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A Feast of the Fragrant Flavors of Turkey at Turkish Cuisine

Turkish Cuisine 2While walking down Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, one notes the wide varieties of restaurants, from Asian to Indian, to Latin, Italian and Southern. At one point, you notice a very straightforward sign, announcing Turkish Cuisine. The sign may not stand out, but the aroma emanating from within will beckon you to enter. Turkish Cuisine opened ten years ago by owner and chef Apo Kilic. The delightful and welcoming Kilic was an art history teacher in his native Turkey. His artistic qualities led him to his career of choice in the culinary field, where each dish is lovingly prepared and presented simply and tastefully. His skill at using the correct proportion of herbs and spices in his dishes results in truly delicious authentic dishes from Turkey and the Mediterranean. "I love creating and cooking and interacting with my guests. Cooking makes me happy. Our food is very healthy. We use fresh vegetables, grains, olive oil and nuts among our ingredients. Everything is prepared from scratch every day." Kilic indicated that "To be successful, it is important to be present at all times. My goal for the future is to keep this restaurant the best it can be. I shop for the freshest ingredients, do the cooking, and oversee all aspects of Turkish Cuisine. This would not be possible if I expanded to additional locations. When I greet a guest at Turkish Cuisine, it is like inviting family to dine at my home."

As you enter this informal storefront, a showcase will catch your eye, filled with the abundant, colorful assortment of salads, dips and appetizers. Another case is brimming with flat skewers of kebabs of meat and chicken waiting to be grilled. A rotating gyro machine is filled with the spiced meat mixture waiting to be thinly sliced to order for the special and popular gyro.

TurkishCuisinespreadWhen you move past this counter, note that Turkish Cuisine has evolved into a full service restaurant. It seats from 35 to 40 guests. Charming mosaic Turkish chandeliers of many sizes glow on the walls and hang from the ceiling to enhance the very simple space. Scenes of Turkish life add to the décor.

In France you may start your meal with hors d'oeurves. In Italy antipasti and in China dim sum. In Turkey, you will be treated to mezeler, both hot and cold. At Turkish Cuisine, we started with a mixed cold appetizer. The familiar hummus with chick peas and tahini was flavored with fresh lemon juice, olive oil and just enough garlic to add zest. Soslu patlican was a superb dip of fried eggplant with tomatoes and peppers. Babaganush was prepared with the popular eggplant. Here the smoked eggplant is mashed with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil, resulting in a hearty spread. Tabule, the cracked wheat salad, with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, parsley mint and olive oil was most refreshing. Lebni, fragrant with mint walnuts, garlic and olive oil completed our platter.

TurkishCuisinefalafelWarm strips of pita bread were offered with our cold appetizers. Other tasty cold appetizers include dolma, rice stuffed grape leaves, ezme, a salad dressed with pomegranate molasses and muhamarra, and a roasted red pepper dip. Among the hot appetizers we loved the sigara boregi, fingers of fila pastry rolled around feta cheese to form cigar shaped pastries, fried to a golden crispness. Zucchini pancakes enhanced with carrots, parsley and feta. Falafel, the ever-popular chick pea fritters, round out the hot starters. It is easy to make a meal of these hot and cold appetizers. Turkish Cuisine also prepares a red lentil soup and a variety of salads to enhance your first course.

Entrees of lamb, chicken, seafood and vegetables are plentiful here. For the vegetarian, stuffed cabbage, sautéed spinach, rice and vegetable casserole are some options. We especially enjoyed Adana kebab, named for one of the larger cities in Turkey. Two flat long metal skewers were threaded with ground lamb seasoned with pepper and pepper paste and grilled. We enjoyed ours on pita bread with lettuce and tomato. It was nicely wrapped for neat easy eating. Kofte, lamb patties, lamb chops, grilled chicken, and a mixed grill are other fine choices. Seafood selections of baked branzino, baked salmon, and grilled shrimp are gently seasoned to bring out the flavor of the very fresh fish. We enjoyed the rich shrimp casserole presented in an oval gratin dish. The abundant amount of sautéed shrimp with garlic, earthy mushrooms, thickly sliced, and tomato cream sauce with mozzarella cheese was served with rice and was a hearty and most delicious dish.

TurkishcuisinedishWhen time is of the essence, enjoy taking out sandwiches on pita. Gyros, Adana kabobs, falafel, grilled chicken and babaganush are possibilities, each carefully wrapped for easy eating.

For dessert enjoy the housemade fila layered walnut filled baklava, or rice or almond pudding. A cup of Turkish coffee is a fine ending to your meal. After consuming this potent cupful, we turn the cup over into the saucer. The coffee grinds settle into a design which declares your fortune. Ours seemed to say, you will enjoy many Turkish meals at Turkish Cuisine in White Plains.

A 3 course lunch menu is offered during the week consisting of soup, salad or appetizer, a main dish and dessert. The choices are varied and it is a good value. An extensive catering menu is offered as well. I have been a guest at a get-together catered by Turkish Cuisine recently and it was a unique and delightful experience.

At your home or theirs, enjoy the fragrant flavors of Turkish food as prepared at Turkish Cuisine in White Plains.

Turkish Cuisine
116 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains
914 683 6111

Zucchini Pancakes 

1 pound zucchini, trimmed and coarsely grated
2 cups chopped green onions
4 eggs, beaten
½ cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill or 1 ½ Tbsps. dry dill
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsps. chopped fresh tarragon or 2 tsps. Dry tarragon
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
3 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Olive oil as needed to coat the skillet

Put the grated zucchini in a colander. Sprinkle with salt. Let it stand for 30 minutes. Squeeze out the water from the zucchini with a few layers of paper towels. Place the drained zucchini into a medium bowl. Add the next 8 ingredients and mix well. Fold in the crumbled feta. At this point the mixture can be refrigerated covered for a few hours. Mix again before using. Heat oven to 300 degrees and place a baking pan in it. Cover the bottom of a non stick skillet with olive oil. Heat over medium high heat. Drop mixture by heaping tablespoonful onto the skillet. Repeat with all batter in batches. Fry until golden brown on both sides or about 3 minutes on each side. As you complete each batch place on heated baking pan to keep them warm. Serve hot.

A Call to Action on Pesticides in Scarsdale: Letter to the Editor

caution pesticide

This is a letter from Scarsdale residents Deborah Hemel, Darlene LeFrancois, and Michelle Sterling. They urge Scarsdale homeowners to stop using harmful pesticides on their lawns. 

Dear neighbors,

We are writing to ask you to join us in an effort to improve the health of our community.

Many households in Scarsdale opt for natural lawn care and pest control, however some homeowners continue to employ companies that utilize chemical pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. Medical professionals have become increasingly concerned about the safety of such chemicals, especially when used in residential settings. Mounting laboratory and epidemiological data shows that commonly used lawn care and pest control products contain human carcinogens, endocrine disrupters and neurotoxins. Unfortunately, such chemicals persist in our environment long after the little yellow warning signs come down. In addition to landscapers and exterminators, children and pets who play outdoors are at highest risk of exposure.

Each of us has the right to apply whatever products we choose to our property, however the decisions we make affect not only our own families, but our neighbors as well. Chemicals travel by air and by water, by shoe and by paw. One neighbor's decision to apply dangerous chemicals to his or her property has the potential to affect surrounding neighbors, even those who choose not to utilize such chemicals themselves.

All of us in this community are dependent upon each other to create a safe environment for ourselves and our children. Please join us in utilizing natural lawn care and pest control.

For more information, please go to:


Deborah Hemel, MD
Darlene LeFrancois, MD
Michelle Sterling

Arthur Manor Neighborhood Association's 89th Annual 4th of July Parade

KidsatarrthurmanorOn a spectacular and sun-filled day, the Arthur Manor Neighborhood Association held its 89th Annual 4th of July parade and picnic at Davis Park on Tuesday, July 4th. The day began with marchers organizing at the corner of Sprague and Bell roads at 9:15 am. Several judges ranked individual marchers in categories such as patriotic costumes, scooters, bicycles, tricycles and strollers and floats.
The crowd of marchers, accompanied by a special police escort, the Westchester County Band and Scarsdale Volunteer Fire Company Number 1, departed from Bell and Sprague Roads at 9:45 am and marched through Arthur Manor to Davis Park where the ceremony was held in front of the flag pole at the North end of the Park.

The ceremony began with the raising of the flag by the Scarsdale Volunteer Fire Company No. 1's color guard and accompanied by the trumpet playing of Dr. Jack Binder of the Westchester Band. Richard Gast then sang the National Anthem which was followed by the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The group observed a moment of silence to remember all of the men and women who sacrificed so much for the United States and what it stands for – both at home and abroad. Scarsdale's Mayor, Dan Hochvert, then addressed the crowd at David Park on the meaning of July 4th and the significance the day holds for all residents. Village Trustees Deb Pekarek, Jane Veron and Matt Callaghan were also in attendance together with Arthur Manor's 4th of July all-star favorite, Uncle Sam (played by Teegan Lee). Richard Gast then conducted the awards segment of the ceremony for the day's parade participants in the various categories such as floats, bicycles, tricycles, etc.. (A complete list of the winners follows below).

Following the end of the ceremony, the crowd moved to the other end of the Davis Park field for the annual races including the dash, three-legged race, potato sack, wheel-barrow, relay and the annual favorite "egg toss" -which first appeared at Arthur Manor's annual July 4th picnic in 1944! The games were conducted by Sam Bryant and his daughter, Olivia. (A list of the winning participants also follows below).

Hosting the event was the Arthur Manor Neighborhood Association's President, Matt Martin. Refreshments included lemonade (courtesy of Kalpana Thenmalai and Brenda Lilly), hot dogs (courtesy of Kate and Gianni Porco) and baked goods were on hand for all to enjoy.

This annual event in Arthur Manor is only made possible by the collective efforts of the Arthur Manor volunteer residents including especially the Marcus, Porco and Bongiorno families, and all of the other Arthur Manor volunteers too numerous to list here. A special thanks also to Trader Joes's for contributing the eggs for the renowned egg-toss. The year's egg-toss winners were Sean Cover and Rich Mermelstein.

Marchers in Patriotic Costumes
1. American Baseball Game – Zoe Maidman, Beatrice Martin & Violet Martin
2. Statue of Liberty – Grace Horne
3. Walking Flags – Anita, Elena & Anthony Sannicandro
4. Honorable Mention: Ryusuke, Rina & Kazuki Kawamura

1. John Bates
2. Adena Zitrin
3. Ari & Benjamin Maibrunn
4. Honorable Mention: Joseph Wong

1. Lexi Davis
2. Caitlin Maddaloin
3. Colin Maddaloin
4. Honorable Mention: Johan Schuerlein

1. Madison Ferree
2. Stella Bower
3. Rowan Arlo
4. Honorable Mention Christian Zlomislic

Carriages & Strollerswinnersarthurmanor
1. Malula Schuerlein
2. James Martin
3. Bobby Kyle Carlton

1. James Martin (Uncle Sam)
2. Eleanor Barna (Eleanor Roosevelt)
3. O'Grady's (Fireworks)

Field Events

1st heat: 5 yrs and under boys and girls
1. James Martin
2. Christopher Gilhool
3. Christian Zlimislic

2nd Heat 6 & 7 year olds, boys and girls
1. Conner Coakley
2. Matthew Drohan
3. Asa Ogaki

3rd Heat: 8, 9, 10 year old, girls
1. Elena Sannicandro
2. Grace Varriale
3. Amie Ke

4th heat: 8, 9, 10 year old, boys
1. Daniel Hoey
2. Max Maidman
3. Hugo Gueler

5th Heat: 11 year old and older, girls
1. Violet Martin
2. Chinsa Ogaki
3. Caroline Guerney

6th Heat: 11 year old and older, boys
1. Dean Mancini
2. Eddie Eforo

Wheelbarrow Race (Teams of two, boys and girls mixed)
1st Heat: 7 year old and under
1. Collin Coakely & Conner Coakely
2. Brooke O'Grady & Avery Bower
3. Hinaki Nonaka and Haruma Itou

2nd Heat: 8, 9, 10 year olds
1. Kent Mazza & Ryan Roche
2. Amie Ke & Zoe Zheng
3. Ari Maibrunn & Julian Zlomislic

3rd Heat: 11 year old and older
1. Erin & Taylor Olender
2. Dean & Talylor Mancini
3. Danielle & Eddie Eforo

Potato Sack Races
1st Heat: Girls 6 and under
1. Ella Peterson
2. Ayako G and Zoe Zheng
3. Caitlin Maddaloni

2nd Heat: Girls 7 and 8 yr old
1. Elena Sannicandro
2. Amie Ke
3. Brooke O'Grady

3rd Heat: Girls, 9 and 10 yrs old
1.Grace Varriale
Evie Schiff
Laura Chesnut

4th Heat: Girls 11 yr old and older
1. Chisa Ogaki
2. Violet Marder
3. Zoe Maidman

Potato Sack Races/Boys
1st Heat: Boys 6 & & yrs and under
1. Danny Varriale
2. Collin Coakley
3. James Martin

2nd Heat: boys 7 &8 years old
1. Shane Kelly
2. Liam Mancini
3. Ryan Roche

3rd Heat: boys 9 &10 yr olds
1. Daniel Hoey
2. Hiroki Yshimoto
3. Colin Maddaloni & Arjun Benderson

4th Heat: boys 11 and older
1. Dean Mancini
2. James Kelly
3. Patrick Vasilesu

Parent and Child Relay
1st Heat: Children 5 and under
1. Christian Zlomislic
2. Paxton & Matt DeBrabant
3. James & Ann Marie Martin

2nd Heat: Children 6, 7, 8 yrs old
1. Shane & Brian Kelly
2. Julian Zlomislic
3. Ryan & Matt Roche

3rd Heat: Children 9 & 10 Yr old
1. Daniel & Kevin Hoey
2. Arjun & David Benderson
3. Uma & Jose Scher
4. Katsumori & Hiroki Yoshimoto

4th Heat: Children 11 and older
1. Dean & Lou Mancini
2. Angela Hoey & Caroline Guerney
3. Shannon & Brian Kelly

Three Legged Race (Teams of Two, Boys and Girls Mixed)
1st Heat: 6 and under
1. Ella Peterson & Colling Coakley
2. Benjamin Maibrunn & Christian Zlomislic
3. Zoe Zheng & Riku Oba

2nd Heat: N/A

3rd Heat: 7 & 8 year olds
1. Laura Chesnut & Elena Sannicandro
2. Francis Murtha & Liam Mancini
3. Conner Coakley & Ryan Roche
4. Ayaka Gueler & Asa Ogaki

4th Heat: 9 & 10 year olds
1. Arjun Benderson & Sergey Yanovsky
2. Keisuke Ogaki & Hiroki Yoshimoto
3. Umi Oba & Kazuki Kawanura

5th Heat: 11 year olds and older
1. Erin & Taylor Oleander
2. Christina Semple & Chisa Ogaki
3. Zoe Maidmann & Violet Martin

Egg Toss
1. Sean Cover & Rich Mermelstein
2. N/A
3. Ava Zerbo & Violet Martin


Volunteers Needed For Young Writers Workshop

stackofbooksCalling all writers!

Published a book or a screenplay? Write for magazines or a newspaper? Blog on a daily basis? Ready to inspire our next generation of writers? Then volunteer to be a workshop leader for the 2017 Young Writers Workshop on Saturday, November 18, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm!

During this special day, third, fourth and fifth grade students in the Scarsdale community are invited to attend a morning of activities at Scarsdale Middle School. It begins with a keynote, followed by two, 50-minute workshops in small groups run by our volunteer local writers. In total, they work with about 300 students each year.

To learn more about this day, visit the website from last year, which includes a catalog of workshops. 

Please send your contact information, workshop idea, and a brief bio to Felicia Block and Leah Dembitzer at by August 4th.

Greenacres Renovation Will Cost as Much as or More Than a New School

hardhatBelow is a letter from Wendy Shi, a member of the Greenacres Elementary Task Force. Her letter compares the cost of the propsed Greenacres renovations and a new Greenacres school. 

To the Editor: The construction industry recognizes that the threshold when deciding whether it is cost-effective to renovate or build new is that renovation is unjustified if it will cost somewhere in the 65% range of what new construction would cost. In fact, the District's current architect acknowledges that spending between 40%-50% on a renovation could only be justified if the end-result was satisfactory. Despite this, the architect proposes a renovation of Greenacres that will not address the objectives set by the School Board or address the safety of the children in a project that will cost, conservatively, as much as what a new school would cost and, more than likely, up to $15 million more than what a new school would cost after appropriate adjustments are made. Therefore, moving ahead with a renovation is unjustifiable and Scarsdale should build a new school for Greenacres.

The architect states that the renovation will cost $30 million but acknowledges that this number erroneously omits $8 million that would be required through funding from future operating budgets. Therefore, by the architect's own calculation, the cost of the renovation is actually $38 million.

The architect then states that a new school will cost $59 million – an estimate he arrives at by multiplying a school of 74,000 square feet by a per-square-foot-cost of $800. But, at the June 22, 2017 public forum, the architect dropped this number to approximately $700 psf and many in the industry say a school can be built for less than $600 psf. In addition, because the proposed renovation does not meet state requirements, the District would receive between $4 and $10 million more in state aid if it constructs a new school than if it renovates. A new school would also provide $3-5 million in cost savings over time through more efficient and sustainable (geo-thermal heating and cooling, etc.) infrastructure that requires fewer repairs over time. Therefore, the actual cost of a new school would be in the range of $29.4 million and $45 million.

Furthermore, the current proposal leaves theletter-to-the-editorchildren in the school during renovation, subjecting them to environmental hazards and the architect's budget does not include any protection for the children. The previous architect stated that removing the children from the school to ensure their safety would cost between $4 and $7 million. Accordingly, if the Board takes the responsible approach and requires that the children be removed from harms' way, the cost of renovation would increase to $45 million.

Below is a summary showing the cost comparisons: project costs

Therefore, a renovation may be the same price or even $15 million more expensive than a new school! I note that this is entirely consistent with the initial proposal from the first architect that showed a renovation costing about the same amount as a new school (before taking into account state aid).

Even with the high cost of renovation, the architect and Administration acknowledge that the renovation is inferior to new construction but simply state, without any backup or specifics, that the proposed renovation will be adequate. But, it won't be. The renovation does not address either the spatial or infrastructure needs of the current school and leaves the students and community with an out-dated and inadequate building.

Accordingly, it is shocking that the renovation is even being considered and it would be completely inappropriate and indefensible for the Board to sanction such an approach. Instead, the Board should pursue a new, state-of-the-art facility.

The proposed renovation is an unjustifiable expense that does not address the needs of the current school, while a new school is a cost-effective and innovative investment that continues Scarsdale's tradition of education excellence.

Wendy Shi
Brewster Road
Member of the Greenacres Elementary Task Force