Travel the World: Budapest At Night

Saturday, May 13, 2017

I loved Budapest so much that it can't be captured in a single post. I decided to split up my experiences into the day and nighttime. We had such a fantastic time in this city, it was an endless feast for the senses. The cold air nipped at our faces, but our bellies were warmed by the heartiest of meals and the most pleasant of wines.

Every meal we had was more than good, many were exceptional and stellar. I enjoyed it all, from a tightly packed little spot with the classic comforting goulash to the fine dining experiences in which we indulged.

Some interesting spices and tastes that I was unaccustomed to included the fresh cool blast of juniper berry.

One thing that piqued my curiosity a bit was fried goose fat, traditionally used a lot in Hungarian Jewish cooking. While I think it adds a nice flavor to dishes cooked with onions, liver, etc, I wasn't too keen on little morsels of it as an appetizer.

One fun touristy thing that I would totally recommend doing is taking a river cruise at night. It's a great way to spend a few hours with the best, unobstructed, view of the city.

I had some specials, including this soup with goose gizzard. Eat any and all parts, that's how I roll.

We had our anniversary dinner at one of Budapest's newest Michelin starred restaurants: Borkonyha. 
Yes, the food is excellent, but what really shines is Borkonyha's extensive wine collection. It is a superb place to taste some of Hungary's best wines. 'Bor' is Hungarian for "wine", 'konyha' is "kitchen". Even by name, the wine comes first and the food follows.

 I often think about these duck and pumpkin bonbons with I'm trying to fall asleep at night. So buttery.

 Husband opted for venison.

 The kitchen let me mix and match from the set menu when what I wanted was unavailable, so I opted for pork medallion.

I always have room for dessert, especially when dessert is an assortment of sorbets with caramel shards. Initially I was going to pass, but the table next to us ordered it and I found it difficult to pass.

 I'm not a wine drinker by any means, but I was happy with what was recommended to us with our courses.  We started out the night with a bottle of Kreinbacher Prestige Brut. In addition we had several glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon from the town of Villány.

Goulash hits just the right spot when you've been trekking around the city all day in the cold.  We found most meals in Budapest to be quite inexpensive compared to restaurant fare on the West Coast. Seriously, where in the US can we get a three course dinner with plenty of beer and cider for under $20? Other than our anniversary dinner (we splurged big time on this, I admit. The waitstaff upsold everything and I'm not even mad), we were able to stick to a very low $/day budget while in Hungary.

One of the things I was most excited for was gypsy music. I had hoped to time our trip to coincide with performances by Budapest Bár but it was not to be. I've been trouble finding high quality recordings in the US, especially with the cimbalom, so I found myself buying CDs for the first time in a decade.

We wanted to sample some palinka (high alcohol content fruit brandy), so we made our way to one of Budapest's ruin bars - Szimpla Kert. Ruin bars are derelict buildings turned popular nightlife hot spots.

I had several varieties of palinka, but the memory of the cherry one makes me shudder. It was quite harsh to say the very least! Even if the eclectic look of the place isn't quite your style, I found the labyrinth of  rooms to be quite interesting to , each nook revealing yet another bar and bartender ready to pour a drink.

It goes without saying that I would absolutely be delighted to visit Budapest again. It's so lively, people were so friendly, and the cuisine scene is utterly fabulous. There's artwork and architecture around every corner. Next time, I'll show you some of places we explored in the day time, from museums to fabulous brunches and even Turkish baths.

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