Friday, September 23, 2011
Homemade Slovak Halushky from the Home Country
As you can probably tell from my sparse posts this week, I'm on the go, travelling in Europe for business. But that of course doesn't mean that the food adventures stop. Quite the opposite actually, they get more interesting.
My first stop on this multi city trip started in my home country of Slovakia. Visiting my grandparents in Bratislava (Slovakia's capital), I spent most of the day with them and treated myself to a couple of good meals. On this one in particular, my dad and I had our favorite Slovak specialty called halushky, or most commonly referred to in the U.S. as spaetzle.
If you know me pretty well, you'll know that my favorite halushky in Astoria come from Koliba. That and my mom's homemade version of course, makes any others tough to live up to. I'm happy to say that the ones at Film Hotel's outdoor cafe really measured up. And then some.
Located on a quiet street that's just off a main road near the "old city" we happened to run into this cafe randomly, and due to the fact it was Sunday, it was one of the only ones open. With it being such a gorgeous day, we naturally decided to take a seat outside in the narrow yet lovely courtyard that was embellished with lots of greenery. Able to look up and see the charming balconies that belonged to hotel guests, it was a pleasant and relaxing view, offering a very quiet and laid back atmosphere.
Even for such an off-the-beaten-path place, they had everything that a proper traditional Slovak restaurant should, including nostalgic favorites such as halushky. My dad and I ordered different version of this dish, both with successful results.
Traditional Halushky - The traditional dish that my dad ordered were the familiar sheep's milk cheese dumplings that were also topped with glistening bacon. I had a bite of course and loved the smoky quality of the bacon and the delicious way that the sheep's milk cheese enveloped everything on the plate. The dish was a heavy one, no doubt, but it was worth every calorie.
Farmer's Halushky - I picked a slightly different variety of halushky that used the same type of dumplings as my dad's, yet instead of bacon, it substituted homemade cured sausage. As you can see, this colored the halushky a pale orange color. The overall effect was quite different than my dad's dish - it was smokier and a tad spicier too. I loved the paprika used in the sausage, which reminded me of something my mom would commonly make. Paprika is used a lot in Eastern European cooking!
Service and Cost:
The service at Film Hotel's cafe was as laid back as could be. Since it wasn't at all crowded, the restaurant had just one waitress who's attitude was very matter-of-fact but still appropriate for the type of setting we were in. She let us take our time in general and we felt as if we could've hung around for hours without anyone objecting.
Since we were a ways off the main street near Bratislava's Old City, the prices were a bit friendlier and for both of our dishes, including drinks, we paid a total of 15 Euro. If you translate that into dollars, you'd figure about $20 bucks.
Film Hotel Cafe - 27 Vysoka, Bratislava, Slovakia
02 5293 2794