Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lunch at the Palace by the Sea

Saturday seemed like the perfect day for lunch at a palace. So I had lunch at a palace.

One of countless cool things I've discovered about Istanbul is that you can have lunch at Ottoman palaces. As in, you wake up on a Saturday and think, "I'd like to have a palace lunch on the Black Sea today," and you do. I ate here - at the circa 1459 Topkapi Palace. Its walls and turrets and cavernous halls and passages jut out over the Bosphorus Strait toward the gaping mouth of the Black Sea. Looking at the picture above, you can see the part of the Konyali Restaurant where we ate and stared out over the salty sea.

What could be more luxurious and leisurely than a Saturday afternoon luncheon in a palace on the Black Sea? (Seriously. I'm so blessed. Sometimes I can hardly believe this is really my life.)

But it appears to be. Looking up, I see a corner of the castle. And over my left shoulder is a view of the Bosphorus Strait and the bridge connecting Europe and Asia....

... oops, and at the edge of the table the waiter's just arrived. He's dressed fancily and speaks formally, opening our menus and unfolding our napkins with a flourish. I feel underdressed and ridiculous ordering a Cola Light (no "Diet Coke" here). Oh well. On my carefully drafted list of 30 Things To Do Before I'm 30, drinking Diet Coke in 30 cities is goal #18.

Istanbul joins the list. Diet Coke? Check!

Now. What to order for lunch in an ancient palace on the Black Sea? Lamb, of course. (I love lamb and haven't eaten much of it since my 22nd birthday when I spent a week in Boston and ate nothing but lamb and beans.) The menu calls it "Stuffed Lamb" and it's 30 YTL. That's $24.25 US dollars. Gulp

It doesn't look so appealing, maybe, but it was good. Not what I expected, and certainly not a value meal, but good. Of course, I'm sure the surroundings had everything to do with it. I mean, nearly anything would taste Ina Garten-good in a palace by the sea on a beautiful Saturday, right?

It's my latest working theory anyway. Although maybe I should hit one other palace before I head home, just to be double sure. And I am headed home this week. I'll try to slip you some pictures of the actual palace sometime before I do....


Rox said...

Again.. I keep saying this... But, That was so Awe-some. Again. Something I will never do..But now? I have done it. Thanks to you : )
Vacation on girl... And tell us all about now : )


amanda said...

How truly divine! Did you feel like a princess?

An amazing addition to your adventure!


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Beautiful surroundings...I'm sure that you're soaking it up. The lamb dish does look good, not sure if it was nearly $25 good, but one has to toss in the cost of atmosphere, too, and that might be priceless.

Sissy said...

So pretty! And Diet Coke, what a find!

Kat @ The Burb Blog said...

Love it! That might actually be a value meal price at a palace!

Minnesota Kathi said...'re coming home? Just when I'm really enjoying you being over seas, are you sure you're ready to come America? Sigh, it seems so romantic, historical, adventurous there...of course you're coming home! There's no place like home is there? I love to travel, if I had endless supplies of $$$ I would travel but I would still remember, there's no place like home :).

Enjoy the rest of your stay, what a wonderful time you've had! Thank you so much for sharing.

Kathi :)

Have you had diet coke in Minnesota yet? :)

betty r said...

A luncheon in a palace, yes girl you are so lucky. A lot of memories being stored for showing us later I hope?

Sue Neitzel said...

Yes, what a blessed life you live! Loved catching up on your trip, safe travels home!

Jen said...

Beautiful! My daughter looked on as I read about your lunch. She says she likes your blog.
It's been such fun to get a taste of Istanbul...a perfect little dose of the exotic, romantic, and mysterious during my day of domesticity.
Thanks, Brin!

His Doorkeeper said...

I'll never forget my first trip to Nicaragua and there it was: Diet Coke (only known as Cola Light)

And then, last year on a trip to Romania and Hungary: Cola Light!

It did make me feel better that almost anywhere in the world I could still get my beloved Diet Coke!

Life According to Me! said...

Gorgeous place! I'm so happy I am able to see these beautiful places through your blog. Thanks for sharing this incredible experience with all of us back home in the US. Have a safe trip home!

Jenny said...

Thank you for the wonderful experience to share through you. How inspirational!

My 7 year old daughter would love, scratch that, LOVE to see even one palace. (I think she secretly believes she's meant to live in one, lol.)