Thursday, November 4, 2010


Uygur - Piker Tradition No. 1 in LA

We are taking advantage of the teachers' conference in New Jersey; we came to Los Angeles to visit some colleges for Murat and to spend some time with my precious nephew, Prometheus.  This is the first time my husband is coming to the west coast so I want to make sure we show him a good time as well.

We started out our first day with our traditional breakfast at Mel's Diner on Sunset.  This was the first place, my brother, Cenk, took us to when we visited him here many years ago and it has been Murat's favorite ever since; he especially loves their Oreo Milkshakes - I can't blame him, they are definitely out of this world.

I think this is one of the best places to start a trip to LA; it looks like a typical scene straight out of something that you see on the screen of people discussing new projects and making lists on paper napkins as they have breakfast in sixties type of booths while a waitress pours them coffee.  The oddly familiar look of the buildings is something that hits you as soon as you start to drive around LA.  Cenk tells me this is due to the fact that so many movies have been shot here... makes sense, since all they would have to do would be to just walk out into the street.

Our breakfast was good... and we were ready to hit the road to Pomona, to look at our first school Cal Poly Pomona...

Mel's Drive-In
8585 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90069-2329
(310) 854-7200

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


My morning's excursion was to Gundogan today.  It took me about half an hour to get there.  I parked my car outside a government building by the water and started to walk the promenade.  There were a couple of souvenir stands behind the public beach; I noticed a necklace I liked in the first one that was open and struck up a conversation with the lovely lady behind the counter, Neriman Hanim.  I found out that they had moved to Bodrum back in 1996 and were very happy living here.  I am always asking the locals I meet about life in the winter months here, trying to gauge if my husband and I could do it.  For the first time, the insight I got from Neriman Hanim, left me with a positive image.  Both husband and wife seemed very healthy and content with their lives.  We parted wishing each other good luck and I headed for the cafe they recommended to have my tea.   

The Gundogan Bay has a relatively small shoreline with some very charming private homes amongst all the little hotels.

The biggest area right in the middle is a free, public beach.  Two hours and three glasses of tea later, I just had to go and take a dip in the water that had been beckoning me the whole time.  It was amazing.  After my swim, I just pulled on my jumpsuit, walked back to my car and drove home.  I could really get used to this lifestyle.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sitting on Top of the World - Geris Village

I have a special fondness for views and certain panoramas inspire me to write, paint, meditate or drink...  The prospect from Panorama Pasanda Restaurant at the peak of Geris village, is one of those that begs for an indulgence. Last year, my sister-in-law implored us to go see the sunset and the moon rise simultaneously, over Yalikavak.  There was a storm  and it was impossible to sit outside so we dined on the upper floor of the building along with another group - their only other customers.  The view was so memorable that I don't even recall what I had to eat.  Mehmet promised to bring me back here under better weather conditions and tonight he made good on that promise.

Reaching the restaurant is half the fun.  When you see a sign that reads 'Geris', on the road leading to Gumusluk out of Yalikavak, you take a left to wind up a steep hill with hairpin turns.  At the top, you reach a picturesque village that feels like a page out of a story book; I was told most of its new inhabitants are artists, this is easy to believe.  I think this place would inspire even the most pragmatic individual.  The photographs I took were by no means an attempt at being artistic but just an outcome of my circumstances, my husband does not like to stop until we get to our final destination.

This is the grocery store at the village square where we asked for directions. When I wanted to take a picture, the owner, apologetically mentioned that it was more beautiful two weeks ago. I think this must be the most beautiful 'Bakkal' (Grocery Store) I have ever seen. The restaurant turned out to be right around the corner, a little further up the hill.

We got there just when dusk was settling in and the whole landscape was beginning to be engulfed in a purplish red tint.  In our front row seats for this spectacle, we were like perched eagles overlooking the valley.

The mezes we had were all prepared perfectly, the service very good, the view magnificent - I can't wait to go back.  This place is a must for anyone visiting the area.

Website (In Turkish)
Eski Okul Sokak No. 80
Geris Koyu (Village)
Yalikavak - Bodrum
Tel: 0252 385 3473
       0532 235 0515

If you want to see for yourself what is in store for you, check out the Panorama view from the restaurant's website

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gebora Restaurant

Gebora Balik (Fish) Restaurant 
Ortakent Yahsi Yalisi
Tel: 0252 348 33 40

This is a very typical restaurant if you are in the neighborhood (Ortakent or Yahsi) and want to eat the usual mezes that can be found in most fish restaurants in Turkey.  We had heard about it from a couple of different sources and decided to give it a try since we live 5 minutes from it.  We called to make reservations and got directions to the parking lot.  Even with directions, the back streets were a maze and we had to call the restaurant again to be guided all the way.  The parking lot looked like it actually belonged to the motel in the back but we were able to locate a valet to park our car.  You walk in through somebody's garden and I started to talk to the smiling lady watering her newly planted flowers while waiting for my husband.  It turns out, she was the owner/chef of this family run establishment and in fact this was her house and her garden.  I found it charming to be personally passing through their life to enter their establishment.

Gebora (which is how people from Bodrum say 'Gel Buraya' which means 'come here' in Turkish) has been in business for 24 years and has gotten excellent reviews.  It is one of the line of restaurants that has tables set on the sand, next to the water, all along the Ortakent- Yahsi main pedestrian street (similar to a boardwalk but without the boards).  I wasn't impressed with the service - my husband had to go back and give the order at the entrance where they have all the meze set up in a refrigerator - this actually might be the best idea since you get to point out what you want.  The food was good quality but nothing imaginative or out of the ordinary.    We had the usual mezes that we always have everywhere - fava (broadbean paste), kopoglu mancasi (fried eggplants, potatoes, peppers and tomatoes mixed with garlic yogurt), deniz borulcesi (blackeyed-peas from the sea) ahtapot salata (octopus salad) and a freshly prepared salad.  My husband and I both agreed that we probably wouldn't go back but we have so many other alternatives of this kind even in Istanbul.