What’s Bacon: Euro Edition

One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to find and eat new and delicious things. When I was recently in Europe, I didn’t really find new things as much as really, ridiculously delicious versions of things I have had in America. Some of you may be familiar with the things I am about to tell you, but as a first timer, here is my photo documentation of my (mostly street) food experiences:

Prague:


Parek v rohliku. A hot dog in a roll. This is what it looks like, only so much more brilliant than the ball park hot dog. They take a rohlik, an almost croissant-like flaky but dense roll, cut off the end, then jam the whole thing on to a hot metal rod that heats the rohlik from the inside out. Then the mustard and ketchup get squeezed in, then the hot dog. An even more to-go version of the hot dog. Only one hand required!

Kielbasa. The traditional way to serve these as street food are as shown, with a slice of bread and mustard. This was a little foreign to me, picking up the gigantic, greasy sausage with my fingers and alternating it with bites of bread dipped in mustard… but it was soooooo good. Hillshire Farms should take a lesson from the street vendors of Prague.

Beer, beer, beer. Mostly pilsners (named after Plzen, CZ), mostly light and always refreshing. Nothing in America compares to Czech beer. The closest I’ve had is Trumer Pilsner, on tap, which is a Germany pilsner (kind of an oxymoron if we are being true to the namesake), and Steelhead Brewery in Eugene also has a pretty good pilsner that they make from imported Czech hops. I have to admit one of the only things I didn’t like about Germany was that the beer was just not as good. Nothing compares. I dare you to try. At an outdoor biergarten I ordered something that I thought was a red ale, but instead got a nasty Dunkelweizen… mixed with 7-UP. Yuck.

Hot wine. Served in a styrofoam cup!

Jablecny zavin. Apple strudel.
Germany:

Schweinebraten and sauerbraten. Schweinebraten is the one with the giant round dumpling and slices of pork, all smothered in a brown gravy. Sauerbraten is beef in a similar but more tangy (“sauer”) gravy, served with a heaping helping of spaetzle (little dumpling-like noodles). Both dishes were served with a sort of lightly pickled cabbage salad. The portions were unbelievable, it took me plus the help of 3 others picking off my plate to finish it!

A true Bavarian pretzel and a poppyseed (mak) roll. The poppyseeds are unique, they are finely ground, which gives them much more flavor. I had never seen this before travelling to Europe, where it was in pastries everywhere!

The best ice cream I have ever had in my life – from a gelato shop in downtown Ulm. I got one scoop joghurt (tart plain yogurt flavor) and one scoop himbeere (raspberry). Aprikose, kirsche, and erdbeere were among the other flavors. So good. So flavorful and creamy.
And finally, the highlight of my European eating adventures…. Amsterdam!

An authentic Liege waffle. Hands down one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life. We got one to tide us over before dinner, but in all honesty, I could have eaten about a dozen more and been satisfied for the rest of the day. There is a place in Eugene, Off the Waffle, that cooks and serves waffles in the Liege tradition, and until I had this waffle in Amsterdam, I thought they were the best thing around. They try, but they can barely hold a candle to the real deal. Maybe I’m not being very fair – they could probably hold a candle to it, if the candle was unlit. Part of what is so great about Off the Waffle is their selection of delicious toppings for the waffles – from sweet banana and chocolate chips (my favorite) to savory basil, goat cheese and kalamata olive. But this particular waffle trumped them all, hot off the iron with just a light dusting of powdered sugar. It was so crispy yet light, caramelly (I think I just made up a word) with a deep, almost-but-not-quite-burnt, perfectly caramelized sugar crisp yet at the same time wasn’t too sweet at all… they melt in your mouth, and I would stop in Amsterdam again just so I could have another one. Or three. Or eight.


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