Thursday, September 10, 2009

Are you hooongggry for some Hungary?

Lame title, I know. Sh. :p

Go figure. The day I linger in the apartment before work to blog is also the day Blogger isn't blocked at work. HA! Lucky get two posts ;p

Until I figure out another way to post pictures on here without hogging up my Blogger image storage space, I'm going to stick with smallish photos. Bummer since I want to share all of gorgeous Budapest. Gah.

Since I've been writing a lot about running lately, I thought it was about time I focused my attention to my first love - FOOD. Oh, how I've neglected it so! The food options in Budapest were delicious - meat lover heaven ;) Definitely a little heavier than I'm used to so after our first dinner, we decided we would rock the free breakfast at the hotel (awesome spread), do a super light lunch/snack midday followed by more walking around and then dinner. A LOT of food was consumed.

We did some research (book and friends) beforehand and flagged a few restaurants we wanted to try. One of them was Feszek, a restaurant serving Contemporary Hungarian cuisine we read about in Frommer's. Here's the Frommer's review from the website. Slightly different than the book, but it's close enough:

We walked past this restaurant dozens of times, before realizing it was a dining place. Fészek, which means nest is situated in the center of an old grand building that has seen better days. The building's exterior entry courtyard displays photos of famous Hungarian entertainers; this historic building has been popular with artists of all types for the last century. Once you traipse through a rundown lobby and enter the interior courtyard do you realize there is a restaurant here. The inner ring has tables both in a covered circular terrace area as well as the center exposed courtyard, where 100-year-old chestnut trees canopy the tables. Meals are plentiful in the Hungarian tradition. The corn soup is excellent with a thin layer of toasted cheese covering the top. The veal paprika is creamy and delicious served with homemade Hungarian cheese noodles. In the winter, portable heaters are used to make the dining experience a year-round dining adventure. Because of the quality and quantity, it is often filled with Hungarian diners, so be sure to reserve a table.

After a long nap we decided to check this place out for our very first dinner in Budapest - brilliant idea! Since our hotel (more on the fantastic accommodations later) was centrally located, we decided to work up an appetite by strolling up the schnazzy Andrassy Utca to Heroes' Square (see this morning's post for a pic) and City Park.

We began our quest for Feszek pretty confident in our directional skills, but found ourselves slightly confused once we got to the intersection where the restaurant should have been. We walked up and down the street trying to find it and were totally stumped. I was ready to throw in the towel since the last time this happened, we were in China and at least 2 of the restaurants we really wanted to go to had closed. Boo.

It's a good thing Jamie's persistent. We were staring at the restaurant and we didn't even know it. Right on the corner of the intersection was a very statuesque, marble (?) building that looked like it should either be a museum or official building of some sort. We were greeted by a lobby attendant that saw our lost looks and simply said 'restaurant?', we nodded and he pointed us in the right direction.
Gorgeous! It was a perfect evening...great weather, surprisingly quiet and just enough light that they didn't need to turn the (street)lights on!

We started off with an appetizer of assorted salamis, tomatoes, cucumbers, duck bites (still not sure what they were exactly but they were fried and yummy) and a pan fried goose liver. Also served on this plate were CHUNKS OF BUTTER. I thought it was cheese so I took a chunk. Good thing Jamie tested it out first...I promptly returned that chunk thankyouverymuch. GROSS!
Jamie went with, what might be my favorite dish of the ENTIRE TRIP - Veal Paprikas with Cheese Noodles (oh, as described in the review above, but not in the book). AMAZING. I don't even know how to describe the flavor of this dish. It was so savory and not too salty. It had a deep meaty flavor and I could definitely taste the paprika.*

I decided to try what the book recommended - Potato Gnocchi with Ewe Cheese. Massive. It was yummy, but I wish I had Jamie's Paprikas sauce on it :\

I loved this place for so many reasons! The atmosphere, the Veal Paprikas, the happy waiter, the random Playskool playset set up in the corner, and it was pretty reasonably priced. We got all that food (which we weren't even able to finish), plus 3 large beers and waters for about $50. Not bad!

I definitely recommend dining here should you find yourself in Budapest ;)

I'll introduce you to my second favorite restaurant tomorrow...we stumbled into it when our first choice was closed and found out it was written up a bunch of times in the NY Times!

*I know I'm weird, but I've never really noticed what paprika tastes like. Obviously I'm not using enough or using a bobo brand.


Kelly said...

Wow that food looks delicious and so different!

I just gave you an award on my blog!

Paige@ Running Around Normal said...

Wow what a cool restaurant! I love the architecture. i've never had hungarian food, but it looks awesome!

J said...

Thanks for the great food pics! Just added you to our blog roll. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Would def try that restaurant if I ever find myself in Hungary. ;) But the butter?! Yikes!
Can't wait to read more about the trip.