Some meals are so transcendent, so illuminating, and so invigorating that you are left speechless. Some meals are just that good, incapable of being captured in text or image, and ethereally delicious. This my friends, was not one of those meals. No, the recent torture session of a meal that took place that fateful night left me feeling a bit like Tyson (post Buster). No, actually … take that back, this meal made me feel like Ernie looks after an ass whooping at the hands of Peter (Ernie’s died several times over).
Café Antalya failed so epically on so many fronts that I fear nothing short of a tactical strike could save it. Blow this blight of an establishment straight to heck and back. Start over … get rid of the chef, get rid of the *cough* designer, and shoot whomever is in charge of sourcing. Then, they might have a chance … maybe. If I lived in the Dunwoody area, I’d be calling the fire department just to make sure they had enough water in the tanks. I want my tax dollars back… who hands out the business licenses?
Dondurma is the word used for ice cream in Turkey. Turkish ice cream is made with goats milk and salep (orchid flour). The resulting product is extremely thick (as a consequence of the salep), fairly chewy, and reminiscent of taffy. My first experience with it was at the Boston Turkish Festival (website) a few years back.
Maras Dondurmasi is a regional specific variation that is super duper thick … and often requires a fork and knife to eat. Anywho, it is a particularly popular variation for street vendors and at festivals. As a result of the thickness, serving it has become somewhat of an art form that might remind you of vaudevillian times.
Anywho, in my usual internet stumblings, I came across a slew of videos showing these street magicians serving up the delicious treat. Here’s my favorite one:
Part hookah bar/part Turkish food center/part good-time emporium, Café Istanbul has remained a centerpiece of Atlanta’s Mediterranean culinary community for some time. With my close proximity to Imperial Fez/Ibiza and Divan, and my own stash of shisha, I’ve never had much of a reason to head on up Hwy 78. Motivation factors aside, a visit was in order this past week as a group of friends were hitting the town.
Located at the outskirts of Decatur on the part of 78 identified as Lawrenceville Hwy, Café Istanbul sits somewhat unassumingly near the intersection with DeKalb Industrial. Its main competition in the vibe department is the aforementioned Imperial Fez, a Moroccan joint in Peachtree Hills. On the other hand, their food is most similar to the personal love buddy that is Café Agora. It bares mentioning that the Turkish selections at Istanbul are more diverse than they are at CA as the latter incorporates several supplemental Mediterranean fares.
It started with a stare … tepid at first. Gradually, a brow furrowed, the lips quivered, and the eyes turned on me … I had sinned. Mortally sinned for that matter. Her hand shot across the table and into the left over tin foil cone, the former home of my gyro. Seconds later her hand emerged. Like King Arthur and his sword or Link and his Triforce, the woman held her prize up for all to see. The meat glistened momentarily only to be summarily swallowed. We all have our purposes in this world … in the case of this delectable morsel … it was to inspire.
Hit up that link to see what Madame Chow had to say about my beloved Café Agora.
A good buddy of mine joined me for lunch at Café Agora this past Friday; the experience was yet another in a long line of tasty meals at this Mediterranean eatery. With the demise of Shipfeifer, Agora is now the only spot in the ATL I go for a quality gyro and tasty Turkish food. While there are a handful of options in the burbs (that’s you Alpharetta), this is the best place in town and well worth the drive from Midtown. Overall, I rate the food here very highly, but there are two or three problems with the experience that prevent the perfect score.