Thursday, July 28, 2011

new image

In Konya, peeps come alive!

Hagia Sophia

its as awesome as you've heard.

Chora Church// Kariye Camii

Byzantine perfection

beyond the honeymoon

Home again!  Our honeymoon is over and we're back, safe and sound, in Atlanta.  The wedding was wonderful, the honeymoon fabulous (more posts on Turkey to follow, now that I can really get down and organize my 1500+ photos), but the real question is, what comes after the honeymoon?

I leave with you NC band Bombadil's thoughts on the matter...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Street Food Parade

Above is a shot of a great Kokorec stall we found in Bergama Turkey. Kokorec is spice stuffed, and slow cooked lamb instestine. It is a particular favoriet of mine. It is just one of the many artery-clogging-appetite-wetting street foods to be found. But to give you a sense of what else is out there here is a quick run down of some of our favorite street foods we've yet to blog about.

 1. Hamburger in Sauce. There is no good way to take a picture of this burger. It always looks soggy. That is because it is soggy. They keep the whole thing covered in a spicy tomato sauce. It might look bad but it tastes real good.
 2. Corn in a cup. Just as simple as it sounds, but with lots of butter, garlic, salt, and just a bit of ketchup for fun. A great summer snack.

 3. Green figs. A seasonal fruit on the carts right now. Truely one of the best fruits on the planet.

 4. Rice stuffed mussles. A guilty pleasure of many in Istanbul. These questioanble shell fish are sold off of paper trays uncooled in the blazing sun. They are however too delicious to pass up. And once you squirt it with lemon the acid kills any bacteria right? RIGHT?

 5. Kumru. A greasy greasy sandwhich composed of three different sausages grilled together and then topped with a thick slice of fried cheese.

6. Cig Kofte. We've actually blogged about these raw lamb meat balls. But this dark one in the foreground is new. It is an eastern anatolian spin on Kofte. It is far spicier and has an almost chipotle taste. It is totally different than the more familiar orange balls, and also delicious.

Fatih is for meat lovers

LIlly took this shot of me talking to an Istanbul butcher last night as we went on the hunt for roast lamb. We only have a few days left in Turkey and we wanted to make sure that we made time for tandir. This is a general term for lamb slow cooked in a closed pit. Essentially this is Turkey's version of NC whole hog bbq. To find the best we went to the Fatih neighborhood to "little Kurdistan" an area where you can find many eateries cooking in the style of the far east of Turkey.

Here's a shot of the a Fatih neighborhood street. Lots of locals drinking tea next to a ruined roman aquaduct. The food we wanted in particular is called buryan kebap. for this a whole lamb is hung and smoked in a pit for hours...


then diced (also like NC BBQ) and served on flat bread. 

We found all this at Sur Ocakbasi.Here is Lilly with one of the cooks. You can see the hagning sides of meat behind her.

Like all good bbq from any country what makes buryan so tasty is the near perfect ratio of fat to meat. A little salty, a little greasy, a lot of delicious.

 And our meal was perfectly finished with another eastern Turkish delight icecream covered in a warm shell of fried corn meal and dried fruit.

The only thing better than the meal was the logo for the restuarant. You can see it is a picture of a kid inside a watermellon rind.

Friday, July 22, 2011


a swaying funicular ride over the city///crumbling temples///fierce winds///blazing sun///views to kill for///a river contained///a place left bereft, an altar removed///Pergamum

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The best Turkish ice cream

Turkish ice-cream, or dondurma, is a treat as unique to the region as the better known "Turkish Delight" (thank C.S. Lewis for that one).  Unlike gelato, which can be found in lesser manifestations almost anywhere in the world, dondurma has stayed close to its roots (with some minor exceptions). 

Dondurma is composed of all the normal ice cream elements (cream, milk, sugar, etc) with a few odd-balls, namely salep (a flour made of Purple Orchid Root) and mastic (a resin).  I'm not sure what the salep does, but the mastic is immediately distinguishable in true turkish ice-cream by its tell-tale "gummy" character.

Unlike gelato, ice-cream, sorbets, sherberts, and other scoopable frozen concoctions, dondurma is chewy.  It takes a second to get used to it, but this girl finds it a delightful summer refreshment. 

Dondurma is most often served by street-vendors who offer a sort of entertaining show.  Because of its gumminess, vendors can flip and steal a cone topped with the stuff with great ease, to the amusement of all passerby, for whom the same joke (mysteriously) never gets old.  However, the flavors that come with the show are usually pretty generic (lemon, chocolate, nondescript pink, and plain).

For this reason, we were surprised and gratified to find a dondurma place in Eski Foca serving a panopoly of flavors to rival any gelateria.

 We were at first drawn to this shop by the unceasing lines at all hours of the day (they're open til 3am in the busy season).  The wait isn't terrible - they move people along quickly and while you wait you may be lucky enough to watch an elderly man with the charm and demeanor of a retired mafioso (raspy voice, kind to children, gruff appearance) make waffle cones.

First run: on the left, lemon atop black mulberry.  On the right, cappacino and pistachio.
Second go (we may or may not have gone twice in the same day): on the left, cherry astride apricot capping yogurt.  To the right, mint and dark chocolate, capped with a dark chocolate shell.   BAM.