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In a state of hibernation. My backlog has long become unsustainable. Will probably tweet more and write less full-length stuff.

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Entries in Hungarian (2)

Thursday
Jun222006

Baraka

Well, everything is back up and running. I had a fairly major hardware issue (free AH tip: avoid shipping computers across the country via UPS). I'm on the road again though, and I'm now posting from the wonderful Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. I'll be here for a week, and I'm going to Tokyo and Kyoto next week. I'll post one more piece from Hungary, but after that I'm gonna do some real-time blogging while I'm here in Asia. Just like the old days. My stack of photos from Australia will make it on here eventually, but since it really was eating in Japan that inspired this website to begin with, I feel I should prioritize this way... :)

 

baraka.jpg

This last Budapest meal I'll be posting is from Baraka, the most highly anticipated meal of the trip. The restaurant was featured in this NY Times article about eating in Budapest, and received some glowing remarks. Owned by a Hungarian-American, the restaurant is supposedly bearing the torch of modern dining in Hungary, blending elements from East and West. The 2-floored restaurant is actually pretty small, with a simple and modern decor. We got a table upstairs, in an area that was sort of like a big balcony over looking the main part of the restaurant.

seared goose liver baked in rice paper served with soy-marinated shiitake mushrooms - Huf 2900 This intriguing foie gras preparation immediately caught my eye, and as you can see it is as unique a foie gras dish as you'll probably find anywhere. The foie gras was wrapped in a thin layer of rice paper.

a view of the inside After a bit of initial difficulty cutting through the wrapper, I was actually extremely happy with this dish. The foie gras was silky smooth and delicious, and the rice paper did an interesting job of soaking up the juices and adding a textural element I'd never tried before. This was quite possibly the standout dish of the trip for me.

prawns in curry broth served with sweet potato and baked red onion - Huf 5200 I followed up with this very fusion prawn curry. It was quite delicious; the prawns were plump and tender, and the curry had a deep, complex flavor. It made all of the veggies very tasty as well (green beans were also in there), and I particularly loved the sweet potatoes. The dish was definitely too freakin' small though. I would have been happier with a serving 1.5 times the size.

The food I had at Baraka turned out great, but I hesitate to recommend it because my three companions (Keith, Mike, and Elmer) all had very disappointing meals. I remember Mike getting a totally bland soup and a completely forgettable chicken, while both Keith and Elmer ordered an Atlantic cod that was downright bad. Keith is probably still angry about this meal, actually. And considering this is easily one of the most expensive restaurants in Budapest, the consistency issue raises a big concern. High prices + small portions = bad. For the others, the food wasn't good. I'm glad I went because I had two great dishes, but everyone else walked out pretty unhappy. Anyway, starting tonight or tomorrow I'll post some updates from here in HK. As usual there are plenty of good eats to be had. And next week.. JAPAN!

Thursday
May112006

Cafe Kor

I know, I know. I'm slacking. I'm in a deep hole with tons of food pictures, and it's looking like I will never catch up. The good news is I'm graduating on Sunday, then doing a bunch of awesome travelling through the summer (Vancouver, HK, Tokyo, Kyoto, Beijing, Manila). Which means even more food pictures... I'll figure something out though.

 

cafekor.jpg
So onto the first dinner in Budapest, aka night of foie gras indulgence. We went to the much-loved Cafe Kor, around the corner from the St. Istvan Cathedral. The place has been around for a long time, and has a reputation for delivering solid, realiable versions of classics with first-rate service. I also read it's frequented by a lot of expats and tourists, but is still a great place to eat. The restaurant was quite a bit smaller than I was expecting, and very bustling. I heard maybe 4 or 5 different languages going on at other tables. They had a big board on the wall with what must have been 20 specials, so I'm assuming their menu must change with some frequency. Anyway, I was extremely eager to eat some foie gras, after hearing that it is Hungary's national delicacy.

foie gras pate - Huf 2380 Simply put, this was the largest serving of foie gras I've ever seen. I would have expected about 1 of these slices for an appetizer, and 3 was just monstrous. Mike and I had quite a bit of trouble eating it all. It was very good, with a nice smooth texture and a strong livery flavor. The accompanying bread, not pictured, was delicious - loafy and perfect for picking up the spread.

fresh salmon carpaccio with red caviar - Huf 2190 Mike had this huge plate of salmon carpaccio for an app - again, probably the biggest carpaccio serving of any kind that I've seen in my life. I only had a bite and it was quite good. Red caviar seems to mean ikura, I guess. Mike cleaned the plate off.

roasted foie gras with apples, cranberries and potatoes - Huf 3580 I couldn't resist ordering a foie gras main dish - I wanted to try both cold and hot ones. And after that huge appetizer, I was almost scared of the foie gras overload that was about to confront me. This foie gras main was really frickin' good though - reminiscent of the foie gras dish at Aqua in SF, with a touch more char to it. I was extremely full but I managed to down the foie and most of the potatoes, which had soaked up lots of the foie gras oil and flavor. The apples were good for cutting the heaviness every few bites. I wish I was in town for a bit longer; there is a ton of stuff on Cafe Kor's menu that I'd like to try. They're supposed to make a mean version of goulash, and they had a bunch of interesting meat/potato stuff that I'd enjoy. Perhaps next time...