Traditional Revival at Datli Maya

20130328-153645.jpg

Aren’t hole-in-the-wall type places the most exciting to find? Our guide Duygu first introduced us to this gem after guiding us on our artisan walk, and we liked it so much that we returned for dinner the next night.

20130328-153915.jpgServing up traditional, authentic Turkish fare, the food at Datli Maya is delicious and unpretentious. The restaurant is small; you order downstairs and either take out or hope that there is seating available upstairs (we got lucky both times). Apparently the owner, Dilara Erbay, did not initially intend for the upstairs to be used as a restaurant but her food was so popular that they decided to add seats and tables.

20130328-190208.jpg

20130328-190245.jpgThe goal at Datli Maya is to revive the traditional wood oven food culture and as you walk in you can’t miss the colourful mosaic that highlights the restaurant’s oven. Fresh from said oven, we tried cheesy pides (Anatolian pizza) and lahmancunlar (very very thin Anatolian pizza) and smoky clay casseroles. Mum got hooked on the pistachio cookies. The menu includes English explanations for us new to Turkish fare, and little quips that will make you smile. For example, Kavurmali is explained as “The Turkish equivalent of Corn Beef, but much better.”, or Humous “do you really need an explanation?”.

20130328-190424.jpgIt’s a low key place, there are no wait staff, and it can get crowded, but the food is worth it. The atmosphere at the restaurant is warm and friendly, their philosophy on their brochure sums it up best: “Fresh, natural, seasonal village ingredients and best quality with reasonable prices. Healthy? Junky? Veggy? Meaty? Creative? Conservative? Come whatever you eat, come!” Go!

Body and soul well-fed in Istanbul --inspite of a puffy eye from dodging mopeds and walking in to a spiky wall --and sporting the accessory most cherished by five year olds in the city, my €1 flower crown.

Body and soul well-fed in Istanbul –inspite of a puffy eye from dodging mopeds and walking in to a spiky wall –and sporting the accessory most cherished by five year olds in the city, my €1 flower crown.

Torrijas para Semana Santa

20130322-004900.jpg

After doing a class survey of my ninth graders a few weeks ago, tortilla came out on top as the class’ favourite Spanish dish (I have yet to make the ‘Spanish omelette’, but it’s on my list!). The second favourite item appeared to be ‘torrijas’, which I hadn’t heard of until that day.

20130322-005126.jpgSemana Santa, Holy Week, is a big huge deal in Spain (or at least in Andalucía!). I’m going to be in Turkey for the week so will unfortunately be missing the big event, but I’ve seen the buildup. People prepare all year round for this. It is taken very seriously and every parish has their own processions to prepare — some of which, my students tell me, can wind through the town for up to 11 hours. It seems to be a more solemn time than the Easter I know from home; I haven’t see any Easter bunnies here, it’s all about Jesus.

20130322-005818.jpg

20130322-005854.jpg

20130322-005928.jpg Continue reading