Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bodrum'un Mezecisi

We wanted to do meze and raki at our beautiful balcony this evening.  My husband had discovered a great place for meze the other day, Bodrum'un Mezecisi (The place for meze in Bodrum) so that's where we did our shopping for tonight.

Their kopuklu patlican salata (eggplant salad with garlic, yogurt and heavy cream,) hardalli patates salatasi (potato salad with mustard dressing,) kopoglu mancasi (eggplant with peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and garlic yogurt,) Amerikan salata (peas, carrots and potatoes with mayonaise,) levrek limonlu, zeytinyagli salata  (seabass cured in olive oil and lemon juice,)  and mercimekli kofte (lentil fingers) are the ones we tried and were very impressed with.  I did sample something I will be going back for - deniz fasulyesi which is actually some kind of a herb that comes out of the sea (they get it delivered from Izmir)  I would highly recommend all of these but my favorite was the creamy eggplant salad, kopuklu patlican salata. They are conveniently located in Bitez which is close to Bodrum, Ortakent and even Yalikavak road.
Ataturk Bulvari
No 35/C
Bitez, Bodrum
Tel:  0252 363 9473
        0252 363 9446

Turkish Simit

Simit is probably one of the most popular snacks in Turkey.  It is great for anytime of the day... we have it as a type of bread with breakfast in the morning, with ayran ( a salty yogurt drink) for a quick, light lunch, with cheese or plain with tea in the afternoon... or anytime the fancy takes us because it is just too good to pass up.

We have found a spectacular Simitci, in Ortakent, Bodrum. There always seems to be a line in this little store.  One taste from their simit let's you know the reason for all the demand.

Simit can be found all over other major cities as well. In Istanbul you can find it on the streets or stores that are called Simit Evi (House)  It is one of the things I definitely recommend to any traveler to Turkey.

Sedef's Corner: Sun...Sea...Art

Sedef's Corner: Sun...Sea...Art: "I had not even realized what my idea of paradise was until I went to Aspat Beach yesterday. Solida Beach Club is sit..."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yahsi Beach - 8.00 a.m.

A morning swim when we have the sea and sand all to ourselves is one of our favorite activities.  It is definitely worth it to wake up early for this.  Nothing can get you down the rest of the day when your first experience in the morning is so exceptional...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Enjoying Bodrum while the city sleeps...

My favorite time to experience any place is always early in the morning, before its occupants wake up.  My husband and I got the opportunity to enjoy this experience this morning when we had to get up at 6 to take our son into Bodrum to catch the bus for the airport.  After we dropped him off we were in a very different city than the one we have been used to seeing.  Bodrum asleep... It was around seven and the famous party town was mostly populated with the few people who were still out from the previous night.

We drove down towards the water and looked for an open place where we could have our morning  tea.  We found a bufe we were familiar with from Istanbul, Marmaris Bufe, ordered our sandwiches, tea and proceeded to the park benches across the street.  Mehmet had their famous dilli sandwich (with sliced tongue and pickles) and I had my favorite, cift kasarli tost (grilled cheese with double kasseri.)

The heat had not started to scorch the town yet and we sat in pure bliss, drinking our tea and feeling the slight breeze that was coming our way from the sea.  The only activity to break up the silence was the slow motion of the sailboats as they moved in and out of their spots to take to the sea and make room for newcomers...  The only thought to occupy my mind was "this is my moment in time."  It was definitely a zesty moment that I will cherish in the long, cold New Jersey days to come.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Gumusluk - The most enchanting town in Bodrum

Gumusluk is probably my favorite place in Bodrum.  I particularly like to go there early in the morning to pick up some pastries from a bakery nearby and have tea at the public tea garden.

It has a small seaside that is filled with restaurants one next to the other - these are usually fish restaurants that fill up in the evening.

It is possible to have breakfast at this tiny cafe (Mandarin) by the water as well.  They serve the best cheese and olives with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers from their own garden (basic Turkish breakfast.) There are also homemade jams that are to die for.  We had breakfast with unlimited tea and paid 25TL per person. But while we were waiting for the breakfast to arrive, we tasted their peynirli pogaca (cheese filled salty pastries); I am planning to go back just for their freshly baked goods next time.

One of the reasons I like Gumusluk so much is it's close proximity to where we are staying at Yahsi plus driving from scenic flat country roads that leads into it as oppose to winding down steep mountains.

I will have many more pictures later on...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday Market at Turgutreis

Saturday's are our Pazar (market) days.  The market that is setup at Turgutreis is really great.  This week we took my sister-in-law, Wendy and my nephew to the market with us.  These are Wendy's photographs of all she found interesting and appealing...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Road Trip to Torba

Torba has always been one of my favorite bays in Bodrum due to it's relatively flat landscape and subdued atmosphere.  It is the first bay you pass by on your way into Bodrum, on the northern shores of the peninsula.

One hot day, we left the house with intentions of going into the city center but got distracted along the way and when my little nephew fell asleep in the car, the opportunity of driving to Torba presented itself.

Usually, after taking the right turn into Torba, I would turn left at the end of the road and end up leaving the car in the parking lot, since the tiny shore line is closed to traffic.  Having a little guy asleep in the back instigated me to look further - I turned right instead of left and just kept on driving around the winding back streets till I could get close to the water.  Our brief investigation paid off because we finally ended up  at a place that people would have a tough time believing was Bodrum.

It had the makings of a perfect deserted beach if it wasn't for the beach clubs a little further down the shore.  This did not detract from it's appeal one bit though. We just sat underneath the shade of a palm tree, letting the breeze cool and sooth us.

Once my nephew woke up from his nap and waded in the water a little bit, it was time to go.  But as we were leaving, we saw another very attractive location we just couldn't pass by without stopping to have tea first.  This was actually a fish restaurant but they were nice enough to let us occupy one of their tables for over an hour, drinking coffee and just enjoying the scenery.   After a while, they even made tea just for us.  I hope I will get a chance to go back there for Balik and Raki one evening.
Gonca Balik
Torba Mah, Kilise Mevkii
Mutlu Sokak, No. 15
Torba / BODRUM
Tel:  0252 367 1796
Gsm: 0532 615 8418

Just as I backed out of their parking lot, I noticed we were right next to Casa Dell'Arte, an amazing boutique hotel.  Need I say more?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gumusluk - Yalikavak Road - one of the best sunsets in the Peninsula

Kuklaci on the Gumusluk-Yalikavak road

I realize I keep on writing about Gumusluk under different headings but it is one of my favorite spots on the peninsula so I just can't help myself. The day we went to Koyunbaba, after lunch, we decided to have our afternoon tea and catch the sunset at Gumusluk, since they are only about five minutes apart by car (if you drive directly... without any photo stops for cute puppet stands - kuklaci - on the road.)

Once you get into Gumusluk you have to park your car in one of the parking lots that are right at the entrance of the little town center.  As soon as we were out of our car,  Ozlem took us to her favorite spot which was the Sanatcilar Carsisi (Artisan's Arcade.)

After walking around and drinking tea as the sun started to set in Gumusluk we hit the road to catch the Sun as it went down for the day in one amazing finale. 

Koyunbaba - one of the best kept secrets of Bodrum...

My cousin Ozlem, for years has been telling me about a hole in the wall establishment with great mezes and an incomparable breeze.  We finally got a chance to find out if all her tales were true.  On one of the hottest days of the season, we traveled to Koyunbaba, an out of the way, modest restaurant and lodgings that is at the end of a long winding path off the Gumusluk - Yalikavak road.  If it wasn't for Ozlem, I would never have found this place by myself.  But once we got down to sea level and felt the wonderful breeze, all the challenges were long forgotten.

This place was so much more than I could hope for.  It was a clean, sparse, family-run establishment that was right on the water with good food.  Their mezes were very good and my son approved of their kofte.  I especially liked their zeytinyagli kabak cicegi dolma (stuffed zucchini flowers cooked with olive oil,) fava (broad bean paste) and kopoglu mancasi (fried eggplants mixed with peppers, tomatoes and garlic yogurt.)  Their fried calamari was worthy of a mention as well.

After a long leisurely lunch, we sat by the water and drank our turkish coffee.  It was so comfortable that we didn't even feel a need to go into the water.

I plan to go back another time when I am not driving so I can drink raki with my mezes and really get the most zest out of the place.

Koyunbaba Mah. 
Gumusluk Beldesi
Tel:  0252 388 6676
        0252 388 6677
Gsm:0531 887 7494
        0506 609 9909

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bagarasi - Good Food in a Pastoral Setting

This is a family establishment that is run by Ummuhan and Ismail Girgin.  It is best to arrive for the first time with someone who knows the area well since, the restaurant is situated, discreetly, by a quaint cottage in the middle of tangerine groves.  Reservations are a must; they have only about 8-10 tables and will only take one reservation for the evening.  Ummuhan hanim has won awards with her innovative approach to traditional Mediterranean and local dishes like her leeks in olive oil cooked with plums and "Kitir Manti" (Crunchy Turkish Ravioli).  There is a wonderful array of mezes consisting of the freshest of the local herbs and vegetables.  Last year, when we could find the fortitude to go on to the main meal after the delicious mezes, we had tried and loved her "Kofte" (Turkish meatballs) and lamb chops; this year I tried the sea-bass grilled in salt and thought it was excellent.

Everything about this place is magical from the bucolic atmosphere to the nostalgic Turkish music they play to the husband and wife team that treat each and every one of their customers like old friends.  I was especially thrilled when I ran into them at the Ortakent Bazaar where they were loading up on fresh vegetables; it was a  wonderful moment of connecting over love of local flavors.

Bagarasi Restaurant
Pinarli Caddesi No: 59
Bitez - BODRUM
Tel:  0252 363 7693
        0555 260 6251
    0535 686 9690