Well my friends, I've done it again. I've grown a year older!
Today was a day of simple joys and favourites. I spent the morning at the Kapalı Çarşı— otherwise known as the Grand Bazaar— with my mum and auntie, who was in town from Lebanon. The Kapalı Çarşı has long been a place of wonder and excitement for me— I spent many a happy afternoon wandering the narrow noisy streets as a child, wide-eyed and overwhelmed by all the colourful scarves, ceramics, jewellery and carpets.
After a bit of shopping, we stopped at Fes Café, which is nestled somewhere in the labyrinth near the "Old Bazaar." Truly, I have no idea how to tell you to get there, but I always end up finding it every time I go. I ordered a Turkish coffee, and to my happy surprise, it arrived on a gorgeous silver platter with a teeny glass of almond liquor, a larger glass of minted water, and a delicate silver covered dish that hid one lokum (Turkish delight) inside. It was so exquisite,
I felt like a queen!
Since the sun decided to come out (and I'd love to think it was for me!), we decided to take advantage of the beautiful blue skies and take a walk up Istiklal, stopping at my favourite bookstore, Robinson Crusoe 389. I picked up a copy of Lonely Planet's guide to Nepal, in preparation of my upcoming adventure, which I will tell you about... a little later.
When asked where I wanted to enjoy my birthday dinner, there was only one place I had in mind: Filiz, a gorgeous little fish restaurant in the town of Tarabya. The owner and his staff are the nicest people you could ever come across, and the food is out of this world— which is why this unassuming little place has been a favourite of mine for years.
What we've got here is a cold mezze, which is a collection of appetizers like a tapas. If we were to go clockwise, we've got the most delicious beans in the world in a tomato-olive oil sauce, a fish roe purée called tarama, the smokey eggplant dip known as baba ganoush, a spicy tomatoey bulgur dip called ezme, and a currant and rice-stuffed mussel called midye dolması (my childhood favourite). Absolutely divine. And we're not even at my favourite part yet— the sexiest, most delectable kalamari I have ever had. Sadly I seem to have lost the picture— but let me tell you, it's incredible. For one thing, it's grilled and has that great smokey grilled flavour, and it's drizzled inside and out with a spicy garlicky olive oil. Oh I really wish I had the picture!
For dessert, the lovely people of Filiz brought me an ayva tatlısı— which is a candied quince topped with clotted cream and crushed walnuts— with a candle to make a wish on. My friends, I have to say, this was the best birthday I've ever had. I'd like to thank all my family and friends for a truly harika day!