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An Open Letter to the Eaters of Istanbul


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An Open Letter to the Eaters of Istanbul

scrumptiouschef | Dec 4, 2009 02:20 AM

Heading on over to Istanbul from Austin,Texas for 14 glorious days later this month and on into the New Year.I'll be doing some serious eating while there and hoping to do it like a Turk.

I know Istanbul is one of the world's epicenters of deliciousness and I'm eager to fan out across the city and really dig in.

I'm familiar with lokanta.In the Deep South part of USA it's called meat and 3, and this is going to be my main focus.I'm most comfortable in small,homey spots where I'm the only traveler.How is Doyuran Lokantasi?

Soul Food:I have a terrible need to eat the Turkish equivalent of soul food.A blue plate with a nice pile of meat,some rice and a vegetable of some sort.

Kave:I'll need a quart or so of coffee each day to fuel me as I make my way across the city so advice on the best places to quaff thimbles of impossibly strong black coffee is needed as well.How is Mandabatmaz? Can a horseshoe float in their coffee?

As night falls I'll be switching my beverage option to beer:

Are there Turkish micro breweries? I'd love to sit back and drink some pints of locally brewed beer.Once again I'm not into frippery.A simple,small tavern where I'm the only traveler will suit me best.How is TAPS?

Modern Turkish cuisine:I keep reading about Abracadabra and it sounds great.How does Ciya compare?

Restaurant with live Turkish jazz:Some good food and a small Turkish jazz ensemble playing?

Sweets:I know the Turks have a notorious sweet tooth and I do as well.Can y'all point me towards an Istanbul confectioner.I'll be using cabs,trains,boats and my feet to get around and have no problem traveling the length and breadth of the city to satisfy my cravings.How is Altan Sekerleme

Old restaurants:I would like to eat at the oldest restaurant in the city.Old in USA means maybe 90-100 years old but given the age of Istanbul I think I can best that. What is the oldest restaurant in the city? How is Haci Abdullah?

The Grand Bazaar:I've allocated two full days to exploring the Grand Bazaar.I know it's enormous but hopefully this will allow me to at least scratch the surface.Any recommendations on where to eat,preferably the least tourist-y,most under the radar spots?

Nightlife/Alcohol:At some point I'm going to want to hit the Istanbul nightlife.Hard.I'll be practicing sleep deprivation while there so I'd love to hit some Istanbul nightclubs.What are the best places to drink Raki and work it out on the dance floor?

Barbecue:I can't imagine a city the size of Istanbul without at least one variation or other on barbecue.Who's smoking meats with fire in town?

Ottoman Palace cuisine:One night I'm going to live like Howard Hughes and let the money be damned.I want the best representation of Ottoman Palace cuisine in the city.How is Hünkar?

Street carts.I've plumbed Austin for it's most delicious street food for the last few years.My two favorite Mexican joints in town are both carts.I'd like to hunker down on a busy corner and eat some Turkish street food on a curb surrounded by Turkish chowhounds.Where are the best carts? Is there one section of town that offers the most varieties?

Cheese:I know the Turks have their cheesemaking down to a science and I'm eager to eat as wide a variety as possible.What place would provide the best opportunity for me to sample as broad a range of Turkish cheese as possible?

Uighur cuisine:I've read a bit about the uighurs of Istanbul and have a need to try their foods.What is the best,most authentic restaurant serving this food?

Chile Peppers:I know certain regions of Turkey[southeastern?]enjoy a good bit of heat in their food.Are there any restaurants in Istanbul representative of this style?

Bread:I know the Turks love fresh baked bread and I do too.What's the top bakery/sandwich shop in town?Where do I go to get the best pastirma?

Thai cuisine.I'm determined to eat one plate of Thai food while in Istanbul.What joint puts out the best Yom Nua in town.How is Cok Cok?

Can't wait to get to Istanbul.It's been a dream for a long time and as the time draws near[less than 3 weeks]I can't imagine a finer city on earth to walk around eating,drinking and soaking in a culture about as different as you can get from Austin.

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