flowers have a calming effect on the body.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

9. JASMINE FLOWERS TEA
This tea includes white jasmine flowers. Jasmine flowers have a calming effect on the body. You can drink it by itself or you can add it into other teas such as black tea, green tea. You can also boil it to use it for different purposes as fruit salads, deserts and alcoholic or non- alcoholic beverages.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

rosehip

10. RED TEA
Red Tea includes herbs (hibiscus,rose) and fruits (cranberries, rosehip, pomegranate) that gives sweet and sour taste. These herbs and fruits gives strength and boosts immune system. Red tea is also written on many article as being effective on heart.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea. After cooling down the tea, you can pour it into empty ice tray to make red ice cubes. These red ice cubes goes really well with both alcoholic (such as vodka) and non-alcoholic (such as lemonade).

11. GREEN TEA
This tea includes green tea leaves. You can drink it by itself or you can add other teas into it such as orange, lemon, apple, jasmine tea.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

Turkish_tea

12. TURKISH TEA
To make Turkish tea you should use Caydanlik which is a small tea pot-brewer (demlik) on top of a kettle. Pour 3 cups of water into the larger kettle. Put the Turkish tea leaves and 2 tbsp of water into the teapot and place it on the kettle. Bring the water in the kettle to boil over medium heat. Then turn the heat off. Wait for the water to settle*, then pour half of the boiling water from the kettle over the leaves into the brewer. Let it brew for about 5 minutes**. Then pour the brewed tea into tea glasses using a small tea strainer. Fill in half of the tea glasses with the brewed tea and the rest with the hot water. Serve Turkish tea with sugar cubes.

* If you pour boiled water immediately over tea leaves, the tea will lose its vitamins. ** If you extend brewing time, the taste will get bitter. Also freshly brewed Turkish tea should be consumed within half an hour of brewing time.

13. LINDEN TEA
This tea includes linden flowers. Linden tea is very good for respiratory system especially on winter. Some of the articles say that linden helps losing the fat stocked in the body.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and ad ice to make ice tea.

14. SAGE TEA
This tea includes sage flowers. Sage tea is very good for respiratory system especially on winter. Some of the articles say that linden helps losing the fat stocked in the body.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and ad ice to make ice tea.

15. WHITE TEA
This tea includes white tea. White tea leaves and buds are allowed to wither in natural sunlight before they are lightly processed to prevent oxidation or further tea processing. White tea is very good to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, stronger bones and it is antibacterial, antioxidant and antivirus.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and ad ice to make ice tea.

16. POMEGRANATE TEA
This tea includes pomegranate buds or/and flowers. Pomegranate tea leaves and buds are dried under the sun. Pomegranate tea is very good for relaxing both nerves and stomach.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and ad ice to make ice tea.

17. ROSE TEA
This tea includes rose buds or/and flowers. Rose tea leaves and buds are dried under the sun before its open. Rose tea is very good for relaxing both nerves and stomach.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and ad ice to make ice tea.

18. JASMINE BALLS
This tea includes jasmine balls. Jasmine flowers have a calming effect on the body. One of the ball can make a bowl of tea for 3-4 people. You can add more hot water on to make more tea at a time.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 of the ball, wait for 3-5 minutes and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

19. GREEN TEA-LEMON-MINT
This tea includes green tea, lemon peels and mint leaves. These three herbs are very good together for immune system, stomach and respiratory system.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot water, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make ice tea.

Indian chai in Kolkata

20. CHAI
This tea includes black seylon tea, cardamom and ginger. Home of the CHAI is India.

How to make the tea : For one glass of hot milk, put 1 teaspoon of the tea, wait for 3-5 minutes, strain it and drink. You can also cool it down and add ice to make iced CHAI.

~ Courtesy of Ucuzcular Spice Team. The shop can be found at the world famous Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Trinidad: Small but Diverse

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The country of Trinidad, sometimes called the “rainbow island,” has a reputation of incredible diversity in regards to its music, food, and population. Located just eleven kilometers off the coast of Venezuela, Trinidad has a total population of 1.3 million. The makeup of its people ranges from African and East Indian, to European, and a variety of overlap of all of these. The main religion of the island is Roman Catholic, with Protestantism, Islam, and Hinduism also practiced.

Location of Trinidad

Location of Trinidad

History:

The original name for the island was “Iëre,” or Land of the Humming Bird, but Christopher Columbus changed it upon his arrival in 1498 to “La Isla de la Trinidad,” or The Island of the Holy Trinity. Today, Trinidad is a thriving Caribbean nation that bases much of its economy on gas-based export.

Although native Amerindians originally populated the island, Spanish, British, and French forces came to colonize it. They shipped the native Amerindians off to other colonies in the Caribbean to work and over time imported mass amounts of African slaves to labor on sugar plantations. After the British abolished slavery, indentured laborers were imported from India, China, and the Middle East. In 1889, England joined Trinidad to the nearby Tobago as an administrative ward, with which it stayed connected even after its independence from England in 1962. Over time, the descendants of the many non-native groups came together and fused their cultures, creating a melting pot that is the status quo in Trinidad today.

Culture:

All throughout the year, festivals take place that represent a variety of Trinidadian culture. Many of these festivals celebrate religious holidays, while others celebrate the traditions, customs, and music of Trinidad. The more popular religious festivals include Santa Rosa Festival, Christmas, Easter, Divali, and the Muslim celebration Eid Ul Fitr. There are multiple festivals that are based around the music of the Caribbean, such as Carnivale, J’ouvert and the national steel pan competition Panorama. In addition, the people of Trinidad also celebrate festivals pertaining to their history and customs, such as Emancipation Day and Arrival Day. No matter what time of year, there is sure to be a celebration happening in the streets of Trinidad.

Diwali in Trinidad

Diwali in Trinidad

Food:

The food of Trinidad is just as diverse as its population. Its history of colonization and labor importation led to a cuisine that contains a vast array of influences, including East Indian, Spanish, African, Chinese, and Middle Eastern. The most well known is Creole, a cuisine developed from robust stews and one pot comfort foods brought to the island by African slaves. Signature Creole dishes include pelau (a spicy dish consisting of meat, rice, and pigeon peas), macaroni pie (baked macaroni and cheese), and callaloo (a stew made with leaf vegetable, coconut milk, crab, chili pepper, lobster and many more). Another popular form of cuisine is street food, such as barbecue and jerk meats, homemade ice cream and coconut water.

Famous doubles with chickpeas

Famous doubles with chickpeas

Music:

Like much of the Caribbean, Trinidad has a lively music scene. Many varieties of music in Trinidad are a result of its historical influences, such as African and Indian based folk and classical forms. However, the mixing of cultures has led to the development of several indigenous forms of music as well, including soca, rapso, parang, chutney, and other derivative and fusion styles. The steelpan drum , a chromatically pitched percussion instrument made from  55 gallon drums that formerly contained oil and similar substances, also originated on the island. Oftentimes, local communities fuse the steelpan with international classical and pop music. The music of Trinidad provides something for every taste, once again illustrating the diversity of the culture of Trinidad.

Trinidad can be characterized as a beautiful Caribbean nation with a population whose spirit is just as impressive. The people are friendly and upbeat, and filled with a pride so strong that they celebrate almost constantly. The music, food, and ethnicity of the small island combine to create a culture that gives anyone visiting a vast amount to experience. I know I would love to see firsthand the diversity of this small Caribbean nation. On July 19, Go Eat Give is hosting Destination Trinidad at Tassa Roti Shop in metro Atlanta, where the public can witness live music, speakers and an authentic Trinidad buffet. For more information about this event, click here.

~ By Allie Williams, a recent graduate of the University of Georgia. Allie explores her passion for food, travel, and learning about different cultures though her internship with Go Eat Give.

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Discover Ligurian Cuisine: Ristorante Pizzeria Da Alfredo

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People amidst a small busy port coming and going, sipping apéritifs, meeting friends, and betrothed in fast paced conversation set the picturesque views of the shoreline in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy. Locals and visitors alike go into the chic boutiques, watch the yachts dock at the marina near the heart of the city, while others deliberate where they are going to eat. Asking, “where is a good place to eat?” is very much a part of the average vacation experience. No doubt, visitor after visitor is given directions to Ristorante Pizzeria Da Alfredo, across from the marina in Santa Margherita Ligure. What the natives know is that the tourists will be thrilled with whatever Chef Salvatore is cooking up.

view of Santa Margarita

Ristorante Pizzeria Da Alfredo also referred to as Da Alfredo, is managed by the chef, Signor Salvatore and his wife Adelina. Salvatore, the embodiment of our American treasure, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, welcomes guests with an enthusiastic spirit and smiling hospitality. Chef Salvatore’s English is limited, but his over the top facial expressions, dramatic hand gestures, and lively games of point and look are enough to fill in the blanks in any conversation.  So like having a holiday meal in the home of your favorite loving cousin, the Da Alfredo atmosphere is very much an extension of the endearing personality of Chef Salvatore.

chef ristorante da alfredo

For a unique point of view, ask for a table near a window, facing the kitchen, or on the outside patio. Seating at a table near a window allows diners to stay in touch with the vibes of the outdoors where a parade might go by, or get a view of the port and the beautiful blue water of the Gulf of Tiguillo. Some fortunate guests seated facing the open kitchen enjoy watching Chef Salvatore and his team deboning fish that was live only moments earlier, preparing handmade pasta, ladling fresh sauces, and carefully plating meals. The aromas of each dish carried by a waiter causes diners’ eyes and nostrils to follow it to the table where it is eagerly anticipated.

Salvatore and his team prepare authentic Ligurian cuisine procured from locally grown produce and the open waters of the gulf. The menu is divided into Antipasti salads, Primi pastas, Secondi seafood, meat selections, and Le Pizze. Plates with large prawns that glisten in herb infused white wine sauce accompanied by capers leave the onlooker inhaling to catch the aroma. International options such as sirloin steak and Schnitzel are available for patrons with taste buds that want to be reminded of home.

Da Alfredo's PrawnsOverwhelmed by the tempting choices, I couldn’t make up my mind as to what to order, but Fabio, my waiter said, “If you like pasta and you eat meat, I suggest you go with the gnocchi with pesto and the smothered steak with capers.” The two suggestions just seemed too rich for a cool spring evening, so I told him, “I will keep looking and think about it.” However, Fabio was adamant. When he came to take my order, a question was never posed. He simply looked towards me and said, “So for you, the gnocchi with pesto and the smothered steak with capers.” That was it. To my surprise, I could have eaten endless plates of them both, especially the pesto and gnocchi. It was the fluffiest-lightest gnocchi I had ever had the pleasure of biting into. I kept thinking, “If I eat all of this, I will not feel well tomorrow.” The only feeling I had the next day was the pleasure of a wonderful memory. Moral of this story is, if the waiter or chef gives you a strong recommendation, go with it.

Da Alfredo Gnocchi

Very often I skip dessert, but I was in a quaint ristorante on the Italian Riviera, I smiled to myself and said, “La Dolce Vita,” meaning live the good life. The dessert list read, apple pie, fruit salad, Italian gelato, panna cotta, tiramisu. My decision was clear, authentic tiramisu for me, please. The texture was much creamier and richer than any I had previously experienced. The ladyfingers played more of a supporting role as compared to the bold predominant feature it plays as in the American dessert. The small portion was more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and enough to give me a new expectation for future tiramisu.  I paired this moment of good life with a sample of prosecco and campari.

Da Alfredo's TiramisuPlan your dream trip to dine at Ristorante Pizzeria Da Alfredo where Signor Salvatore and his staff are always cooking up the best of Italian and International cuisine. Then while you are in the magnificent city of Santa Margherita Ligure, ask the locals, “What sites do you recommend I see?”

Ristorante Pizzeria Da Alfredo

~ By Kaylah Burks, an athlete, who enjoys traveling the world while staying health conscious.  Follow her on Instagram @jadenlie

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Top 7 Street Foods of Istanbul

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Over the years, I have heard two opposite words of travel wisdom – “Avoid street food” and “Must try the street food.” Even so, I don’t feel conflicted. Street food is a cultural experience in itself. It gives one a chance to learn about everyday life, what people eat when they are rushing from home to work, and often times showcase culinary customs that aren’t found in the modern day restaurants.

In the bustling streets of Istanbul, Turkey, you will find street vendors not only selling food and drinks to the hurries pedestrians, but artists putting up acts for spectators to enjoy before they dig into their purchases. Here are some of the common street foods you will see on in Istanbul.

1. Simits – A circular pretzel bread made with flour, molasses and sesame or poppy seed. It is a little chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Archival sources show that the simit has been produced in Istanbul since 1525. Simit is generally served plain, or for breakfast with tea, fruit preserves, honey or cheese. Find them at limit trolleys and baskets for 1 Turkish lira, and fancier Simit Saray bakeries for a little more. Tip: Buy simits in the morning while they are warm and fresh.

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2. Dürüm - A local name for Turkish wrap. Most people are familiar with doner which refers to the shaved meat cooked on a rotisserie. You can get the meat (typically lamb, but some places have chicken) rolled inside a Turkish flatbread, sprinkled with sumac, raw onions and parsley. Dürüm and Ayran (salty yogurt shake) make for a great on the go meal for about 5 liras, and is generally not served with any side.

turkey-streetfood6

3. Orange Juice – Fresh squeezed orange juice (plus some other fruits depending on the season) can be found on Istiklal Street for only 1 Euro. Restaurants in Turkey generally don’t serve fresh juices, so this is where you want to stock up on Vitamins (another name for juice).

juice stands istanbul

4. Dondurma – Also know as Maras ice cream, it is gummier than the ice cream you may be use to. It is made with milk, sugar, salep (flour used in desserts), and mastic (natural gum), and available in few flavors like pistachio, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. The best part about the ice cream is the magic show that the vendors put up before they serve it to you. They will stretch it, drop it, make surmountable mounds and tease you until you have a good laugh! Best place to watch the ice cream show is near Sultan Ahmet Square or The Blue mosque and costs about 7 liras.

turkish ice cream 

5. Türk kahvesi - Street vendors prepare coffee the traditional way, in copper jugs over charcoal. Turkish coffee refers to the style of preparing it as the coffee beans themselves come from other countries namely Yemen and Brazil. The roasted beans are finely ground and simmered over medium heat in a special coffee pot called cezve. Once it comes to a boil and starts foaming, the foam is removed and put in the coffee cups, while the water is allowed to boil for a second or event third time, to extract flavors. Next time, you have a backyard cookout, tell your guests you just put a pot of coffee on the grill and watch the look on their faces!

 turkish coffee

Turkish coffee at weddings: As well as an everyday beverage, Turkish coffee is also a part of the traditional Turkish wedding custom. As a prologue to marriage, the bridegroom’s parents (in the lack of his father, his mother and an elderly member of his family) must visit the young girl’s family to ask the hand of the bride-to-be and the blessings of her parents upon the upcoming marriage. During this meeting, the bride must prepare and serve Turkish coffee to the guests. For the groom’s coffee, the bride-to-be sometimes uses salt instead of sugar to gauge his character. If the bridegroom drinks his coffee without any sign of displeasure, the bride-to-be assumes that the groom is good-tempered and patient. Indeed, as the groom already comes as the demanding party to the girl’s house, in fact it is the boy who is passing an exam and etiquette requires him to receive with all smiles this particular present from the girl, although in some parts of the country this may be considered as a lack of desire on the part of the girl for marriage with that candidate. Source: Wikipedia

6. Tarihi Osmanli Macunu – Street vendors make to order the traditional Ottoman candy  with five flavors of thick taffy spiraled around a stick. The artist makes the candy when you order it and it is captivating to watch him roll the different colors with such ease.

ottoman candy

 

7. Kumpir – Best known as make your own baked potato. You select your choice of endless toppings on an enormous baked potato. Hot dog slices, corn, peas, vegetable salad, pickles, pickled beets, green and black olives, yogurt kısır (bulgur), spicy red-pepper sauce and condiments are some of the garnishes. The best place to try Kumpir is Istanbul’s Bosphorus-side village of Ortaköy.

Other street vendors sell roasted chestnuts, waffles, corn on the cob and sliced watermelon.

Know of another street food from Istanbul you love? Leave a response below and share your ideas with our readers…

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Zeytinyağlı Biber Dolma Recipe

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One of the most popular dishes in Turkish cuisine is Dolma, meaning stuffed. The Turks stuff all sorts of dried and fresh vegetables – eggplants, okra, peppers, zucchini, grape leaves with meat, rice and nuts. More than often, dolma is served as an appetizer, but it can also be eaten as light entree. Here is the recipe for one of my favorite dolmas, roasted and stuffed bell peppers, provided by Selin Rozanes of Turkish Flavors cooking classes and food tours in Istanbul. Slight variations can be found in Macedonian, Indian and American cuisine as well.

Turkish mezzo

Aromatic Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers with Olive Oil Recipe

Zeytinyağlı Biber Dolma

  • 6 large green bell peppers
  • 1 cup rice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons currants
  • 2 tablepoons pine nuts
  • 1 table spoon dried mint
  • 6 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh chopped herb – parsley and dill

Turkish stuffed peppersFilling (Same filling can be used for grapevine leaves):

Put the currants in hot water to allow them to swell; drain and put to one side. Soak the rice in hot salted water for 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain.

Heat ¼ cup oil in a deep pan and gently sauté the pine nuts until golden. Add the chopped onion and sauté until soft. Add drained rice, currants and spices, stirring gently to ensure the rice grains are evenly coated. Add the 1 cup hot water, salt, and sugar, stir once and continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until the cooking liquid is absorbed and steaming bubbles appear on the surface of the rice. It is important not to stir the rice during this time. Remove from the heat, cover the top of the pan with a cloth, replace the lid and set aside to cool for 20 minutes. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Add the herbs and combine gently with a wooden spoon. The rice stuffing is now ready in to vegetables of your choice!

Stuffing the vegetables:

Carefully cut a thin slice from the stem end of peppers and take out the seeds. Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture with a spoon or your hand. Cut small pieces from 1 tomato to cover the top part of peppers. Press the tomato slice down a bit so that it won’t come out.

Place the dolmas in an oven safe dish which is at least as tall as dolmas. Pour 1 cup of boiling water on top.

Sauce:

Whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, hot water, sugar and salt and pour over. First let it boil for 5 minutes on stove. Then, bake it in a 350F oven for 35-40 minutes until rice is cooked and tops are browned. Check them regularly if you don’t want to burn the tops. Set aside to cool. Serve at room temperature.

Zeytinyağlı Biber Dolma

~ Recipe courtesy of Selin Rozanes, founder of  Turkish Flavors. The Istanbul based culinary company organizes food tours, cooking classes and team building activities. Check them out on Facebook Turkish Flavours and Turkish Cooking Classes Istanbul and Twitter Turkish Flavours.

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