|Istanbul Eats guidebook is a must!|
IsToday was our Istanbul Eats tour, so we walked from nine this morning until nearly three this afternoon trying all kinds of different Turkish foods and drinks. After taking the scenic route and only getting slightly lost, we found our guide, Senem, in front of Hamdi restaurant, along with another American couple from St. Louis.
We started with a traditional Turkish breakfast, each piece gathered from little shops outside the spice market. From a street cart, we picked up simit, a pretzel-like bread coated with sesame seeds held in place by grape molasses. Next we were led to a spice stand, where we were given samples of many different types. From there we headed to a cheese stand where we got goat and sheep cheese (which is much tangier than the cheeses I've had, and hubby is from Wisconsin). The man in the shop tells you what kind of cheese you are getting, instead of picking it out yourself. We also grabbed pickles, which is all kinds of different vegetables here, not just cucumber. Finally we headed into a small "secret place" with a little table. The tour guide set out some water buffalo clotted cream (which was delicious), olives, and figs. Hubby had Turkish coffee and I had tea, which I was looking forward to coming here. It was so delicious, and the tour was just starting. With where we were eating, all leftovers were used to workers in the building above who couldn't afford food, as well as homeless people and cats.
The next stop was a little stall where we had sweet meats, which is sheep intestines. While I was a little leery of this-- it's made with intestines, after all--I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was. The bread it was served on was soft and flaky and the meat was blended with tomatos, onions and peppers and was very savory. From there we went next door to a meatball, wrapped in lintels and fried. That had some kick to it, but was really good.
|I forgot to take a picture, so this is from TripAdivsor|
|The gorgeous mosque was covered in brilliant blue tile|
|A counter full of delicious|
|The aged bar that has been used since the 1800's|
Finally we passed the Crown Prince's mosque on our way to the Underground Lamb for lunch. We had a delicious chicken pilaf and lamb served on flatbread. For desert there was a dish of cheese, covered with fine noodles cooked with sugar. It was very different, but very good.
|The Grand Bazaar from just inside Gate 1|
For dinner we ate at the small restaurant across from our hotel, which is far more touristy and not nearly as good, but not unpleasant either. My knee and ankle were still hurting from my fall the night before, so we called it an early night.