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I am very forturnate to be in Turkey right now and I am planted in Istanbul, which is a food mecca. Tonight is my 18th wedding anniversery and my sweet and wonderful husband is at home and in Little Rock. That did not stop me from going to a nice dinner. My guide Irfan, steered me towards a beautiful restaurant called Agatha’s named after Agatha Christy. The orient express used to stop in Instanbul, so that may be the case. Anyway, this place is in the bottom level of the Para Palace Hotel and I was so happy that they were doing a price fix menu to honor Auguste Ecoffier! One of Europe’s most outstanding chefs who had been a chef at Para Palace years ago! I have to say that Chef Arif Kemal did Chef Auguste proud! There was a 5 course meal with wine pairing that was so amazing, I don’t know where to start. The thing that keep coming to mind was the magnificent Beef Wellington. It was surrounded by small root vegitable roasted and in a delicate sauce that made beef sing! It started with an amuse bush of artichoke soup that burst in my mouth. The fine olive oil that was on the top and the exploding fresh flavor of artichoke was unforgetable. It was followed by a Poultry Variation which meant that it was amazing poltry items like Quail galantine wrapped in a cranberry paste and a duck pastrami that was so well smoked that I could have eaten a pound, there we three shaved slices. Heaven in my mouth! Also a chicken liver pate, which I thought I would hate, but loved it. The flavors where out of this world. Next an Oxtail consumme that I know took 10 days to make and boy is it worth it! The beef flavor is like the best you have ever tasted. The next course of salmon and shrimp wrapped in potato is not to be described. I have never seen a shrimp, rolled in salmon and then covered with a thin potato and then quick fried to perfection. That was sitting in a small pool of vanilla hollandaise, yes I said vanilla, unbelieveable. A lemon and rosemary sorbet with a lemon suger rim on the dish, OMG! And then the Beef Wellington! The meal then ended with a Baked Alaska with the most delicate meringue with Neopolitan ice cream. So perfect! The wine, mostly from France, were paried perfectly, even the Misketi, which had a slight sweetness to it, with the consumme. My waiter Zafer Sakar was the best, most attentive person I could have asked for. Truly a magnificent evening. Good night Istanbul!

Look for pictures on my facebook page, Arkansas Cooks or Mary Twedt.