Los Angeles Eats // Cafe Gratitude {yummy & vegan!}

I need to go out for lunch more often. I truly LOVE eating out for dinner because a) dinner takes place at the point in the day when I’m feeling laziest and b) I like dressing up for dinner (doesn’t lunch just feel sooo much more casual?). That being said, it IS nice to be out and about when the sun is shining once in a while ;] So a few weeks ago my LA bestie and I decided to have a Sunday work/lunch date at Cafe Gratitude, a yummy vegan cafe where we’d previously had dinner (photos from that below our lunch date!).

Cafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude
Cafe GratitudeThere are few Cafe Gratitude locations throughout Los Angeles, and we went to the Downtown location both times. I haven’t tried the others, but this one is just so bright, white and crisp inside that I can’t really envision myself liking one of the others better haha. If you’re looking for a really pretty lunch location this place kills it…it’s so sunny and full of light! The decor is really pretty and I LOVED the neutral color scheme. It’s really one of those work spots that just puts you in a productive mood.

As I mentioned above, Cafe Gratitude is a plant-based, vegan restaurant where their mission is celebrating aliveness. They serve organic, sustainable, environmentally-friendly foods provided by local farms. Their mission appears at the bottom of their menu (see below), and it really sets the mood for the food you eat there and the vibes of the place reflect it as well.

Cafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude
SO let’s talk about the food. We ordered:

Light latte with almond milk
Fortified bowl Sautéed market autumn vegetables, sprouted probiotic quinoa, topped with garlic tahini
Veggie soup
Tomato soup

…and some white wine later on.

One thing about Cafe Gratitude is all of the menu items have uplifting names, like “Fortified,” “Glorious,” “Celebrating.” When the server brings you your order, they say “you are ____,” filling in the blank with whatever it was you ordered. So for example, when we got to our window-side table and ordered lattes, they were served to us with a “you are Light.” It’s kind of cheesy but it’s also a nice touch that makes you feel good. As far as drinks go, the lattes were creamy and tasted nice, but they didn’t have super fancy latte art :[ Not that big of a deal…I just love latte art.

Cafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude
Cafe GratitudeNow I’m apparently a terrible blogger because I lost track of what soups we got exactly, but I’m pretty sure they were veggie and tomato. However, they offer different soups every day (the menu has “soup of the day” vs any specific type options) so I’m not sure you’d be able to get these exact ones anyway. Regardless, we shared these two cups of soup and they were delicious. Not too heavy, even the creamier one, and well-seasoned without being too salty as soups often are. I was OBSESSED with the bowl that I got…the garlic tahini was bomb and I’m always a sucker for sautéed veg. It was delicious, filling, and healthy, it certainly left me feeling “Fortified.”

My one complaint has to do with the wine. It’s $9/glass which I find exceptionally expensive, and it’s not a hearty glass either…while it isn’t under-filled, I’ve DEFINITELY had $6 glasses with WAY more wine inside before. Which is disappointing, because it was nice sitting next to that bright window working along and transitioning from coffee hour to wine hour (we started before their happy hour started…so sue us). We each got one glass, and would have gotten seconds if it hadn’t been so expensive for so little.

Cafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude

Cafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude
Cafe GratitudeMoving on to the dinner we had here previously. Cafe Gratitude offers a nice happy hour and we treated ourselves to:

Excited mojito spritzers lime, cucumber, muddled mint, sparkling wine
Honoring Mediterranean sampler plate with tomato preserve, zucchini cilantro hummus, hempseed tabbouleh, kalamata olives, and sun-dried tomato flatbread
Gracious summer grain salad with heirloom cherry tomatoes, blue lake green beans, cucumbers, cashew mozzarella, avocado, basil hempseed pesto, wild arugula, Brazil nut parmesan, balsamic reduction, and probiotic sprouted quinoa
Black bean burger patty

We opted to sit on their lovely patio for dinner since it was a warm afternoon and they have a pretty sitting area. We LOVED the spritzers, they were so crisp and refreshing…just perfect for a warm day’s happy hour. The Honoring plate was delicious although the flatbread was kind of chewy/didn’t really have a bread-y consistency. That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy it…it just didn’t really seem like flatbread as we were expecting it to be. Gracious was so so so so so good, it was so fresh and flavorful, and topping it with that black bean patty was a great idea on our part.

Cafe GratitudeCafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude
Cafe GratitudeThe verdict? I love Cafe Gratitude. The servers were a little snobby at some times but not enough to make me want to never come back. The food is just so yummy and it’s healthy, which is nice since often times I feel so full and sluggish after eating out. And maybe this is as weird thing to like about a restaurant, but I liked that the dishes were things I could make at home. Sometimes I do like eating really fancy when I’m at a restaurant but idk…it made the meal feel cozy. Also they have amazing looking vegan desserts…I can’t wait to come back and try them!

Cafe Gratitude Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Do you have a favorite vegan restaurant?

10 Ways to De-Stress During the Holidays

10 Ways to De-Stress During the Holidays

Christmas is two weeks away. TWO WEEKS! Any other major procrastinators out there who are freaking out? I haven’t done any of my shopping yet because I’m in such denial that 2015 is almost over…Christmas can’t be this close, it feels like Christmas 2014 just happened…what is going on?! Anyway this time of the year can be really overwhelming in many ways…Christmas shopping stresses me out (I abhor the crowds at the mall, they’re so suffocating), constant socializing stresses me out (hi, I’m an introvert), and while I love the splendor and decorations, let’s face it, those are stress-inducing too.

That being said, it is extremely important to me that I take some time for MYSELF during the holiday season! These are some of my favorite ways to de-stress during the holidays, and while I put these methods into use all year round too, I tend to find them the most handy in December haha ;]

01. Meditate in the shower.

I used to try to meditate to de-stress, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how I was wasting time meditating. Solution? Meditating IN THE SHOWER. Hot showers are relaxing. Meditating is relaxing. So putting the two together is MAGICAL. Plus I’m taking the time to shower anyway so I eliminate that nagging feeling that I’m wasting time. I like to just focus on what the hot water feels like and breathing in the steam. Even if you can only meditate for a minute or two, it makes you feel worlds better.

02. Paint your nails.

10 Ways to De-Stress During the Holidays

You know those Sally Hansen Insta-Dry colors? Those are perfect for the holidays. Because nothing is more annoying than trying to paint your nails and they’re taking forever to dry and they get weirdly smudged. I paint my nails while I’m doing work at my computer. It only takes a couple minutes, so it gives me a small break from working without making me feel like I’m wasting too much time. It’s just a nice little thing to do for yourself and your nails will continue to be pretty for at least a few days.

03. Do a quick HIIT workout.

Do you have 15 minutes to spare? It feels awesome to do a quick HIIT workout and sweat the stress out. My go-to is setting the treadmill to a 7 minute mile, running for 30 seconds and then hopping off for 30 seconds. Repeat for 15 mins. Even though it’s quick and hardly takes up any time, it feels SO GOOD releasing stress and negativity by kicking ass!

04. Surround yourself with candles.

10 Ways to De-Stress During the Holidays

I don’t mean literally sit in a circle of candles. But when I’m feeling stressed out there’s just something calming about having candles lit around the room. My favorite favorite favorite candle scent for de-stressing and relaxing is lavender, but even unscented candles are soothing with their little flickering flames.

05. Give yourself a 20-minute facial.

I try to do this once a week anyway, but it definitely increases in frequency during stressful times haha. My usual facial routine goes from a hot shower/meditation (see tip 1^), releasing negativity and letting the steam clear my pores. Then I use a milky soft cleanser, a sugar scrub, and some witch hazel before applying a face mask (current favorite: Alba Botanica Deep Sea Facial Mask). I always watch YouTube videos or Hulu or something while it’s on (something relaxing!), and after rinsing it I apply a coconut eye cream and extra virgin coconut oil. If you want it to be extra pamper-y, do a hair mask while you’re face masking hehe.

06. Read some Harry Potter.

10 Ways to De-Stress During the Holidays

Or any book you like. But I love reading random Harry Potter chapters when I’m feeling stressed out because the story is so familiar to me and I have so many good memories and emotions attached to the books. I have the Goblet of Fire with me next to my bed and even if it’s just a few pages at a time, it’s nice to visit Hogwarts when my world is overwhelming. Harry Potter makes my heart smile :]

07. Play Christmas music at top volume.

I do this daily. Not gonna lie.

08. Make yourself a hot drink.

10 Ways to De-Stress During the Holidays

Hot drinks are my FAVORITES for a nice, winter-specific de-stress. They’re just so cozy feeling! Oh and if they’re alcoholic they’re just THAT MORE RELAXING…just saying ;] (I love mulled wine and spiked cider!)

09. Buy yourself a treat or two.

The holidays are all about giving and being thankful, but you shouldn’t forget yourself during this season. Be thankful for you! Some of my favorite little treats for myself include a cake pop from Starbucks, a new scented candle, or a pretty lipstick. Buying yourself something little that won’t break your bank account truly goes a long way as a pick-me-up.

10. Go out to eat with someone you love.

10 Ways to De-Stress During the Holidays

This doesn’t always work for me because when I have a lot on my plate, taking a few hours out of productivity time just makes me anxious. But sometimes completely stepping out of the stress is exactly what I need, especially if I’m making myself feel overwhelmed vs things actually being overwhelming (does anyone else do this? Where you just keep thinking about to do lists over and over and freaking yourself out?). You’ll come back from spending quality time with someone important with your heart a whole lot fuller and your head a whole lot clearer.

So that’s how I handle November-December! Which one are you most excited to try hehe. And what are your favorite ways to de-stress during the holidays? I’d love to get some new ideas :]

Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen

Ilhan and I freaking LOVE RAMEN. We could honestly eat it for dinner every night, but sadly we don’t :[ But even though we can’t indulge every single night, we definitely eat it at least once every few weeks. That being said, we do try to change it up a little and try new ramen joint every time we go out for it…until we found Kopan Ramen in Fullerton, Orange County. We have been back twice since the initial visit! IT IS THAT GOOD.

Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
To start out, we really liked the area where the restaurant is located; it’s on a lovely little street less than a mile off the freeway and the fact that there are other bustling restaurants neighboring it enhances the vibe of the area. Parking has never been a problem for us and the place is easy to find. Stepping inside, it has Japanese-y decor with a modern feel, not kitschy by any means, and there are several large windows letting in plenty of natural light. We also were huge fans of how private the tables felt…even though there wasn’t anything blocking us from the next one, they’re spaced out enough that you aren’t back to back.

So on to the food. We ordered:
Gyoza
Fatty Pork Ramen
Chicken Breast Ramen
Green Tea Ice Cream

Plus 2 Sapporo because they had a special where you can get a $2 beer with a ramen :]

Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
The gyoza was delicious, well-seasoned and not soggy. We ordered them again the next time we went! The only problem was they were served at the same time as the ramen. A pet peeve of mine is when appetizers are brought out at the same time as the main course, especially when you’re eating something carby and get full fast. Ilhan and I kinda struggled to finish all of the gyoza, which was sad because it was yummy :[

But we had to save room for the ramen! YOU GUYS. I constantly think about it to this day. They boil their broth for sixteen hours for richness taste…and it is clearly worth the effort. It was beyond flavorful and I just CAN’T TELL YOU how amazingly creamy the broth was! Packed with flavor, perfectly cloudy and smooth and rich…I died. The noodles were firm (exactly how I like them), the egg was perfect, and the meat in each of our dishes was tender and flavorful. Also we were both really happy with the fact that you could choose a spiciness level (I got level 2, he got level 3).

Even though we were super full of carbs we still wanted to get dessert teehee. The green tea ice cream was delish and refreshing, not too sweet or overwhelming.

Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
Orange County Eats // Kopan Ramen
So the final verdict? One of the best ramen experiences ever and as I said, we’ve been back since then! THE BROTH IS SO CREAMY. My mouth is seriously watering just thinking about it. If you’re in Orange County I highly highly highly recommend stopping by (it’s only fifteen minutes away from Disneyland!)!

Kopan Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Onboard The World’s Longest Gondola Lift

Bursa Gondola Lift

When I was getting ready for our big trip to Turkey, taking a ride on the world’s longest gondola lift definitely wasn’t something I anticipated doing. Not because it wasn’t interesting to me…but because I had no idea such an attraction could be found in Turkey! Who keeps track of where long gondola lifts are located after all haha. Anyway when we got to Bursa and the idea was put forward to take a ride up the mountain, I was definitely all in. I’ve loved gondola lifts since I was little and rode the one at the San Diego Zoo; there’s just something amazing about floating through the air and taking in the sights below you.

Just a bit of information to start out with: Bursa Uludağ Gondola/Bursa Teleferik is a 5.5-miles-long gondola lift that connects the city of Bursa with the ski resort/park at on Uludağ mountain. The journey is 22 minutes long (SUCH a dream for lift lovers like me!) and reaches an elevation of 6,140 feet. And yes, it is the longest gondola lift in the entire world! SO FREAKING AWESOME!

Bursa Gondola LiftBursa Gondola Lift
Bursa Gondola Lift
Bursa Gondola LiftWe decided to take the lift up in the morning and spend the day in the mountains (more on that later…I took over 100 pictures that day aka way too many for one post), and I was really pumped to get out of the city heat. If you didn’t know this about me, Southern California has truly spoiled me with its dry heat so when faced with humidity I have zero tolerance and become the biggest complainer on earth. Anyway :] So we drove to the bottom station and had to do that anxiety-inducing thing when you get onboard gondola lifts…you know when everyone has to get on while it’s still moving because they obviously don’t stop the entire line for each passenger to board? I always get scared I won’t make it or I’ll just barely get on and will drop my purse out the still-open door or something. Anyone else?

Bursa Gondola Lift
Bursa Gondola Lift
Bursa Gondola LiftAmazingly, all six of us got on board without incident (😏) and the journey began. Can I just say it was the most incredible, magical gondola lift I’ve ever been on? 22 minutes of floating above towering, tree-coated mountains as the city fell further and further into the distance. One of the most breathtaking moments was coming up above the clouds, being fully emerged in the mountain air without a human in sight beyond our party. Some moments were truly heart-stopping, the lift being so high above the ground and the mountain below so steep…the feeling is impossible to describe. It’s exhilarating and peaceful at the same time.

Bursa Gondola Lift
Bursa Gondola Lift
Bursa Gondola Lift
Bursa Gondola LiftBesides the beautiful surroundings, the thing that made this trip so unique to me was how incredibly silent the gondola lift was. I’ve never been on one that barely made a sound; usually they make squeaking noises and you can hear yourself moving along the track. Not so on Bursa Teleferik. If we paused our conversation, it was so quiet that we could hear the wind in the trees, the birds chirping. It made me feel like I was truly floating in the air, as if the gondola wasn’t there at all. That feeling was also enhanced by the fact that the side opposite the door was just a big floor-to-ceiling window (see below)…it was easy to imagine we were just in the sky.

Bursa Gondola Lift
Bursa Gondola LiftAt the end of the line, there is a cute little village to explore with shops, food, and a petting zoo. We decided to hike up to the very top of the mountain thinking it would be quick…boy were we wrong. But that’s a story for another post. At the end of the day we ate at one of the places in the village, a picnicky area in the woods. You pick what kind of meat and veg you want at the front and they bring it out to you raw, and each table has its own grill so you can prepare your food to your liking. It was lovely…lots of tourists, lots of cooking, lots of chatter.

Bursa Gondola Lift
Bursa Gondola Lift
Bursa Gondola Lift
Bursa Gondola Lift
Bursa Gondola LiftIf I lived in Bursa I’d for sure make this trip at least once a month, even if I didn’t stop in the village. The gondola lift was one of my favorite experiences of the entire five week trip, it was just so breathtaking and as I said above, I truly felt like I was a part of the sky when we were on it. I wish it was easy to just teleport to that first station to clear my mind whenever I was having a stressful day. The enchanting peacefulness of that 22 minutes trip is one I’ll never forget.

What’s the best gondola lift you’ve ever been on?

5 Things I’m Thankful For This Year

Is anyone else in complete disbelief that Thanksgiving 2015 has already come and gone? Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it’s pretty stress-free compared to Christmas, it comes around in fall (the best season😏), and the dinner is pretty freaking mind-blowing. But other than that, I appreciate the reminder at the end of the year to count my blessings and take note of the things for which I’m most thankful. While I’m obviously thankful for my family, friends, etc…here are some things from 2015 specifically that make me feel especially grateful.

01. I’m thankful for the 13 years I spent with Roxy, our family dog that passed away in June, and that she was surrounded by her whole family when she crossed the rainbow bridge.

02. I’m thankful that we welcomed little Chaya into our family this year. She has gotten SO PLUMP since we got her, lets Nala have first pick of all the treats, and loves sprinting around the living room during floor time.

03. I’m thankful that I got to travel to Turkey and Bulgaria this year and meet most of Ilhan’s extended family. Blogging about the trip has been really slow, but honestly it amazing. The locations themselves were stunning everyone I met was just so lovely.

Bursa, Turkey

04. I’m thankful that Ilhan and I have been able to live together for the first time ever this past year. After dating long distance for six years, it was definitely time for a change and it has been such a breath of fresh air. And we haven’t killed each other yet so that’s a plus! ;]

Los Angeles Blue Sushi

05. And of course I’m thankful to anyone who has taken the time to read my little blog! I’m really grateful for this space and for the connections I’ve made in Blogland. THANK YOU.💗💗💗

What are you thankful for this year?

San Diego Eats // The Naked Cafe

The Naked Cafe San Diego
Discovering a delightful new spot is made better when you find it somewhere unexpected. A few weeks ago, my dear darling Jomana and I were on the hunt for a new breakfast place that wasn’t too unhealthy and stumbled across The Naked Cafe. It’s actually located in an outdoor shopping center in pretty Carlsbad, North County San Diego, with a lovely patio area perfect for people watching. Sadly, you can’t drink alcohol outside since it’s technically the center’s property and not the cafe’s…and we wanted to sample some drinks from their amazing mimosa menu, so we sat inside. Not complaining though…the interior was spacious and the table felt private without being closed in.

The Naked Cafe San Diego
The Naked Cafe San Diego
The Naked Cafe San Diego
The Naked Cafe San Diego
So let’s talk about that amazing mimosa menu. There are five champagne-y options to choose from, including Naked Mimosa (fresh OJ), Mandarin Mimosa (mandarin orange + fresh OJ), Pink Lotus (lemonade + raspberry), Red With Envy (pomegranate + lemonade), and Amen (mandarin orange + grapefruit). While it was nearly impossible to pick, we went for a Pink Lotus and a Red With Envy, both of which were just beyond delicious. Let’s just say we each ended up ordering more than one ;]

As for the food, we were more than pleased. I ordered the Green and Red Pagoda (2 over-east eggs served on rosemary toast with pesto, soy sausage, artichoke hearts & sun-dried tomato topped with avocado and served with mixed baby greens) and Jo got the Artichoke Scramble (eggs scrambled with artichoke hearts, cheese, green onions & tomatoes, served with rosemary potatoes & toast). Just as a note, the eggs on mine are usually over-medium…I just prefer over-easy,with all that yolky goodness on the toast. MMM!

The Naked Cafe San Diego
The Naked Cafe San Diego
The Naked Cafe San Diego
The Naked Cafe San Diego
The Naked Cafe San Diego
I was in love with my breakfast, not gonna lie; over-easy eggs on toast is my favorite breakfast and this was like a deluxe version of it. The toast was first spread with pesto, then the soy sausage patties were put on top, the eggs placed on top of the patties, and the artichoke heart/sun-dried tomato blend on top of the eggs with some avocado slices like garnish. The flavors were AMAZING together, the eggs were cooked perfectly, I was absolutely obsessed with the artichoke/tomato mix, and the side salad was perfectly light to offset the density of the toast. Jo’s breakfast was also fantastic…the potatoes were to DIE for, and I’d never tried scrambled eggs with artichoke hearts before.

I sometimes think about this breakfast and wish I could order it here at home. I would love to go back to try their lunch menu sometime, because I’m sure mimosas go wonderfully with lunch too ;] If you’re looking for a nice breakfast or brunch spot with healthy food and delicious adult drinks, I completely recommend you try The Naked Cafe. Ps Carlsbad is a really lovely part of San Diego, so there are a lot of cute boutiques/beach views nearby if you want to walk off your meal.

What’s your favorite breakfast food?

Naked Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Los Angeles Eats // Blue C Sushi

Los Angeles Blue C Sushi
The more I spend time in Los Angeles, the more I like it. Granted, the majority of the time I’ve spent there has involved indulging in absolutely amazing food…which is enough to have some sway on anyone’s opinion right? ;] One recently discovered spot in LA is Blue C Sushi in Hollywood, where Ilhan and I went on a double date with our bffs a few weekends ago. This sushi joint was a new experience for me as it was one where the sushi goes around on a conveyor belt…so cool! I’ve only ever ordered sushi from a menu, so plucking whatever rolls I wanted as they passed by me was definitely fun.

Los Angeles Blue C Sushi
Los Angeles Blue C SushiLos Angeles Blue C Sushi
The building itself is gorgeous, with huge windows lining the sidewalk-facing wall and pretty, modern decor inside. My biggest complaint is that it was quite dark inside, and when you’re picking rolls off a conveyor belt it would definitely help to see them clearly. There was a menu at the table describing the ingredients and stuff…but I also wanted to be able to actually look at what I was eating (I lightened most of the pictures in this post so you can see the food…the above two photos are a pretty accurate depiction of the light level). Is it just me who likes being able to see my food before I eat it?

So onto the food. Here’s what we ordered:
Steamed edamame
Seaweed salad
Ceviche roll
scallop, avocado, cucumber, pico de gallo, shrimp, orange zest, scallion, nori, rice, sesame seeds
Seattle roll salmon, avocado, cucumber, masago, rice, nori, sesame seeds
Hamachi roll hamachi (yellowtail), scallion, rice, nori

Los Angeles Blue C Sushi
Los Angeles Blue C Sushi
To be honest, this wasn’t the best edamame I’ve ever had. I imagine this is because it’s not made to order but goes around on the belt until it’s picked up? I’m not sure, but it needed salt and was a tad over-steamed. I don’t mean that it was bad, it just wasn’t that special. The seaweed salad was fantastic though! It was fresh and crisp tasting, and it wasn’t too “ocean-y” if that makes sense. Before you order, be prepared for the fact that this isn’t crunchy like regular salad…it’s pretty slimy, so if you’re a texturally picky person it might not be a hit with you ;]

Los Angeles Blue C Sushi
Los Angeles Blue C Sushi
Los Angeles Blue C Sushi
Los Angeles Blue C Sushi
As for the rolls, we were in LOVE. The Ceviche roll (above) was my favorite…I seriously could have eaten like five more of them. The flavors were complex, which was a change from my usual plain tuna roll haha, and the pico de gallo inside was just AMAZING. It added a little hint of spice, you know? The Seattle and Hamachi rolls (below) were also delish, but of the two I especially liked the Hamachi roll. As I said, I usually prefer simple rolls, so the scallion added a little pop to what’s usually a plain yellowtail roll.

Los Angeles Blue C Sushi
Los Angeles Blue C Sushi
Los Angeles Blue C Sushi
Los Angeles Blue C Sushi
Los Angeles Blue  C SushiLos Angeles Blue C Sushi
Los Angeles Blue C Sushi

We had a lovely time at Blue C Sushi and will hopefully be back soon! Have you ever tried a conveyor belt sushi restaurant?

Blue C Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

When In Turkey, Try Turkish Coffee

When you think about coffee, what comes to your mind? Your favorite mug steaming with a strong black brew? Or maybe for you, coffee means a sweet Starbucks frappuccino. For me, I think of a hot, creamy latte, especially one in an extra wide mug with a pretty design in the milky foam. However, my realistically typical coffee comes in a card board to-go cup, consumed as I’m sitting down to work in the morning or after swinging through the drive thru. This is not what coffee was like in Turkey. Sure, I did get some Starbucks when I was there, and I did order a latte one morning in Istanbul. But trust me. This is not what you want your coffee experience to be limited to when you’re in that part of the world.

Turkish coffee
Turkish coffee
Turkish coffee is thick, luxurious, aromatic. It is prepared in a copper “cevze,” where the finely ground coffee is boiled and from which the finished product is poured directly into each individual little cup. The goal of the pouring process is to build up the foam as much as possible…and I was told the coffee I pictured below had very terrible foam quality. I wouldn’t have known the difference, I was just amazed at the beautiful cups and the coffee being distributed into them right there at the table immediately after being removed from the flame.

With your coffee steaming hot in front of you, you can add sugar if you’d like but milk or cream is not an option; this coffee is meant to be black. I opted to keep it sugar-free so I could taste the coffee better, and I was happy with my choice. The Turkish method of brewing is optimal for preserving the flavor of the bean, making it one of the strongest tasting coffees you could try! Be sure to drink the pretty rose water served alongside before you drink the coffee…it’s supposed to cleanse the palette so you can better taste the beans (I thought the rose water was for a little dessert ish drink…oops).

Turkish Coffee

Take care that you don’t drink the grounds resting in the bottom of the cup! I have a habit of stirring my mug around as I’m drinking, which was a huge mistake with Turkish coffee as I was just mixing the grounds up with the drinkable part. Also…after you’re done with your drink, you can see your fortune in those grounds! Just put the saucer on top of the cup, flip the two of them over and you can look at your fortune once the bottom of the cup is cool.

Turkish CoffeeTurkish Coffee

Despite all of the flavor and texture differences between Turkish coffee and my typical latte, the biggest difference to me was the ritual behind it. Here in the US, coffee is such a to-go drink, chugged down in the morning to help you wake up and get ready for work. As mentioned above, I myself usually end up drinking coffee out of a disposable cardboard cup. In Turkey, you sit down for your coffee. It wis its own activity, not just a drink to gulp as you’re doing a million other things.

We usually had our coffee in the afternoon, after sightseeing all morning and when we were ready for a break. Since it’s made individually on the stove, there’s no quick serving from a pre-made vat, so there’s lots of time to chat while you’re waiting for your order. And since it’s served so hot you have to allow it some time to cool, sipping it very slowly, which only extends your socializing time even more. It’s served in absolutely stunning china, with a beautiful rose water and pretty little Turkish delight; the whole ritual is an experience meant to be savored. So when I say you HAVE to try Turkish coffee when you’re in Turkey, it’s not just the yummy drink I’m referring to. It’s the entire activity itself.