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Jaymes

Istanbul

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Although I've been to Athens and Egypt, it's my first time in the Holy Land. Currently on the agenda is Massada and the Dead Sea, and Jerusalem. I'll be looking for any and all tips and advice.

 

And Wilfrid - great tips about lingering. I do hate being rushed.

 

Jaymes, I will be happy to help with Israel, but you should start a new thread under Middle East.

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Although I've been to Athens and Egypt, it's my first time in the Holy Land.

 

i thought you lived in texas.

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Although I've been to Athens and Egypt, it's my first time in the Holy Land.

 

i thought you lived in texas.

 

I meant the OTHER Holy Land. The one without the barbecue and TexMex.

 

 

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I can arrange a tour of our military base :lol:

 

Really? Seriously? Because I'd quite like that.

 

 

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I can arrange a tour of our military base :lol:

 

Really? Seriously? Because I'd quite like that.

 

Good luck with that. :rolleyes:

 

Yeah, I doubt it's do-able. I'm sure they've got the best security in the world and are not open for "tourists." Still, as a military brat, born in an Army Air Corps hospital (which gives you an idea as to how old I must be) and military wife for some 25 years, I'd really enjoy it.

 

 

 

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Sivan left just weeks before I did, and it took a lot of misinformation and quite a bit of risk to get them to let her in for my going away party, so I suspect Jaymes will have a hard time getting in.

 

That site does have a civilian part that offers tours (http://www.intelligence.org.il/) but it's not in a particularly touristy part of the country. The most fascinating aspect of it is a wall where the names of intelligence community casualties are listed, sometimes many years after their death when it is declassified.

 

Tapuzinas food recs, at least the ones I know, are spot on. (I'm a city mouse and hardly ever leave Tel-Aviv when I visit, except to my parents' farm)

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Sivan left just weeks before I did, and it took a lot of misinformation and quite a bit of risk to get them to let her in for my going away party, so I suspect Jaymes will have a hard time getting in.

 

That site does have a civilian part that offers tours (http://www.intelligence.org.il/) but it's not in a particularly touristy part of the country. The most fascinating aspect of it is a wall where the names of intelligence community casualties are listed, sometimes many years after their death when it is declassified.

 

Tapuzinas food recs, at least the ones I know, are spot on. (I'm a city mouse and hardly ever leave Tel-Aviv when I visit, except to my parents' farm)

 

Thanks. I might do a little more investigating, as I do have a US military ID card and there could be some sort of reciprocal agreement.

 

But I suspect it's far more likely that I will be able to take advantage of the restaurant recommendations.

 

:rolleyes:

 

 

 

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1) take the ferry across to Kadikoy, where you will find some really exceptional places. There is one restaurant called Ciya which I recall being very good.

 

2) Just under the Galata Bridge (which spans from Europe to Asia) the re are lots of small restaurants selling Balik Ekmek, a sandwich made of freshly grilled mackerel, topped with sharp raw onions and doused with lemon juice. It was one of the great tastes of my trip.

 

1) Ciya Sofrasi is very good. A dozen or so stews, four of which (eggplant and lamb, cherries and meatballs, "greens", and huge stuffed artichoke hearts) are shown below, a selection of cold meze, a vast variety of kebabs from Ciya Kebap across the street, kunefe that I think was rushed in from a kunefe specialist down the block. Very enjoyable and the owner is extremely serious about preserving Turkish cuisine and using great ingredients (including a mushroom described as a local truffle) without turning it into a michelin star affair. Service, as in many restaurants around town, seems largely focused on avoiding eye contact.

 

4618266325_16e65596be_o.jpg

 

It's useful to read the menu before going:

 

http://www.ciya.com.tr/index_en.php?menu

 

2) Let me refine that recommendation a bit. You can certainly sit in one of the cafes under the bridge and drink coffee or tea, but a better bet for a fish sandwich, or fried fish by the kilo, or grilled whole fish is behind the small fish market that's to your right just before getting on the bridge from the Beyoglu side. There are a few makeshift operations that set up shop (a bunch of plastic tables and chairs, a grill, and a deep frier) every day just before lunch time, and one of the stalls in the market itself will sell you balik ekmeks or fried fish. There are many other great options for balik ekmek, including at the ferry port in Kadikoy (the southernmost one) and just north of the port at Besiktas, not to mention all around the Besiktas fish market.

 

3) Turkish Kokorec is lovely, quite different from the Greek version - simply suet and spices stuffed into intestines, skewered and grilled for a very long time, then chopped and griddled to make it crispy and usually put in bread (although some restaurants also serve whole fried slices). Be sure to get one that just came off the skewer, it becomes significantly less charming when it stands around for hours.

 

4618295841_da23b99f6f_o.jpg

 

4) Also in the Besiktas market (on Mumcu Bakkal Sokak), Pando's Besiktas Kaymakci serves never-refrigerated Kaymak that the octogenarian owner makes on the spot. (5 liras for Kaymak with honey, bread, cheese, olives, veggies)

 

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A good New Yorker article on Ciya Sofrasi a few weeks ago (now archived).

That was a really nice article. Abstract is here.

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Good for them. There was a 2007 nytimes article hanging on the wall there but it's still not trivial to get tourists to make the very enjoyable (even for the seasickness-prone) ferry trip there. The market area around it is very nice too.

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Thank for you all this, Orik. I met Chef Musa twice -- at two different World of Flavors conferences and then at a private luncheon afterward (he read my coffee grounds and now, several years later, I'm shocked at how spot-on his prediction was). His food and his charm is one of the main reasons I want to go to Istanbul and I am so glad he is receiving the accolades he is getting.

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If you visit just for that you might be disappointed - it's a very low key affair. But there are many other reasons to visit, it's a great city and is likely to remain so for a while despite the pressure from religious idiots.

 

 

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