Photosynthesis

Honestly, if someone hadn’t arranged a meeting at the Photosynthesis café, I would have never known it existed. I always associate this place as a store for photography, but upstairs on the second floor is a beautiful gallery cum café.

The space is open and bright. Plenty of room to sit without bumping into your neighbor.

The walls are adorn with amazing photographs. I am not sure if it is a rotating exhibit or permanent installation. I was really taken with the beautiful and inspiring nature scenes.

They also have a menu for food. You can order a sandwich or other light bites. Judging from what my friend ordered the portions seem healthy and by healthy I mean sizable. 

Photosynthesis
57 Vasil Levski Blvd./бул. “Васил Левски” 57
Hours: Mon. – Fri. 09:30-20:30, Sat. 10:00-20:30, Sun. 10:00-19:00 
Tel: 02/980 73 71; 0888 024 999 
E-mail: center@photosynthesis.bg, photo@photosynthesis.bg
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Ciccione Panini Bar & Bakery

Of all the international cuisines available in Sofia and Bulgaria in general, the Italian influence is by far the most ingrained into society. A majority of Bulgarian restaurants have some interpretation of Italian staples like pizza and pasta. Ciccione is a relatively new addition to Sofia offering a nice alternative to traditional fast food options in the center.

Located on Hristo Belchev, Ciccione is ideally situated across the street from Confetti and directly next door to the Irish pub 19th Hole. The foot traffic alone will help to ensure plenty of hungry Sofians visit the shop.
Upon entering Ciccione, to your left you find the bakery and sandwich counter. Freshly made sandwiches line the glass counter waiting to be pressed. Since I had already eaten lunch, I opted for a coffee.
Guests can sit at one of the counters located street level, or they can find an abundance of seating downstairs. There is a staircase located in the middle of the shop, so you can’t miss it.
At the back of the shop, you can find a deli counter with the cheeses, meats and other cold products that you can purchase for home. As, I was not hungry, I picked up some cheese nibbles to share with the family. I would have to say that the ranges is limited and the prices are on par with other gourmet shops, selling similar products, but if one is looking for an extensive range of Italian meats and cheeses, I think iSensi and Dar ot Bogovete offer a wider selection, although usually at a higher price.
Next time I am in Sofia for lunch, I will be sure to stop and try a panini… If there is any additional notable information, I will update this post. Having access to fresh bread and imported Italian cheeses and meats will almost guarantee a tasty sandwich. The prices are decent, so you can find something in the 2 – 4 lv
Hristo Belchev Str. №6, ул. Христо Белчев 6 
1000 Sofia, Bulgaria  
Hours: Mon – Fri: 8-23:30 
Sat.10-23:30 Sun.11-19 
Тел/Tel: 0882 503 040 
Email: ciccionecv@abv.bg 

SupaStar

I first made it to SupaStar the weekend of DiVino’s Taste 2012. I was with my daughter Maya, early on Sunday afternoon; we were waiting for them to open. A small cluster of people formed near the door, like us waiting for some soup. One by one, I saw bowls of Shkembe Chorba being served for eating in or to go, which led me to believe that weekend mornings must be quite busy for those looking to find a good dose of the traditional Bulgarian hang-over remedy.

I decided to branch out and order something that was a bit out of the box for me, which was a olive and leek cream-based soup with rice, while Maya opted for a chicken sandwich; we both had the lemonade. Maya was quick to comment that they had a nice selection of beverages including a cranberry soda and ginger ale… Yes for all of you American looking for this mythic beverage in Bulgaria. They have it, a small bottle and costs around 3 leva, but to satisfy a craving… one must indulge.
Maya was quite happy with her sandwich and decided to share her enthusiasm with a little note, which she hoped would join the wall of doodles and greetings! She was quite shy to clip it up herself, but left it on the table hoping to be discovered. On my second visit to SupaStar there it was… the only pink index card amongst the sea of yellow. I took a photo so share it with her and she was very excited!
My soup however was quite bland and I think quite is a bit of an under statement. It was watery and just blah. I tried adding salt and pepper, but even when I reached a the maximum amount of salt without going to a bad place, it was still unsatisfactory. But, I don’t want to hold an off soup against them. One soup out of six, it could be that I got the experiment of the weekend. I planned on returning for round two… and I did!
Round two: I met up with a fellow blogger Violeta from Merudia.bg to discuss my lecture at Taste 2012 about Slow Food and Slow Wine. We both ordered the Chinese-style Sweet and Sour Chicken soup with tofu. It was better, significantly more flavorful with slices of bamboo and red flakes from the sweet chili sauce, which very well could have been the one readily available in the grocery stores; it makes sense since this soup is probably rotated into their soup repertoire sporadically. The soup was lacking something distinctly sour, there was no pucker and the flavor was a bit shallow. Overall an interesting interpretation.

I would have to say my favorite part about SupaStar beside a place for a quick bit that is not a duner (street meat) or pizza, is the design. It is another fantastic job by Funkt architects. You can also see their work in a variety of places around Sofia, like Take a Cake Bakery. I have a passion for modern architecture and design ever since I worked as an Associate Producer on the TV adaption of Dwell magazine.

Are my expectations high? Yes. Will I return? Yes. Even though they opened in 2009, I think there is still room to grow and learn. They seem eager to do something new and as the forefront of the soup movement in Sofia. They need to stay a head of Farmer’s, Soupateria and others.

8 Tsar Ivan Shishman str. 
1000 Sofia, Bulgaria 
Hours:  Mon – Fri: 10:30 am – 9:00 pm 
Sat: 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm 
Sun: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm

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