Friday, September 11, 2009

Hello Friday.

Sometimes I love not having to go into the office on Fridays. Especially when I may have consumed one too many of these at happy hour last night:
And there may have also been a
shot of Jameson. Oops. Whatever, it was a celebratory evening with old friends! :)

After a crazy day at work, we all met up at Elephant & Castle for a few drinks. Since our kitchen is pretty empty, Jamie and I decided on getting a little
snack for dinner. Me being a big chicken tender fan (I could go on for hours about what makes a perfect chicken tender in my book and all the bad ones I've come across, but I'll spare you the details), I immediately zoned in on the Chicken Picks - beer battered chicken strips with a mustard dipping sauce. Obviously I missed the beer battered part because I was really confused when the basket showed up at the table. I can't say I'm really into beer battered chicken. It was crispy, but I really didn't like the slimy texture between the chicken and the fried part...I think that only works with fish. Bleh. It was served with homemade potato chips instead of fries so I was a little bummed. Though, the chips came in handy as the drinks kept flowing throughout the evening :p

Phew, that was an exhausting paragraph to write. :\ Back to Hungary recaps!

On Saturday we braved the metro to get to Budapest's Central Market Hall. The metro was surprisingly easy to navigate and we can now say we've ridden on the oldest metro (well, in Eastern Europe).
What else did we learn while riding the metro? The escalators move at rapid speed! People were zooming up and down these things and I almost fell getting on and off! HA.

Once we arrived at Central Market Hall, I was totally overwhelmed. It was like Eastern Market on steroids with some cheesy souvenir shops thrown in.
The second level was devoted entirely to souvenir shops with a smattering of snack stands (where people were enjoying savory pizza looking things and large beers at 10am). We didn't sample any of the food since we were full from our free breakfast, but it looked fantastic - had me wishing we didn't eat breakfast!

After the market we wandered across the Danube into the Buda side to check out Buda Castle, some museums and the spectacular views.
While we were walking the Buda Castle grounds, we smelled something yummy and sweet. What was it?
Kürtőskalács - a Hungarian pastry made by wrapping a yeast dough around a wooden cylinder, baked and rolled in a flavored sugar. The sign said 'Hungarian Funnel Cake' but I think this is WAY better than any funnel cake. It was perfectly crisp on the outside and the inside was soft and fluffy. We got a vanilla one, but I think vanilla meant regular sugar haha. It was like eating an Auntie Anne's pretzel minus any greasiness. LOVE this treat!

And while we're on food...time for a recap of my second favorite restaurant in Budapest!

Jamie originally flagged Hanna's Kosher Kitchen for our Saturday night meal, but it was closed so we ended up stopping into this random restaurant on the next corner called Koleves Vendeglo. It looks more like a fun cafe than a restaurant so I wasn't quite sure what to expect on the menu. I was pleasantly surprised to see they offered a TON of options, all of which sounded delicious!

We started off with a Veal Pate appetizer. It was really good, but definitely harder than I thought it would be. Also, it looked a little like it was dumped out from a can...which is fine with me since it tasted like delicious ;p
There was a sweet apricot-y jam of some sort on the side and it went well with the savory pate and bread. Not really sure what the lettuce was for. haha.

I saw so many meaty main dishes I wanted to try, but decided on the Hungarian Ratatouille with Egg. What can I say, I was craving some veggies!
I didn't realize my ratatouille was only going to be tomato and onion, but it was a comforting and filling dish. After my first bite, I was reminded of this omelet my gramma used to make with tomatoes, onions and garlic. This dish was comfort in a bowl for me!

Jamie ended up with the Hunting Beef Stew, which wasn't a stew at all. Apparently Hunting Beef Stew is the English translation of the sauce's name.
It was a few slices of tender beef doused in a creamy, savory sauce served with bread dumplings. You'd think the sauce would taste like mustard or be tangy based on the color, but no...not even close. The bread dumplings were delicious but really really dense - they reminded me of stuffing in ball form.

I think I loved the laid back atmosphere of this restaurant more than anything else. I wish we had a place like this in DC, except if we did it would probably turn into the next trendy place crammed with people. Boo.
Don't mind the heads in this picture. I really wanted to get a shot of the fun light fixtures. I looked up and noticed that there were wine glasses hanging from the ceiling in clusters! Very cool. That guy behind Jamie was the one who informed us that we were sitting in a restaurant that was included in a New York Times article talking about the best places to eat in Budapest.

Ok, time to run errands in the rain! Hope the weather is better where you guys are!


Sophia said...

AH! So many good food, you lucky girl!
Don't you drool and get nostalgic while relieving those moments?

Anonymous said...

Koleves sounds like comfort food cafe. Your bowl sounds wonderful. How cute about the hanging wine glasses!

We Are Not Martha said...

All of that food looks amazing!! I LOVE taking pics of my food on vacations :)