• Food & Drink

    Istanbul Culinary Institute: inspiration is being served.

    MISO PRAWNS ON HUMMUS. There’s something about going to school that I really like these days. Perhaps because it’s because I didn’t properly appreciate the opportunities I had to learn when I was younger, but now I’m really eager to reconnect and engage with people in learning environments.One of my current favorites is the Istanbul Culinary Institute, which certifies chefs to go out into the world with all the requisite practical experience to set them on the road to becoming the next Gordon Ramsay (I just hope they are a tad less hot-headed). HOMEMADE CHARM: SAUCES, FRUIT COMPOSTS AND MORE TO TAKE WITH YOU. Personally, I admire good chefs the same way I admire good writers, painters or photographers. The talented ones are not simply making you something to eat, they’re preparing an experience that can stay with you for years. Sure it might be more fleeting, but the way we…

  • Food & Drink,  Places

    Sefahathane: thickening the Beyoglu atmosphere.

    YOU NEVER KNOW WHO’S BEEN HERE. A night out doesn’t have to be big, or glitzy to be fun. All you need is a good corner to perch, and the right company. In fact, it seems to me that big places, with lots of money splashed out on the decor often find themselves thin on that thing you just can’t generate artificially — atmosphere. It’s there, or it isn’t. In Beyoglu’s Atlas Pasaji — about 150 meters from the gate of Galatasary Lisessi, if you’re walking towards Taksim — is Sefahathane, one of my favorite night spots. In the columned space between Atlas Sinema‘s box office and the stair to its large theatre is one my favorite spots in the world. It’s one of those spaces that defy the need to be big on anything but atmosphere. Like Torino Express in Beirut, or the Manx Pub where I grew up, these narrow…

  • Food & Drink,  Mind / Body,  Places

    Adaçayi: a sage choice of drink.

    COULD THIS TEA SHARPEN OUR SENSES? DIMINISH THE AGING PROCESS? MAYBE. A few years ago,  I started visiting Yeniköy, and in particular, Yeniköy Kahvesi, a tea garden/coffeehouse set above the village’s main boulevard, nestled beside one of the community’s Greek churches. Overhung with vines and interlacing tree branches this quiet spot is a popular weekend brunch option year-round with its mix of sun and shade, indoor fireplace and relaxed attitude. One day when a group of us gathered there in early spring with our books and Sudoku puzzles, my friend Despina ordered an adaçayi (sage tea). I’d like to think that my life has changed for the better since that day. THE LANE BEHIND YENIKÖY KAHVESI. Made simply by infusing hot water with sage leaves, this herb turns the water a vibrant fluorescent yellow-green. It’s a refreshing hot drink usually enjoyed with a slice or two of lemon. From that day on…