Dos Amigos

Literally blown away today.  Had Mexican.  My taste buds had an orgasm.  I am happy.

All right let me just calm down for a moment, take a breath and start again.

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Here’s the thing with expats.  Most of us are happy to get down and dirty with the local cuisine.  I’m all over a good kebab.  I’ve accepted the fact that I am more than likely going to have corba (soup) for breakfast and every now and then a neighbour will sacrifice an animal and get busy making enough food to feed the village.   I’m totes good with that.  I swear.  And as an Aussie, I am a big fan of multiculturalism as well as immigration, same-sex marriage and anything else that’s currently political in Oz.  I ain’t no Donald Trump.  I love everyone (well I hate a few bitches that I went to school with but generally I love everyone) and in reference to this post, I love Mexicans.  I don’t want to build no wall.  I love their culture.  I love their food and their music and their fabulous beaches.  I admire their ability to stick it to others and how they support their state and their culture.  Mexicans know their shit (and their food) and I respect them for it.  One of my fondest memories was of a dirty weekend down in Tijuana when I was in my early-20’s that resulted in a hangover that lasted for a week.  Good times.

Anyway as I said up top I had a hella meal today at a little place called Dos Amigos.  Now when an expat gives you the thumbs up on a restaurant or a cafe we swarm like ants.  Expats appear from every direction and rush to said restaurant to enjoy that little bit of home (or Mexico) and that’s just what is happening with this place.

The restaurant is in Pozcu.  I don’t often go to Pozcu as its busy and parking is a bitch so I parked in Forum and wandered over.  The restaurant was cute.  Nice and modern.  Very promising from the get-go.

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I had the meat nachos.  Nachos usually blow here in Mersin.  If you are silly enough to order nachos you will get some Doritos on a plate with some tomato sauce and cheese but not at Dos Amigos.  Today’s nachos had it all.  They were as close as they could be to the nachos I consumed on that crazy weekend back when I was still hotter than feck.  Nacho chips, sour cream, guacamole, refried beans (which were the bomb – I could have eaten a whole plate) and beef perfectly cooked with just enough spice to make me go “Woah!”.  My friends both had burritos (one chicken and one beef) and they were good sized servings.  The only thing missing was a margarita but I guess I can dream of that next time.

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So I’m going to hit you with a “Do Yourself A Favour”.  To those of you living in Mersin get down to Dos Amigos and have your mind blown by a damn tasty feed at a freaking reasonable price.

dos amigos

Photos are my own or courtesy of Dos Amigos

Telephone:  0532 628 46 96

Instagram: Dos Amigos

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Roux

Finding the perfect burger in Mersin can be a little tricky.  I mean unless you yourself have ever had the perfect burger replicating it can be a little tricky and, let’s be honest, a lot of the chefs here in Mersin are chefs … here in Mersin … so may not have had the good fortune of having enjoyed the perfect burger elsewhere.

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And we all know that joy of the perfect burger.  It’s a thing of beauty.  A satisfying mess of all things delicious.  Beef (good).  Cheese (good).  Grilled onion (good).  For an Aussie nothing says a good burger like beetroot (not so easy to get here in Mersin unless you grow it yourself) and delicious, fresh avocado smeared onto that bun (goooodddd).  Honestly there are few things culinary that can be relied upon to do their job as effectively as the perfect burger.

Of course I can try and replicate the perfect burger here at home.  In the Village the local butcher makes a pretty mean patty with a delicious mix of herbs and a pretty decent ratio of meat to fat but as close as I can come it just doesn’t cross the line as a winner.

I recently visited the newly rebranded Roux Restaurant in Mezitli.  I originally went there last year, in fact the expats had their Christmas party there, but with the change of ownership it was time to re-visit and check out their new menu.  It always has been a burger restaurant but with the addition of chef Gamze Sener who had previously worked at Movenpick Hotel in Istanbul the menu is a punchy, modern version to drool over.

So you are wondering ‘how was the burger’?

Pretty damn good.  I had the Hot Tamale burger which was a definite two-hander consisting of thick beef patty cooked to perfection with gooey cheddar cheese oozing over the meat, a mountain of fresh avocado and oodles of chilli and pickles to top it off.  It came with home-made chips (crisps) and a little side salad.  It was totally more-ish.  Don’t fret if you are not a fan of the burger (I know right??) the menu also has vegetarian choices, pasta dishes, fish and chicken to tempt your taste buds.

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My only complaint was that my glass of wine was not full enough but after discussion with the waiter he saw the error of his ways and the glass of wine was filled to a more ‘Janey appropriate’ level.

I know that many of you will visit family in Mersin over the next few months so do yourself a flavour favour and visit Roux.  You will not be disappointed and you might just find me sitting there in a corner, cheese dripping down my fingers as I make my way through the menu (I will definitely need to purchase some larger pants).  Next time I’m having the Jack Burger.  I’ll let you know how it is.

Roux

All photos courtesy of Roux Restaurant, Adnan Menderes Bulvari, Fatih Mahallesi, 30012, Mezitli, Mersin

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Looking for Lychee

Driving in Mersin is a bit of a hit and miss situation for me most of the time and I don’t mean being hit or missing other cars, dolmuş or pedestrians.  This is more of a situation where trying to find where you are going is literally impossible.  Street maps just don’t exist.  Directions are either shouted at you by a crazed local or at best scribbled on the back of napkins and my GPS in the car spends most of its time telling me I am either driving in the deniz or going through a fecking mountain.  The city itself isn’t very wide, you can drive from the beach to the foot of the hills in probably 15 minutes but to drive the length of the city can take you a good two hours from go to woe!

Mersin city

Right now our little expat group is in the midst of arranging our Christmas party and in order to do so we have been zipping around checking out a few different restaurants.  This week we went to check a relatively new restaurant named Lychee.

Lychee should have – SHOULD HAVE – been relatively easy for me to find.  It was on a main road, a road that I travelled regularly, and the restaurant looked huge so common sense tells me that it will be pretty easy to locate.  Yes?  NO!

When I say that this restaurant is located in a vortex or perhaps a black hole, you need to believe me.  When I also say that I could never go on The Amazing Race because I can get lost in the confines of a paper bag you should believe that too.  No really. My body has no internal GPS system actually I have no sense of direction at all.  This could possibly be a chronic medical condition.  It will be named “NoSense-itus”.  It is definitely hereditary and although I don’t know who precisely I can blame (being adopted and all that) but I think its a condition that should be researched so future generations are saved from this affliction.

The plan was to go to Lychee for lunch on Wednesday and me, being terribly efficient, thought I should locate the restaurant to ensure that I will have no problems finding it on the day (as I do tend to misplace myself on a regular basis).  I looked up its website.  A bit confusing, not really about the restaurant, more about some kind of food consultancy group.  What the what?  So I went to my backup plan of Facebook.  Facebook really can be considered the new Google for Mersin restaurants.  Google may not have the information (as restaurants here rarely have websites) but Facebook bloody well will because everyone loves to ‘check in’.  But on their Facebook page the restaurant’s address is noted as “centre”.  Centre?  Centre of the city?  Centre of the universe?  Centre of the vortex? What the feck is centre?

My first attempt to locate the restaurant was a complete failure.  After punching in the address into my GPS in the car I arrived at vacant land about 4 blocks from where the actual restaurant was finally located.  My second attempt, using Google maps, was more successful.  I made it to the location but still couldn’t find the restaurant.  I parked my car and even walked up and down the block but the restaurant still remained hidden in the vortex opening only to those who are worthy.

Feck my life!

“This place does not exist!” I shouted for the world to hear.

“Ummm yes it does stupid Aussie girl.”

*Sigh*

And of course the masses were right.  After standing on the street and calling out “Abracadabra” the restaurant appeared before me, like the Room of Requirement (Muggle nerd alert).

Lychee collage

Having finally found it I just want to say, the restaurant was lovely.  The service was good, although initially the waiter was slightly traumatized by my wanting a bottle of wine with only one glass (in fact the waiter sent the manager over to check that it was my intention to drink the bottle myself.  Really?  You will consume all of this?  Ummm don’t judge me mate just bring me the bottle!).  The food was European cuisine and delicious, in fact there were way too many options for just one visit!  The cocktail list was as long as my arm and (apparently) sensational.  The prices were spot on, in fact they were downright reasonable compared to the prices at Marina (just saying).

The search continues for our Christmas party destination but Lychee is definitely now on rotation and will be visited by us ladies again soon (again assuming the vortex opens for me).

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Mix in a little Indian

Back in Sydney The Turk was a bit of a chef.  His pizza was legendary.  His BBQ’s were famous from Palm Beach to Penrith and his Turkish food was spectacular.  Since arriving in his homeland I hate to say it but he has become slack in his culinary efforts and has basically left it to me to do the cooking and remember I have said it before – I can’t cook!

When we packed up our lives to move here I slipped a couple of extras items into the moving boxes.  2 jars of Pataks Butter Chicken paste, 2 jars of Tandori paste and 2 boxes of pappadums.  I knew I would not be getting any Indian food in Turkey.  We went through those curry pastes pretty quickly and sadly found ourselves returning to Turkish cuisine.  Doesn’t that sound ridiculous?  I love Turkish food but here it is just food.  There are foods from home, foods that are uniquely Sydney that I craved.  Pub lunches – I craved these.  Bacon – well of course I craved bacon.  Sunday night pizza.  BBQ’s on a hot summer night.  Manly Italian with the girls.  Indian banquets with Carls and Tracy.  Damn but I drooled over those curry pastes.

While rummaging through the pantry the other night I found a jar of Pataks paste that hadn’t been opened!  A forgotten jar of Butter Chicken curry paste!  I nearly pee’d my pants I was so excited and, yes, we had Butter Chicken that night for dinner (with yogurt instead of cream).  I made a Garlic Naan (of sorts) using Pide bread, Indian onion salad (no coriander) and cucumber raita.  No pappadums sadly and of course it is a curry paste not real curry but after not having had Indian since September at my favourite Indian Restaurant in Epping my kitchen smelled divine, my tastebuds were excited and I was in foodie heaven.

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I have to say I offered my curry extravaganza to all my Turkish relo’s but none would partake.  They looked, sniffed and screwed up their noses left, right and centre.  Excellent – more for me!

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