The Healing, Senator Charles Grassley, and Eating on the Road

“What’s it like to play in the same leagues as the big boys,” you might ask?  Or you might wonder, “What the heck is he talking about?”Lentil Soup

 Well, get your head out of the sand.  Donald Trump hosted Saturday night live on November 7, and NBC has granted “equal time” requests to four other GOP candidates.  No, they won’t be hosting SNL, but they will get prime time access to air their messages to voters.

 On KRUU’S Great Taste we provided a platform for Democratic senatorial candidate Tom Fiegen to communicate his views on family farms, GMO’s, climate change, and sustainable agriculture, and Rob Hogg, another Democrat running in the spring primary asked and presented his thoughts on the same issues.  This week, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley also weighs in on the same topics. 


MantiFollowing the Senator, I’ll offer some thoughts about eating on the road.  Many times it is challenging.  Last week I got lucky and landed in a Turkish oasis-Cafe34Istanbul-in Orlando, Florida.  I felt the stars were aligning properly when immediately after I sat down and took the far right hand stool at the counter in front of the food preparation area, I heard another patron speaking in a language I figured was Turkish.  She was having a FaceTime conversation on her iPhone with a man I assumed was in Turkey.  Then I heard the cooks conversing in Turkish, and I smiled inwardly figuring Orlando might just work out ok for food this trip.

 If you’ve been to Orlando, then you know the scene around the Convention Center is full of the normal Mexican, Indian, BBQ, pizza, and other strip center type spots, plus a plethora of higher-end chain restaurants.  There is a growing local food scene, but it’s located about 30 minutes away from the convention and theme park areas.  I go to Orlando every other year for a trade show, but knew I had two trips to Orlando booked in a three-month period starting this November.  You all know how much I love good food so I was not looking forward to the Orlando work assignments. Saeeda Hafiz

With a little help from Yelp, I zeroed in on Café 34 Istanbul, a short 10-minute walk from my hotel, and for five nights that right hand seat at the counter bar was mine.  The food was simple, honest, fresh, and delicious whether I was enjoying the hummus, dolma, lentil soup, babaganush, shakshuka, mercimek kofte, cigar borek, iskender, manti, or other dishes.  I ate well, learned a little about Turkish food, and made some new friends, plus now I am looking forward to that next trade show in January rather than dreading it.

 In the second half of the show, Saeeda Hafiz will sit down to talk with me in the Beth Howard-GBSstudio.  Saeeda is the author of The Healing-a Memoir of Food, Family, and Yoga.  As I read the book I found Saeeda’s words turning into tendrils that wrapped themselves around and through me.  Don’t miss our conversation.  You can order the book at

 Next week it’s GREAT TASTE LIVE with Ms. American Pie, Beth Howard, at Green Building Supply on Tuesday, December 1 at 7:00 pm.  You are invited!