Why hello there! Long time no nom! These past weeks have been extremely busy on my end, applying for my visiting visa, running around at “work” and oberving / teaching classes. Please accept my apologies for not posting sooner but sometimes even though my stomach does not take a break, my mind certainly does. Luckily for you all though there are a few places that I can’t wait to show you!! Bear with me, I might be a bit all over the place (which is why in this post I chose to date the nommings) but if I promise noms I will give you NOMS.
15th April, 2016 – Zapata Ciudad (and Moritz Eis)
As each member of the family left one by one we were left with one last night in the company of Milan’s mother and were eager to show her the spicier side of Belgrade. As I mentioned before there are multiple food cultures that influence the area today and one you will see cropping up around the city are flavors south of the boarder.
Of all the Mexican themed restaurants in and around Belgrade, Zapata Ciudad is one of the best. Their authenticity is uncomparable and their portions are equal to those you might see in the United States. When I discovered this gem for the first time I discovered that there are actually three locations to the Zapata family: the original Zapata in Dorcol, Zapata Ciudad off Knez Mihaljlova, and Zapata Rio at Hotel Jugoslavia in New Belgrade. Clearly the food here must be nom if there success was able to expand across the Danube.
The name if you already guessed refers to Emiliano Zapata, an influential leader in the Mexican Revelution, seen today as a martyr for his countrymen and coined the term ‘Zapatismo’ which roughly means that the land belongs to those who work it, something far superior to those who capitalize on it. Other than that he had a pretty bad ass mustache and in some way provided me with the noms I am about to tell you about.
Zapata Ciudad is tucked away on Vuka Karadžića off of Knez with an outdoor and indoor seating area. From inside the warm ambiance immediately summons you to order something tropical and their Trader Joes like drink pamplet will grant your tequila kissed wishes. I always feel better after a juicy strawberry Margharita, don’t you?
As I unwound it took me no time to decide what I was going to be ordering because there had been one thing and one thing only that I had been dreaming about all week: hot, sizzling fajitas. The fajitas at Zapata Ciudad are to die for, seriously. My first visit I was amazed at the ‘food elevator’ that transported this steaming dish from the kitchen directly to my mouth. Milan laughed at me of course. You can choose between chicken, beef or a mix of the two, sauteed on the traditional cast iron skillet with assorted vegetables and a simple yet incredibly flavorful sauce. Wrap it all up in a cozy blanket of home made tortillas and you’re set for the night.
It would turn out however that we would share our dishes which included Ciudad’s ‘Chimichanga’ stuffed with similar contents of their fajitas but already snug in a warm tortilla with cheese, salsa, salad and frijoles. Now because I had been drinking my appetite drove me to devour all edible contents on our table (with the help of my accomplices) but at least in the end all three of us felt blissfully content and wishing we could go back in time to nom again.
Emilino Zapata, we salute you.
Despite Ciudad’s tempting list of desserts, staring at me through the window on the opposite side of the street throughout our meal was Moritz Eis. This beautifully modern ice cream parlor is the willy wonka of flavors, mixing the likes of avocado, aronia, and ginger into favorites like chocolate, vanilla and forest fruits. * They even have a copy of one of the first German books I ever read (and technically the oldest comic in history), the michevous tales of two pranksters Max & Moritz.* That night I wasn’t so adventurous because Caramel-Coffee was calling my name. The soft gelato like consistency melts in your mouth while keeping its cool exterior. In short, keep it classy people and make a date with Moritz.
True ice cream perfection.
16th April, 2016 – Serbian Softserve
In the early morning after our fiesta at Zapata, we dropped Milan’s mother off at the airport and the rising sun over the Nikola Tesla airfield showed all the signs of a beautiful upcoming day. After a few hours of catch-up sleep, banana pancakes and house cleaning, we decided to venture out (avoiding the masses of the Belgrade Marathon) and drove up to Topčider park; the charming area at the top of the hill where the new American Embassy resides as well as the magnificant tomb of Tito.
We packed a small picnic and ate in the shade of the trees, enjoying the stunning weather. The entire area surrounding Topčider is that of an ongoing park, wherever the road lies there is a small path through the forest beside it and as we followed said endless path we passed a roundabout (seen above) with metal framed giraffes covered in growing vines. Weird and out of character? Yes. But intriguing nonetheless.
As the sun increased so did our desire for something cold to nom on. Softserve stations sprout up in Belgrade like tulips and dandelions during the early spring months and last until the remaining hot days of October. Softserve in Serbia is insanely cheap. Having worked at an ice cream parlor for four years throughout highschool (the price rose 50 cents each consecutive summer up to 3USD for a tiny cone without any add-ons) Belgrade has become my haven for softserve enjoyment. I had spotted the station that day inside of a pekara (genuis right?!) and rejoiced. Not only do you get to choose a mix-in flavor but also two toppings are included in the set price. One medium cup was around 1.20 USD. Can I have a helllll NOM?
Softserve season is upon us people, go forth and nom.
23rd April, 2016 – Tel Aviv Hummus House
For the entirity of last week I had been running between my house and Sava Mala, barely eating anything more than keks and štapići because I was that preoccupied. The state of not only my stomach by my mind was in shambles. It’s really not a pretty picture when Emily is deprived of noms.
This past Saturday however, during a day long teaching seminar on the topic of ‘Human Values’ I promised myself that I would go straight to Tel Aviv Hummus House near Zeleni Venac afterwards to get my falafel fix. Can you imagine my utter disbelief when our surprise dinner came strolling through the door in the form of none other than giant falafel filled sandwiches??!! Nom fate? Nom destiny? Call it whatever you want, I was in falafel heaven.
I’m not going to lie the fist time I went to Tel Aviv H.H. alone (and hungry) I ordered a standard falafel sandwich filled with all the goodies yet one thing happened to be missing…there was only a single piece of falafel to be found! That single piece of falafel though was extremely delicious which increased my disappointment but also made me more determined to return at some point to right the wrong. This one mishap would not change my instant falafel crush on Tel Aviv H.H. And now as the gods of nom would have it, I was about to have my redemption.
As I unwrapped the bulging blue wrapper and unveiled the soft pita bread, like a cloud holding the golden spheres of chickpeas, my heart almost leapt from my throat (or stomach, I’m pretty sure my heart is in my stomach). Normally when people ask me what is my favorite kind of cuisine or what is my favorite food is, my logical answer is ‘middle eastern’ and ‘falafel’ because there are so many ways it can be made and served but every time it’s phenominally delicious. From the U.S. to Germany, U.A.E to Serbia, Tel Aviv’s falafel is not to be missed. It will leave you warm and fuzzy all over and above all falaFULL. With three locations in Belgrade you never have to go without it and it’s vegetarian friendly for those of you who somehow ended up lost in the meat eating world of Serbia.
24th April, 2016 – Mali Princ Poslastičarnica
Similar to the day we visited Hari’s Creperie it was storming on the day I found a little prince in the big city. Named after the famous french children’s book, Belgrade’s Mali Princ Poslastičarnica is the pefect place to escape the rain and embrace your inner child whie enjoying a decadent kolač or pastry. Mali Princ is also open until 11 in the evening (23:00) for those of you looking for a little umpf in your desserts (if you know what I mean!).
Cappuccinos on Sunday afternoons for me are a must and Mali Princ includes tasty flavor add-ins which I normally only go for in the States but the sound of a hazelnut cappuccino that day was like music to my ears. No need for additional sugar (I actually never use sugar in any coffee drinks), the nutty flavor was like a dessert all itself. With their wide range of flavor choices, next time I’m thinking salted-caramel? Yes please.
Once we ordered our drinks of choice we were able to venture out to Mali Princ’s impressive dessert case that spanned from crème brûlée to mini fruit tarlets and pies, cookies and everything chocolate covered inbetween. The first thing that caught my eye was a creamy strawberry, blueberry and lingonberry shortcake-krempita and a dreamy looking bowl of dark chocolate mousse. My tastebuds were alreadying singing sweet noms.
Tell me those don’t look incredible, I dare you!
Naturally Milan and I split both desserts. I started first with the shortcake and almost didn’t want to stop until I heard the sound of Milan’s spoon scraping against the glass cup of mousse, hinting to me that it could not be disregaurded. Both treats were so light and airy that they melted in my mouth, satisfying all of my sweet cravings without feeling like I’d eaten a whole cake (which I’ve never done I swear…).
If you like what you see, I advise you to follow Mali Princ on Instagram so that you can visually devour the rest of the sweet morsels they create in their castle. I know they have made to order cakes on both a large and small scale as well as salads, croissant sandwiches and quiches. I’m trying to come up with an excuse to have a party in the near future just so I can order a billion things from them. Too bad I don’t have a cat here in Serbia or I’d make up a cat birthday party or something…kidding, not kittening.
Phew. That actually took a lot of energy. It wasn’t that I had a lack of motivation but that I had a lack of recall when it came to revoking these noms. It isn’t until I look back at the photos that my sensory memories are fully capable of recalling just how amazing it all was. Next time you take a photo of your food and someone looks at you funny, tell them that you are enhancing your stomach’s memory bank. They will probably think that’s weird and therefore leave you alone. Problem solved!
Tomorrow we leave for the village for a few nights to celebrate Easter and Worker’s Day. I really can’t tell you exactly how much food there is going to be but to give you an idea of how many eggs there will be, I’d say >60 (per family). So I hope you like eggs!