Hometown! Take one, Flamingo Pastanesi…


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I was born and raised in Ankara… Walking down Tunalı Hilmi today, brought back many memories. All is good, but seeing most of the establishments closing their doors, selling their business makes me sad. Ankara being a patisserie town, had a … Continue reading

Tevfik Usta – Antalya

Inside the small shop there are couple of tables in the mini börek store, all covered with muşamba, the thick faded oilcloth with big sugar containers, a tradesman type. You share your table, your sugar. And outside couple more tables people waiting for their börek or eating, enjoying their tea.

Tevfik Usta is an artisan making serpme börek over 40 years in his tiny place, with a vintage oven. He is a passionate man about what he does and how he does it.

Serpme börek is prepared on order, so you wait Tevfik Usta to finish the order in hand and turn to you to ask your choice. Then the process begins over again.

He swirls and turns the dough in the air,then stretches it on the oiled marble surface. The oiled, stretched, paper thin  dough is then topped with mince meat or beyaz peynir filling.

Mince meat is veal meat precooked with onion, black pepper, salt and parsley, this old school mixture is a very traditional börek filling, but the balance of onion, meat and pepper is the most important thing. Beyaz peynir filling is made with Turkish white cheese, as you have read on the previous posts, and with parsley.

After he tops the filling in the middle of the börek, he closes it like an envelope and then he lays your börek in the blackened, old oven trays. Then into the vintage oven. He checks every once in a while as you wait impatiently, seeing other full plates served.

When the börek is cooked to perfection, he slices it thinly so you could tuck in with your hands. Using fork and knife would destroy the börek so don’t be a stranger and just copy what the others are doing, you will be satisfied with the result.

We had two rounds of mince meat and cheese börek, admiring the taste of them both. My favorite was the mince meat, well, how could I resist to that meat and dough taste, the mince meat filling was something else when combined with that magical dough!

I could not thank enough to my friend Tijen İnaltong for taking us there and letting us meet Tevfik Ekizoğlu. He is the last usta of serpme börek, I hope you get the chance to taste his exquisite masterpiece.

Phone : (242) 241 5813

Open from early morning till noon.

Büyükada Pastanesi – Büyükada


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On a nice sunny morning we hopped on a ferry and began our trip to Büyükada. The sea is calm, a little breeze, seagulls literally crying…and hungry stomachs. By the time we finished our coffee in the travel mugs finished … Continue reading

Affan Kahvesi – Antakya

Hidden and lost. Forgotten.

Peaceful and relaxing.

Old floor tiles tell so much. Tranquility covers the place. All over again.

We passed a lot of our time here, either chatting with the lovely owner Züveyr Abi or his sincere and cheerful son Onur,  or sipping coffee, or doing nothing, well, finding our zen… But most of the times, what ever we did, we had Haytalı with it. It is like us and Haytalı.

Affan Kahvesi is the place to eat Haytalı in Antakya.

Haytalı is one of Antakya tastes, a dessert  cools you down and makes you happy. A regulator of inner peace…

Haytalı has three layers of taste, at the bottom a pudding with a little sugar, middle scoops of vanilla ice cream, home made with a little salep, then topped with home made ice cream finished with the vivid color of a syrup made with gülab, rose water. The spoon is custom made, the taste is unique. When you spoon through layers, you find your safe some time else. Like the one colorful thing in a black and white era.

A naive, full, happy time.

Address: Kurtuluş  Caddesi No.42, Antakya

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Şahin Lokantası – Istanbul

Walking down the Orhan Adli Apaydın Sokak, if you see a crowd of suits and white collars, people gathered, waiting hungrily or smoking happily then you are in front of Şahin Lokantası.

Serving since 1967, Ismail Şahin, known as Şahin Usta or Baba, holding his business together, cooking, talking to customers and sitting on his small desk to cash the bills. The chef is working with him for 32 years, and doing a great job.

When you enter the restaurant, you go directly to the kitchen counter, where you can see a colorful layover of the dishes like çoban kavurma, rice pilaf, lentil soup, chickpea stew, big tray of Izmir köfte topped with hand cut potatoes, tavuk kapama, fırın makarna, kadınbudu köfte and many more. Most of the dishes are cooked in oven. The chickpeas are melting in your mouth, you do not need to add any salt or pepper, the taste is perfect. İzmir köfte, the köfte is  a little spicy, soft, leaving you with a mouthful of flavor. All the ingredients are top notch. He even did not change his butcher for 30 years, nor the  grocery.

You feel you are eating at home. Food from the heart.

Save some space for kadayıf, if it is on the menu that day. The kadayıf is like falling from a grandmother’s hand. Thick, crunchy on the top, moist and silky and soft in the middle with a layer of walnuts, then the bottom is a little burnt, the Golden brownish color. The syrup is just right amount and right sweetness. You can have a whole – believe me the smallest portion is even big- piece of it, yet you continue living.

If you want to have a morning soup, you should go there till 10.00am, or you will be left empty belly. Mondays işkembe – tripe soup, Thursdays paça – trotter soup. The trotter soup is to die for, smooth, silky, well cooked, texture wise perfect.

One important reminder, you may not find all the dishes after 1.30pm, so act up.

Prepare to wait, share your table and eat hearty home cooked meal.

Address: Orhan Adli Apaydın Sk. No:11/A, Tepebaşı, Beyoğlu, Istanbul

Phone: (212) 244 2543

Service Hours: Opens early in the morning for soup service till 5.00-5.30pm. Closed on Sundays.

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Baylan Pastanesi – Istanbul

One of Istanbul’s touchstones, my one and only Baylan stands bold, against all the new trends of baking,reminding us that old school is always sound. Ask any Istanbul local, they always have a story to  tell you about Baylan, and their memories from the good old days of Istanbul.

You feel like the place has been left untouched from old times, so magical, so nostalgic. I prefer to sit inside, where most of the people enjoy the mini cosy garden at the back of the patisserie.

They have many tastes that will please you but the signature dessert, but Kup Griye is the one!  Made with vanilla ice cream,  almonds, nuts, caramel sauce, chantilly cream and on top a lady finger, you order an espresso, then prepare to be amazed, cause the taste will take you to a sweet dream, while the hot, devil espresso tries to remind you where you are. The espresso is one of the best you can enjoy in Istanbul.

Macaroons, ice cream desserts, cherry liqueur filled home made chocolates, and my other favorite Paskalya Çöreği, the Easter bread, made with mahaleb, mastic gum, chemically balancing each other. That is the expertise.They also bake sweet and savory cookies, cakes, petits fours and the other treats.

Make time for this true Istanbul gem.

Address: Muvakkithane Caddesi, No:19, Kadıköy, Istanbul

Phone: (216) 346 6350

Service Hours: 8:30am – 8:00pm, everyday

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