February 1, 2014

The Tastes of Hungary

One of the main things that we did in Budapest was eat, and we enjoyed almost every bite!  We experienced quite a range of restaurants, from a modern fast casual one to a romantic candlelit dinner with plate cloches.  

For lunch the first day we found an interesting building on steamy water (we were very near to the thermal bath, so safe to assume that this waster was fed by the same thermal springs).  The building was surrounded by ducks, and you had to walk across a small bridge to get inside.  This restaurant was fairly empty due to it being very low season travel time.  Our food came and the portions were very generous and delicious! This was our fist experience with rich Hungarian food!  Even the grilled vegetables were oozing with flavor.  Don't get me wrong, this was a very nice restaurant, Arnold Schwarzenegger ate there when he visited.  I did see one freaky thing inside, scurry across the edge of the floor! A little mouse! Thankfully I was wearing boots and had finished eating.  The restaurant was called Robinson and its location makes it perfect for before or after the thermal bath!  We went shopping afterwards, grabbed some coffee and tried some beautiful cakes! 

The steaming water and ducks!

Gluten-Free Almond Cake

                                                           Walnut Cream Cake

Later that evening we were so hungry in Hungary.  We walked out of our hotel and made our way into the first bistro we found, Pest-Buda which was very creatively decorated in reds and whites.  Once again we had almost the whole place to ourselves.  My friend Kirsten had read to try the traditional Hungarian 'beef goulash with egg barley'. I, stuck in my rut, ordered the 'whole trout with green salads'.  While I was enjoying every bite of mine, Kirsten was attempting to swallow just one of hers.  Safe to say she will NEVER be ordering goulash again, anywhere, ever.  Kudos to her for trying the recommended dish!  Sometimes I get thinking that I should be more adventurous in my foreign menu selection, but then I remember that I prefer to enjoy eating my meals.  


My trout

The next morning we started the day early with one of the best lattes I have ever had, or maybe it was just early and much needed.  We were up early to get to our walking tour we had booked for that morning/early afternoon.  After the tour we shopped for so many hours and then realized we were in Hungary.. I mean very hungry.  Out of no where we found a modern fast-casual health oriented restaurant called Fruccola, I seriously just got butterflies in my stomach thinking about it.  What I would do for a place like that near where I live (Sweden or Minnesota), it is basically a menu of what I cook daily.  I had a delightful salmon filet atop fresh vegetables.  Kirsten had grilled chicken with grilled gomolya and vegetables.  She was kind enough to share the gomolya cheese, melt in your mouth delicious! If we had been in Budapest another day, we would have been back.  We also had our third latte of the day here... jitters... typical girls trip! 

For our last dinner we wanted something memorable, beautiful, and scrumptious.  What we found was all of the above, plus: romantic, historic, stunning views, close to our hotel, savory, and perfect!  We happened to walk by Halaszbastya Restaraunt on our way to our hotel, actually it was located in the castle connected to our hotel!  We made reservations for late in the evening and were brought to our table in our own alcove, overlooking the Danube and the Chain Bridge and Parliament.  The high ceilings had dimly lit crystal chandeliers and extensive arches, our tables were lit by a single candlestick.  It felt like the most romantic date, the only thing that was missing was Sam.  Just kidding, Kirsten was great company, and we had a fabulous meal.  They had live a live string quartet that set just the right tone for the meal.  The menu was impossibly hard to make a decision off of, for both of us!  We ended up splitting the 'Salad of broiled goat cheese with caramelized apples and citrus dressing', we may be partial to the tangy taste of goat cheese, but we both thought it was phenomenal!  The salad made us excitedly anticipate what was coming next, the anticipation grew until our waiter lifted the shiny silver plate cloches and reveled our choices. For my main course I had the 'Crispy-skinned salmon with spinach pearl-barley risotto and crunchy algae'  it was inspiring.  By inspiring, I mean I really wish my risotto would taste like that when I make it at home.  Kirsten had the 'Chicken supreme with lemon-corn coriander gravy and layered jerusalem artichokes,' she liked it much more that the goulash from the previous evening.  Anyone going to Budapest must go here, it will not disappoint!! 

The main dining room! 

Walkway to the restaurant with views of the whole city!

Budapest has whole-flavored, rich, affordable food.  I am very pleased with every restaurant choice we made and wouldn't change a thing! 

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