Lale Sürmen Aran
December 06 – Day 13: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. You can hop a ferry to the Greek island of Samos (where you’ll find easy plane/boat connections to other islands and Athens), or take the tour bus to nearby Izmir for quick flights to Athens or Istanbul and home. Güle güle!

New Istanbul Cuisine

Dear Reader,

After the tour ended some of our friends flew to Istanbul. This gave us a chance to gather for the last time in a small restaurant across from the Pera Palace Hotel.

Turkish cuisine is a fun one. It is the mix of all cuisines of the three continents Ottoman Empire spread over once. Trend setting palace chefs entertained the sultan with dishes made with ingredients coming from different corners of the empire, creating unique recipes. Today, this is the heritage we are proud of we call the Turkish cuisine.

Lately, there is a new trend in Istanbul, we call it the new Istanbul style. It has been created by young and innovative chefs who have studied different cuisines of the world. It is a mix of traditional Turkish cuisine and chefs’ experiences of other cuisines.

Delicious see weed meze. Photo by Jamie Blair Gould.
These young chefs are not meant to be in the kitchen, they move back and forth between the kitchen and restaurant, conducting the harmony.

For the final dinner we went to such a restaurant, Mezze by Lemon Tree , Chef and owner Gençay is an ex-tour guide. He is sociable and connects with the client easily.

The restaurant is similar to the others following the new Istanbul style, unpretentious. Their claim is the food and friendly approach. Tables are close to one each other. It feels like a crowded dining room of an extended family. Clients seem to be regulars and like-minded travelers, effortlessly connecting one another. Personality of Gençay contributes to this.
One last dinner and it had to be with Gencay of Meze by Lemon Tree. Another fabulous array of creative meze and other dishes. A great way to finish a fabulous tour! Photo by Jamie Blair Gould.
We left the wine choice to Gençay, he served us a variety based on the food served along., and one delicious dish followed the other.
Spicy shrimp dish. Photo by Jamie Blair Gould.


 Sote of octopus, one of the main courses. Photo by Jamie Blair Gould.
Gençay promised me that he would share the recipes. When I receive them, I will share them with you.
Lale and Tankut, who made possible this tour in conjunction with Rick Steves. Photo by Jamie Blair Gould.
Thank you for reading.