A Taste of New York: Knish

knish1

Have you ever had a knish? I certainly hadn’t before I went exploring New York’s Lower Eastside with Walks of New York.

A Taste of New York: Knish

 

As the poster at Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery says ‘a knish consists of a filling covered with dough that is baked never fried’. 

The fillings can be sweet or savoury. The traditional filling is mashed potato. Schimmels also mention cabbage, onions, kasha (buckwheat) and cheese as traditional fillings too. Today anything goes…spinach, mushroom, sweet potato…even fruit.

A Taste of New York: Knish

The Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe bought knishes to New York in the 1890s along with many other traditional foods.

Yonah Schimmel started selling knishes from a cart in the 1890s. He opened a shop in East Houston St in 1937 and since then this family run business has operated from here. The knishes are made by hand below the shop and sent upstairs in an old lift. There’s no short cuts here!

A Taste of New York: Knish

 

A Taste of New York: Knish

 

We tried one with spinach and cheese and another with a potato filling…very tasty! What a great way to start the day!

A Taste of New York: Knish

Knish and eggnog!

 

 Have you ever tried a knish?

 

Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery
137 E Houston St 

 

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A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

Food, glorious, food….I’m always in search of local food and if you don’t know a city, one of the best ways to find the places to go is to join a food tour.

So when Jo from Frugal First Class Travel asked if I’d like to join her and Vanessa from Turnipseed Travel on a Culinary Backstreets food tour in Athens , I jumped at the opportunity.

 

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

As we sat down to breakfast, I knew we were in for a treat. How could we not be when the first dish we tasted was this delicious Greek yoghurt with honey and fresh walnuts!

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

I could have eaten this yoghurt all day but it was not the only dish our guide, Despina chose. Galaktoboureko, is a tasty slice similar to a custard slice. Encased in filo pastry, the slice can also be made with vanilla and orange.

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

This was followed by a delicious pudding which baffled us when we first tasted it. Moustalevira is a traditional dish that is made from the must left over after the grapes have been pressed. It was more like a jelly …an addictive jelly topped with walnuts!

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens       A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

Despina explained that this old fashioned dairy bar is one of the last of its type in the heart of Athens. Now being worked by the fourth generation, it has been here since 1931.

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens        A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

This became a recurring theme on our walk. Most of the places we visited had been in business for a long time. Family traditions were important in Athens and most business we saw were now being run either by the sons, grandsons or great grandsons of the founder. They have stood the test of time, watched newer places come and go and now serve the younger generations of their original customers.

As with the dairy bar, our next stop Krinos had a similar history. Krinos is one of the oldest loukoumades shops in Athens. The owner’s grandfather opened a shop in Crete in 1912. When he died the sons moved to Athens and now the business is run by one of the grandsons.

 

Loukoumades at Krinos

Loukoumades are delicious deep fried small balls of dough….a greek doughnut! We tried two different ways of cooking them In Athens…one in a honey syrup and this one in a sugar syrup. Cooking in sugar syrup is the Cretan way of making them. They are light and delicious… and moreish! The serve is quite large so you only need to order one plate. Make sure they are freshly cooked for you.

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

Feta Cheese

Everyone knows feta cheese but did you know that only the Greeks are officially allowed to use the name as it is DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) protected in the European Union.

At our next stop, another business that had been in the family since 1916, it was explained that feta is made either from pure sheep’s milk or a mix of up to 30% goats milk. If it is made within these boundaries it can be marketed as feta.
The northern mountainous regions are famous for their feta. The cheese matures in brine for at least 2 months before being sold. It is then sent to the city in beech barrels that can only be used four times. A barrel holds 65kgs of cheese which sells for 8.50E per kilo. This shop sells a barrel a day which is a lot of greek salads!

You can also buy butter here made from half goats milk and half sheep’s milk. I’m told this butter is great for desserts!

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

Athens Central Market

We had now wandered into the streets surrounding the Athens Central Market which you can read about here.

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

The fish and meat markets in the historic covered market are definitely worth seeing but if the blood, gore and guts of the meat market is not for you, head to the fish market, grab a stool at the small bar in the far corner and order a glass of tsiperou (an aperitif from northern Greece) and a plate of mezes.  Jo and Vanessa have stories about our time in the market which you can read on Frugal First Class Travel and Turnipseed Travel

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

Greek Coffee

Coffee stop…..and a coffee cooked in sand!
I’m not a coffee drinker but those who were, said it was similar to turkish coffee. We watched how it’s made, fascinated by the process but I don’t think it’s something you can do at home.

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

Pastourma

From here we walked past the vegetable market to a local pastourma shop. Pastourma is air dried meat similar to the pastirma from Turkey.  Just near the markets are two shops run by feuding Armenians. Both sell pastourma, cheeses and different mezzes. Originally they both had small shops but one shop then expanded and of course the other had to follow. Don’t you love the local gossip!!

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

I have tried pastirma in Turkey but never camel pastourma. It was actually not bad…..very similar to the beef and not as strong as the lamb. We tried it with a couple of different Greek cheeses including metsovone, a delicious smokey cheese that is only made in one area of Greece.

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

 

Greek Slouvaki

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens
What is a Greek food tour without a slouvaki stop. I was waiting to see where Despina would take us. Had we not been following her, we would have walked right by the Kostas’s  Slouvaki Shop. It’s quite well known and the queues certainly indicated it was popular.  We were fortunate that Despina had rung ahead as our slouvakis arrived two minutes after we did. I can’t believe I found room to eat it but we all wolfed them down….delicious!

 

Seafood Lunch

I thought the slouvaki was lunch but no!
A few turns to the left , a few to the right and we were walking down a little arcade. After seven stops, Despina announced that it’s lunch time…a late lunch! We arrived well after the lunch time crowds have left but that was ok, the food was great.

Zucchini fritters and a traditional split pea dip preceded the cafes signature dish…..a plate of small tiny whole fish accompanied by a tasty plate of wild greens. We ate it alll!

A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

Gelato in Athens…Yes!

No food tour is complete without dessert but we weren’t expecting gelato. After all we had eaten it was the perfect finish to our culinary tour. The owners had gone to Italy to learn the secrets of making gelato and had returned only recently to open this shop. Being a citrus girl, it was my gelato of choice whilst others favoured pistachio and chocolate. So good were they that we managed to return a few days later and try some of the other flavours! A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens

Unlike the other shops we had been to on the tour, this shop had only been open a short while but I wonder whether in its future it too will have a history to tell and be run by family descendants.

 

Greek cuisine is actually quite simple. It’s all about the best ingredients, the seasonal produce and family recipes. With Culinary Backstreets you will be introduced to this, the history and the anecdotes and taste some culinary delights that you might not have otherwise found.

 

 

I love a great food tour! Whilst we were given a media discount on the Culinary Backstreets Tour of Athens, it was not a factor in whether I enjoyed it or not.

 

Other tours you may enjoy:
A Foodies Tour in Istanbul
Walking New York’s Lower East Side
Made in Bensonhurst

 

 

 

 

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A Taste of Melbourne: Lunch at Rice Paper Scissors

Melbourne is known for its laneways that are dotted through out the centre of the city. They are home to some fabulous street art, eclectic coffee shops and great little cafes. In one of these lanes just off Bourke Street is Rice Paper Scissors, or RICE PAPR SCRS as it is cleverly written, one of my favourite lunch spots in Melbourne.

The small cafe was buzzing when we entered, busy with lunch time workers from the Paris end of town. It’s not long before they all disappear back to their cubicles and we are enjoying a fabulous lunch in relative quietness.

Bookings are taken for the lunch time service but not at night. It’s very casual….there are seats at the bar and a few high tables inside. If Melbourne’s notorious weather is behaving, you may be lucky to find a free crate to sit on outside the cafe.

The Asian influenced tapas dishes are very reasonably priced ranging between $10 and $15 each. They all sound delicious so it’s a hard decision as to what to choose. I always want to try them all so thankfully Rice Paper Scissors has the answer and offer a choice of five dishes for $55 for 2 people. Problem solved!

Bahn Mi, the mini Vietnamese baguettes are a favourite as are the Bahn Bao or steamed pork buns. There’s always a betal leaf dish. I’ve had duck and lychee salad on betal leaf in the past and and another with prawns and toasted coconut salad. Such clever combinations. There’s always a salad dish too. I’m already savouring the mince duck salad, roasted rice and herbs that will hopefully still be on the menu when I return to Melbourne in a couple of weeks.

Don’t forget the daily specials on the black board…they’re always a treat!

Rice Paper Scissors in Mebourne

 

 

What ever you do, leave room for dessert. The ‘Icecream Sanga‘ is a must…..homemade mango ice cream and sticky rice in sweet toasted bun! Sensational!

Rice Paper Scissors in Melbourne

 

Have you eaten here? What is your favourite restaurant or cafe in Melbourne?

 

RICE PAPR SCRS (Rice Paper Scissors)
19 Liverpool St, Melbourne
Tel: 03 96639890
Mon- Sat: 12- 3pm and 6 pm – late
[email protected]

Web Site: www.ricepaperscissors.com.au

 

 

Other articles you may enjoy:
Brunch in NYC
Where to eat in New York
Breakfast in Istanbul
Lunch at New York’s Eleven Madison Park

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Rottnest Island in January: An Instagram Gallery

Parker Point on a less windy day than today! rottnestisland

 

Rottnest Island in January: An Instagram Gallery

Clear blue water, white sand, snorkelling over reefs, fresh crayfish for lunch, pelicans on the beach and dolphins playing in the distance…it’s summer….and we’re on Rottnest Island!

New year's Day in Thomson Bay on Rottnest Island

Stunning day at Rottnest to start the New Year…

 

Rotto is our nickname for Rottnest Island, a small island about 20 kilometres from the West Australian coast, just off Fremantle.

This summer playground for West Australians of all ages is actually a Class A Nature Reserve. No cars are allowed on the island apart from a few work vehicles and the island busses. Ferries from Fremantle and Hillary arrive at the main settlement of Thomson Bay.

The bays around the island are beautiful…there’s plenty to see even if you come for just a day, so rent a bike, grab you snorkel and flippers and head off to explore these stunning bays.

Join me as I flick through my Instagram gallery for January and relive the lazy, summer days of January on Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island in January

Parker Point, Rottnest Island

Parker Point on a less windy day than today! rottnestisland

 

Rottnest Island

It doesn’t matter if there’s clear blue water or a few rocks… The bay’s around Rottnest are all different and all stunning! rottnestisland

 

Thomson Bay

Rottnest has a few different areas that you can stay in....these cottages are in Thomson Bay, not far from the water! rottnestisland

Rottnest has a few different areas that you can stay in….these cottages are in Thomson Bay, not far from the water! rottnestisland

 

Thomson Bay, Rottnest Island

The settlement at Thomson Bay #rottnest

 

In Thomson Bay you’ll find the islands most famous inhabitants… the quokka.
Quokkas are small marsupial animals. They are found all over the island but it’s often easier to find them around the food areas even though you are not allowed to feed them! Read all about the quokka and how everyones loves quokkas

 

Rottnest Island is the best place to see quokkas!

Rottnest Island is the best place to see quokkas! They’re pretty easy to find…often hanging around the settlement!

 

We stay in one of the bays further around the island that is away from the crowds.

Marjorie Bay on Rottnest Island

Our little piece of heaven on Rottnest…..complete with lap pool! #rottnestisland

 

Champagne Pool on Rottnest Island

Champagne Pool….a little bit of heaven surrounded by reef with the clearest blue water…. Rottnest Island

 

Rottnest island

The clear blue waters leading to Champagne Pool

 

Catching Crayfish

The most important part of the day is heading out to check the cray pots. This is a daily routine which quickly becomes the main topic of conversation…’how many did you get today’ or ‘the crays aren’t around at the moment’.

Crayfish from Rottnest Island

Lunch is caught! #rottnest

 

Lunch depends on catching a couple of them!

Fresh crayfish for lunch on Rottnest Island

Slightly warm, fresh crayfish for lunch… #rottnest

 

Nature surrounds us. As well as the quokkas on the mainland we have an abundance of bird and animal life to watch coming and going. So far we have not been to see the seals that live a couple of bays away but before summer leaves us, we’ll be sure to visit!

Pelicans

Pelicans on Rottnest Island

The pelicans are back to help us celebrate the Australia Day weekend! #rottnestisland

Pelicans are fascinating birds. They are often waiting for us on the beach. It’s the perfect opportunity to watch the peculiar way they bend their necks to sleep and eat. There’s one particular pelican who is quite friendly…we’ve all named him Denis! One day Denis accompanied me as I walked the length of the bay staying only a metre from the shore!

Dolphins

One of the greatest pleasures in life is to sit in a dinghy surrounded by these beautiful creatures of the sea. Sometimes they come into the bay and play around the boat but at other times, especially when there is a large pod, they stay just outside the entrance to the bay. On this particular day there would have been about thirty of them, catching fish and diving around us. Some of the fins are quite gnarled giving us a chance to recognise them each time they visit.

The dolphins at Rottnest island

A few of a large pod of dolphins just outside the bay….mothers with babies, old boys with gnarled fins…all diving under the boat and resurfacing not far away! #rottnest

 

Osprey

There are seven osprey nests on the island and one is on the headland at the end of the bay. We often see them flying over head, gathering food for their babies. The nests are big and surprisingly survive from season to season despite the harsh winter winds and rain.

An osprey nest on Rottnest Island

I was lucky to catch the osprey at home this morning….this nest is one of seven on Rottnest Island that somehow survive winter after winter. #rottnestisland

 

Rocky Bay, Rottnest Island

Early morning walk to Rocky Bay or Narrow Neck as we all call it! #rottnestisland

 

 

Sunrise and Sunset

Two beautiful times of the day which are even more stunning at Rottnest

Rottnest Island Sunrise

Good morning sunshine! It’s forecast to be a hot one today…40C!

 

Pink hues at sunrise on Rottnest Island

A pink hue covers the still ocean just before sunrise…..worth the early start! #rottnestisland

 

Shimmering water at sunset on Rottnest Island

When the setting sun starts shimmering on the water, it’s time for an evening beach walk…. rottnestisland

 

Sunset over Rottnest on a record...44C or 111F.

Tonight’s sunset over Rottnest after the third hottest January day on record…44C or 111F. At least it was a bit cooler on the island! rottnest

 

Sunset at Rottnest Island

Tonight’s stunning sunset at Rottnest…. #westernaustralia

 

Sunset at Rottnest Island

Yet another spectacular sunset tonight….#rottnestisland

 

And it’s a sunset that is this month’s most popular instagram photo…..

Sunset at Rottnest Island

The sunsets this week have all been sensational…tonight’s might be the best so far! #rottnestisland

 

Would you like to visit Rottnest Island?

Instagram is a fabulous way to see the world. Come and join me at atasteoftravel on Instagram and please let me know your instagram account in the comments. I love to see what everyones up to!

 

 

 

Other articles you may enjoy:
Wildflowers of the West
Finding Fremantle
Keeping Busy in Broome 
Our Summer Hideaway: Rottnest on Instagram

 

Join the fun of Instagram Travel Thursday and follow fellow instagrammers to see what they’ve been up to.

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A Taste of London: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Heston Blumenthal is so famous that today you just have to mention his christian name and every one knows who he is. The Fat Duck was his stepping stone to fame. Today Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, his restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hyde Park is in the top ten of the San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Light streams in the large glass windows of the dining room that overlook Hyde Park. The internal glass walls offer another view inside the restaurant…that of the kitchen; the domain of Executive Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts.  If you’d like to be even closer to the action, you can book the chef’s table overlooking the kitchen.

The kitchen at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

  The Kitchen at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

 

The menu is inspired by dishes from past centuries of British cooking. Each dish appears on the menu with the approximate date of it’s first appearance.

Entree: Meat Fruit (c.1500)

My entree called simply ‘Meat Fruit ‘(C1500) was anything but simple. A perfectly formed mandarin arrived on a wooden platter with toasted sourdough bread. But this was no ordinary mandarin… inside the orange jelly skin that had been twice dipped to make it look as dimpled as a real mandarin, was the most sublime chicken liver and foie gras parfait! So light, so delicious! This dish has reached iconic status and I can see why.

Meat fruit at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Meat Fruit (c.1500)

 

Main Course: Chicken cooked with lettuces ( c.1670)

I find main courses hard to order! I was tempted, as I always am, by the fish course but in the end I decided to order the chicken cooked with lettuces. I don’t think I have tasted chicken as tender and tasty as this…cooked perfectly with crispy skin, and a spiced celeriac sauce so good I could have licked the plate!

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Chicken cooked with lettuces (c.1670)

 

Dessert: Tipsy Cake (c.1810)

I love dessert! I had already heard about Heston’s famous Tipsy Cake so there was no way I was going to miss tasting this dish.

The Tipsy cake is a feather light, brioche cake that has been soaked in sauterne. It is served with slices of roasted pineapple that have been slowly basting on a spit for six hours.
This was the perfect finish to a fabulous lunch.

Tipsy Cake at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Tipsy Cake (c.1810)

 

 

A set price luncheon menu is offered during the week. Whilst signature dishes such as the Meat Fruit and the Tipsy Cake are not included, it is a fabulous way to try one of London’s top restaurants.

 

Contact Information
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
66 Knightsbridge, London
+44 (0)20 7201 3833

Open everyday from 12.00-2.30 and 6.30-10.30
Bookings can be made six months in advance.

Web site: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

 

What are your favourite restaurants in London?

 

Other posts you may enjoy:
Eating in New York
Breakfast in Istanbul
Brunch in NYC
A.Ston.ishing Oysters in Croatia

 

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