February 20, 2012

Çiya, Istanbul. June, 2007

Çiya. The best place Nick and I ate in Istanbul. We’d heard of this casual restaurant (where Chef Musa Dağdeviren hunts down and serves up acclaimed dishes from central and eastern Turkey) from the food writings of both Paula Wolfert and Oleana chef Ana Sortun, and we wasted no time in trying it. Our first full day in town, we were right there, asking waiter “John Travolta” to bring us an assortment of dishes he recommended. What a good idea! Among the many, many dishes we shared was this stew of lamb, bread and sour cherries. Others were a vegetable-and-herb-studded pilaf enclosed in a pastry shell. A spicy homemade meat and grain sausage. A soup of tiny ravioli-like manti in a minted yogurt base. And we were so delighted, we returned a few days later to do the same thing all over again. Even as I write this, years later, planning another trip to this magical city, my mouth still waters in anticipation.

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