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I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I arrived at Ankara’s Meyhane (a Turkish communal celebration of food, drink, music, and possibly the meaning of life) last week, but I knew it was going to be a blast when I found out that all the tickets for the event had been purchased by Turks. Turks know all about good food and good times.

The event featured several long communal tables, where Turkish wine and raki were free flowing, along with a never-ending flow of Turkish mezze. We ate and we drank and then we ate and we drank some more, all the while listening to Turkish tunes and chatting with our fellow diners.

The mezze just kept getting better with each course. First, we dipped hunks of pita into tzatziki (garlic and dill yogurt), smoked eggplant dip, tomato and cucumber salad, eggplant cooked with tomatoes, and hummus. Olives, cheese, apples dusted with a coffee powder (yeah it sounds weird but its so good—it has a sweet and bitter flavor profile) and roasted chickpeas were also on hand for nibbling and washing down the raki.


Next up came phyllo cigars oozing with melted feta and herbs, followed by beautiful pide, which is flatbread smothered in cheese, spinach, tomatoes and olives.

Then of course dessert: insanely good pistachio baklava, sweet and crunchy and divine. Stuffed apricots, platters piled high with fresh watermelon, and lovely Turkish tea served in the signature clear glass teacups followed the baklava, just in case you weren’t completely stuffed.

Contact Ankara to find out when their next Meyhane is so you can get in on this festive Turkish dining event. Oh, and if you go to one of these Meyhane’s or you just dine with Ankara be careful with the raki! The way you drink it is to mix it with some water, which makes it turn a milky white color, hence the nickname “Lion’s milk.” It is super strong, so if you plan to drink a lot of it, add some extra water. Or don’t. You only live once!