One night in Prague: making the most of a short trip

One of the great things about Budapest is the ability to hop on a train, bus, or rent a car and be in a different city quite quickly. We hopped on a night bus and headed to Prague just for a couple days. You know those cities that you walk around and say to yourself fairly quickly that you think you could live there? Yeah, Prague was one of those. It was clean, walkable, but transit seemed great. There were lots of things to see in the short amount of time we were there, and the vibe of the city was overall great.

First of all, the night bus was no where near as bad as I expected. I slept most of the way which was quite impressive for me considering I’m one of those weirdos that struggles sleeping in cars or on planes. It went much faster than I thought, and I fell asleep to a Joe Rogan podcast. Am I the only one who finds those weirdly relaxing? Upon arrival at around 6am, we grabbed a coffee at Starbucks and sat there for a few to figure out our next move and charge our phones. Our check in wasn’t till later so we had lots of time.

Tip: instead of buying transit tickets through the machine that require change, just download the PID Litacka app, and buy them through there

Because it was so early, we got to cross Charles Bridge before the hoards of tourists were there, and caught the sunrise. As we were walking through the streets, we found a bagel place for breakfast so we ate there. After, we made our way to the Prague Castle, looked at the St. Vitus Cathedral, and walked around up there.

Tip: wear sensible footwear, I didn’t and almost broke my ankle approximately 12 times

We checked into our hotel and then had a nap because we were exhausted, and at this time, the Christmas Market was still up so we went there. We also went to the mall, and just walked, a lot. For dinner, I got the Czech version of my fav Hungarian dish, Svíčková, and R got a pork knuckle. Typical. We then went to an Irish bar, also very typical, and got chips from the market after, bought champagne and orange juice, and made mimosa’s in the hotel room.

The next morning we went for breakfast at a cute little cafe and got bagels, again, and carrot cake to go to eat on the bus. We went on a search for Buchty, but it was the Czech Independence Day and everywhere was closed so we didn’t luck out there.

By then, we had to go back to the bus station to get home. This time felt 10x longer than the night bus to me but we returned to Budapest in the evening.

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Vancouver BC: best places to eat (from a local)

Vancouver is truly an amazing city. We have mountains, beaches, lots to do, and more importantly, lots of places to eat. These are my top picks for restaurants in Vancouver and close by areas.

*I’m so sorry in advance for the lack of photos for this post, it has been a while since I’ve been to many of these restaurants and I often inhale my food upon it’s arrival to my table, especially when I’m home, when my mind isn’t always on the next blog post.*

Nicli Antiza Pizzeria

The first VPN certified Neopolitan pizzeria in Vancouver.

Where: 62 E Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1K2

Website: https://www.niclipizzeria.com/

What to get: Margherita pizza (keep it simple)

Anton’s Pasta Bar

Some people think Anton’s overrated, but I have yet to have a bad experience there. You get so much food and it’s always delicious.

Where: 260 Hastings St, Burnaby, BC V5C 2J6

Website: https://antonspastabar.com/

What to get: Gnocchi Cardinale, Linguini Con Calamari

Bauhaus

It doesn’t have a Michelin Star, but their chef is a Michelin Star chef.

Where: 1 W Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1C8

Website: http://bauhaus-restaurant.com/

What to get: Their tasting menu changes often, try something new

Thierry Cafe

Who doesn’t love a French cafe?

Where: 1059 Alberni St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1A1

Website: https://www.thierrychocolates.com/cafe/

What to get: Their macarons are straight out of France

Earnest Ice Cream

Regular flavours, rotating flavours, and vegan flavours. None will disappoint.

Where: 1829 Quebec Street, VancouverBC. 3992 Fraser St Vancouver, BC. 127 W 1st St
North Vancouver, BC, pints of ice cream available at some grocery stores

Website: https://earnesticecream.com/

What to get: London fog ice cream, whiskey hazelnut ice cream

Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna

Such good Greek food, and reasonable prices!

Where: 1124 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1N1

Website: it doesn’t exist

What to get: I always get chicken souvlaki and never branch out

Meat and Bread

They were featured on Diners, Drive ins, and Dives and have great sandwiches.

Where: 370 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1H7

Website: https://www.meatandbread.com/

What to get: There are three options, just pick one

There are so many great options for food in Vancouver. We have almost everything you could imagine when it comes to types of food.

Honourable mentions:

  • Virtuous pie (vegan pizza)
  • Cartem’s Donuts (good donuts, vegan options)
  • Nuba (Lebanese food)
  • Cincin (Italian food)
  • Score on Davie (caesars)
  • El Furniture Warehouse (cheap food)

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San Diego on a budget: one week itinerary

What do you do in San Diego if you don’t want to go to The Zoo, Seaworld, or Legoland??? Let me tell you.

Day one: Monday

Drop off your things at your unreal Airbnb (that has dogs) (this one). Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about this place, it was lovely. After dropping off all your things, go to Einstein Bagels, get an avocado bagel and a coffee, and then make your way over to the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge for a walk. After that, rent bikes in Balboa Park and go for a bike ride. When you’re tired of riding bikes, go for beers. This city can’t get enough craft beer, apparently. For dinner, go to In n Out, and then to another brewery. This will be a trend, just wait.

 

Day two: Tuesday

Get picked up by the rental car company, we used Hertz. Pick up the car and then go to Vons to buy some groceries for the week and a breakfast burrito. Go to Mission Beach and walk along the boardwalk, go on the Belmont Park roller coaster, get a beer, and start to drive home. If you’re into golf, I recommend going to the golf superstore because they had a huge used golf club selection. On the way home, stop at El Zarape for .99 cent fish tacos. Just do it. Next up is Coronado Island. It’s super cute there so go explore, and then, go to the Coronado Golf Course. They have an amazing happy hour, and I adored this golf course.

 

Day three: Wednesday

Carlsbad. Carlsbad outlets. You need to buy things. The flower fields are here, but we were far too cheap to pay for that, so we drove around the back and tried to catch a glimpse. You’re probably not as cheap as us, though, so if it’s the right season, frolic in the flowers. Go to Senior Grubby’s for lunch and eat your burritos on the beach. On the way home, stop at the Oceanside Pier and the Del Mar race tracks, but unfortunately, there are no horse races in April, so we just walked around. In the evening, go to Soda and Swine for board games and appies and then check out Fall Brewing because they have great sour beers (my fav).

 

Day four: Thursday

Thursday is the day you make your way up to La Jolla and go to Torrey Pines. I realize this post says “on a budget,” and Torrey Pines isn’t cheap. R was over the moon excited about this, and it was most definitely not on his budget. After his round, we ate lunch on the beach in La Jolla and went shopping at Marshalls and Nordstrom. We were supposed to return our rental car, but we decided to extend it because San Diego is really tough without a car. Everything’s so spread out; Uber’s add up, and public transit is not really for me.

 

Day five: Friday

Go to Balboa Park and see the sculpture garden (it’s free). I had my heart set on going here, and we searched for parking for what seemed like forever. It was closed due to an event. I was not impressed. Then, go to Old Town and walk around, go to the carriage museum (it’s free) and get ice cream. If there’s a home game, buy last minute tickets to a Padres game.

 

Day six: Saturday

First, go to the farmers market in Little Italy. It’s so nice to just walk around, find some kombucha on tap, and try free samples. Since you’re in Little Italy, you need to go to the Crack Shack for lunch, it’s right there. Then, go to Mission Beach after stuffing your face with fried chicken sandwiches (no judgement here), and since you’ve already given up on health for the day, check out Baked Bear and get bomb ice cream sandwiches.

 

Day seven: Sunday

Sundays are basically a synonym for a bagel. Nomad’s Donut’s had great bagels. You can obviously do whatever you want, but we went to Golf Mart, drove to Sunset Cliffs Park, walked around the SDSU campus, went to Trader Joe’s, and played a little par three golf course. We had time, no direction, and drove around a bit aimlessly. I guess if you’re someone who likes The Zoo, Seaworld, or Lego Land, that’s something you could do.

Sunset Cliffs Park

Sunset Cliffs Park

Day eight: Monday

If you’re smart like us, you booked an evening flight so in the morning you can go to the USS Midway Museum. It’s so cool!!!! Go! Then you must get In n Out for the last time, look through Nordstrom Rack, and return your rental car and make it to the airport on time.

 

That’s it! We liked finding good food, laying on the beach, shopping, and golf courses. San Diego is such a fun city and there’s so much to do, even when you don’t want to spend a lot on activities.

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San Diego: best places to eat on a budget

I adore San Diego and I adore the food here. Spending about a week here has given me the time to try all the food that I wanted to. I’m always on a student budget, so I’m always looking for cheap places to go that have good food. These are the places that stood out to me.

In n Out

I had to try In n Out burger when I was here, and it did not disappoint. Cheeseburger with onions and fries animal style for me, double cheeseburgers for R. I also appreciate their tiny menu so much, I hate decisions and love simple.

El Zarape

There are two of these in close proximity to each other, but one of them it more expensive, and one of them has .99 cent fish tacos. I’ve been here a few times because they are amazing, and a dollar. I didn’t try any other food item on the menu, but their giant margaritas are good too.

El Zarape

Senior Grubby’s

We grabbed some burritos to go on our way home from Carlsbad and ate them on the beach. If you’re in Carlsbad and looking for Mexican- this is the place to go.

Senior Grubby's

Soda and Swine

PIZZA KNOTS. YES. So good. And a side of fries. We sat here playing Scrabble and drinking. Honestly, these pizza knots were amazing, and this place is really cute with an open ceiling, a fireplace, and lots of board games.

Lolitas

Lolitas is right across from the baseball stadium- don’t be scared away by the line because it goes quickly. We both got the California Burrito. I was sceptical about this one because of the fries in the burrito, but it was unreal. It was bigger than my head and I couldn’t finish it.

Lolita's

The Crack Shack

R said that the sandwich he got here was in the top five things he’s eaten in his entire life, and he has eaten a lot of things. He got the Firebird, and I got the G-Bird. The line here went quickly as well, definitely worth it. We went before the farmers market in Little Italy because it’s very close. We ended up going back the next day and I had the Firebird too, he was “both surprised and disappointed” that I finished it all.

The Crack ShackThe Crack ShackThe Crack Shack

Baked Bear

Yes, you need this in your life. Ice cream sandwiches made out of cookies or brownies. So good, worth the line, worth the calories.

Buona Forchetta

We figured we needed at least one nice-ish dinner that didn’t consist of .99 cent tacos. Make a reservation for this place, we didn’t and waited over an hour. Luckily, there’s a brewery across the street so we played Scrabble and watched the hockey game while we waited. Our food came out in what seemed like minutes, we got the octopus, focaccia bread, and a margarita pizza, all of it was amazing, especially the pizza. I don’t love octopus, but R loved it. We got cannolis for dessert, ALMOST as good as the ones I had in Italy.

Nomad Donuts

Seriously regretting not picking up a couple doughnuts here, but what can you do? I got an everything bagel with garlic and herb cream cheese. There were literal chunks of garlic in the cream cheese. If you’re vegan, they had tons of vegan options for delicious looking doughnuts.

Nomad Donuts

We usually do breakfast at home, and we made lunch at our Airbnb a couple times. Sometimes we would just grab a sandwich at Von’s and eat on the beach. We went to several breweries that would be worth checking out, except I didn’t pay attention to the names of them. There are just so many in this city!

Mike Hess

My favourite thing about San Diego is the great Mexican food. There are so many options, and it’s always so good. I think this is the first trip we’ve gone on where we haven’t eaten hummus, falafel, shawarma, or kebabs, and I’m not even mad about it. Have you found the best food in San Diego? If there’s anything I missed that’s worth checking out, let me know, I’m sure I’ll be back in this city soon.

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A guide to the Hungarian Christmas Markets

I love Christmas, it’s truly the most wonderful time of the year. I was lucky enough to get to experience the markets in Budapest this year, and I think it will have to be a yearly occurrence.

budapest market

I found myself overwhelmed at the market even considering I’ve already tried a lot of traditional Hungarian food. I also have a real live Hungarian who will refuse to buy certain things at the market (I’m looking at you, chimney cakes and pork knuckles), because it’s so much more expensive than what you can get elsewhere. I’ve made a list of my favourite things you can find at the market, although the market isn’t where I’ve tried most of them.

pork knuckles

Mulled wine (Foralt Bor)– If I could make myself a perfume in the scent of mulled wine, I would. Why don’t you just drown me in it? You can make this at home easily. Just heat up a dry red wine (a sweet wine will turn bitter when heated up), add rum, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, anise, sliced up orange and apple, and you’ll have happiness in a cup. You can buy (or make) this with white wine or rose, but I like red the best.

Chimney Cake (Kürtőskalács)– I’m so in love with these. It’s a sweet yeast dough rolled on a wooden roller, coated in sugar, baked over charcoal or in the oven, and then rolled in the topping (cinnamon, walnut, vanilla, etc.) I asked if I could buy the stick they make it on, but they said no.

Tip: If you’re at the Vörösmarty tér market, the Deák tér subway station right outside of the Starbucks on Fashion Street sells them for 350HUF (around $1.50CAN) instead of the 2000HUF (around $10CAN) they’re sold for at the market.

Goulash- One of the most popular Hungarian dishes, and for a good reason. It’s like a hug in a bowl. I mean, you can get this at almost every restaurant in the country, but they serve it in bread bowls at the market, and who doesn’t love bread bowls?

goulash

Lángos- This grew on me the second time I had it. It’s a must try. Fried dough covered in sour cream, cheese, and garlic. Health.

Tip: The cheapest and best place to get lángos is the Central Market Hall.

Kemencés Lángos- This is almost like pizza but it’s made of the lángos dough and baked. I only had a bite of this, but I think I like it better than the regular lángos.

Túrós Csusza– Another weird Hungarian food that I ended up liking; these guys have the best food, I swear. This is pasta or noodles with sour cream, Hungarian cheese (almost like cottage cheese), and bacon- it’s worth the calories.

Cabbage Rolls- These are my favourite. At the market, they’re served on top of a giant hashbrown, yay for carbs!

Tip: Don’t buy these at the market, find them at a restaurant because no singular cabbage roll is worth 3000HUF (around $15CAN) in my books.

Hungarian Sausage- I feel dumb writing these sometimes. How can I explain that sausage is good and convince you to try it? I can’t, it’s obvious. It’s not as important as trying the chimney cakes, but it’s up there. You can get them on buns or by themselves, but either way, they won’t disappoint.

sausage

Roasted Chestnuts- If I’m being honest I never got around to trying these. I just think it’s worth noting that their sold here. The song “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” always runs through my head when I see these vendors. You can only buy them ten at a time when I only want two. I google searched “how to eat roasted chestnuts,” in attempts to prepare myself, and am still unsure of whether you have to crack them or just eat them how they are. If anyone knows.. Let me know..

I’ll end this blog post with a piece of advice. Try everything you possibly can. Unless you’re vegan, you will like all the food here, except DO NOT TRY THE PALINKA. I am serious, no matter what anyone tells you, it’s not good. If it’s offered for free, say no. Don’t look at it, don’t smell it, don’t consume it. You can try the Unicum, it just tastes like medicine, but under no circumstances should you ever think putting Palinka in your body is a good idea.

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Budapest: The best restaurants

I could go on and on… and on, about how good Hungarian food is, but restaurants in Hungary are not where I usually eat it. Budapest has everything you could ever want when it comes to food. I ended up going back to some of my favourites from the last time I was here, but also discovered some new places. These are the spots I’ll keep going back to every time I end up here, because all roads lead to Budapest.

Breakfast

Cold cuts, bread, or eggs are popular here for breakfast. I usually just get yogurt, fruit, and sometimes a pastry, from the grocery store. My favourite pastry is the one filled with cheese (túrós táska). R’s grandma makes these, and it was only this year when I was introduced to this magical invention. I’ll need to get her to teach me how to make these all by myself.

pastry

Túrós táska

Kebabs

You’ll find a kebab stand on every corner here, and I consume more of these than I’d like to admit, but my favourite is Pasa Kebab. The baked pita kebabs are unreal, and their kebab pizza is also really good. Honestly, Pizza King Express, and the other 500HUF (around 2.50CAN) kebab stands are good too. I mean you can’t really go wrong with a kebab, ever.

kebab pizza

Pasa Kebab pizza

Hungarian, Thai, Mexican, and Hummus

These are my favourite restaurants in the city, and the ones I’ve found myself going to on multiple occasions.

If you want traditional Hungarian food at a good price, go to Belvárosi Lugas Vendéglő. It’s not insanely overpriced like most of the Hungarian restaurants in the touristy areas of the city, and the food is amazing. Last time, I got the goulash, and R got the deer stew. This time, getting the deer stew at this restaurant was a priority, so we went here our first night.

deer stew

Thai food is one of my favourites, and the food at Parasz Thai is some of the best I’ve ever had. The Pad Thai and the hot and sour soup are both really good. The salad rolls are really good. The lemonade is really good. Everything is really good. There’s a few locations around the city.

Mexican food is also something I could eat everyday and not get sick of. Iguana is the place to go in Budapest for Mexican. I’ve been here a few times, and consumed a couple pitchers of margaritas and a few too many chips. The smokey salsa, guacamole, fajitas, jalapeno/cream cheese soup, and taco salad are all my top picks. I think this was the first restaurant I went to in Budapest, and I’ll go here every time I come back.

Falafel and hummus are something I eat on the regular as well. There’s a chain called The Hummus Bar, that has restaurants all over Budapest. Don’t even get me started on their laffa bread, only one of the locations has this though. We had an emergency hummus craving one night, and went here but they were closed. There were still some employees kicking around, and let us buy hummus and bread to go. My HEROES.

Bars

I’ve been to quite a few of the ruin bars, and you should definitely make a point of exploring all of them. They’re all so unique. Szimpla Kert is one of my favourites. It’s usually packed, but if you need to pick one ruin bar, go here. There’s an upstairs, an outside area, and really interesting decor.

szimpla

this was taken upstairs looking down

Especially this time around, I’ve been at Froccskocsma more that I’d like to admit. Go here if you like wine spritzers; they’re 190HUF (90cents CAN) each. We’ve spent a few afternoons sitting here, doing homework, and taking advantage of the cheap spritzers. There’s a cheap kebab stand (yay) right outside, that you can order from if you get hungry from all the homework and learning. There’s a bar across the street with a really similar name that’s owned by the same people, where everything is double the price, so be careful and make sure you go to the cheap one.

Sweet things

I have a huge sweet tooth, and Hungarian’s make the best cakes.

Ruszwurm Cafe is a must visit. They have the best Krémes, which is my absolute favourite cake, ever. This cafe has been around for close to forever, and it’s always busy. It’s right by Fisherman’s Bastion. They make their Krémes with whipped cream instead of the egg whites that several bakeries make theirs with. I tried the Dobostort this time too. It’s very Hungarian, and very traditional; it’s a walnut cake and chocolate frosting with about ten layers in total, and a caramel triangle on top. The cheese danish is also delicious, and so is the coffee. I’m sure you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

kremes

Ruszwurm’s last time

ruszwurm

Ruszwurm’s this time

Another place I’ve tried Krémes is Gerbeaud. We didn’t go here this time, but it’s one of the best cafes in the city. It’s made with egg whites here. I love this cake no matter what, but I think I like it better with the whipped cream instead of egg whites.

gerbeaud

Gerbeaud Cafe last time

Langos is a must try in Hungary as I’ve mentioned before. It’s not sweet, but you can get sweet toppings put on top if you’re not in the mood for garlic. The cheapest and best place to get it is Central Market Hall. This market has everything; lots of people who live here do their grocery shopping here. It’s definitely a good place to immerse yourself in Hungarian culture, try new food, or buy souvenirs.

danube

There are tons of places to eat in Budapest that are good, but I’ve been to all of these places more than once, and would go to them again. Avoid the expensive restaurants in the tourist areas, and read reviews before trying a new place. This city has something for everyone, and any type of food you could ever crave. Even Kraft Dinner, it’s sold at the American grocery store.

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Everything I ate in Paris

Why does everything taste better in this city? As much as I loved seeing the Eiffel Tower, walking down the Champs Élysées, the Louvre, and everything else Paris had to offer, I might have been more impressed with the things I ate.

The first thing I ate upon arrival was a lemon tart.

Lemon tart

We got a baguette for breakfast on our first morning and ate it on the bed in our hotel room. The baguette was still warm, and why is French butter so much better than in Canada?

Breakfast!

For lunch one day, I had a life-changing shawarma from Ya Mir. I don’t know what they did to the meat, but it tasted almost sour, but not sour. Horseradish? Mustard? I don’t know. That makes it sound gross, but it wasn’t. It was also pretty cheap- 5.5 euros each.

Ya Mir Shawarma

Ya Mir Shawarma

 

I had my heart set on eating a croissant in Paris, and I ended up having one for breakfast every day after the first morning. The last morning here, I branched out and tried a pain au chocolat. These were all far more impressive than the ones I used to get at Tim Horton’s.

L'as du Fallafel

L’as du Fallafel

L’as du Fallafel is all over the internet as a “must try” in Paris, and for a good reason. I was not prepared for this falafel, it’s the world’s best. I will go back to Paris for this before I go back for the Eiffel Tower. How is it so good??? And it’s only around 6 euros each. The line moves quickly, but even if it didn’t, it would still be worth it.

Vanilla Flan

R got this Vanilla Flan from the Smith Bakery. I had a couple bites and was immediately angry I didn’t get my own.

One of the only French meals we actually had while in France was at the Chartier. The line went really quickly. We were kind of worried it was a tourist trap, but it was mostly French people eating there. It was really cheap for what you got (28 euros for two, including a pitcher of sangria and dessert), and the food was good. The atmosphere was bad, and the bread was sub-par. I got the roast chicken and green beans, and we shared the chestnut cream for dessert, but I wasn’t crazy about that.

I figured I had to try macarons in Paris, even though I’ve never been a fan of them. I always thought they were overrated. On the last day when I still hadn’t bought any, I decided the next macaron shop I saw I would get a couple. I’m basic so I got chocolate, vanilla, and hazelnut. Only after leaving the store, I realized it was Pierre Herme, one of the “go to” macaron shops in the city. Needless to say, I liked these macarons. I was too afraid to try some of the weird flavours like caviar, olive oil, or passion fruit, but simple is best.

L'as du FallafelL'as du Fallafel

We obviously ended up back at L’as du Fallafel, the man at the door even recognized us. We ate inside this time and shared the shawarma platter with a side of falafel and hummus. I almost wished I wasn’t full so I could have kept ordering more food. That’s how good it was.

Amorino

Ice cream in November, because I read Amorino was a must and hot chocolate. Hot chocolate in France is literally melted chocolate in a cup and I have mixed feelings about it.

As someone who adores bread and pastry, Paris was heaven. And if you ever want to go to Paris and feel like it’s really affordable, go to Norway first. Everything is good at all of the bakeries, and you won’t go wrong with bread at the grocery stores. As far as restaurants go, I’m the type of person that will google all options intensively because I don’t want to pay for food and be disappointed.

I missed out on eating Onion Soup, Croque Monsieur, caramels from Jacques Genin, Escargot, Steak-Frites, Crème Brulée, and several other traditional French foods. I guess we were too busy eating falafel to worry about trying actual French food. You can only eat so many things in so little time without hating yourself, too (I swear I don’t eat like garbage all the time).

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Oslo, Norway: grocery store finds

I love grocery stores and not just in different counties. I can’t even begin to explain how happy I’d be going to the grocery store at home (with my parents money of course). I LOVE LOOKING AT ALL THE THINGS. You can imagine how much time I waste in grocery stores in new countries that have new things to look at.

From what I’ve gathered, it seems that the Norwegian staples are brown cheese, Grandiosa pizza, and Melkesjokolade chocolate. The brown cheese is surprisingly not bad, it tastes like a sweeter version of cheddar and looks like a block of frozen peanut butter. Grandiosa pizza tastes cheap and like bagel bites, not pizza. I broke down and bought one of the tiny versions of the chocolate bars and yeah, it was good. I’m not blown away though.

Condiments- why are they all in tubes? When I was dieting fairly seriously, mustard was my go to. I put it on literally every single thing I ate because it has very few calories. Can someone please explain to me why the mustard in this country has 120 calories per serving? It’s witchcraft and not okay with me. Another thing I can’t wrap my head around is the bacon flavoured mayonnaise. I hate mayo with a passion. I can’t imagine this would taste good to anyone, even if they liked mayo. Hot dog sauce? Is this a fancy word for mayo? So many questions.

IMG_0244

condiments in tubes

I’ve stumbled upon lefsa in the grocery stores, and you cannot seriously tell me that the lefsa they sell in packages in the grocery stores is real. It probably tastes like garbage. Grandma would not approve, therefore, I will not be buying it.

lefsa

not in this lifetime

There are the biggest range of fish items. Canned fished meatballs (wtf), fish cakes, fish balls, shrimp, you name it. If there’s a dead fish involved, you can find it at the grocery store, and you can bet I’ll try none of these.

 

 

The (local) jams that I’ve tried are really good, not as good as Grandma’s, but good for store bought. I’ve yet to try the “cloudberry” jam, but that’s because I didn’t realize it wasn’t called cloudberry in Norwegian. I saw it in the store today since I knew what I was looking for, and it was super expensive (surprise surprise) so I’ll bring some home when I’ve had enough of this country.

IMG_E0245

one third of the jam section

The Asian and Mexican food sections are all massive at the grocery stores. Stuff like that is not hard to find. We brought a bunch of taco and fajita seasoning with us, but it was not necessary. I think the BBQ flavoured fajita mix they sell here is better than what they sell in Canada. It’s cheap too, I might be bringing some home.

I don’t notice a huge difference in price while grocery shopping at home compared to here for most things, and the only thing I can’t find here that I’m missing is clamato juice. This girl needs a caesar in the worst way. Maple syrup is over the MOON expensive and they don’t even sell the cheap fake stuff. Why do I need maple syrup? I really don’t, but you bet I will complain about it (eh).

Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure if living here (except for going out to eat/buying booze) is actually way more expensive than it is at home. Maybe I’m just used to being a child and having my parents do all my grocery shopping. Either way, it’s shocking moving away and realizing how much is actually spent on food, ESPECIALLY when we’re on that chicken and white rice 92% of the time diet and have yet to go out for food. Kebab’s and Ikea don’t count.

Foreign grocery stores are fascinating, and I’ll be sure to spend an obscene amount of time in any one that I come across.

Budapest: daydreamin’ about goulash

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I fell in love with Budapest last summer, and kind of want to transfer to Corvinus and finish my degree there. I just loved everything about that city, from the bars, all the bridges (I love bridges), the food, the history, the $8 pedicures, and kebabs. Robi was trying to talk me out of it when I was whining about not finding work yet in Oslo where everyone speaks English; few people speak English in Hungary.  Maybe he’s right (never) and living there is not a good idea, but I’ve been reminiscing about that city a lot lately. Flights aren’t even that expensive in December to fly from Oslo… Rob if you’re reading this, it’s around $200 and I’ll 200% come back with a puppy and be 200 degrees happier.

I’ve compiled a list of things to see and do. I’m missing some because I don’t remember what things are called; those “Learn the Hungarian Language” tapes that were given to me only went so far.

Things to do:

  • Ruin Bars- These are old buildings that have been transformed into strange bars. They’re all really unique and it should be noted that a beer is between two and three dollars there.
  • Central Market Hall- You can get fried dough here. It’s also next to a pretty bridge and my hopefully future university.
  • Thermal Baths- I don’t know why I’m putting this here. I went in the summer, it was hot outside, and it was described to me as “old people soup.” But maybe in the winter it would be worth it.
  • Fisherman’s Bastion- Mostly a viewing platform for the Danube. Super pretty.
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica- The big church, you can’t miss it. I got yelled at for not wearing enough clothing inside. You can go to the top and see the whole city.
  • Margaret Island- You can run around this if you’re into running. The water polo stadium, a small zoo, a park, and a hotel are on this island.
  • Hero’s Square- It’s what the Art Gallery is to Vancouver, almost, if that makes sense.

Things to eat:

  • Fried dough- JUST DO IT. It’s covered in sour cream and garlic.
  • Krémes- My favourite cake ever. Pastry and custard, two of my favourite things combined.
  • Somlói Galuska- Chocolate and walnuts and sponge cake and everything good in life.
  • Kürtőskalács-  It’s like a cinnamon bread cone. You can find them filled with ice cream too.
  • Kebabs- I know these are Turkish but they are so good.
  • Goulash- Duh.

I promise I ate more than cake and ice cream while there. I don’t think there is a type of Hungarian food I have tried and not liked including the strange-ish things Robi has made for me. I’m talking about the boiled meat, bread dumplings, and pureed vegetables that is somehow delicious despite what it looks like. Everything else is meat and potatoes.

I feel like lots of people don’t think of Hungary when travelling Europe, I definitely didn’t. There’s so much to do and so many things to see that it should be on everyone’s list of places to go. Also, those “48 hours in Budapest” posts you see on Pinterest are false advertising, it’s no where near enough time.

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