Kebabs, kebabs, kebabs, baclava, kebabs, kebabs….
And that’s all we ate in Istanbul.
I jest. Sort of.
We DID eat a lot of kebabs … but they were pretty amazing. Especially the Teste kebab, which (despite Alex’s hesitation based on the suspicious sounding Latinate root), turns out to be meat and veggies cooked in a special clay pot. They have to break the clay pot to get your food out, and it’s done in quite a dramatic fashion with flame and calculated tapping on the pot … different restaurants play it up for tourists, of course, but we got a big kick out of it. 🙂
We also had some amazing bread, which comes out all puffy but slowly deflates over time.
After our 4th of 5th meal of meat and rice though, Alex wanted some pasta, so we ventured to a special restaurant on Istiklal Cadessi that serves authentic Turkish pasta. It was …. interesting. I’m afraid it’s clear that Italy is the winner in the pasta stakes. Turkish pasta looks a lot like gnocci, but comes floating in a pool of oil and cheese. There is no sauce per se, just a lot of oil and cheese. Did I mention the oil? And the cheese?
I didn’t mind it that much, actually … except that it’s an awful lot of the same flavor, and it takes a long time to work your way through that much oil and cheese. By the end, my arteries were groaning!
By far the highlight of the trip for me was the baclava. I’m a fan of the honey and pistacchio treat from way back when …. and I had some of the best baclava in the world. I especially liked it when served as above, with ice cream on top! Yummy!
This picture is probably my favorite, because it shows our Christmas dinner. This is what we ate mid-day on Christmas day, sitting in the square between the Blue Mosque and the Aya Sofia. It’s a simit, which is kind of like a pretzel, but without the twisty bit. It’s sesame bread, and they’re sold on the streets as a quick mid-day snack. Forget a turkey and all the trimmings … for us, a simit and a Coke made for the perfect Christmas dinner!