Thursday, September 02, 2010

Pragurkreece: I Ate Fried Dough In All The Countries

Our little travelling band had many happy commonalitites, one of the most excellent ones being that our favorite part of travel is the eating.  Also, that we are frequently hungry.  Also, that we can never turn down a mixed platter.

It is almost impossible to turn down a mixed meat platter, because there are such varieties of things to eat, and this is like getting a bite of all of Prague's best offerings.  Like bacon dumplings.  And sausage.  And duck.

It is similarly difficult to turn down a mixed kebab platter when it is your first evening in Turkey, and how are you supposed to decide which kebab you want?  You want all of them.

Or when it's your second night in Turkey and the mixed kebab platter can easily feed four people?

And comes with a bread-baby?

Or when the mixed appetizer platter lets you choose which six appies you want?  So obviously you go with baba ganoush and hummus and grilled eggplant salsa and croquettes and fried cheese and sundried tomatoes with pomegranate and mint sauce?

And then are overwhelmingly unhungry for your lamb platter when it arrives?

The mixed meat platter took a haitus mid-trip, only to return with a vengeance (and with a mixed seafood grill) in Samos

as well as in Athens (this obscene amount of meat for two people).

When we weren't eating mixed platters in Turkey we were usually eating burek, which is essentially croissant dough wrapped around spinach, meat and cheese.

One evening on our wanders we passed a churro vendor, and I can never turn down a sugary fried dough product.

It was much denser than the churros I'm used to, and cold, and drenched in honey rather than tossed in sugar, but it was so delicious that we immediately got another one.

The restauranteurs were varying degrees of pushy and welcoming, and the street-donair vendors would always accost you with samples of shaved meats.  It worked on us literally every time.

One cheerful batch of restauranteurs two down from our hostel greeted us so cheerfully and un-aggressively every time we walked by that we ate there thrice.  Our last night there, I was dying for some rice pudding but they were out so the waiter whipped up a kadayif for me instead - 'very special Turkish dessert, my favorite' - which is basically cheese wrapped in fried noodles soaked in honey.

I have eaten fewer more delicious things.

Eating wasn't always a whimsical delight.  Sometimes they would bring you something exorbitantly more expensive than you'd ordered, and then charge you for that instead.  Sometimes a wasp would die a horrible, sticky death in your breakfast.

Sometimes the guy running the hostel was the only guy working at the hostel, so you would get your continental breakfast in shifts - the toast would be much delayed and you'd be giddy from all the coffee on an empty stomach, or the eggs would be late and runny, or the coffee cups would materialize but an hour later there would still be no coffee.  We never left our Samos hostel before noon, and it's not (completely) because we were lazy.

Sometimes the guy at the hostel would have no idea where anything was, and would send you tramping out with restaurant recommendations, the first of which was closed down, and the second of which you'd spend two hours searching for. 

But then sometimes your hostel would serve yogurt, honey and muesli for breakfast, and after your 'hot cheese salad' lunch (it was basically a 3-cheese paste, and you dip bread in it) the restauranteur would bring yogurt, honey and nuts for dessert, and then your hilariously old dinner restauranteur would also bring you complementary yogurt and honey for dessert, and you would eat yogurt and honey thrice in a day and not regret it.

And every meal we ate would literally be the best meal ever, but then these gyros really were the best meal ever.

And then we came back to Prague, where there are no gyros, but where there are crepes with marscapone and cherries, or with raspberries and whipped curd.

And then we had mini-donuts drizzled with chocolate at the zoo and were chased by wasps.

And then we had fried camembert and goulash at the monastary.

And then it got chilly so we put on sweaters and had hot chocolate so thick it was like pudding.

And then we had rum-raisin pancakes with cottage cheese and hazelnuts, or waffles with strawberries.

And the world's most elaborate cafe au lait.

And then, to end it all off, we had ribs and fries and beans with bacon.

And then we rolled ourselves home.


Esther said...

Heavens woman I think I gained 10kg just reading that!!
I love kadayif, we call it knafeh over here. Yesterday I made the family take a trip so I could treat myself to some. Mmmm.

alice c said...

I am suspicious. Is this pretend eating? Is it pretend food? How else can you maintain your sylph like figure?