Archive for September, 2006

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So Hungry

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Budapest 1471.jpgWe have been making gluttons of ourselves with the Hungarian repasts. On the night of our arrival, the fellow working the reception desk at our pension recommended a place that makes good Hungarian food for a reasonable price and is within walking distance: the only three criteria we had for our supper. (Actually, we would’ve broken down and eaten almost anything at that point – even KFC! – as we were starving and tired and much too sober.)

The recommended place, Thokoy Etterem, was fantastic. We don’t have pictures of the goulash and cabbage rolls but imagine both served under generous portions of sour cream and you can imagine how pleased we were with the meal (dodged that KFC bullet). Also, a trio of musicians played traditional Hungarian music as we ate, until the fiddler noticed that I was listening and then came over to our table to serenade us with old Beatles tunes. Budapest 199.jpg

Budapest 035.jpgThe following morning, we headed straight for a coffee house recommended by our guidebook as “a classic”. Apparently, idealist types in the nineteenth century used to meet to discuss politics in the coffee houses of Budapest and, often, a revolutionary movement would be named after the coffee house in which the principle discussions were held. We went to Gerbaud’s to have sachertorte, fruit torte and bitter, little coffees. (I don’t know of any ‘Gerbaud’ movement…)

Budapest 0811.jpgShortly thereafter, we met with The Largest Meals We Have Ever Been Served at a pub on the Pest side of the Danube that we entered just moments before it started pouring rain. Because pub food tastes better when it is cold outside, we each ordered a heavy meal: smoked-meat-stuffed schnitzel for me; liver-stuffed schnitzel for Marc. Add a couple pounds of potatoes and a half kilo of rice to the table, plus two cups of cabbage salad and a liter of beer, and we have our lunch.

Plus a digestif of Unicum, a black, spicy, Hungarian liquor which started being produced again in the country in 1989.On top of all the food in my belly, it was potent enough to take my breath away and lovely enough to think about ordering a second.

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Fromage Dans La France

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006

We were exceedingly lucky to have met some new friends in Siberia: Sophie and Fabrice Page. At the time, they were generous enough to offer to let us stay a few nights with them in Paris when we arrived. We happily took them up on the offer because we are, in point of fact, generally friendless and always happy to gain some local know-how.

The Pages live in Bazemont, a small village West of Paris, so we were able to visit a small market, eat fresh croissants and bread from the village bakery (thanks to Sophie’s early morning run) and taste vegetables fresh from the garden for lunch, along with BBQ ribs. IMG_5006.JPG One major highlight was the six different kinds of cheese they had procured in anticipation of our visit. (My reputation as a cheese fiend preceeds me.) We tasted Roquefort, Comte, Camembert, chevre, Roucoulou, and blue. And if that decadence wasn’t enough, we also comandeered the kitchen to make Marc’s favourtie dessert: Lemon Cakes with Lemon Basil Syrup.

The first night we arrived in Paris, Fabrice arranged to take us to a classic, old, French brasserie on the left bank where we ate duck, lamb, roasted chicken, cheseses and desserts; not to mention the wine, which was exceptional.

IMG_5123.JPGSophie and Fabrice also introduced us to gallettes, which one takes with cider, and crepes with chocolate and peach jam. And, as a piece de resistance, they drove us up to the North coast in their Audi TT where we ate a tasty seafood lunch and strolled the beaches of Normandy. We were close to Juno beach, where the Canadians landed in 1944. And in Cabourg, we learned what a “Monaco” drink is: half lemonade, half beer, splash of grenadine. See below.

When we set off on our own in Paris, the first thing we did was indulge in a bed-picnic of bread and cheese.


There have been Eiffel Tower picnics since then- we just don’t have pictures of them.