Sunday, September 30, 2018

September 29, 2018 Bucharest to Oslo. Lunch – Lille Herbern

September 29, 2018 Bucharest to Oslo. Lunch – Lille Herbern

We rose at 3:00 for our flight to Oslo. I ate several pieces of toast smeared with fish roe salad and drank the last of the feteasca alba and a bottle of rose and showered.  We dressed and ubered to the airport at 4:30 and the Wizz flight lifted off at 6:00 with the cabin almost fully filled like a long skinny tube of sardines.  The seats are rigid and all three seats on our row were filled. Although Suzette had several inches of leg room, I had about ½ inch of freedom of movement, which made for a rather tight unpleasant 3 hour ride to Oslo, but at about $50.00 no one was complaining and there were some guys bigger than me, who must have been even more miserable.

We arrived at the Vestfold Airport, which is almost at the southern tip of Norway and took an express bus the 113 km. North to Oslo, which provided a lovely 1 ½ hour scenic introduction to Norway.

When we were delivered to the Central bus terminal we were oriented by a pleasant information booth attendant, who gave us directions to our Scandia Holberg Hotel, which is located at Holberg Plass, which is a tram stop for the No. 18 tram, which we took from the bus terminal directly to our hotel.

We arrived at our hotel at around 12:00, we were given our room assignment and the desk attendant helped orient us to go to the Viking ship Museum.

We took the tram to Jernbanetotget and changed to the No. 30 bus to the Bygdoy peninsula.  Although we ate slices of apple with smoked Romanian cheese and the last of our milk chocolate and hazelnut bar, we were hungry and Suzette started looking for a restaurant near the museum on Bygdoy.  She soon found a recommended fish restaurant named Lille Herbern on a small island named Lille Herbern near a bus stop named Lille Herbern. So we disembarked the bus at Lille Herbern and walked to the path to the boat dock where we could catch the small boat limited to 11 persons to Lille Herbern.  On Lille Herbern was only a boating and water sport facility, the ferry office, and the restaurant plus hundreds of shorebirds congregating on the sandy beaches of the small island.  We walked to the restaurant in a strong breezes took a table with a view out the windows of the archipelago and beach.  We ordered and then did a bit of bird watching and saw many different types of boats go past the island and out in the fiord.

Suzette was hungry and ordered steamed mussels and fish and chips made with haddock.  I ordered a large order of Greenland shrimp.  The mussels were served in a white wine broth and were exceptionally tender.   The fish and chips was equally fresh and delicious, but I was blown away by the shrimp.  First of all they were served in a large bowl.  I later found out that there were 400 grams of shrimp, which a little less than 1 lb., but they were small and there must have been over 150 of them.  Eating them was further complicated in a good way by the fact that almost every one of them held a clutch of eggs between their legs.

Here is a picture,

So to eat one properly you first had to suck the eggs out of the legs, then remove the head and suck the bit of tomalley from the head, then peel the shrimp out of its shell, then dip it in either the aioli sauce of dill and sour cream sauce.  There were also slices of French bread and butter so on several occasions I gathered a pile of about a dozen shrimp and made an open faced sandwich on buttered bread.  It took me over two hours to eat the bowl of shrimp and help Suzette eat her steamed mussels and fish and chips.  The fish and chips was served with cottage fried halved new potatoes mixed with smashed green peas.

Suzette drank three glasses of German Riesling while waiting for me to finish my shrimp, which she was reluctant to help me eat.  I drank an English apple cider that was fermented from fresh fruit that was lovely.

After we finished it was about 5:00 and we were both very tired and went back to the hotel.

We had several cups of tea and both took showers and enjoyed crawling into a good bed for a change.

The food is not cheap but where in the world can you find this fresh seafood.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, September 29, 2018

September 28, 2018 Brunch – Duck, Mushroom, and Egg Sauté Dinner – Maize

September 28, 2018 Brunch – Duck, Mushroom, and Egg Sauté Dinner – Maize

What a difference a day can make, food wise.  From one of the worst meals yesterday, we enjoyed our best meal in Romania today at Maize, a farm to table fine dining restaurant pushing the envelope of creative cuisine in several interesting ways.

We started the day cooking brunch in the apartment.

We de skinned and diced the PPI roast duck from Li Wu two nights ago.

Suzette diced two stuffed mushrooms and added them to the additional PPI Chinese vegetables from Li Wu and diced a potato and the 1/3 onion and sautéed all those ingredients and then pushed the duck and veggies to one side of the skillet and fried four eggs with the veggies and duck to make a wonderful breakfast.

Our duck hash brunch'
At 11:00 we took an Uber to the National Museum of the Peasant where we visited yesterday, except today there were vendors and music and food in abundance for the National Folk Celebration.

Suzette drank a beer and immediately started shopping and I drank a glass of must, which is fresh picked wine grape juice that has just begun to ferment.

We then walked over to the music venue and watched several folk dances.


Then we noticed a cobbler who also made Romanian hats and belts.  We bought a replacement belt for the secondHartman bag I carry and I found a black sheep skin hat for $25.00 which I bought.

Here is a picture of me with the cobbler/hat maker.

The cobbler and me in our traditional hats 

There were all types of handicrafts.  Suzette bought several pairs of hand stitched wool socks for her
staff and straw sandals.  We stayed until 2:45 when we ubered to a private art collection of K. h. Zambaccian, who donated his collection and house to the government.

It was another jewel of a collection more densely displayed than the Anschutz Western art collection in Denver.

The collection has the only Cezanne in Romania and several other post impressionists, including a wonderful Alfred Sisley and several Matisses, plus more paintings by the early 20th century Romanian artists than we saw at the National Museum, such as Pallandy.

                                               The Alfred Sisley painting

At 3:45 we walked to Maize and found out it was closed from 4:00 to 5:00, so we made a reservation
for 5:00 and went downstairs to its outdoor bar and drank water and a glass of Reces Pinot Noir Rose and waited an hour.

We returned at 5:00 and were seated immediately.  We were given a waiter who spoke English that made it easy to order.

We had looked at the menu when we made our reservation at 3:45 and Suzette knew she wanted Polenta ball filled with octopus tentacles in polenta.  I ordered the grilled pigeon.

We were first served a house appetizer of a half of a grilled Persian cucumber garnished with four small dollops of seasoned goat cheese and fried vegetable chips on one end and on the other part it had been dusted with a green powder that appeared to be ground fried kale because the there was fried kale and micro greens garnishing the goat cheese dollops. This was a beautiful introduction to the quality and creativity of the food at Maize

We were hungry and when the waiter said it would take 30 minutes we asked for soup, but the waiter said there was no soup, but he would bring us something “small and delightful”.

Soon he appeared with a lovely glass bowl with a wide flat rim and in the depression in the center was a pile of fried vegetable chips that covered a large dollop of smoked cream sitting on a smear of basil infused oil and a rectangular wooden hand carved bowl filled with dried grass on which rested two small grilled dark wheat rolls.  I sliced the rolls into two flat discs and gave one to each of us and we spread the smoked cream on them with a few fried vegetable chips and enjoyed them immensely.  I have never tasted smoked cream but found it delicious.

The smoked cream garnished with flash fried vegetable chips

The grilled rolls

We ordered a bottle of Lilias 2016 Feteasca Regala, which went really well with the cream.  Feteasca Regala is an elegant grape, perhaps Romania’s best white grape.  It has a good balance of fruitiness and acidity and a richness of flavor that I find appealing.

After another fifteen or twenty minutes our entrees and vegetable dishes were served.  Besides the two entrees we ordered a bell pepper stuffed with Mashed potatoes and sauced with a creamed mushroom purée flavored with bits of black truffle.  The other side dish was a platter of ten different vegetables, some of which,  had been marinated in soy sauce and grilled.  Here are more photos.

Suzette loved her dish a ball of polenta in which three octopus tentacles had been baked. A chef accompanied our waiter to the table and cut a circular cap in the polenta ball and removed the cap and then with surgical tweezers removed the octopus tentacles to a bowl filled with a few crisp thin fried pork skins sitting on a basil oil sauce.

The chef then injected smoked cheese foam into the container of polenta. The smoked cheese is a Romanian cheese that is similar to a smoked Gouda.  The foam mixed with the soft polenta to make a

creamy smoky octopus flavored polenta that was delicious, especially with pieces of octopus.

My dish was a little more challenging.  I combined an elegantly roasted pigeon roasted to rare glazedwith a lemon and orange reduction and garnished with flash fried micro greens; simple direct, classically correct. The  pigeon halves were served in a bowl sitting on a pile of roasted corn kernels and corn puffs that had been sautéed in a sauce made with a yeast with an assertive flavor and pieces of charcoaled cheese that gave the corn kernels a smoky heavier flavor, not easily discerned.
The pigeon was garnished with an array of flash fried micro greens and a form of aramanth, probably from the pigweed plant, sautéed in a light sauce.  I enjoyed the use of a native member of the aramanth family of plants, because I consider it a super food, a highly nutritious and cleansing food group.

In my opinion the treatment of the corn did not enhance the pigeon.  I found the corn kernels, overly firm with a strange dark flavor.  I later learned from the chef that he had sautéed fresh corn kernels in a sauce made with a specific type of yeast, which he let us taste and which had a nutty flavor.  The treatment of the corn was not to my liking. A favorite traditional dish In New Mexico, where I live,  utilizes corn kernels are dried as an ingredient in Posole, to give it a more varied texture. That form of posole’s texture is soft and firm, while the dish tonight was mostly firm, plus the kernels sautéed in the yeast sauce had a musty fermented flavor. So that part of the corn sauce did not work for me, perhaps due to my distinctly different cultural orientation.  Taste is a culturally acquired sense.

   My taste unfortunately has a New Mexico Cuisine orientation in which hardened corn kernels  (chichos), dried kernels of corn are cooked into dishes and I lack an Romanian oriented palate that is accustomed to sour, fermented dishes.  Also, the char grilled blackened cheese further rusticated the dish and detracted from the elegance of the beautifully grilled pigeon, in my opinion, even though it was a lovely farm to table statement.

Perhaps the two most interesting things I learned from this lovely meal were that farm to table and use of locally foraged ingredients is a growing trend in high end restaurants all over the world and the food served at Maize allows you to examine your own perception of taste, because you are tasting the best local ingredients prepared in creative combinations and often utilizing non-traditional preparation techniques.

After dinner we ubered back to the apartment to pack and try to get to bed early because we would need to leave for our flight to Oslo at 4:00 a.m.

Bon Appetit

Thursday, September 27, 2018

September 27, 2018 Lunch – Inn at National Village Museum. Dinner – La Papile.

September 27, 2018 Lunch – Inn at National Village Museum. Dinner – La Papile.

We slept in a bit today.  I had granola, yogurt, milk, and cherry preserves for breakfast.

At 10:30 we went by Metro to Aviator Plaza and walked into Bucharest’s large King Michael 1 Park until we arrived at the south entrance to the National Village Museum, where Romania has collected historic buildings from many parts of Romania demonstrating each region’s historic architectural style.  The age of buildings ranged across the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century.

We walked for about an hour until we came to an old inn that was a modern restaurant and decided to sit and eat lunch.

It was cool and the wind was blowing, so we immediately ordered cups of hot red wine.  I added honey to mine to sweeten it a bit and dispel its bitterness.

Suzette ordered a Caprese salad and I ordered one of the daily specials, Lamb Pastrami, which is salt and air cured lamb strips served with polenta.  Neither of our dishes was particularly good.  No one had thought to rinse some of the salt off the lamb pastrami nor did the chef make a sauce for the pastrami as the chef at the winery had on the 19th.

The tomatoes in Suzette’s Caprese salad were not ripe and instead of fresh basil the chef shuck dried basil flakes on the salad and instead of fresh mozzarella, the chef used slices of firm mozzarella like you would find on a sandwich.  All in all a pretty bad meal in beautiful historic setting made more palatable with two local Ciuc beers, but worth the $26.00 price.

After lunch we made our way to the main entrance where we hailed an Uber and returned to the apartment a bit after 3:00.

I took a 30 minute nap and then a bit before 4:00 we walked to the Wine Pro wine shop run by a sommelier where we met Aaron and Monica and talked to the owner for about an hour.  We then went to another wine Bar named 1000 and drank wine and talked to the owner and tried his wines.  His wines were really good, especially the Shiraz.

They served us sausages and cheese with the wine.  We paid $100.00 for the tasting.

We discussed and decided upon seafood, so Monica directed us to La Papile, which features fresh fish. As we walked to La Papile we saw a beautiful sunset. After we arrived at La Papile,  Aaron left for a 9:00 meeting, Monica stayed and split a dozen large fresh oysters from Brittany.  Each of Suzette and Monica ordered a bowl of cream of mushroom soup and I ordered a bowl of seafood soup, although I was not very hungry.

The fish soup was really good with lots of fish, mussels, a shrimp, and some octopus in a thick tomato based broth.

Suzette had a glass of wine. The bill was 317 lei or about $80.00.  The oysters were $5.00 each, but beautiful.  I would highly rate La Papile as a place to get really fresh seafood.

After dinner at around 9:30 we returned to the apartment and did some laundry and watched the Kavenaugh hearings and drank glasses of fetescea Alba white wine.

Bon Appetit

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

September 26, 2018 Breakfast – Casa di Bran. Dinner – Li Wu

September 26, 2018 Breakfast – Casa di Bran. Dinner – Li Wu

We awakened at 8:00 and went next door to the restaurant of the hotel.

A Swedish style breakfast was included with the cost of the room.

It included a wide array of items, three kinds of cold cuts, an omelet, yogurt, muesli, sweet bread, pannecotta, plum compote, and many other items, plus juice, coffee, and tea.

Aaron and Monica joined us and Monica ordered a fresh ham omelet that was much better than the lukewarm one in the warmer.

We enjoyed a large breakfast.  I ate muesli, pannecotta, and yogurt.  Then the three meats and an omelet. Then the fruit bread with compote and tea.

After breakfast we walked the three blocks to the Bran Castle.  This is the castle used as the source of Bram Stoker’s book, Dracula.

Glad the Impaler’s father was named Vlad Dracul, which appears to be the source of the name.  Actually Dracul and Vlad were probably assassinated by the Turks.

Until very recently a wing of the Hapsburg family lived in the castle.  The last member of the family was expelled from Romania by the Nazis and now is a designer of glassware in NYC.

The castle was built on five or six levels over 100s of years and guards an important pass between two mountain ranges of the Carpathian Mountains where the owners exacted customs duties from all who passed through the pass.

Built on the site of a Teutonic Knights stronghold dating from 1212, the castle was first documented in an act issued by Louis I of Hungary on November 19, 1377, giving the Saxons of Kronstadt (Brasov) the privilege to build the Citadel.

Bran (Dracula Castle) RomaniaAlthough Stoker never visited Transylvania, the Irish author relied on research and his vivid imagination to create the dark and intimidating stomping ground of Count Dracula, leading to persistent myths that it was once the home of Vlad Tepes, ruler of Walachia. Built on the site of a Teutonic Knights stronghold dating from 1212, the castle was first documented in an act issued by Louis I of Hungary on November 19, 1377, giving the Saxons of Kronstadt (Brasov) the privilege to build the Citadel.

Bran (Dracula Castle) RomaniaAlthough Stoker never visited Transylvania, the Irish author relied on research and his vivid imagination to create the dark and intimidating stomping ground of Count Dracula, leading to persistent myths that it was once the home of Vlad Tepes, ruler of Walachia. While the association with Dracula is sketchy at best, the castle continues to hold a strong attraction for all fans of the Count.

From 1920 to 1957 Bran served as royal residence, a gift of the people of Brasov to Queen Marie of Romania. The castle is now a museum open to tourists, displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Marie.

After visiting the castle we bought pastries at local pastry shop and took them back to the hotel restaurant and ate them with cups of tea.

We then drove to Saiana and went to the tram to visit the Sphinx but it was closed due to high winds.  So we went to the Halewood Winery where we tasted champagnes and a very good Still Pinot Noir Rose and ordered 4 meat rolls and roasted peppers.

After the light lunch we returned to Bucharest at 6:00.  We stopped at a supermarket and bought borsc magic, a bottle of Bran Cherry liqueur, a chocolate bar, and several beers.

 Monica dropped us off at the apartment around 6:00.

We had a drink with Aaron and then he left to have dinner with Monica and we tried to decide upon a restaurant.

We finally settled on a restaurant named Terrace that served French food with a back up Italian restaurant about 1 block away.  We walked to the location but Suzette’s map function was not working well.

We had passed a Vietnamese restaurant named Li Wu on our way to the mistaken location, so when we discovered that we did not have a good location, so we decided to go back to Li Wu.

Li Wu is a fast food restaurant without table service.  We took a menu with descriptions and pictures and two Saigon beers and reviewed the menu for several minutes until we both agree on two dishes we wanted fried duck breasts and beef with bamboo shoots, and that we wanted to order two fried pork egg rolls and an order of rice noodles.  All of the food cost 60 lei, which is $15.00.

The beef and bamboo shoots was amazing.  In addition to very tender pieces of beef and bamboo shoots, it contained slices of fresh sautéed cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, white mushroom, pieces of wood ear, slices of fresh shitake mushroom, and onion.

The other dish was even better. It seemed like two duck breasts were fried to perfection and sliced and laid on a bed of stir –fried vegetables  in a similar brown sauce and the same selection of vegetables.  The rice noodles were cooked in boiling water and then served in a bowl.  There were three sauces.  I put a mushroom soy and a spicy sweet sauce on the noodles.

The fried egg rolls were served with a rice vinegar and fish sauce sauce and were the least interesting dish.

The beef was as tender as any we have ever tasted as were the vegetables.  There was so much food we could not finish the duck, so we put the rest of it in a plastic container and took it home.  LibWu is the best restaurant we have eaten at in Bucharest, for the money.  It is an absolute winner.  The Vietnamese chef is wonderful, although the dishes we ate were both Chinese style dishes.

We walked back to the apartment and went to bed.

The massage last was wonderful.  The masseuse put my hips back into alignment and loosened up my calves and thighs so I could walk without pain today.

Bon Appetit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

September 25, 2018 Bucharest to Bran

September 25, 2018 Bucharest to Bran.

Apparently we got some food poisoning at dinner on the 23rd, so yesterday we stayed in the apartment except for a few minutes that I walked to a small Stop and Go market around the block, where I bought another container of ZuZu yogurt, muesli, two loaves of bread (1 white and 1 dark), and another container of fish roe salad.

Suzette suffered worst than me.  I was able to eat and ate muesli and yogurt for brunch and ate four slices of bread with fish roe salad for dinner.

We went to bed around 10:00.

This morning we awakened at 7:30 in better shape and packed for our trip and then made breakfast.  I diced a potato into small cubes, sliced and diced about 3 oz. of onion, sliced four slices of salami and diced about ½ lb. of roasted pork.  Suzette sliced two slices of tomato and put one each on a plate.  Then she sautéed the salami to develop some fat and after removing the crisp fried salami strips she sautéed the other ingredients and fried two eggs for me and one for her in the pan with the other ingredients and then piled them on top of the tomato slice and we finished the dish by sprinkling the fried salami strips over the pile.

I poured glasses of apple and sour cherry juice and we ate a delicious breakfast.

Aaron arrived at about 9:00 and we gathered up our gear and Monica picked us up on the street at around 9:30.

She drove us out of Bucharest and stopped for gas and to pay a road tax to leave Bucharest for the car.

She then drove us north into the Transylvanian Mountains to Sinaia to a ski resort hotel and restaurant across the street from the bobsleigh run for lunch.  Suzette ordered a bowl of pork and potato soup that was partially milk based, I ordered the house sausages, Monica ordered a platter of pork rind and pork fat strips to teach us about Romanian cuisine.  The pork rind was not pickled, so it was very chewy, but the pork fat was very soft and appeared to be fat cut from a ham.

Aaron ordered cabbage rolls and a grilled smoked duck breast that was quite tasty.

Monica also ordered a chicken soup with fresh noodle strips in it and a fried trout battered in cornmeal.

For dessert Aaron and Monica ordered fried doughnuts garnished with sour cream and blueberry compote.  I ordered a Stella Artois and we split two bottles of water.  The most interesting part of the meal for me were the two small glasses of blueberry liquor that Monica ordered for us at the beginning of the meal as an aperitif.

After lunch we drove on to Bran and arrived a bit after 4:00.  The castle closed at 4:00 so we settled in to our lovely rooms at the Casa di Bran.

We had a lovely view of the country side and the castle from our room.
Here is a photo.

Suzette wanted a massage, so the hotel arranged for a masseuse to come to our room at 8:00.  She gave both Suzette and me a massage.  It helped both of us feel infinity better.  We were happy to skip dinner.

I can not describe how much better I feel.

It looks like I had another good day in the market.  The tech stocks and oil went up.

We get CNN and BBC news on the TV plus all the news on WiFi.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, September 23, 2018

September 23, 2018 Lunch – Picnic at Salina Salt mine. Dinner - Lacrimi și Sfinți

September 23, 2018 Lunch – Picnic at Salina Salt mine. Dinner - Lacrimi și Sfinți

We got dressed and made sandwiches and met our driver at Starbuck’s at 9:00.  He drove us for about an hour to Salina Praid,  the Praid salt mine.  After parking the car we were loaded on small buses with lots of other visitors and driven into the mine.  It took the minibus about 15 minutes of driving down a descending road to reach the mine floor.  When we walked through the door from the small parking lot into the mine floor we found ourselves in a large vaulted chamber connected to other vaulted chambers that were about 200 yards wide and about 400 yards high; in a word, vast.

There were sleeping areas, recreation areas, and a chapel area,  plus lots of open floor.  Here is a video and several pictures Suzette made of a tiny part of the mine.

After about an hour of walking we walked to the recreation area, where the gift shop and toilets were.  While we rested an Italian or Austrian men’s chorus gave an impromptu choral concert, which was very lovely.

We listened to two or three songs and then walked back to the mine floor entrance listening to the continuation of their concert echo through the mine.

After a group gathered the doors were opened and our group filled the three waiting minibuses and driven back to the surface.

We walked back to the car that Stefan, our driver, parked in a private parking lot, which had a snack bar and refrigerators filled with cold drinks and beers.  We ate the salami and ham and cheese sandwiches on buttered baguette that we had made under the morning with some kalamata olives.  We drank Epicentrum rose, which Stefan said was made in the small town he grew up in, Vrancea, by the Girbou Winery.  We enjoyed the lovely pale pink blend of Fetescea Negrea and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.  I chose to buy a Tuborg beer to let a Suzette have an extra glass of wine.  Both the wine and the beer were delicious.

Stefan told us a bit about himself.  He was educated as an engineer but started a car rental business with a friend and they own 25 vehicles now.  He said that in the off season they must obtain drivers to take people on tours, as demand for vehicles fall and that us how he became our driver today.  His wife is a corporate lawyer who has two large clients, one of which makes concrete building blocks for buildings.

We arrived back at the apartment around 4:00 and I lay down to rest until 6:00.

Suzette looked up the seven best restaurants in Bucharest and found 1 located about four blocks from our apartment, which we decided to walk to named Lacrimi și Sfinți.

I was in another edge of Old Town out of the hustle and bustle of loud music and crowds of people, which we found refreshing.

It was still daylight when we arrived and had not filled with dinners so we were able to take our pick of outdoor tables on the fenced patio.  The menus were printed in both Romanian and English.  The names and descriptions of dishes were cute poetic captions.  Our waiter told us the owner/chef was a well known poet with a weekly TV show around food and poetry.

We decided to share several dishes.  We started with a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, red bell pepper slices, thin slices of red onion, and cubes of grilled goat cheese, which we enjoyed very much.
We were a bit cautious about the wine after our last experience, so we ordered a glass of rose instead of a bottle.  The wine was fine and we ordered another two glasses with dinner.  Here is a photo of

the label.

We both decided to order a side of sautéed green peas.  I was between the sautéed sweetbreads, turkey testes, mushrooms, and onions and a duck leg.  Our waiter recommended the sweetbreads, so we ordered them and were happy we did.  The sweetbreads were served in the ancient skillet in which they were sautéed with a white wine sauce.  Here is a photo.

We loved both dishes and found the portions large enough to easily share.

As the restaurant filled our waiter became stretched thin and service slowed a bit but we were enjoying the cool night air and nearly full moon lit night sky.

We decided to order dessert because Suzette saw several selections containing Quince.  She settled on an apple, Quince, and raisin cake, which turned out to be a lovely thick strudel wrapped in pastry warm from the oven and dusted with powdered sugar.

We ordered a glass of sweet sour cherry liquor distilled by a local distillery named Bran.  It was sweet and a little tart, a very pleasing drink to sip with bites of the warm strudel.

All in all this was the second best meal of the trip, only excelled by the restaurant in Montmartre and it was reasonably priced at under $40.00.

While we were waiting order dessert Suzette crossed the street to a small shop and bought, eggs, potatoes, and onions, so we could make a pork omelet in the morning.

I wanted some jam on my bread for breakfast, we stopped at a small specialty food and wine store on the other corner as we walked home and I bought a jar of sour cherry preserves for $6.00.

We walked home, stoping by the fountains in the Unirii Park to listen to the music and the dancing waters in the fountains.

  When we arrived home at around 10:00 we watched TV for and hour and went to bed.

We discovered that there are many U.S cable channels on Romanian TV. For example, we watched Crocodile Dundee on the Paramount movie channel.

Suzette put a pillow under my feet to elevate them above my heart, which helped reduce the swelling in my right foot and pain in my hip after only one night.

Suzette is a wonderful practical nurse/doctor.

Bon Appetit

September 22, 2018 Lunch – Artichoke Café. Dinner – Beraria

What a full day.  We started off badly, by missing another flea market and then going to the National History Museum, but not entering it because the prehistoric artifacts section was closed.

We were both in a foul mood, but agreed to Uber up the hill to the National Art Museum. At around 11:00.  We started by going through the European Art section, which included several exceptionally fine paintings.  Here are my favorite three paintings.

                                                        El Greco


                                                 Paul Signac

We were really hungry by the time we completed seeing the European collection and picked the closest restaurant we could find, the artichoke café at the end of the colonnade of the building just south of the Art Museum and an old church.

We each ordered the only hot dish offered, a piece of dark bread toasted and garnished with a scoop of guacamole, a poached egg, some spinach leaves, a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and sun dried tomatoes. We ate the dish ravenously and each of us had a raw juice.  Suzette’s was Apple, celery, and one other ingredient.  I drank an orange, carrot, and turmeric juice.

Revived! We returned for the other half of the tour, which was the Romanian art.  We took this rather quickly, since we were not familiar with any of the artists except Brancusi.  The Brancusi exhibit was like the Giacometti exhibit in Paris, because it exhibited early formative works before he reached his full mature style and several models of his minimalist works.

We left the museum and walked down hill and stopped for a chocolate mousse pastry and an Old Mount Cider at a small pastry shop near the Grand Continental Hotel. We then walked into Old Town to an antique store Suzette found on google but it was closed.  We continued down through Old Town retracing our path toward the history museum.  We stopped at the indoor bazaar that we had seen in the morning that was now fully open with its different booths stocked by different vendors.  There was nothing of interest to either of us.

Finally, we walked back to the apartment around 3:30 and I collapsed into bed for a 1 1/2 hour nap.

When I got up I showered and dressed and Aaron arrived and Monika came in her car and drove us to the Mega Supermarket at the Bucharest Mall, where we bought $75.00 of groceries and wine to make several breakfasts and lunches for the two proposed road trips and several breakfasts.

Monika drove us back to the apartment and then went to deliver her two children to their father’s home for a custody exchange and met us at a metro stop near her ex-husband’s apartment.  We took a metro and then an Uber to Beraria, a massive restaurant located next to a large park.  The inside must seat 1000, but it was empty.  Almost that number of patrons were seated outside in a large beer garden.  We were shown to a table near a stage and ordered food and beer.  It was must night, which meant that 1 liter carafes of wine must were being sold for $5.00 each.  Aaron and I fetched a liter, while Monika ordered ½ liter of local beer and a Suzette ordered a cocktail.  We also ordered food.  Suzette and I ordered a roasted pork shank with fried potatoes and red cabbage and a bowl of vegetable borscht.  Aaron ordered a Pork schnitzel and Monika ordered a plate of lamb sausage with fried potatoes and roasted peppers and a basket of chicken fritters.  When the food came it was overwhelming.  None of us could finish our plates, so we asked our waiter to pack up the leftovers.After another beer for each of Aaron, Monika, and Suzette we finished eating and drinking at 10:00 and taxied back to the apartment, where we said goodnight to Aaron and Monika, who were going to go out dancing.

We put the PPIs into the fridge and crawled into bed and went to sleep full of German food and beer and wine must.

The wine must was sweet, because it had not progressed very far in its fermentation process and probably had not been inoculated with any yeast.

Bon Appetit

Friday, September 21, 2018

September 21, 2018. Lunch – Japonais and French Revolution Dinner – Aubergine

September 21, 2018. Lunch – Japonais and French Revolution
Dinner – Aubergine

We started around 9:30 with a cup of coffee at Starbucks while Aaron ordered an Uber that took us to a flea market that was closed.  So we ubered back to the Natural History Museum.  Aaron left us and returned to the apartment, while we toured the museum. The Natural History Museum is like the Museum of Natural History in New York, most of the exhibits are stuffed animals and fish displayed in dioramas or skeletons grouped in displays, like the skeleton on an elephant beside the skeleton of a Mastodon.

After the Museum we were hungry so we crossed Victoria to the Japonais Restaurant.  I ordered a Soba Noodle bowl with puréed spinach, a seaweed,  pork, and Edamame salad, tempura chips, and soba noodles.  Suzette ordered a box of sushi.  We ate outside the restaurant.  We both enjoyed the light but nutritious lunch.

We then walked next door to French Revolution split a pistachio cream filled éclair and a hazelnut cream filled éclair.  They were each 14 lei, or about $3.50, and Suzette and I shared a coffee with steamed milk for our dessert.

We then walked to the Peasant Folkart Museum, where Suzette did some serious shopping and found a blouse that fit her that was about fifty years old for about $65.

Suzette successfully ubered us back to the apartment by 4:15.

I napped until 6:00 and then showered and shaved.  We walked to Old Town, which is quite large in Bucharest and after a bit found the Aubergine restaurant that Aaron had recommended.  To our pleasant surprise, Aubergine was a Middle Eastern restaurant that featured many eggplant dishes.  We started with eggplant caviar and bread.  We ordered a rose, but sent it back and ordered two Merlots instead.  I ordered duck confit on polenta and Suzette ordered fried sea bass with roasted vegetables.  Both were delicious.  The best thing about Suzette’s dish were the roasted vegetables and especially the roasted leek in consommé.

I also ordered a Mediterranean salad that turned out to be the show stopper with its fresh vine ripe tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, and red onion cubes with a vinegar dressing mixed with chopped Italian broad leaf parsley.

After dinner we walked around Old Town some more and on our way back to the apartment we stopped at Emilia’s Creamery for an ice cream cone for a sweet creamy finish to a lovely evening of food.

Bon Appetit