If you know me you know that I’m all about authentic, real deal food driven experiences. Some might think it’s kitschy or cliché when restaurants take the dining experience to the level of authenticity in the way in which they prepare the food, serve the food, ambience of the establishment, etc.
What some think as corny, I thoroughly enjoy. I scour the Internet in search of the next real deal authentic experience. I recently came across a Facebook page and Twitter account for a Turkish bakery in Cliffside Park, New Jersey called Simit+Smith. As its name suggests, they are known for simits, which can best be described as a Turkish bagel. Unlike a traditional bagel which is thick, dense, doughy, and is boiled then baked, a simit is traditionally formed into a thin circle of dough, topped with sesame seeds, and baked. They also make a simit that is more of an elongated, circle in shape. These simits are sliced opened and filled like you would a sandwich.
At Simit+Smith they bring the traditions & flavors of Turkey to New Jersey. I recently visited the bakery for the first time. Upon entering the bakery, I was greeted by a friendly young man, who immediately welcomed me. He was eager to take my order and answer any questions I had. There were a few other customers milling about, who were speaking in Arabic. This is always a good sign.
I ordered 2 simits, one with feta, tomato & cubanelle pepper and the other with aged kasseri cheese & black olive spread. Both simits were great, but I really loved the one with the aged kasseri cheese & the black olive spread. Kasseri cheese is popular in Greek and Turkish cuisines. It is a sheep’s milk cheese that is firmer than its cousin feta, which is a brined, crumbly cheese. Kasseri has a texture similar to provolone without the bite. The black olive spread lent a nice saltiness to the simit. The other simit was really good, too. I loved the cubanelle pepper on it. It added a nice crunch. I also picked up a few poğaça, which can best be described as Turkish style breads. They can be stuffed or not. Both versions were quite delicious. I love myself a good Turkish coffee. So I tried one at Simit+Smith. And I have to say it was a great cup. So if you’re in the mood for a bagel without the heaviness of a bagel, then you have to try a simit from Simit+Smith. You will be pleasantly surprised at the baked Turkish culinary creations you’ll find.