Thursday, December 12, 2013

Talking Turkey

My first week in Belgrade, I went to dinner with my predecessor and his wife. They took me to their favorite Italian restaurant, just a few blocks from their--now my--apartment. I add a thin crust pizza that was in every way, unremarkable. Nothing to complain about, but that is a low bar in the pizzasphere.

I soon realized that TripAdvisor is a useful tool for identifying local restaurants, and I noticed that the aforementioned restaurant was ranked #27 in the city. Not bad, and, given its proximity, worth another try. I went back this summer, and had a delicious dinner, some sort of bruschetta and an entree since forgotten, both specials. I went back a couple of months later and had a very forgettable ravioli dish off the menu.

So is it a good restaurant or not? I was not sure. Last night, I went back with a colleague. Our waiter described the specials in excellent english, but he had a problem with one of the entrees. "It's a roast lamb over a--what is it--not rice, but similar. You know the stuff you make bread with."

"Jecham" he asked the pizza chef in the open kitchen. Shrug.

It sounded like some sort of dumpling or spaetzle, and I ordered it. He came back with his phone as we were enjoying a roast lamb over risotto, but instead of rice, made with barley. That was the word he didn't know. I've never heard of using barley to make bread, but Wikipedia indicates that it was one of its first uses in ancient Egypt.

Anyway, my conclusion about the restaurant is that you should focus on the specials, and that bringing your smartphone is a good idea. When Worldwide and I lived in Paris in 1995, I bought a big dictionary to carry in my backpack because my pocket version didn't have all the fish in the sea. Now there is a better way.

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