A Food Lover’s Tour of Istanbul

Los Angeles Times – Travel Section

Istanbul, Turkey

Here come the mezes: minted, garlicky yogurt, dusky roasted eggplant salad. A waiter presents them on a huge tray: glistening artichoke crowns, a spread of ground walnuts and sweet red peppers. And wait, how about that beautiful mushroom salad spiked with scallions?

The glow of a late-summer sunset floods the rooftop terrace as couples and families and groups of friends feast on Turkey’s version of tapas, sipping from glasses of the milky-looking anise-flavored aperitif called raki, unwinding and talking and enjoying the spectacular view of the Old City. Scores of mosques, with their graceful domes and minarets, light up one after another as the sky turns apricot and rose and purple.

This is Istanbul — glorious and glittering — and it’s dinner time in a busy kebab house.

The cuisine of Turkey has a reputation among food lovers as being among the world’s most compelling, and I’ve come — with my favorite cohorts-in-dining, my husband, Thierry, and our 11-year-old son, Wylie — to see what all the fuss is about. We’ve long dreamed of visiting Istanbul, and we have only 3 1/2 days, after exploring Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, to take in the city. Where to begin? In my view, the best way to soak up culture quickly is at the table.

Link to Article: http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la-tr-istanbul21-2008sep21

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