As I was walking home yesterday through Beşiktaş, I managed to summon enough will power to get through most of the neighborhood without breaking down and buying a pastry. For those of you who haven’t been there, this is no easy feat. The zone is positively bursting with pastry shops peddling their gooey syrup soaked wares in large window displays designed, it seems, to tempt me and me alone. I was almost out of the woods when I reached Cake House at the bottom of the hill near my house. “I like cake,” I thought to myself, as I stood helpless in front of the shop.

After 3 weeks in Istanbul, I still cannot form a coherent sentence in Turkish, nor have I pronounced a single word correctly, but this is no obstacle for me. When it comes to eating, I can navigate a menu fairly well and always manage to order what I want. Today, it was a plum tarte tartin. I chose it mostly because the Turkish word for plum is erik and that is adorable. The tart was quite good and gave me the necessary fuel for climbing the 140 steps up to my place from Cake House.