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Archive for the ‘Slovenia’ Category

Vecerja Two

We had to go back. It was just too good. And it did not disappoint! Mila was at school – she is getting a degree in international affairs. She came in later, but it was Sandra assisting this night. We started off with a different kind of drink that he could not explain – homemade with what looked like an olive, was crisp like an apple but somewhat flavorless.

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Then Robert gave us some smoked horsemeat sausage made with pork fat to give it a different flavor. That is the fruit that was in the aperitif beside the sausage.

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Next up a cheese platter and veggie plate. The cheeses are an old goat cheese, mozzarella, and a very young cheese that is like butter. The veggies are impossibly thin asparagus and ramps, done of course, on the grill, and topped with pancetta crisped up on the grill.

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A second vegetable platter with mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers on a bed of arrugula. Just incredible flavor again.

A couple of stories of the evening. As Robert is cooking an oriental man comes in and asks for a pot. Apparently he is staying in Robert’s apartment. Robert leaves the restaurant to go up and help him get set up to cook. Ten minutes later the guy returns. “Do you have a knife to cut the fish?” Robert is busy but directs him to a knife. So easy and natural this exchange.

Later we ask for a business card. Robert says the guy who makes them hasn’t delivered them. Some minutes later the guy and his wife arrive. Robert has called him. The guy, Mihael, says if we can wait 15-20 minutes he’ll go make us some cards. We say sure and his wife, Ameliana, sits down with us to chat. Next thing we know several shots of honey schnapps are sitting in front of us to finish our meal and give us something to drink while we wait.

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The schnapps

Just another amazing and wonderful evening. And so we had a wonderful least evening and meal in Ljubljana.  . . . So remember the phone used to pay for breakfast? Here it is

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. . . . we’re now in Rovinj. It is unbelievably picturesque. À hint of what’s to come.

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More Ljubljana

This has become a favorite city for me. It is attractive, the people are friendly, the food is good, there is lots to see, it has a great outdoor scene. The have a fun arts scene.

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You see these shoes hanging in various places in the city

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And one neighborhood street has these umbrellas covering the street lights.

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Which at night look like this.

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And another with this chandelier which lights up at night.

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These brass pieces with faces on them lined this drainage ditch.

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From above they look like the many mollusks from the sea.

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They are quite whimsical.

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Then there is the more formal art nouveau interiors.

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And the simple beauty of the city itself.

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Good night Ljubljana. One more restaurant experience and then on to Croatia!

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This is a beautiful city. It is often described as Vienna without the tourists or high prices. The Ljubljanica River runs through it in a great big oxbow. Nestled around the bow is the old city. It is picturesque and charming

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This is the Tromostovje, the triple bridge. It was initially a road bridge, and then, in the 1930s, two pedestrian bridges were added on either side. This is one of the pedestrian bridges. The old town is now car free, so it is extremely pleasant to walk.

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There are an incredible number of places to eat, have a coffee or drink. These places line the river and the streets, and nearly all have outdoor seating. When cold, as it was yesterday, some provide blankets so you can comfortably sit outside. It is also a very international city with all sort of ethnic restaurants.

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We’ve been having coffee each morning at a nice little Illy cafe. It is frequented by university students. Popular with them are these big bowls of cereal filled with yogurt, and a pastry.

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We met a couple of med students, in the first of a six year program to become doctors. Here, as in Italy, waiters carry around mobile pay devices on which you can pay with a credit card. These students use their mobile phones to pay, placing the phone on the device to pay. They tell us that the government pays a portion of their meals using these devices. Breakfast was about $4, lunch $6 for very generous sized meals. Contrast that, plus free education, with the massive debt of American students. Health care, retirement – there is much to be said for the semi-socialist systems in Europe.

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We definitely feel the Austro-Germanic influence in the food.

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They have a wonderful farmers market – bags of hand picked baby lettuce!

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The setting here is stunning, sitting in the shadow of the Julian Alps.

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One of the things that is eye opening here is how well everyone speaks English. Except for an accent, you would think they are American – all the vernacular, slang and colloquialisms from home.

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The people here tell us that because Slovenia is so small they have to learn other languages. It makes sense, but the facile way they use English is amazing. Frankly, it is much easier to get around here than in Italy because so many speak English. More to come

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Ljubljana’s Art Nouveau

Ljubljana is in a seismically active area. They have had two big earthquakes here. The last was about 1895 knocking down many buildings. The result is that much of the new construction was in the Art Nouveau style.

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Vecerja

That’s dinner in Slovenian. And what a dinner we had last night in Ljubljana. So I have to start at the beginning.

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We were returning from parking our car on the outskirts where it is less expensive. We came to Patrick’s Irish Pub. Our son Patrick works at a pub. So I went in and asked the lady about good, nontouristy places to eat. She gave me a great list, and highly recommended Compa. Later, after a pint at Patrick’s to Compa we went.

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This is the interior, as cozy a place as you could want. However, we had no reservation. So they put us up front by the door and kitchen which sits behind a counter. Lucky us! Here’s the kitchen.

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Tiny, and everything is cooked on that little smoking grill – everything. Meat, veggies, bread. All cooked by Robert with help from Mila who serves. And because we’re right there we get to talk with Robert and Mila all night. Shortly after sitting down, before we have ordered this arrives.

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What is it we ask. Grappa. We love grappa, and what a way to start a meal. But this is sweet? Honey grappa, fantastic. Then Robert hands across the counter a piece of goat cheese. And then a piece of smoked roast beef. And then a hunk of home made butter. We still haven’t ordered!

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Smoked beef, and butter

Finally we get down to ordering and they are recommending horse! Really? We have never had horse. Kristi said no, but I have to try. Then the show begins.

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Through the counter I watch the cooking begin.

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Meat, veggies, bread all go here. Robert is a Master cooking the different ingredients to perfection.

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First a veggie platter with bread off the grill on which the butter melts.

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The zucchini blossom, finger sized zucchini with blossom still on, and radiccio are barely cooked resulting in huge flavor. Incredible.

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Then the meat on a beautiful olive wood platter including mushroom with Gorgonzola, tomatoes, red peppers and a side of potato. Again the veggies are amazing. Kristi’s roast beef is fabulous. The horse steak even better. Very rare, not a speck of fat, wonderful texture delicate flavor

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Finally, he gives us horse tartar. One has a pesto sauce on it, the other zest from oranges. Holy cow! Just incredible.

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Robert and Mila. Compa on Trubarjeva Cesta (street), Ljubljana.

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