Archive for the ‘Food & Drink’ Category

Meet me at Kizilkayalar Hamburger

3 times this past week, I’ve met friends in front of the Burger King on Istiklal Caddesi. It’s a great place to meet- everyone knows where it is- the Burger King name is pounded into the heads of nearly everyone on the planet.

to rakı or not to rakı

Recently i’ve been thinking about writing on the subject Raki, though its history is easy to find for the curious mind. So i’ve decided to focus on how to drink it, as every liquor has its own ritual. But then again, there are many ways of consuming Raki as many as the people who consume it. (For instance, during my first experiences drinking the brew, due to the heavy smell of anise, i had preferred drinking it without water. As i got used to, i started to pour water and then add my ice cubes.) I am not an expert on the matter so I am going to paraphrase an expert.

Guacamole Istanbul style

I am lucky. Whenever my wife and I visit my in-laws near Mersin, my mother-in-law loads us down with crates of lemons, oranges, pomegranates, and my favorite- avacados fresh off the trees in their orchard.

Eat sweet, Talk sweet

For those who have visited Turkey, reading this will be a ?sweet? remembrance. And for those who haven?t, hopefully, it will be like a guide. One of the things I am happy to be born in this country is that I have the opportunity to live on this delicious food each and every day. So I have been considering to write about Turkish Cuisine for a while, but this means I should start writing a book here, rather than an entry. So I chose to narrow down the topic to desserts. I love anything sweet, and I don?t have much appreciation for those who don?t like eating it.

Traditional Turkish desserts can be divided into three areas: desserts with pastry, desserts with milk and desserts with fruit. If I had to choose one of them, I couldn?t and I wouldn?t because, each of them addresses one of my different, ever-changing dessert mood (now I am in the mood for K? .

Desserts with pastry (if your motto is ?I love carbonhydrate?): Desserts with pastry are generally hard to deal with as a cook (the well-known Baklava is made up of 40 sheets of pastry thin as a veil). So before eating them, we should spend a minute or two respecting them. A dessert with pastry is generally the sweetest thing you will ever eat, be prepared. My favourite one is Ekmek Kadayıfı (made up of two layers somewhat like a bread and some cream which will complement the unique taste).
ekmek kadayifi.bmp
The best Ekmek Kadayıfı you will eat in İstanbul is in Saray Muhallebicisi in Taksim, Beyoğlu (actually Saray Muhallebicisi is one of the best places you can eat any dessert. So my suggestion is go there and order a dessert from each area).
Baklava has many sub-baklavas, namely Baklava with pistachios, Baklava with nuts, plain Baklava and so on. You can go to Saray but I think G?amp;#287;lu in Karak?s the expert.
I have mentioned K?earlier, it is one of the great wonders of the world. The sweet pastry has cheese in it and it is served hot. It is very very sweet, needs professional care. If you are not into sweet that much, do not try it. I have one and only address for K? it is Uludağ Et Lokantası in Florya, İstanbul. So I am moving on? Tulumba has a hard outside and a sweet inside full of sherbet. I don?t have any special address for this, try Saray again, it can’t be bad. There is Revani which I am not a great fan of, but a lot of people love it. It is like a sponge cake with sherbet. Şam Baba is easily found in Saray, decorated with some fruits, is again made up of a cake and sherbet. I am putting an end to pastries, I feel like I have gained 2 kilos since I began writing.

Desserts with milk (motto ?milk it?): a vast field again. Let?s be simple and start with Muhallebi, milk cooked with starch. It is one of the basic milk desserts. Then, comes my favourite: Fırın S?(aka rice pudding but it is baked in oven). Tavukg?p;#287;s?iterally breast of a chicken, and yes it is made with breast of a chicken. Don?t let your prejudgements beat you. If Tavukg?p;#287;s?aked it is called Kazandibi which is much more delicious. I think these are the ones worth eating.

Desserts with fruit (motto ?fruit of the dessert?): Ayva Tatlısı is my spiritual leader.
It is made up of quince, walnut and cream. Mmmm delicious. There is Kabaktatlısı made with pumpkin but nothing like a pie. The list goes on with distuinguished fruits such as fig, apricot and apple. There is Aşure which has a religious connection and made up of fruits, wheat, chickpea, a very crowded list of ingredients. I think it is a dessert which is one of a kind. (Desserts with milk and fruit can all be found in Saray Muhallebicisi)

I will update the list on demand. I apologise from any dessert that I have forgotten mentioning.

coffee break

coffee cup

coffee cap

coffee cup covered with house-made bun disguised as a coffee cap. spotted in a coffee shop on the asian side. seeking comfort in trivialities disguised as silly alliterations and puns.

The Art of Brewery

The only brewery in the most luxurious district in Istanbul, Tesvikiye, Taps has opened the new winter season last saturday. As a resident of Tesvikiye, it was my duty to check out the new menu.

In Taps, brewery begins from the top floor and the beer is served from the bar located in the entrance floor. 2nd and 3rd floors are reserved as restaurant and guests can watch the brewery process behind the glass walls.

Taps offers salads, pizza, grill and pasta as well as non-alcohol drinks, wine and -of course- daily beer. Taps also serves their delicious beer in takeaway growler. You can visit their website (only in Turkish) here.

eating lokal

Lokal, a so-called fusion restaurant in Asmalimescit/Tunel, serves specialities from Indian, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese and Turkish cuisine. More interesting than the food is the decoration mirroring the fusion-spirit with robot-toys on the tables, a huge cactus surrounded by candles wrapped in paper containers, another fellow robot and a blinking red lampshade – a fine example of kitsch. A movie is being screened on the big screen mounted on the wall outside the restaurant, it was some movie of woody harrelson when i was there. the ladies room donwstairs is all in red with a giant round mirror which makes you look a lot thinner than you really are, an undefineable radio-like apparatus mounted on the wall and most importantly, a huge blackboard for those who want to spit out their thoughts as well.

soup.jpg the menu cards are stuck into sleeves of pop albums of the 70ies and as the font is too small to be read in the dim lighting, you just order the meal with the most strange name. i chose a soup called Tom Ka Gai, coconut chicken soup, of which i do not have an image. very spicy and almost purple in color, it was indeed the most interesting soup i ever ate. next you see the soup my friend ordered, the name of which i do not remember, but the lighting (notice the lighter flame on the upper right corner) of which is provided by none other than me. To sum it up, it is very dim in lokal, i like robot toys and the huge cactus in front of the window is a pain in the ass as it prevents us from seeing the movie. and oh, candles wrapped in paper make me uncomfortable.

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