Urla: It’s All About FoodMarch 15 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 64 °F
Took advantage of a 75F day — with mostly sunny skies — to head out to Urla, a seaside suburb of İzmir. Even when a breeze came up, it was comfortable enough to wander around with just a lightweight sweater ... felt good on this early spring day ... especially since we’re expecting the temperature to drop quite a bit starting tomorrow.
First we went to the shore, parked the car, and took a stroll on the waterfront promenade. While some of the shore-side cafes and such were quite crowded, where we walked was nearly deserted. Then we found a café — Dokuz ... which means “nine” and is a reference to the building’s street number — to enjoy some beverages.
It was too hot in the sun to sit outdoors ... and it was too crowded anyway. To practice social distancing, we took a table indoors. The raspberry parfait — flavored hot chocolate — that I ordered was exceptionally tasty ... even if they were out of marshmallows.
Around 1:30p, we piled back into the car and went to Urla proper. Our destination was a restaurant that Aylin and Murat had enjoyed previously on the recommendation of a friend. Apparently they had planned to take us there for my birthday ... but that’s almost a month hence and we’ll be long gone by then.
Ortaya — which translates as “into the middle,” is a lovely restaurant. While it is possible to order individual mains, the premise is to order a bunch of dishes to share ... sort of like tapas or mezes, but with a twist on Turkish cuisine. As it was an off hour for a meal — neither lunch or dinner — we were just one of two tables in the entire place ... perfect for social distancing.
We started off with a selection of dishes called “tepsi” ... which means tray in English. It consisted of six different mezes ... all very tasty 😋 Then we ordered three other dishes to share from the mains section of the menu ... all very tasty 😋 Finally we wrapped up with three delicious desserts to share ... 😋 A long, chatty meal that was a delight to share with family.
A wonderful day amidst the COVID-19 chaos.
For those interested, I’ll note the various dishes here since there’s no way I can fit the information in the photo captions.
Tepsi (Clockwise from top left): Tsatsiki with pomegranate; smoked eggplant dip topped with fried onions; fine bulgur salad with beets; Çerkez tavuğu (a dip made with chicken) topped with sun dried tomatoes; humus with sweet pumpkin and smoked paprika; celery root with quince.
Mains: Spicy home-style potatoes in a cream sauce; rocket salad with poached quince and goat cheese ... with red wine vinaigrette; smoked beef slices.
Dessert: Quince with kaymak (cream); San Sebastian (a type of cheesecake); tart with baked tahini filling.Read more