Juicy Olive

The quest for “the good life” should never be complete but it should definitely begin now.

Yummy food…yummier friends. March 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — juicyolive @ 8:40 pm
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Decktop dining on a spring afternoon. Perfect for a French rose, junky magazines and lots of tasty nibbles.

Decktop dining on a spring afternoon. Perfect for a French rose, junky magazines and lots of tasty nibbles.

They say that birds of a feather flock together. For my girlfriends and I, at least part of that equation must be our love of food, drink and conversation. As the years have rolled along, we’ve strolled from one delicious table to the next, forging bonds and swapping secrets over cold glasses of rose at the lake, grilled chickens in Mexico or a homecooked meal around the dining room table.

Last night was no exception. I met the gals for dinner at Turquoise in Roscoe Village. Nestled into the busy strip of Roscoe Street just west of Damen, this is a destination for thoughtful and authentic Turkish food. Our hungry group of eight women began our feast with appetizers including mujver – zucchini fritters with a creamy yogurt dipping sauce; patlican salatisi – smoked eggplant dip; and lahmacun – flatbread with a thin layer of ground beef and tomatoes garnished with red onion, parsley and lemon juice. Flavorful, unique and (all things considered) pretty healthy.

The piles of food were a welcome sight, as we had unfortunately had to wait for nearly an hour to be seated – this after our very organized friend Lindsay had made and confirmed our reservation…evidently they had accidentally cancelled it! And, it was good that we got the apps, as it was yet another hourlong wait for our entrees.

What kind of wine IS that? We probably should have ordered a beer, but the odd bottle made this a worthy sipper.

What kind of wine IS that? We probably should have ordered a beer, but the odd bottle made this a worthy sipper.

Improper timing aside, the food continued to impress us – my entree of pan-seared grouper on sauteed spinach and a lemon garlic sauce was light and fresh. Lexie and Courtney split a gorgeous mixed grill kebab platter with salmon, lamb, chicken and some very spicy grilled peppers. Robin’s lamb and onion kebab with a pomegranate sauce was the star – rich, pungent and decadent.

In all, I’d give Turquoise a B. The food was very good, and it was clear that the staff was committed to providing a dining experience true to their Turkish roots. I’d like to return and determine if the sluggish service was just a fluke, or a symptom of a larger imperfection in this team’s talent.

Even if the entire experience isn’t top-rated, I’m always fulfilled by a fun time with our friends. And, to be fair to the dear team at Turquoise, we were a handful last night. Unlike many evenings, this one was short on wine-infused philosophy but big on laughs. We entertained each other with silly stories that had us roaring with laughter until our sides hurt and tears were streaming down our faces.

Three budding chefs? Maybe, maybe not...but we had fun anyway!

Three budding chefs? Maybe, maybe not...but we had fun anyway!

Was it ladylike for us to be giggling like children who had uttered their first naughty word? Probably not entirely. But if you can’t  find true humor in tales of digestive issues in Little India on Devon (no bathroom in sight besides the cramped loo at Patel Brothers’ Grocery – uh oh) or the obvious rationale for utilizing a platform driving shoe (keeps you further away from the airbags!), then you’re not having fun. And, yes, it’s true that our lovely server had to kindly tell us to keep it down. But I’d venture to bet that they were partially entertained and partially envious, too, of the way this great group of women are able to take pleasure and find humor in daily life.

The moral of the Turquoise Tale? For me, it was about relaxing and enjoying my time with a great group of smart, sophisticated and downright entertaining friends. It actually made me so grateful for the lethargic service. Without it, I wouldn’t have learned all of those funny tales and more (several not-safe-for-blogging) about the people who are so important to me. For that, I’d give the night an A+.

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