the making of a buda belly

Another part we didn't expect to love as much as we did about Budapest was the food.  Oh my God, the food!  The Hungarians can cook.  I don't think we ate a single thing during our four days in Budapest that wasn't to die for, and we ate all.day.long.  By the end of the trip we were all so full and fat we didn't even want to eat any more but still couldn't stop eating.  The food was that good.

So first let's go back to those sausages we ate after the baths.  Spicy, hot sausages, served with pickled cabbage, yellow mustard, and a huge slice of thick bread, washed down with cold beer that were so delicious I'm salivating over them right now.

Budapest is a street-food paradise.  Food carts appeared everywhere we walked, and we made sure to taste everything we saw.  After devouring the spicy sausages, we wandered through City Park, where we discovered warm salty pretzels and sweet mulled wine with notes of cinnamon and cloves.  We took them to go, and traced our path back toward a well-known restaurant in town, Gundel, where we topped ourselves off with Dobos torte and a toasted walnut and chocolate crepe.  On the walk back toward our hotel, we refueled with coffee in hopes of staving off the food comas that had already begun to overtake us.

The effects of the coffee didn't last long; coupled with the gentle rain, the long walk between the hotel and the bath and back, and the utter relaxation from our bath, naps were necessary for all before we could continue our culinary adventure.

Later that evening we met in the lobby of the beautiful hotel where we were staying, a local landmark - The New York Palace - and recommenced our foodie marathon with champagne cocktails for L and me and heartier appertifs for Joey and O.  Then we took a cab to another recommendation from our friends: Comme Chez Soi.

Wow.  From the moment we opened the door we were treated like family with prosecco and treats from the chef.  Then with a bottle of Hungarian red wine, we truly began our feast with sizzling goose liver served atop  garlic mashed potatoes with a balsamic and apple reduction.  Obviously Joey had been giddily looking forward to this dish ever since our friend heard we were going to Budapest; although I'm a fan of foie gras, I was admittedly a little nervous about this significantly larger organ.

It tasted so good we considered making reservations there again the next night.

After the goose liver, we gorged on juicy filet, roquefort-smothered chicken and traditional Hungarian stew.  Then we suffered through dessert, for the chocolate cake was so decadent we couldn't bring ourselves not to  finish it.  Our host shared his homemade limoncello and Hungarian palinka and one of us (who shall remain unnamed) was so full she had to go to the bathroom to remove her control-top pantyhose so she could breathe.  A nightcap was in order, so we returned to the Cigar Bar at the New York Palace for our second round of drinks. 
He is going to kill me for posting this picture.   But if you look closely, you can  see for  whom this post was titled.

The next morning only one of the four of us was hungry (guess), and so my fat husband had to wait until we could find the Great Market Hall before he could eat.  We walked a roundabout way to get there, and so to placate a starving Joey, we all shared some pastries along the way.  Then we entered one of the coolest markets I've ever seen, with three stories of shops selling everything from sausage and cheese to fruit and vegetables to dried peppers and garlic and pastries and bread.  Ready-made Hungarian specialties lined the second floor, and we only regretted stuffing ourselves with an assortment from the main floor because we didn't have enough room for any food from upstairs.

I'm so hungry I can't even stop to put my camera away before stuffing my  cheeks.
Later that afternoon we stumbled across a food festival (okay, it was probably an Easter market, but the party was all in my mouth) in Vorosmarty Square, where we devoured Kürtőskalács, or grilled sweet bread with cinnamon and sugar; Langos, fried bread with sour cream and cheese; and some more spicy sausage (just to make sure).  

The next morning we found another Easter market on the other side of the river, Buda, at the royal palace, and were sure to sample as much as possible.  Struessel, cheese, palinka, marzipan liquor, a different kind of langos and of course we had to check out those spicy sausages one more time.  Admittedly, Joey did eat something he didn't like, but considering it was blood sausage he should have known better.

"Oh.  Um.  This doesn't taste like I'd hoped it'd taste."

"Hmm.  How do I choke this down?"
"Must.  Keep.  Chewing."
"Oh God."

"Almost there..."
"Thank God.  Where's my beer?"
We also had sushi twice (a faux pas, I know, with so much wonderful Hungarian food, but don't forget from where we came) and the requisite Hard Rock cheeseburgers (can't be helped).  We did a lot of other wonderful things and saw a lot of beautiful places while we were in Budapest; obviously the city has so much more to offer than just its food, but my most powerful memories of Budapest will be mouthwatering ones.