Thursday, October 27, 2011

So, Where are the Rapaljes now?!


Heading to Italy to meet some American friends for a loooooongggg weekend of wine tasting! We are also going to Florence, Siena (both in Tuscany, obviously), Bologna, Milan, Como, and RIVA SAN VITALE... So A can visit my old stomping grounds.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Grape Picking Time in Kasel

Let the picking begin!


Fermented Grapes...that smell HORRIBLE

Barrels and barrels of grapes


Finished product: gallons and gallons of grapes!

Vine Stubs

And now, only stubs left :( Sad

Monday, October 24, 2011

Budapest, Hungary: A Travel Recommendation

First off, the Danube is NOT Blue.

Now, before going to Budapest, we read it was the 'Paris of the East,' so we both had high expectations. Yes, we both liked Budapest, BUT it was not our favorite big city, and certainly no Paris. Poor Man's Paris, the East Block, maybe at night. Certainly not during the day. We had a great, dirt cheap, 4 day trip, but would not go back for a 2nd visit, but would recommend to go, once.

To do: We did a Hop on Hop off Bus Tour, like we do in most big cities, so we can definitely at least see everything from the outside without walking 10 miles/day. Also, the day trip to Szentendre by train was perfect. Both activities were cheap and very much worth it.

To see: Chain Bridge (ESPECIALLY at night), Elizabeth Bridge, Fisherman's Bastion, Castle Hill, Market Hall, Shoes on the Danube WWII memorial, Parliament, Heroes' Memorial, St. Stephen's Basilica (inside and out, also at night), Opera House, Gellert Hill, Margit Island, and the not so blue, Danube

Eat: Hungarian Cuisine + take FULL advantage of how cheap Hungary is and eat at gourmet restaurants - there are LOTS to choose from!

To Stay: Staying in Budapest is also cheap. We wound up booking an apartment, 7 Seasons, so we would have more space. A full apartment (kitchen, LR, laundry, bathroom, etc) for less than $200 (that's TOTAL) for 4 nights. Yes, dirt cheap. The apartment was new, clean, nothing super fancy, but also in a great location. I would recommend it and stay in the same sort of place again!

Market Hall

Shoes on the Danube

Shoes on the Danube Memorial

Along the (not so blue) Danube River

St. Stephen's Basilica

St. Stephen's Basilica

St. Stephen's Basilica

Heroes' Memorial

Heroes' Memorial


City View

View from the Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman's Bastion - Castle District

awesome roof in the Castle District

Overview of Chain Bridge from Gellert Hill

Chain Bridge by Day - linking Buda and Pest over the Danube

Jewish Synagogue

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Budapest: Better by Night

Self-portrait at the Chain Bridge - Budapest

Chain Bridge

Chain Bridge - I just couldn't get enough!

Castle District

Chain Bridge

St. Stephen's Basilica

St. Stephen's Basilica

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hungarian Cuisine... surprisingly delicious

On top of the AMAZINGLY delicious and CHEAP Hungarian food, we also ate out at some pretty fancy, Michelin rated restaurants.. again, for cheap! The first night we ate at a restaurant right by our apartment and had tuna steaks with safron risotto and cheese covered asparagus followed by the Hungarian digestif which was basically flavored grappa (nasty!). The last night we ate at another Michelin recommended restaurant, Mokka, and had a meal to die for - A few tapas, including carmaleized goose liver pate (which was surprisingly DELICIOUS), monk fish and king prawn wasabi lasagne, and red curry sword fish steak. MMM. Of course, each meal was eaten with a bottle or two of local Hungarian red wine. Before this trip, I didn't know how good their wine was!

Other local Hungarian cuisine we tried (that is not pictured below):

Somloi Galuska - sponge cake dumplings in chocolate suace with rum and whipped cream - just ok.
Reteds - strudels filled with cheese and poppy seeds

Other local Hungarian cuisine we DID NOT TRY and WILL NOT TRY:

Tokofozelek - Bone marrow filled with dill and sour cream - EW!

Kuros Kalacs - hollow/cylinder pastry topped with cinnamon and sugar.. or chocoloate.. or nuts.. or syrup.. or any goodness you can possibly think of! This was lunch one day! MMMMM. MUST TRY!

Hungarian woman making and selling Pogacsa, kind of like a pizza, but better... Both of our favorites! MUST TRY!

Goulosh, Hungarian Paprika, Hungarian Beer. Yes, the goulosh looks nasty, but it was good! MUST TRY!

Langos - MUST TRY!

Langos - basically fried dough topped with something - in this case, sour cream and cheese. AMAZING!

The last day, we ate at the Great Market Hall. This Market hall was pretty incredible! LOTS for sale - veggies, fruit, lunch, and even tourist items.