July 19, 2011

Postcard from Tom: In Istanbul, a Calorie-Laden Tour of Turkish Delights


Pickle juice for breakfast? Not exactly how I envisioned kicking off my tour of the food attractions starting near the popular Spice Market in Istanbul. But one of the early lessons of spending the day with tour guide Angelis Nannos — a wiry Greek native with a passion for Turkish traditions that’s shared by his American bosses, the authors of the clever restaurant guide “Istanbul Eats” — is keeping an open mind (and a willing stomach).

So here some pals and I find ourselves, sipping sour vegetable juices in the belly of a warehouse stacked high with bags of coffee beans and equipped with a small kitchen for brewing tea and coffee. Burly workers get up from a worn table to make space for Nannos, his new charges and his purchases from some choice stalls in the market: olives, cheese, that liquid eye-opener from the pickle vendor and simit, Turkey’s equivalent of a bagel, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Our impromptu picnic is served atop sheets of newspaper and accompanied by the comings and goings of the men, who ferry trays of steaming tea and thick coffee to the merchants outside. None of the regulars in this warren of offices and storage, or han, bats an eye when a doctor strolls in and takes the blood pressure of one of the senior characters.

Read more on Washington Post: Postcard from Tom: In Istanbul, a Calorie-Laden Tour of Turkish Delights

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