Turkey, a country in between Asia and Europe; Istanbul, a city separated by the Golden Horn harbor and holds the fifth largest city population of 12.6 millions. This is, 2.5 times the population of, Minnesota...
My travel includes the amazing Cyprus (Wait, did I say amazing?) island and the Greek-Turkish influenced cuisine alone made that trip worthwhile. Of course, the sceneries and the beautiful sunset and the hilarious taxi driver and ..... all made the trip worthwhile.
And now, it's time for some non-Greek-influenced Turkish cuisine. A girlfriend of mine was in town this week, and it was absolutely fun to meet up with her. She's this beautiful Turkish girl with the most out-going personality of all. Per her recommendation, we went to Bistro Istanbul in Wayzata for some Turkish food recommended by a Turkish. I already knew it'd be good.
Bistro Istanbul: Located on Wayzata Blvd (pronounced as Wai-xie-da, and yes, the Chinese Pinyin pronunciation that is. Ha! little Chinese lesson here no?) , right next to all the big auto dealerships near Highway 12.
(Clockwise from the far left brown sauce)
Patlıcan Salatası (Eggplant Salad): not very strong taste of eggplant, with Turkish salsa blend
Yaprak Sarma (Stuffed Grape Leaves): FAVORITE!!! lemon tartness yum!
Yogurtlu Patlıcan Salatası (Babaganus): smooth yogurt dip sauce, and the feta cheese dip were the best combo for pita dipping
Peynir Ezmesi (Feta Cheese Dip)
Ispanakli Börek (Spinach Pie)
Soup: Red Lentils, very smooth and warming. Gave me all the fuzzy warm feeling... LOL
Entree: Seafood Sarma
Grape leave wrapped oven-baked Salmon Turkish seasoning and cheese, top with special lemon sauce. Serve with a side of herb salad mix. It was definitely very delicious. The only detail is the lemon sauce. It was a little too sour for me, but many other people may like that to smooth away the fishy taste of salmon. Very heavy portion, best shared among two.
Entree: Döner Kebab, aka Gyros!
How could you go into a Turkish restaurant and not order Gyros?! That's like, going into a Chinese restaurant and not order Orange Chicken. Oh wait, that's not a Chinese dish though, more like an American-Chinese dish. Ok, off topic here. (Note to self: blog about American-Chinese Orange Chicken when I'm desperate with blog updates...)
Gyros: Seasoned, sliced rotisserie beef and lamb. Mixed with a skewer of lamb kebab.
The gyro was very delicious. Seasoned just right, and most important of all, Not Oily! I've had many kebabs or gyros that were just dripping oil... with the pita bread absorbing all the oil and juice... one messy meal, worse than burritos...
Dessert: Ayran and Turkish Tea
Ayran is this yogurt drink, mixed with water and a pinch of salt. The server described this as buttermilk-like drink with salt. But as soon as I heard "buttermilk", I almost wanted to cancel the order. Who drinks buttermilk... and it doesn't taste anything like buttermilk! Yogurt is yogurt, not buttermilk!
The owner/chef was so friendly. It was nice to see my Turkish friend and the Turkish owner interact in their own culture and language. Fascinating and just simply lovely. Small restaurant, bold exotic flavors and I almost felt the breeze of the Mediterranean sea. Ahhhh~
(or was it the cold air coming from the vent?)