Category Archives: Food

Growth, travel and pizza

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I have a friend who is known in her circle of friends as the ‘Pizza Expert’. She leads tours of ‘the best pizza’ in Brooklyn, runs races where the prize is a slice, sports a pizza costume on Halloween and has now developed a ‘pizza crawl’ around New York City. I have a feeling she’d ditch me as a friend if I admitted to not absolutely loving traditional pizza – well, now it’s out there. I know, I know – how can I be from New York and not love pizza? For that, I don’t have an answer, but I can tell you I married a guy who feels the same. And yet, over our own homemade ‘pizza’ dinner the other night, somehow we wound up comparing pizza to travel. Some things rarely make sense.

Cheesy Flatbread from Food Network's® The Neeleys - thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com Read the rest of this entry

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An Encounter at the Fair

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San Diego County Fair

Remember that time I stood staring at Princess Kay of the Milky Way as her head was carved out of butter? Well, if you don’t, I do. It was my very first visit to the Minnesota State Fair. According to fairgoers, theirs is the fair to end all fairs so, my second fair; the San Diego County Fair had a lot to live up to. Read the rest of this entry

Tales from Tennessee

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the Grand Ole Opry

I’ve wanted to go to Nashville since I met my friend, Naomi, my first week at Brandeis University. Since that first meeting, I’ve visited her four times and have seen a new part of this city and its surroundings each time. This was Mat’s first time in the home of country music and we had a blast! Getting to take in a show where the Grand Ole Opry got its start (at the Ryman Auditorium) was incredible. It was as if we were living a scene out of a movie. The radio announcer for WSM Radio had a podium in the corner of the stage and not only introduced each act, but in between, did the commercials for places such as Cracker Barrel and Dollar General. As he spoke, his voice sounded perfectly built for radio and although it took a minute to realize that we were all now on the radio, it felt as time stood still and the world of television did not yet exist. There was something pretty special about sitting in those pews where so many have sat before us. In this place where newcomers share the same stage with country royalty and fans get up close interactions with their favourite stars or those who will soon become favourites, magic happens. This was an experience in itself. Read the rest of this entry

Remembering a Rosh Hashanah on the Road

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It was a new synagogue, a Rabbi from Brooklyn and people who spoke in various languages that I can remember. It’s friendly faces, foreign tongues, and seats in a separate section high above those below that flash through my memory on this holiday. The challah tasted just as delicious, the greetings were the same and the kindness palpable when we all entered into the New Year together…in Berlin.

At the Berlin Wall-2009

Five years ago, Mathew and I spent Rosh Hashanah in Berlin. It was my first high holiday experience ever spent away from home and the expectations were uncertain. We knew we’d find a way to celebrate, but the outcome was unknown. What transpired is a holiday that won’t soon be forgotten and the feelings of a community with outstretched arms welcoming in weary travelers and locals alike. What we thought would be a ‘Rosh Hashanah in a bag’ travel style celebration became one centered around holiday, a challah hand delivered by a Chabad Rabbi and services in a beautiful temple surrounded by people doing exactly the same thing. Read the rest of this entry

How do you celebrate a milestone?

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anniversary in LB

Traveling always feels like a gift to me. Whether it’s a road trip for the day or a month long journey, I feel lucky to be able to experience. Sometimes it’s as simple as a morning brunch out locally when typically we make breakfast at home. Other times it’s watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat after trekking to Cambodia for that remarkable moment. Either way, it’s a celebration of the everyday in a new and defining way.

toes in the sand

I think I’ve mentioned it before; I’m turning forty in a few weeks. It’s fairly mind-blowing to think I’ve been on the planet that long and have friends for more than half my life. When my husband asked what I wanted for my birthday, it wasn’t a difficult answer and he knew it before I even opened my mouth. An adventure and time were all I asked for. I know, sounds strange to some as many are interested in material objects or sparkly things, but for me, travel has always been the vice and the gift all rolled into one. I have many friends who experienced this same milestone either a few years prior to me or earlier this year. It’s interesting to see who wanted to delete their birthday from all forms of social media and who wanted to shout it from the rooftops at a gala event filled with people or anything in between. I wonder, do our wishes change as we age? Are there more people who look for experience than things as the years tick by or does it still depend on the person? How do you celebrate? Read the rest of this entry

Home for the Holidays

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Celebrating Passover

Celebrating Passover

Most of the time (in our dating/married life together), we’ve been away from New York for the Passover holiday, but this one is different. Last year, I purchased my matzoh at a Chabad house on Kaosarn Road in Bangkok, Thailand and on the first night, delivered a box to a friend who had recently moved overseas. Nothing on a grand scale, but a gesture that meant just as much. Most of our Passover holiday 2013 was spent in India trying to dodge the most delicious smelling naan until the end of the holiday when I happily dove in to my fair share of tasty bread products. There have been years spent lugging half broken matzoh pieces through the airport to eat with delicious Dulce de Leche on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, or layering with our trusty travel squeeze bottle of Vegemite in Hong Kong. I’ve schlepped homemade mondelbread through countless customs check points and hoped that the chocolate covered matzoh wouldn’t melt in my backpack. We’ve done our best to make the travel version of religious/national holiday celebrations work for us to be able to have them both in our lives. Read the rest of this entry

60 Hours in Istanbul

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60 Hours in Istanbul: Where Worlds Meet

Welcome to Istanbul!

Welcome to Istanbul!

Mat and I shared the air with Istanbul, Turkey for two days last April (his 2nd visit to the city, and my 1st). Divided by the Bosphorus River, Asia sits on one side and Europe on the other. This truly is the center of the world. Turkish Airlines carried us to and from this beautiful land of intriguing individuals, colourful carpets and flavourful foods to feed your soul. Take a journey with us to Istanbul.

Efes beer in istanbul

Efes beer in istanbul

Our Visit Begins

We purchase our visas (at the airport) and for the first time in our traveling life together, an Aussie visa actually costs more than one on an American passport ($65 US for his and $20 US for mine). The faces may change, the religious dress varies and the uniform of those behind the counter is different but the pound of the stamp hitting the ink-pad and then your passport is a welcome sound that never gets old! Read the rest of this entry

A Night at the Market

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The infectious aromas hit you a block away and pull you towards the Queen Victoria market. By 5pm on any summer Wednesday night in Melbourne, magical scents fill the air and music dances through the evening sky. Sizzle. Pop. Whoosh. Sounds of chefs flipping, searing & cooking their delicious gifts flood the food section of the Vic Market.

Closed during the day, the Wednesday Night Market explodes with crowds waiting to feast on various cuisines. Hundreds of white plastic tables and chairs line the wide aisles. People eat sitting, standing or perched on whatever they can find devouring colorful & decadent plates. Variety is afoot every which way you turn.

Just one of the hundreds of yummy choices

Just one of the hundreds of yummy choices

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10 Things to love about Melbourne, Australia

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Melbourne holds a very special place in my heart. My husband is from this city and has introduced me to its magic. We visit when we can and were lucky enough to spend seven months there on an around the world honeymoon after we got married. This is a special city. Known for café culture, love of sport and four seasons in a day; Melbourne is a home to us both. Friends and family keep us posted on new places to see when we return for a visit and we relish time we can spend at our favorite haunts. Whatever you fancy, you can find it here. Beaches, cricket, diverse cuisine, arts, chocolate, festivals and coffee, are available and have a special feel, in Melbourne.

Deliciousness at The Lindt Cafe

Deliciousness at The Lindt Cafe

1.Food: Healthy food chains, ethnic cuisine, culinary masterpieces, or a quick stop at a night market stall-all are part of the food culture. My favourite veggie burger of all time is from Grill’d, an Australian healthy burger chain. Chocolatiers stun the senses with their outrageous triumphs (Lindt Cafe). Night markets, noodle markets, tapas bars, Chinatown, food trucks and pop up cafes enchant a plethora of taste buds in all parts of the city. There’s food from every region & desserts that leave you wanting more. From food courts to sushi rolls and Michelin stars to market stalls Melbourne’s culinary flair delights. Read the rest of this entry

Aloo everything…What we ate in northern India

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As a vegetarian-I was in food heaven in India. Every place we visited had an entire menu of options for me. Spices were exotic, aromas filled the air and street food was ever present. Breads, potatoes, small and large dishes and snack foods one more delicious than the next met us in each destination and at every turn. Here’s just some of our culinary knowledge we picked up and a few samples of what we ate (both vegetarian and carnivore friendly).

Cooking Class: Trying my hand at poori making

Cooking Class: Trying my hand at poori making

Culinary Knowledge

Masala means mixture
Jeera=cumin
Dhaniya=coriander
Aloo=potato
Ghobi=cauliflower
Chola=chickpea Read the rest of this entry