Monday, September 19, 2016

A Few More Stars of Antalya

No Matches Needed, Works Everytime!
Sometimes on a trip you have a Marco Polo experience.   We all want to be in pursuit of something new and different.   Two years ago my wife and I  thought we would find it hiking to the famous fire holes called, Chimera Yanartas.   This is a special place where fire comes out of volcanic holes, you could actually barbecue a chicken over those.  You have to climb a steep hill, on a rocky path, not for seniors.  However,  before the steep path, along the dusty road,  we had a real hit and run moment

It was a pleasant walking where along one side of the road were small farms, while on the other side was complete wilderness.   The only sound were the cicadas and the putt putt of an old tractor.  We passed a very  old cemetery and then a mosque and orchards covered with blossoms.  Rounding the bend we see a home made sign proclaiming “gozleme”.   We had enjoyed eating gozleme a week before when in cappadocia, but did not expect it on the south coast of Turkey.  We made a plan to stop on the way back and have lunch in the farmyard.

Grandma Makes The Dough
Gozelme is not a dream of Carlo Petrinin and his slow food gourmet enthusiasts, but more of a mainstream menu item to be plundered by hungry tourists and inhabitants of villages in the east of Turkey.  Describing gozelme, one would say it has the appearance of a quesadilla with fresh ingredients trapped inside, and here we are at a farm that has its own  field of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and onions.   As planned, we stopped, we plundered, we tasted, we enjoyed!  

So this winter we sat, like two hungry vultures, contemplating another road stop at that farm to enjoy a  summer meal.  More than once we discussed how there was no way we would miss a revisit to this lady’s farm and her gozleme.    Thankfully we were able to make another memorable visit.  

                                      Two weeks ago.

crazy driver
We arrived at the farm and I was glad to get off that three wheeled scooter. The rented scooter had just about killed both of us, as Orietta struggled to keep the scooter from always veering right.   I got very religious a few times when she came inches from running into a barbed wire fence, then missed a few cars and nearly ran over some teenagers on the way to the beach.   To control the darn thing we had to go as slow as one could walk.  It didn’t help that there was too much weight in the back.

rolling it out
The farm lady’s smile told me she was enjoying watching our pathetic scooter circus act.     The farm lady was also smiling because we did not choose to stop across the road where there was a brand new restaurant and pension, her competition.  We were not attracted by that shiny and clean restaurant with a cultured garden.  We were headed the other direction into the back yard of a farm where the chickens run free and people sit to eat at an old picnic table.  This would be our slow food moment.  Gozleme Heaven.

The lady listened quietly while we proceeded to try to explain, using Italian, English and sign language, that we were making a repeat visit.   The sun was baking the countryside, so we were glad to sit under two huge trees and order our choices. We sat, listening to the chickens and drinking Turkish black tea made from a large teapot over a fire.  The lady disappeared into the rows of vegetables while her mother began to knead the dough.  A younger girl, apparently representing the third generation began to prepare the stove.

Rolled onto the stick
Gozelme is made from a very soft dough, then rolled flat into a very thin circle with a wooden roller similar to a broomstick.   (I have seen Orietta’s mother using the same thing making lasagna pasta.)  We watch a technique of rolling the dough by going at 12, 2, 4, 6, around the clock to make a nice circle.  She rolls up the circle on the stick a few times to get the dough super thin.  (Doesn’t look like that would work, but it does.)  Then she rolls the circle around and around the stick and then rolls it off onto  a hot rounded, metal cooker.  The cooker- - Imagine a wok turned upside, that’s the picture!    A few moments later with a quick flip, then she added ingredients, and we were ready to devour and enjoy.  
You can see the results and I know we will go back again next summer.

The historical center of old Antalya is interesting but one big tourist trap.  It is interesting with an old clock tower where groups of old men sit and discuss the day.  You can hear the tram jingle the bell as it stops right across from a mosque, and if you turn in the other direction you see the  bazaar where the salesman will pester you to look at their products.  We make a stop at a shop that  features a huge amount of spices and tea, and we purchased a kilo of Turkish black tea, some sumak and apple tea mix.   Then we went outside along the street where there is a tiny cookie shop

Always a smile and a cookie
I wanted to see if the smiling owner had some cookies I had bought last trip.  I knew where to look and sure enough he had a pile of them.  You can smell them from outside the shop, and I would vote that they are the best in all Antalya.  That smile and the taste of the cookies are inseparable!  

The light brown appearance of the cookie suggests something less tasty, but the taste is of an interesting almond flavor, and not overbearing sweetness.   Since we are leaving the next day we buy 8 to bring home.  The closest thing I can think of to this cookie is called Alzac.  In Italy I use a recipe for making a soft almond biscotti that has a similar taste and texture.  I used to find a similar cookie in Trader Joe’s in California.  Miss that place!  

                                          Another star of Antalya. 

Award Winning Take Our BBQ
Farther out from the center of Antalya , a brief tram ride away, is a small restaurant that does a huge take-out business!  Gazikent Restaurant is at Kızıltoprak, Mevlana Cd. No:12, 07300 Muratpaşa/Antalya, Turchia.  

Counting the Cash
I stumbled onto this place two years ago when Orietta was in a hospital two blocks away and I was out looking for something good to bring back to her.  I found a super place two steps above a hole in the wall, but let’s face it, a lot of Turkish eateries, have the same look.  You cannot be afraid.  John Candy, John Belushi (remember them?) and Billy Bob Thornton, Bad Santa,  would eat here!   They would do a killer business if they opened a branch in my village.  
We sit while the phone goes nuts, orders keep coming in.  (This place does delivery at noon.)  the workers clumbsily stumble over each other, while the owner counts out the change.  Near the back, the barbecue expert is racking up speared meat ready to cook.   
Pizza Guy and His Dough
Near the front, the  pizza guy is stoking the fire, and placing and replacing the Turkish pizzas, then he is working the softball size dough. He never stops to rest, it is one big pizza marathon.  It’s hot and he is sticking to the task with his long stick to push pizzas around.

There is a large glass counter which displays the meat ready to be cooked.  The meat appears to be infused with a spicy, tomato barbecue flavor.   

Pictures Help A Lot In Turkey
The menu suggests many selections, and with no trepidation we pick several.  Pictures on the menu solve the translation problem.  No Efes beer to be found here, like many restaurants in Antalya, the owners are Muslim and refuse to sell alcohol products.  We submit to drink ayran, a tasty yogurt drink we cannot find in Italy, - while we wait patiently, knowing from previous experience what to expect.  To be honest, it is not a submission to drink Ayran and it is the first thing we drink when arriving in Turkey.  

Our plates arrive and we dive in.  My wife tells me that we must return next year, but I already had that on our schedule.

One more blog post on the people of Turkey.  It will be about a hard working fellow called Umit who works at a successful beach restaurant. 

1 comment:

Jan Fitzgerald said...

I love how you tell your stories! Makes me want to go sooner than later! Thank you Dave!