Mark McDonald of Old Vine Cafe in Costa Mesa is a man of many talents, but one I never figured in him was taking an interest in Turkish food–not because he turns up his food at ethnic food (he doesn't, as fans of his restaurant can attest to), but because Turkish food is seemingly light years away from the Spanish-Asian-Italian boat he usually rows. Then again, McDonald has made the Mediterranean his culinary palette over the years, so perhaps it was natural that not only would McDonald end up in Turkey, but also involve himself in a culinary competition in which he's representing the good ol' US of A.
McDonald is in the Turkish city of Gaziantep at the invite of the local government, along with chefs from across the world, to not only learn about the region's cuisine but also show off their dishes as part of a culinary exchange. McDonald tells us he prepared rabbit mole with cornbread, a recent addition to his menu that is slightly spicy, wonderfully gamy, and good as hell.
Best part? McDonald is now planning to introduce Turkish dishes to his next seasonal menu, further solidifying OC's spot as the center of Turkish cuisine in Southern California. Good man!