Our Thanksgiving weekend in the former Central European bloc was not without its share of Thanksgiving-worthy food. This region is known, in particular, for its lack of veggies. Well, I’m sure in summer there are plenty of greens and fruits, but in the winter, we resort to what is available – potatoes, meat and cheese. Oh, and beer. And that’s basically it. Honestly, if you are someone with any dietary restrictions, please make sure to do plenty of research prior to your visit to avoid severe disappointment as plate upon plate of gluten-filled, meat-filled, dairy-filled goodness fill the table.
As food lovers, we fully enjoyed the simple, hearty fare. After meal six or seven in a row featuring sausage, our bodies craved the salty addition, and we missed it when it wasn’t there. Before our trip, I heard about a local speciality called ‘halusky’ – pronounced ‘ha – LOO – shky.’ It had been described as dumplings (or gnocchi) coated in cheese sauce and bacon. I ordered it at the first restaurant we visited (Cafe Verne, by the way, which was great and highly recommended).
I was not disappointed. As I was later told, foreigners can never finish the full dish. It’s just too rich and too decadent for fragile non-central European stomachs. Fortunately, my ancestors are from this region so I totally chowed down. Come on people – eat up! What’s not to love? Later in the weekend we came up with a fun new catch phrase which we expect to go viral – ‘I Got Halusky’d’ which basically means that you overdid it and regretting your food choices (a typical feeling after a 2am pizza run in college, or any visit to a buffet). Drew was eating halusky when we came up with it, and sure enough, he woke up in the middle of the night, feeling sick from a cheese-induced stomach ache. He was, as we now say, halusky’d. Beautiful justice.
On our day trip to Vienna, we had hoped to add in some diversity to our diet. A salad, perhaps? Broth-based soup? One massive onion tart and fried pork dish later, we realized how silly we were being. Embrace it. Another lemon tart and vanilla pastry, please. Salad can wait for Monday.