Paris:– Wednesday, 13. September:– No sooner did I finish the marathon account about my Babylonian 35–day feast in New York than a reader wanted to know, "Did you really do so much – eating?" Not if you consider that I increased meals from two to three a day. Rülps! How can anyone expect me to remember everything?
So even before breakfast today it struck me that I had forgotten the conclusion to one of the major themes – the Balkans bouffe! After all those meals in Astoria I knew fairness demanded that I find a Turkish restaurant. While Astoria once boasted of having nearly as many Greeks as Athens, where is New York's Istanbul?
On Friday, 1. September tropical storm Ernesto was approaching the city, making it prudent to stay in. An excursion over to the UES to try Sip Sak on 2nd Avenue was out of the question. So the work–around was to hop on the Q32 bus and ride it down Roosevelt to Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside, to the Turkish fastffood joint, Mangal's.
It looked promising with signs in Turkish outside, free delivery, and right inside where the kitchen was – like in Greece or Turkey! – the burly greeter said welcome. "Are you Turk?" I demanded. "Yes!" he shouted, "Are you Turk too?" Alas, no, but all of us are authentic.
It was hardly necessary to read the menu that was written in Turkish. I had forgotten my glasses again anyway. The overhead TV was showing a football game, in Turkish. Istanbul against whoever. Not the Mets. We ordered a plate of meze with whatever was available. I got a Turkish Orangina because there was no orange juice.
They brought the hot pita out of the pizza oven and one guy who needed a shave hacked it into slices with a cleaver. It smelled delicious. The meze was delicious and when the boss took our main order he grabbed a plate of food from another diner to show if off. Even with bites out of it, it looked good.
When ours came it it looked good too and tasted even better. The pita was fantastic. Too good for pizza. After the orange drink I decided to skip the dessert. The boss was pretty disappointed about it. It wasn't cheap but we left the customary 50 percent tip anyway.
We made it up in the green market on the corner, buying some cheap broccoli. Then the Q32 bus lumbered up the hill from Manhattan and we rode back just as it was starting to get serious about the rain. We didn't get off for a blockbuster dessert at the cool Latino dessert place in Woodside nor try anything fancy in the Novo café, although I could tell there hadn't been nearly enough garlic on the kebab.
Mangal's, in Sunnyside, near the Q32 bus stop and MTA's line 7 Queensboro Plaza station. Open 24/7, takeout, deliveries, Turkish TV, Turkish pizza. Takes cash. Probably has Turkish delight.
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