• Places

    Lit up

    Colours saturate. Dull broken pavements suddenly glisten, slicked with rain. Vapours rise. Damp tobacco burns without the tiniest crackle. Exposed bulbs buzz, haloing in the rain. And all the while people migrate from one island of artificial light to another in the sudden fall of Karaköy night.

  • Art / Design / Craft,  Books & Lit,  Places

    Salt Galata

    Yesterday I decided I wanted to experience the audio exhibit Translated By, a series of 13 performed excerpts from books, and one original piece, by various writers about different cities and landscapes, some imagined, an exhibit sponsored by the British Council. For the most part, I’m glad I did, although I must admit I skipped over a few whose writing or narration style grated after a couple of minutes. As you tour about Salt Galata, you don your headphones and tune into a numbered channel, one for Istanbul, Tokyo, Baku, the Metaverse—you get the idea—and listen to a passage written about each of these places. I’d recommend it if you have some time. However, when I wasn’t absorbed in these orally rendered landscapes I found myself wondering about the physical space I was in. Ever feel that you really want to like a place but instead leave uncertain what to think? That’s how…

  • Food & Drink,  Photography,  Places

    24 golden hours on the Golden Horn.

    VOYAGE TO THE GOLDEN HORN. This weekend I had an amazing 24-hours escaping into my favorite neighborhood like a tourist. After dropping off our daughter at her grandmother’s we boarded a vapur for Karaköy. Start any adventure on a vapur and it’s bound to add flavor to the experience. FIND YOURSELF A GOOD NIGHTTIME NEST: KARAKÖY ROOMS. Next, we checked ourselves into a really elegantly appointed hotel. Sometimes you need to feel like you’re in a movie, not ordinary life. We stayed at Karaköy Rooms, owned by the same team that bring me gastronomic bliss on a regular basis, Karaköy Lonakantasi. I highly recommend renting the studio. It’s a beautiful space with high ceilings and even has a small kitchenette appointed. We were tempted to stay for more than 24 hours. Take a beer or a glass of wine up to the roof and take in the view of the old…

  • Places

    Istanbul’s Smallest Church?

    NUMBER 19 TAHSIN HOCA SOKAGI. Despite not being religious, I have, nevertheless, a deep fascination which borders on reverence for places of worship. There’s something about them, an energy, a vibration — call it what you will — that’s special. That’s why I was intrigued when a good friend told me about a rooftop Russian Orthdox church in Karaköy.

  • Food & Drink,  Places

    Karaköy Lokantasi: right atmosphere, right food.

    THE STAIRWAY TO CULINARY HEAVEN? MAYBE … Must admit I’m suffering from a bit of an addiction problem right now. If you follow this site regularly, you might notice I’m drifting a lot towards Karaköy these days. One of the reasons for this begins and ends with my stomach. AN INVITING, UNPRETENTIOUS ATMOSPHERE. All too often in Istanbul when you find great food you suffer from terrible atmosphere. The inverse is equally true unless you’re willing spend a lot of money. I’m not. That’s why Karaköy Lokantasi is something of a revelation. This is a serious eatery with seriously good food and a menu that changes daily. Its blue (a theme color of mine at the moment) tiled walls and crisp white tablecloths are chic yet unpretentious. If you desire, you can enjoy a glass of wine with lunch and expect to pay little more than $20 (US), quite possibly less. 

  • Photography,  Places

    Dystopian Wonderland

    THIS ATRIUM BELONGS IN A SCI-FI DYSTOPIA. If you ask me, Istanbul is inherently cinematic. I just left Switzerland which you could say is inherently picturesque — with its mountains, its lakes and its pristine architecture, it would make a good location for several of my cinematic fantasies. But could you do a dystopian epic with a nicely understated sci-fi twist? I think not. I regularly dream movies up in my head, like the other day when I decided to cut through this han to get to Karaköy Lokantasi, and for about two-three minutes I completely forgot my ravenous appetite.