A great piece by
A great piece by
by Council Nedd II
Dear All, I am sorry that I have been away for a while. When I say that I have been away for a while, I mean that I have not posted anything for The Culinary Council in quite some time. Some of you know that I have posted things on some other topics, that were promptly and extensively misquoted. However, I have not done any food posts. The reason I haven’t posted anything food related in a while is because for most of the month of June, I was in and out of the hospital, alternating between an only IV, clear liquid and an all-liquid diet.
After I was finally released from the hospital I was still on a fairly strict diet, and once I was given the doctors permission to “eat whatever I want”, I was a bit slow getting back up to full speed. This was in large part due to the limited food options where I live, and not having the energy to really cook for myself. I knew this at the time, but my favorite Szechuan style, Chinese restaurant, Little Szechuan in State College, PA, is closed for the entire month of July for renovations.
One might be wondering why I have never mentioned Little Szechuan in print before. I’ve never mentioned it in print before because, I was being selfish. I didn’t want this place mobbed. However, I’m over this particular selfishness and I want to do everything I can to ensure the success of Little Szechuan. I will be writing more about little Szechuan after they have completed their renovations.
I happen to be in England at the moment. I’m here on a private pilgrimage and to convalesce. I may write more about this later, but I suspect I will not. Regardless, in the coming days I will be posting a series of articles about the food that is available in some of the coastal towns of southern England, including Swanage, Bournemouth and Studland Bay.
by Council Nedd II
In the heart of Old Town Bucharest, between two restaurants once considered quite trendy, and on the same cobblestone street as one of the oldest churches in the city sits a restaurant that has been in continuous service since the late 1870’s.
Caru’ cu Bere provides a glimpse into old Europe at its finest and is a true gem of the still evolving, post Ceaușescu modern Bucharest.
I was told there are two restaurants that I must visit, Caru’ cu Bere was one. I was not disappointed. In fact, the food and atmosphere were so good the first time, I made a point of going again a second time, two days later.
When we arrived at the restaurant it was an absolutely beautiful day. It was about 75 degrees, sunny with no humidity. This is where I almost made a big mistake. I wanted to sit in the restaurants vast outside seating area which easily seats no less than 100. Knowing me, my friend said that I really want to sit on the inside. I looked at her like she was crazy, because there could not have been a more ideal day for al fresco dining.
After a persistent meager protest, my friend convinced me to eat inside. Soon as I walked through the oak, revolving door with leaded glass and cast a gaze on the great room, I realized what I was intended to experience.
I was awe struck as the music of a string quartet of four beautiful blondes in royal blue dresses dominated the room.
Except for a modern desert display case, I was in the Bucharest of Queen Marie of Romania. By the way, the best deserts were not anywhere near that case — they’ve never come anywhere near that case of beautiful pastries, but more on that later.
I was admittedly overwhelmed, anxious and feeling self-conscious. I was humbled by the sights, smells and sounds of this beautiful room. While this was not the first Romanian meal I had after my arrival in Bucharest, I was not feeling particularly daring. Fortunately one the national dishes came to the rescue.
Mici, a flavorful skinless sausage is one of the more popular national dishes. I ordered mici (you have to tell them how many you want) and french fries. The fries come sprinkled with a cow cheese they call simply, telemea de vaca (cow cheese). Romanians put this creamy cheese on a wide variety of things. I also order a Greek salad which was prepared differently than most that I’ve eaten, but it was still delicious, if you merely accept it for what it is. It was also strongly suggested that I try the local Ursus beer. I am not much of a drinker and I am really not much of a beer drinker, but it was one of the coldest beers I’ve ever had and quite good.
While I was eating my salad I noticed the waiter brining something incredibly savory to one of the nearby tables. My friend saw the expression on my face before the words actually escaped my lips. Pointing to what I saw the waiter carrying, I asked my friend “what is that?”.
This dessert which is called “papanasi”, in my humble opinion, was the star of the show. They call it a cottage cheese dumpling, which may be accurate, but it is so much more than that. Picture an old fashioned cake donut, with a sweetened cottage cheese sauce and a bitter cherry sauce and then topped with a light dusting of very fine granulated sugar. This dessert changed my life. If I can find a place here in the United States that makes papanasi, visiting that restaurant may be my next road trip.
Lastly, but definitely noteworthy, a popular non alcoholic drink in Romania is freshly squeezed lemonade which is served with or without mint. At many places you can get it by the pitcher. What makes the lemonade unique is that it is made with honey and not sugar. Also, it’s not overly sweetened.
There are many reasons to visit, Bucharest… Caru’ cu Bere is towards the top of the list.
by Council Nedd II
Those that know me personally, as well as my followers on twitter, know that I am a foodie. While I have tweeted about and posted numerous pictures about food on my Facebook account, I have never really written in great detail about my various food experiences. That is, except for a brief period of time where I attempted to blog about food when I first moved to Harrisburg…
… I began writing about food when I lived in Harrisburg. Then I abruptly stopped when I realized that there were only three restaurants in Harrisburg that I actually liked. So I ran out of subject matter rather quickly.
This is the introduction to what I hope will be many more pieces about food that I love and hate, and about the places I travel and my various culinary experiences. I hope you will enjoy, The Culinary Council.