Monday, February 7, 2011

After just a few minutes outside reading and studying my Turkish, bird droppings landed on our table.

About 10 minutes later, a giant splotch of red bird poop plopped right in the middle of Jason’s book that he was reading. Not to mention, a young couple were basically making out nearby.

Forget this! We scrambled back inside Starbucks to find a seat and enjoy our Sunday afternoon. The Starbucks located in the “luxurious” neighborhood of Bebek in  Istanbul has a wonderful view of the Bosphorus. For the price of a café latte, you can sit seaside all day if you so desire. 
This is the view from the second floor of Starbucks in Bebek.
That was our plan until the damned birds came along.

Yesterday, the weather warmed up to 50 F here. The sun was shining brilliantly. Jason tortured me with a run through our neighborhood in the morning. In the afternoon, we headed to Bebek for brunch and to spend time relaxing and studying.

I probably ruined the efforts of our run by ordering eggs Benedict for brunch at Happily Ever After. But hey, it’s not very often I get to eat real bacon. I couldn’t turn down that menu item!
Jason fared a bit better with sautéed mushrooms and fresh tomatoes with his eggs, potatoes and bacon. The restaurant is a cute place - super crowded – but it has a great outside seating area.
After our brunch and coffee, we stopped by the newly opened Laduree along the main street in Bebek. Back in September, I saw the sign that proclaimed “Laduree coming soon.” I’ve been waiting patiently to try these macarons again!
The storefront of  Laduree in Istanbul is decorated for Valentine's Day.
Laduree is a famous Paris-based patisserie with a long history. In 1862, the patisserie opened as a boulangerie (bakery) and later became a pastry shop and tea salon in 1871 when a fired forced founder Ernest Laduree to rebuild. As a professional pastry chef, I had dreamed about this place. In May 2009, my wish was finally granted with my first trip to Paris where Jason proposed. I specifically chose our hotel based on its proximity to a Laduree store.
May 2009 - Here I am in Paris.
Inside Bebek’s tiny Laduree, there are rows and rows of pastel and brightly colored macarons. Each macaron is priced at 3.45 lira or about $2.20 USD. I chose six flavors – Chocolat, Framboise, Cassis Violette, Citron, Chocolat and Caramel Beurre Sale’ – to sample. (The store does not allow photos to be taken inside.)

The French macaron is a light, elegant, slightly crispy and chewy confection. The two "cookies" usually are sandwiched together with buttercream, ganache or jellies/jams. I used to bake hundreds of macarons and serve them as one of my petit fours in the restaurant. In Istanbul, many of the Turkish pastaneler (pastry shops) such as Baylan, which is also located in Bebek, bake decent macarons.

Rows of macarons available at Baylan
But, in my opinion, nothing still compares to the delicate French macaron.

At home, I bit into the rosy framboise macaroon. I have to admit I was slightly disappointed. The macaron didn’t taste as fresh as I thought it should be. Something just seemed a bit off.

Next time I’m craving a bit of Paris I’ll give our local Laduree another chance. But hopefully someday, we’ll return to Paris to savor the true French macarons.

August 2013 UPDATE: The Bebek location of Laduree has closed, but you can find a new branch in Nişantaşı at Abdi Ipekçi Cad. No: 5/1.

Afiyet Olsun!
My Traveling Joys

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Sheryl Sparks said...

I love going to Bebek -- I am always looking for a opportunity to walk down. We will miss you Thursday!

Julia said...

We've never ventured to Bebek yet - probably because we keep hearing about all these upmarket places! Not good for our budget. :) Hope your Laduree shop improves for you. I hate being disappointed by something when I've looked forward to it for so long.

Unknown said...

Try it again: Turks are absolutely brilliant at copying anything and I bet they get it right in the end! I love Bebek - have you tried la Mangerie? pricey but worth it in my opinion.

Alacarkin said...

Off the subject here. Is this the Joy I knew in Lincoln, NE???

Joy said...

Hi all,

Bebek is a great visit for a day. Yes, I agree overall it's a bit pricey, but you can make it work.

I have not been to La Mangerie yet, but will add it to my list of things to do next month. =-)

Hi Alacarkin....hmmm...interesting. I did live in Lincoln and attended UNL. Do we know each other?

Alacarkin said...

It's a small world! Unbelievable how I ran into this blog. Email me ( and I can jar your memory.