Saturday, June 16, 2007

Local Flavor

Thursday night, Matt and I were invited to celebrate the birthday of the Queen of England with several hundred of her loyal subjects and other friends. I don't actually think her birthday is in June, but the weather is more predictable in June in England so that's when they celebrate. Good party planning if you ask me. We went to the gardens of the British Consulate in Istanbul, which is a beautiful spot. It's always a little bittersweet to go there as it was the scene of a horrific series of bombings a few years ago that killed the Consul General and a number of staff. Nevertheless, everyone was in a great mood and the champagne was flowing. We went as guests of some friends who work at the consulate. British husband, American wife -- though the husband grew up in MD, is a huge Redskins fan, and doesn't exactly sound British. Such is the life of diplomats.

We had a great time and enjoyed talking to friends we ran into and meeting some new ones as well. There were appetizers being passed around, and at one point there seemed to be a mass movement toward one man who reportedly was carrying pork sausages on little toothpicks. Poor guy, he had no idea what was happening.

Fast forward two hours and we were heading out the door to get to our car. Champagne + wine + not much food=me a little bit buzzed. Matt was driving and still jetlagged so he didn't drink much. But we were both HUNGRY. The kids were at a friends house and, apparently, still up at 9:15. School the next day and I didn't want them up so late. What to do?

We could've stopped by Burger King, or McDonalds, but there were three flights up in the shopping mall and we were feeling lazy. Oh, and did I mention we were hungry? And then, there, next to the escalator down to the parking garage, we saw it....CORN!

Styrofoam cups of yellow corn, slathered with butter, salt, parmesean, red pepper - choose your flavor. We had seen the corn stands before and it had become a bit of a joke since Matt's office is just next door.

"Hey honey, how was work?"

"Great day, sweetheart, I had my CORN!"

But now, slightly tipsy and ravenous, that corn was looking mighty good. We sidled up to the faux country market stand and ordered two large cups. Butter and salt flavored, please. We decided to go for the basics on our first corn venture. Let me tell you, that was some good corn! Maybe it was the subtle buttery texture mixing with the champagne, or maybe it was just that we probably would've eaten just about anything. I still wonder about the corn. Why corn? Why in a mall? I think it's probably the upscale version of the corn on the cob that you can buy out in the market streets in Istanbul, a portable, tasty, not that unhealthy snack that fills you up. We have Cinnabon in the US, Turkey has corn.

So, for any visitors coming this way, you know what will be one of our stops as we tour the city.

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