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Best Bites of 2011: Decisions, Decisions

(Editor’s Note: As 2011 heads to an end, we are looking back at our “Best Bites” of the year and are asking our readers to do the same and share their best Istanbul (or Turkey) eating moments with us. This submission comes from blogger and writer Katie Parla, whose excellent culinary adventures in Rome, Istanbul and other cities can be found over at Parla Food [2].)
Best Bite Istanbul: I dedicated the first half of the year to intense pide research and among the best bites of 2011 was everything at Pideban [3] in Sarıyer. But squeaking ahead by a hair is the külbastı at Kenan Usta [4] near Taksim, which offers a trinity of textures and flavors. Marbled meat medallions are grilled over charcoal and their own fatty juices are absorbed by a thin lavaş, which is subsequently toasted. The juicy meat, crispy lavaş and another flimsy sheet of bread are served layered on a plate. Kena Usta’s uykuluk (sweetbreads), succulent and creamy, are the ideal accompaniment.
Best Bite Turkey: Breakfast at Maya [5] in Bozcaada
Chef Selçuk Aykan serves breakfast by reservation only in the front yard of his home in Bozcaada. The table was filled with wonderful homemade marmelades, breads and goat cheeses, all of which are produced on the property, which doubles as a vineyard. There were other fine products sourced from small producers on the mainland affiliated with Toprak Ana.
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