Sunday, June 5, 2011

Good Eats in Budapest

One of my favorite things about traveling...is eating. I love looking for little restaurants, food stands and outdoor markets. I enjoy reading food reviews, asking people I meet about their favorite local places. I just love everything about experiencing another city or culture's food. In Budapest we captured photo's of almost everything we ate the good things, and the bad.

Pest-Buda

A great restaurant right outside of our hotel good for lunch or dinner, or possibly a little nightcap overlooking Matthias church with live music. We initially visited on our first day in the city when we saw, "cottage cheese dumplings with rhubarb sauce." Now I love cheese and rhubarb and the addition of the word "dumpling" sold me, so Mr. C. and I headed in for a pre-dinner snack. The texture of the cottage cheese in Budapest is very different than the texture of American cottage cheese. It is almost like putting a little marscapone and cottage cheese together in a blender and the results of the mixture is called "cottage cheese." The outside of the dumpling was covered in a sugar coating which honest-to-goodness I can only describe as tasting like a Butterfingers candy bar, which if  had know earlier Mr. C. and I might have been eating the dumplings for breakfast rather than as a late afternoon snack!

Cottage Cheese Dumplings = 1 Thumbs up 
While I loved the sugary coating it was a little overpowering in the dish.

Peirrot

 This place was super tasty. Mr. C. and I originally found it when looking for a nightcap aka a nightcap other than the common city option of beer, wine or the Hungarian palinka (that stuff is strong!). Our hotel referred us to Peirrot after implying that only the really "young" party goers drink cocktails but usually leave that phase by 21 or 22 years (now just what was he implying about my age?). Either way I am happy he sent us to the restaurant because the drinks and atmosphere were great. The next day after my Kiraly bath experience, I headed back for a mojito and a cream of turnip soup while I relaxed and wrote in my travel journal. At first I was a little nervous about turnip as an ingredient, who makes cream of turnip soup? I am now a believer. It was delicious and the garnish had a little kick to it which made the soup even better, so creamy and artfully presented! If you plan on heading to the Castle district to eat dinner make sure you have a reservation for this place.

Cream of Turnip Soup = 2 Thumbs Up

The Hummus Bar

We originally found this restaurant weeks before we knew we were traveling to Hungary. I found the restaurant as a review in, "The Student's Guide to Europe 2011" and highlighted it on my kindle in case we ever traveled to Hungary. Mr. C. and I have been craving some good hummus these last few months. After learning the subway system and navigating the trams we finally found it...and were disappointed. The hummus and beans seemed a little bland, the bread a little cold and tough and the salads were overly seasoned. It almost seemed as if the strength of the flavour in the tabouli and baba ghanoush made the hummus even more lifeless. However, I do have to say that if you want some good falafel during your visit then this is the place to go it was excellent but if hummus is what you are seeking I would keep looking.

Falafel = 1 Thumbs Up, Hummus = 1 Thumbs Down

Gerbeaud

This is an impressive spot with multiple eating salons and indoor and outdoor seating, it is a Hungarian cafe staple and initially opened in 1858. Since it's opening it has served customers such as Empress Sissi, Princess Dianna, Queen Elizabeth II, Madonna, Brad Pitt, etc... I was told that the cafe should not be missed and that the best thing to order was a slice of the Dobos torte. A Hungarian creation it was one of the first cakes to ever use buttercream. The torte as a dense sponge cake structure with 5 layers of chocolate buttercream and a final layer of crunchy caramel on top. Super chocolaty! The cafe is a little expensive so if you want to experience it and save your cash go before 11:30 a.m. because there breakfast prices are very reasonable. If you only want to try the dobos go inside and get your slice at the cafe counter. Not only will they wrap it up beautifully with a blue ribbon but for each slice of the various Gerbeaud desserts you order, they take an additional 10% off up to 50% total... so go crazy! We did with a nice package of three slices for the trip home.

Dobos Cake = 1 Thumbs Up 
(Can you believe it's not two thumbs up? bu there was just sooo much chocolate)

Budapest Grand Market Hall 


Imagine...a deep fried piece of dough bigger than your dinner plate covered with sour cream, shredded cheese, spicy sausage, tomatos, olives, feta cheese, hot peppers, red onions and more! The Hungarian's call this dish Langos, can we say heart attack on a plate? The topping's were great but about the time I took the 3rd bite I was done. Unfortunately Mr. C. was not with me so I had to throw the rest away... I saw another American near me trying to eat one covered in Nutella... they are very hard to eat and I was thankful I was not eating the Nutella option, it was everywhere! Besides the langos, the Grand Market Hall was full of fresh food, cooked food and various liquors. It is frequented by a lot of tourists but should definitely not be missed while in the city.

The house special Langos = Neutral
That was just a little too much fried dough, not bad but not the best either!

Kürtőskalács

 

This is not a restaurant, but a coned shaped pastry that you can find all over the city in various stands. It.is.delicious. The dough is wrapped around a cone and cooked, afterward it is coated in a sticky mixture and covered with almost any type of coating you would like. Cinnamon, cocoa, vanilla, sprinkles, nuts and the list continues. Make sure you grab one while you walk around the city and enjoy pulling off each wonderful piece.

Kürtőskalács = Wait, I have to go grab Mr. C. for 4 Thumbs Up! 

My last tip on eating in Hungary? Eat breakfast at your hotel and then catch a quick cheap meal from a food stand while sight-seeing and spring the big bucks for a really nice dinner that has been recommended by a trusted source. We ate a lot of forgettable, overpriced food while visiting simply because of the neighborhoods we were in. Pick your restaurant wisely so as not to go hungry in Hungary (I just could not resist).

Here's wishing you good eats wherever in the world you are today!

Want to try one of these dishes but are not planning a trip to Hungary soon? Why not try making the Dobos torte at home? Check out the recipe here.


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