Friday, March 25, 2011

Wednesday, March 23

We started the day by taking a taxi up the Bosporus to a village North of Istanbul--on the outskirts. We had an excellent traditional "village breakfast", complete with at least 4 different cheeses, including the wonderful string cheese (tel peynir). Eve had this fabulous fig jam--fall-down excellent. I enjoyed dipping small blops of clotted cream in honey, as well as eating all three women's black olive stashes, including my own.

It was really cold and windy. When we sat at the table, the waiter popped a shovelful of blazing coals in a small round brazier located under the table. Instantly our lower extremities warmed, and we kept our hands gratefully on our laps where they stayed toasty.

It was fun watching the boats go by as well as admiring the enormous mansions on the Asian side of the strait.

The Asian side

Juliet and Cem

We then walked back toward Istanbul along the Bosporus. This is a view back toward the bridge.

Right outside the restaurant, a man was unloading Black Sea turbot.

Just south of the restaurant is the Rumeli castle. This was built by Sultan Mehmet II as part of a string of castles developed to house troops and to strangle Constantinople during his campaign to chase out the Genoese and to Islamify the city--before its fall in 1453.

This cannon or one like it was used to sink a Genoese boat. The crew were all iimpaled on pikes to die slowly and to serve as a warning against any further attempts to save Constantinople.

We admired this small, local mosque situated right on the water.

A dog of no apparent denomination lay in our way, photosynthesizing.

Part of the extensive boating community. We walked into a Starbucks that Juliet said was the best in the world. It was truly gorgeous--we didn't drink coffee because we are Pete's folks and prefer a superior cuppa. But the view was remarkable, and I fantasized being one of the wealthy boat owners who whiles away his life of privilege and ease in spots as beautiful as this. I suppose Monte Carlo is even nicer but not by much.

We passed this row of houses that used to be directly on the water but the city decided to build this road and ruin the real estate values.

There are lots of jellyfish--often a sign that the predators have been greatly diminished in population by the ultimate predator, H. sapiens.

Gecekondu or overnight landed houses. Poor people from the country come into the city and grab a piece of land overnight, constructing a house on it. You can recognize them by their homemade appearance and incongruity with the neighborhood.

Ataturk's Schooner. Rented to Turkish businessman, Sadıkoğlu, for 49 years, and then rented for $30,000 to $40,000 daily, it became a house of prostitution for Ukrainian and Russian prostitutes and for local and foreign businessmen. The government cancelled the agreement and now it's sitting unused docked at this park.

Manti. We ate lunch in the touristy Ortakoi district in a restaurant devoted to manti. Known as Mantievi: Manti is the specialty (ravioli) and ev means house and the i ending turns it into a possessive. So "House of Turkish Ravioli". Manti are on my top 10 of Turkish dishes as good as any Italian ravioli. They are served with yogurt and tomato sauce. Unfortunately, I cannot enjoy more than one piece because of verdammte wheat allergies.

We had drinks overlooking the Bosporus at the restaurant 5.Kat (meaning Fifth Floor)

We finished the day with a home-cooked meal. Cem and I walked up to Istiklal and bought a small Black Sea Turbot ($100--a sign of environmental collapse). The fishmonger cut it with a hemispherical knife, very practical and sharp with no pointy end. He saved the liver, which I cooked in a broth; exquisitely delicate flavor and texture. I made a broth with onion, leek, garlic, tomato, celery root, white wine, poached the fish, then thickened the stock with a rouille made of mashed potato with lemon juice, garlic, egg yolk, and olive oil. A form of Bouillabaisse sans the saffron, orange, and Pernod.


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