Friday, October 26, 2012

Monique's 34th Birthday, Turkish and Greek food

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Not a lot of Turkish food in Vancouver. I've tried the cuisine before at a long vanished restaurant over on Commercial Drive. The newish Divan Kitchen replacing a favourite pizza joint on Lonsdale sounded worth checking out, especially as I was reading Orhan Pamuk's memoir Istambul. My previous contact with Turkish cuisine reminded me of Greek and other mid-Eastern food only more subtle.
I was surprised to find a Turkish beer on the menu. Went especially well with the falafal, not so good with the salad. I find beer goes great with pizza, Chinese and Indian food in general, and some Japanese deep fried food like Tempura and Ton Katsu, but not salads. This "village salad" called Coban Salatsi,  however was extraordinary Similar ingredients to a Greek salad, except the Italian parsley I ask my server if the cheese is different from a Greek salad and he says yes, along with the spices. This reminds me of the Greek salad  I had at Milos in Vegas back in February, and that's a Greek place aspiring to be one of the top fish restaurants in the world. They succeed because of their olive oil, it seems to me. This place succeeds for a variety of reasons. It's hard enough to know whether it's their special olives, special oil, special vegies or just something Turkish that makes the salad so memorable. I bring some home to Fumiyo who can't taste much these days but does enjoy the food.
The following day we celebrate our daughter's birthday with her friends and her favourite local Greek restaurant, Mythos. Although I've been to Mythos more than any other restaurant in town, I'm usually not recognized but tonight, I'm greeted as if I were family. Maybe Bit's spirit is animating the restaurant tonight. I know she loved going to good restaurants, in the last years of her life. I always orders the eggplant stuffed with crab as it's always great. Fumiyo has the lemon soup and our friends try their meatier dishes. I order the squid stuffed with cheese which is a revelation to me, though Fumiyo remembers we'd ordered it by mistake before. I think it's the quality of the cheese, like the Turkish salad and the great lunch at Milos. Cheese is one of my favourite things and marrying it to squid, not something I would have considered, is obviously something the Greeks and Turks have long experimented with. All in all, a splendid meal Bit would have thoroughly enjoyed.

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