So at the risk of giving you all enough information to triangulate the exact location of my apartment, I am now trebly or quadrupally or quintupally or hextuably blessed, something like that. (Why is spell check insisting those aren’t words? They should be.) Not only is the best dive in the world, Igzas, two doors down from my apartment, and the very best tekel man in a country full of great tekel men around the corner, but I’ve discovered a restaurant that is a block and a half as the crow flies, from my doorstep. Vegetarian food fans, take note:
The first time I walked into Rulo I kinda freaked out and did it wrong. I ordered a karışık nahut durum, and was given such a completely baffling array of topping options I froze after the patlican salad and said enough, and she looked at me like I was crazy and asked if I wanted more chick peas, then? The next time I played it smarter and ordered a little bit of everything that looked good- the carrot goo, the eggplant goo, the onion stuff, salad greens, green onions, red onions, some pickled cabbage… and it all melded into an incredibly tasty wrap indeed. And this coming from a woman who grew up to distrust vegetables after having grown up with a grandma who grew up in the “hostiley boil the shit out of anything remotely green and then add a stick of butter” generation. It was a hefty meal indeed, and cost a whopping four lira. That’s like, fifteen cents at the current exchange rate. (I may not be very good at math. Or money.) My last visit I got the falafel durum. Three reasonable falafel patties- not the best I’ve ever had but certainly not the worst- on a durum wrap with white beans, greens, onions of various kinds, spices, olive oil, and a squirt of what they called hummus but was far more liquidey than what I call hummus, but nevertheless delicious.
Actually, gang, I just realized I’m starving. I’m getting another. Back in a flash.
Okay, how jealous are you of my life? That took less than ten minutes, and I am now in the process of filling myself full of a delicious and fairly nutritious little wrap.
So there’s one on Bahariye that my friends have given mixed reviews of, but there’s another just up the road from Şifa Hospital that is a minute, literally, from my home, and I have no complaints and the younger lady who works there is awesomesauce and speaks English very well. GO THERE.
Another great find this week, though farther from home: Bizim Kitap Kafe. (I am so lazy these days that crossing Bahariye feels like travel.) I was brought there by an old student, otherwise I never woulda found it. The place is FULL of books. For someone whose most cherished weekend job ever was that summer she spent working in Deeds Used Books in old Ellicott City, who would wear a perfume that smelled like old books every day if there was one, and who used to pride herself of her book collection, (kindles have taken an important part out of dating- judging your potential beloved by his or her bookspines.) it was a little overwhelming. Rooms and rooms and rooms full of books. There were a few comfy chairs and low tables inside, but the treat was outside, where there was a huge patio raised slightly above a proper veggie garden shaded by (rare in Istanbul) old growth trees. There was even a resident golden retriever with a bandana around his neck. Aging hippies were casually spread around and it felt like- well- Hampden. Or Remington. Or Harford Road. It felt like home. Next time I have a deadline I’ll definitely sequester myself there, even if I DO have to walk for like, twelve whole minutes to get there. And so should you.