The recent news coming out of Turkey has me reminiscing about my trip there last summer. After a few days spent in Antalya visiting with the innovator behind the UTS-15 shotgun, I kicked around Istanbul for a week just experiencing an amazing city. The apartment I rented was just off Taksim Square, the center of the ongoing protests, and a lot of my favorite meals from Turkey came from the spider web of streets branching from İstiklal Caddesi, the avenue leading to Taksim that's been the sight of some of the worst of the clashes between protestors and police.
Like in much of eastern Europe, street food is hugely popular in Istanbul. From spiced mussels to wet burgers and simit rolls, I ate more food walking the streets of the ancient city than I did sitting in actual restaurants. One small establishment I did frequent was Musam Ocakbasi, just a block off of İstiklal Caddesi, where I gorged on adana kebaps just before getting caught up in the TGB rally show in the photo.
On two separate days, I found myself in the middle in political rallies marching on Taksim Square. Like those marches, the overriding politics of this summer's riots are lost on me, but I can get behind the original flashpoint for the current protests. Though I only spent a week in Istanbul, I noticed green space was incredibly lacking in a metropolis that not only straddles two continents, but also exists between the ancient world and the modern.
I kind of wish I were back on the Bosphorus, partly to witness the history taking place there this month and to enjoy more of Istanbul's wonderful street food. As it is, I'm stuck here in Nebraska, so I guess I'll just daydream and do my best to replicate the tastes of Turkey with this sumac-flavored sauce, which is the perfect cooling accompaniment to the exotic flavors of my favorite way to use ground venison--adana kebaps.
Taksim Square Sumac Yogurt Dip
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tsp. sumac
- 1 Tbsp., plus 2 tsp., lemon juice
- Pinch of fresh thyme
Whisk together in a small bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour to allow flavors to meld.