Monday, March 4, 2024

Wandering Budapest

Sunday morning proved to be beautiful, so we decided to walk around the area and work our down the hill toward the Danube.

Many steps later, we were strolling along the beautiful blue Danube, buying somewhat expensive tickets to ride the funicular back up to the top.

We exited just in to watch the changing of the guard ceremony at the Presidential Palace.

After that, we wended our way back to the Hilton, enjoying the scenery along the way.

We had dined in the Hilton’s restaurant the first night of our stay, and the restaurant manager, whom we’d met in the Executive Lounge, suggested we try the nearby Pest-Buda Bistro Sunday evening. Off we went.

It was geared somewhat for tourists, but we are tourists and don’t mind that. Besides, a multigenerational Hungarian family was celebrating a birthday nearby, so it’s a place that the locals must enjoy as well.

We both enjoyed the goulash soup as a starter.

Brian chose stuffed cabbage rolls for a main course.

Kathy, of course, selected chicken paprikosh, which she enjoyed, while still preferring her own spicier version.

The Hilton restaurant offers a great buffet breakfast, but Monday morning we had a 9:30 AM food tour scheduled, so slipped down the hall to the Executive Lounge, where we enjoyed a perfectly good breakfast, skipping the tempting breakfast bar offerings.

We used the return portion of our funicular ticket to ride down the hill, and used Brian’s Bolt Taxi App to summon a cab. Uber isn’t allowed in Hungary, but this app is almost identical and proves to work like a charm.

Our destination was the Main Market Hall on the Pest side of the Danube. There we met Barbara of Taste Hungary Tours, who was taking us on their Cilinary & Eine Walk.

Barbara is a charming young woman completely fluent in English, with food in her family background and education (her husband is Italian). Her knowledge of Hungarian cuisine is extensive, and we had her all to ourselves as the only people signed up for this Monday morning tour.

We first toured the market hall itself, stopping at stall to sample Hungarian specialties such as Lángos, the garlic-covered fried flatbread.

What would a Hungarian food tour be without salami?

That included our first (to our knowledge) taste of horse meat salami.

The displays of meats, poultry, fish, and vegetables were as impressive as those in any market we’ve visited.

Goose and duck are popular here.

Peppers, cabbage, and sauerkraut are practically staples here.

We eventually left the market hall, crossed a busy street, and found ourselves in a relatively quiet neighborhood that contained both the university law school and a venerable butcher shop turned restaurant. By starting the tour at 9:30 AM, we beat the morning rush and Barbara selected a variety of tasty and filling specialties that we couldn’t possibly finish.

Our next stop was the Central Café and Bar, an 1887 coffeehouse in Austria-Hungarian style of Vienna’s.

Cappuccinos and richly elegant desserts…

From the classy coffeehouse we proceeded to a charmingly seedy old bar, where we downed a locally famous digestif. Apparently the taste of Unicum grows on you.

Our final stop was a charming little wine shop where we taste a white, a red, and an impressive Tokay, each one introduced by our humorous host.

We bought some more paprika to add to yesterday’s grocery store purchases, thanked Barbara for a terrific tour, and taxied back to the Hilton around 2:00 PM.

No thanks to dinner or even lounge snacks this evening. We’re stuffed!


FS said...

Thanks for another wonderful post! We're thinking of doing BUD in December, so it was nice to see a preview :)

Kathy and Brian said...
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Kathy and Brian said...

Thanks! We’re happy we returned for another visit.