Experiencing a city from someone who knows it inside out is the best way to find out first hand what it’s really all about. Sure, there are amazing tourist attractions that are worth checking out, but it’s always nice to get the real deal. My brother-in-law is practically the mayor of Istanbul. The man knows it like nobody’s business. Where to eat, where to shop, where to drink beer, where to buy old records, which vintage stores to hit up, where to buy the cheapest light bulbs — you name it, he knows. We didn’t walk down the street for 5 minutes before he spotted someone he knew, and vice versa. Most of the photos below were taken while exploring the city with Dano, right before the rest of the crew started to arrive from various parts of the globe and another adventure started to brew.
This man was selling glass and plexiglass
Nearly every morning in Istanbul, Darryl and I would have borek for breakfast. Borek is a flaky pastry that puts all other pastries to shame. It’s served warm and the consistency is a cross between pasta and filo dough, and it’s stuffed with cheese. You can have it stuffed with spinach, potatoes, or meat as well. This one in particular comes plain with a bag of powdered sugar. It’s scandalous.
The borek spot is right around the corner from Dano’s apartment. How convenient. You can also scoop up these scone-like pastries made with parsley and cheese. Notice the smurf packaging — amazing, no?
Dano led Darryl and I down a passageway off Istiklal (busiest street ever) to this amaaazing old mini-mall filled with old books and records. This was the door to a vendor that stocked records and random tchotkes. I bought a few things from a vendor that I will show you later.
Walking down Istiklal Dano spotted his friend who owns a very cool vintage store. It’s the size of a small warehouse piled with loads of clothes and accessories. You really have to dig, but I’m certain there are some gems hidden in there. I found a dress!
Walking around the very cool neighborhood of Cihangir, I spotted this cute cafe’, Dai Pera, that looked like the perfect place to stop and have some tea. Turns out it was just opened by Dano’s friend, Arzu. This is the chalkboard menu.