21 Feb

Deluxe Date Night: Cafe Istanbul

Posted by Jenna, Under Date Night, Uncategorized

When I asked what you like about this blog last week I was surprised to hear so many of you say that you like when I talk about the things I do with That Husband. Really? I think our lives are pretty boring and I was really just writing those posts because they are the kind of thing our families like to read most. It’s nice to know that all the effort I put into writing them isn’t just being spent on the 3 or 4 family members we have that read this blog.

I don’t write many posts about what we do together because we don’t do go out. The highlight of our time spent together is usually when we make a batch of homemade frozen yogurt and sit on the couch and watch a movie together Friday night. With the amount he is traveling lately we really don’t have time for much more than that.

The one constant in our dating life is a night I like to call Deluxe Date Night. Instead of eating out several times a week (or month), we only eat out once (that is once per month!), and when we do we go all out. Most couples we know like to eat out more than that simply bcause they like to get out of the house, but we don’t mind staying in most of the time, and it’s so nice to feel like we can really splurge every once in awhile, even with the somewhat limited budget we are on.

Each month before we go I spend a lot of time on Guidelive.com, the best resource for arts, entertainment, sports, and food in Dallas that I’ve been able to find so far. I pour over the restaurant option, visit their websites, look over the menus and attempt to figure out what the meal would cost. In our relationship That Wife does the planning and That Husband foots the bill. It works really really well for us.

Deluxe Date Night in January started off with an endowment session in the Dallas temple.

cafe istanbul

For the month of January I chose a Turkish restaurant called Cafe Istanbul. I wasn’t sure how authentic TUrkish cusisine in Dallas, TX could be, but after tasting the food and readig through the terrible English on the menu I’m 99% sure this is the real deal.

cafe istanbul

We started with the Humus.

Creamy blend of mashed garbanzo beans, tahini, yogurt, olive oil and garlic.

cafe istanbul

Accompanied by this really delicious bread.

cafe istanbul

The place wasn’t tiny, but the warm colors made it felt warm and cozy.  There were all kinds of Turkish plates, photos, and other trinkets hanging on the walls.

cafe istanbul

That Husband had Iskender Kebap.

Alexander the Great’s favorite combination. Tender ground beef and lamb cooked slowly on vertical rotisserie, served over pita bread with warm tomato-butter sauce and yogurt on the side.

My photos of his dishes are always blurry because he only gives me .00002 seconds to take the picture before he dives in.

cafe istanbul

I  had Tavuk Sarma.

Marinated chicken breast, stuffed with pistachio, garnished with pilaf and served on a bed of sauteed spinach and tarragon sauce.

cafe istanbul

We always love to order desert on Deluxe Date Night.

He had Baklava.

Sultan’s homemade buttery dough, filled with walnuts and served with honey syrup.

cafe istanbul

I had one of the most divine deserts ever, Armut Tatalisi.

Pear filled with walnuts and served with Cafe Istanbul’s special wine sauce.

cafe istanbul

We are doing Deluxe Date Night next Saturday and I’m very excited to get dressed up and go out to eat again. Any Dallas readers have restaurant suggestions for us?

20 Comments


  1. Looks so yummy and such a great idea. Thanks for your advice on my blog. I really appreciate it!

    The dallas temple looks amazing. Love the textured outside!

    stacey

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  2. How fun and what a good idea! We always love the more expensive restaurants but only eat out at them once a year or so. This is a good idea!

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  3. I am so jealous of the Mediterranean spread. I’d love to be able to try other ethnic cuisines but sadly we’re a bit limited here.

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  4. All of that food looks SO good. Yum. I’m a big believer that presentation is one of the most important parts of making food. And square plates are such fun.

    Jenna Reply:

    Me too. Pretty food tastes extra delicious to me.

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  5. Katherine (a.k.a. Sparkles) says:

    Great outing.
    I think the picture of you and your husband in front of the church is absolutely stunning.
    ~Just a side note. I see you have a lot of interesting things going on in your life with your ideas about photography etc…. I am wondering if you can re-direct your sites onto something of a post related to- getting the rest of your requirements for your school work done! =o)
    As much as I dislike giving up my free time to be away from my personal interests (walking my dog, riding my bike, going on trips, not being able to spend all day long with my man doing ‘couples’ outings), it would be nice to have an ‘accountability partner’ (you) who I could read how they are balancing everything AND finishing school. That would be very motivating to read. Just a thought.

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  6. you should try Terelli’s in Dallas, it’s Italian food and delish!! fun atmosphere too, they have live music on the weekends.

    Jenna Reply:

    Thanks Lindsay! I love getting recommendations from people who have actually been to the places. The live music sounds really fun too!

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  7. Yum! That food looks delicious!

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  8. We rarely go out to eat (kids really change the dating life). But when we do go out it’s usually on Uncle B. So, if you want to spend a pretty nickle – Abacus is our favorite. Fearings and Hibiscus are also really good, but I’m sure you know about those two because they seem to be Uncle B’s favorites. Hard 8 is great Texas BBQ and Subway is the best!

    Jenna Reply:

    We’ve been looking for some good Texas BBQ. Yay! We don’t always like to go all fancy, sometimes we just like to find something authentic.

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  9. Thanks! Am very hungry now!

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  10. Oh, this looks so delicious. Some of my favorite blends of flavors. I love the idea of “saving up” for a nice date night– great plan!

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  11. I think this is a great idea. We do the same thing. We bring sandwiches and salads and then we go out a couple times a month to great places in Los Angeles. It way better than spending money on fast food that is bad for you anyways! Also, cute pictures!

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  12. mmmm, hummus looks so great, and your dessert is like a work of art!
    Question, after this past sunday’s and this post, when you say “endowment session” – are/can you be endowed often (is there a set number, or maximum you can receive?) or do you go and help other people be endowed? I’m sure the verbs are all wrong, but didn’t know how to phrase it. More simply: are you endowed once and then assist in other peoples endowments, or do you receive endowments often? and is there a set amount?

    Jenna Reply:

    You only go for yourself once, and then you are doing work for others every time after that, you only need to go through for yourself one time and then you are set. Each time I sit through a session I take a name through with me and do the work for that person. They are little cards with things like the name, and the date of birth and location. Sometimes I like to think about what their life might have been like. Sometimes I just try to say the name right because many of them are foreign and very difficult to pronounce!

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  13. oooh the hummus looks divine. i am craving some already today so that put me over the edge!!

    have a lovely weekend.

    naomi

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  14. I like the idea of “deluxe date nights”. Dave and I have really been trying to branch out from the chain restaurants and try new places, but we have a hard time knowing where to try (so thanks for that link!). We went to La Duni with his team last month and it was veeeery yummy and a fun atmosphere. If you like Indian, we also really like India Palace (http://indiapalacedallas.com) off of 635. I second Abbie’s suggestion of Hard 8, that has become one of our favorite places to go these days. You don’t have to wait on your food, it’s SO good, and feels very “Texan” to me.

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  15. Very cute idea, and I love the name “deluxe date night”.
    I’ve convinced my husband to put a hold on going out. We’re working on a strict budget with the aim to pay off debts and buy a house. So we’ll either go out once to a nice place that fits our budget. Or go out a few more time for just a drink and good local music. But once house and debts are done, I’d definitely love to go out and splurge once in a while. We always share a dessert when we go out; he knows I have a sweet tooth.

    I find it interesting that you had a dessert with a wine sauce. I guess it’s ok once it’s cooked and the alcohol evaporated?

    Jenna Reply:

    Ordering things with wine sauces at restaurants is definitely a decision that each person has to make for themself. I believe the evil in such beverages is the addictive properties of the alcohol, and the way it impairs judgment. And that is why I avoid alcohol. So when I order something that has wine sauce, if it tastes alcoholic, I send it back or don’t eat it. When I ordered this pear I was very careful to ask if it tasted alcoholic at all.

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