Having seen so many pictures posted as of late by those back in the States frolicking at the beach or barbecuing with their families, I wanted to take a moment to truly admire the summer noms that are absent from my life here in Serbia for one reason or another. First corn on the cob…it’s available but sadly just not the same, really nothing says summer to me like corn on the cob. Secondly all things sea food, lobster, fried clams…I would probably even eat a steamer or two at this point. Lobster is like a New England right of passage yet virtually non existent here. Having grown up on the East Coast, living in a land locked country certainly has it’s disadvantages.
It’s not that we don’t have seafood available, it just comes at a price. We do however have girice, a small lightly breaded, deep fried fish that you can buy neatly packaged by the gram along the river and snack on (head, eyes, bones and all). Girice was something I NEVER thought I’d enjoy but it’s truly delicious. It’s also super cheap!
It might look unappetizing on your end but come to the Balkans and put your money where your nom is!
It was a sad day when Branko left but we knew that we would be seeing him for one more evening a few weeks from that point because of his stop over in Belgrade en route back to the United Arab Emirates. The rest of the family had went on to the village for a few days and thus Milan and I were once again left with time on our hands which we planned on using to watch my new favorite sport, basketball.
I grew up watching hockey, being a hockey fan, waking up at five in the morning to watch my brother play hockey, hockey hockey, hockey. Yet since moving to Belgrade (and having already had some interest in the Celtics) I have fallen in love with basketball and because the sports nature in Belgrade is more or less equally if not more crazy than Boston it’s hard not to get into it here. I have thus far only been to Red Star games (no offense to Partizan), therefore I have gotten to know their players, many of whom play for the National team of Serbia that was about to enter the qualifying rounds for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
We attended a friendly match against Greece at the end of June then a week or so later decided to go to the final deciding game against Puerto Rico (as shown above). Serbia had yet to loose a game and the undying support of Serbian fans is something out of a film. Being in the middle of it all was electrifying.
So me being the Bostonian I am… what better way to lead up to an anticipated game than pizza and beer?
Once again thanks to Instagram I had become aware of a restaurant in New Belgrade that served up deep dish style pizza as well as a variety of other pies including “black delight” a completely charred crust which for some reason people go ga-ga for. It’s very rare to find thick crust pizza in the greater Belgrade area so I was already salivating. The name of this unicorn is appropriately called Pizza Bar and again I felt somehow transported back to the coast for just one evening.
Pizza Bar’s slogan “Your happy place” is certainly fitting not only because of their heavenly food but because of their bright and relaxing environment. With a colorful outdoor terrace and rustic wooden interior, Pizza Bar has plenty of room if you are looking to pregame with friends or hide away in a cozy corner to chat. Milan and I found a quiet spot in the back, ordered cold beers and began to peruse the menu.
Their basic menu is actually full of variety. Between pasta, pizza and salads there is plenty to keep your stomach full in between drinks. All of their pizzas come in the option of classic thin wood fired crust or fluffy Chicago style, as well as small (a bit larger than a personal pie) or large which would be enough for two or three people. We both agreed to get two small pizzas with different toppings in each crust style.
Get yourself a tissue, you might just drool on yourself.
My “Fiorentina” came in Chicago style, a delectable combination of cheese, panceta, sun dried tomatoes, basil and spinach pesto. The incredibly fluffy, buttery, crispy crust was like a pillow for my taste buds. I’m in love with pesto pizza and Pizza Bar’s spinach pesto did not disappoint. The flavor combination was absolutely nom. Milan’s “Mediteran” included cheese, ham, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and huge chunks of feta. We split them both in half so when I moved on to the thin crust I was conflicted as to which one I liked better…then I realized this wasn’t a test… I could choose both!
Let’s not forget about the beer. Weiss Beer, how I adore thee. Pizza Bar actually has Budweiser on tap but much to Milan’s disappointment tasted more like the American version than the Czech one he was hoping for. Stick with a classic, Erdinger all the way.
For Belgrade standards the cost of the meal (two pizzas plus four beers) was reasonable but the more important part was that we left feeling happily full and loosened up for the game. You must remember that they don’t sell alcohol inside any sporting event in Serbia so you must take full advantage of time before hand and get your beer on (responsibly of course). Because of the close proximity to Kombank Arena, Pizza Bar is a great place to do just that as well as grub on some of the tastiest pizza in Belgrade.
Serbia dominated the game in case you were wondering. Thirty points ahead the entire game. Boom. See you in August Rio!
A few days later, the family had reunited and we decided to go to Ada Cigalnija for bike riding and outdoor relaxation. During the summer months as I had mentioned in ‘Weekend bites in BG‘ Ada is packed to the brim with people sunbathing, swimming, biking, roller blading, drinking and nomming. This time I opted out of biking but walked the 4km route along the inlet. Normally I go during the week which is much less congested but despite the crowds it is still a great place to enjoy nice weather.
I met up with everyone after my walk at cafe Havana near the water on the left side of Ada. Wedged in between Havana and Shine though is a small “ice cream” stand that has recently been taking the world by storm : ice cream rolls.
If you haven’t seen or heard about this fascinating version of a favorite summer treat, ice cream rolls originated in Thailand and are actually referred to as “stir-fried ice cream”. The construction is basic: cold milk or cream is poured over a round below freezing slab then ‘chopped’ together with desired ingredients, flattened then curled into small rolls and placed vertically into a cup then nommed by the masses.
Špaklica on Ada is the first of it’s kind here in Belgrade. Their name comes from the putty knife (or spackle) they use to make the ice cream rolls, commonly found in any garage or home appliance store. Their location by the bank at Ada is perfect because of the amount of pedestrians, mostly lured in by the fascinating procedure. Take a look for yourself!
Their flat rate is 260 dinars (2.40 USD) and though it might seem hollow, the rolls fill up a decent sized cup and satisfy just as much as any standard scoops. Unfortunately because it was the end of the day their options for toppings were limited but luckily they still had Nutella, banana, plazma and orange so the outcome was a delicious Jafa like dessert. Milan described the ice cream roll experience like ‘eating a crepe in ice cream form’. Needless to say it was extremely delicious and I would return to Špaklica for this special treat any day.
Dreamy, creamy, ice cream roll perfection. Ahnom.
Now if you weren’t convinced by this Thai style dessert, then I still have something else in the ice cream department up my sleeve…but you’ll have to wait until nomandnommer’s next post. I will let you in on a hint though…if you’ve ever felt like the odd one out in the crowd, or just plain out of the ordinary then you’ll love this upcoming nom!
Look I’ve even made another friend. Who said being the odd one out was a bad thing?
See you soon fellow nommers!