Legend Potato — Heartwarming Comfort Food

ImageThis week, while visiting my hometown, I learned about “Legend Potato” in the food court at Regency Square.


Legend Potato is a place where you can buy a baked potato and stuff it with ingredients that many people already expect to stuff a potato with (as well as a few other items that would be new to the American palate).



The owners are a married international couple from two countries that I personally love and have invested my life in: Turkey and Kazakhstan.


Ortakoy, Istanbul, Turkey…the home of the Kumpir

Legend Potato serves what Americas would call a “loaded baked potato,” but in Kazakhstan  it is known as “kumpir.” When we moved to Istanbul in 2011, we learned that the “kumpir” is a Turkish idea  that started in the idyllic community of Ortakoy, along the Bosphorus.


Kumpir are baked potatoes in which you can add corn and meat and even pickled cabbage. My daughters commented last night how wonderful it is to add potato salad to a baked potato,

Imageeven though it seems odd and redundant (by the way, potato salad is called “Olivi-ay” in Kazakhstan, but the Turks call it “American Salad”).


Legend Potato offers meat lovers baked potatoes and also a baked potato with chili on top, and with the many other available ingredients, there are countless combinations that one could try.


Although the food is heartwarming and tasty, what I liked even more about my visits was the welcoming manner of the dear proprietors: ImageMurat and Rita (Murat, by the way, used to work in the neighborhood where we live and next to Nations Church).

Although I return to Turkey on Monday, I hope to see my new friends when I am again visiting Virginia.



By the way, they also serve loaded sweet potatoes and dessert waffles. Sweet potatoes are not easily found in either Kazakhstan or Turkey, but Legend Potato serves these with pride.



And you get free refills on fountain drinks: free refills are not regularly found in Turkey and are almost non-existent in Kazakhstan.



I encourage you to visit Legend Potato at Regency Square, Richmond, VA. And you can like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/legendpotato


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Language Lessons

A sweet note by my daughter, Emily, about her niece (my granddaughter), Jolie.

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A Little Hope For The New Mama

My daughter, Grace, wrote this, and it is a great read!

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Nations Church Christmas Promo Video

various people from Nations Church, Istanbul, wish the world a Merry Christmas in languages from around the world.

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Sütiş Kebap Dünyası: Perhaps My Favorite Turkish Restaurant in Taksim

photo 2 photo 1I have been a lover of Turkish cuisine since the late 80s when I ate at a Turkish restaurant for the first time in Virginia Beach, VA. Once we moved to Almaty, Kazakhstan, we became regular patrons of several Turkish restaurants (our all time favorite in Almaty was Sancak).

In Taksim (Istanbul, Turkey) there are many enjoyable restaurants and coffee shops, and my absolute favorite is Sütiş Kebap Dünyası.

Sometimes when friends are visiting, we take them to various places and this one is great! Today we shared a couple great salads, one mixed grill portion and the absolute best Iskender kebab. The meat on both plates was superbly prepared, and even though I am still full, while I write this, I am actually salivating from the memory!

We chose this restaurant, also, because it has great künefe. We shared one portion and also a portion of kaymaklı ekmek kadayıfı. Topped off with cups of Turkish tea, it was the perfect ending to a perfect day (we had enjoyed a great worship service at Nations Church, Istanbul, and visited the Spice Bazaar).

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Caffe Nero (Astoria Towers)

Time of review: Friday, November 1, 2013, 16:00-18:30


Coffee Quality: I drank one cappuccino and found it to be tasty, smooth with great foam. The barista asked if I wanted a dash of cocoa on my foam and I answered affirmatively. Barista’s should always ask before adding anything to one’s drink, so I appreciate this.

Coffee Choices: There are several drinks on the menu. I have enjoyed their Americano and Espresso. Their frappe latte is a favorite in the warmer months.



Atmosphere & location: In the Astoria Towers, they have the best view. I saw a sign that seemed to indicate that they were moving to the floor below their current location. I hope this has a equally good view. Sadly, Astoria is under renovation, and seemed a bit like a ghost town when I arrived, but Caffe Nero was bustling.

The Astoria Towers are at the edge of Mecidiyekoy. Some would even call it Gayreteppe, but since it is near the top of my list, I consider it to still be in Mecidiyekoy.

This location is convenient for Halic University, Fatih University and for Nations Church.


Extras: I have enjoyed there sandwiches on occasion. I had a delicious fudge cake at this time.



Service: This has counter service, only. But, the staff is friendly and helpful (and professional baristas).


Bathrooms: I didn’t check it out this time, but the bathrooms are maintained by Astoria Towers and they have always been clean.

Likelihood of a return visit: Very high likelihood, as I am a great fan of this cafe and it is convenient for my office.

Personal notes:I consider Caffe Nero to be my favorite coffee chain in Istanbul. I have consistently received the best coffee at the four locations I have visited outside of the airport (it is my desire to report nothing negative, therefore I will not discuss the Caffe Nero at the Attaturk Airport).

I absolutely love the Astoria location, with it’s view of the backside of Mecidiyekoy, the fir trees of Zincirlikuyu and the towers of Levent. They do not offer a terrace, but that means that there is not the annoying smell and taste of cigarette smoke accompanying my cappuccino, as there can be at other coffee shops around Istanbul.

The first time I ever drank at a Caffe Nero, it was at the Astoria. It was in the Autumn of 2011, and my wife and I were new to the city and living on the Asian side. After a meeting with some people in Uskudar, we decided to cross the Bosphorus by ferry (one of my favorite things to do) and explore. From Besiktas we walked up Barbaros Blvd in order to find Mecidiyekoy. We found the Astoria Towers. On thisImage cool Autumn day, and we were exhausted from our uphill trek, but that first cup of Caffe Nero cappuccino is now the “high water mark” for my appreciation of the lovely brew.

Yesterday, I met with a friend and colleague. We both love coffee, and his choice was Americano, while mine was a large cappuccino. My favorite barista was washing dishes, so I was concerned when someone I didn’t know was making my treat, but he prepared with excellence.

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