Saturday, March 17, 2012

On Turkish Food.

Monday rolled round and Hannah and I woke up to a quiet homestead. The boys left us to our own devises (after a desperate 6am canter to find Brent’s passport) and meandered off to Europe. Doing what we do, we decided we would either dedicate our day to moping or to food. The latter won out in a fairly showy manner. Blame it on the simmit. The simmit itself is an illustrious creature, one that elevates the common carb to an art form. It is the Turkish bagel. It is round like a bagel, has a hole in the middle like a bagel, and is to be found everywhere like a bagel. But unlike a bagel, it is crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, twisted to perfect the crisp-to-fluff ratio, and then tastefully scattered with sesame seeds lending a certain punch to an otherwise ordinary mouthful. Then you add nutella and the simmit becomes seductive and borderline hazardous. If Delilah were a food, she would be a simmit with nutella. You just can’t quit.


We found a little coffee shop that Hannie had walked by in the past, and found out that they roasted their own coffee (what a thoroughly Seattelite thing to do) so we walked over the counter and pondered our options. Note: In my future travel book, “Things to Know in Turkey”, I will stress to you the importance of not going up to the counter. It is quite simply never done. 

Alpashlan, our waiter, who we had for the moment put out of a job, hovered around behind the counter until we ordered our tea and sat down. Somewhat relieved, he brought us or chai (tea in Turkey is always served in beautiful tulip-shaped glasses, plain, with sugar lumps on the side and a tiny spoon for stirring them in with – if you’re a man, you order it dark. A glass of “rabbits blood”, says Hannah) and chatted for a bit. He wanted to know where we were from, what Hannah was doing there, have I tried Turkish coffee? No? Would I like some? Is that a question. Libations Round Two went down and we drank excellent coffee out of tiny cups – it was much like an espresso shot with sugar in it, the only difference being that half of the cup contains grounds that will tell you your fortune. Swish it around the side, let it settle for a few minutes, and pictures start to emerge.

Hannah foretold that I would be going to a warm country, have a man starting with the letter M on the horizon, and that probably I will continue to enjoy the color blue. Who knew?

3 hours later, after solving most of the worlds problems and yet another cup of something (Salup was next up – a mix of orchid root and semolina seeds that tastes much like horchata mixed with melted vanilla ice cream and then topped with cinnamon), it was off to the chicken man for dönner to tide us over till dinner time’s Sri Lankan food. And Bollywood movies. #Winning.


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