Taking a walk around the streets of “Ol Constan” in search of Turkish culinary delight (Turkish Delight is not particularly delightful, in my opinion)
“Hello out there, we’re on the air, it’s hockey night tonight:” writing this evening from Budapest, where we arrived yesterday afternoon. Since my last post from Vienna, we have traveled a few hundred kilometers in pleasant weather (highs in the upper 50s, nightly lows in the low 40s Id guess).
The sounds of languages around us have grown more foreign as we danced down the Hungarian / Slovakian border, though we have had little trouble communicating our simplest needs: drinking water, grocery stores, and lastly, “pizza and two beers.”
We visited a the ruins of a Roman fort, had a visit of the “Rome” of Hungary, Esztergom, ate well in Vienna, and my most adoring fans might be shocked to learn I got a haircut and straight edge shave. Here in Budapest, the Danube weaves majestically through the handsome city, as opposed to Vienna, which treats the Duna as an afterthought or a flooding inconvenience.
In Wien we treated ourselves to a bit of Viennese culture, food, and design, at the Österreicher im MAK. Architects Eichinger oder Knechtl created a large scale Viennese “gasthaus,” or tavern/inn. With a chandelier of bottles above our heads and wildly asymmetrical walls, we found ourselves quite far from our usual pasta inhalation under headlamp lighting. The chef, Helmut Österreicher allegedly established Vienna’s Steirereck restaurant to 3-Michelin star fame, designed a menu with traditional Viennese cuisine as well as an opposing page of modern Viennese. Id read much about the Austrian white wines, so the joint’s exclusively Austrian wine list played a great answer to all my questions. Winner of the night: Grüner Veltliner Weinviertel, Hofbauer Schmidt (not sure if thats the style, vineyard, or bottle, but I just wrote that down).
After Bratislava, we passed a dam that had an art museum, bootgasse, bootschleuse, and fully functional whitewater slalom course, which recently held a world championships of some kind. The course was closed, but not sure we would’ve survived this thing without a hole in our boat! Sights and sounds of Budapest have been amazing, as it certainly marks my favorite city of the trip thus far. Despite a national holiday today, we managed quite well.
From here onwards, we drift downstream into much different expectations. Our next major city will be Belgrade in about 10 days, but we’re preparing to get off the grid. Slightly out of place in Hungary without black leather jackets, Zand and I will be bringing the boat into some wild territories…hopefully with good stories to report of wild dogs, Dracula, and gypsy weddings…
Departing for this trip, I envisioned myself eating tasty french food every night. Although we have had our fair share of delicacies, wemost often fill our bellies with baguettes, croissants, brie and camembert, nutella, and pasta. Nevertheless, I wanted to add some content to the Food & Drink section of the blog.
Today I feature a Zand Martin creation: chocolate chip cookie, brie, & nutella sandwich. As we are in perhaps the world’s culinary Mecca, a tribute to the local cuisine was certainly overdue. Watch out for the Zandwich on tasting menus at your finest local French bistros.
Next, Id like to feature one of Besançon‘s local kebab house’s specialties that is named the “Americain.” Two cheeseburgers, french fries, hot sauce, mayo, mustard. The shopkeeper assured us this is the finest sandwich in town…and we have no choice but to believe him…