Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday and Saturday, March 18-9

Eve and I took a week off to visit our daughter, Juliet, and her husband, Cem. They live in a charming neighborhood known as Cihangir.

We began the trip at midnight, Friday. I had just finished entering in the grades at 10 PM, went home, packed, and we got on the highway at midnight, arriving in LA at 3 AM. We flew to NYC, arriving at about 2 PM, then departed for Istanbul at 5:45 PM. The flight from NYC to Istanbul lasted 9 hours

We arrived at around 9 AM and met Cem right away. The taxi took about 45 minutes. We drove along the Marmor, a small sea that connects the Aegean with the Bosporus. We drove over a bridge into the section that has the Galata Tower and the Hagia Sophia. They live at the top of the hill in a very spacious apartment that would rend for $7000 per month or more in Manhattan.

Juliet wasn't there because she works from 8:30 AM to 8 PM. She had hoped to get off early to meet us, but she ended up coming home at around 7 PM. Eve and I freshened up and I took a long nap as I had not slept well on the plane.

We set out on a nice walk through the neighborhood.

Eve and Cem stand on the corner, waiting for me to move my left foot forward, then my right.

We walked along narrow streets and passed many food vendors.

In this picture taken in a store that specializes in pickles, I am consuming a mixture of pickles: beets, cabbage, cucumbers, and red carrots. I ate all the pickled vegetables, then drank the pickle juice. Very probiotic!

This is a common street food, Döner Chicken. In Greece, it's called Gyro, in Lebanon, Chawarma. Meat is impaled the lenght of a vertical skewer, then roasted slowly and rotated. Fat is placed at the top and melts, dribbling down the outside.
to the big shopping district, Istiklal, a large street dedicated to walking and to a tramway line. On the way, we stopped in a store devoted to pickles. We each enjoyed a glass full of pickle juice in addition to some sort of pickled vegetable. I chose pickled beets, pickled cabbage.

A large ex-pat community provides the market for European bakeries such as this one. Interesting cake--fluid.

One passes establishments such as this devoted to the gathering of men who play backgammon and card games while sipping tea.

A neighborhood mosque and minaret.

Fish display. Note the turbot in the upper right. Highly prized for its delicate, white flesh, the white side of this fish sports raised pink scabs--perhaps barnacles? The Black Sea fishing business catches turbot using gillnets.

Eggs kept secure using hay. A hundred years ago, the average American housewife kept her eggs in drawers, shielded from breaking by hay. When you opened the drawer, you saw just such a sight.

Birds for sale.

A cute little quail in a cute little cage. Long ago, in Texas, I used to raise quail and make 12 egg omelets in my restaurant.

We reached Istiklal Street, which has been completely converted to foot traffic. A tramway line runs down the middle.

Cem bought me a bag of roast chestnuts. Wonderfully smoky and faintly sweet!

A little farther, we passed this Kokorec vender. Kokorec comes in two versions. This one is made of chopped lamb intestines (preferably suckling lamb) cooked on a griddle with chopped tomatoes and herbs, then served in a pita.

The other version of Kokorec has sweetbreads or other offal speared, then wrapped with lamb intestines and then grilled over coals. This is sliced.

Midye dolmassi or stuffed mussels: a mild tasting but flavorful way to serve them. You stand there, drizzling each with lemon juice until satiated, then pay according to number consumed.

To counteract the kokorec aroma, perhaps you'd like a splash of perfume?

In the window of a large bakery are these pistachio birds nests. Soaked of course in syrup and both crunchy and moist.

Or, perhaps you'd prefer hazelnut birds' nests.

Or, almond birds' nests.

Or, pistachio baklava.

Borek: a stuffed bread made by stretching dough thin, then rolling various fillings in it and turning the spiraled bread around on itself. This was a pastry popular throughout the Ottoman empire. Its many variants include: bourekas (Israel), bourekis (Greece), byurek (Bulgaria), burek (Assyrian), boereg (Armenia), burek (Arab), byrek (Albania) and others...

We passed this musician...

Burma Kadayif: a shredded wheat coating (yufka) with pistachios in the center. Soaked in syrup. The shredded wheat, called kanafeh, is made by drizzling a thin flour-water batter onto a turning hot plate, gathered into skeins, then fried slowly in butter.

Gozieme. Small balls of dough are rolled out using a dowel and lots of flour. The thin circle of dough is filled, usually with feta and spinach, then folded over and cooked on a griddle containing coals.

A stack of Burma Kadayf in the window of a store.

Different versions of pudding, one version of which is Sakizh Muhallebi, which is thickend with mastica, a resin harvested from the bark of the shrub, Masticha (Pistacia lentiscus). It was used as chewing gum by children during Roman times, as well as a breath freshener during Ottoman times.

Linnea arrived in the late evening.


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