Turkey Food Porn Part 3

 
          Turkey is one of the only places in the world that is completely self-sustaining. Just some of the plants I saw while there: Pistachio trees, olive trees, orange trees, pomegranate trees, pumpkins, potatoes, wheat and carob. Not to mention mountains of herbs and spices. If they suddenly could not import any food, they would actually be totally okay. I consumed two things while I was there that I didn’t see in it’s whole form: peach and cherry juices and jams. And just because I didn’t see them doesn’t mean they perhaps grow in another region.
So you can imagine–the food and drink is just simple and hearty and whole. And while it wasn’t hard in the slightest to eat a vegan diet while in Turkey, there was one night that was surprisingly easy.
These are all vegan and raw:
Raw bread served with 3 raw cheeses (made out of nuts), tapanade, and a fresh salsa.
Apple coconut cake with caramel sauce and tahini ice cream.
A simple scoop of chocolate ice cream
Surprised? Istanbul is a very modern and cosmopolitan city, especially once you venture out of Sultanamet, or Old Town. It actually has a number of vegan restaurants. This particular one we went to had about 30 things go wrong on our trip there and on our arrival–it’s a funny store (now).
Anyway, it was mostly delicious and an interesting experience. 🙂
POMEGRANATE JUICE–a story in pictures.
 
Ta Da! Fresh Pomegranate juice!
This was actually the one that I tried to make into my Ode to Turkey cocktail: the Burkatini. Fresh pomegranate juice (very Turkish), Raki (the drink made with brandy and anisette–VERY Turkish), and mineral water. 
It was absolutely disgusting. I guess I won’t try to splatter burkatinis on menus all across Turkey now.
TURKISH TEA
Turkish tea is everywhere. Everyone drinks turkish tea, all the time. You don’t see kids with soda cans or professionals with Starbucks; you see everyone with hot tea served in a little tulip glass.

 
 
 Yes, they actually serve tea on the bus. Do you love Turkey yet?

 
This was common to see outside shops–tea is delivered on little trays to shop proprietors, who drink it up then leave it outside for pick-up.
And of course there’s Turkish Coffee:
It’s typically served in these little cups on these little saucers.
How to make Turkish Coffee
You can use any kind of coffee for Turkish Coffee, it’s really just the way of preparing it. You cook together coffee, sugar and water, then strain out the particles as you pour. There’s always a little sludge left in the bottom of your cup–don’t drink it! It’s not expected, don’t worry. Everyone leaves a little bit.
Here’s one of my favorites drinks: Banana tea! I brought some home, don’t worry. It tastes like warm instant banana pudding. Yum.
Okay, I still have several pictures, but I will close with this one:
Because what food journey of Turkey would be complete without heaps of spices from the Egyptian Spice Market in Istanbul?

Turkey Food Porn Part 2

For part one of this post see here.
Efes is the national beer. Everybody drinks Efes. It is light and delicious.
Corn sold on the street corner is the norm. It’s steamed then coated in salt.
Shelley and I tried some in Kaş. It sadly has nothing on our succulent sweet northwest corn. We didn’t even finish it.
Cherry, Peach, and Apricot juice are everywhere. Everywhere and delicious.
 
A traditional Turkish breakfast:
 
Turkish tea (more on that in the next post), cucumbers, olives, bread, and jam. Not pictured: tomatoes, which I had already ate, and it usually also comes with a hard boiled egg and a piece of cheese. Variations of this were for breakfast every single day in Turkey. I would make a sandwich out of cucumber and tomato, throwing an olive or two on there if they were included that day, then have a few slices of bread with cherry or apricot jam. So simple, but so good!
Water in Turkey is unsanitary to drink. Unfortunately, when there traveler’s have to purchase bottle after bottle of water. This was a delivery outside a shop in Kaş.
In addition to Pistachio trees, Turkey also has olive trees. Random fact: olives are not good to eat right off the tree. You must soak them in a salty brine first, sometimes for months, before  they’re ready to eat.
 
 Random fact: Knowing this did NOT stop me from trying one.
It was disgusting.
One of the best meals I had. The setting could have had something to do with it. Eating a vegan lunch after a quick swim in the salty Mediterranean and a quick climb over centuries-old ruins will really work up a girl’s appetite.
 
Salad, cooked green beans and tomatoes, and rice with garbonzo beans. Again, simple yet delicious. Sense a theme here?
 This guy is awesome. Those are sesame bagels on top of his head. He offered to let us take a picture, then made us buy two of his stupid stale bagels. Typical. 🙂
 
Shelley and I were starving and so tired of everyone yelling at us and following us down the street to come into their restaurant. All the restaurants in the strip served pretty much exactly the same thing. We stopped here, and actually met 2 really nice guys–our waiter and the host. They wanted to take us out dancing, but I think they misjudged these 2 Americans.
Rather than go dance in a club, we went back to our hotel and played cards and drank wine. 😛
 
Our 20 dolla bloody marys at Istanbul Airport. Well, they were 20 lira, but that’s like 17 dollars. We each had 2 then bolted for the plane, hoping they would help us sleep. (They didn’t.)
 
Stay tuned for the 3rd and final installment!

Turkish Food Porn…part 1

Oh, hello. What’s that? Where have I been? Oh, I just took a little trip to Turkey, one of the most amazing places in the entire world. How was it? Well, quite spectacular, thank you for asking. 
 The library in Ephesus
Seriously, Turkey is a beautiful conflicted modern historical western eastern fantastical place. For those of you who’ve been lucky enough to go, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who haven’t, consider it.
I went with my good friend Shelley. We were gone for 12 days, but it honestly felt like a lifetime. We packed so much in and experienced so many wonderful people and sights and food and, let’s be honest, quite a few crappy bus rides, that it felt like we were gone forever.
We used Istanbul as our jumping off point, flying directly down to Antalya when we first arrived in Turkey.
Antalya is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Southwest Turkey with gorgeous Ottoman houses, cobblestone streets (in Kaleici, or Old Town) and a breathtaking museum with artifacts dating as far back as 9000 BC. Do you know how old that is? I still can’t even quite wrap my mind around it.That’s pretty much the beginning of time as we know it.
9000 BC is when the Mediterranean was first settled. 1,000 years before dogs were domesticated; before the glaciers melted and the Ice Age happened. People were barely making huts and weapons. This is 9,000 years before Jesus was all, “Hey guys, whassup? My mom’s a virgin and I’m a messiah.”
Anyway, I was going to have 2 parts to my Turkish food posts–the first half of the trip followed by the second. I think I’ll break it down even smaller however. There’s a lot to get through! 
This is going to be pretty much straight food photos; for landscape and people and ancient ruins and swimming in the Mediterranean, I’ve got to figure out Flickr or something. Stay tuned.
Without further ado, my chronological food journey in Turkey:
This was an $11 order of chips and guac from the JFK airport. Silly looking and silly tasting, but it hit the spot.
To offset the fried-ness, we also split a salad:
I had cognac as soon as we arrived at the airport in Istanbul. Shelley and I had already been traveling for about 24 hours, and we had another 6 or so to go… I have no idea why I chose cognac; I blame it on the lack of sleep. I also ordered “Potato Croquettes” for something like 15 lira, which just happened to be about 6 tator tots. Sigh. No picture; I was too hungry and inhaled them all before I could take a picture.
We got into Antalya, and after A LOT of walking around, backpack-loaded, we found a dingy little pansion (like a hostel, but nicer, cuter, and a touch more expensive).
So many of the cafes in Kaleici are set in the garden, with grape leaves above you and cobblestone below you. Shelley and I were exhausted, but stopped in one and tried our first Raki. Similar to Ouzo, Raki is grape brandy infused with anisette. Once you add water (which you have to do, unless you want a wicked hangover) it turns cloudy. Cool.
Ali, the owner, was super sweet and kept bringing us fresh jasmine flowers, basil leaves, and then 2 fresh oranges. The oranges are very small and actually green on the outside. And DELICIOUS on the inside. 🙂
This is Ali:
Cute, huh?! He loved this picture. 🙂
We made our way back to our dingy little room and fell fast asleep. In the morning, after a semi-hilarious conversation with a woman who spoke no english, and my turkish even worse, Shelley and I decided to skip the breakfast she was trying to tell us about and just head on. While waiting for the tram, we had our first cup of fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice.
Yep, it was pretty yummers.
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And that’s it for part 1! There are better quality photos and yummier-looking things coming up, I promise.

Hope everyone had a super time while I was gone!