Add to the already ridiculously long list Things I Love About Austin this: living in a university town has meant making friends with folks from around the world. This in turn has led to enjoying food from around the world. Last night illustrates my point nicely. My Turk friend Kenan recently accidentally (but thankfully) stumbled upon the Turquoise Grill, a Turkish restaurant in Round Rock. I'm pretty sure it is the only Turkish restaurant in the area. On Kenan's recommendation (he's eaten there about 40 times since they opened last month) thirteen of us, including my other Turkish friend, Baris, descended upon the place and settled in for an hours-long feast. It was most excellent listening to B & K chatting with the waitstaff and owner in Turkish.
It was also quite nice having the food explained. For example, I got a vegetarian dish that involves a lot of eggplants, and has the word Imam in it. The other word in the title, which escapes me now (and you thought my Spanish was bad), but which you can look up on the menu if you want, means "faints." So put it together and you get the Imam Faints. And why does the Imam faint? There are a couple of theories about this-- one is that the imam who first enjoyed the dish was so blown away by the flavor that he passed out. The other is that he was so flabbergasted at how much olive oil was used (costly) that this caused him to faint. After tasting it, I am going to go ahead and say that I think Theory #1 is the correct one.
We didn't set out on a food-blogging journey at all. Really we just wanted to gather and break bread and eat thick yogurt and baclava and other yummy stuff. Which is why the pictures below appear to have been hastily shot on my iPhone. Yes, it is possible to take pretty good shots with the phone, but not when someone is holding a fork just out of view of the lens, threatening to gouge you if you don't hurry up and take the picture so that the eating can commence.
I super duper highly recommend Turquoise Grill-- you have to really look for it, it's in a strip mall. But totally worth tracking it down. Take a crowd. Tell them I sent you. I am already trying to convince the owner to open up another restaurant within walking distance of my house.