Archive for September, 2013
If I were a pomegranate, I think I’d find it difficult to be humble. I don’t know why they fascinate me so much, but there’s something more to these fruit than their rivals. I’m still looking for a way to truly reveal their beauty. For now this will have to do. Here’s to the return of pomegranate season. One of the truly great things about being in this part of the world.
Years ago (almost five to be exact) I had a favourite morning hangout. I used to huddle over my laptop on cold winter mornings by the misted window, deeply embroiled in a novel I was working on at the time. After a while I finished the novel and moved to Yeniköy in anticipation of the beautiful daughter that came into our lives. At first Yenikoy was missing something, though I couldn’t quite say what. I established my mobile writer’s outpost at Caffé Nero which had all the mod-cons I needed. Personality, I guess you’d call it, was lacking. The staff were nice, but they came and went regularly. It wasn’t the same experience as saying hello to the owners at Den.
In the last year, perhaps a little more, I started meeting my friend — and all around man of good taste — Maxime, for lunches at my haunt of old, Den. He liked good food but had tired of another nearby establishment’s snooty attitude. Was I ever in for a nice surprise. While the food at Den had always been decent during my novel-writing days, it was not something I craved. There were only a couple of go-to options on the menu. Over a couple of years they changed quite a bit. Today I’m spoiled for choice. Den’s partners and chef haven’t taken in the last half decade. In addition to some interior design changes, they overhauled the menu, adding ingenuity and innovation to some classics. Dishes like the Spicy Eggplant and Buffalo Mozzarella Penne, are the perfect comfort food with that little bit extra you’re looking for when you choose to dine out. They’ve also added thin crust pizzas and a range of appetite-whetting delights, including a damn fine Mille-Feuille. Here’ a glimpse of their labours. I can only wait to see what they’ll cook up over next five years. If the first five are an indication, it will be tasty.
Mim Kemal Öke Caddesi No 12 , Nisantasi, Istanbul / Telephone: 0212 224 2470
Yesterday I was daydreaming of Denmark. Today I’m noticing the last glorious stretch of summer days here in Istanbul. The sunlight filtered through slowly yellowing leaves washes everything in minty gold hue. Autumn creeps closer. But not too close.
There are few things more compelling to me than the sea. But when I think back on Denmark, which I was in about a month ago, I keep thinking of that massive sky. Not that the sea there isn’t impressive. It’s just that the ceiling above it is so mind-boggling big and blue. I miss that vastness. What will you remember, Sof?
Do you understand the difference between a flat white and a latté? Do you know what an aeropress is? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you owe it to yourself to find a narrow little pasaj in Bebek and visit Cup Of Joy. Despite a serious coffee addiction, I have to say I began to wonder about the value proposition of spending 8TL for someone to ruin an espresso drink. A local chain recently delivered me an americano with a taste that more closely resembled burnt popcorn than coffee. However, there’s no danger of that happening at Cup Of Joy, where coffee is taken rather seriously. They don’t believe in Americanos here and will more likely suggest an alternative, which might make you look at filter coffees in a whole new way. They also don’t scald the daily milk they use for the lattés and flat whites they brew. There’s also a full range of machines and paraphernalia for the serious home brewer, from Siphons and the aforementioned Aeropress as well as some pretty fancy looking kettles. Though I might not be able to indulge on a daily basis, there’s now one more reason to visit Bebek regularly.
Cevdetpaşa Caddesi 53/5, Bebek-Istanbul +90 212 263 0006 / www.cupofjoy.com.tr
Hidden in between the confusion and chaos of Maslak traffic and the monstrosity known as Istiniye Park is a small strip of heaven and quiet designated for horse and pony lovers. I am always surprised and pleased with how striking and magnificent horses can be when viewed up close. It’s also difficult not to appreciate how special the bond between horse and rider is. It always seems like such a gift that these awesome and powerful creatures are so willing to calmly carry the burden of another creature around on their backs. For one three-year old, I know it was a particularly giddy new surprise. There are small ponies for the little people and proper horses for bigger and more experienced riders. Memberships and rider training is available for children and adults. I have a feeling we’ll be back soon.