August 8, 2017

Istanbul. June, 2007

Recently, a new Turkish restaurant has opened not far from my home outside Boston. Called Istanbul’lu, its breakfast menu features an item poetically described as “A Plate of Turkish Mornings.” Mmmmm. How could you not order something that sounds so wonderful, so evocative? Early-morning running in Istanbul along the Sea of Marmara. Walking down the steep steps toward the Galata Bridge to buy some breakfast simit. Sitting at the wide-open cafe in Tunel Square on my first morning in the City of the World’s Desire. Or, to take a more literal route, this man, carrying his tray of baked goods through the Sahaflar Carsisi, a tiny, leaf-shaded square lined with used-book shops in a quiet neighborhood of Istanbul between the Grand Bazaar and the Beyazid Mosque. (It’s one of the oldest markets in the city, built on the same site as the ancient book and paper market of the Byzantines; since the 18th century it’s been a place where intellectuals have met and books have been sold. Still is.) Looks like he’s got plenty of açme, a flaky, egg-enriched pastry, as well as some other sweet items. He just strolled casually through the courtyard, stopping each time a customer wanted to buy something, and before long, to the delight of those around him, his plate of Turkish mornings was empty.

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