Here is another delicious Turkish sweet. It is made from ripe quince, which is only available for two or three months in autumn. This ayva tatlısı came from Sakarya Tatlıcısı (here) in Beyoğlu, and it is the real deal. Other places will add colorants, making it look like this. The white topping is kaymak, which is kind of like clotted cream, but better. Real kaymak is made from water buffalo milk.
A traditional Turkish dessert, originating in Bursa. Otherwise known as Kemal Pasha, it has cheese in it. More here. The çay (tea) is obligatory.
A delicious Turkish soup made from lentils.
Outdoor seating at the Zuğa Balık Evi in Beyoğlu. It is not far from the mannequin finishing school.
As the “kids” say, OMG. This pudding (a name which does not do it justice) is made with chicken breast (the actual translation of tavuk göğsü), rice flour, milk and sugar. The chicken is shredded and/or pounded into a powder to give this delicacy its texture. It is thicker than your standard-issue pudding, has a denser texture (I am struggling for a descriptor) and is (as the “kids” say) freaking delicious. You would never know there was chicken involved to look at it or taste it. Do both if you can.
Börek and surrealism
Börek is a pastry made of thin, flaky dough (yufka), and filled with cheese, meat or vegetables. Börek is another delicious (and cheap) Turkish culinary experience. There are many, many börek eateries in Istanbul. As I ate peynirli (cheese-filled) börek in a tiny cafe (two tables) in Ortaköy last night this print of a surrealist painting (neo-surrealist? help me out, art people) was above me on the wall. Because of this, my meal seemed doubly-surreal (including the low blood sugar). I have seen this image before and am sure someone will recognize it and tell me who the artist is. (George?)
Melon vendors on Çimen Sokak
This is their horse cart as seen from my fourth-floor apartment window on Çimen Sokak (Wild Grass Street) in the Ergenekon neighborhood of Istanbul. There is nary a blade of grass on Çimen Sokak. I like these guys better than the other melon vendors who use a pickup truck and a loudspeaker. Visit the previous post to hear these guys in action. The horse is silent. (Speaking of silent, there is a poster of Miles Davis in my apartment. Not that one, this one).
These cabbages were in the Sunday market on Oğuz street in the Mecidiyiköy district of Istanbul. The word for market and Sunday is the same in Turkish: pazar. Isn’t there a rule about not eating anything larger than your own head?
Dinner was at the Kadı Lokantası, where the discriminating diner can find cheap and delicious cafeteria-style food. Yum. The sign on the kitchen door read “You are able to visit our kitchen.” I declined.
Here is the menu. It’s ok, I don’t know what every one of these things is, either. One of the most expensive items on the menu is the Hünkar Beğendi (lamb stew over roasted eggplant puree). It is 7.20 TL or about $3.25 US. A large chunk of bread is the equivalent of about 12 cents. Added bonus, it’s delicious.
Fresh figs at night
I was a little hungry tonight, so I walked a few blocks to what might be the equivalent of a convenience store in the states. There were plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables out front, but at inflated prices (like everything else in the store). These figs were selling at 9,90 Turkish lira per kilogram as compared to the 7TL in the day market a few blocks in the other direction. I bought a half a dozen large, fresh figs, even at this price. These six figs (about a pound) cost roughly $2.60 U.S. instead of the $1.85 I would have paid during the day. Fresh figs. Yum. They looked pretty good to me, in spite of the florescent lighting.