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The “Perfect” Sandwich Bun

I believe I made the “perfect” sandwich bun two days ago. Isn’t this beautiful:

The Perfect Bun

I’ve been looking for a good recipe for a bun and finally found a recipe here (I know, hers are shaped nicer :))

I had to make a small change as I couldn’t find “bread flour” here (we’re in Istanbul right now). I bought the highest protein flour that I could find, and used only that instead of mixing it with all purpose flour. We were all really happy with the outcome. Light and tasty…

I must be crazy considering the temperature right now, but I will be baking another bread today. If it comes out nice, I will share the photos with you.

Stay cool.

Challenge 1 – Cooking Equipment

I thought I should start a theme here regarding the challenges of the kind of life we have. Since we are making breakfast right now, here is the first one: cooking equipment.

As some of you already know, we rent furnished apartments in Vancouver & Paris (we always get the same ones). And since they are both rentals, shall we say, they don’t necessarily have the best cooking environment. Also to be fair, we are pretty picky with the kind of things we cook with. Pans have to be stainless steel or cast iron, knives (oh the knives) have to be good and sharp, containers have to be non-plastic, etc., etc. For the most part, these two apartments have what we need, but there are small challenges.

In this post I want to talk about the knife situation a little bit. If you’ve done any kind of cooking, you know the value of a good knife. For me, a bad knife can really turn a nice afternoon of cooking into a nightmare. When we lived in LA, we had found a Japanese hardware store in downtown (of course in Little Tokyo) that had some amazing knives, and we quickly got addicted to Japanese knives. Especially the ones that are stainless steel but have a carbon tip-they are VERY sharp and they stay sharp for a long time. Pretty soon I couldn’t do any chopping with any other kind of knife, but a 210mm Gyuto (this one doesn’t have a carbon tip and we have the non-hammered version).

One thing with the carbon tip, as you might know, is that you have to use, then wash and dry right away, otherwise they will get rusty at the tip. Which is a little pain, but definitely worth it.

About a month ago, we finally decided to buy a good knife to carry around with us after I read a blog entry. He was talking about taking good knives with him when he travels, and I thought “why not?” After looking around for a while, we picked this one:

Wusthof Classic

It’s been a pleasure to cook since. =)

New Page on the Blog

I’m working on a new page to add to the blog. I think you guys will like it. Stay tuned…

Lodos in Istanbul


Lunch in Ankara


From our balcony this past winter


Do I need a caption here?


Music club in Istanbul


Park by our house at night


Breakfast at Özlem's (owner of Yoga Darsan in Ankara) house


I actually can't remember where this was. :"

Life in General – Random Acts of Kindness Explored

It’s a beautiful day in the sunshine, sitting in Vancouver bathing my toes in freshly mowed grass and a light afternoon breeze, a perfect setting to hash out a quick bog. I have tried so many times to write even a short blog post but have not been able to get past a just a few lines as workshops and trainings have taken all of my attention and time.

We have just finished Immersion II in Vancouver and have decidedly taken a week off to just take classes and be students ourselves – it’s great to have the chance to be our student’s students – that is of course if they don’t collapse of anxiety before the class even starts ( it’s been known to happen:)

It’s interesting… As I look back over the past couple of months there has been a common thread of experiences in places that you would least expect them to occur… That experience? People being extraordinarily nice!

As you know (if you know me well), I am not one to stereo type, unless of course the stereo type is true or if it helps me make a valid point… That being said, you will agree that the following random acts of kindness, given their location, would seem out of sync with the inherent rhythm of the universe – as we perceive it be, of course.

Random act #1. A stranger held the door open for me as we exited a Paris metro station. I shared my surprise with a Parisian friend who assured me that it wouldn’t last and said that the the nice weather was to blame:)))

Random act #2. Having two packages of amazing buratta cheese and a bottle of wine added to our take away bag at an Italian restaurant in Paris (in their defense, we do go there a lot)

Random act #3: Having an entire row of seats blocked out for Ozlem and I on our flight from Europe to NY (those of you that fly loads will appreciate having two personal screens to yourself to be able watch the same movie on two screens, two seconds apart – it’s what we call in the business, “Lo-Fi 3D”)

Random act #4: After a failed attempt by the concierge at our NY hotel to get us a table at the wildly popular “Peasant,” Ozlem and I walked over anyway to have a look and as we walked in the manager greeted us with a smile and asked the expected, “do you have a reservation.” After I answered “no,” he said… “Let me see if I can make room for you…hmm..yes..hmm..table ….hmm.. Ok.. Come right this way, table for two… Enjoy Peasant!” And that, we did!!!!

Random act #5: Also at a NY restaurant. Ozlem and I popped in to Delicatessen, which was just around the corner from our hotel. It was a busy and beautiful afternoon. We were greeted by the manager who quickly found us a table… We chatted for awhile, he came back every few minutes to talk “yoga” and as we left, we were informed by the staff that the drinks were taken care of, nice! We went back several more times and met the owner, whose family had occupied that space since 1935 or something like that, in fact, his mother, in her 90’s, still lives upstairs! Awesome people!!!

Every once in awhile, it’s experiences like these that remind me of the common goodness that is inherent in the world and that people everywhere just love to connect and be connected with. We had a blast in NY and Paris.

There are many more great experiences and random acts of kindness that I would LOVE to share, however, Ozlem is hungry and she wants her breakfast now!!!!


Happy New Year

The Tea House in Vancouver

After our ROCKIN’ workshop last week in Port Moody, BC, we had the opportunity to hangout afterwards with a few of the students from the workshop and with the studio directors of Newport Yoga, Chris and Karen. A late comer to our after-workshop soiree was Francois, the new head chef at the Tea House in Stanley Park.

As you might have guessed, it didn’t take long for us to figure out when we would make our Stanley Park brunch debut…. I will cut to the chase here, it was BY FAR the best brunch we have ever had!!!

Francois had let the staff know that we were coming, so immediately as soon as we walked in, we were welcomed as if we were showing up to Sunday brunch at a friends house – which it turns out, we were:)

Francois came out to go over the menu with us and then to keep us happy until our main dishes came out, he sent out a few of his favorite dishes for us all to share. Every step of the way, our palettes danced to the tune of perfection! If you have ever had the opportunity to be in the presence of a brilliant artist who loves what they do, you will know, their brilliance is palpable… and in this case, it was beyond measure!

The photos below will help to tell the story where words end… when your imagination ceases to fill in the blanks… make the beautiful walk out to the Tea House and experience the magic for yourself!

If you make it out, please say hi to Mona, the general manager, and let her know that you are a friend of mine – you never know it might work – you may just find yourself at the best table enjoying an amazing treat sent out “compliments of the chef”:))

Photo Blog




Beautiful hike in Menziken, Switzerland


Life is good!


Swiss lake


Stefanie & Özlem


At Jeff Fisher's house in Zurich


Hmmm.... Buratta.....


Chocolate & Chocolate


Rose Bakery in Paris. Soooo good!


Chris' class at Rasa in Paris. Overflowing into the lobby!


Mercan Dede and whirling dervishes in Istanbul


Chris practicing by the seaside in Istanbul


Anatomy Training in Istanbul


Bosphorus at dusk


More Bosphorus at dusk


Shopping for a dining table in Istanbul


Seafood restaurant in Istanbul with the Cihangir Yoga crew


Bambi Cafe in Istanbul




A little more traditional Milano....


Wired on espressos


Finding our way around in Milano


Wine at every hour of the day...


Countryside in Tuscany


Chris admiring the countryside in Tuscany


San Gimignano was absolutely magical.


Do I need a caption for this one?


Shannon Falls in Squamish, on the way to Whistler from Vancouver


Shannon Falls


Shannon Falls


Rock in a tree


Teacher Training Level 1 in Vancouver

Tunnels & Bridges


Two things we learned during the drive from Milan to Montignoso:

A- Chris is one of those distance drivers, who can drive for hours and hours from point A to B and then straight to K to Z, without necessarily needing to be anywhere, or stopping for a decent bathroom or restaurant. You just need to give him a good co-pilot to navigate the tiny roads of Tuscany at 9 pm and find a bed & breakfast that he knows nothing about but passionately feels we need to go to.

Well, you get the picture…

IMG_0557 IMG_0568

We had a pretty good breakfast at our hotel, packed our suitcases (one per person, except he is allowed a guitar as well for some reason, yet my shoes stay behind!), and got on the road. We didn’t really know where we were going, except that we were heading south with a few potential places to stop by or to stay in: Parma, La Spezia, Portovenere, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Montignoso. It took us about 25-30 minutes to actually get out of the city and get on the highway in our little Lancia.


If you know me, you know I like cheese. Consequently we had to see where parmigiano reggiano comes from, and we happened to be in the area, so our first stop was Parma. What a beautiful city it was! We parked the car and walked around for a couple of hours, checked out an abundance of restaurants only to be told to wait for 1 hour for a table. These Italians all eat lunch at the same time!

We ended up walking around the streets and just simply absorbing the beauty around us. Little trivia for you here: University of Parma is one of the oldest universities in the world!

Since we couldn’t eat in Parma, we got back on the road after grabbing a few snacks from a supermercato.

IMG_0573 IMG_0574

The couple we had met while having lunch in Milan had recommended the La Spezia/Portovenere area. We thought we could go there and stay the night there if we like it. We could then go to the Cinque Terre area the next day.

Portovenere was, how should I say this, full of tourists of the age group that wear nylons with rubber sandals (you know what I mean?).

Needless to say, we left the area after having some delicious ravioli with some Moretti by the sea side.

Our final back up plan for the day was a bed & breakfast/spa Chris had found online, and it was already 6 pm!

Praise the iPhone & Google Maps! We had no idea where this place was, the directions on their website described the route from Rome, and the paper map we had that Stefanie’s dad had given us didn’t go far enough. We called and made a reservation over the phone (we asked her to email us the directions, but by the time she sent them after our second call to remind her, two hours had passed by and we were almost there) and got on the road.

The entire drive felt like we were either in tunnels or on bridges; it’s quite amazing engineering (yes, I am impressed by stuff like that). Once we left the highway, we traveled another 30 minutes or so on country roads and finally made it, and the place is nice, phew!

We are staying at Borgo La Fornace, about a mile from Montignoso. It’s only been around for a year. It looks like they converted an old building to a spa and built apartments and private residences around it. They have a good restaurant, nice & clean rooms and lots of open space. We will stay here for 2-3 days and then head to another bed & breakfast in a winery that is really close to Florence. While we are here, we’re enjoying the little towns around this area.


Today we went to San Gimignano per Vladi’s recommendation, and you have to have to have to go there if you are ever here.


But more about that later. Now we’ll heat up some left over food and wash it down with some red wine from Chianti Hills.

Ah, Italia Mia!

Yes, from the moment we hit the motor way in our Fiat-like rental, we are saying to ourselves…. “AH!!! Italia MIA!” There’s something about topping out a four cylinder at 80 MPH on the highway that just makes you feel more masculine … I get it now.

Every once in awhile I would roll down the window and honking the horn at no one, I would yell out a few nonsensical words, that with the right accent and the right hand gestures, could be taken for curse words! Ah Italia Mia, I get it… it just feels good.

As we drove into Milan, Ozlem navigated me in with the help of our trusty iPhone, whom we have taken to just calling “i.”

Along the way, Ozlem noticed that on the map there were several towns with the name Olona, my mothers maiden name; BAM! just like that I am Italian… It all makes sense now, my love for leather jackets, my passion for small cars that continuously break down and spew fumes into the cabin and the environment, and of course the rinsing of my mouth after I brush my teeth with a nice 2005 Sangiovese blend (a habit I have taken to only recently, but it seems quite natural).

We checked into our hotel, which was cool.

The next day we walked around the city with no other plan other than to fulfill Ozlem’s desire to see it ALL… on foot! We discovered two things: One, I am what you would call a sprint walker, one who walks quickly from point “A” to point “B” and then needs food, a drink, and a nap and will not be ready to do it again until tomorrow or perhaps the next day; Two, Ozlem is what you would call a distance walker, they can go all day from point “A” to point “Z” and absorb all the interesting facts in between, they seldom need rest and if fed periodically, they can go for days before admitting fatigue.

Exhausted or not… see a park… mats out!


In the evening, with feet aching and legs numb, we took the tram to a restaurant down the street. AMAZING food amongst the chaos. There was a beautiful old man, I presume the owner, who’s job it was to hug and welcome familiar guests, as well as to walk around to each table and look at the order and then rush into the kitchen to expedite the items after they had already come and we had eaten them. How was I to know what he was asking me!? He spoke to me in Italian and I answered him in Spanish and we both acted like we understood each other…. that’s what worldly Italian men do… Ah, Italia mia!

Half way through dinner a truck pulls around the corner blasting Mexican music. In the back of the truck were a few girls wearing SHORT Mexican skirts and dancing; on the side of the truck was a logo for what I assume is a popular whisky in Mexico. The girls began throwing out hats and out of no where, from all the bar-cafe’s that lined the street, people of all walks of life rushed the truck for their free hat. It is unbelievable what constitutes a good idea after a few drinks.

As we sat and watched in disbelief, I saw the Carabinieri (the police) advance on the truck. The intimidating Carabinieri until that point had just been standing around on the street corner watching the passerby’s .

As we watched the scene unfold, I said, “ah ha! Busted!!! There’s no way that driving around with half naked woman on the back of the truck and blaring music at high volumes while littering the streets with free hats is legal, there’s no way!”

Imagine my surprise when through the crowd the Carabinieri emerged with hats in hand and a look of satisfaction and accomplishment on their faces. Ah, Italia mia… I get it!!!

That night, we slept well and the next morning we had an amazing breakfast before we hit the road…. destination, a place on the coast, suggested the couple sitting at the table next to us at lunch the day before. Ah, Italia MIA!

Lady's First

OK, the longer I go without updating the blog, the harder it’s getting. So much is going on….

Let’s see… Where did we leave off? Zurich…

Lady’s First was the name of our hotel in Zurich.

Lake Zurich

Lake Zurich

After spending a few days in Menziken, we went to Zurich to do some workshops. We did a teachers’ workshop on Friday, and a public workshop on Saturday at Planet Yoga. They both went really well; we got to meet a lot of local teachers and students. We are already looking forward to going back.

On Saturday, we went to Jeff Fisher & his wife Daniela’s house for a barbecue in their back yard; such good place and even better company. We must have had about 3-4 bottles of wine, tons of food and chocolate, lots of good conversation…

On Sunday we went to Zug for another workshop at Stefanie’s mom’s studio.

Zug workshop

Zug workshop

Zug workshop


Zug workshop


Handstand tower

Handstand tower

Monday was our day off. We started with a great breakfast at the hotel with lots of cheeses, breads, jams, juices, and yummy cereals.

Breakfast at Lady's First

Breakfast at Lady's First

Then we went to the park by Lake Zurich and did a practice.




Chris in a one-arm-handstand

After the practice we went for a walk around the city, swam in the lake, had some great Italian food and packed for the flight the next morning.

It’s been interesting living out of two bags, being on the “go” non-stop and waking up in a different place every few days. We are now in Paris, teaching some regular classes and just generally hanging out before we head out to Istanbul next Monday.

More about Paris later…