Thursday, 30 October 2014

October In Fethiye - It's Been Another Busy One

Wow, the end of yet another month! Where does the time go? We probably start off these monthly updates in much the same way...but the days do pass so quickly at the moment. We thought, at the end of our September Fethiye roundup, that things would slow down a little in October but that was proved wrong. A week with family visiting, various events and, before we know it, here we are, sat at the end of the month again. November will definitely slow down...we think.

But anyway, let's have a look at what's been happening in our little world in Fethiye this October...

Cooking And Eating In Fethiye

This month, while my dad was over to visit, we got to try out one of the more recent additions to the Fethiye restaurant scene; Mancero Kitchen. This is our review of Mancero Restaurant, which we can comfortably describe as a red-meat-lover's dream. Another annual treat, when my dad comes to Fethiye is Çalış Beach Restaurant where we get our tastebuds ready for the feisty chillies in their lamb or chicken tikka jalfrezi dishes. Sometimes, you just can't beat a good Indian meal. Yummy! 
Çintar - Saffron Milk Cap Mushrooms
The Saffron Milk Cap Mushroom's habitat is Southwest Turkey
November is usually the month of the Çintar Mushroom (Saffron Milk Cap) in Fethiye - but a couple of October downpours have meant they've sprouted under the local pines in the nearby forests and we've been enjoying some early çintar treats. In the past, we've done recipes for çintar and spinach risotto and, using the same combination, we've also done a çintar and spinach börek recipe. This time, we wanted to try something a bit different so we experimented with a couple of new recipes this year. We'll share those over the weekend and coming days... 

Oh, and Brussels sprouts have also made an appearance on the Fethiye markets, too. After our sucuk, chestnuts and Brussels sprouts recipe a couple of years ago, we've continued to actively embrace this seasonal vegetable, so we've also got another recipe coming up for you. Looks like November on the blog is going to be getting a bit foodie. That's a whoop whoop from us! 

Goodbye Fethiye 2014 Summer Season - Hello Autumn
Yes, it is time to slow things down a little. The Fethiye weather's taken on a more autumnal feel; still pleasantly warm in the daytime but the evenings tell us the seasons are on the change.
Çalış Beach, Fethiye - After Storm
Çalış Beach after a recent storm
The beach sunbeds of summer are piled up and mostly packed away, the umbrellas are following, and the local beaches are once more beautiful stretches of sand and shingle being smoothed out by occasional stormy waves. That's why we enjoy the changes in season so much here. Changes in seasonal produce on the markets, as mentioned above, and changes in beach scenery. Lovely to see them buzzing with people for part of the year...and now it's time for a bit of solitude. Bliss. And by next April / May, we'll be smiling again at the sight of restaurants and hotels opening their doors and people braving early season swims.

In the 'right here, right now,' though, we're more than ready for an autumn and winter of normal, daily routine, hopefully a little bit of travel, hopefully a bit of trekking and lots of cooking. And all of that, of, course, will pop up on the blog. Bring on winter! 

Blog, Fethiye & Turkey Events
And yes, why on earth we thought October might become a bit more sleepy, we have no idea. My dad was here from 13th - 20th October so that was a busy week (we've got a couple of blog posts about that, too) and since then, all of this has happened:
Ölüdeniz Air Games October 2014
Day 1 of the 2014 Ölüdeniz Air Games
We had the Ölüdeniz Air Games. A sunny first day, as you can see above, and then mixed weather for the rest of the Games. That, however, didn't stop all the adventurous types from throwing themselves into the air from Babadağ at various heights over the period of the events - it just meant the timetable needed a lot of reshuffling. 

And, coinciding with the Air Games, the town got jet fever when Türk Yıldızları greeted Fethiye. After atrocious weather, they managed to do their performance in Çalış which we photographed, videoed and celebrated in the 1000th Turkey's For Life blog post. We also went through 50,000 views of our videos on the Turkey's For Life YouTube channel and now also have over 160 subscribers. Amazing!

And yesterday, of course, Turkey celebrated the 91st anniversary of Cumhuriyet Bayramı - Republic Day. Last year, we did a photo post of the Republic Day torchlit procession in Fethiye. Similar, beautiful scenes for Fethiye again last night. This year, we commemorated Cumhuriyet Bayramı with this photo on our Turkey's For Life Facebook page which we also shared to Instagram and Twitter (we know some of you don't use Facebook or other social media, so we like to be able to bring a bit of that to you via the blog). And so it seems apt to end our October Fethiye update with that same photo of Atatürk's statue in Beşkaza Meydanı...

Sunday, 26 October 2014

One Thousand - The Number Of Blog Posts On Turkey's For Life

Wow, yeah! Not sure where to start, really, writing this blog post. This blog post is number 1,000. One thousand posts of ramblings about our life - and a few adventures thrown in here and there - in Turkey. What on earth do we find to talk about, eh? Amazing, really.

Thankfully, we don't need to think of much to write in this very special post. It's special because we're going to let photos and a very short video of Türk Yıldızları Turkish Stars) do the celebrations for us...

Türk Yıldızları In Fethiye, Turkey
You see, yesterday was to be the main Türk Yıldızları air show in Çalış. We'd already watched the 'Türk Yıldızları hello to Fethiye' a couple of days before. The following day, the scheduled rehearsal was cancelled right at the last minute due to atrocious weather...and then we got up yesterday morning and the weather was even worse. Absolutely tipping down, blowing a gale, rain hitting the windows under our terrace - a very occasional sight and noise usually reserved for winter storms.

We'd written it off. Surely Türk Yıldızları had to cancel with the weather like this. Nevermind, at east we'd seen the Fethiye greeting...but we still watched their Facebook page for updates. They were due to perform around 3:30-4 pm. It got close to 2 pm and the torrential rain continued; set in for the day we thought...
Turkish Stars In Formation, Fethiye
And then, at around 2pm, their Facebook page was updated. 'The show goes on if the weather calms. We've not cancelled.' Maybe they knew something we didn't because we read the update, the torrential downpour became rain and we spotted a slight hint of blue amongst the low black cloud.

"Shall we risk going down to the beach, do you think? We'll be gutted if we don't go and then they perform."

We jumped on the dolmuş and headed down to Güven's Bar in Koca Çalış. If nothing happened, and it started to pour down again, at least we could have a beer and a chat. By the time we got to Güven's, there was a good hefty bit of blue in the sky, the press were crowded further along the beach,close to Surf Cafe at Koca Çalış and the obligatory paramotors scaled the coastline. Wow, this thing was going to happen...if the weather held up.
Turkish Stars Flying In Fethiye, Turkey
And then, all of a sudden, on the horizon, out at sea, we saw a fast-moving, red and white smoke trail. They were on their way. And there were 6 of them! The sun, streaming through the thick banks of cloud, reflected off an almost black sea and actually contributed to, rather than detracted from, the whole spectacle. What a plus for Çalış Beach! A perfect scene for six jets flying up and down the coast.
Turkish Stars & Our 1,000th Blogpost
I took too many photos - you have to when jets are going past at such speed and sound - and will make a proper album eventually. But, for now, this little collage is a celebration of Türk Yıldızları and our 1,000th blog post, too. Quite apt that one of our year highlights has coincided with such a 'blogging life' highlight.

And this very short video - just 1 little minute and 40 seconds long because I was taking so many photos - gives you a little insight into the types of things we witnessed in half an hour yesterday. We'd love it if you watched this because, as well as out 1,000th blog post, we're also VERY close to 50,000 views on the Turkey's For Life YouTube channel. To reach that before bedtime tonight would just top the day off perfectly...but we're also very patient, too, of course. Those views can come all in good time...
Türk Yıldızları In Fethiye, Turkey
Today, our Facebook newsfeeds for our personal accounts have just been bursting with everyone's photos of Türk Yıldızları at Çalış Beach; testament for us as to the impact Türk Yıldızları had on Çalış yesterday. The place was packed and the setting just perfect - a huge expanse of sea framed by hills, mountains, Fethiye and Şovalye Island. All of this and the weather the way it was - well, goosebumps is not an exaggeration.
Turkish Stars Air Show Display, Çalış Beach
And so, eventually, Fethiye's Türk Yıldızları mania will calm down and the photos will fade from everyone's social media feeds - but, just as we'll never forget the Ölüdeniz performance a few years ago, we'll never forget this one either. These guys are amongst the best pilots in the world and to have been able to see them fly in Çalış is a privilege. 
Turkish Stars In Koca Çalış, Fethiye
So, a big thank you to the weather for taking a break while we all gathered to watch this. A big thank you to Türk Yıldızları for the performance and for hanging on right to the last minute before deciding whether to perform or cancel (obviously, safety was paramount) and a great big thank you to everyone who has read any of our 1,000 blog posts. We're eternally grateful! Here's to the next 1,000...

Thank You & Çok Teşekkür Ederiz!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Türk Yıldızları In Fethiye - We'd Love A Part Two

Yes, this is an ode to those that fly those spectacular flying machines that just leave me completely spellbound - and it's an ode to the machines, too, I guess. There's no rhyme or reason to this love of jets; it's just the way it is. A jet flies overhead and the world stops for a few short seconds as first it passes and then the thunderous noise follows...and someone is flying that. Just amazing!

Anyway, so that's why this post will gush over the fact that Türk Yıldızları (Turkish Stars) are in town (Brits - we have the RAF Red Arrows; the Turkish Airforce has Türk Yıldızları). We've waited for this for a long time. We witnessed them in Ölüdeniz at the air games a few years ago and have waited in anticipation for a return ever since. Yesterday, that happened...

Türk Yıldızlar In Fethiye, Turkey
Türk Yıldızları fly over Fethiye
The Ölüdeniz Air Games have been taking place this week, not in the best of weather it has to be said, and we knew a while ago from the Türk Yıldızları Facebook page that they were going to be here for it. The timetable was that they would be in Ölüdeniz yesterday and then fly over Fethiye and Çalış 'to say hello' before doing a rehearsal today and then a main show tomorrow. 

We thought they would literally 'fly over' and they did. We rushed outside to watch them pass - and that's the problem with jets isn't it? You're deafened by the sound but they're always in a completely different part of the sky than you expect them to be. Our next door neighbour rushed out, too. There we were, in pyjamas, in the front garden, looking at the sky. "Orada, orada," (there, there), she pointed. We thought we'd missed them but realised they were turning round to come back. I rushed back inside for my camera and stood in the garden thinking my camera-fetching-efforts had probably proven late and fruitless. 
Turkish Stars In Fethiye Bay
Trying to catch Türk Yıldızları on camera
Only four of them this year. Last time, we had seven. They flew past again in formation, high in the sky. Zooming in at speed is not my forte. Each time I tried, I completely lost them. Just a mass of pluming white clouds (evidently building themselves up nicely for last night's and today's stormy weather) and vibrant blue sky. The noise - and the sight - of Türk Yıldızları across Fethiye bay was enough to make everyone stop in their tracks.
Türk Yıldızlar Spectators, Fethiye
There was genuine awe and puzzlement on people's faces
You see, we might have been waiting with excitement for some time - we like their Facebook page, we follow them on Instagram and Twitter. We knew they were coming...but it looks as though not everyone in Fethiye knew of the arrival of their famous visitors. People walking along the harbour stopped walking, drivers pulled over, scooters stopped in the cycle lane - and even the jandarma van pulled over while the officers got out to watch. A couple of girls ducked, much to the amusement of our neighbour.
Turkish Stars, Fethiye, Turkey
This is beauty
For around 30 minutes, they performed, and for that 30 minutes I tried so hard to get photos I really wanted. That speed and sound I love so much proved to be the difficulty in getting those photos. Stick the camera on multi-shot setting, press the shutter button, and surely you'll catch something at some point. That's my motto anyway...

When Türk Yıldızları were in Ölüdeniz a few years ago, I remember completely giving up and just lying on my back on the beach with my camera in the air, snapping away at anything. Got a lovely photo that time of them all in formation right above me...complete luck.
Turkish Air Force Formations, Fethiye
And more beauty
Yesterday, just to witness them perform, purely accidentally, well that was just a privilege...

Because today was supposed to be a rehearsal along Çalış Beach for the main show tomorrow. The weather today meant they were a no-show. We've got fingers and toes crossed the weather will improve enough for them to perform tomorrow...and, if not...if not, at least we saw this amazing sight from our own front garden...
Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Fethiye Restaurants: Steak Sampling At Mancero Kitchen

When you move to another country, family birthdays and Christmases become events celebrated when you're together again for that short period of time. Yeah, you can post gifts or order stuff online to be delivered (we do that, too) but it's still nice to do something altogether, too. Last week, my dad was over to visit so he decided we all needed to go out 'for a steak' for birthdays. 

"Where's good for steak," asks dad.

Hmmm, the pressure's always on for questions like this because there's always the chance you make your suggestion and then you sit down to a scraggy piece of meat. We're the ones who are supposed to be all-knowing as far as he's concerned. Ask us about budget eating and we can rhyme off any number of places...but out for a more pricey meal; we do that rarely.

Fethiye Restaurants - Mancero Kitchen
Mancero Kitchen
The going-out-for-a-steak situation has improved rapidly over the years in Fethiye and, these days, there are a few places where you can enjoy a good hunk of red meat to satisfy your craving. As it was birthdays we were out for (and because dad was paying), we decided to give Mancero Kitchen a try for the first time. This is the place that was previously Shaka, along Fethiye harbour, and we've been curious for a while. Lots of our friends went to eat there over the summer while they were on holiday, so it was time to see for ourselves what it's all about...

Mancero Kitchen (and the seafood restaurant next door) is owned by the Hilmi people; they of Hilmi Restaurant and Hilmi butchers fame in Fethiye fish market. We've shopped at Hilmi butchers quite a lot in the past, so we figured it should follow they're going to be butchering/serving decent meat in the restaurant. I asked one of the waiters we know if it was okay to go inside and take some photos...
Mancero Kitchen Meat Display
The meat and deli counter in Mancero Kitchen
...And was greeted with an open kitchen and meat & deli counter. This place is a red-meat-eater's dream. All sorts of different cuts on full display. So, if you're perusing the menu and worried about whether your chosen meat won't be as you expect, you could always wander inside to have a little peek first. 

Anyway, to the food. Mancero Kitchen also does 'Mediterranean cuisine' but we were all here for a steak so we didn't take too much notice of that part of the menu. My dad and his friend ordered soup-of-the-day for a starter (me and Barry decided to save ourselves for the meat feast) and then we all ordered our main meal. What an adventurous bunch we are! Every single one of us plumped for the aged ribeye steak served with roast potatoes. 
Mancero Kitchen Appetisers
Olives and bread are served before the meal
Ahh, we were right not to opt for a starter. Fresh bread and black olives in olive oil and nar ekşisi (pomegranate molasses). Yummy, and a bonus that my dad and his friend just don't do olives. Me and Barry made short work of that while they polished off their decent-sized bowl of mushroom soup. 

And one bit we did like was when the waiter came to clear the soup bowls, we were asked if we wanted our meal straight away or did we want to wait a while. We opted for a few minutes break between courses and then the waiter came back to double check we were ready to eat again before our steaks were cooked.
Rib Eye Steaks At Mancero Kitchen, Fethiye
Just huge, simple hunk of steak - perfect
And then our meal arrived. This is my ribeye steak from various angles. No need to photograph anyone else's seeing as they all looked the same. It was all very simple. Seared vegetables (courgettes, peppers and mushrooms), the roast potatoes - and then what is easily the biggest, thickest slab of steak we've had in Fethiye. But was it good?

Ribeye is my favourite and this was definitely a quality chunk of meat. Barry ordered medium-rare, I ordered medium and the others went for well done. I've got to say, I'm relatively new to the world of medium steaks (I used to be a 'very-well-done' person) and I'm still not great if blood / red juices appear. Nothing of the sort on this steak. So juicy and very pink in the middle. Was mine heading towards medium rare? Not sure, but I was enjoying it too much to care.

And yes, I used to be a waitress in my student days and the chef would always shout 'philistines' across his kitchen if we placed an order for well done steaks from customers. Well, each to their own, I say. I'm saying this because my dad's steak did have a touch of pink in places. He still loved it (which makes me think he should order medium because he commented on how juicy and tender it was - but he'll not admit to preferring medium, I suspect). But, if you fancy going to Mancero and have any sort of aversion to the sight of pinkness in your steak, maybe mention this to the waiter when you order. 

Will we eat steak at Mancero again in the future? If we're in the mood for a simple steak feast, most definitely. 

Mancero Kitchen - Useful Information
  • Mancero Kitchen is along the phase 2 section of Fethiye harbour on Cahit Gündüz Caddesi
  • They're open all year and serve a range of dishes as well as various steaks and burgers
  • For more Fethiye restaurants, eateries and bars, you can visit our Fethiye Eating & Drinking page for ideas about where to go.
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