Ahh Istanbul…the city swirls in my memory. Three years ago, my magic carpet ride across the Atlantic landed me in an epitome of contrasts: secular or religious, ancient or modern, hijab or no hijab?
I passed a Starbucks, Gap, and Coach stores on the street leading to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest markets in the world, constructed in the 15th century to please an Ottoman sultan.
Five hundred years later the bazaar is closed, part of the worldwide battle against the coronavirus.
Our Tucson social distancing crusade includes an occasional takeout dinner from a neighborhood restaurant. My favorite is Istanbul Mediterranean Cuisine, run by a local Turkish family.
A few days ago I hopped into my ocean blue Prius to pick up our treat: Dan’s Istanbul plate, consisting of a giant homemade lamb sausage, a crisp Middle Eastern salad, tasty rice pilaf, pita bread, and the yummiest tzatziki sauce made of Greek yogurt, lemon juice, fresh dill and other spices.
I chose chicken skewers this time, which came with all the same sides. They were good but not as flavorful and tender as the lamb skewers. The chicken and lamb were similarly marinated in lemon juice and spices. So much food, and so reasonable! My dinner lasted for two nights.
One of the two brothers, who’s holding down the fort, came out to deliver my order. Chatting, both of us wearing masks, I asked how business was.
“Next week we’re opening inside,” he said excitedly, acknowledging that Trump had visited Phoenix that day.
“We’ll keep ordering takeout,” I said. “Gov. Ducey announced the opening of restaurants because he’s Trump’s puppet.”
The brother mumbled something. He may support Trump for “economic” reasons. Perhaps opening indoors will bring the restaurant more business, I don’t know.
He and I disagree about the need for continued social distancing.
We agree that a delicious dinner brightens any day.