The Big Apple is no stranger to people from all over the world. Most of them in fact arrive to this city of dreams with a bag and a big dream. Such is the amazing story from one of New York’s own, Sinem Yazici – photographer extraordinaire. She chased her dream all the way from Istanbul to the avenues of NYC becoming a success story that others and I, find both inspiring and influential.

Nowadays many thirty plus professionals want more than what the traditional career and business life can give them. Sinem too, felt a yearning for more. So after a highly successful career in Advertising and Marketing, she left Istanbul for New York. There, she studied fashion photography at the New York Film Academy, and now she’s become one of the most coveted men’s fashion photographers! Her work has been published in Esquire, Men’s Health, Glamour and many international magazines and she has worked with many top modeling agencies.

It’s never easy but she did it, making a name in the tough world of fashion and photography. She’s a great example of smart, strength and where determination can take you.

I loved Sinem at her first hello, her warmth and positive energy is infectious. We started talking and we couldn’t stop! She has a wonderful sense of humour and we found out that we share a lot of things in common, just the right ingredients for conversations that never end.

Check out her work below and if in NY book yourself a session and be the star.

www.sinemyazici.com

 

Sinem’s photo by : Emre Durmaz

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Indiana has a lot to offer to food lovers and here are my favorite restaurants while you are there. Places you shouldn’t miss as they are totally worth it!

Capital Grille at Conrad Hotel Indianapolis – American Restaurant and Steak house

It’s a rather posh chain restaurant with branches in 26 states. It’s one of my favourite fine dining restaurants in Indianapolis, their woody decor and soft music playing in the background immediately give you the general feel of being in a classy restaurant.

We started with Fresh Oysters, Pan-fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers, French Onion Soup, followed by an amazing Orange Sauce Grilled Salmon (this is to die for). My favourite go-to drink there, is Grapefruit Buck, a lovely concoction made of soda, lavender syrup, and grapefruit juice.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, I would highly recommend The Capital Grille as a romantic date destination.

 

Fogo de Chão– Brazilian Steak House

A unique eatery located in the heart of the downtown, hosted a friend and me on my first Brazilian steakhouse experience. Their prix fixe (fixed price) menu, offers 16 delectable cuts of perfectly seasoned meats that goes beautifully with their fresh gourmet salad bar.

The premise is simple – eat as much as you care. Gaucho chefs will come to your table, each with a different cut of meat be it rib eye, Tenderloin, Sirloin etc. You also have the choice of some pork and chicken skewers, cooked to order. Overall a fun dining experience comparable to a festival with a lively atmosphere.

 

Sakura – Japanese Restaurant

Dining at Sakura is such an enjoyable experience, this simple Japanese restaurant is number one in Indy, no doubt. Very popular with the locals and you can see why. Their authentic Japanese dishes, especially the Sushi Rolls and Sashimi reflect their philosophy of using high quality and fresh ingredients with the best customer service and at an affordable price making it such a treat.

I dined there almost everyday and I can’t get enough of their sushi, my two favorite orders are –

  1. Dragon Roll(Eel, Crab, Avocado)
  2. The a la carte platter.

If you are planning to go over the weekend, make sure you book your table before as it gets super crowded.

 

Blue Beard Restaurant and Bar – American Cuisine

This restaurant is named after the novel by best-selling author Kurt Vonnegut (Bluebeard) who was originally from Indiana and is located inside a 1924 warehouse in the historic district of Fletcher Place.

The ambience is very retro and cool, like a library in a bar with many typewriters and old books that give the place a very authentic touch.

Their creative menu changes daily, food is freshly prepared from ingredients that come directly from their farms and they are also well known for their signature cocktails, so you cannot go wrong eating here.

We had roasted cauliflower, brussels sprouts and beet salad and for dessert we decided to share the chocolate cake with caramel sauce, which was delectable.

I had a chance to meet Mrs. Lauren McGraw, the Event Manager and Ms. Jan Bugher, the FOH Manager they both were super nice and excellent ambassadors for their brand. They also took me around and showed me all their facilities in the restaurant including the wine room, kitchen and the bakery.  I just love it when restaurants do this and hire professionals to run it.

 

Traders Point Creamery -Farm to Table restaurant / Organic farm

I can’t stress enough the importance of healthy eating, for yourself, and the environment. This place is the crème de la crème of health and wealth – their products are organic, farm-raised, grass-fed – the things I’d like to put on my plate.  This rare place has two parts:

  • Farm to Table restaurant (The Loft)

Their beautiful rustic wooden décor works well with this restaurant’s farm theme, complete with a large glass window that allows diners to see the cheese being created.

I had a great day with Ms. Lauren Bobbitt, the Communication Manager who explained everything in detail about the farm to table concept and I was amazed by it.

Menu for the day –

Drink: Bloody Mary.

Starter: We nibbled on their famous cheese platter that had samples of their exclusive cheese (named by them) like Fleur de la Terre, Caerphilly and Geneva, which were all very fresh and addictive.

Salad: Salmon Potato Salad.

Main course: Loft Cheeseburger with 100% grass-fed burger.

Dessert: We were stuffed but honestly the ice cream sounded too good to pass up on. So we had a generous helping of delicious goodness.

 

 

  • Dairy Farm:

A beautiful farm where cows are raised on a 100% grass-fed diet, their chickens, fed the healthiest organic food – how fresh and healthy! They also allow visitors to watch the milking of their cows.

 

One key thing I noticed here is the extreme level of cleanliness in every corner of this farm, it smelt fresh throughout which shows that they really care for and feed the animals grass only.

I also left with some fresh organic goodies, which you can find at the Farm Store where you can buy milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream.

I had a great time at Traders Creamery. The atmosphere, food and staff were all fabulous. I would certainly return here for another round of delicious healthy dishes and a lovely date with nature.

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The Italians have figured out a thing or two, one of them is living the good life. As the saying goes ‘You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough’, this might have been said with the Italians in mind. And this goes delightfully with their cuisine, the basic tenet of which is simplicity with passion. A handful of good quality ingredients that make the end result sing. Let me count the many ways how much I love it –

Family tradition

In movies you’ve always seen big Italian families cooking recipes, passed down from generations and eating together in large family dining tables. So it is, in the best Italian restaurants, where they use well-loved family recipes and we are lucky enough to be able to partake.

Diversity

The many regions of Italy offer their unique styles of cuisine. From hearty, rustic cooking in Toscana to seafood-centric fare in the south, it’s a delightful culinary journey from the north to the south, where her land is blessed with delightful porcini mushrooms, truffles, olives, lemons, tomatoes and the list goes on and on.

Simplicity and ease

Many great Italian dishes from Neapolitan pizza to spaghetti aglio olio use very few ingredients but are delicious. And they are so easy to recreate at home when you have good quality ingredients.

Love affair with cheese and cream

Strolling in the piazzas with a gelato is one of my favourite activities when in Italy. So is trying the different type of cheeses this amazing country produces from parmigano-reggiano, mozzarella di bufala, gorgonzola, mascarpone.

Dining done right

I just love the way the Italians dine. They are long and lively, a time to share and laugh around the family table and so much needed in these times of tablets and phones. You can talk about your day over aperitivo and antipasti, ruminate over world politics during the primo and secondo, and over dolce and coffee – plan for your weekend.

Great wine country

As with every meal, a carafe of the house wine is ubiquitous in Italy. The Italians take their wine very seriously and every dish has its perfect partner. From full- bodied reds with meat fare to stronger whites with seafood dishes, the pairings take each dish to its peak.

The gift of coffee

It’s not technically food but no posts will be complete without a nod to the contribution the Italians have made in the coffee pot. Think cappuccino, caffe macchiato, espresso. No meal is complete in Italy without this aromatic brew. And on this note I end this post with the most revered drink.

The Grand Finale!

No matter how many courses you’ve had, you can always make a room for some Italian desserts.

They come in all sorts of delicious forms; soft, sweet, chocolatey, crunchy, cold or warm. I am personally a big fan of the homemade classics: Tiramisu, Cannoli, Gelato (a denser version of ice cream), Torta Della Nonna (a custard tart topped with pine nuts) and the Panna cotta (a soft pudding made with cream and sugar).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are a discerning sweet tooth, you simply must indulge in some of these Italian desserts with your after-meal espresso to truly conquer the Italian cuisine.

 

Buon appetito!

 

 

 

 

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