All posts filed under: Food

Ancient History at Your Fingertips ~ Sunday

Nearby to the Ancient Greek Agora you can find Hadrian’s Library and The Roman Agora. The Roman Agora is far less impressive than the Greek version, but of course as a tourist, one must visit everything. This Agora was built in the 1st century by Julius Caesar and Augustus, and has a more spectacular building still intact; the Tower of Winds, the structure featuring a combination of sundials, a water clock, and a wind vane. And at the entrance of the Agora still stands The Gate of Athena Archegetis. After much sightseeing, we were starved, heading toward the neighbourhood of Plaka once again to visit another local-recommended cafe/restaurant “Yiasemi”. Located on the famous steps of Plaka, Yiasemi is tucked in at the side between some other restaurants in the area. Upon entry, there are narrow concrete steps that lead to ledges you can perch on to eat, or further bar stools and ledges or regular tables and chairs. The ceiling rose high above and the walls were covered in the most beautiful array of vibrant green plants. Through different …

First Aid Mondays

Monday became a day of recovery from a little too much wine at Cinque, slowly meandering through the centre of the city, having seen nearly all the ruins and now in need of souvenirs (and rest). To nurse our hangovers, we discovered Klimataria, a tiny tucked away authentic Greek restaurant, dishing up homey Greek dishes with generous portions. It’s located in a kind of random part of the city, not next to the usual tourist restaurants in Monastiraki. If you get lost, look for the shrubs and leaves sticking out of the building and the vibrant yellow interior glowing from the inside. On the menu for us was an uplifting and delicately delicious pan of scrambled eggs with mixed veggies, like tomatoes, peppers and even some shards of bacon (not a vegetable, I know). To follow, I had a dish with Aubergine “cream” (silky, creamy pureed aubergine) with tender chunks of beef in a rich tomato sauce. The view from our Airbnb. Fresh sesame bread popularly sold on the streets of Greece. For souvenirs the …

A Slice of Pie & History ~ Sunday

This morning we hit up a renown local cafe in the city, it having been around since 1931 as a family business. It began by distributing milk and later producing puddings, creams, yoghurts, butter honey and pan pastries, all made according to traditional recipes of course. They also make sure to carefully source their ingredients from select producers in Greece, making the food is more delicious than it already is. Hidden under vines and leaves that ripple across and over two buildings on wooden structures, cafe furniture is spread out in front of the cafe, illuminated by warm yellow lights inside and green neon in-front boasting its name “Stani”. We had to try multiple things, of course, ordering the famous traditional sheep milk yoghurt served with thick fresh honey and crunchy walnuts, a filo cream-pie and famous Greek cheese-pie, with hot coffee on the side to wash it all down with. The yoghurt was exquisite; delightfully creamy and sour with a traditional “crust” atop, the sweetness of the honey cutting through the sharpness of the …

An Athenian’s Agenda ~ Part 1

Awaking in our beautiful Airbnb was bliss, hazily pouring fresh filter coffee into mugs, sitting on the balcony and nibbling and orange-scented butter cookies (it was all we could find in the cupboards, but by God they were tasty). Rather last minute, we planned out our day, attempting to visit most of the historical sights in the city, but leisurely – we had four days in the city and so more than enough time to explore without excess stress. We stepped out, armed with sun cream and bug repellent (I had been bitten at least thrice since stepping out of the metro), into Kaisarini and walked through the streets lined with orange trees, up and down hills packed with tall apartment blocks, all quite uniform in style and colour. We were en-route to locate the Panathenaic Stadium when we stumbled across a baklava bakery – it could have been a scene from a movie; our heads turned in sync at the shop-front window, lined with shelves adorned with trays of oozing slices of baklava. No …

The Last Supper

My last few hours in Budapest were spent drinking coffee, eating tasty cakes and taking in my last moments of the wonderful city. On a seeming coffee-holiday, Madal cafe was next on the list. A more modern cafe, tall and spacious on the inside with a meditative quality to the decor and atmosphere, you can find excellent coffee, cakes and food at a reasonable cost. And you find yourself longer in Budapest, they cater to your coffee bean and equipment needs too.  To send me home, we had a mini-feast – not unlike what we had been doing basically the whole trip anyway; cheesecake definitely on par with one from Steamhouse Cafe, lemon and poppy seed loaf, a random wrap, and double shot lattes, served beautifully on a custom Madal wooden board – coffee definitely served in style. If time wasn’t against us, Madal was definitely a great chill-out spot, one where you could chit chat, whip out your mac or cosy up with a book. Snow began to fall en-route to the airport, my …

Artistic Enlightenment (Shortly Followed by Cake)

Long needed were those mornings where, upon awakening, the glorious sensation hits that you have absolutely nothing to do whatsoever. So used to rude awakenings by a shrill 7am alarm and mounds of tasks to accomplish, these few mornings had been the biggest gift. A sleepy trip to Great Market Hall was needed, however, to pick up an assortment of compulsory holiday gifts.  Tiny bags of paprika (interestingly translated from Hungarian to “red gold”) were mandatory of course, complete with tiny hand-carved wooden spoons, traditional candies, marzipan chocolates and tiny bottles of palinka – one way of getting around the 100ml liquid restriction on flights. I lazily strolled around the great hall, walking up and downstairs in search for more surprises (and a steaming cup of coffee). I braved my way back into the crispy morning air to navigate around Vaci street to find some breakfast, stumbling on Mantra Specialty Coffee Minibar on narrow side road, snugly hid amidst larger shops and apartments – mini was definitely the word for it. Inside, you hang your …

Fourth Day, Part 2 ~ Hungarian Castles & Street Food

The magic of the New York Cafe remained as we jumped on a bus and travelled to Budapest’s Castle District across the river. Also known as the Castle Quarter, this area is a 1km long limestone plateau towering over the Danube river and is home to Budapest’s most precious and important medieval monuments and museums. A sweeping flight of paths and staircases guide you up to the centre of the district, the Royal Palace and the Hungarian National Art Gallery, home to 11th-century and present-day artworks, proudly standing at the forefront. The Royal Palace has been said to of rebuilt at least six times over the past seven centuries, it’s subsequent Kings adding to it each time. At the rear, you can find wide stretches of ruins and the famous Matthias fountain, a romantic-style sculpture presenting the young kind Matthias in his hunting uniform, surrounded by dogs. We strolled slowly through the courtyards and protruding stone terraces, the sky clear and the sun strong and warm, attempting to melt away what was left of the ice. Budapest …

Fourth Day, Part 1 ~ Classy Coffee

Sunday brought about a slow, sunny morning, making stacks of sourdough pancakes topped with local cream, jam and strawberries. Monmouth coffee (imported from London) washed away morning sleep and soothing jazz made for a melancholic soundtrack. Mustering up some energy, we wrapped up warm and stepped out into the cold, heading towards a weekly farmers market at Szimpla Ruin Bar, where we had spent a night out earlier in the week. Every Sunday, from 9am to 2pm, farmers, local producers and makers set up their stalls, lined with fresh produce for punters; cured meats pile high in wicker baskets and hang off beautifully crafted wooden stands. Fresh cheeses line make-shift chilled counters. Freshly baked bread, cookies and pastries waft welcoming aromas across the bar. Homemade jams, chilli sauces, mustards and vegan “living” flatbreads awaiting to be sampled, most of which surprisingly sugar-free and organic. No doubt, in my bag quickly arrived a plum, rum and walnut jam, made with xylitol, alongside a fiery, home-cooked chilli sauce, extremely delicious mustard and a link of cured deer …

Adventures in Food and Architecture

Fog continued to lie heavily across the city this chilly Saturday morning. Hopping off the bus to the city centre, we walked to Budapest’s bustling Great Market Hall after admiring the thick fog across the river, Gellért Hotel peeking out wearily across the Danube. Inside, the hall was filled with scurrying and wandering locals and tourists, picking out items spanning traditional Hungarian memorabilia to fresh fruits, vegetables, and an array of meats, grizzle and all. The Great Market Hall is the biggest market in the city and was first opened in 1897 where the fresh produce would arrive through a canal that ran through the centre of the hall. Sadly the canal is gone, but the market is still full of a vibrant array of produce available for all. On the bottom floor you’ll find food produce and more edible/drinkable gifts and on the top floor there are a plethora of stalls, serving to your souvenir needs. Alongside these stalls are Hungaricums; if you’re looking for some authentic, although perhaps overpriced, food, head here to …

Second Day, Part 2 ~ Hungry in Hungary

Night fell and after many a photo we descended Gellért Hill and walked North up the Danube towards the famous Hungarian Parliament – and it was more than impressive.  The glowing neo-Gothic building mirrored itself onto the still and serene Danube, rippled only sporadically when a tiny cruise boat crossed its reflection. Only being over 100 years old, the stunning architecture boasts both Renaissance and Baroque features, but it’s sharp peaks and tall thin windows undeniably neo-Gothic in style. Unfortunately, modern air pollution constantly attacks the porous limestone walls, so the building often requires frequent restoration. Hungry, cold and having drunk too much water, we hurried to a famous Hungarian Bistro in Pest. Highly rated and with extremely affordable prices, this place is a must-visit to sample traditional, home-cooked Hungarian dishes. Upon entry, you almost feel as if you were in a friend’s home. The exceptionally friendly staff greet you upon entry and show you to your table, a waitress, who could very well be your best friend, tending to you throughout your time. And on …