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Croatia, thru Nov 2017


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#76 voyager

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 10:17 PM

Thanks for this.   This kind of place is why i travel.   (Altho that lentil and pork plate a few days ago wasn't shabby.)


It's not my circus,

not my monkeys.


#77 CheeseMonger

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 04:32 PM

Okay, here's the summary.  Back when I used to teach cheese pairing classes, I used a scale of +3 to -3, a 0 doesn't mean bad, it just means "meh" (In pairings, it was the definition of "the pairing doesn't improve either, doesn't make either worse"), and I can't stop using that scale, so I employ it here. At some places I had multiple meals, so I'll grade the dish more that the place, because sometimes the variation was wide. I'd grade my home cooking anywhere from -1 to +2 :)

 

Marvlvys Jazz Library: +3 (see above)

NoStress Bistro: Duck Breast with potato gratin, +2

Konoba Marjan: Sea Bream with Veg- +2

Torito: Burger: - 0

            Pork neck with carrots and lentils +3

Bokeria: Beef Salad +1

Bepa!: Sesame Tuna Salad +2

            Pulled Pork neck sandwich +1 (bland, saved by the frites, I took half home and doctored it and made it better)

Pivarij, a new craft brewery in town

           Flamingo Beer: +2

           Pulled pork sandwich: 0 

Luka Ice cream and cakes: Chocolate +2

                                             Malaga +3

Marta's Veggie Fusion:   Chickpea and veg curry: 0

                                           Black Bean Burger: -1.5 (so dry you had to eat the crumbly mess with a fork. And a beverage)

Mazzgoon: Fish soup: +1

                   Octopus Carpaccio: +2

                   Sirlion with Spicy sweet potatoes: +1

To Je Tako: Fish Tacos: +2

                    Chicken Burrito: -3 (this was next level terrible)

Villa Spiza: Sausage and Lentils +2

Buffet Fife: Seabass +2

                  Grilled Veg -1

                  Nutella Crepe: +2

Uje Deli: I shopped here for local wine, and rating for products and service: +2

 

edited to add:

Biser Orientja: 

   Kung Pao Chicken.  +1.  Not great, not bad.  As a person who craves asian flavors more than any other, I had to make the 30 minute stroll out to the only chinese restaurant in Split, other that those incredibly awful "build your own Wok" places peppered around.  I met a friend that I made on one of those traveler facebook pages- a German Med student.  Verdict- buy the ingresients and make my own, as best I can.



#78 Suzanne F

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 10:10 PM

This is great! You've made me want to go there, and given such good advice. Thank you!


I don't actually know what a handbasket is -- but whatever they are, singer-songwriters are in the first ones going to hell. -- Sneakeater, 29 March 2018 - 12:06 AM

 

notorious stickler -- NY Times
deeply annoying and nitpicking -- Molly O'Neill, One Big Table


#79 CheeseMonger

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 05:51 PM

Thanks, Suzanne!

 

Okay, I'm in Zadar for a few days. I'll be spending December in Pula, so this thread ain't over. I chose one indulgence here, and it was Pet Bunara- one of the restaurants visited by AB on one of his shows.

 

It's warm enough here in the day- almost 60F. As a lady person of a certain age I prefer the cool, and am often sitting outside in my shirtsleeves while others are putting on their best Nanook.  Beautiful day, huh?

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*9 kuna/liter is $5.40/gallon for petrol*

 

The old town is to the left, but I walked around on the sunny side and crossed the bridge.  As a bonus, I contacted the airbnb host of the apartment I stayed in here in October and got one of my adapters back!

 

Pet Bunara outside seating at about 2 pm- it's open from 11am through dinner service.  I'm a late eater, and generally eat a small dinner at "home". I highly recommend this apt, if anyone is interested, and not beholden to staying right in the old town- short walk and parking here. It has gas burners and an oven- and 2 bedrooms. 

 

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By the glass wine list:

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I chose the house white for my first course, and the Babic for my second. I was expecting the usual Malvasija or Grasevina, but the wine was round and lush with honeydew flavors and no oak (not typical here anyway). I meant to ask what it was, but forgot. I'll go by tomorrow.

 

A few menu pics:

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Dalmatian Fish Soup.  This was a little different because the starch was not rice but barley- nice idea, but I think I prefer rice.

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Dalmatian kitty that likes dalmatian soup and is black and white like 90% of dalmatian cats and dalmatian dogs (of which I've seen ONE the whole time I've been here). Yes, I'm that person that drops little fish chunks to the kitty. But look how cute! And unlike the cats I fed everyday for a month and that hung out in my apartment in Split, this one accepted pets.

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My Main course- Duck leg on a chickpea puree with quince.  I had a glass of Babic with this, and it was a great pairing.  Babic has red currant and sour cherry notes, medium bodied. So far my favorite Croatian go-to grape varietal. The duck was cooked to almost falling off the bone, then the skin crisped. Lots of meat on this. The description in the menu claimed Sinjorina Dunja, a sauce made from tangerine, but it was subbed with quince 2 ways- cooked down, and a sweet pickle on the side. The sauce was peppercorns and quince- very nice, especially considering that duck sauces are usually red and deep. Ms. Catperson had disappeared after the soup course, but miraculously returned for this. I wanted to give her the bone to gnaw on, but I thought better of it.

 

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I don't know what the purple paints swishes are- I tasted them and was expecting beet.... but got nothing.

 

I'm very pleased with my meal and the service at Pet Bunara. In season reservations are recommended, and I recommend.



#80 Sneakeater

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 08:07 PM

Anthony Bonner has a show?

 

Oh, I get it . . . .


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#81 CheeseMonger

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:00 PM

Anthony Bonner has a show?

 

Oh, I get it . . . .

NO! Antonio Banderas, duh. 



#82 CheeseMonger

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 12:31 PM

Hi!

 

I've been in Pula since 8 December, and have terrible internet at the apartment.  I'm sitting in a cool jazz bar around the corner (only female person, 'natch) to post. I have only eaten out once, at a kebab shop around the corner. One reason is that in off-season, few restaurants are open, and the other is that there is an excellent market here. So I've got pics of that. When I was last in Pula (2014), I do remember the open air produce market, but I don't recall the adjacent building with fish, meats, and upstairs specialty boutiques and bars. I can't believe that I would have missed it, but it's certainly possible.  

 

Here's the outlook on Christmas eve.  I was making a little beef wellington situation at my apartment for my christmas meal. One of the boutiques upstairs is an Italian joint- so real gorgonzola sauce was part of my meal.  No pics of that, sorry.

 

Outdoor produce market:

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The building has a large room for meat/chicken/charcuterie on one side, a fish market on the other side, and a breezeway separating them.  

Meats: This is one section of the U shaped space, with maybe 15 different vendors

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Here's as close to the fish room as I could get.  I really have been trying to be more of a fish eater, but the smell can make me retch, especially in big market settings like this.  I'm sorry I couldn't get a better pic, but I couldn't even force myself through the door. I have a sensitive sniffer.

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The most well known thing about Pula is the Arena, as they call it- it's a Roman Coliseum right in the town, just as noble as you please.  One of the best preserved, apparently.  It's really quite spectacular.

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Those little cafe tables there are linked with the cafe/bar I'm standing in front of. I mean, seriously- sitting right next to that behemoth without another soul in sight, enjoying a gin and bitter lemon is delightful.

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Pula is a bit grittier than the more touristy spots of Croatia- the main industry is shipping/shipbuilding, and while I'm sure it gets it's share of tourists (I've only been in May 2014 and December 2017), it's not got the same polish I've seen elsewhere, even in the central area.  It's quirky, and definitely less flash than Split, Zadar and Dubrovnik. I like it. 

 

This is one of my favorite weird things- a public urinal.  Yes, the "door" is essentially a chain link fence- and look at that rust- privacy be damned.

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This isn't down some backroad, it is right across from the Arena....

 

And this is the upstairs of the market- I've gone right at opening, and there are old men sitting up there with cordials in these weird skinny glasses (best description is a beer mug that's been shrunk tiny and the stretched so it's about 5 inches high and 1 inch across, with a little handle), or white wine.   At 7:30 am.  No judgement, I only wish I felt more comfortable joining them....

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#83 prasantrin

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 03:38 AM

I bet coming that close to that urinal would have made me wretch! Blech!

 

How long are you there for again? Several weeks at least? Croatia is on my list, but I have to go to Spain and Portugal first!



#84 CheeseMonger

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 04:16 AM

I bet coming that close to that urinal would have made me wretch! Blech!
 
How long are you there for again? Several weeks at least? Croatia is on my list, but I have to go to Spain and Portugal first!


Interestingly, the urinal had no smell at all, but it is 50 degrees F. In full summer I’m sure it’s aromatic. *shudder*

Croatia allows Americans 90 days, and I just crossed 60. I’m in Pula until the 8th of Jan, then I’ll pop up to Rovinj on the bus. A friend in Brescia wants to drive over, visit, and take me with her to Italy, which I will allow :)

I really enjoy it here, the people are very accommodating, and while not “smilers”, I haven’t met a single person that wasn’t helpful and friendly. My landlord gave me a beautiful bottle of homemade Jagermeister (yikes), and a tin of assorted cookies that his girlfriend and he made, which are really good. I’ll post a pic when I go back to the jazz bar. My 2015 chromebook does not communicate with the 2017 router in the apt. And I love a jazz bar ;)

It’s shockingly affordable, especially at the marketplace- 5 kuna for 2 heads of broccoli (75 cents),11 kuna for a 500 gram bag of fancy Italian fettuccine ($1.35). At my little jazz bar a 10 deciliter glass of wine is 8 kuna, just over a buck. So for me, it’s a great and affordable place to park for awhile, and tutor under the table for some grocery cash.

#85 CheeseMonger

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 11:50 AM

Off season has it's charms and disappointments.  Underneath the city is an enormous bomb shelter called the Zerostrasse. These tunnels were first built out in the 1900s, and stretch below the entire central city, and could fit as many as 50,000 people by WWII.  Of course, access is controlled now, and the main entrance has been closed every time I've gone by.  But all over the city you can see sealed off entrances

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Link to the zerostrasse website: http://www.istria-cu...erostrasse-i145

 

Here's a picture of the Market building.  We are looking at the side with the fish market downstairs, and the small shops up.

 

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And a better look at the outdoor produce market.I realized that the earlier pic showed pretty much nothing- I got some grapes to pickle today.

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#86 CheeseMonger

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 09:31 PM

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One last Croatia post. A Cypriot friend that I met last year near Lecce has moved up to Brescia, and she came to Pula to fetch me and return me to Italy.  She also just needed a break from the move, her boyfriend's parents coming to visit, etc.. So we wandered around Pula for a couple of days to see the sights, but everything that served food (other than McDonald's) was closed.  Coffee was to be had, but the recommended places like Batelina- nope. 

 

Since Rovinj is lovely, and friend had ever been to Croatia, we drove up (45 min) for attempted lunch on the way back to Italy. The pic above is the view from the restaurant La Puntulina.

 

As always, obligatory menu  pics:

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A little gifty for the table- bakalar (salt cod) on seeded bread.

 

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Super rich and creamy- just a wonderful bite to get in the mood.

 

Here's where my friend has helped me- she asks questions!  I'm the "guy" who doesn't ask directions when lost, has to figure everything out for myself, all that bullshit. She had many questions, and they paid off in spades.  

 

We ended up ordering an appetizer half-and-half of the Hors d'oeuvre Puntalina, and the Carpaccio.  I would have never thought to ask about this possibility, but she did.  And we agreed that Anchovies were not our favorite, so those were left off in favor of adding to the other options. Fucking Genius.

 

LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL THING!

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All cold- four cooked on top, four raw on the bottom.

Starting from upper left: Adriatic shrimp, Octopus salad, more bakalar, Tuna tartare, Raw Dorado, Raw Calamari, Raw prawns, and cured salmon. And those are Meyer Lemons, or as close as you get- thin oily skins, flavor between lemon and blood orange, just enough acid to enhance, but not mask.

 

I know I've made the point that I am not really a "fish" person, and it was with a little trepidation that I yielded the reins of the ordering to my friend, but am I ever glad I did. Each of these items (I know I'm going to sound like a moron here, so please be gentle) had it's own taste and texture. The Dorado was sweet and silky, the raw prawn popped in the mouth.  I don't think I can adequately convey what a game changer this plate was for me. All of this came out of the cold sea that morning, at least the raw stuff.

 

The other dish we ordered to share was the "St Jacob shells a la Puntalina", which were Adriatic scallops (small) with a carrot and pinenut puree, with toasted hazelnuts and charred tomatoes. 

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On it's own, a warm dish with great flavor and texture contrasts, but next to THE PLATE, it didn't stand a chance.  I'm not saying it wasn't good, but that it was a wingman.

 

Best meal on this Croatia trip was my last.  Highly recommended, the food, and the view.