A mother & daughter reunion: Gresham Palace, Retek and the wonders of Wien!

img_1455-1

Guten Tag and Jó napot my fellow nommers and happy June! Summer is already here but don’t let your swim suit ready figure get in the way of checking out these delicious noms I have for you in this post.

After not having seen my mother in person since November 2017 (can you believe that) she booked a week long trip to see my new home in Budapest, my new husband and to have plenty of new experiences – food being one of them. Apart from the sights, museums, baths and countless monuments, it was important for me to show her how well I live, or rather how well I eat here in beautiful Budapest.

img_1380

Here is our reunion at a glimpse:

**********************************************************************************

Four Season’s Gresham Palace

86204140-e871-4881-9aca-f32939fbbac0

A month before my mom arrived she had been researching things she wanted to do, see and eat in Budapest – one of them being afternoon tea at the famous Four Season’s Hotel.  *side note I saw Shaggy entering the 4seas just a few months prior before his live concert with Sting…no big deal* So being the good daughter I am, I obliged and made a reservation at the Gresham Palace within the hotel.

You all know me, I’m not the fussy type when it comes to food but this ish was FANCY.

But hey, every once in a while it’s important to treat yourself and what better occasion than when reunited with family! Because I grew up in Boston, the only tea I was exposed to was either Lipton or Arizona. I came to discover however that my Scottish grandmother always had on a pot of black tea while my mother was growing up which is likely the reason why she wanted to share this kind of experience with her own daughter.

pjimage - 2019-06-19T132853.620.jpg

The Gresham Palace has a set menu for their afternoon tea spread – a piping hot pot of tea of your own choosing (they have a wonderful selection of fine herbal, black and fruit teas), fresh scones and a three tiered tray of savory and sweet bites. My mom went with the golden standard of Earl Gray and I chose to spice things up with Masala Chai – both perfectly steeped and served in beautiful porcelain, accompanied by brown and white sugar cubes and a small pot of cold milk. Even on a mildly warm day it was heavenly.

Moving on to the spectacularly presented bites:

pjimage - 2019-06-19T133059.217

The four buttery plain and raisin scones neatly tucked into a basket could easily be eaten on their own but you’d be seriously missing out on what makes afternoon tea afternoon tea – lighter than air clotted cream, tangy lemon curd and sweet strawberry jam. There is no better match made in heaven.

Now about that three tiered wonder…

pjimage - 2019-06-19T131734.761.jpg

Do I need to go into detail with these outstanding morsels or do the photos speak for themselves?! In the case you’re truly curious, the bottom tier consisted of three savory tidbits – salmon, caper and caviar triangle, cucumber jelly and egg salad rectangles with shaved black truffle and then my favorite being the chicken pate cups with a flaky herbed crust and impeccably placed pumpkin seeds.

The second sweet tier consisted of two classic mini desserts – a sweet yet savory thyme infused financier topped with lemon Chantilly and blackberry, and the other a spongy rose cake with sweet jam and edible silver flake for added glam.

0086f852-66e8-4dbd-8555-0f28dcfc3bb1-1

And finally the third and top tier were three Hungarian inspired sweets – a pistachio and sour cherry macaroon (with adorable edible daisy and white chocolate leaf), white chocolate mousse on a buttery biscuit (with white chocolate flour detail), and a decadent chocolate raspberry tart that made you feel as rich as it tasted.

At the end of our delightful afternoon tea session we were, as lady can be, stuffed! It may not look like a lot but these small bites somehow add up, which isn’t a bad thing and neither is the price for such a lovely experience. My mother had commented that an afternoon tea like that in Boston would cost you an arm and a leg!

Therefore, if you’re looking to do something out of the ordinary in Budapest (and don’t feel like being squeezed in at some of the other high end tea rooms in the city *cough cough Cafe New York*) then make a reservation for tea at the Gresham Palace, you’ll leave feeling like a million bucks.

Retek Bisztro

Retek Bisztró - Taste of Home

I spent countless evenings looking for the perfect Hungarian restaurant, pulling my hair out to find something not only truly authentic but vegetarian friendly. I must apologize for not relaying this sooner but I am currently a sort of “flexitarian”- eating meat on  very rare occasion, an easy feat in Budapest as there are countless Vegan/Vegetarian friendly eateries (though a challenge at Hungarian restaurants because of their traditionally meat centered dishes) but I had come to the realization that other than Kürtőskalács I hadn’t actually eaten Hungarian food in the entire half a year I’ve spent here – that was until I discovered Retek.

img_20190601_194142

Retek (radish in Hungarian) is a microscopic spot in the heart of Budapest, run by four woman who are passionate about their nation’s cuisine, enough that they decided to open their seven table restaurant and serve up traditional dishes made 100 percent with love. Making a reservation is mandatory as their is limited space so make sure you do this ahead of time!

I managed to book a table for three on Saturday night and I literally squealed with luck and excitement for what was to come. The decor is what you might expect in a cozy Hungarian kitchen, checkered table clothes, red crockery and even a piano player nestled in the corner serenading the diners throughout this special culinary experience.The menu is limited and for good reason – these are the things that are long loved in the region and the things you will then fall in love with.

If you’re a lover of meat, cheese and all things savory, try the sampling platter which comes with goose liver pate – a Hungarian favorite.

61874714_421259292060433_4116265611275337222_n.jpg

If you aren’t sure what to try then the Retek three course option is the way to go – consisting of a ginormous bowl of meaty Hungarian Goulash paired with chunks of fresh bread, a choice of either stuffed cabbage rolls or crispy duck leg for the main, and to top it all of a sharing sized portion of the famous Hungarian dessert, somlói . My mother was overwhelmed with the amount of food but it was a great way to try a lot a bit of everything.

img_1506-1

img_20190601_200954

If you’re flexitarian like me, Retek’s Mushroom paprikás is the quintessential meatless version of the country classic. FINOM. FINOM FINOM.

If you’re at all familiar with German spätzle then you’ll understand why this dish is a staple in most households. Perfectly imperfectly shaped egg pasta that is chewy in all the right ways. Coat these babies with slow cooked mushrooms soaked in delicious brown gravy made from said shrooms and of course Hungarian ground red pepper, add a dollop of tejföl (or sour cream) and a sprinkle of fresh herbs and I could eat this dish every day for every season. I almost licked the traditional red pot…almost.

img_1510

As if we couldn’t eat any more, our lovely waitress returns to our table with the aforementioned belle of Hungarians desserts, somlói galuska. Think of it like a deconstructed trifle. So far it’s one of my favorites because it takes on many delicious forms however the ingredients remain constant – airy vanilla sponge “dumplings” drizzled with chocolate sauce and completed with whipped cream and crunchy walnuts. Retek’s version was perfection on a plate. The perfect way to end a perfect evening.

img_20190601_203847

Is Retek the best place to eat traditional Hungarian food in Budapest. Yes. Is that saying a lot considering I’ve only been to a few other places? Maybe but I will stand behind my tremendously amazing Retek experience and plan on bringing anyone who comes to visit there! That goes without saying, you should too!

img_20190601_205428

Thank you Retek!

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

Wien

pjimage - 2019-06-19T184234.031

Wien (in German, Vienna in English) is the stunningly beautiful capital of Austria and a comfortable three hour bus ride from Budapest. As you all know Germany had become my home off and for years thus the chance to explore it’s neighboring cousin all the while brushing off my rusty German skills (and eating all the cultural comforts) was a no brainer.

Overflowing with rich history, artistic masterpieces and a thousand and one palaces and museums, Vienna is the quintessential culture capital of Europe in my opinion.

pjimage - 2019-06-21T111733.031.jpg

With only two days to pack in as much Austrian culture as we could, it was important to prioritize our visit. To me that meant: Schönbrunn, Belvedere (Gustav Klimt’s Kiss as pictured above), Stephansdom and of course…Sacher Torte.

Sacher Eck

Ah, the world renowned Sacher Torte. Invented by Austrian-Jewish confectioner Franz Sacher in 1832, the Sacher Torte was once a historical status symbol of Austrian royalty as it was originally created for Prince Wenzel von Metternich. Today it is enjoyed by the masses at the famous Hotel Sacher Cafe and it’s attached twin Sacher Eck (literally meaning corner) located just across the road from the State Opera House.

img_1570

At first glance Sacher Torte might appear to be your average chocolate cake but there is a secrete hidden amidst it’s dense fudgey layers – sweet apricot jam. Unlike American made cakes that are frosting focused, European desserts are notoriously simple which is why jams are often used as delicious fillers. Coated with a thin layer of dark fondant, stamped with the Sacher seal and presented alongside a burst of whipped cream, Sacher Torte is a timeless Austrian treasure that will continue to delight the world for years to come.

Second to the Sacher Torte, Sacher’s apple strudel is a must. Soft chunks of cinnamon apples and raisins are wrapped in tender dough then sprinkled with powdered sugar. What’s not to like? If you’re feeling indulgent, I do recommend ordering it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Nommm.

img_1565

Don’t forget to sip on a classic Apfelschorle – house made apple juice mixed with mineral water. It’s a German / Austrian classic and is extremely refreshing, especially after the decadent treats consumed at the cafe. If you aren’t able to get a reservation at the Hotel’s cafe, Sacher Eck is the less formal option but nevertheless you will experience phenomenal Austrian hospitality and the same quality of cakes.

Schönbrunn Palace

img_1862

After Sacher Torte, visiting Castle Schönbrunn was my main reason for traveling to Vienna. In regards to nature, there is nothing I love more in this world than expansive manicured gardens. I’ve been to multiple palaces throughout Europe (Versailles included) but nothing compares to the splendor of Schönbrunn. You could spend a  entire lifetime exploring every nook of this beautiful space and yet still be consistently amazed. And did I mention it’s open to the public for FREE?!

Landtmann’s Park Cafe

After the tour of the Palace Residence we took a leisurely stroll throughout the maze-like gardens. If the sun was shining as it was the day of our visit, its important to take multiple breaks and because the area is so large (encompassing an entire zoo) there are multiple cafes to visit along the way.

We chose to take refreshment at Landtmann’s Park Cafe which can be found at the second entrance to the Schönbrunn Zoo. An open-air terrace concept, it’s perfect take a load off and grab a drink or lunch. If you’re concerned about the cafe’s proximity to the zoo, don’t! I promise, not a single whiff of the nearby rhinos or buffalo can be detected.

pjimage - 2019-06-19T184518.063.jpg

My mom ordered an Eiscafe which if you’ve visited European countries enough usually means coffee with ice cream and whipped cream. It’s basically a self made milkshake with all the much needed caffeine. Landtmann includes a packet of Manners – Austrian made neapolitan wafers that are yet another culinary symbol of this fabulous country. Despite its overall dessert like appearance, she claimed it was the best iced coffee she’s ever had!

pjimage - 2019-06-21T123003.537.jpg

Gasthaus Pöschl

One of my side mission’s was for my mom to have a taste of Wiener schnitzel. Even if I no longer partake in the ancient art of frying up a golden piece of meat didn’t mean she had to miss out!

img_1889

It didn’t take us very long to stumble across a bright looking restaurant on one of the many side streets within the Innere Standt (inner city). Gasthaus Pöschl is a casual Viennese eatery with classics and more importantly draught beer. It felt incredible to sit down and order a few giant beers after a long day under the sun at Schönbrunn.

img_1891

As you can see, the sheer size of Gasthaus Pöschl‘s schnitzel is impressive. Adorned with a slice of lemon and served alongside a portion of kartoffelsalat (potato salad) and a basket of bread, it’s safe to say my mom walked away extremely satisfied.

Apart from the schnitzel, I ordered a salad consisting of seasonal finds including white asparagus and strawberries – a wonderfully refreshing combination – tossed together with greens and light balsamic dressing, oh and a huge round of gooey burrata cheese! God it was good.

If you happen to find yourself looking for a hearty meal or maybe even a light bite then Gasthaus Pöschl is a great choice. *Note – they are cash only so make sure you take out some bills ahead of time!*

************************************************************************************

img_20190604_211706

After this visit with my mom I realized how important our reunions are. Belgrade, London, Rome and now Budapest and Vienna – my mom is always up for an adventure! Having recently celebrated her 60th birthday, I hope that I am half as open-minded, caring and funny as she is when I reach that age.

I can’t wait to see where we end up exploring and nomming next!

With that said, I’m preparing for my next personal adventure – three weeks at a language camp at Lake Balaton! Not sure what to expect in regards to noms but I’ll be sure to report back!

Bis Dannom!

Restaurant Information:

Address: Széchenyi István tér 5, 1051 Budapest, Hungary 
Phone: +36 1 268 6000
AddressMerleg utca 10.Budapest 1051, Hungary
Address: Kärntner Str. 38, 1010 Wien, Austria
Phone: +43 1 514561053
Address: Schönbrunn Palace, Schönbrunner Schloßstraße, 1130 Wien, Austria
Phone:+43 1 24 100720
Address: Weihburggasse 17, 1010 Wien, Austria
Phone: +43 1 5135288
Advertisements

Where to nom in Budapest – first edition

slika-19

Hey everyone! Please excuse my temporary absence from the blog but I was kind of busy….GETTING MARRIED AND MOVING TO A NEW COUNTRY. Yes, it’s true. I have finally married my culinary soul mate and left the wonders of Serbia behind for a new adventure in Budapest, Hungary! Milan found new work and currently I am in the process of doing so myself, thus there has been little time to update Nomandnommer.

Thank you for your patience!

As you recall my last post (shamefully almost a year ago) was actually about our twenty four hour visit to the heart of Hungary during the time Milan had his initial interview. At that point we weren’t sure if we were moving or not but life comes at you fast. By the summer time we were applying for our residence permits and before we knew it, it was already October and we were packed up (Mooshoo cat included) and officially ready for our new life in Budapest.

51794420_415734645666327_4379178593922442239_n1.jpg

Let me tell you, the noms here are ENDLESS. So from here on out, I’ll try my best to keep you updated on the delicious morsels we are discovering on a weekly basis.

For now, I’ll highlight my top four places at the moment:

  1. Budapest Bagel – You guessed it, bagels in Budapest
  2. Mazel Tov – The most talked about Israeli inspired food in town
  3. Waffle & Love – Waffles, waffles and more waffles
  4. Amici Miei – The best Neapolitan style pizza in the 8th district

And of course I’ll be throwing in a few other worthy mentions!

********************************************************************************************

IMG_20181229_121844.jpg

1.Budapest Bagel – There is nothing human beings enjoy more than a fresh bagel with all the fixings, especially when they’re made in Budapest where the large Jewish population influences some of the most delicious food in Eastern Europe, bagels being no exception. Cream cheese and lox is a classic but Budapest Bagel also shells out their own fresh creations like avocado and walnut, caprese, duck liver, gooey brie with onion jam and quite possibly my favorite, peanut butter banana. With a variety of perfectly baked bagels (poppy seed being the most popular – Hungarians are obsessed – but they also have plain, sesame) you’ll never leave hungry (harhar) and your wallet will most definitely thank you. 940 forints (3 euros), enough said.

IMG_20190120_124340-COLLAGE.jpg

2. Mazel Tov –  If you’ve heard of Budapest, then you’ve heard of Mazel Tov. Practically hidden from the outside, the moment you walk in you’re transported to an oasis smack dab in the middle of the city center. Other than their food, the most remarkable feature about this restaurant is the natural emerald greenery draping from the high ceilings showcasing their inviting dining room. As Instagram famous as this place has become, their food lives up to it’s hype. First you must try the falafel, some of the crispiest and more flavorful in the city, sitting on a customize-able bed of creamy hummus. Secondly the chicken shawarma is to die for, topped with sweet pomegranate seeds and accompanied by three different sauces. I don’t need to mention how incredibly puffy their flat bread is, you just have to go there and find out for yourself! *res note– this place is hot so keep in mind reservations can be made online until 17:00 / over the phone until 19:00*

IMG_20181220_193259-COLLAGE.jpg

3. Waffle & Love – Let’s be honest, waffles are amazing at any time of the day. Sweet or savory, bubble or Belgium, I can’t get enough of them. Waffle & Love is an adorable eatery with a clean interior and delightful staff that will escort you to waffle heaven. Customize your own waffle by choosing your preferred style (bubble,regular or fruity) and then perhaps the only miserable part of your visit will be to choose between the seemingly endless array of sauces and toppings. If you’re truly unable to decide, Waffle & Love will do the heavy lifting for you and provides a list of their most popular combinations. Beautifully presented, crispy and warm, these are the waffles you’ll be coming back for on a more than regular basis.

IMG_20190316_103137-COLLAGE.jpg

4. Amici Miei– Saunter over to the walking area at Corvin sétány and you’re likely to find something that suits your appetite on any day of the week. Amici Miei is hard to miss as the manly bronze statue of Bud Spencer (the legend) leads the way to this classic Italian hot spot. I have to tell you though, if you come here and don’t order pizza…you’re doing it wrong. The Neapolitan style pie at Amici Miei is truly out of this world. You know it’s legit because the Italian man who mans the fiery oven is so passionate about pizza that he has his own Instagram account dedicated to it. Before you go crazy with toppings, you must try the traditional margherita. The perfectly doughy base is an edible life raft, protecting the generous rounds of tender mozzarella and hand picked basil leaves. Their sauce though…it’s the real star of the show, so incredibly fresh you feel like you’re eating tomatoes straight off the vine. Seriously, just eat their pizza. *res note – would be smart on weekends, easy to make over the phone*

IMG_20190308_202919-COLLAGE.jpg

Noms worth mentioning:

Tom Yum Bistro– I am partial to this Thai bistro as it’s relatively close to where I live, but they have seriously delicious phad thai, kao pad and a green coconut curry that packs a serious punch. Perfect for dining in or take out. Tom Nom!

pjimage - 2019-03-24T200158.022 (1)

KARAVÁN Street Food (Mexkitchen) The coolest snack spot to visit in the coming spring months. Outdoor food trucks with a plethora of food and drink options. Try out Mexkitchen for south of the boarder inspired eats but especially if you’re hungry for a loaded burrito and nachos. Nomtastic

pjimage - 2019-03-24T194429.467 (1).jpg

Jonas Beer House – A cozy modern beer house situated on Pest side of the Danube promenade (Balna building). Tons of beers of tap, tons of outdoor seating, best reason to go: good beer. Need I say more? *res note – book a table over the phone for the indoor part during the week or weekends if outdoor terrace is closed*

pjimage - 2019-03-24T195335.650 (1)

*********************************************************************************************

rhdr

I sincerely hope you enjoyed the tiniest sliver of noms Budapest has to offer in this post. At the moment there are almost too many amazing places to keep track of but now that I am getting used to the ins and outs of the Hungarian way of life, I will certainly be adding to this seemingly never-ending list very soon!

Until then, enjoy the beautiful spring weather and nom on!

Jó napot kívánom!

Restaurant Information:

Address: Baross utca 4. Budapest, Hungary 1088
Phone: +36 30 846 4453
Address: Akácfa u. 47, 1072 Budapest, Hungary
Phone: +36 70 626 4280
Address: Ráday u. 1-3, 1092 Budapest, Hungary
Phone: +36 20 279 0153
Address: Corvin sétány 1, 1082 Budapest, Hungary
Phone: +36 70 551 1364
Address: Soroksári út 10, 1095 Budapest, Hungary
Phone: +36 1 210 0822
Address: Kazinczy u. 18, 1075 Budapest, Hungary
Phone: n/a
Address: Fővám tér 11, 1093 Budapest, Hungary
Phone: +36 70 930 1392

24 hours to nom in Budapest & the rediscovered beauty of Zlatibor

Hey all! Happy end of May! 20 days until summer begins!

In this post I’ll recap two small trips I have been on in the past few weeks. Noms to come!

IMG_20180422_1757305.jpg

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

Budapest, Hungary

Luckily for those who live in Belgrade, the capital of Hungary is only a few hours drive. Unfortunately the wait at the boarder is a minimum of two hours, so be sure to pack some tasty snacks and prepare some interesting road games for a lengthy time spent in the car!

30603732_493681937700708_950499854860156928_n

Since we were only in this lovely city for less than a day and had arrived at four in the afternoon, we were burning daylight and determined to see what the Hungarians had to offer in terms of noms. The ever edible aesthetics of Instagram once again helped us narrow down our search which is how we found TöLTő

Trust me, if you’re in Budapest, you’ll want to stop by this pint-sized eatery which houses some of the most phenomenal sausages I’ve ever nommed on in my life (which is actually saying something since I lived in Germany!) The thing about TöLTő is that they aren’t just some run of the mill hot dog stand. No, these are gourmet sausages, cooked to order, made with a variety of different meats and topped with fresh Hungarian ingredients.

Before I went on this mini-trip, I was warned that the locals of Budapest could be disagreeable (likely due to the masses of tourists pouring through the city at all times) but our first experience with the staff of TöLTő was warm and welcoming. Their menu is written on the board with mouth-watering descriptions (in both Hungarian and English), making it difficult to make an immediate decision. We did however manage to order (with help from the lovely woman behind the counter) and were told we could sit and enjoy our cold beverages until our food was ready.

IMG_20180422_163321.jpg

As I said before, they are made to order and thus the grilling took around fifteen minutes but we barely noticed since we were preoccupied with a map of the city, planning our next move after our stomachs were satiated. When the sausages arrived to our table, my eyes almost popped out of my head because they were (no lie) the size of my forearm and garnished with vividly colored toppings that I’d never seen so elegantly placed on something as simple as a sausage before.

IMG_20180422_164701

My choice was the “Chicken Paprika” Sausage, made complete with a succulent chicken sausage, strips of fresh cucumber and dollops of Hungarian pepper spread (similar to the Serbian ‘ajvar’ but with a smoother consistency) and sour cream, sprinkled with black sesame seeds and parsley. All of the ingredients sung to my taste buds, making me bounce around happily in my seat. Did I mention the bread though?? A crusty on the outside, soft on the inside wholegrain baguette-eque bun that was sturdy enough to contain the overflowing contents of this over the top delicious sausage. Can I have one more please?

IMG_20180422_1646370.jpg

Milan went with the “Beef with Sun dried Tomatoes” sausage, a grilled beef link stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and other spicy seasonings, topped with a mascarpone basil sauce and a few more tomatoes to further intensify this flavor packed sandwich. Finishing this monster was child’s play to Milan but it left him contently full and eager to school me on my lack of sausage eating know-how. Apparently there is a technique to avoid making a mess, which I did so regardless (and happily I might add).

Hands down, I’d return to Budapest just for these heavenly Hungarian sausages at TöLTő. Om nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom. 

IMG_20180422_1757392.jpg

We used the rest of our time that day to explore along the Danube, amazed by the stunning architecture, lush green space and amount of people wandering around this stunning city. At the end of the evening we were ready for a sweet pick up, preferably something cold and that you might only find in Hungary. Luckily for us, we found the best of both world’s at Molnár’s kürtőskalács.

I have mentioned the pure delight that are Hungarian chimney cakes in Nomming into the unknown: Galaxy Creperie and Belgrade’s Noćni Market , strips of dough spun onto an iron cylinder and cooked over high heat then rolled onto sweet toppings on your choosing. No matter what time of the year, they’re utterly nom. So what better place to get an authentic kürtőskalác than in the heart of Budapest? Psst, it get’s even better. At Molnar’s they fill their cakes with soft serve ice cream!

IMG_20180422_183554

Order your chimney cake at the counter (they will either be premade or hot depending on which topping you want) then choose whether you want half of your cake filled with ice cream or the entire thing. As you can see above, I went with half of a coconut covered kürtőskalác which they place in a cup and fill with cold creamy soft serve. The other half is packed in a bag for you to nom on later (or right after, no one is judging).

You can sit and eat at the counter in Molnar’s while basking in the aromas of baking chimney cakes or take your cake to go and enjoy on one of the thousands of benches sprinkled around the center. Either way, you’ll be glad you went to Molnar’s and soon be back for more!

pjimage.jpg

With so little time, there was barely a moment to breath but I did make it a priority to stop by Aldi grocery (my go-to when I lived in Germany) to shop for coveted food items we don’t have in Belgrade (such as pineapple cheese). After picking up a dozen freshly baked pretzels, two bags of marshmallows, monstrous cans of chickpeas and numerous other things, we headed back to Belgrade with Budapest in hindsight…though something tells me we’ll be back very soon!

********************************************************************************************

Zlatibor, Serbia

IMG_20180429_1901378.jpg

I’ll attempt to be brief with the next part as I have already expressed the glorious nature of Zlatibor in a post almost two summer’s ago in Nom-cation : Serbian Svadba and the wonders of Zlatibor. I did feel however that reiterating it’s blissfull beauty wouldn’t hurt anyone except for the pangs in your stomach when you read this.

pjimage22.jpg

This time we opted to rent a chalet outside of the center of Zlatibor which was probably the best decision we have ever made because it was AMAZING. Actually amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it but it’s a good start. I won’t mention the name of this gem (selfish I know), because it was that magical. But if you do a bit of research for chalet’s in the Zlatibor area, I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for and understand my reluctance to share!

Renting a chalet is great because not only is it tranquility personified, but you have full amenities and the ability to barbecue to your hearts content. With that said, we stocked the kitchen with fruits, veg and snacks as well as the fridge with meat we had bought in Belgrade at our favorite butcher, Mesara Pufta  but I’ll be touching on that later on…

Now for my epic return to Feniks Palacinkarnica. This place needs no introduction. If you like pancakes, waffles or all things that are good on this earth, you will visit Feniks. This time around, I was at odds with what delicious option to choose from. We hadn’t eaten and therefore I knew my appetite and stomach capacity was in good enough shape for a waffle, yet their massive crepes appealed to my better nature and thus I ordered the “Čikita.”

30926845_377314926098140_7867838894622900224_n.jpg

The Čikita is as you may have guessed full of perfectly ripe pieces of banana, stuck together with creamy caramel sauce and ground plazma biscuits, topped with whipped cream and crispy waffle pieces. Leaving chocolate for another day’s indulgence, this pancake was almost (I can’t believe I’m saying this)…too sweet, BUT it was fricking delicious and devoured every bite. So too sweet? Perhaps there is no such thing for nomandnommer.

IMG_20180427_1757380.jpg

Milan’s photogenic behemoth of a waffle was the twin of the pancake version I had ordered the time before, the “Blues Brothers.” Underneath all that goodness is a golden waffle covered in chocolate cream, sliced bananas, toasted hazelnuts, two scoops of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla) and a healthy helping of whipped cream and more chocolate.

In my past post regarding Feniks, I had described the two of us leaving as “we took a long walk around the center afterwards to digest the food babies we had just been impregnated with.” And guess what? Not a thing changed. I repeated those same words and that is why Feniks Palacinkarnica is a Zlatibor must nom.

IMG_20180429_1114512

The next nom is also one you will be familiar with and that is the unmissable unforgettable breakfast at Krčma Gaj. The beautiful setting and warm hospitality are just a few of the reasons as to why we keep coming back for more. If you can recall, the main event at Krčma is the coma inducing “Komplet lepinja” (the meat, egg, and kajmak filled deliciousness below) which Milan couldn’t wait to devour. I on the other hand, had my heart set on something new: handmade uštipci.

IMG_20180429_1037458

You may not know what uštipci are but I can gaurentee that you’ve had fried dough at least once in your life…except the Serbian fried dough balls at Krčma Gaj  are on a whole other level. Made with heljdino brašno (buckwheat flour) and baked to perfection, these imperfectly shaped balls are crispy on the outside yet warm fluffy on the inside. At Krčma you can order them with a side of fresh farm cheese and kajmak (clotted cream) or honey and jam.

30920550_364152254097198_3533597077638479872_n.jpg

That morning I was in the mood for the best of both worlds and chose cheese and honey, both of which came in ridiculous amounts, putting a smile on my face so wide that it lasted for the remainder of our stay in Zlatibor. When eaten with cheese, they are like savory biscuits that melt in your mouth but when smothered with honey they tasted like dense mini pancakes so good that you will want to order a second round.

Krčma Gaj has repeatedly been the highlight of our nomventures in and around Zlatibor, and with the perfect price to portion ratio they provide, it literally can’t be beat.  So what are you doing drooling over my photos? Go there now!

pjimage23.jpg

Before I end with the small barbecue Milan and I had, I wanted to mention an intriguing pit stop to “Stopica Cave” which is about a half hour drive from the center of Zlatibor and not far off from the ethnic village Sirogojno which I highlighted during our last trip. Stopica is a must see if you’re interested in million year old natural wonders,  underground waterfalls and “bathtubs” filled with water that is said to posses minerals  comparable to an organic Botox. What’s not to like about that? Plus it’s a cool place to escape the approaching summer heat.

IMG_20180429_1808249.jpg

Naturally, we ended our stay at our wonderful chalet with a proper barbeque which was graciously provided for us onsite. If you didn’t know, Zlatibor is a region of Serbia famous for their cheeses and meats, so when the host family who were renting the chalet to us asked if we were interested in buying fresh farm cheeses, the only logical answer was: how many kilos are we going to be able to bring home to Belgrade? Our hosts were so amazing that they actually dropped of a sample platter of old and young cheese as well as a glob of kajmak (as shown above), to aid us in our decision making process…not that we needed it. That folks is genuine Serbian hospitality.

IMG_20180429_182648.jpg

Barbecued chicken breast, ćevapčići, sausages (compliments of Mesara Pufta) , grilled peppers, salad, toasted lepinje and cold Zaječarsko beer, nommed on the quiet front porch of our beautiful chalet at sunset. To be honest, there is nothing quite like it. Pure nomfection.

pjimage24.jpg

As I mentioned before, I was really excited when I found bags of marshmallows in Budapest, thus naturally after our barbecue we had to make s’mores. Always a childhood treat, they were something Milan had only partially experienced growing up in Nigeria and so I was happy to recreate the sacred s’more ritual. Only this time it was a bit European style by using Nutella in place on Hershey’s chocolate bars and Zlatini Pek biscuits instead of graham crackers. None of this mattered because when they were gone, we wanted s’more!

IMG_20180429_1356193.jpg

See, I tried to make that as brief as possible! The bottom line is: if you’re looking for a quiet escape into nature with all the comforts of home then look no further than the beauty of Zlatibor, Serbia.

**************************************************************************************************************

That’s all for now…well at least until my father and stepmom arrive here in about a week. Therefore there will lots to nom about!

Oh and if you didn’t get your fill of uštipci, then here are some massive homemade ones that Milan’s grandmother whipped up for us this weekend in the village.

IMG_20180526_1529503_edited.jpg

Oh so bad, but oh so good.

Szianom!

Restaurant Information:

Address: Wesselényi u. 31, 1077 Budapest, Hungary
Phone: n/a
Address: Váci utca 31, 1052 Budapest, Hungary
Phone: +36 1407 2314
AddressNaselje Jezero bb, Zlatibor, Serbia
Phone: +381 318 45565
Address: Naselje Gajevi b.b Zlatibor, Serbia
Phone: +381 31 583694

 

 

Lake Bled & Ljubljana: Fresh air, fresher noms

Happy almost March Ya’ll!

The only intro I can think of for this post is : GO TO SLOVENIA. NOW.

IMG_20171221_1134032

The air is fresh but the noms are even fresher! Enough said.

Now here’s a few tasty reasnoms why:

********************************************************************************************

pjimage5.jpg

Lake Bled

By car from Belgrade reaching the quiet lake town of Bled, Slovenia is around five hours. With the mountains already in view, this little village nestled around a beautiful lake is straight out of a fairy tale. After you take a walk around the lake’s edge, it’s highly advised to re-energize and what’s better than a nice piece of cake?

Slaščičarna Zima : This adorable pastry shop is located in the heart of Bled. The name translated into English is “Winter” and their logo is a bear which makes perfect sense because when you get there you’ll want to eat everything then hibernate for the rest of the season.

Highlight: Bled’s famous Kremna Rezina and Prekmurska Gibanica

pjimage2.jpg

‘Kremna Rezina’ or ‘Kremšnita’ (in Serbia known as ‘Krem Pita’, in German as ‘Cremeschnitte’, or in plain old English, ‘Cream Pie’). A layer of puff pastry lines the bottom, a thick layer of creamy custard, followed by a bit of chantilly or whipped cream and then topped with another flaky pastry square and dusted with powdered sugar. The flavors melt in your mouth much like snow on a warm winter day.

Originating from the region of Prekmurje, Prekmurska Gibanica is slightly similar to the kremšnita as it is a towering pastry consisting of sweet layers of poppy seed, walnuts, raisins, apples and quark (or ‘cottage cheese’ though it doesn’t bear much resemblance to the kind bought in tubs state-side). If you love ‘mak’ or poppyseed like I do, then you’ll love this dessert!

Oštarije Babji ZobAlso centrally located in the tiny downtown of Bled is this fabulous restraurant that serves up new takes on traditional Slovene dishes. It’s cozy, the staff is friendly and most importantly they have great food!

Highlight: Pork medallions wrapped in bacon and Ravioli with Carniolin sausage, apples and horseradish

pjimage

As you can see from the picture on the left, if you’re a meat lover then this dish is for you. The tender thick cut pork medallions were wrapped in crispy bacon and served with roasted potato wedges and a succulent gravy. This item came off their ‘Dishes to fill your stomach’ part of the menu, and it certainly lived up to its name.

The ravioli dish was one of the most interesting and delicious dishes I have had in a while. The soft pasta shells were filled with chickory which gave the entire dish a smoky flavor, alongside pieces of the famous Slovenian Carniolin sausage, all mixed together with a creamy horseradish sauce and topped with sweet apple slices. As I said, interesting because it’s not everyday that horseradish propels your taste buds through a sweet and savory adventure, but this dish was divine and I would come back to Bled just for this.

Pizzeria Rustika : Looking for a tasty pie while exploring Bled? Look no further.

Highlight: Pizza Bled and Pizza 3Glav

pjimage3.jpg

The amazing pizzas produced from this hole in the wall pizza joint should be sung from the top of Lake Bled’s castle. Each personal sized  pie is made complete with crispy wood fired crust, cheese and a variety of succulent toppings. If you’re in doubt, you can’t go wrong  with  the “Bled”, a capriocosa-esque pizza with mushrooms and ham or the “3Glav” for all you rocket salad fans out there. You’ll leave full and happy and maybe even with a bit of left over pizza for later!

pjimage6.jpg

With all that said, Lake Bled is a great place to visit during all four seasons where you can take in the sublime nature, Slovene history and some excellent noms.

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

Ljubljana

ljyb.jpg

Much like Belgrade, the capital city of Slovenia, the shimmering, romantic, historically beautiful city of Ljubljana is a haven for all sorts of noms and should be on your list of must-visit places before you die. With its stunning castle at the top of the hill, old cobblestone streets, whimsical bridges and expansive parks, this city is truly magical.

Abi Falafel: Possibly some of the best Middle Eastern food in Eastern Europe. Located very close to the famous “Dragon Bridge” in downtown Ljubljana.

Highlight: Falafel Special Kroznik

IMG_20171222_182555_hdr.jpg

If you’re going to Abi, naturally you must try their falafel. It was more than worth while getting the falafel special kroznik or meal, both in terms of price and quality. This gorgeous plate consists of six perfectly spiced falafel pieces, creamy hummus, mashed fava beans, salad with yogurt dressing and quite possibly the most delicious tasting potato medallions I’ve ever had, ever. You’ll want to go back there for lunch or dinner for the remainder of your stay, which I’d say isn’t a bad thing.

Abi Falafel, just go there already.

Puffy Lil’ PancakesNeed I say more? A mini pancake stand located on the main shopping street in Ljubljana, you’ll make any excuse just to stop and nom on these tiny morsels of goodness!

Highlight: Puffy little pancakes (duh) with all toppings imaginable. 

IMG_20171223_162546.jpg

Having scoped out PLP on Instagram before we arrived, the only thing you need to find this place is your nose. The aroma of tiny pancakes being cooked and flipped in a dutch pancake griddle can be smelt from all corners or the city. If you haven’t nommed on mini dutch style pancakes, this is your golden opportunity. With an array of toppings it will be difficult to choose, but listen to your stomach and it is impossible to fail. The soft heavenly pillows above are adorned with Nutella and powdered sugar (on the left) and a dreamy hazelnut cream with freshly cut banana slices and once again powdered sugar (on the right).

Unfortunately it takes all of a minute to eat these little beauties because they are that delicious but you’ll be back for more, I know I will. Can’t say I didn’t warn you!

Kmetija Mis Non-stop mlekomatA 24/7 ATM machine for milk! Located at different points around the city, purchase a bottle and help yourself to fresh milk day or night! *Milk from Kmetija Mis comes from a dairy farm located under Šmarna Gora/Mountain*

Highlight: Dispensable local raw milk

pjimage55.jpg

It’s not everyday I drink milk in and say what you want about me including machine milk on this list of Slovene noms but once you try it you will change your mind. As mentioned above you can find these machines all over the city, as well as other machines for assorted dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and kefir.  Most are in English as well as German and Slovene and the first step towards acquiring your fresh milk is to buy a bottle from the adjoining vending machine (plastic or glass) then put your coin (1 euro per 1 liter) in the mlekomat, the tiny translucent window will open (mind blown) where you will then place your bottle under the nozzle and watch the magic happen. It’s that simple.

Bring it back home and enjoy with cookies, because let’s be honest that’s the best way to enjoy a cold glass of fresh milk.

pjimage23.jpg

Having been to some pretty magical cities across Europe, I will argue that Ljubljana is in the top spot. Whether you’re travelling alone, with a friend or your entire family, you won’t be disappointed with all that this stunning city has to offer.

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

And in case you weren’t already convinced that visiting Slovenia was a must…

IMG_20171222_1122329.jpg

I give you the beauty that is Lake Bohinj. Just a short drive from Lake Bled!

Until next time Slovenia and until next time nommers!

Nasvidenjom!

Restaurant Information:

Address: Grajska cesta 3, 4260 Bled, Slovenia
Phone: +386 45741616
Address:  Cesta svobode 8, 4260 Bled, Slovenia
Phone:  +386 83810584
Address: Riklijeva cesta 13, 4260 Bled, Slovenia
Phone:  +386 45768900
Address: Trubarjeva cesta 40, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Phone: +386 40144044
Address: Čopova ulica 14, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Phone: +386 41819882
Address: Locations all over Ljubljana. Use link / Google search for locations. 

 

 

Mocha madness & an American girl’s attempt at making ‘sarma’

Happy November fellow nommers!

12219318_10156294884040085_877825567281443911_n.jpg

I thought I would write a quick recipe post and share some of my favorite spot to get a piping hot mocha here in Belgrade. Next week I’ll be flying back to the States for a family gathering and something I haven’t celebrated state side in almost three years: Thanksgiving!

***************************************************************************************

First up, I know I’ve mentioned the magic of Serbian sarma before. Succulent hand made sour cabbage rolls stuffed with tender beef and rice. Perfect for this time of the year and an absolute staple here in Serbia. I’ve always wanted to try and make it but have never had the time, but seeing as we had a whole batch of sour cabbage from Milan’s grandfather in the freezer, it was about time I tried out one of my favorite dishes.

Disclaimer: This is my first attempt at making sarma which I will admit was delicious but by no means perfect when compared to Serbian households who have been perfecting their technique much much longer than I. But hey, it’s a start!

Sarma Recipe a.k.a Stuffed Cabbage Rolls 

Ingredients:

Sarma rolls 

  • 30-40 sour cabbage leaves *
  • Two handfuls of thick cut bacon (it’s more or less for flavor)
  • 600 grams of ground meat (I used a mix of beef and pork)
  • 1 cup of rice (I used a type of brown rice but normal or pearl rice would do)
  • 1 large onion – diced
  • 1 cup of oil (any kind will do)
  • 1 carrot – shredded
  • 7 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 2 eggs (the fresher the better)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika (not the spicy kind)
  • salt and pepper

Sarma sauce 

  • 1/2 cup of oil
  • 1 cup plain tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • 4 cups of water
  • salt and pepper

*the cabbage had  already been soured in a barrel for god knows how many days before they reached my hands and I stuck them in the freezer…so if you don’t have sour cabbage on here, here is a quick video recipe in English on how to make quick soured cabbage. Theoretically you could use simply boiled cabbage but it won’t have the same flavors.

1. First cook the bacon on a medium temperature until the fat has rendered and has turned a light translucent color. Next add your oil and allow it to simmer slightly before adding your onions and sweet paprika, cooking the onions until golden and transparent.  I added shredded carrot at this point because I add carrots to everything.

pjimage1.jpg

2. Since my chunks of bacon were quite big and I didn’t want them to be in the mix of my filling (just the flavor), I removed them and put them to the side to use later. At this point you can put your ground beef into the mixture, keeping it on the stove for only a minute or so. You don’t want to actually cook the meat because it will be cooked slowly in it’s cabbage casing later on. Give it a stir and take it off the stove.

pjimage2.jpg

3. Moving on to the soured cabbage leaves. This step you can do either beforehand or when you’ve assembled the first half of your filling. It’s important to make sure there isn’t any excess liquids on the leaves. Also it’s good to thin out the vein of each leaf with a small knife. In my opinion this was the most time consuming part of the whole process but you’ll be happy that you did because the rolls will be  nice and flexible.

DSC04901

4. Add your minced garlic to the pot as well as your uncooked rice. Next break two eggs over the filling and mix until combined. It will look familiar at this point, like meatloaf (but with rice inside).

pjimage3.jpg

5. Now comes the fun part, making the rolls! Grab a long tray or pan that you can lay the finished rolls on before you put them back in your pot. Take one leaf, vein facing towards you, and put a spoonful of the filling in the lower middle. Next fold the right and left side over the middle, then curl the bottom over and forward (away from you) until you’ve reached the end of the leaf and it’s taken a roll like shape. If it’s not perfect try again, the leaves are very forgiving.

pjimage4

6. Once you’ve got all of your rolls, line the bottom of the the deep oven safe pot you used with any excess cabbage and a bit of oil (I even threw in a few pieces of bacon). Then you’re going to place your rolls face up at the base of the pot, going around until all your rolls fit snugly together. Add a few bay leaves in between the rolls, and the remainder of the bacon if you wish and set aside.

DSC04914.JPG

7. The next thing is important because it will ensure that your sarma will remain moist throughout the slow cooking, the sauce. In a sauce pan, add olive oil, and flour, mixing until combined, wait a few moments before adding sweet paprika, and a little bit of salt. Add the tomato juice and stir together, then finally add the water. After this is done, pour the sauce straight over your rolls in the pot. They should be covered completely. In my opinion the saucier the better.

pjimage5.jpg

8. Cover the pot and stick it on the bottom rack of the preheated 220 C. oven and cook the rolls for two and a half to three hours. I didn’t have an oven safe pot cover so I used foil. You can check if more liquid needs to be added but it should be enough.

DSC04918.JPG

9.  When they are done cooking, take the sarma out of the oven and allow them to cool slightly.

pjimage6.jpg

10. Serve in a bowl or shallow dish (with a nice chunk of bread to clean up leftover juices with), slice open and enjoy all winter long!

Prijatno!

****************************************************************************************

Moving on, I wanted to highlight a few places where you can get two of my favorite things, coffee and chocolate, magically mixed into one amazing cold weather drink: Mocha!

images

My go to throughout the fall and winter season is GreeneT Caffe. I frequent the one in Dorćol (aka GreeneT Square) because their staff is nice and I can sit on the upper level and do work without being bothered. I’ve tried a large variety of warm drinks at GreeneT but the one I keep coming back to is their ‘Orange Mocha’. It all started when I tried their orange hot chocolate for the first time a few years back and fell head over heels in love. Then one day I saw they had a mocha option with the same flavors they offered in their hot chocolate, so of course I tried it, and the rest is…history.

pjimage10.jpg

The bitterness of the coffee balances out the sweetness of the orange jelly flavors and the creaminess of the rich chocolate. Topped with cold whipped cream, I could drink these all day and all night. I also don’t feel as guilty asking for a large mug since I know there is at least half a cup of coffee inside.

So if you’re looking for a mocha with that extra nomness, locate your nearest GreeneT and get cozy!

logo_retina.png

The next location in Belgrade is over the bridge along the Zemun Quay at Hotel Jugoslavia. A decade ago this huge hotel was bustling with people from all over the world, and despite the hotel not being in full form today, there are still droves of people who visit the building for the delicious restaurants at it’s base. I highlighted Intergalactic Diner last summer when our friend Branko came to nom, and this psychedelic pancake house I’m about to share with you is located right next door at Sugar and Spice.

pjimage8.jpg

This place is as tasty as it looks on the outside as it truly is on the inside. Neon lights, waitresses in roller skates and something we all love, pancakes. Whenever we visit Sugar and Spice, it’s almost always for dessert and therefore Milan and whoever we are with order a large stack of American pancakes. Myself on the other hand can satisfy my sweet tooth with one menu item, their melted dark chocolate mocha.

pjimage9.jpg

Their mochas come in three different flavors, based on the type chocolate you want oozing at the bottom: milk, white or dark. Being a huge fan of dark chocolate, it’s my choice every time. Their frosted glass mugs are topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings or chips. You know the chocolate portion isn’t from a powder because you can see it lining the entire circumference of the mug and my favorite part of the entire experience is scooping the chocolate from the bottom of the mug at the end. Nomalicious.

Thus if you’re watching your waistline (even slightly) and you think your head might pop off at the sight of mountains of drool worthy pancakes, don’t panic! Sugar and Spice’s mocha will quell your cravings and leave you feeling all warm and gooey inside.

13350347_1418104414873741_1112243585868308584_o.jpg

The last cafe is one I’ve highlighted a few times but where I particularly adore going to if I’ve just had a shower and washed my hair. Why so specific you ask? Considering that more than half the population of Serbia smokes indoors and out, it can be nearly impossible to find a nonsmoking cafe or restaurant that won’t leave your freshly lathered locks smelling like an ashtray. Hey, maybe I’m just sensitive because I’m a non smoker (and no I don’t have anything against those who do) but seeing as I don’t wash my hair often anymore (winter time sadness), Red Bread is my cafe of choice.

pjimage7.jpg

I’ve tried a wide variety of items on their menu and thus far loved everything. They are a touristic haven and have something for everyone, including a delectable ‘Moccacino’. I don’t think I had ever had one before, maybe just cocoa powered dusted on top of a foamy cappucino, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it.

23439424_10154820846791455_1950740605_n.jpg

Served in a tall round glass, it is lined with chocolate sauce, filled with a mixture of coffee, chocolate and milk, then topped of course with whipped cream and three fitting coffee beans. Yet again Red Bread did not disappoint. Thus if you’re like me and like keeping your ‘do’ smoke-free while enjoying a delicious drink, pull up a comfy colorful chair and nom on (with spoon or straw, it’s your choice)!

****************************************************************************************

That’s all the noms for today.

Currently I am still munching on the spooky Halloween treats I prepared for the celebrations at school which is nothing to complain about. I could probably eat caramel apples all day, every day.

IMG_4431.jpg

As I said, I’ll be returning to Boston for the week of Thanksgiving so you can expect a tasty post of nomeries shared.

Catch you on the nom side!

Restaurant Information:

Address: Multiple locations around Belgrade, Serbia
Phone: see website link for contact information for each location
Address: Bulevar Nikole Tesle 3 Belgrade, Serbia 11070
Phone: 068 269 3665
Address: Dositejeva 22 Belgrade, Serbia 11000
Phone: 065 227 0099

 

Rome, a second nom around

pjimageroma10

Ciao ciao everyone! I just returned from a short trip to Rome that I am oh so excited to share with you all. These highlights of my second trip to Rome since 2011, are not the typical touristic activities one might normally think of when they are in the food capital of Italy. Nonetheless I hope you enjoy the coming noms.

First let me start off by advising something. Before you head off to Roma (or anywhere for that matter) try to learn a few key phrases in that language to make your life and others easier, as well as impress your friends and family. You’d be surprised as to how little can get you a long way. Trying is everything. Fake it till you make it

Some useful Italian phrases :
  • Hello / goodbye :  Salve / Ciao
  • Yes / No: Si / No
  • I want ______: Io vorrei ______
  • This : questo
  • That : quello
  • How much is this? : quanto questo ?
  • I don’t understand: Non capisco
  • Excuse me : scusa
  • Thank you : Grazie
  • Please : per favore
  • Cheers! : Salute! 

*and in case you want to take meat / cheese back home with you*

  • 500 grams (you’ll regret it if you take less) : cinque etti (etti = gram)

These were my holy grail. Of course there are many other useful phrases that might include a topic you’re interested in such as museums or shopping but either way take a day or two before you arrive to hammer some into your brain!

*************************************************************************************

22405748_10209671751206337_7591870438866568540_n

If you recall my adventures in London last year, you’ll remember that I met both my mother, aunt and uncle on my side of the pond, and this trip was derived from the same circumstances.

When I arrived in Rome in the evening last week, I took a taxi to our lovely accommodations (48 euros fixed rate) near the Spanish steps and my mother was already waiting outside for me. We dropped off my bag and immediately ventured out because I was starving, plus we were in Rome so there was no time to waste NOT eating.

01f7049916a5e9e4af66c084e372abb08151c45107_00001

I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I don’t know where we ate that night. Lured in by the smell of promising pastas we sat down street side, ordered some white some red and our food. I chose spinach ricotta raviolis with red sauce and my mom, fettuccine bolognese.

pjimageroma.jpg

The service was fast and I paced myself because I was drinking a bottle of wine to myself, but there was a lot to catch up on and we somehow managed to finish our meals in between all the laughter and wine. Already my Italian had been taken off the shelf and somewhat improved after drinking a glass or two of liquid courage.

I went to sleep that night feeling a buzz that a “linguaphile” (or one who is a lover of words and languages) gets from using and being surrounded by a new language. Needless to say I was excited to quickly fall asleep and wake up with an empty stomach. One nom down and we were just getting started.

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

In the morning I woke up a bit hungover and in desperate need of coffee. Luckily my mother had packed a few instant coffee packets in her bag so it managed to hold me over in our room (along with a big bottle of water) until we finally got moving for breakfast.

01ddb10a808c48e2e85a209fbe9e5a3761c7cb7220.jpg

Not far from us is a cafe, bar by the name of Il Baretto, which provides much needed caffeine (to stay or to go) as well as a variety of sandwiches and sweet pastries. Feeling slightly more confident about my Italian phrases, I ordered two cappuccinos, one jam filled croissant (actually referred to in Italian as “brioche”) and a Bowie looking pastry with a sweet glaze. Everything was on the plate for less than a minute as I had my coffee fix in virtually one gulp. For a breakfast in Rome, this is as basic and as nom as they come.

01218098e3b55b20e8cb07c16ed8b3228b26bcb7f7

The next activity was something special my aunt had pre-planned and by chance since she had originally hoped for us to go on a walking food tour with Elizabeth and Sophie Minchilli, my aunt’s proclaimed gurus of all this culinary in Rome. Thus this event is something that can only be half recreated*.

The luncheon was centered around an NPR interview segment for ‘Good Food’ between Evan Kleiman and English expat Rachel Roddy. Rachel is an award winning writer, most known for her autobiographical cook book “My Kitchen in Rome” (and frequent columns in The Gaurdian) on how Italian food and life has transformed her life in the most unexpected ways.

016f3d6c24e9e7c2f99138fe10210ec14576b5cc8c_edited

The interview took place in the quieter side of the city near the fortress like Rome War Cemetery and unmissable Pyramid Caio Cestio, in an underground trattoria called Flavio al Velavedodetto. The interview was inspirational to say the least, being an expat obsessed with all things food and the ultimate struggle we face when it comes to an identity crisis, being consumed by our foreign surrounds and feeling as if we belong yet remaining aliens all along.

019ecb598a30b7dbe6c220e7197d923b61df9ba0f0_edited

The real question that was left lingering in my brain was when will I write my own Serbian cookbook??

After the talk we moved to the dining area where we were to partake in a tasting of some of Rachel’s favorite Italian dishes. Starting out again with wines galore, our first course consisted of three drool worthy pastas: buitini am rigatoni (rigatoni with red sauce and guanciale or pork cheek), cacio e pepe (spaghetti with a creamy cheese and pepper ) and carbonara (rigatoni with a decadent egg yolk coating and again guanciale).

pjimageroam3.jpg

Luckily we were surrounded by amazing expats who I was able to ask about the ingredients, specifically guanciale. If you’ve ever had pancetta, you can appreciate a thick cut of meat with a delicious layer of fat. Well guanciale leaves pancetta in the dust. With a higher percentage of fat, when rendered in the pan the outer braised layer becomes crunchy (like American bacon) while the fat virtually melts in your mouth. Pure, utter bliss.

010632d99dab266f51410c07c5b7bcdef891063003

The second course was Polpette di lesso and steamed cicoria. This fist sized meatball is made from already cooked meat (as opposed to raw), herbs, cheese and lemon, fried to golden perfection. After all the pasta it was almost too much but in my opinion it’s all in your mind. So nom on I did, and gladly.

01790b83e6bdee4e327e1caa7083f325ee8ee3225b_edited.jpg

Last but absolutely not least, dolce or dessert. This was the part my aunt was most excited about, having done this part of a food tour segment before, the quintessential Italian no bake sweet: tiramisu. They served us each the perfect amount, just enough to cleanse your pallet (however of course leaving me begging for more).

01dbbb8db31983012d36b64ede93269a51d0ec4e2b

After this fabulous lunch my mother and I parted ways with my aunt and decided to take a leisurely stroll down the Tiber river towards St. Peter’s. From the restaurant it was around a 40 minute walk but we took advantage of the perfect weather and sauntered by the river way. If you have the time (and good weather) I highly advise you do this to escape the cramped intercity sidewalks.

pjimagerome11.jpg

Later that evening, after a bit of rest, we chose to walk through the streets from Spagna to Campo de Fiori, window shopping and people watching. En route back I had told my mom that we had to try gelato at a place opposite the steps once we finally made our way back. I had seen some decadent looking macaroon topped cones from a Belgrader I follow on Instagram, Fudbloger, who had been there a few weeks before.

0157b404ab5844244401ddae1b9db0a8d556a3f6a9.jpg

The Don Nino Gelateria has a wide selection of flavors that will make for a very tricky decision. When a fresh batch of stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate shavings) came out though, I was certain and paired it with a fresh mint. The large cone is then topped with two mini cones and a rich colored macaroon. It was a true work of art. My mom got the same treatment except in a cup with tiramisu.

01e79a21e1455cf5001606a2c5df58a1500fe6dfc8

Don Nino is on the expensive side, however for the amount and quality, it is well worth it. (Plus we had been walking the entire day and had skipped any notion of dinner after that lunch). If you’re near the Spanish steps, treat yourself to a cold refreshing dessert…except don’t do this on the steps, for it is forbidden, which I learned to hard way! 

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

011dea06d51e5a7dbb7d0a59a158b223504dff3873.jpg

The previous night we had decided that we would plan a day trip to escape the congestion of the city and where better to do than in the quaint hill town of Orvieto. A little over an hour outside of the city (via a beautiful train ride), Orvieto is considered to be the mini Florence of Umbria but with much fewer crowds. Once you have arrived at the station, take the fernicular (vertical tram) up to the village and prepare to be amazed. There are 360 degree views surrounding Orvieto so make sure to enjoy all of them by walking the exterior as well as the interior.

pjimageroma8.jpg

The cathedral or Dom von Orvieto on the left bank of the town is a must see. The strikingly bold stripes were a characteristic I had yet to see and the dome’s outer details are remarkably impressive. Inside you can marvel at the stained glass and beautiful (yet actually horrifying) frescos in the adjoining chapels. If you buy the combined ticket you can also visit the Museum Dell’ Opera next door which houses a spectacular exhibit by the famed (modern day) Italian sculptor Emilio Greco.

After investigating the town square, we were drawn in to one of the captivating side streets where we came face to face with the furry head of a stuffed wild boar. The buzz of people coming in and out of the tiny shop with giant sandwiches in hand, hinted that this place must be something special, and truly it was. Il Negozietto is a hole in the wall deli with a mouthwatering selection of meats, cheeses and other jarred delights.

pjimageroma6.jpg

There is a small sandwich menu in both English and Italian which helped with the selection process and having seen the wild boar as we walked in, it didn’t take long to decide on our impromptu lunch. One food word that had stuck with me since Milan received his edible souvenir from Florence during the summer was: Bresaola, an aged, salted meat that turns dark red or even purple and is often served as an antipasto. Il Negozietto’s bresaola is as you can guess made from succulent wild boar.  Naturally I ordered one of these and one with basic prosciutto crudo, the wild boar’s domesticated cousin.

01caaaa750fc19e6699de719a42cc8a11a5032f6ef.jpg

If sandwiches were a work of art, then the panino’s at Negozietto are masterpieces. The maestro behind the counter is meticulous about the exact slices of meat, accompanied by thicker pieces of incredible pecorino (cheese from sheep’s milk) and olive, truffle oil spread to further enhance the savory flavors of the meat. After collecting our subs, we sat on a bench opposite the shop, split both in half and started our nomventure. Both were delicious but the wild boar bresaola was hands down one of  the best things I’ve ever eaten. The spices from the curing create an explosion on both your taste buds and your brain.  Truly the epitome of Italian noms.

pjimageroma7.jpg

As you can see from the pictures above, Orivieto is the charming town straight out of an Disney fairy tale. The people are friendly (perhaps because the amount of tourists had reduced) and there is something beautiful to discover around every corner. Give yourself enough time to take the tram back down the hill in order to catch your train back to the hustle and bustle of Rome. I can assure you that you won’t regret planning a day trip to this central Italian gem.

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

The following day was my last full day in Rome therefore my aunt had planned to make the most of it. That day she had planned on taking us to the Borghese Gallery, where I had not been on my previous trip so I was quite excited. In addition it couldn’t hurt to see a bit more artwork, despite my aversion this time around to being caught up in museums or touristic attractions.

IMG_20171018_122844_edited.jpg

Our first stop that morning was a local grocery store so that I could buy 00 type flour to bring home with me. The week before I left, I made my first attempt at making pasta since we had a pasta machine hidden away in our kitchen at home. It came out nice, however there is a special fine milled flour that you cannot find in Serbia thus I had added it to my list of nomcessories.

With that checked off, we walked south towards the Campo de Fiori and stopped in at a Danish shop which is always on my list: Tiger (or Flying Tiger). As a side note, if you haven’t been to one of these store, do! It is filled with quirky items that you won’t see anywhere else, and you’ll most likely end up leaving with things you didn’t even know you needed. There are Tigers all over Rome but this one is rather large and near the roman ruins of Largo di Torre Argentina, so you can’t miss it (just watch out for the cats).

015482f3eb3e759e6e50b0538de3e0e80f9d5e9935.jpg

With my bag full of things I apparently needed, we headed off for an early lunch at a small cafe on the backstreet of Via del Pellegrino called Cafe Barnum. If you aren’t familiar with the name, you might be reminded by the pictures around the room of clowns and circus memorabilia. Sound familiar? (hint: Barnum & Bailey Circus!)

0193d775e713dcc684663ba547a1aa65370be1b7bc.jpg

They serve breakfast in the morning and then take a pause in between lunch, so we ordered a few coffees and juice to kill some time before our meal. They have a board of daily specials and for some reason unbeknownst to my brain, their stir fry dish seemed to speak to my stomach. When we got around the ordering lunch, my mom and aunt both ordered chicken avocado sandwiches which were recommended by a customer near by.

01fa723104d5aac8c4affebc6d8328bb7633d8c3cd_edited.jpg

I’m sure you are thinking I was crazy for ordering an Asian inspired dish in the heart Rome but you would be wrong. The “Wok Pollo” had the perfect amount of sweet and sour sauce and a hearty amount of chicken, peppers and zucchini, topped with bean sprouts and served with a bed of white rice. It was kind of great to change your pallet to a different food genre after eating pizza, pasta, meats and cheeses for consecutive days. Some of my favorite restaurants in Belgrade as you know are not in fact Serbian food. Delicious stir fry in the capital’s center can be found, so look no further and change the pace at Cafe Barnum.

Since the tickets for the Borghese had been previously booked, we were on a tight schedule and hoofed it back to our place to drop off our goods. Along the way however I detached myself from the group so that I could purchase my promised gift to Milan, Italian meat and cheese. Not far off from the grocery store I had visited before, there is a bustling delicatessen frequented by real Romans (since the 1930’s) who buy their meat and cheese by the kilos as well as stopping in for a bite to eat around lunch time.

IMG_20171018_122722_edited.jpg

Remember as I said before, it is important to learn a bit of the native language if you expect to gain at least a bit of respect for the locals. So I mustered my confidence and queued in line at Salsamenteria Fratelli Fabbi with everyone else. A lovely older gentleman finally took my order, corrected my poor yet understandable speech and produced exactly what I wanted. Since Milan’s main intention was to make carbonara, I chose a triangle of pecorino and a huge chunk of lucious guanciale. He even asked me (half mimed) if I was intending to fly with the goods which I confirmed and he happily vacuum sealed both items and sent me off with a warm smile and my receipt to pay. I have to admit, it was the best interaction with a Roman yet.

I booked it back to stuff the noms in the community mini fridge and immediately we were on our way to the Borghese gardens. That day there was a fun run , therefore it took a little while to navigate around the park to the gallery. But once we were there (sweating from the October heat wave) it didn’t take us long to cool down by the surrounding granite statues.

pjimageroma12.jpg

The gallery consists of twenty two rooms filled with a collection of paintings, mosaics and statues, and perhaps most note-worthy for the jaw dropping sculptures by Bernini. Each room has it’s own theme, many of them following the myths of ancient Greece. With that being said, if you do visit the gallery, either follow a guided tour, download the museum’s app for your phone or read the placards placed in the corner of each room, because the stories really are too interesting to pass up.

pjimagerome13

For example my favorite is the story behind Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne. Apollo who once mocked the god of love, Eros (aka Cupid) was then shot by an arrow of passion and fell madly in love with the nymph Daphne, who unfortunately for the god of war, was also shot with an arrow of hatred towards Apollo. He chased down the evasive nymph and once he eventually caught up to her, Daphne begged her father Peneus (the river god) to help her escape and his fine solution was by turning his daughter into a tree. In Bernini’s sculpture you can see Apollo wrapping his arms around Daphne’s waist which is already turning into bark, her finger tips sprouting branches and her feet transforming into the a tree trunk. Despite her new earthly form, Apollo vowed to love Daphne eternally. How twistedly romantic.

rome2017.jpg

Once my trip down medieval political theory lane was completed we strolled this time leisurely back through the park and back to our room to rest before dinner and pack my ever growing carry-on suitcase. Because my uncle was in Rome for work, he was finally able to join us for dinner that night. My aunt had chosen Trattoria da Giggi which is not far away from the Spanish steps and a place her and my uncle had frequented multiple times before.

01deea91730eb21ae55c856f9aeeb8420d558a7247_edited.jpg

We arrived on the earlier side (we aren’t Roman are we?) but with an early flight in the morning, I was more than happy to eat and digest on my on time. The interior of Giggi’s is the Italian restaurant you have in your mind, cozy and casual. We ordered a vessel of red wine, water and bruscetta to start. Since my uncle had been in Rome for the better part of a month and taking Italian lessons, I was quite impressed by his handle on ordering.

01010a95c833b8a40c14d62435e6b36f3dd04f43e6_edited

To start off the bruscetta was fabulous. Ripe tomatoes and basil slathered over a perfectly crusty piece of bread which was absorbing the olive oil from the plate, allowing it to remain crispy yet moist at the same time. Rule of thumb, one order includes two slices, and one piece is enough for one person (unless you are starving). It was a perfect way to open my appetite for what was to come.

When it came to the pasta (in this case our main), my uncle ordered fettuccine bolognese, my mother adventurously chose a salmon fettuccine, while both my aunt and I went with bucatini all’amatriciana, in order to fully relive the episode we had during the luncheon a few days before.

01e671a4efdb62a664222613ac5457c5b301ea35dc_edited.jpg

 My mother adored her fettuccine with creamy salmon sauce. With small bits of fish, the pasta as a whole wasn’t overpowered by the salmon and created an overall creamy delicious texture to the dish. I assumed that all the red sauce she had eaten, drove her to make this choice but this was truly a case of you never know what you might like until you nom it.

01b057eb8c90ac683d57961e83c131a3961d8b1245_edited.jpg

Over on my end of the table, I was as passionate about my pasta as Apollo was about Daphne.  This might have been my first time trying bucatini (a thick spaghetti with a signature hole in the center) as it’s not commonly seen on a menu unless you’re at an authentic Italian restaurant. Said pasta was covered in a rich tomato sauce and full of generous pieces of my new favorite part of the pig, gianciale. With a little bit of parmesan, it was for lack of a better word, bellisimo.

At the end of our meal, I was in such a food daze that I couldn’t even contemplate dessert. Instead when we left the restaurant we took a walk around the neighborhood one more time before heading back to catch some zzzs. As I curled up in bed that night the thoughts of my last dinner at Gigi’s was still swimming around in my head and stomach. The trip in its nomtirity was complete and I felt confident leaving on the best of notes and a feeling deep in my belly that I would return to this wonderful place once again in the future.

011ab0fd8577257be880f01a40c5a2eb9d3a6da56c

Arrivaderci Roma. Until next time.

*************************************************************************************

Back in Belgrade, I have to admit things seem a little bit less romantic but it is a relief to not be surrounded by people everywhere you look. Where I live on the outskirts of the city is for the most part quiet, something I don’t appreciate enough. I came home with gifts for Milan as well as Mooshoo (more for her actually) and to my surprise there was a freshly made gibanica on the stove, waiting to be nommed. It was good to be home.

As I mentioned before I managed to make pasta with our pasta machine and am excited to try it out again with the proper flour I bought in Rome. The results from my pre trip pasta were actually quite tasty if I do say so myself, topped with a homemade tomato sauce, roasted vegetables and Parmesan.

pjimageroma14.jpg

See not too shabby!

I’ll keep you all posted on how the new and improved version comes out. Maybe I’ll even use some guanciale!

Alla prossinom!

Restaurant Information:

Address:  Via del Babuino, 120, Rome Italy 00187
Address:Via di Monte Testaccio, 97, Rome Italy 00153
Address:  Viale Eritrea, 109, Rome , Italy 00199
Address:Via Pedota, 2, Orvieto, Italy 05018
Phone: +39 328 823 0159
Address:Via del Pellegrino, 87, Rome, Italy 00186
Address:  Via della Croce, 27-28, Rome, Italy 00187
AddressVia Belsiana, 94a, Rome, Italy 00187

Nomming into the unknown: Galaxy Creperie and Belgrade’s Noćni Market

IMG_4050.JPG

Summer has faded and autumn is creeping onto the scene here in Belgrade, a feeling I must say makes me giddy all over. As you know the crisp air, colored leaves and soul warming noms make autumn my favorite season of the year. So you can imagine my excitement as September takes it place, there being no reason to hide my true nature which is to nom, nom and nom some more.

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

This season also means biannual visa applications and gathering of documents. But much like clockwork, the post application celebration is always something I look forward to. Whether it be a coffee and pastry at my favorite cafe or a giant pizza, you would feel like you deserved it to if you had to do this every six months too!

So this time Milan suggested that we go for brunch after applying and I had just so happened to find out about a new creperie in Vračar that I was extremely eager to visit. Located just a few minutes away from the herculean structure that is Hram Svetog Sava (the church of Saint Sava)  Galaxy Creperie is relatively new so as of right now the word isn’t officially out there, so I hope through this post the buzz will spread and people will begin to flock to this fabulous breakfast, lunch and dinner spot.

As a miniature foodie, I don’t necessarily like to follow the rule of restaurants or cafes that are empty to unequivocally mean that there is something amiss. This red flag can mean multiple things, and in Galaxy’s defense, as mentioned before it is because of their newborn status in the area. I like to joke with Milan whenever we are one of the only patrons, that he has rented out the place just for me.  In Galaxy’s case, the fact that we were alone only enhanced the overall charm of our experience.

pjimage.jpg

The interior of the restaurant is lovely and brand spanking new, with two levels and a beautiful garden terrace located out back. Creating a green space in the middle of a concrete jungle is quite the feet so when we sat down at Galaxy after the all the visa stress, it was utterly tranquil. Our waitress was adorable and attentive, cluing us in on fresh produce they had just received that day and doing everything with a smile, something that isn’t always apparent in Belgrade.

Brunch being both sweet as well as savory, we ordered a salty crepe to share and would then decide on our sweets once our eyes weren’t speaking for our stomachs. Their menu is a wonderland of all things nom, from breakfast specialties, to decadent pastas, salads and sandwiches, Galaxy seems to have it all. The pages of crepe and waffle combinations rivals that of Hari’s Creperie and since there were so many delectable concoctions that made it difficult to choose only one. They also offer buckwheat based items which is a plus if you’re fooling yourself into eating on the healthier side.

IMG_20170908_1322122.jpg

We did in fact choose a buckwheat crepe stuffed with grilled chicken, sour cream, tomatoes, peppers and boston lettuce. The colorful crepe came pre sliced into two halves which Milan and I both admitted later that we thought they were bringing us two pancakes because the pieces were that big! The crepe itself was properly cooked (unfortunately sometimes they can be burnt) and the flavor of the sweet, in-season red peppers was a great start to our brunch.

Our lovely waitress had informed us that strawberries were on the menu so when it finally came to choosing our second course, we both agreed for them to be added to our already over-the-top sounding sweet creations. Luckily for us there was an adequate amount of time to digest and enjoy the perfect weather outside, not a care in the world.

First up is Milan’s choice:

IMG_20170908_1401104.jpg

This fluffy waffle consisted of creamy yogurt and honey base, topped with citrus fruits of kiwi and orange, balanced by the natural sweetness of ripe banana and freshly cut strawberries of the day. Milan considered it ‘light’ a word that I dislike using ( because when is a waffle ever light..) but perhaps valid when compared to my own . His favorite part was the waffle itself because of it’s crispy outside and cake like innards.

And then there was mine:

IMG_20170908_1401319.jpg

Never one to shy away from over indulgence, I had chosen mine primarily because underneath the frozen cherry yogurt, red strawberries and dark chocolate drizzle was the nom of my life, peanut butter. The presentation was breathtaking and a part of me felt guilty that I would cut into something so perfect. Another great surprise however was that they waffle is already split into fours and arranged as a whole, so the oozing add-ons seep in between the crevices without you ever knowing, and I suppose it would make it easier to share!

pjimage2.jpg

It took us the better part of an hour to consume the waffles in their entirety. As you can see above Milan looked a bit apprehensive in the beginning as to whether he’d be able to stomach the huge portion or not, but in the end it was him who was badgering me about taking so long to eat, thoroughly enjoying my blissful brunch to the fullest. When the check came we were in borderline nomas (nom coma) and knew it would be necessary to take a walk around the block  before we returned to the car.

At the moment Galaxy has a small ‘Galaxy Cash’ promotion (invariably to gain momentum) which can be used towards your next visit, something we most certainly will be doing and hopefully with every foodie we know it tow. Truly, Galaxy Creperie is not to be missed and if you’re reading this now, make a note to visit the Vračar area soon for some outstanding noms.

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

IMG_20170908_2032212_edited.jpg

Belgrade is well known throughout the Balkans for it’s nightlife and party-like atmosphere. However, if you’re looking for something apart from the raging clubs and party scenes then make sure you visit the city’s monthly Noćni Market or Night Market at one of the many outdoor green markets throughout Belgrade. I have now been to a handful of these evening spreads and each time is better than the last.

The market boasts live music, lines of food stalls and craft beers, and rows upon rows of locally produced goods, from handmade jewelry, clothing and cosmetics to farm fresh produce such as smoked meats, cheeses and spirits. These markets are a great place for family, friends, and even a first date. The bottom line is that if you’re in search of something authentically Belgrade, Noćni Market is the real deal community bonding experience.

IMG_20170908_2117038_edited.jpg

On this trip we brought along our friend Micko, local Belgrader and “Gurman” which is loosely translated into a guy who loves all things food. Since his last trip to the night market in Zemun, he was on the hunt  for sizzling sausages and a piping hot Hungarian chimney cake. Having found the prior within minutes of our arrival at the Cirkus Pab stall we hunkered down with a few beers from Južni Vepar and thus I decided to ask Micko a few questions about his meal:

IMG_20170908_2012023.jpg

N&N: So Micko, you’ve got the sausage you were looking for. Are you happy?

Micko: Yes, very much so. (hunger in his eyes)

N&N: Tell me, how would you describe the sausage?

Micko: Well it’s very juicy, and it doesn’t have a chewy casing on it which is easier to eat. The flavor is quite nice too.

N&N: I agree, I’m not a huge fan of the sausage ‘snap’ either. Now what about the bun? It looks like a pretzel bun from what I can see.

Micko: The bun is great. It’s soft and seems to be absorbing both the juice from the sausage and the condiments without it being hard to eat.

IMG_20170908_2013496_edited

So there you have it. After having a bite of Milan’s, I wholeheartedly agree with my foodie friend. Did I mention this was the same day we went to Galaxy? Hence the reason why I chose to only drink liquid sustenance that evening.

We slurped down the rest of our beers, and chatted until we felt it was time to wade through the crowd of people, also another traditionally Serbian market custom. Following our noses towards the fragrant aroma of sweet baking dough, it didn’t take long until we found the Kürtőskalács stand.

pjimage3.jpg

Earlier I referred to them as “Hungarian chimney cakes” because of the way they are prepared. Stretched out dough is cut into strips then wrapped around an iron cylinder, placed on a rod and cooked via rolling over an open coal pit. It really is something you have to witness at least once in your life, not to mention nom on. I will applaud the chimney cake team because of their ability to work under extreme temperatures.

Once the cakes are cooked, they are taken off the now searing cylinders then either placed directly into parchment and into your hands or rolled in a variety of toppings. My preference is cinnamon and sugar because it reminds me of childhood toast but you can choose from nuts, chocolate bits, vanilla sugar or Micko’s choice, Nutella and Plazma!

pjimage4

Being the generous person Micko is, he shared his sweet creation with both Milan and I to which we were very grateful. The defining thing about chimney cakes for me is their golden crispiness on the outside while still maintaining a puffy texture on the inside. Be sure to nom them while their hot, but I doubt it will last that long!

IMG_20170909_1448407.jpg

After our tastings we wandered through the vendors, our senses overwhelmed by all the amazing local products this wonderful city has to offer. We passed by a cheese stall and sampled some of the best cheese I’ve had the pleasure of tasting and Milan simply couldn’t pass it up. While he waited in line for a hunk of gold, Micko and I continued on and like a heat seeking missile my brain registered the Cyrillic letters on a small glass jar : кикирики са медом – kikiriki sa medom – peanut butter with honey. There just so happened to be a kilo or two of apples at home from when we had gone to the village the weekend before so I was certainly on cloud nine.

After all that, the three of us left feeling anomplished. This night market happened to be located at Block 44 in New Belgrade so we decided to stroll the Sava Quay (behind Ada Ciganlija) afterwards, another must visit area for those who want a change from the congested streets of Belgrade.

IMG_4083_edited.jpg

******************************************************************************************

pjimage5.jpg

On another side note, we took a day trip to Palić (on the boarder of Serbia and Hungary) for the first time since we took my mother when she came to visit exactly two years ago. Only  a two hour drive from Belgrade, the scenic town of Palić has a wonderful lake and zoo among other things. For all you readers, this is yet another place on your list of things to see once you come to Serbia!

More noms to come!

Arrivedercnom!

Restaurant Information:

Address: Rankeova 1 Belgrade, Serbia 11000
Phone: 065 5557713
Address: Vrtlarska 3 Zemun 11080, Serbia
Phone: 011 2107722
Address: Njegoševa 53 Zemun 11080, Serbia
Phone: 011 4201267

Summer Noms 2017

The end of summer is approaching and as you all know I disappeared from blogging for a moment so that I could finish the end of the school year and before I knew it, summer had consumed me entirely, distracting me from writing all together.

But in this short blog I will recap some of the drool worthy noms over the past few months, from Budva to Boston and back to Belgrade.

*********************************************************************************************

pjimage12.jpg

At the beginning of this whirlwind summer I was lucky enough to go on vacation once again to the beautiful sea town of Budva, Montenegro. Only a short forty minute flight and you are transported to sea, sun, fun and incredible noms. I won’t cover everything but here are a few highlights from my week at sea:

#1. Restaurant Lovac (since 1928) – ending up at this jewel was pure luck as we had visited Ada Bojana that morning. It popped up as a popular spot a few miles in Ulcinj on our route back to Budva and would have been a crime if we had missed it.

pjimage (100).jpg

Lovac is a humble restaurant overflowing with pure Montenegrin hospitality. Their outdoor seating is covered by a canopy of kiwi and grape vines and upon arrival you are greeted with a smile and a glass of homemade spirits. The menu offers something for everyone and at a price that cannot be beat.

Do yourself a favor and order the seafood risotto which is not the typical tomato based you find in most places and is packed with shrimp, mussels, squid and octopi. Heavenly. The other things we tasted were stuffed squid and a filling pasta. Just when you think it’s over, they bring out refreshing watermelon slices and another drink to digest. And as if things couldn’t have gotten better, our angel of a waiter brought us tres leche cake…which was out of this world nom.

IMG_20170628_1525254

pjimage1.jpg

Lovac was the highlight of my trip not only because of the incredible noms but because of the staff that treated you like family, making you feel like you were finally home.

#2. Juice Bar – having already commented on Juice Bar in one of my first ever posts, Juice Bar is the old part of Budva’s city fortress is a great place for breakfast, drinks and delicious sandwiches made with their signature red tomato bread. As I mentioned before their sister restaurant is located in Belgrade so we never have to suffer through any nomdrawals.

pjimage3.jpg

This trip we went to Juice Bar twice (though we would have happily have gone every day) the first time on a cloudy day for brunch. We each ordered giant smoothies, mine, named ‘Blue’ was packed with fresh fruits and peanuts which I oh so adore. We had intended to stay for sandwiches but these fabulous smoothies covered each crevice of our stomachs and so we chose to visit again before we left. When we did return, we ordered new favorites – ‘French’ (brie, cranberry sauce, lettuce) and ‘Smoky’ (smoked meat, cheese, tomato, lettuce) checking off another box from our must noms in Budva list.

#3. Babaluu – hands down the best place in the city for breakfast or brunch. We went to Babaluu on our last trip for lunch where we ordered a plethora of things from pizza to pasta and salad but there was one thing I became obsessed with after our visit and that was ‘priganice’ or fried dough balls.

pjimage2

For some reason, thinking the priganice wouldn’t be enough for the two of us, we both ordered something “small” : jogurt and musli with fruit and freshly made kiflice (croissant like pastries) with ham and cheese. As it turned out these filled us up quite a bit and by the time our piping hot priganice (complete with sides of cheese, honey and jam) made their way to the table we were down for the count. Luckily they packed them up and I actually carried them all the way back to Belgrade that night!

IMG_20170702_1027573 (1)

What I adore about Babaluu is that they serve all of their dishes in a fun / different way and the exterior as well as interior of the restaurant follows the same theme. The prices are great and you know you’ll never leave hungry!

Hungry yet? How about some nomerable mentions:

*Keops Palačinkarnica – new to downtown seaside walk in Budva, Keops pancake house is another favorite that originated in Belgrade. These are a midnight snack must!

keops budva.png

*Restaurant Astoria – possibly the best cafe/ restaurant in the old city where you can relax and watch the crashing waves with a refreshing drink (alcoholic or not!) in your hand.

coffebudva.png

Bye Bye Budva!

IMG_20170627_2026582

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

pjimage13.jpg

Onward to America! My visit to the States was a short but sweet four weeks so that I could be united with my newborn nephew and catch up with all friends and family I have been absent from for almost two years. It’s true that now I’m an aunt, but let’s be honest not much has changed and neither have the noms!

#1. The Lobster Shack – back to my old university stomping grounds of Maine, this little gem was introduced to me by a family friend who we were spending the night with. Not a huge fan of lobster, or lobster rolls (New Englanders get your pitchforks ready) I do however love a giant bowl of clam chowder which the Lobster Shack happily provides.

chowder.png

At just the right consistency, their clam chowder is warm and smooth and as you can guess full of succulent clams. Eat is an an appetizer alongside a lobster roll or as a main with a salad as I did and you can’t go wrong in New England’s self proclaimed vacation land or in this case nomland.

Maine, the way life should be!

#2. Howling Wolf Taqueria – The infamous town of Salem, Mass has a plethora of great eateries tucked into every street corner and the Howling Wolf is one that should be frequented by everyone because of it’s extreme nomness.

First of all their variety of tequilas is off the chain. Always a fan of any kind of margarita, Howling Wolf’s margarita of the day was concocted with their very own blueberry tequila, pure liquid nomness.

FC211BBC-929D-4067-B57B-8A5275D8C315

Their menu is filled with south of the boarder inspired classics with a wolf twist. Fish tacos were a must as well as friend plantains, which if you haven’t had before I’m not sure how you’ve survived long enough to be reading this right now.

pjimage4.jpg

The tacos came on soft corn tortillas with a lightly battered piece of white fish and completed with spicy chipotle sauce and veg. Oh so nom. The caramelized plantains were the salty, sweet combination that dreams are made of.

Thus, if you ever find yourself in Salem and are in search of an ethereal experience then put down your guard and let the Howling Wolf do all the bewitching.

#3. Boston Public Market – Where once Hay Market stood, the newly built Boston Public Market is continuing the legacy of feeding hungry Bostonians by locally produced Bostonians. This building houses all the noms imaginable from seafood to glowing sandwiches and pasta, to sweets such as Crescent Ridge ice cream or freshly made apple cider donuts.

My taste buds were drawn towards the small Vietnamese influenced ‘Noodle Lab‘ stand where they create one specialized dish per day that are guaranteed to inspire and transport you far from the East Coast to somewhere much more exotic. The special for that day was ‘Bun Cha’ a fresh bowl of grilled pork over flat noodles with crispy bean sprouts, carrots, cucumbers, greens and a spicy chili dressing.

5.jpg

Because Boston Public Market is solely comprised of food stalls the only designated seating are large beer garden tables that the public share together. There is something magical about squeezing yourself in between people you don’t know but are drawn together for the same reason, to nom!

Be sure to take in the sights and smells of the hall while you enjoy your food because that is certainly part of the full experience. Although Faniel Hall is still more popular with tourists than Boston Public Market, perhaps this is a good thing as the food here is almost too good to share!

Have you recovered from this nom time difference? Here are some nomerable mentions to cure your jet lag:

*The British Beer Company – A few years ago I might have thrown this suggestion in the back seat but my most recent experience was quite lovely. Blueberry beer, fried pickles, honey whiskey marinated steak tips and sweet potato fries, need I say more? Their service was also top notch. My mind has been made up, the BBC might be the new place to be.

pjimage6

*Murph’s Place – Always a breakfast winner. It wouldn’t be a visit to the States without stopping by Murph’s in Norwood for omelets, french toast or a stack of classic chocolate chip pancakes drizzled in sweet maple syrup. Embrace your inner child and nom nom nom.

pjimage 7.jpg

And with that sweet trip down memory lane we head back to the Balkans!

Ciao Ciao America!

20632489_10209254763821913_799681579_n

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

pjimage10.jpg

Since returning back home to Belgrade and back home to Mooshoo cat, I have taken full advantage of Serbian summer snacks such as girice (little fried fish) , knedle (dough balls full of sweet or savory filling), watermelon, yellow peppers stuffed with cheese and so much more (however too many to document in this post)!

Nomandnommer hopes that you all have made the most of this glorious summer of 2017. It will definitely be one for the nom books!

Be seeing you soon, very soon!

Until next Nommer!

Restaurant Information:

Address: Velika Plaza 196, Ulcinj, 85360 Montenegro 
Phone:+382 67 556949
Address: Vranjak 13, Budva 85310 Montenegro 
Address: Mediteranska 8 TQ Plaza Budva, Montenegro 
Phone: +382 69 040440
Address: Slovenska Obala, Budva, Montenegro 
Phone:+382 67 556949
Address: Njegoseva 4 Old Town, Budva 85310 Montenegro 
Address: 110 Perkins Cove Road, Ogunquit, ME 03907, USA
Address: 76 Lafayette Street, Salem, MA 01970,  USA
Address: 100 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02108, USA
Address: 100 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02108, USA
Address: 85 Providence Highway, MA 02032, USA
Address: 58 Broadway Street, Norwood, MA USA

2 Cellos // 2 Pizzas // 2 Pancakes

Hello and happy Spring everyone! These past two weeks have provided us here in Belgrade with fantastic weather, colorful cherry blossoms and the first bird chirping signs of a glorious season ahead of us. I must say I feel quite grateful to be in Serbia because I didn’t have to endure the “out like a lion” snow storms that my friends and family on the East Coast of the United States did (phew).

IMG_20150412_153009 (2)

With Spring comes outdoor activities such as walking my favorite route around Ada Ciganlija, sitting outdoors at the hundreds of fabulous cafes and the multitude of shows and concerts that Belgrade offers in the warm weathered months between March and late September. This past weekend  Milan and I were eagerly awaiting the arrival of “2 Cellos” at Kombank Arena, having bought the tickets a few months back. The dynamic Croatian cellist were kicking off the tour of for the new album and if you haven’t had the chance to check them out…

do. so. now. like right now.

************************************************************************************************

Before I get into that let me begin by telling you how my culinary socks were kicked off the weekend before the concert by the boyfriend of Milan’s cousin. Andjela and Lazar  attend different faculties in Belgrade which would lead you to think that all they feast on is college cafeteria grub, however that is where you’d be wrong. Under their cozy basement roof is a nom extraordinaire, which I am ashamed to say didn’t know existed until now.

They had invited us over that weekend for pancakes and upon our arrival there was already a very large stack of pancakes on a plate next to their one burner hot plate. After catching up Lazar asked us if we were interested in slane (salty) crepes to which we automatically nodded and he disappeared into the fridge. This was when the secret chef put his hat on.

He retrieved all sorts of things from the fridge: two kinds of meat, sauteed mushrooms, shredded cheese, pavlaka (sour cream) and of course ketchup. He then proceeded to fill a small pot with oil and one by one began assembling what is known in restaurants as “pohovani palacinke” or deep fried pancakes. I sat speechless on the couch, having never seen it attempted in a home or even thought that people actually went through all of the effort to do it in their homes in the first place. But there he was, folding the pancakes with precision and dipping them in a sizzling bath of oil. Once he removed them he assembled them on the plate, grated more cheese on top and criss-crossed the ketchup like they do in any professional pancake house.

pjimage (97).jpg

Milan and I were both in awe with the deliciousness that we were about to partake in. First of all the pancakes were perfectly cooked, fried to a crispy golden color (but not greasy) and when we cut them open the creaminess of the pavlaka was still intact making each bite like heaven on a plate.

Just when we thought that was it, after a few moments of rest Lazar proposed sweet pancakes to follow. So back to the fridge he went and this time returned with bananas, thawing cherries, cipiripi (Seribian chocolate spread), ground plazma biscuits and a large bar of chocolate. He then meticulously put differing ingredients into multiple pancakes, folding them this time like triangles and then grating the chocolate bar onto them (yes you read that correctly, he actually grated the chocolate like a boss). We were both presented with four stuffed palacinke, two with banana and two with cherries.

IMG_20170319_1914596

They were magical. It’s difficult to say which one I enjoyed more, the banana or cherry and even more difficult to judge between the savory or sweet ones, but let’s just say they both won and I’m honored to have been served restaurant quality pancakes in the comfort of someone’s home. Listen, I love Milan’s crepes I really do, but these were on a whole other level: nom level infinity. Andjela and Lazar, thank you…we’ll be back….very soon…like how about tomorrow?

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

IMG_20170325_1930510.jpg

The day of the 2 Cellos concert was one of those perfect Saturdays that you dream of all winter long. Milan and I had woken up without obligations (or anyone coming to do works on the house) and lazily got ready for our afternoon in town where we hadn’t been for a few weeks. I told Milan the night before that I wanted to try someplace new and asked if pizza or pasta sounded good and naturally he agreed. So we set course to the Botanical Gardens parking garage so that we could take a leisurely stroll to Pomodoro.

pjimage (99)

I’d always been interested in going to Pomodoro because of their salivating pizza, pasta pics on Instagram as well as their Serbian celebrity clientele. One of our Italian acquaintances also frequently nommed on pastas here so that was my official seal of approval. Located on a quiet backstreet between the city center and Bulevar Despota Stefana, Pomodoro has outdoor sidewalk seating and a cozy yet spacious indoor dining room. Their open kitchen is the first thing you see upon entering therefore you can watch sizzling pizzas going in and out of their brick oven and Pomodoro’s diligent chefs at work while you wait.

Immediately you can tell that their wait staff is friendly and attentive, bringing their colorful menus and drink orders. Not only is their menu in three languages, Serbian, English and Italian, but there is a professional photo next to each meal, which if you love visuals of what you’re about to nom on, Pomodoro is the place to be. I had two pizzas in mind, the classic Margherita or their Braccio de Ferro (spinach pesto) because of their ascetically vibrant sauces and slices of fresh mozzarella as opposed to shredded. Unfortunately their batch of pesto wasn’t prepared at the moment (maybe because it was lunch time?) but I wasn’t deterred and stuck with my second choice of Margherita. Milan chose an olive oil based Formaggio di Capra e Pancetta.

IMG_20170325_1356324.jpg

I was extremely pleased when my Margherita made it’s way to our table because of its simplistic, no frills nature. When it comes to pizza sometimes we need to get back to the basics and rely on basic ingredient flavors which this pie definitely succeeded in doing. Their sauce is smooth and flavorful which complimented the creamy mozzarella and freshly picked basil leaves. Their crust is thin and crispy and won’t leave you feeling overly full. I ate the whole thing, you would too.

IMG_20170325_1356095.jpg

Milan’s gorgeous looking Formaggio di Capra e Pancetta was adorned with dollops of goat cheese, strips of pancetta and pan seared tomatoes. The flavor combination made up for the lack of sauce. Again it was extremely light and left him completely satisfied.

By the time we were ready to pay, Pomodoro had filled up with families and pasta lover a like. We had already decided that we would be back to try their delectable looking pastas upon our next visit which might include the rest of Milan’s family. The cost for the two pizzas was average for an eatery close to the center but affordable in my opinion. This wouldn’t be our last time visiting a little slice of Italy in the heart of Belgrade.

*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/

After leaving Pomodoro we strolled in the direction of Student Square in order to properly cleanse our pallets with a favorite you’re already acquainted with, Crna Ovca. Now that it was officially spring it was officially black sheep season once again! With ever changing flavors I am always determined to try something new so this time I continued the Italian theme and chose a base of  mascarpone and fig, topped with ricotta and honeycomb.

IMG_20170325_1520514.jpg

The tragic thing about Belgrade’s best gelato is that you can never be sure if they will have the same flavor twice but for my own sake and the sake of the free human world, I hope they keep churning out these two incredible flavors for the rest of eternity.

NOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

With our pallets cleansed we returned to the car and drove over the bridge to New Belgrade and Kombank Arena where the concert would start in a few short hours. If you’re driving, it’s always a good idea to arrive early because the closer to the start of any event the more nightmarish parking can be (knowledge from personal experience). The parking is free on Saturdays after two so take advantage of that as well and grab a front row spot.

IMG_20170325_164112.jpg

During our pancake party the previous weekend, we had found out that Andjela and Lazar would also be attending the concert so we had planned to meet early to grab a drink before having our minds blown. There is an interesting cafe, restaurant and bar close to the Arena called Victoria Station which has an antique train car next to their sleek modern indoor, outdoor space. This place is great for drinks with friends before a concert or game and because it’s within walking distance it can also double as an after hours destination.

IMG_20170325_1930141.jpg

Once inside the venue, we parted ways and took our seats in the upper part of Kombank but with a great view of the stage below. The Zagreb Philharmonic’s instruments were already in place and the one man acoustic opening act set the mood for a mellow opening to the 2 Cellos set.

Again if you aren’t familiar with this duo (google them ASAP) then you must know that their show begins with covers of musical scores from famous films such as The God Father, Brave Heart and The Titanic. Accompanied by the Philharmonic, Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser take the stage with their hollow electric cellos and take you on a musically driven emotional roller coaster. Each song features a visual displayed on a large screen behind the stage which adds to the overall goose bump inciting experience.

IMG_20170325_2154265.jpg

The second thing you should know about 2 Cellos is that they are less famous for their covers of the classics but more so of their modern covers of rock, pop and everything in between. They ingeniously transition into the second part of their show with AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” and immediately gets the crowd going by inviting everyone down to the stage to really get the energy going. The show then evolves into a full blown rock concert with pyrotechnics, laser displays and exploding cannon of confetti. The atmosphere in the Arena had completely transformed and we all went nuts.

IMG_20170325_2151259.jpg

They closed the show with a lullaby of U2’s “With or Without you” which brought the entire set list to a perfect closing. Once the encore had finished and everyone began to file out of the stadium it was clear that every single person had a truly unique experience. Belgrade is a great city to see alternative musical performances and seeing 2 Cellos will definitely go down in the books for me.

******************************************************************************************

Clearly this is just the beginning of a very magical part of the year. As you know with Easter coming up there will be traditional Serbian noms to report as well as other newly found noms around the area.

Until then I’ll leave you with a food related photo of Mooshoo…

17190835_10158433730585085_7576234283274435670_n

She’s an endless source of citric entertainment.

Doviđenjom!

Restaurant Information:

Address: Hilandarska 32, Beograd 11000, Serbia
Address: Kralja Petra 58, Beograd 11000, Serbia
Address: Bulevar dr. Zorana Đinđića 44а, Belgrade, Serbia

I see London, I see noms! Part 2 (at last!)

Finally I will continue my adventures in Nomdon!

IMG_20161205_105117.jpg

If you can remember from the first part of ‘I see London, I see noms!’ I had left you at the famous Millennium Bridge in the heart of the city, full of German wursts and Cadbury hot chocolate. The next day with our London Passes in hand, my mother and I ventured off on our own (my aunt had a plethora of bookstores she needed to visit) and as per our loosely planned itinerary headed to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

pjimage (84).jpg

After a brief walk over this international monument, the tour started at the far end of the bridge and began with a short elevator ride up one of the massive pillars and into a recreated room that detailed the history of Tower Bridge. After that we were free to move on by ourselves to the upper observation deck which is parallel to the retractable bridge crossing. The deck is lined with information about the bridge itself and other comparable bridges around the world. There is also sections of the bridge that are made of thick glass which unveil the flowing Thames below and give one the feeling of walking on air. I was a bit hesitant at first but once I saw how much fun everyone else was having, I had to join in!

pjimage (83).jpg

After our death defying feats we strolled to the gift shop to pick up a few trinkets for people back home and continued on to the Tower of London. Not to be confused with Tower Bridge, the Tower of London is actually the old palace, castle and fortress of this aging city, having been named after the ‘White Tower’ built in 1078. There happened to be a tour starting upon our arrival at the gates and despite my unwillingness to take part in something ‘uber touristy’ it turned out to be one of the best tours I’ve been on. Our tour guide, ‘Billy the Beefeater’ a retired soldier of her majesty’s armed forces was dressed in the traditional tudor style Yeoman Warders garb and my did he look and play the part!

IMG_20161205_123618.jpg

At the end of the tour we were full of entertaining historical facts but our bellies were quite empty so we decided to grab a bite to eat and a warm cup of something before we boarded a cruiser that would take us around the Thames that afternoon. There was a selection of small cafes and immediately Paul jumped out at me, not having been to one since being in Abu Dhabi and my first experience atCharles Degaulle airport when I was 15 years old (my mouth still waters to this day when I think of that buttery ham sandwich on a crusty baguette).

IMG_20161205_141322.jpg

And thus I couldn’t resist from having the same comforting cheese and ham baguette, this time split with my mom along with her choice of a toasted almost croque madam like sandwich (minus the egg) with marinated mushrooms and cheese..and a cappuccino of course to bring life to my aching feet. Paul is always a good choice if you’re looking for a tasty nom with a limited amount of time. For us it was just what we needed before we went back into the cold yet sunny weather of London.

IMG_20161205_152519.jpg

As we floated down the Thames we caught the sun setting behind Big Ben, probably one of my favorite ‘oh wow’ moments of our trip thus far. The cruise was a nice break from walking and standing but however our day was yet to be finished, we were determined to make the most of our London Passes and got off near the Eye so that we could make our way back over to the Tate to  visit the Shakespeare Globe Museum before it closed for the night.

Destroyed by fire in the 1500s and then demolished in the 1600s, Shakespear’s globe shaped theater has been built and rebuilt three times over yet the spirit of the original has certainly survived. Our tour through the museum was delightful and interactive as we were able to sit in the seats and roam about the theater, open and vulnerable to the environment. Today’s globe is still used for plays throughout the spring, summer and autumn months but with all of today’s modern appliances to enhance the performances. The guide was very knowledgeable and it would have seemed we came at the perfect time with the sun fading and the magic of the night creeping through the visible sky.

pjimage-85

We left the city center via the tube and back to Chelsea only to pack our belongings and bid the Sloane Club goodbye  so that we could move to our second hotel just down the road ‘My Chelsea.’ A charming boutique like accommodation, My Chelsea has their own beehives on the roof of the building which is why their restaurant cafe on their ground floor is adorned with different portraits of all things bee.

Later than night we met my aunt on King’s Road at a pizza/pasta place called Pizza Express where the interior and atmosphere bolstered much more than the name let on. With two floors, Pizza Express was busy even on a week night with hungry people nomming on universal Italian inspired favorites. The personal sized pizza were perfect for our appetites and I decided to make Milan proud by ordering a cappricosa-esk pizza.

pjimage (86).jpg

The oven baked pizza met all my pizza requirements and was just the right size. I fell that if you travel anywhere you have to have pizza at least once (or twice or even three times) to gain a sense of stable comfort miles away from home. As it turned out my home away from home was our Serbian waiter from Subotica (not far from Belgrade) who gave himself away when he confessed his love for a dessert of the menu that was inspired by jaffa cakes, a chocolaty-orange biscuit adored by Brits and Serbs alike. Opting out of dessert (I know I’m crazy) my aunt and mother although intrigued by the jaffa profiteroles ordered a slice of chocolate chip cheesecake a la mode.

You know what they say…you can take the Americans out of America but you can’t take away the American love for all things chocolate chips. Pizza Express, thank you for providing us with the comfort of our homelands at a reasonable price and lovely service. Nomtastic! 

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

The next morning we ate our humble yet deliciously energizing breakfast of cappuccinos, eggs, toast, cheeses, parfaits and pastries at the hotel’s cafe restaurant appropriately named ‘My Kitchen’. That day we met my aunt at Sloane Station with the intention of going to Kensington Palace, residence of the royal family, expansive outdoor gardens and a museum that detailed the life of Queen Victoria as well as a special exhibit of the well known royal fashion of Princess Dianna and Queen Elizabeth herself.

pjimage (87).jpg

I even met a few friendly squirrels, something I missed while living in Belgrade until one tried to scale my leg like a tree in search of food…yet again (a story saved for another time perhaps).

We parted ways with my aunt who wanted to retire back to the Sloane Club while my mom and I still had a full agenda ahead of us. We hopped on the tube towards Westminster Abbey but before we got above ground something colorful and miniature had caught our eyes: Lola’s Cupcakes.

pjimage (88).jpg

Their tiny blue cart in placed directly next to the turnstile almost like the light at the end of the tunnel when surrounded by the cold drab tiles of the London underground. With a plethora of regular sized and mini cupcakes, we couldn’t resist ourselves and indulged in a sweet mid morning snack.

pjimage (89).jpg

The mini I chose was salted peanut, made with a moist vanilla cake base, peanut frosting with chocolate drizzle and caramelised peanuts on top. It was truly a flavor explosion and left me sad and happy at the same time, wishing for more yet relishing in the nomness I had just had the pleasure of eating. My mother chose the oreo mini with a chocolate cake base, cookies and cream frosting topped with an oreo chunk. The fact that they were mini made they ten times more sweet and worthwhile. Needless to say my mouth salivated every time I walked by a Lola stand for the remainder of the trip!

IMG_20161206_133822.jpg

 When we got to Westminster we were in awe of the dark architecture and towering flying buttresses. The idea that so many famous and infamous people were laid to rest in this immense cathedral was an outer world experience. Lucky for tourists like us there were free audio guides that toured you around each crevice of the abbey but don’t forget to wander outside to the closed and open gardens!

pjimage (90).jpg

After our tour of Westminster we hopped on a London Pass bus and got off not far down at Buckingham Palace were we stood before the home of the Queen mum and all it’s sparkling glory. Even though the changing of the guards wasn’t until the next morning we still enjoyed being in the presence of the royals and a place where history has taken place.

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

IMG_3189.JPG

The next morning we had one very much anticipated plan and that was to see a live performance of the critically acclaimed Lion King at the Lyceum Theater. As a kid it was one of my favorite Disney movies so my mom thought ahead and bought two tickets to see the show earlier in the week.

With plenty of time on or hands we enjoyed our daily dose of cappuccino and then headed over to Covent Garden via the tube. The area is well know for shopping so we poked around and windowed shopped for gifts and things to take home with us. We tired our feet out as usual and were in need of a second caffeine fix as well as something sweet to pick us up. Along our journey we had seen the most incredible looking English pastries, cakes and cookies that our feet practically dragged us in on their own will.

A street or two down from the Lyceum is Peyton and Byrne, a cozy cafe with healthy lunch options and decadent sweets. The moment I saw that they served a personal sized banoffee pie, I was sold. After years of hearing about it from songs and television shows I simply had to have it. They also had a delicious looking Victoria Sponge, yet another English must try.

pjimage (91).jpg

Both desserts were so good we still can’t choose which one we liked better.The bannoffee had a perfectly crispy crust with sticky toffee custard filling and light whipped topping. The Victoria Sponge was a high tea classic with cloud like sponge, sweet cream and ripe strawberries everywhere in between. My pallet has enabled me from labeling anything ‘too sweet’ causing me to lean a bit towards the bannofee but I would eat both any day any time just say where and when.

15590576_10207504407544100_1910532500783102086_n_edited.jpg

We walked in a sweet haze to the theater where we enjoyed one of the best shows I have been to in a very long time. The Lion King can be enjoyed by people of all ages and the fact that a mother and her adult daughter can be transported to their living room sing along once again is something extraordinarily special. If you get the chance, go see this show! It was more than worth it! (Thanks again mother dearest).

As I had mentioned in the first part of this blog, this year I turned twenty-five and because I would be spending yet another birthday away from my family my mom really wanted to have a birthday dinner before we parted ways. With one day left we planned to meet my aunt and uncle that night at a restaurant not too far from My Chelsea and close to one of the most well known stores in London: Harrods.

unnamed (2)

Word cannot describe the scale of this almost two hundred year old world famous department store. Naturally the luxury clothing, perfume and jewelry were enough to drop your jaw but for me it was the international food section that had me at a true loss for words. It was bonafied foodie heaven…and they had EVERYTHING.

pjimage (92).jpg

Harrods’ gourmet grocery store included everything from pies to artisan cheeses and roasted meats to a complete bakery section with decorated cupcakes, cakes and every teeny tiny dessert your could dream of. The floor consists of multiple rooms, progressing from prepared food to strictly sweets, coffees and teas to food related gifts and finally a large room full of bars where you could sit, sip champagne and feast on anything from caviar to cured meats to raw fresh oysters. I was in awe, in absolute complete awe.

We decided on cupcakes to treat ourselves to after dinner for which I will recount after our dinner. Don’t worry I’m just as excited to show you as you are to see them!

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

A stroll round the back of Harrods’ on Walton Street brought us to The Enterprise, a quaint restaurant my mom had chosen from her skilled research the night before. By name alone it might sound a bit pub-like but rest assure this place has the warm atmosphere of a bar with the service and food of a fine dining establishment. As luck would have it we thought my uncle might have called to make a reservation although it turned out he hadn’t and the dining room was apparently mostly booked for a holiday party. But if the birthday gods do exist they granted us this and we managed to snag a table for four. As if that wasn’t enough luck, the staff presented us with a welcome drink of our choice. Thank you birthday gods, thank you.

IMG_3203_edited.jpg

The menu had the perfect amount of options, making it easier for us to make our decisions. For an appetizer we ordered tempura calamari and vegetables with a tangy soy sauce, Asian inspired and it actually made complete sense despite the British menu. The specials called to me and I ordered a chestnut stuffed turkey breast wrapped in bacon with roasted brussel sprouts and a sweet cranberry sauce. To me in sounded like Christmas on a plate. My mom who had been looking for something classic the entire week chose a game pie with a buttery flaky crust and a side of truffled mashed potatoes.

pjimage (93).jpg

The entire meal was comfort reincarnated (with the added plus of my lovely family), something I needed just before jetting off back to Serbia. The Enterprise did not disappoint in any area, the staff was delightful and their attentiveness was something you’d hope to have for every special occasion. If I ever find myself in the neighborhood again I would certainly have The Enterprise on the top of my list.

Later that evening back at the hotel, we unveiled the cupcakes that had been whispering my name from their beautifully sealed box all throughout dinner. These cupcakes are show stoppers inside and out:

pjimage (94).jpg

Some of  them were painted freaking gold people! Harrods’ gourmet cupcakes were my dream come true. I blindly chose them at the store having been overwhelmed and thus came back with a creamy red velvet (bottom right), hazelnut nutella inspired ferrero rocher (top right), a best of both worlds salted caramel (top left) and perhaps the most outrageously delicious cupcake I’ve had in my existence, chocolate peanut butter (bottom left / enlarged right photo). The golden fondant kept the peanut butter frosting in perfect form on top of  the peanut butter filled peanut butter cake on the inside. I was out for the count. It made my entire trip hands down.

London, I nom you!

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

On our last full day we still had a bit of sight seeing to do and wanting to do so on foot we chose to visit the Victoria Albert Museum first. This museum (adjacent to the Natural History Museum) is not to be missed if you are interested in unique exhibits such as the one we visited about the history of underwear, it’s a must visit. The admission is free (featured exhibits are six pounds or so) and with the amount of global artifacts that museum possess you could be there for months before you saw everything. They also have a great gift shop to pick up a less touristy souvenir.

image (1).jpg

My uncle had highly recommended that we at least stop by the British Museum, another site with free entry and a plethora of ancient world history. The architecture of the museum itself is worth the visit with its spiralling ramp in the middle that can take you to the different floors. Packed with student groups, their main attractions are mummified Egyptians, remnants of ancient civilizations and perhaps the most important artifact in terms of written language: the Rosetta Stone.

Needless to say all of the history incited our appetites and we chose to visit a low key chain around the corner called EAT.. EAT. is similar to Panera in the States or Hleb and Kifle here in Belgrade, breakfast, lunch and dinner options of sandwiches and soups galore. Never being able to escape the allure of falafel (cold or hot) I grabbed a wrap and a cup of piping spicy Chicken Laksa soup. At that point I was contemplating my return to Serbia.

pjimage (95).jpg

 From there we returned to Chelsea, stopping by the Sloane Club for one last farewell drink before we all headed out the next morning. On the way back to My Chelsea my mom and I ran into Waitrose to make sure we were fully stocked up on English treats, yes mostly candy and biscuits. To be honest that night I had a hard time closing my suitcase and for the first time I was actually concerned as to how I was going to get it all back to Belgrade.

15326585_10207363855150378_6348562929137741475_n.jpg

The following morning we solemnly ate our breakfast though reminiscing about our favorite points of the trip and discussing when we would meet next. Once we clambered our stuffed suitcases to the curb we called a cab and made our way to Paddington Station to catch the Heathrow Express back to the airport. Being the faithful daughter I am, I walked my mother to as close to her terminal gate as I could and teary eyed we parted ways. Goodbyes are always hard but since moving abroad and having dated long distance for four years before that, there is happiness in farewells because of the full knowledge that you’ll see each other again. In my case this coming summer for an entire month!

I sat at my gate yearning for another coffee and a treat to quell all of my emotions. So I did so at Apostrophe with the help of a large cappuccino and choco-pain.

IMG_20161209_114341_edit.jpg

The thought of a short flight was comforting but I still felt as though the week in London had gone by too fast and I wish we could have stayed frozen in time forever.

*****************************************************************************

Going to the UK was something I had wanted to do since my brother had gone with my late grandfather when he was in middle school and I know that this is just the tip of the iceberg. At some point in the near future I mean to discover my roots in Scotland as well as see the wonders of both Ireland and Whales. As to when I don’t know, but I do know it will happen!

IMG_3180_edited.jpg

Until next time Nomdon!

As a sidenote I would like to acknowledge the fact that it is indeed March 17th and that these events took place over three months ago, however I want to thank all of you for being patient and understanding of this large episode of writer’s block. Work and life getting in the way is no excuse but I do know that with spring having sprung, new noms are just around the corner so stay tuned!

Cheerynom!

Restaurant Information:

Address: Tower 42, 25 Old Broad St, London, England
Address: 152 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London, England
Address: High Street Kensington Underground Station (multiple other locations)
Phone:+44 07495 919792

Address: 35 Ixworth Place, London, England 
Phone:+44 20 7225 7535
Address: Covent Garden, 44 Wellington St, London, England
Address: 87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London, England
Phone: n/a

Address: 35 Walton St, Chelsea, London, England
Address:126 High Holborn, London, England  (multiple other locations around London)
Phone:+44 20 7831 3375
Address: Terminal 4 Heathrow Airport, Southern Perimeter Rd, London, England
Phone:+44 20 8897 2065