Thursday 26 February
Today was the annual undergraduate guest lecture, given by Daniel Levine, an eminent graduate of this very department. After an entertaining tour of ancient sacred libraries, the undergraduate stalwarts of our Classics Club took him and about thirty of us department members out to a celebratory dinner at the Istanbul Café.
A long table for us all filled the front of the restaurant, as business on an icy Thursday in February was otherwise a bit slow. We warmed up with some glasses of Turkish red: Villa Doluca Klasik and Kavaklidere Selection, both of which Barbara considered a great improvement in winemaking from her old days at Sardis with occasional tastes of the champagne named, seriously, "Gay Mousse."
Our starters were plates of mixed green salad - not in the best of shape - and then hummus and tabbouli with hot pita, which was better.
We swapped main courses as usual: döner kebab, which could have done with some yogurt sauce and tomatoes instead of the rice and pallid carrots, and "grilled chicken kebab" (okay, tavuk şiş), deliciously juicy and hot, by far the best dish (though still with rice and carrots).
We then had to run, but with hearty thanks to our speaker and our student hosts, and shouts of "iyi geceler" to and from the friendly staff.