Back in April we flew to Rome from Turkey and, as we were flying from Sabiha Gökçen Airport, it meant we got to spend a night in our favourite city, Istanbul. It all coincided with a meet-up with some other bloggers...which meant going out for drinks...which of course meant ending the evening with a late night snack before bedtime. And Istanbul is not a bad place to be if you need that all-important food that you are convinced will prevent the following morning's inevitable hangover.
We were in Beyoğlu so we hit the side streets and pushed our way through the crowds of revellers packing the streets around the famous Balık Pazarı and Nevizade Sokak. "Buyrun, buyrun, yes please," rang out above the noise as waiters and barmen tried to attract us into their establishments. We turned round to the others to see what they'd like to eat - and we'd lost them!
Midye tava and kokoreç in Beyoğlu, Istanbul
Don't stand still for too long in Istanbul. There are seagulls - even late at night! As we stood, trying to catch sight of familiar faces, a seagull flew above, relieved itself, and the contents landed on me and my camera case. "Buyrun, buyrun, would you like to sit here?" Ten out of ten for persistence Mister Waiter - but what I really need right now is one or more of your serviettes. This fell on deaf ears, but thankfully, some people are more organised than we are. We were rescued by Joy of My Turkish Joys who had a ready supply of wet wipes in her bag. Thanks, Joy!
All cleaned up, we jostled our way back up the street and found the others at a street food stand. We had a choice. Kokoreç or midye tava (deep-fried muscles). Well, no competition for us. After a night on the Efes Pilsen the perfect dessert has got to be spicy kokoreç. The meat was expertly chopped into tiny pieces, chilli flakes mixed in, the crusty half-bread was placed, bread-side down, onto the hotplate to soak up the juices and then it was all brought together to produce a delightful kokoreç half-bread.
We headed off, up towards Taksim Square, got in a taxi and then straight to bed, ready for our onward journey the morning after. At 8am the alarm clock jolted us from our slumber. Had the night before's kokoreç hangover prevention worked? Of course it hadn't. It never does...but it's still good!