Farewell, Turkey, and thanks for all the beef!

It's a Schlossini Family Food Round-up, Istanbul-style!

döner cooking on a spit in Istanbul

We stayed in the Besiktas section of Istanbul, so that’s where we did most of our dining. Dinner on the first night was döner, and we had some version of that on several subsequent nights.

Zoe saw a döner hamburger advertised at one place, so we made a special point to go there. She was disappointed. At the Best Kebap restaurant, Theo had iskender. He described it as the Turkish version of Looney’s Special Fries. It’s basically an open face beef sandwich with a few french fries, tomato slices and a big dollop of sour cream/greek yogurt on top.

plate of shaved beef in sauce with sliced tomato, french fries, and sour cream on top

Ayran is a yogurt drink that we tried at the café at the Dolmabahçe Palace. Lisa is the only one who likes it. She had it again at the Istanbul airport before our flight to Greece. You drink it through a straw, and it tastes a lot like plain Greek yogurt. It’s a little salty and a lot yummy, at least in her book.

Balik Ekmek is a grilled fish sandwich on a thick roll with thinly sliced white onions and lettuce. The fish are grilled on a boat moored at the Eminönü dock, giving it a food truck feel. People sit under an awning on little wooden stools with barrels as tables. Bottles of lemon juice sit on each table, and vendors selling lemonade, a beet juice and cabbage drink, and wet wipes come around peddling like the hot dog and beer sellers at American baseball games. Lisa’s sandwich had many bones, but she otherwise loved it. Theo traded with her, completely making her day. The girls’ sandwiches also had more bones than they liked, but they’d all try it again. Michelle would not. In her words, “it was a bit way too fishy for me.” Theo wrote more about it the other day.

Of course we all had Turkish delight. We bought some in the grocery store on Saturday, then some more from the Spice Bazaar on Tuesday. You can get it with or without nuts. So. Very. Good.

Family buying Turkish delight at Spice Bazaar close-up of Turkish delight for sale

Lahmaçun is Turkish pizza. It is a pizza with ground beef, and you put lettuce and tomato with squeezes of lemon juice on it then roll it up like a burrito to bite into it. It was a big hit with all of six of us, with Theo, Zoe, Gianna and Tori calling it “awesome” and “delicious”.

Breakfast at the hotel was a feast. Platters of deli-style sliced meats and cheeses, smoked salmon, an assortment of cold cereals, breads, and pastries, scrambled eggs, sausage, and waffles (Michelle’s fave) were offered each day. We also had a small green salad bar and fresh cut fruit. The honey was served from the honeycomb, which was really cool. Gianna liked it. Tori also thought it was really cool how it melted all over the plate. Michelle introduced Lisa to honey-sweetened coffee, which was just the trick to take the edge off the darker roast the W served. We washed our breakfasts down with orange juice and water, in addition to the coffee. We ate so much and at such a relatively late hour (we were basically brunching it) that we didn’t usually stop for lunch during our sight-seeing. We noticed honeycomb for sale in the Spice Bazaar and the corner supermarket.

honeycomb packaged for sale

Istanbul, you are delicious. Hopefully we'll be back!

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