This is Istanbul, the city of beautiful street cats, the city coveted by empires over the centuries, the city of the Dardanelles, of eggplant, of sultans, of pretty silk scarves, of hills and bridges. This is the city of every kind of public transportation: ferries, trams, metro, trollies, busses, and funiculars. This is the city of roasted street chestnuts and bad haircuts.
I arrived yesterday at 2 am after our flight was delayed from Cairo. At one point, a voice had came over the loudspeakers and said, “The new time for the delayed flight to Istanbul will be announced….later.” It was never announced.
Nevertheless, we made it to our fun-sized hostel with fun-sized rooms and bathrooms, where your bum touches the door as you pull up your pants. And today, we ate breakfast. Oh the glory.
I believe in love, laughter, and breakfast. Sweet Lord in heaven is there anything better than getting up early in the morning bright, when mouth-breathing tourists like ourselves haven’t begun mobbing around the city? Is there anything fairer than winding down and around the hilly alleys of Istanbul lined with Smartie colored houses, and entering an establishment with yellow walls and cozy tables ? Is there anything better than being hungry for breakfast, the meal that will determine the rest of your life?
And what a treat this was, selected with the aid of the gentlemanly restaurant manager himself. I had never seen so many tiny dishes at a breakfast before. We ate cheeses, jam, butter, nutella, peanut butter, honey and cream, omelette, olives, hard boiled eggs, yoghurt and cucumber, and pure joy.
Anything was possible with this breakfast. Butter and jam, cheese and jam, nutella and jam, peanut butter and jam. Cheese. Egg and cheese. Egg and cheese and salt. Egg and cheese and salt and tomato. Egg, cheese, salt, tomato, and nutella. And so on. I could fulfill any dream I had, go past any horizon I saw. With regard to bread toppings, the sky was the limit, and I was in outer space, blowing moon bubbles with aliens.
After a while you stop trying to taste every possibility and instead just be with the breakfast and attempt to become one with the essence of the little dishes and the toppings. I failed, yet I shall try again. Mark my words, I shall try again.
And now, we’ll get a coffee and discuss what we want to eat for lunch. This is the nature of vacation.
For those who are curious, we ate at a place called Van Kahvaltia Evi in an area called Cihangir. See a review here (it’s the first place. And the website istanbuleats.com is awesome).
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This looks fantastic! Makes me miss the breakfasts we had in Jordan… Have a most wonderful time in Istanbul – so, so jealous and can’t wait to hear all about it!
I will do my best to put some actual information in blog posts about the travels. They were delicious and a wonderful cure for Cairo. That was by far my favorite breakfast though.
Food here (here as in Istanbul) in general is nice and important and the hot dishes are even better. and all of it along with fresh bread is fantastic. Glad you enjoyed it.
I did I did I did. The food was heaven and the air was paradise and the bosphorous was…well, I think you get my point.
I so do!! .. a few of many reasons to why moved here :))
Now THAT is a true Mediterranean kinda breakfast!! I get a mini version of that on weekends when I actually have time to sit and eat properly. Glad you enjoyed it so much!
Oh it was wonderful! I wish I could eat like that every day.
I always scout the best breakfast places when I am going on vacation. On my up coming Australian trip, it is a place called Pancakes on the Rock. After reading your post, looking forward to it even more. Breakfast is the most important Mel of the day. 😉
And the most delicious. I’ll have to do a post on pancakes soon because they are certainly one of my favorite foods, and I bet the Auzzies know how to do them well. Great. Now I have the pancake hunger.
I’ve never been there. And I love the way you described the whole thing.
Glad you enjoyed it and if you have a chance you must go!
Smartiie colored houses! Great flavored article. keep us posted.
It shall be done. Oh wait. I’m back already, and I didn’t. Well, I’ll still keep you posted even if the doings are stale.
Tell me, what is the feeling toward Americans and/or westerners in Istanbul? Is it a reasonably safe place to visit? You’re so fortunate to be able to have this experience of traveling at such a young age…well young compared to me anyway.
Based on my time there (a mere 7 days), I didn’t notice any resentment towards westerners or Americans, and it seemed an incredibly safe place to visit. It felt like I was walking around in a Western European city. I am certainly lucky to have had the chance to go there.
The best breakfasts I ever had were in Istanbul! I keep trying unsuccessfully to recreate them here in Canada….Enjoy them while you can!
I want to go back already.
Yes, nothing like getting up early in the morning bright when on vacation. Thanks for taking me along…
Because we’re all morning people. Nice prof pic, btws!
Thanks for sharing the exotic nature of your vacation with those of us still stuck in numbingly familiar surroundings. The vivid skill of your writing gave me a sense of your experience, and enough so that I was wishing I was there sharing your experience, as I read your words.
And yet, because you are you, you still included a few delightfully off the wall phrases, like “I was in outer space, blowing moon bubbles with aliens.”
Sigh… I can’t ask you to marry me, cause I’m already married and I’m old enough to be your Dad. But if your parents ever get tired of you – something that will never happen, I am sure, but if it did, maybe I could adopt you. But no, forget that idea too. The last thing I’d ever want to be, is an authority figure relative to your free spirit.
So I’ll just keep reading your blog, and that is still more than enough for me, to continue reading happily. 🙂
And I’m happy to have you along for the ride. It seems to be a win-win-win-win situation!
My husband was born in Istanbul, and most of the family is stil in Turkey. We’ve been married six years and I’ve been to Turkey twice now, and we will go again in August/Sept. Istanbul is a fabulous city for so many reasons. I do still dream of those breakfasts. Can’t wait. Have a blast. Will you be going to the coastal areas?
Alas I didn’t get a chance to go to the coastal areas, but I really hope I get to see more of that beautiful country in the future. It was such a refreshing place to be.
I remember it well .. I still have dreams of those little pastries filled with soft cheese (I believe they were called something like virgins fingers) so scrumptious
I didn’t regret any food decisions there except for a cold chicken pudding I unfortunately tried. But other than that it was all delicious delicious.
🙂 yeah to exciting new foods
Two of my favorite things–Istanbul and a good breakfast. Have a great trip to the city of my ancestors and be sure to have a doner kebab and a beer one afternoon or evening as well.
With two local universities, there is enough ethnic diversity that quite a number of specialty restaurants exist. At the local farmers market, a doner kebab stall is successful. The wife sieved the internet and got a recipe for a lamb/beef meat combo, and one for homemade tzatziki sauce. We make up the meat like a meat-loaf, slice it thick and put it into pita halves with veggies & sauce. Mmmmm!
Doner is always a good idea. I’ll have to try to make it at home as well, since I don’t think Oklahoma would do too well on the Turkish food front.
Done and done. I got the Iskender Kebap—-man oh man I didn’t know tomato and yoghurt with meat could do such things. And the bread. Oh the bread…..it was a great time.
Now I’m jealous! What a fabulous trip. And Iskender Kebab with an Efes. . . That’s livin’!
You’ve captured the essence of breakfast on the road. I eat breakfast everyday of the year, yet nothing beats breakfast away! Great post.
Thanks! Breakfast is far and away my most favorite meal of the day. I’ve never regretted getting up early to breakfast. Never.