Istanbul Jam

August 23, 2012
For want of a more appropriate word to describe this post, I have chosen “jam”. An Istanbul jam. A post positively packed with highlights of our visit – let’s be honest, many of them are food related. Following on from the gorgeous gözleme, truly wonderful meal at Antiochia and Inebolu market rapture, I present you with my remaining highlights.
Istanbul really is a magical city. Although far more developed than I had anticipated, I found myself enamoured with the more cosmopolitan areas and sleek dining scene, which fits in so seamlessly alongside the heart of old Istanbul and it’s relatively untouched traditions.
I still have one more Istanbul post to come, where I’ll introduce you to my new favourite cafe. But for now, enjoy this jam, noting our few wondrous Summer days in Istanbul…

Turkish breakfast at Van Kahavaltı Evi. Somehow I do not believe the Nutella to be a true reflection of traditional Turkish cuisine…but the rest was just fabulous. I really loved this place. We arrived sweaty from a morning workout to a lovely refreshing plate of breakfast goodies, including tomato, cucumber, olives, boiled eggs and cheese and a serve of yummy menemen (scrambled eggs with onions and peppers). Plus tea and Turkish coffee, and an OJ for Ben. We also really loved the area this restaurant was located in, so I do suggest a visit.
Grab an ice-cream and wander down bust ling Istiklal Caddesi, a large avenue loaded with…well, people. Become slightly terrified by fluorescent, undoubtedly high dancing buskers. Save your pennies for the cute old man playing traditional Turkish tunes.

When visiting the Grand Bazaar or other sights in Sultanahmet, stop off for lunch at an Istanbul institution, Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi. Here you get simple plates of fatty, un-fussy köfte with peppers, salad, spiced pepper paste and a big soft roll. Smush it all together and you can’t deny, it is rather delicious.

 

 

 

Fishing on the bridge… Everyone does it. All the time.

 

You’re after some sweets now, right? Well I must say that neither Ben and I are mad for Turkish Delight, much to the dismay of my father-in-law. We are, however, mad for baklava. And when in Istanbul, you go toKaraköy Güllüoğlu, the spot for baklava.

This place means business, serious baklava business. I attempted a few times to order and became so completely overwhelmed with the process that I sent Ben into battle. Ben then went about ordering portions of whichever ones took our fancy – a tough job, they have a mighty spread of pastry pleasures. Little did we know that “one portion” referred to six pieces of baklava. Enter an entire tray filled with baklava. Yep. How embarrassment. A take-home pack was necessary.

Honestly, I found this baklava all too buttery. I know, I know, you wouldn’t believe that could be possible, but it is. I much preferred the baklava we delighted in whilst galavanting throughout Greece, as well as the recipe I’ve made at home, which is heavier on infused sugar-syrup and nut flavours.

 

 

I did, however, enjoy the chocolate baklava. Who would have thought? Cocoa goodness.

 

 

The most surprisingly scrumptious street vendor meal ever? I think possibly, yes. Chicken and chickpeas on rice, loaded with black pepper. I turned a blind eye to sanitation and just enjoyed the simple brilliance of this snack.

Catch a ferry or two – one of the most pleasant activities you can do while in Istanbul. We caught many ferries on our trip, just hopping over from Europe to Asia, as you do…

 

 

After catching the ferry to Kadıköy, we wandered over to Ciya. Here we were greeted with fresh, flavourful salads and dips, sour cherry and meatball soup (amaze), yoghurt and artichoke soup, and the most deliciously succulent kebab meat you’ve ever eaten.
Happiness.

A favourite afternoon was spent reading in Gülhane Park, with some people watching thrown in for good measure. Cokes and novels, summer fun.

Drinks at Amenon Hotel for a gorgeous view of the city. A slightly expensive gin & tonic, but it came with a fun straw, so it all evens out.

Dinner at Ece Aksoy. We were poised with a street view and delighted in stunning olives, a gorgeous seafood platter, yummy meatballs and the most delicious pork fillet with apple sauce and picked ginger cabbage. Oh man, that pork.

 

 

 

 

Istanbul Summer nights…
Wasn’t that a pretty jam? Man, I’m jonesing for that sour cherry and meatball soup…

 

Heidi xo

Istanbul Notes

Length of stay

: 3 days, then 1 more night at the end of our – a good amount of time.

Accommodation

: we stayed at Med Cezir in Sultanahmet, and the staff were really wonderful. I wouldn’t stay in Sultanahmet again, however, as there wasn’t much that interested us in that area. Our last night we scored a deal at the Hilton, and this location was fabulously close to Kantin. Next time I’d look for accommodation somewhere near the Galata Tower.

Where we ate

– see previous posts: Kantin, Van Kahavaltı Evi, Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi, Karaköy Güllüoğlu, Ciya, Antiochia, Tasca da Esquina, Pasteis de Belem, Bakirkoy and Inebolu markets.

Highlights

: Inebolu market, dinner at Antiochia, catching countless ferries, everything about Kantin, devouring authentic gozleme, pear-infused vodka atBeyoğlu bars and lazing in Gulhane park.

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  • xoCATox August 23, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I am ridiculous shades of green with envy still, but also so happy for your experiences and glad for what a wonderful honeymoon you had!

    All of this looks absolutely amazing. What a wonderful trip! xx

  • Hannah August 23, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Oh Heidi, the colours, the colours, and the smiles! I love everything about this post. And you. xo

  • Lisa @ Blithe Moments August 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    If I wasn't already desperate to go to Istanbul that would totally have made me. What an amazing experience.

  • Yasmeen August 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Wonderful, just wonderful! Istanbul (well, Turkey in general) is one of our favorite places and you have captured it beautifully. You look deliriously happy and stuffed with delicious meals which is just how you should be 🙂

  • Not Quite Nigella August 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    I was just saying to a friend that I would love to get to Turkey! I'm a huge Turkish delight freak and baklava and the idea that the baklava is too buttery intrigues me (is there such a thing for me? :P).

  • The InTolerant Chef August 24, 2012 at 8:27 am

    What a lot of fantastic experiences! How funny you ended up with so much baklava 🙂

  • Heidi August 24, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Cat – I'm green with envy for my former self!

    Hannah – so many colours 🙂

    Lisa – completely!

    Yasmeen – absolutely hehe, thanks 🙂

    Lorraine – I know, strange, right? But true…

    InTolerant Chef – it was hilarious & so embarrassing at the same time 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet August 24, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Great post 🙂 i love reading all about your travel experiences and i'm getting so so so jealous reading every single post hehe ~

    OMG the BAKALVA is amazing!

  • Hannah August 24, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Ahh my friend was telling my all about Turkey over skype today.. and now pictures! Beautiful, I always love your travel posts. The baklava looks incredible, especially the chocolate one! x

  • msihua August 25, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Woah! I want to go to Turkey! Waa waa guitar!

  • Heidi August 26, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Daisy – so much of it 🙂

    Hannah – thanks, lovely!

    Msihua – honeymoon destination??? 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • Blithely Unaware September 3, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Ahhhhhhh I'm in my happy place reading your blog, it's been too long lady!!!

    Your honeymoon…amazing, AMAZING!!!!

    I love that you've clearly embraced the local food, that street vendor looks fantastic.

    I've got to say the best thing we did in Singapore was eat hawker food. Fortunately their food classification system for vendors meant we knew we were eating from safe places, with a baby on board I have to be careful!!!

    You've put a smile on my dial, thanks lady!

    xox