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It’s The Final Countdown – 13 of my most memorable moments of 2017, from jail through a new book’s premiere to engagement

As the end of the year approaches I always love putting together a bit of a list of the very highlights of my past 12 months – and as this year surely was my busiest one so far, I’m excited to share with you the highlights of my journey, from vegan pop-up events and cooking classes around my latest cook book to fun filled travel experiences. Let’s dive in, people! It’s almost time to plan the bucket list for 2018!

  1. Falling in love with Cyprus – all over again, and again, and again

It was love at first sight, and by now it’s almost as complicated as a marriage – after visiting beautiful Cyprus 5 times this year I’m seriously considering getting a property over there, and plan ahead for my retirement years, with the help of www.evergreendevelopments.com 

What can be better than sipping cocktails at Nicosia’s Hoi Polloi bar where we hosted a vegan pop-up, or chillin’ by the pool of Crystal Bay Marina, a luxury complex by the beach?

No surprise that we already have our next ticket to Cyprus – on the 7th of December we are arriving with a group of friends, first staying at our beloved Princessa Vera Hotel in Pafos, discovering the Greek hospitality.

Later on heading towards Kyrenia to indulge ourselves with the local vegan and wellness scene, staying at a breathtaking villa by Evergreen Developments. Was so much fun catching up with our friends there, Otto, Gary, Ingrid and many more – you GOT to get familiar with Caroline, The Spiritual Dog  Trainer‘s work, and my yoga guru friends, Leyla from Yoga Uganda. Are you ready for us, Cyprus?

  1. Taking on Sziget Festival’s Magic Mirror Stage

Just as last summer, this year once again I was responsible for the greatest Central-European festival’s LGBTQ stage’s talk shows and round table shows.

Among our very special guests: Insta star, musician and trans icon Jaimie Wilson, porn performer and artist, trans activist Kay Garnelen, Ezra Dagan, accomplished veteran Israel actor, Gloria Viagra drag icon, and so many more inspirational guests.

Brace yourselves for next year – Sziget is an unmissable adventure for all, aligning the „creme de la creme” of the music, party, and art scene, with guests from all across the globe.

Sziget 2018 will be held in August – and I’ll be there as usually. Do you have an unusual coming out story, are you fighting for LGBTQ rights, or you are an artist focusing on queer topics? Get involved! Shoot me a mail to steiner.kristof@gmail.com, we’ll take it from there.

  1. Going on an all-cooking, all-hosting Euro-trip

What a summer it was! We traveled through Berlin hosting a memorable pop-up dinner at Le Coq Baroque cocktail bar in Kreuzberg, the city’s cewlest hood.

Soon enough we took off to drive to Balaton – we have an exciting collaboration with the lake district’s best winery, Kristinus. Staying at the vinotel gave us the idea to plan a special vegan weekend next year, with loads of cooking and baking, and even more drinking. Are you in?

Croatia was the next one on the list – 3 boys (Nimi, Özge and I) in one car: thanks to our collab with Brown Hotels Israel we had the chance to stay at Trogir’s Brown Beach House, after trying out all Brown hotels in Israel earlier this year.

The Criatian coastline’s most fancy and stylish stay is by the same high standards as our favorite Tel Aviv hotel, Poli House, or our Jerusalem „home”, Villa Brown. Cannot wait to return!

We also did Cluj-Kolozsvár, Vienna, Zagreb, and many more European destinations, including ab-fab pop-ups at Why Not Gastro Bistro Budapest – for keeping track with us, follow our Insta blogs @whitecityboy and @nimrodagan

  1. Never saying no to Mykonos

We almost gave up on it, as we were super-trouper busy this summer, but thanks to a last minute flight we found ourselves in paradise, once again.

Our luxury Mykonos nest Princess Hotel is a five star complex offering vegan friendly stay, with a world-class pool bar, posh yet friendly style, and lovely people working on making your holiday as perfect as possible.

It’s no summer without Priscilla – Mariano Gallo is one of the very reasons we visit the island year after year, his performances on the stage of Jackie O’ bar and beach will take your breath away, and make your heart beat faster.

Vioma organic farm is also a must-stop on our Mykonoan holidays – Marusho, the playful sheep was making it up for us not having the chance to bring our Chinese Crested dog, Özge along with us.

  1. Our 4 days vegan workshop marathon at the Vegan Food Fest

Back in Budapest we once again worked together with all leading vegan hubs in Hungary – at the country’s fantastic plant based foodie festival.

Hosting 4, 90 minutes workshops each day, feeding nearly 500 people, creating 20 different vegan dishes was pure joy – especially with my beautiful sous-chef and talented kitchen magician Nimrod Dagan (follow his fresh Facebook blog, Life by Nimi).

Nimi has his „proper” job as well as actor of Israel’s National Theatre, „HaBima”, but each time I travel I try to make sure he won’t have rehearsals or shows, so we can stick together in the kitchen and in the bedroom as well…

What a selection of vegan super foods: Say Cheez Raw sells perfect cashew alternatives to cheese, Vegan Love delivers the very best burger in town, Vegazzi has true Naples pizza with those oh-so-important black bubbles around the crust, Hideg Nyalat’s vegan yoghurts, Vegan Grill’s classic roasted-grilled festival food, and the colourful spices by Lakshmi just the tips of the vegan iceberg. But the best was hanging out with my dad and my sister, and my best friends who I don’t meet often throughout the year – like Kinga Wertheimer, mother of tunki-tunki, Hungary’s tastiest sandwich spreads and sauces.

  1. Hosting Cosmopolitan magazine’s anniversary bash

I’m a writer and columnist for Cosmo for almost a decade now, and I always been proud of working for working for such professional and fun, international publication.

I love writing deep and intellectual articles as well, but I’m having a blast putting together Cosmopolitan Hungary’s great sex features months after months, or giving tips for job interviews, listing cool and uncool hunks, and even creating vegan recipes for the glossy mag.

That’s why it came as the greatest gift when my Chief Editor, Johanna Sabjan asked me to host the magazine’s 20th bday bash, celebrated with a Beauty Awards gala.

Killin’ it with my co-host and partner in the lime light, Lilu – we’ve been working together for about a decade and a half, first fot the Hungarian Music Television, later on freelancing on gigs and shows, and we always have the best of the fun together on stage.

  1. Conducting Eastern-Europe’s greatest blogger’s conference, Cosmo Blogger Day and Awards

Fort he 4th time now, each and every year Cosmo welcomes online writers and bloggers from the region for a conference, helping everyone finding their own path in the labyrinth of the web.

As a blogger and social media influencer it always gives me a thrill to realise how lucky I am for having the chance to inspire each other with other vloggers, blog and Insta stars and influencers.

The all day conference was made memorable with round table talks, presentations, lectures, and even an award show giving away prices for the most influental and creative bloggers.

Thanks Chloe From The Woods, 50 Pairs Of Shoes, 5 Hozzávaló, KrémMánia, Smize Fashion by Chaby, and many more blogs for participating – see you next year, girls and boys!

  1. Having our second vegan cookbook, Kristóf’s Feasts published with my photographer Sara Salamon (and taking over the bestseller charts)

Not even two years after my first vegan cookbook, Kristóf’s Kitchen came out, I just presented my second plant based recipe collection – with cooking classes at Salt ’n’ Pepper and Paleo cooking schools, workshops for GE and other companies, and hosting a pop-up dinner at Dear Budapest, Gastro Bar.

My book launch was conducted by my favorite food blogger and cookbook writer Zsofia Mautner of Chili ’n’ Vanilia, spiced up by my welcome bites in collab with Menza Budapest – my absolute favourite eatery in the capital, with Kristóf’s Kitchen style vegan selection on their weekly menu, and with an eco-friendly Kristóf-kinda collection we created with my friends Szilvi and Zsófi of Redheads Design.

The party at the city’s coolest co-working space, event hall and communal kitchen Loffice Budapest was guaranteed by the fab vinos of Kristinus, and we even had eco-friendly, self-branded designer aprons and shopper bags by Redheads Design Shop.

Get a copy of my new book here – tens of thousands of people already did, that’s why it was sitting on top of all gastro bestseller lists, even ahead of Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook – which is almost as surreal for me as beating Madonna on the Billboard charts.

  1. Sparkling in ERDEMxHM outfits before the collection is hitting the stores

I’m always excited for the annual HM collaboration – each year the fashion house’s creatives are selecting a high end designer to work with, creating a limited edition, yet affordable collection.

This year it was ERDEM who joined forces with the label – the collection hit the stores ont he 2nd of November all acriss the world, yet I’ve been proudly wearing the items weeks before, thanks to Patricia Devenyi at the HM showroom in Budapest.

The floral prints, classic cuts, brave and unusual features make the ERDEMxHM collection so exciting, I even decided to do a special editorial in collab with Mate Czaban, one of my favourite Hungarian photogtaphers. Check out our shots, taken by the river side of the outskirts of Budapest, taking advantege of the soft, glowing lights of those beautiful autumn mornings in Hungary.

I won’t lie – Nimi and I were freezing, but seeing the final results we both know: it was worth every second shivering outside the October chill.

  1. Spreading my wings wider as international journalist

Apart from being written on – just to mention the best of it: in Forbes magazine, and Cyprus’s daily newspaper – this year I had even more collabs with international companies and publications than previously – I feel incredibly fortunate for having the chance to do what I do best: travel, and write about my experiences.

I was guest at Madrid World Pride by the invitation of the Spanish Tourism Office – the planet’s largest LGBTQ fest was so memorable, I dedicated a full blog post to the adventure.

Another incredible achievement: apart from Time Out Israel – where I’m a columnist of the LGBTQ spread for half a decade now -, I got a proposal from easyJet Traveller magazine, to gather my favourite LGBTQ hotspots of Tel Aviv. And of course here’s our beloved Új Kelet, the Hungarian language print newspaper I’m managing as Executive Editor for two years now.

  1. Getting into the TLV vegan scene with our home restaurant, Kristóf’s Kitchen ’n’ Nimi Bar

I’ve been in the vegan foodie business for quite a while now: in London I supplied Palm2, a health shop in Hackney with vegan cupcakes, later on in Tel Aviv I did an on-bike lunch service, bringing 4 course plant based dishes to the lucky ones.

But by now we upgraded our services – by the quality, quantity, and the experience as well. We have daily visitors at our home restaurant-style brunches and dinners, and thanks to a post by Israel’s most prominent vegan blogger, TivonEat, the locals also discovered the magic behind the crumbling walls of our Kerem HaTeimanin apartment.

Join us for a 12 dishes magical meal, order a cooking class to your home, have us catered your wedding, birthday, or work celebration, and if you have an awesome bar, restaurant, or café, let’s do a pop-up event together – info@steinerkristof.com

  1. Getting arrested in Tel Aviv

That’s something I never expected – but as we all know, challenges shape the character, and build self-security. Not so long ago the Israel Police – משטרת ישראל walked up to me at my local bank, and I was being told: I’m number one suspect of a crime. I was put in jail for 4 hours, investigated for yet another one, and I was informed: I was reported by an old lady who thinks I attacked her on the street – for not giving me money. Although it was a clear misunderstanding, such thing can happen – someone points a finger at you, and you are being treated as criminal.

My jewelries were removed, the belt of my shorts has been cut off, and I had no chance to speak to my boyfriend, or even to my lawyer. I couldn’t even give an alibi as they did not let me approach my schedule in my phone. But they did took my finger prints, and shot some iconic photos of me – thanks for welcoming me in the only members club! By now, my case is closed, and although I am not in jail anymore, my life has changed at large.

There is someone out there looking like me, talking like me, dressing like me, he even has a tiny doggie, and he is insulting people every day on the streets of Tel Aviv, wishing people’s death and attacking them physically. The real criminal was not put under arrest – and my name was never cleared by the police. My boyfriend, Nimrod Dagan shared the story in Hebrew with his readers at גאווהmako‘s gay magazine. To read it, click here. http://www.mako.co.il/…/Nim…/Article-e7f2387dfd20f51006.htm…

  1. Getting engaged

Nimi and I have been together for 20 months now, and although I never felt like we’re just having a fling, I was much careful at first – breaking up after 9 years didn’t exactly build trust in me, regarding the concept of „happily ever after”.

Nimi and I have a relationship where – apart from simply having fun together all the time, and every time – we don’t have to pretend at all. No games. No dramas. Arguments, misunderstandings? For sure – but we solve them “on the go”, instead of giving the issue the power to stop us from enjoying life together.

I found my match in my “shameless” behaviour: just like me, he never cares what others things of us, and without a pose, without going around the bush we go for what we believe in. We life fast, loud, bright, and we refuse to stop dreaming and doing for those dreams becoming our reality. We both suffered enough never to allow a relationship to break us, but to build us – as individuals, and as a couple.

We celebrate life, we celebrate each other, and we celebrate the given chance for ALL of us human beings to create a world we always dreamt of – at any give moment. Thank you my love, for asking me to marry you – slightly tipsy, full of tears, on your knees, in the middle of the streets of Budapest by night, putting your granddad’s beautiful, and meaningful ring on my finger.

It is not taken for granted, that you chose me, and you are choosing me every day – your love, your trust and your gentle patience brough me back to life, and gave me back the faith not only in humanity, not only in love, but also in engagement, and – eventually – marriage.

Stick with me on Insta @whitecityboy, and follow my luved one’s profile for insider pics – find him as @nimrodagan. The blog’s FB feed: @whitecityboy, personal FB blog in Hungarian with over 30K followers: @steinerkristofoldala, our foodie projects on FB: @kristofkonyhaja for Hungary, @kristofskitchen for international foodies. Twitter: @kristofsteiner, @whitecityboy

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