You may find it difficult to believe that we don't actually post on ALL the places we visit. Usually, if the Missus and I have an upscale dinner in San Diego, I usually don't take photos, unless it's happy hour or has some other interesting tie in. There usually are too many people around and I'm a pretty low-key person.....I don't like attention. And then there are those that just "don't make the cut"...it doesn't mean the place was terrible or anything, it could be that I just never got around to doing a post....of course, if it was a stellar meal, you know I'd have done a post.
So anyway, with a minimum of my blabbing, here's a trio that just never made it until I COMC'd (Cleared Out the Memory Card).
Inka Heritage - Madison Wisconsin:
To my disappointment, I got to Mad-town during restaurant week and Inka Heritage had what amounted to a prix fix menu, so I had to go with what they had.
Ceviche 3 Ajies (3 peppers):
Pescado Inka Heritage:
Sooo much cheese...but heck, this is Wisconsin, right? What should I have expected.
Inka Heritage 602 S Park St Madison, WI 53774
The Wok Restaurant - Chiang Mai, Thailand:
The dishes looked so lovely, but just didn't deliver.....very bland, somewhat dumbed down. These folks run a cooking school I was thinking of joining....kind of glad I didn't.
The Wok Restaurant 44 Rajmankha Rd, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
Ucyildiz - Antalya, Turkey:
So if MickeyD's, or say ChowKing came to Turkey, I'm thinking this is what the food would look like. Sorta artificial....funny, the photos in the menu looked so lovely.
We still chuckle when we see the photos....you can't win 'em all.
Anyway, thanks for dropping by and reading....or staring, or whatever it is that you do when it;s mostly just photos!
We'd had an interesting night in Antalya and I was really enjoying the city. From the hotel, to the the people, it was working out well. After a typical no need to eat until next week Turkish breakfast, we decided to take a walk around "Old Antalya", the Kaleiçi, surrounded by city walls, it is protected from development. There are still Ottoman and Roman style homes in the area.
I was unusually touched as we walked by the Keike Minare (the broken minaret) which is part of the ruins of the Korkut Camii, which was in my previous post. An elderly gentleman, very well dressed, probably in his eighties was walking on the other side of the street. He started toward us, smiled, walked up to me and extended his hand...... I didn't quite know what to say other than to smile and shake his hand. For me, it was such a welcoming gesture......
The streets themselves varied in width, some wider than others, some quite narrow, all of them exuding character.
It was also quite nice that the streets were empty at this hour, which is why we really enjoy our morning walks.
In this day of cookie cutter construction and having seen the "condo farms", buildings sprouting like corn in China, this was quite a change. You could feel the history of the city oozing from the cracks in the walls.
The doors of various building were particularly fascinating. Each one different, they all seemed to have a story to tell.
After a bit we wandered North, then toward the direction of Ataturk Caddesi, the main street in the area, right outside the city walls where the tram runs. To get out of the walls you walk thru Hadriyanus Capisi (Hadrian's Gate) which was build to honor the Roman Emperor Hadrian for his visit to Antalya in the year 130AD.
Walking south, past all the older men drinking tea in the park, we headed down Ataturk Caddesi, past all the shops, banks, and business buildings....and even past the ATM Farm. I don't recall ever seeing a place where competing ATMs are line up in such a manner.
We walked past what looked like government buildings, had a short stop for tea, then around the edges of a very large park.
We ended up here.......
The views were quite beautiful.......
To our right was Hıdırlık Tower, built by the Romans in the first century. I guess to keep watch over the Antalya Bay.
Right to the north was the colorful Roman Harbor.
We walked down to the harbor, past all the colorful tourist boats, then back up what must have been a cliff wall way back when.......
Climbing back up those steps I recall turning around and looking and marveling at how wonderful the "strands of clouds" looked.
Sort of a like a cloud version of the aurora borealis.......
After this we just kind of wandered around and somehow ended up at the Clock Tower.
Funny thing happened as we walked past the Tekeli Mehmet Pasha Camii.....an elderly gentleman walked out and waved us into the Mosque. I pointed to the shorts I was wearing....I really didn't plan on visiting a mosque. But he just shook his head and waved us in.
Down a nearby street is the Shopping Bazaar, mostly full of tourist stuff.
We eventually made a complete circle all the way back to Hadrian's Gate. By this time I was starting to get hungry. We headed away from Kaleiçi and ended up near a shopping area. We saw this place on the street. I'd read about it somewhere, so we decided that this was the place for lunch.
This place was doing some major take-out business and the Pide looked really good!
The prices seemed right and the Missus liked the menu which offered a good variety of items.
I'd noticed that the food in Antalya seemed more aggressively spiced than what we had in Instanbul. I actually enjoyed this. I tried a pepper from the bowl on the table and it was indeed fairly spicy.
The Missus enjoyed the dolmasi...one pepper, one eggplant.
But She really enjoyed the Patlican Musakka. It's not like Greek Moussaka. This was spiced stewed lamb on a roasted eggplant.
I had the Karisik Pide, which turned out to be quite filling.
Those roasted peppers were delicious as well.
Of course, this is Turkey and there was that basket of bread available......
Of course we headed back to the hotel and immediately took a nap....awakening a couple of hours later. After just lounging around for a couple of hours we headed back out. Near the main street and traffic control gate to the old city was this little restaurant.
Folks eat fairly late here, so we had the entire restaurant to ourselves and took a small table in the very pretty tree lined back courtyard.
I'd pretty much had my fill of meat and just wanted a variety of mezes for dinner. The server, a very nice young man was quite accommodating and we just had bread (of course), lavas, and a nice variety of mezes for dinner.
It was a light, but very satisfying meal.
Of course we took an after meal walk. This time we followed the tram line away and west of the Kaleiçi. This took us to a residential/business area that looked fairly expensive.
We followed the road to the water's edge, then turned back.....
By this time the Missus wanted an "after dinner sweet" and this place looked like it would fit the bill.
I had ayran, the Missus had tea, and we settled at the outside table. It was a nice place to people watch as we shared some baklava.
Meanwhile, a gentleman with a handsome dog walked down the steps. He left the dog there while he went to get his hair cut next door. I guess the pooch is pretty well known. The owner of the shop put a napkin in front of him and placed a piece of baklava on it.
I guess it's good being king, or at least a prince. He was so well behaved and waited patiently for his owner. Meanwhile, across the street we saw a beautiful golden retriever, so proud and happy....suddenly stop, turn around, and try to drag his owner in the opposite direction. We wondered what caused this...then we noticed that the dog had stopped a two doors down from a Vet! Of course it was to no avail as the owner tugged his suddenly unhappy dog into the Vet.
One more interesting thing........
This gentleman was the shoe guy right in front of the snack shop. One of my shoes was starting to come apart at the sole. We got him to fix my shoe, which lasted until we got back home!
It's easy to fall into the flow here, but it was back to Istanbul in the morning. We did have a relaxing two days, though.....
One last thing. For some reason, I just loved this sign.......
After a wonderful time in Chania, passing through Athens, we knew we were in the home stretch of our trip. When doing a bit of research for a side trip before returning to Istanbul, I decided on Antalya. With a population of over a million, it's a very popular resort destination on Turkey's Mediterranean shoreline. I really didn't quite know what to expect and made arrangements to stay in the town's "Old City", also known as Kaleiçi. What was really interesting was after landing we found the shuttle bus stop. No one spoke English, so I just went with "Kaleiçi?", to which one of the gentleman waved me to the front passenger seat. We were driven to the middle of the city, where the driver came out and hailed a cab for us. We then took the cab into the gated Old Town. Entrance and exit is monitored....
The place I picked was the Villa Verde Cafe and Pension and we weren't disappointed. Our room looked very neat and tastefully decorated....probably because half of the couple, Misuyo Kimura Kocaman is from Japan! Yes, here in Antalya, wouldn't you know I'd run into someone from Japan. Apparently Ali Kocaman met his wife while living in Japan and I guess the rest is history.
I wish I took more photos of the grounds, there were lots to see...parts of the ancient plumbing system and such. Ali told me it took years to get approval to build the hotel. Because of the historic nature of the property they had to hire archaeologists to see what needed to be preserved and how things could be built.
Lest you doubt me, here's the view from the window in our room:
Now I don't know about you, but I thought having ruins of a Mosque that dates back to the 2nd century A.D. right out your window sure does add an exotic vibe to your stay......
We actually took a walk around the Kaleiçi, which was small, but full of character and ended up eating lunch at a very forgettable fast-foodish joint on the busy Ataturk Caddesi. When dinner arrived I was starved and I asked Ali for a recommendation. He called a cab, told me this was the place that he takes guests too. Apparently, Guneyliler has two locations. One is fairly close by, but the one we were cabbing to was far better. The restaurant was located in a huge and fairly intimidating building.
The place was packed, maybe 2-300 people, mostly large families were chowing down on what looked like copious amounts of food! Being only two in number, we were guided to a small table in the corner by the salad station.......
Before we even ordered, stuff started arriving.......
I have no idea what this is called...be it a borek, dolmasi, or what. The exterior had the flavor of perhaps ground lentils with a bit of kick. I quickly noticed that food in Antalya had a bit more spice to it....which made it right down my alley. It was filled with a meat mixture...very nice.
Of course there was Coban Salatasi, Shephard's Salad a standard.
We placed our order and even more stuff started coming......
The procession didn't stop until the long plank with a huge lavas was delivered to our table.....
Man, if ths was the salad and bread, I didn't think I'd survive dinner!
Compared to how things started, the rest of our dinner was pretty anti-climatic. I ended up ordering the Karisik Izgara, which if you've read any of my posts on Sultan, you'd know was a mixed grill.
I don't know how I managed to finish everything.....
The Missus had the Patlican Kebab.
The ayran was light and fluffy.
I don't recall the exact price, but I remember it being very affordable.
We were sitting next to the salad station and the guy behind the counter was hilarious, giving us a big smile and a thumbs up when we sat. Before we left, he told us, "we famous chef, you take picture!" So of course I did. Man, what a hoot! And that was only part of the story for the evening.
After leaving the restaurant, we decided to walk around a bit. We would need a taxi back to the hotel and noticed what looked like a busy street a couple of blocks down. We walked past a snack shop and the Missus got some Turkish ice cream.
We walked to the main street and found a taxi parked alongside the road. The cab driver was a very stately, dignified gentleman. When we handed him the hotel's business card, he put his reading glasses on and still couldn't read the print. So he gave us a hand signal to wait and called someone. A couple of minutes later a young man in his late twenties appeared....the man's son. He told us his father didn't speak hardly any English and his eyes were so bad he couldn't read the business card. He told his dad our destination and we walked to the very nice, almost new looking taxi. And here the fun started. We noticed that the cab was pretty gaudily decorated, pom poms hanging from the roof, a model yellow cab mounted on the dashboard, little twinkly lights blinking on the roof. The man turned to us, pointed around the cab and said, "my son....my son!" I'm guessing his son had decorated the flying carpetcab. As we started driving away, the gentleman turned to me and asked, "mooo-zik?" Then pushed a button on the stereo...and holy crap, the cab had some major sub-woofers! A loud techno song started up BOOM BOOM, "do you like sexy?" BOOM BOOM "I'm so sexy?" BOOM BOOM.....the Missus was cracking up! The guy turned to me and asked, "you like?" I mean really, what could I say. Just then I noticed that he was driving like a bat out of hell, maybe about 60 miles per hour, on a surface street! So here we were, flying down the street in Antalya, Turkey, in a taxi driven by an middle aged gentleman whose vision was so bad he couldn't read the address on the hotel's business card with techno pop blasting away......it doesn't get much better than that!
Man, we were so stuffed and slept soundly. In fact, the Missus didn't want to get up and wasn't particularly hungry. So I went downstairs to breakfast.
Now remember, this is Turkey....they don't mess around with the carbs with breakfast. Remember, this was all just for me.
The Cigara Boregi were pretty good......
Then they asked me how I wanted my eggs! Yikes.....
I took some tea up for the Missus who was still full from dinner.
Of course I opened the window and took a look at the ruins right outside our window. For some reason I found it to be so, well, cool.
I usually don't plug places; but with Madonna Suites in Chania and Villa Verde, we hit on two winners. Here's Villa Verde's website (The Japanese version). You can see some better photos of the grounds.