Monday, December 14, 2009

Feedbag: Istanbul

We can't talk about Istanbul without waxing rhapsodic on the many virtues of its cuisine, from top to bottom. We were first hit with the basics the moment we stepped out into the street and saw the vendors. Freshly baked breads kept warm behind the glass of little red, wheeled carts, fresh mackerel sandwiches, grilled corn, roasted chestnuts, freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, lamb or chicken kebab sandwiches stuffed with french fries (why not). The spice market or Egyptian Bazaar was filled with every nut, Turkish delight, delicious string cheese (the best ever), and honeycomb. We sipped Turkish black tea on the ferry on our way to the Asian side of the City in Kadıköy where we dined at Çiya, sharing small plates of authentic Anatolian dishes of kebabs (never too much), stuffed lamb casings, meatballs (köfte), nettle soup, baked dough stuffed with chicken, raisins, rice and pinenuts. During the day, we brunched in Bebek, an upscale, serene district just north of the old city and right on the coast of the Bosphorus. The restaurant Mangerie was a laid-back, picture perfect place for lingering over fresh sage tea with cinnamon and Turkish coffee as we gawked at the incredible view. In the district of Beyoglu where we stayed, we did the 12-course tasting menu at Changa. The hip 3-story restaurant is housed in a rehabbed 19th century townhouse, its original ceiling still in tact and juxtaposing so nicely with the exposed concrete walls and contemporary sconces. On the 1st floor we walked across the glass window that looked down into the sub-level kitchen below before hiking up the three flights of stairs. Our food was sent up in a modern dumb-waiter, and our water served in jumbo-sized beakers.

Our drool-worthy Istanbul favorites that still stand out after some distance include the winter-only hot drink Sahlep (made from orchid root, milk then dusted with nutmeg), apple tea, baklava made from pistachios then drenched in honey, candied tomatoes and gözleme (blintzes stuffed with either meat, cheese or potato).

-Changa Restaurant, Beyoglu
-Double soup of swiss chard and roasted beets, Changa
-Freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, Sultanahmet
-Spice market: nuts, beans, Turkish delight
-Mangerie, Bebek
-Fish bread, Mangerie
-Turkish village eggs over toast, Mangerie
-Grilled corn, Sultanhmet
-Raki, Refki in Beyoglu
-Raspberry nini-pies, Witt Hotel, Beyoglu
-The ferry to Kadıköy





1 comment:

  1. Wooow!!!

    The Spice Market is a great bazaar.

    I will going to this bazaar.