Istanbul Was the Shish

This is part 2 of a culinary weekend in Cary that started with the Pimento Cheese Festival.

After we spent some time catching up dinner time rolled around and we decided to try a place that had been on my sister’s radar but she’d never been. Istanbul Restaurant & Cafe is pretty convenient so if she liked it she’d have a new option in her dining portfolio.

When we got there it was not that promising as there was only one other car. People started rolling in though just about the time we got our menus and placed the drink order. The folks running the place, if not from Turkey, were definitely from the Mediterranean area. My sister ordered the chicken shish plate while I ordered the mixed grill because I love variety.

Warm bread and olive oil to dip it in came out first and some tzatziki we ordered as an appetizer. Both very delicious. It really got going when the entrees rolled out.

The mixed grill came with adana kabob, chicken kabob and kofta meatballs for the meats. There was also rice, vegetables, a small wedge of bread and a sauce to dip in. Honestly it was all well spiced and grilled just right. The chicken was my favorite which surprised me since I generally love the beef lamb mix of the adana and kofta. If I’d been going back to my house I’d probably have taken half of this home but instead I unwisely powered through and earned some midnight heartburn. I don’t regret it too much though, it was too good to leave. Judging by her reaction I think Lynn found a good lunch place too.

In addition to the food the folks working there were very friendly and willing to answer questions and made sure we were enjoying the meal. Highly recommend them if you’re in the Cary area.

I’m an early riser as is most of my family so we decided to grab breakfast before I left. After mulling over the slim choices of open places at that time of the morning we decided on Biscuitville. It’s a cool little place where they are constantly making biscuits (shocker) but doing it at a station right out front by the counter. It’s surrounded by plexiglass to keep the cooties at bay but you can see the biscuits getting made by hand.

As I was perusing the menu my sister pointed out the limited time only Spam biscuits and that did it for me. I love me some fried Spam.

I got it with egg and cheese so it would be a balanced meal and carry me through the journey home to Seneca. It was tasty. After 3 good dining experiences and visiting with my sister and brother-in-law and catching a glimpse of my nephew I felt like I won the weekend. That was two in a row since I spent the prior one with friends and visiting my other sister and her family.

Calm in the Chaos



It’s been a couple of weeks since the last activity.  One week was due to DragonCon and one to UGA football but I’ll have the blog back on track for a while now.

While in Atlanta for DragonCon hanging out with 70K other folks indulging their geeky fandoms I was looking for a place that wasn’t packed to the rafters with con goers and remembered Truva, a Turkish restaurant I’d visited during a previous con and Turkey was a country I hadn’t done yet.  It’s easy to walk past the place as the signage is fairly muted compared to say the Hard Rock & Hooters just a block away.  When you go in you are directed by sign to ascend the stairs.  The stairwell is dimly lit but they’ve conquered this challenge by placing two battery powered candles on the left and right edges of every other stair.  These aren’t those little tea light flickering candles but those that look like about 4 inch candles with a flickering light.  It’s not an inspiring first impression but once you get in to the restaurant proper it is a nice looking place if also very dimly lit.  Every table has one of those battery powered candles, I assume in this case for ambience rather than safety.  (I hope they’re using rechargeable batteries)

Truva turned out to be just what I was looking for, a brief respite from the crowds and not a line in sight.  It took just a minute looking at the menu and a short conversation with the ethnically appropriate waiter, Ekmel I believe his name was, and I went with the Kuku Sis Kebap.  That’s lamb shish kebabs for those without the benefit of the menu translation.  I ordered a local IPA to go with it that was pretty good but I can’t remember the brand.

Ekmel brought warm bread and dipping oil and vinegar along with the beer. That was a great start to the meal.


The lamb came with rice, grilled tomato & pepper and a green salad.


The lamb was marinated in olive oil, yogurt, garlic and other spices and was very tender and flavorful.  The vegetables were ok but the real meal was the lamb and rice plus the yogurt mint sauce which went down quite well and was just about the right portion for someone who was going to be doing a lot of walking after lunch.  I couldn’t resist finishing off the meal with a nice cup of Turkish coffee.


Nice strong coffee in a fancy little cup or as one friend correctly pointed out a demitasse.  Overall this was a great place to get away from the general nerdery and enjoy a few quiet minutes to plan whether to go see Mideval Mythbusting, visit the Art show, learn how writers figure out how to write alternate history, or just go hang out somewhere and watch all the interesting costumes.