"Menengic," he said. I did not know what that meant, because this was my first trip to Turkey, and everything was new and unfamiliar.
But I did know that this coffee was extraordinary--rich, nutty, with no bite or bitterness, just deep, mellow flavor.
Only it wasn't coffee, in the sense of Starbucks or Peet's. It was a brew unique to Gaziantep, where I was staying. Gaziantep is the pistachio capital of Turkey, and this was pistachio coffee.
I didn't find the vendor again, but I did come across Tahmis Kahvesi (above), a vintage coffee house famous for this beverage. Upstairs, you can sit in a carpet-lined booth with carpeted arm rests, like a revered visitor worthy of the finest hospitality.
Blended with milk, pistachio coffee is thick, like hot chocolate, and coats the sides of the cup. Unlike Turkish coffee, no thick residue settles in the bottom, so you can drink the entire cup.
Downstairs Tahmis Khavesi has a shop stocked with pistachio coffee concentrate and the snack mix of roasted garbanzos, peanuts and wild pistachios that is served at the table--nice souvenirs to take home.
Across the street, a garden extension allows for smoking--nargile means hookah. In addition to menengic, the menu there offers regular Turkish coffee and dibek, which is mortar-ground coffee. Other drinks are lemonade, the yogurt drink ayran, tea (cay) and herbal tea (zahter).
Gozleme is a sort of Turkish quesadilla, filled with meat or cheese. And "tost" is grilled stuffed bread, a hearty snack and not the toasted slices you eat for breakfast. Damla sakizi means mastic, but I don't know what you get if you order that. I'll have to go back to find out.