The decision on where to go eat lunch was made by my wife Stephanie. I couldn’t make a decision. I was too hungry. I just wanted to eat. I didn’t want to have to think. I can be a real asshole when I’m hungry.
After going with my wife to take the kids to the bus, we came back to our new hotel. She did some work. I changed into running clothes and went out running.
On days that I run, I’m hungry for much of the rest of the day. Though I’d snacked before and after my post-run shower, by noon I was very hungry.
The place where my wife wanted to eat was one she had been led to by our friend Banu the day before. It’s called Antakya Mutfağı and it’s located just off Istiklal Street. But it was closed after being fumigated. So Steph and Banu had had to go back down the long narrow steps and eat somewhere else. Before they’d left, Steph had taken a card so that she could find it again.
This place is not a “tourist” restaurant. It’s where Turks go to eat according to Banu.
Steph found the building and we climbed up the steep, narrow, spiral stairs up to the third floor where we were seated in a restaurant whose windows were all open.
The menu was in Turkish and the app on my phone wasn’t doing a very good job translating any of the words I tapped in.
Did I mention I can’t think straight when I’m really hungry?
So I start to grumble that places like this are easier for natives like Banu and a pain for foreigners. After the week we’ve had (we’re now on our third place of residence for those keeping score at home), I didn’t want to have to do work in order to simply eat.
I just wanted to shout, “Food istiyorum!” and have it appear in front of me.
That’s Englurkish for “I want food!”
Steph asked me if I want to go somewhere else and I told her no, that I know everything will be fine.
Then I told myself, we’ll order something and the food will come. It will be very good. Our friend Banu doesn’t tolerate mediocrity when it comes to food.
Steph managed with broken Turkish and hand gestures to indicate to the waiter that we wanted the meze platter and a dessert of künefe. Banu had informed us that the meze platter was excellent and that if we wanted künefe that it takes 20 minutes because it’s made fresh. Künefe is a cheese pastry that’s soaked in a sugar-syrup. It is a sugar/carb bomb.
Our friend Arijit, back in Michigan, once made künefe for us and his wife. He was not happy with the results because he could not get the exact cheese required. My wife and I were still impressed.
The mezes came and between the two of us, Steph and I ate well. Here’s what the mezes looked like when we were nearly done.
For dessert, the künefe did not disappoint.
It goes well with tea.
When the last sweet morsels were scooped off our plates and into our mouths, all seemed well with the world.
Later Steph asked, “Are you going to tell people that you were skeptical and that next time you should trust your wife?”
“Yes,” I said.