I had the chance to visit a friend who was living in Istanbul last year. It was a very beautiful city, with a rich cultural heritage and amazingly kind people. When traveling, I enjoy trying new foods. My friend, Aylin, took me to a restaurant on the water near a beautiful bridge in the Ortakoy district. The restaurant offered only two foods, both familiar to me, with a Turkish twist.
One: The Simple Potato Gets a Boost
Do you like potatoes? I am someone who longs for their starchy goodness. In fact, around the holidays in my family there is a good natured battle over who gets to sit next to the mashed potatoes. It is a family argument… er, tradition! My Opa* is the strong yet silent instigator. Through the years he infected all of his children and grandchildren with a love for potatoes.
Given my love for the edible tuber, I was instantly sold on the idea of a loaded potato bar. I quickly learned I had no idea of the possibilities for a loaded potato. Aylin introduced me to the KING of loaded baked potatoes. Locally it is called a kumpir, and is much more than what the average American would think of.
A kumpir is a LARGE baked potato. The meat of the potato is mashed together with sour cream and/or butter and topped with an outlandish amount of delicious goodies. Toppings can include any combination, or all, of the following: green olives, black olives, hot dog slices, sausage slices, pickles, corn, peas, sausage, carrots, mushrooms, Russian salad, salsa, sour cream, cheese, and so much more. All you have to do is step up to the counter and list your desired toppings.
Try one. Trust me. If you like potatoes, even half as much as I do, you will not regret it.
Two: Upgrade to Waffle Toppings
I also recommend dessert! Have you ever watched kids top a waffle with a seemingly sugar explosion? The waffle toppings at the same restaurant were the good stuff – for adults. Fresh fruits, chocolate chips, nuts, various chocolate spreads, whipped topping, maraschino cherries (both red and green), and so much more.
Imagine biting into a burst of flavor, sure you might get a cavity from one bite, but I would say it is worth the risk.
Article by GVSU alumna Audrey Tensen (Greece )