Saturday, February 25, 2012


Cyprus[1] in my belly

(The first EweToob link should be self-explanatory from its title. The second one was included because I have been informed that "some people" do not like my music selections here; I would just like to hear "some people" complain about that one now.)

I have eaten dinner at Troya (in the Richmond District, on lower Clement Street) many times in the past. The restaurant is named after the ancient city of Troy (not after the Simpsons character); they have a pretty good story about it on their web-site. As their sign states above the entranceway, they specialize in "Turkish Cuisine and Mediterranean Meze[2]". The food there is top-notch and they make one of the best versions of künefe (the Turkish/Arabic version of kataifi ~ see my explanation/rave of this most excellent dessert favourite of mine in 'blog-entries from September 11th and September 25th, 2010) that I have ever had. Troya just started serving "Brunch" two weekends ago and are still tweaking their breakfast/"Brunch" menu; as such, they do not offer a lot of breakfast items from which to choose yet.

Troya really hasn't taken off yet as a "go to" spot for "Brunch", but they normally do a great dinner business and are usually crowded most nights that I have been there. This morning I felt just like Jerry Seinfeld sitting all by himself at Babu Bhatt's restaurant, as I was the only customer in the place the entire time I was there. I almost told them that they should think about doing an entire Pakistani menu, but didn't want to be thought of as a "very, very bad man"…

For starters I ordered the Grilled Halloumi[3]
with Organic Red Beets ~ it was exactly what was stated: grilled/pan-fried Halloumi cheese with beets on a bed of some mixed greens (which I basically skipped, Howard). For the main part of my breakfast I had Turkish style scramble(sic) eggs "Menemen"[4] ~ beef sausages (by the way, which I also skipped, Mr. Way), peppers, onions, cherry tomato, paprika, oregano, and mint; served with Feta cheese, Turkish mixed olives, and grilled pita bread. To drink I just had a cuppa Turkish Tea[5].

I love beets, so the starter was a no-brainer (which for me is par for the course, anyway); 'mericans don't seem to eat enough of these tasty subterranean fruit. Plus, grilled Halloumi is always good (this is the Turkish equivalent to the Greek dish σαγανάκι).

The scramble included both red and yellow bell peppers, black olives (Kalamata, perhaps?), and tomatoes. There were no onions in it, though (or none that I could taste/see). Additionally, I couldn't really detect any paprika, oregano, or mint in the mess. I mentioned the omission of the mint to my server and he said that they may have just put a small amount in; that is quite possible, but I think they just forgot to use any at all. I am pretty sure I would have tasted the mint otherwise (I have been known to catch cardamom added in my coffee, after all). Too bad, as I really was looking forward to that added ingredient, too. I liked the grilled pita triangles as an alternative to standard toast. All in all, the Menemen was very good, and any egg dish with Feta and (Kalamata?) olives in it is always good with me (I wonder if the Feta was of Greek or Bulgarian origin).

The Turkish tea was nothing really special; it was just good, strong tea. I was thinking of ordering a (double) Turkish coffee, which would probably have been better, but also may have been a little too much for breakfast.

I didn't bother asking what Troya had for condimentary supplementation (I really didn't want to bother them during the breakfast rush), so I just went with some of my own Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce (Thanks agains, Amys!) on the Menemen; I left the beets and Halloumi alone, though.

Troya still needs to work out some of the kinks in their "Brunch" menu, Mr. Davies. And Heinrich Schliemann may well agree that this is not an actual breakfastary discovery, but it is worth going back again for dinner… and especially dessert.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Menemen ~ 6.7 (probably a lot higher if I had tasted any fresh mint); Halloumi and Beets ~ 6.9; Künefe ~ 7.9

[1] The Republic of Cyprus is partitioned into ½-Greek (well, more like 77% Greek) and ½-Turkish (again, more like 18% Turkish). I only mention this as I had dinner just last night at Mezés over on Chestnut Street in the Marina: Saganaki (
σαγανάκι), Horta (χόρτα), and Galaktoboureko (γαλακτομπούρεκο) for dessert, along with a good, strong cuppa Greek coffee (καφές ελληνικός).

[2] Stupid, useless cunning linguist (and pseudo-culinary) pointer of the day, bir numara:

"Meze" is a Turkish word meaning "taste, flavour, snack, relish"; the similar Greek word is "
μεζές" (pronounced "mezes") ~ see above restaurant information. It is basically the Turkish/Greek version of "tapas".

[3] For your edification and eat-if-I-can-ation (courtesy of our unknowing friends at Wikipedia):

[4] Apparently they call this style of "scramble" eggs "menemen" in Turkey; it is a commonly eaten Turkish breakfast dish. I had to ask my server what it meant; he told me that Menemen is a district of Izmir Province in western Turkey. The connection between the dish and the district was not explained to me, though.

[5] Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, iki numara:

The word for "tea" in Turkish is "çay", pronounced "chai". I asked my ever-busy server this between his naps. This seems to be the pretty universal word for it; the English word for "tea" comes from the Chinese word "
", pronounced either "cha" or "teh", depending on what part of China you are from.

Many other languages have very similar words for it: it is "
чай" in Russkij, also pronounced "chai"; it is "चाय" in Hindi, also pronounced "chai"; it is "Tee" in German, pronounced "tee"; it is "thé" in French, pronounced "tay"; it is "" in Spanish, also pronounced "tay"; it is "" in Italian, pronounced "teh"; it is "τσάι" in Greek, pronounced "tsai"; it is "tea" in Hungarian, actually pronounced "tay-uh"; and it is "herbata" in Polish, pronounced "coffee"…

Bonus stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, üç numara:

I also had to ask my server what they called "Beer" in Turkish, as I figured like "tea", it is a pretty universal word; he informed me that the Turkish word for "Beer" is "bira", pronounced like it looks.

The German word for "Beer" is "Bier", pronounced "beer"; it is "beoir" in Irish, pronounced "beer" (or Guinness®, depending on the dialect); it is "bière" in French, pronounced to rhyme with Pierre; it is "birra" in Italian, pronounced "beera"; it is "
μπύρα" in Greek, also pronounced "beera"; it is "bjór" in Icelandic, pronounced "byor"; it is "bia" in Vietnamese, pronounced "beeya"; it is "เบียร์" in Thai, also pronounced "beeya"; and it is "piwo" in Polish, pronounced "coffee"…
(Okay, that was a long way to go for two dumb Polish jokes, but all the foreign words were actually as I had them.)

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