Another Adventure!

So I figured it was about time I shared something that’s pretty exciting (to me at least).

It isn’t exactly a secret, but it isn’t exactly widely-known either.  A few months ago I started a travel blog!

It really came about because I realized that I have so much travel research, so many trial-and-error tips, beautiful pictures, and perfect itineraries to share, but didn’t have a way to do it.  Travel and food are two of my main passions in life—ones that thankfully often overlap 🙂

I’ve been trying to travel more and more over the last year.  Successfully, I might add…in 2016 I was blessed to visit Mexico, Argentina, Turkey, Canada, Sweden, France, Italy, and Spain, in addition to a few great trips in the U.S.  My first half of 2017 is even more jam-packed (Norway, the California coast, Switzerland, Portugal, Jordan, Israel, and Turkey again!).

SO.  If you like seeing new places, hearing about different cultures, beautiful pictures, amazeballs-looking food, wacky travel mishap stories, and super practical tips on how to see the world on your own, I’d love for you to join me over at One Girl, Whole World as well.  Or, share with a friend or family member who loves to travel.

Have no fear—I’ll still be posting tons of great recipes here.  This is just a new adventure that I’m super excited about, and wanted to share with you guys as well.

See you on the flip side!


Eating My Way Through Istanbul: Exploration

How can I *not* start with this pic.  I mean, LOOK. AT. IT.


If you caught my post a couple weeks ago, you’ll know how much I LOOOOOVED the food in Turkey, and the two different food tours we went on to get a feel for the culture and cuisine.  But the tours were just the beginning…we spent all three days eating everything in sight (and maybe seeing some sights in-between).


We couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day to explore.  The Blue Mosque looked particularly majestic against the blue sky.


We were up early and tramped over the Galata Bridge, in search of breakfast.


And boy, did we find it.  So, this is definitely one of the stranger things we ate.  We sat down to a lovely breakfast, I ordered a cappuccino and honey and sweet cream with bread, and then something on the menu caught my eye.  That white dish in the back is tavukgogsu—otherwise known as chicken breast pudding.

I KNOW.  [Read more…]

Eating My Way Through Istanbul: Food Tours

Oh, internet peeps, this trip was just amazing.  No other word for it.

The view that welcomed us at our Airbnb rooftop apartment

The view that welcomed us at our Airbnb rooftop apartment

When my co-worker randomly texted me in February saying she’d found a ticket to Istanbul for around $700, did I want to go, I immediately jumped at the chance to visit a city that’s always been on my bucket list.  As a total history nerd, the Roman Empire and Constantinople has always fascinated me, and so off we went for a whirlwind Memorial Day weekend.

And Istanbul?  You did not disappoint!


But while I’ve always looked forward to seeing Istanbul’s architecture and culture and history, I hadn’t given its food much thought.  In my pre-trip research I read about a lot of things that sounded great, and we decided what better way to get our bearings in the city than with a food tour (or two)—and that was an excellent decision, if I do say so myself.

I totally fell in love with Turkey’s food…join me, if you will, on this gastro extravaganza (gastro-vaganza??).

Here’s more on Istanbul’s food and awesomeness


We arrived at our apartment in late afternoon, refreshed ourselves, and hit the streets right away.  After accidentally getting on the tram going the wrong direction for a stop, we quickly got headed the right way and met up with our tour guide in Sultanahmet.

Dinner in a local family's apartment

This was our guide, Burek.  He brought us to a local family’s house, where the mom made a traditional meal including corba (a delicious lentil soup), chicken with vegetables and sauce and pilav and yogurt, and bread and watermelon.  We also had the traditional black tea.  We sat on the floor like they do regularly, in the same room they sleep in as well.  Throughout the meal we conversed with the family, with Burek translating, and learned about their life in the eastern part of the country prior to coming to Istanbul about a decade ago (they are Kurdish) and what their life is like now.  It was such a cool experience.

Apple shisha and tea in a pub

Burek took us to a local pub next.  Pubs don’t serve alcohol, but instead the traditional shisha (also called hookah, nargile, etc.) and tea.  The pub was really beautiful, with ornate light fixtures and beautiful inlaid tables.  Frequented by locals, the building is over 300 years old, was once a religious school and dervish lodge, then bazaar.  The waiter brought us glasses of “apple tea” (which is more like the powdered apple cider that comes in packets, and only drunk by tourists and children) and apple (elma) shisha.  While the shisha is definitely not for me, it was a really interesting and authentic experience. [Read more…]

Food Travel Postcard: North Island, New Zealand

Wrapping up our trip with a few days in the Rotorua area of the North Island!

tui glen jetty

We’d planned to head down to Hamilton for one night so we could do a dawn hot air balloon ride, but the weather didn’t cooperate so we headed straight to our rental house on Lake Tarawera, about 20 minutes from Rotorua. It was dark when we arrived, but early the next morning Sarai and I took our coffee down the hill to our little jetty and watched the sunrise.

tui glen deck

Our deck had a great view! We were totally off the grid out there—no cell service or wifi—so we lit the fireplace, sat on the deck, drank wine and talked. It was so relaxing!

rotorua champagne pool

rotorua highlighter pool

The Rotorua area is famous for being a “thermal wonderland”. One day we visited Wai-o-Tapu, probably the most well-known of the thermal areas. The gorgeous Champagne Pool, with its “artist’s palette” came to life for us, and this highlighter-yellow lake was unbelievable! But everything smelled like rotten egg, which was really gross—I haven’t been up for eating eggs since then…

brioche ricotta

We found this awesome cafe called Capers in Rotorua. They had all sorts of great stuff, so we stopped there twice for brunch. The second time I had this amazing toasted brioche with ricotta and local honey. [Read more…]

Food Travel Postcard: Nelson/Tasman Region, New Zealand

We spent the last eight days in the Nelson/Tasman region of the South Island. We’d rented a lovely little house in Richmond and based ourselves there for various food and beverage explorations, as well as attending the Feast of Tabernacles. Nelson is one of the bigger cities in the area, about 46,000 people. It’s about an area from the Abel Tasman National Park, which has gorgeous coastal tracks and kayaking and seals and beaches. It and the Marlborough region are also acclaimed for their local wines and beers, so it was the perfect place for our foursome to stay!

jess beach reflection

The scenery in this part of the South Island was so different from where we were previously. Golden beaches, turquoise waters, green hills—it was like Hawaii up in here.

split apple rock

Split Apple Rock in Abel Tasman. Not an actual apple.

pinchgut trail

We hiked Pinchgut Trail in Nelson Lakes National Park, up Mt. Robert…it was crazy steep and we just about died. We rewarded our delirious, exhausted selves with a giant dinner and beer at The Vic.

abel tasman boat ride

We took a boat ride along the Abel Tasman coast and then had an awesome dinner of lamb and good wine at Ford’s in Nelson.

jess wine tasting

This area is particularly known for its wines, so I put on my comfy wine tasting skirt and got down to business… [Read more…]

Food Travel Postcard: Lake Tekapo/Mt. Cook/Aoraki, New Zealand

Greetings from the future!!!

No, really, it’s tomorrow here. I’m in gorgeous, sunny New Zealand, soaking up the unbelievable scenery, talking to awesome Kiwis (the people, not the bird), and hanging out with three cool friends. We’re here for the Feast of Tabernacles, but since we were coming so far (and spending so much money!) we wanted to cram as much awesome into our trip as possible. As always when I travel, I am also super excited about trying all kinds of local food and drink!

sawdon station house

We spent our first few days in the Mackenzie region, after flying into Christchurch and then driving a few hours down to Lake Tekapo. When we arrived at our first rental house, we were utterly charmed, and visions of coffee and wine in front of the fire danced in our heads.

lake tekapo

We immediately set out to explore, taking in the gorgeous turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo before heading into the village in search of sustenance.

oyster stout

We had decent pizzas and good local beer. Great, interesting beer is one of the things New Zealand seems to offer in abundance. This is a local oyster stout, and when I asked the waiter if it had oysters in it he said no, but then the internet told me otherwise. Oops… :S [Read more…]

Food Travel Postcard: Croatia & Slovenia

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks! My parents and I spent a week and a half exploring the nooks and crannies of Croatia, Slovenia, and northern Italy.


We started our trip in the unreal beauty of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. We walked through the rushing waterfalls and gorgeous teal and green waters. [Read more…]

Food Travel Postcard: Motovun, Croatia

Dobar dan from Croatia!

Okay, truth is I’m actually already home again, but I already posted on one of my two absolute favorite meals while I was on my two-and-a-half-week European adventure, so I thought it only fair to post on the other one.

And—shocker—it features the legendary talents of the heavenly black truffle!

For much more on my Motovun and northern Croatian adventures:

Motovun: Croatia’s Quintessential Hill Town

Exploring the Hill Towns of Northern Croatia

We spent a day driving around inner Istria, in northern Croatia. It’s a peninsula that is much like Tuscany, full of vineyards, agriculture, adorable old hilltop towns, and truffles. Our last stop of the day before heading back to Rovinj was Motovun, a suitably picturesque town complete with an old wall and tower.

The restaurant was actually in the inner gate wall, tucked underneath. We were ravenous at this point, and I knew there was no question that I was having something with truffles. When a black truffle risotto showed up on the menu, I was sold. We also ordered their house-made Teran wine, which was unique and delicious.

[Read more…]

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