Chosen pizza: Cafe Istanbul's Lamacun

From the September 11, 2010 edition

In many ways, Cafe Istanbul is the granddaddy of our still-flowering Turkish restaurant scene. Throughout its many years and ownership changes, this terrific Easton establishment has prudently maintained its dramatic setting.

That means there's still the oversized twin chandeliers, the eye-catching yellow and orange striped paint decorating arcade archways, and walls brightened by colorful rugs and plates.

Cafe Istanbul's often enchanting music sounds like it came straight from the souk, and its zesty and fresh food closely follows suit. (And is best enjoyed with Cafe Istanbul's good selection of Turkish hooch.)


Why this pie?: It's like two American snack-food forms rolled into one, only tasting tantalizingly Turkish.

Eat it: Sheets of lovely, crispy-thin, oven-singed flatbread get slathered with a sort of pungent paste made of ground lamb cooked with lots of garlic, onions, tomatoes and bell peppers. When picked up and chomped like a regulation pizza, it's pretty special. But when accessorized with the provided add-ons of a bitter little salad (composed of spice-dusted raw onion and parsley) plus a tiny shower of fresh lemon juice, it gets even better.

Then when folded over and eaten like a taco - well, now you're talking nine kinds of crunchy and delicious awesomeness. This lamacun (pronounced "llama-june") is both delicate and extreme, raw and cooked, earthy and bright, and like a pizza and a Mexican-style delight all at the same time. And it's something I crave almost every night.