We had a rough day yesterday, my daughter found out she's going to need glasses and was really bummed about it. I told her glasses are pretty cool but she wasn't buying it (really, I had glasses at her age and I hated them too, but I had to try, right?) So, we had to cheer her up by going out to a new restaurant! I know my kids will always enjoy Mediterranean food- whether it's Middle Eastern, Greek, or, as we found out, Turkish. I'll be honest and tell you that I find many of the dishes from these countries are pretty similar, especially Greek and Turkish food. There were, however, a few delicious differences.
The restaurant we dined at was named Aspendos. It's on Peninsula Ave. in San Mateo if you are from the area and up for some deliciousness. It is named after an ancient amphitheater and town in Turkey of the same name. The amphitheater , which was built in 155 A.D. with seating for 7,000, is still standing and has been deemed the best preserved theater in the world. In fact, until recent times it was still being used.
The restaurant features a painted mural of it's namesake along with other beautiful Turkish items. The TV was even playing the newscast from Turkey (just FYI, it's going to rain tomorrow in Demre). It's definitely a casual restaurant- paper menus and you order at the register, but when you've got 2 kids, casual is best.
Here is what we dined on-
Hummus and flat bread- hummus is hummus the world over it seems. It was good but the bread was better. A fluffy flat bread with some spices sprinkled on top. Yes, I ate it. It was research :)
Zucchini Patties- these were delicious even though I thought a little underdone. They were served with a yogurt and dill sauce and all the grown ups REALLY liked them- the kids? well they were too busy with their bread to eat vegetables!
Lamb and Beef Gyros- I'd have to say that this is one of my children's favorite things to eat. The meat is really flavorful and was served with fluffy rice, some marinated onions, a grilled tomato and salad with lemon and olive oil dressing. I noticed no flatbread- maybe that is the difference between a Greek gyro and a Turkish gyro? Who cares? They were in heaven!
Adena Kabob- this was ground meat (lamb and beef) seasoned with garlic and spices and then cooked on a skewer. So tasty and moist! Served with small pieces of flatbread under the meat to soak up all the yummy juices- delicious!! They had a "Turkish burger" on the menu also and I wonder if this is the same meat they use, it would be soooooo good on a bun with some cacik (tzatziki) sauce and tomatoes and the marinated onions! My mouth is actually watering as I am writing this!
Pida with meat and cheese- this was a flat bread with a delicious mixture of meat and cheese on it and baked in the oven. It looked simple but it was super tasty!!
Turkish Pizza (Lahmacun)- this was very different than American pizza. It was super thin and had a mixture of red peppers and ground meat spread all over the top. It was served with lettuce, tomatoes, marinated onions and lemon. The owner (who was super busy and so we didn't bug him too much) said you put the produce on top of the pizza, squeeze some lemon and eat it rolled like a wrap. I only tasted a piece before the "wrap", it was very red pepper-y, which I liked but got mixed reviews from the kids and my husband.
Surely you'd think we were full by now, and we were, but we trudged on in the name of research and ordered dessert.
Baklava- again, very similar to every baklava you've ever had. We had walnut and pistachio and they were both very sweet and flaky.
Rice pudding- the menu said it was oven baked so I thought it would be warm, but it was regular ol' rice pudding. Delicious, but we too full to really enjoy it.
Turkish tea- the tea came in an awesome little glass tea cup and was made with real tea leaves but other than that I couldn't really see the difference between Turkish and American tea. The cup was cool though.
We left, too full to move, with the thoughts of new glasses far from our mind. It's hard to be told you are going to need glasses for the rest of your life, but, we shall overcome this small inconvenience- hopefully. Wish me luck :)
Hopefully these aren't the frames she picks out!!