Alma – Cartagena, Colombia

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Alma_CTG_003trio of ceviches (octopus and shrimp, tilapia Peruvian style and tilapia with rocotto)

Alma

(57) 5 681 0050
Calle de la Universidad, # 36-94
Cartagena, Colombia

www.almacartagena.com

Located in Hotel Casa Sana Agustin, a beautiful colonial house turned hotel, on one of the prettiest street corners in the old city; Alma’s speaks to the true colonial past of this wonderful city.

The menu shares many favorite Peruvian classics, with a mild influence of Colombian & Asian cuisines.  Peruvian cuisine is quite in vogue throughout Colombia, thankfully.

The restaurant is open pretty much all the time, features courtyard dining and a lovely bar that opens during the evenings.  Add in excellent service, cool AirCon and good wifi speed, and Alma quickly becomes the place to hide during the heat of the day.  A great place  to have a good coffee, bite of lunch and get some work  done while visiting Cartagena.

Alma_CTG_006Aji Miso marinated Chilean sea bass, grilled sweet chili shrimp, seaweed, and coconut miso sauce

 Alma_CTG_004Salmon tiradito with pink peppercorns, scallions, sea salt and Spanish olive oil

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Asian tuna tar-tar tossed with ginger, onions and soy sauce served with avocado mash, papaya mole and yucca chips

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Corabastos – Bogota, Colombia

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Corabastos

(57) 1 453 7188 Av. Carrera 80 No. 2 – 51 Bogota, Colombia www.corabastos.com.co

OPEN HOURS: 4:00 – 12:00 Daily

The largest vegetable, fruit, cereals and grain supply market in Colombia, and the largest we have visited in the world. 420,000 square meters  with 57 warehouses and 6,500 vendors. A daily movement of 12.400 tonnes of produce.  Visiting Corabastos makes you ask how there could possibly be a hungry person in this world.  There is SO MUCH FOOD!

If you can, the best time to go is about 7:00am.  Corabastos is not tourist friendly, so never go alone.  Also keep in mind to dress down so as not to attract attention from the occasional pick pocketer; keep your wallet in safe place and hide your camera when not shooting.

If you actually intend on buying food, remember this is a whole sale market.  The smallest amounts sold are individual crates or boxes.  You can hire a porter for a few thousand pesos to walk with you and bring your boxes along for the journey.

If you are a serious market-eer, then it is well worth the trip.  The sheer scale and smell is something we have see nowhere else.  Try imagining 30m x 50m of nothing but carrots 3m high!  Corebastos is on the edges of Bogota, about a one hour plus drive from central areas.

(untitled) (above photo © Victoria Holguin)  to be approved

(untitled)(above photo © Victoria Holguin)  to be approved
(untitled)(above photo © Victoria Holguin)  to be approved
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Çiya – Istmbul, Turkey

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Çiya Restaurant

(90)  216 30-3190
Caferaga Mah. Güneslibahce Sk. 48/B  –
Kadiköy, Istmbul, Turkey

www.ciya.com.tr

OPEN HOURS:
11:00am  10:00 pm – daily

Located in Kadiköy, on the Asian side of the Bospherous, Çiya is not an obvious place, but is quite renowned.  We had the luck of chatting with Yonca Erol manager of the Sekerci (Confectioner) Cafer Erol and after exchanging passionate  stories of food, she literally held our hand and walked us up the hill, via narrow streets, all the way to Ciya.  There, she introduced as vegetarians to Zeynep Çaliskan (part owner and wife of Musa Dağdeviren) and ordered for us.  The exquisiteness and the flavours and freshness of every ingredient were astounding throughout our entire meal.

Opening in 1987, the excllelence quickly expanded.  There are now 3 of thier restaurants on the same road –   Ciya Sofrasi, Ciya Kebap & Ciya Kebab II (where you can get about 40 different kabob flavours!)

Chef/ proprietor Musa Dağdeviren has amazing knowledge in the various traditions of Anatolian, Ottoman, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Turkish, Seldjukian, Armenian, Ottoman, Syrian, and Jewish foods.  He has lectured at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, California and written articles in about by every major food publication – worldwide.

Fortunately for many of us chef Musa and his lovely wife Zeynep Çaliskan have decided to share with the world the results of his extensive research in the culinary traditions of this vast region.  This is distilled into a seasonal publication called Yemek ve Kültür (Food and Culture) The Magazine is beautifully designed with traditional folkloric illustrations

Highlights for us included:

  • Eggplant and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses
  • Cheese and spiced apricot phyllo ‘cigars’
  • Stuffed dried eggplant
  • Carrot and pistachio fritters with chili yoghurt sauce
  • Oregano Thyme tea – as a digestif;
  • grape extract
  • “lahmacuns” – a kind of thin-crust pizza baked with mince, onions and tomatoes
Ciya_016lavaş bread
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Buda (wheat meze),  Sikma Kofte  (bulgur onion and yogurt dip)
Ciya_021Sikma Kofte  (bulgur onion and yogurt dip), Seaweed, Mahammara (red peppers and walnuts dip), Moa Mara (curry pasta),  Risvat otu yogurt bulgur soup
Ciya_017Nebrus (keme mushroom kebab),  Zaffron cheese, Sibma kefta (bulgur balls)
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Ciya_024Black mulberry extract
green elixir of mint, apple & parsley
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above from left Zeynep Çaliskan & Yonca Erol from Cafér Erol
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Yemekve Kültür

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