A dry run for white truffles

Guess I hit a nerve when I Tweeted that throwing out a lasso for “locals to show me around” makes a food writer look like Helen Keller in this day and interconnected age. Mr. Cutlets promptly suggested I (re)read my Liebling. Leave aside the fact that ol’ A.J. wore very, very big shoes. If he were typing today, I kinda doubt he would helicopter in and rely on some stranger picked up on the series of tubes. The best way to experience a place is absolutely through the eyes and tastes of someone who lives there. But the someone is only part of the recipe, and the internets make it possible to both research in advance and connect on the ground. In Istanbul this summer, I did spend an invaluable day with one of the founders of the great restaurant site there, with an unforgettable lamb lunch when I was only hoping for cheese guidance. Thanks to my consort, though, I also had a steady diet of insights from the fixer for his workshop, whose mom owns a restaurant in Beyoglu. In between I read Orhan Pamuk’s melancholic but funny memoir of growing up in that gray city. But I had seven days to poke around with no goal beyond selling a story months down the line and just enriching my life with regular infusions of rosé. A weekly deadline would make that impossible. I’d have to get a dad-in-law to spot me some dinners.