red. green. yellow. the turkish breakfast. red tomatoes. green cucumbers. yellow orange juice. white bread. white cheeses. pink meats. black olives. yellow butter. black poppy seeds. red cherry jam. what a way to wake up!
the fun thing about turkey, or any country where you don’t speak the language, is randomly ordering something off the menu. and then waiting to see what exactly is it that you ordered as they bring it out. it’s tons of fun as long as you aren’t a picky eater. and soon you start picking up keywords like peynir (cheese), suyu (juice), or domates (tomato) – and then you at least have a vague idea of what you’re ordering. but random ordering with no expectations always brings the best surprises!
red. not just any red. red polka dots. dedicated to your awesome travel buddy, M. aside from spotting a commercial being filmed, she spots a red polka dotted teapot. you spot a polka dotted vintage dress. both lead to some amazing things…
gray. because you are a bit suspicious of the english writing. normally you steer clear of restaurants with english translations because it shows that they are aiming at tourists. but that red polka dotted teapot on the ledge makes you think otherwise. small details like this are not found in tourist traps!
orange. you enter. already the atmosphere is different. you start wondering if this really is a restaurant, because you feel like you just stepped into someone’s home. but the person inside reassures you that they are indeed a restaurant, but they are not serving lunch yet. so you go wander for a bit.
yellow. for the glow of what you decide is your treasure filled aladdin’s cave. an underground maze of rows and rows of vintage clothing. you're starving but a place as amazing as this requires a minimum one hour pit stop.
yellow. you head back to the restaurant. or should we say, someone’s home. because that is what it was. bookshelves, personal photos, jackets, television, cabinets, etc. it was someone’s house with a few added tables and chairs for strangers like you. not a restaurant made to look like a home, or a restaurant with a home upstairs, but an actual home that was also a restaurant. a concept you adore.
you munch on some cubes of bread.
and the food is cooked just a few meters away from you in the kitchen – which is connected to the dining room. and when it’s ready, you gulp down your çorba (soup) and papaz yahnisi (a beef stew).
it shoots up to your top ten meals of all time. the atmosphere and the taste were perfection. it really was a home cooked meal, and that will always top restaurant food. the way everything merged together – home, restaurant, cat, books, music, teapot – so many small details that kept impressing you.
green. yellow. black. gray. for the 15+ ingredients that are in asure. you have dessert a few hours later… and the puddingish thing in the lower right corner catches your eye. you think it’s rice pudding, but it’s far from that.
wheat, rice, barley, beans, chickpeas, water, apricots, figs, raisins, orange peel, sugar, oranges, rose water, walnuts, pistachios, pomegranate seeds… when you tell your host that you would like the recipe, she raises her eyebrows and says that it’s impossible! for her, it can have up to 40 ingredients. and it often involves three different households preparing different parts of it at different times, and then at the very end combining them. it’s a dessert made for feasts and holidays, she says – which is why you need lots of people to help prepare this ingredient packed dessert.
but that isn’t going to deter you. it’s added to your “to make someday in the future” list.