It’s not officially spring in Turkey until the tulips start to bloom… and of course, in Istanbul, this means the beginning of the annual Tulip Festival. Many people associate tulips with the Dutch, but they were actually exported there from Turkey during the time of the Ottoman Empire. You can see tulips on pottery and textile design going back centuries and you may even recognize the shape from the many tulip-shaped glasses of cay (tea) you’ll consume when you visit Turkey. Each year in Istanbul, millions of bulbs in over 160 varieties of tulips are planted in parks around the city to celebrate the beginning of spring. The most famous of these is in Emirgan Park, up the Bosphorus:
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Istanbul Tulip Festival 2017
April 1-30, 2017
More information on the city’s Tulip Festival Website – if you can’t read the Turkish, you can simply admire the beautiful photos!
To get to Emirgan Park, you can easily catch a bus along the sea road from Besiktas or Taksim, or take the metro to 4. Levent and catch a bus from there. There’s also a ferry to and from Istinye, within walking distance of the park. If the times fit with your schedule, you can use this to avoid getting stuck in Istanbul traffic and to get a mini Bosphorus cruise at the same time!
The event is free and open to the public. I’d recommend packing along a little snack or purchasing one from vendors near the park and enjoying a picnic with a view of the grounds and the Bosphorus. If you’re there at sunset, there are also beautiful views of the bridges lit up near the water.
If Emirgan is too far (though it’s worth the trip!) you can also check out the tulips in parks like Gulhane Park just outside of Topkapi Palace. For the past few years, they’ve also put up the world’s largest carpet of tulips in Sultanahmet just outside the entrance to the Hagia Sofia. There’s a viewing platform for getting your best photos and admiring the beautiful design:
Disclosure: My cooking class was provided courtesy of Uncorked Cooking Workshop, however I was not otherwise compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.
Ceviche. Oh, my love for ceviche knows no bounds.
It’s one of the dishes that I’ve tried up and down the continent of South America and have pretty much loved in all its variations – although some more than others. After having an ungodly amount of ceviche in Lima, I gave it a rest for a bit as I headed back up into the mountains of Peru and Bolivia.
So I was thrilled when I saw that ceviche was one of the dishes we would be making in my class with Uncorked Cooking Workshop! Just reading the menu made me salivate for the sour-citrusy seafood goodness. (Say that ten times fast!) Continue reading →
This month’s Honolulu Magazine is probably one of my favorite issues, ever. I have subscribed to the magazine for years because I love the historical portraits of Honolulu over time, unique perspectives on people and places that make our city so diverse, as well as some of the Honolulu’s best food writing. This month’s issue features a fantastic article with the “100 Best Dishes & Drinks in Hawaii” and it’s become my newest obsession.
I’m well aware that my love for lists can be a bit extreme at times. Last year I decided to read 52 books in 52 weeks in 2012. A few years ago, I had my 30 Before 30 list and came up a couple short. Lately I’ve been making dinner-time decisions only after consulting The List. It’s kind of addicting.
If you want to play along, you can see the whole list by category here, or download a printable pdf so you can check them off as you go. (I have it taped to my fridge at home!)
How many on the list have you tried? As of today, I’ve had 20 out of 100!
Despite the crowds, ridiculous parking fee, and the fact that I spend more than I budget every time, I love the Made in Hawaii Festival and I continue to go every year. It’s a chance to support local small businesses and to see what’s new from around the state. This year there were more vendors from the outer islands (especially Maui) and it’s great to see their products showcased here on Oahu.
Here’s a look at some of my favorites from this year’s Made in Hawaii:
Adoboloco is my latest hot sauce obsession. I have every hot sauce they've ever made, including the very limited edition Habanero Pineapple which is made with 100% local ingredients and which you can ONLY get at the Made in Hawaii Festival this weekend. Prices range from $8 - $10 per bottle.
>> Click “next” above for the rest of the slideshow
Admittedly, I did not have time (in the 3 hours I spent there) to visit every single booth, so I’m sure I missed some gems. However, I think I did well by my “greatest hits” and got to try some new things as well. Not pictured above, but worth a visit are: [Ki-ele] jewelry in booth 237, Maui Preserved (I missed this one, shucks!) in booth 538.
Tips for your visit to the Made in Hawaii Festival
Parking at the Blaisdell costs $7. Carpool with friends or allow yourself extra time to walk a little bit to find street parking around Thomas Square or down towards Kapiolani Boulevard.
Admission is $4 per person (kids 6 and under are free) and you can save $1 off if you snag a coupon from a First Hawaiian Bank branch.
The festival is HUGE! Don’t miss both sides – the Exhibit Hall is the largest, but there are also lots of booths in the Arena. If you have limited time, check out the list of vendors and their locations in the official program.
Food demos and entertainment happen throughout the weekend! Check out bands like Kapena, commedian Frank Delima, and chefs from Cactus, Tiki’s, Chai’s, and more. The program lists all the entertainment & demos.
Bring cash. Although many vendors now accept credit cards, there are some which are cash only. The ATMs at the Blaisdell charge a fee.
Go early & be patient. It gets really crowded at the festival, try to go as early as you can – 10am is less crowded than mid-day. Some vendors also sell out – Kanemitsu Bakery from Molokai did not even last the whole first day!
Made in Hawaii Festival 2013
Neil Blaisdell Arena & Exhibition Hall
Dates: Friday 8/16 – Sunday 8/18
Hours: Friday & Saturday 10am – 9pm, Sunday 10am – 5pm
Cost: $4 per person, $7 parking
>> This is just one of the awesome events happening in Honolulu during August 2013. Be sure to keep an eye on our foodie calendar for other great events year-round.