Toronto, I rather love you for your food (although when it comes to straight-up vegetarian options you are worse now than 15 years ago, with Sadies and Grasslands now distant tasty memories. Sad.).
A few weeks ago I popped into Simit & Chai, a newish coffee shop in King West and tried simit, a circular bread that is dipped in molasses and encrusted in sesame seeds. Yum. And vegan. Extra points there. This sparked my curiosity in Turkish cuisine (the vegetarian kind). I’ve since followed my tastebuds out to the Danforth to sample pide (like a delicate flatbread pizza folded over toppings, served with pickled hot peppers and lemon – omg) and then back to S&C to try a light fluffy bun and the delight that is Turkish coffee.
The coffee is served in a small, pretty cup, which I think enhances the flavour. Thick and almost syrupy, it’s also fragrant and strong and not bitter. Alas, I didn’t ask for drinking instructions and ended up with a thick, undrinkable coffee sludge in the bottom of my cup (for best results, gently swirl the cup occasionally to remix the water with the coffee paste). Regardless of my java faux pas (kahve hata? — like I know Turkish and didn’t consult an online translator), it was a lovely caffeinating experience. Plus, all the patrons around me were speaking Turkish (I think), a language not heard much here on the West side.
I think my little Turkish nosh exploration has found its end, however. A quick glance at menus of Turkish restaurants reveals a heavy use of meat (boo) and eggplant (sigh). But I did learn that there’s a whole lot more to Turkish baking than the pita bread.