Thursday, August 15, 2013

Eating Out

I've been trying to go out for dinner once a week. Actually that makes it sound like it's work, and it is, to the extent I have to find someplace to go, get there and negotiate the language and culture difficulties. Boo hoo, right?

I've been trying to stay in my neighborhood, since I'm not all that keen on anything too logistically challenging in the evening. That makes me sound so old and boring, but that's no secret. I will wander further afield on the weekends. Last sunday I had an excellent lunch at a thai restaurant, about an hour away on foot.

So last night I was headed for an Italian restaurant called Piazza. I had been there once before, and had a pizza that, like most pizza I've had in the region, wasn't terrible. But Tripadvisor ranks it #34 in Belgrade, so I thought I'd give it another shot.

I got the address from the internet and walked over there at about 7. When I got to 54 Cara Nikola, there was nothing around that resembled the restaurant (Now I see that the address in Trip Advisor is different). I wandered around a little and soon found myself lost in a residential neighborhood. There were, of course, lots of cafes, but nothing caught my eye.

About 20 minutes later, as I was starting to get that feeling that I was wandering ever further into unfamiliar territory, I stumbled out into the Kalenic market, which is just down the street from my house. The eponymously named cafe/restaurant there is a great place to people watch; a couple of Sundays ago, as I was having a beer on the terrace, there was an old Serbian couple and a young Serbian family having lunch, dinner, or whatever you call a meal at four in the afternoon. Both tables looked so content in their own ways--the older couple not talking at all, the family a beehive of activity--that I decided to go back and give the food a try.

Kafana KalenićThey have a daily menu on paper and a bigger permanent bilingual menu, not all of which is available. I ordered the gulasc and a tomato salad. The former was a beef stew, served with mashed potatoes; the latter a plate of sliced tomatoes with cruets of oil and vinegar alongside. Neither was bad, nor, ironically speaking, anything worth blogging about.

But I was hungry and tired by now, so I decided to give it another chance. I wanted to try the veska snitzla (wiener schnitzel) which is a staple of Serbian, among many, cuisines, and that if they didn't have that, I'd try their pleiskavica, and that, worst case scenario, I'd order the chorba, a roux-base soup, off the daily menu.

But they had the schnitzel, and I ordered a green salad, to go along with it. The green salad turned out to be a bowl of lettuce; the schnitzel was a veal cutlet served with fries and a lemon wedge. It had a beautiful breadcrumb coating, but the meat itself was a little tough. Still, the vibe was nice and I didn't go away unhappy.

Next time, I'll try the Karadjordjeva variety, which is more of a cordon bleu-type take on it. I think cheese and bacon would be a good, if not overly healthy way, of addressing the dryness.

It's interesting to see more central european influences here than we saw in Macedonia, where goulash was never on the menu and the bread was not nearly as good.

I see that the restaurant is #138 in the Trip Advisor rankings. That sounds about right. But it's become a bit of a clean, well-lighted place for me.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Sweetie. Wish I could have joined you for this.