A Fork on the Road

East meets West at Hollywood’s A La Turca

 

If you go

Place: A La Turca Mediterranean Restaurant

Address: 2027 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood

Contact: 954-925-5900, myalaturca.com

Hours: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily

Prices: Meze $6-$12, salads and soups $5-$13, entrees $13-$26, desserts $5-$7

F.Y.I. Wine and beer; happy hour 4-7 p.m. daily. Three-for-one meze on Mondays.


Dessert

Turkish Sweet Yogurt Cream

This recipe, adapted from “Classical Turkish Cooking” by Ayla Algar (HarperPerennial, 1991), is good served with fresh berries, sliced seasonal fruit or a fruit sauce.

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

3 tablespoons powdered sugar or to taste

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped, r 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

With a wooden spoon, beat yogurt with whipped cream and sugar. Stir in vanilla seeds and chill. Makes 5 (1/2-cup) servings.

Per serving: 158 calories (58 percent from fat), 10.8 g fat ( 6.7 g saturated, 2.6 g monounsaturated), 47 mg cholesterol, 9 g protein, 8.8 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 57 mg sodium.


lbb75@bellsouth.net

East meets West in the cuisine at Hollywood’s A La Turca, “the Turkish way” in French. The space has the burnished patina of an Istanbul meyhane (tavern) with racks of wine on the walls. Make a meal of meze or plunge into platters of kebabs with sides of pilaf and smoky pepper paste.

Originally from Istanbul, owner Ugur Unal landed in Pittsburgh, where he had a family friend. After a road trip to South Florida a decade ago, he relocated and opened A La Turca, focusing on the dishes from southeast Turkey heavy on lamb and yogurt, staples of the nomadic people from Central Asia who migrated west with their flocks in ancient times. Meze, from mazzeh, meaning “to taste,” came from Persia with Sultan Suleyman and his tasters, who took small bites before he ate.

Eggplant is served in many forms: shakshuka (roasted with peppers in tomato sauce), mashed with yogurt, or as karniyarik (“slashed belly”), a thick slab of fried eggplant stuffed with spiced ground beef.

Zucchini pancakes are served with garlic yogurt and ezme, a salsa of minced tomato, peppers and onion with pomegranate juice. Lamb chunks are marinated in olive oil, milk and onion and grilled for shish. Beyti is ground lamb wrapped in papery lavash bread drizzled in tomato sauce, yogurt, and melted butter.

Large pan-fried shrimp are blanketed under spicy tomato sauce and bubbling cheese, good paired with Cankaya, a light white wine from Ankara.

End with walnut baklava rolls with whipped cream and a tiny cup of sweet Turkish coffee.

Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who can be reached at lbb75@bellsouth.net.

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