11 February 2015

Pop Up Restaurant Presents Georgian!

One of the things I miss here is really good international food. I've found decent Thai, outstanding Korean, good enough Indian, but Chinese still eludes my grasp. This is all about to change because I recently learned about PopUp Restaurant Istanbul! I can't believe I didn't know about this before.

What an intro to PopUp Istanbul-Georgian food! I love, love, love Georgian food. I believe there are actually one or two Georgian restaurants in the Aksaray bus station; but Aksaray is a wee dodgy and I haven't wanted to wander around there looking for the bus station. Now that E&M are here though we'll get around to that once it stops snowing. The long and short though was that PopUp Istanbul is around the corner from my apartment and the menu was like a greatest hits of Georgian foods.

Celeric in mustard mayonnaise
Red pepper stuffed with carrot and spices
Aubergine rolls with walnut garlic paste
Spinach balls with cheese


Walnut chicken with rice an herby beetroot

Choux pastry round

My two favorite Georgian foods, and two of my favorite foods period, are eggplant rolls with walnut and garlic paste and khatchapouri. Khatchapouri is an art form and there are several kinds. My personal favorite is adjarian khatchapouri. Imagine a bread boat that's been hollowed out, filled with one kind of cheese and topped with another kind, and butter. Unfortunately it's traditionally served also with a raw egg cracked over the top...hold the egg please. We had imeretian khatchapouri which is a, kind of corn bread-like round bread stuffed with cheese. I won't say no to that!

In addition to the amazing food, all prepared by Maia, a lovely Georgian woman, E&M and I enjoyed the company of a disparate and lovely group of new people. We were the only newbies there that night; something we plan to change by becoming regular members! It seems I was the only one at our table who had been to Georgia and I'm afraid I sounded like a terrible know it all-going on and on about the food and wine and how everyone should visit. Hopefully I sounded like an enthusiastic know it all rather than a pedantic one. I feel like that matters.

BYOB-of course we brought Suvla!

Not only is Maia a killer chef, she also sells khinkali (soup filled meat dumpling amazingness) frozen; so you can make them at home. She makes a small version, kind of like a large Turkish manti, and the traditional size. Dude. And since I was having such a good time I forgot to photograph anything except the meze course, completely fortuitous.

The next PopUp Restaurant Istanbul is next Saturday and will be Chinese food to celebrate the New Year. I really, really want to go but already promised myself to a friend's birthday party. There will be other PopUp nights though and I'll be there! If you're in Istanbul...well don't go to PopUp. The space is limited and I don't want competition! 

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