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Who Even Are You, Cappadocia?

Cappadocia. Seriously. Who even ARE you?* Cappadocia. Cappadocia is too strange and eerie and spectacular to describe in words. More than two weeks after my visit, I’m still almost too overwhelmed to try. I’ll leave it to Wikipedia and Lonely Planet to provide more detailed descriptions of this otherworldly place. But briefly, Cappadocia is an area in the central Anatolian region of Turkey known for its crazy sandstone rock formations — called fairy chimneys — and its colourful history involving ancient underground cities, cave dwellings, and rock-hewn churches. Meruschka and I went there for three days on the tail end of our weeklong stay in […]

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Istanbul food-9507

Five Things I Ate in Istanbul

My biggest regret about my week in Istanbul is that I didn’t eat enough. Seriously. I spent so much time running around trying to see things in Istanbul that I actually didn’t have time to eat all the Turkish food I wanted to try. This is almost unthinkable for a food-loving person like me. But there you have it. I didn’t eat İskender kebap, which is my favorite dish at the Turkish restaurant back home in Melville. İskender, along with shawarma, is only served between 12:00 and 3:00 p.m. at most Istanbul restaurants, and we rarely found time for lunch until about 5:00. I never ate the […]

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Mac and Cheese-7898

Mac & Cheese in Jozi

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese was the first meal I learned to cook on my own. I have fond childhood memories of boiling the clear plastic bag of elbow pasta, smothering it with milk, butter, and that special packet of fluorescent orange powder, stirring everything up together, and devouring the entire pot. Mmmmm, nothing like a hearty bowl of synthetic, cheesy-flavored chemicals to chase those adolescent blues away. I’ve always thought of mac & cheese as an American dish, although Wikipedia tells me it originated in Britain in 1769. Wiki also reports that mac & cheese was first served in America in 1802, at a state […]

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My Favorite Corner in Melville

A few months ago, the corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue in Melville was a depressing place. One side housed a tired-looking sushi restaurant that no one seemed to go to and the other side housed the boarded-up remains of a bar called the Dollar Table. Looking south on 7th Street from the corner of 3rd Avenue. I would often walk past that corner and bemoan the state of things, especially the abandoned Dollar Table. (If you live in Melville then you probably know the recent history of the Dollar Table. If not, believe me when I say that the […]

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A Quick Jaunt to Abu Dhabi

In my last post I told you about my whirlwind trip to the United Arab Emirates. I stayed in Dubai for four nights, courtesy of Qualcomm, and spent a few days exploring the area without a smartphone to support the #WorldWithoutSnapdragon/#WorldWithoutSmartphones campaign. (Read more about the campaign here.) We spent half a day in Abu Dhabi, which is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. We mainly went to Abu Dhabi to see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in the UAE, but we had a couple of other adventures along the way. Our voyage to Abu Dhabi, which is […]

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At Long Last, High Tea at the Four Seasons

Joburgers love high tea. I know this because the last high tea post I wrote, High Tea in Jozi, is one of my most popular blog posts of all time. I wrote that post back in October 2013, when the legendary Westcliff Hotel was closed for renovations. Up until that point the Westcliff had been the go-to high tea venue for Joburg’s ladies who lunch, and I figured my readers would appreciate a post about some of the other high tea options around the city. I figured right. I never had the opportunity to have high tea at the old Westcliff before […]

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Pop-Up Burgers, Revisited

In August 2013 I stumbled upon a tiny pop-up burger joint on an unlikely street corner in downtown Johannesburg. The burger joint, BGR, was selling tasty burgers for the unlikely price of R10 (less than $1) or R27 for a burger/fries/drink combo. I wrote a blog post about it (read that post here). I never made it back to the BGR downtown pop-up; I’m not even sure how long it stayed there. But BGR came up in conversation every now and again after that. I learned at some point that BGR is owned by a couple of American guys named Josh and Jed, and […]

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Some New Discoveries in Chinatown

Last weekend I discovered a couple of new places in Cyrildene, Johannesburg’s “new” Chinatown. (Cyrildene is in Joburg’s eastern suburbs. The “old” Chinatown in downtown Joburg still exists, but most of the Chinese businesses moved to Cyrildene over the last two decades. Read more on old Chinatown vs. new Chinatown.) Shun De, a well known dim sum restaurant in Cyrildene (not one of the new places that I discovered last weekend).  Actually, I didn’t really discover these places (they were brought to my attention) and the places aren’t really new (just new to me). But you know what I mean. Cyrildene can […]

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Zionist church2

An “Off the Beaten Path” Guide to Joburg

Pictured above: A church service in Alexandra Township. A couple of months ago I posted about the “Three Days in Johannesburg” travel guide that I wrote for TripAdvisor. I also wrote a “Johannesburg Off the Beaten Path” guide, which I’m going to summarize for you here. (Check out my full Off the Beaten Path guide on TripAdvisor, which includes longer descriptions and tips for each location.) Writing a guide to off-the-beaten-path spots in Joburg was interesting because in many respects this entire city is off the beaten path. (By the way, I hate that cliché.) In reality it’s the opposite: Joburg is the transportation […]

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Learning to Cook, Faldela’s Way

My #HelloWeekend trip to Cape Town was nearly a month ago and I’m woefully behind in writing about it. But I can’t let any more time pass before telling you about my Cape Malay cooking class in the Bo-Kaap. Before I moved to Joburg five years ago, I googled South African food. I knew nothing about South African cuisine (in fact I knew nothing about South Africa) and was curious to learn about the regional specialties in the country I was moving to. “Cape Malay” was the first thing that popped up. At the time, the descriptions I found of Cape Malay cuisine — […]

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Three Awesome New Places to Hang Out in Melville

Have you been to Melville lately? I spent a few hours exploring my home suburb yesterday, something I haven’t done in a while, and I can barely contain my excitement over all of the cool places that are opening up. Here are my top three: 1) 27Boxes (4th Avenue and 6th Street) 27Boxes, a shopping centre built with recycled shipping containers, is officially open although most of the shops are still under construction. I had a look around 27Boxes for the first time — several stores and cafés are already doing business — and was pleasantly surprised by how cool it is. I don’t […]

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Table Mountain edge

#HelloWeekend: 48 Hours in Cape Town

As most South Africans know, there is an ongoing competition between between Cape Town and Johannesburg. Capetonians believe their city is the best place to live and would never live anywhere else. Joburgers believe the same. This my-city-is-better-than-your-city debate (i.e. trash-talking) gets heated at times. Joburg is my adopted home and I’m firmly in the Joburg corner. But like everyone else in Joburg, I can’t ignore the obvious: Cape Town is a fantastic place for a holiday. Cape Town is beautiful. This photo was shot from the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. So when I was invited to spend a weekend […]

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