Budapest Part Deux

A part 2 of my favorite spots in Budapest/an excuse to research Hot Shots Part Deux gifs.

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One of my favorite movies as a kid.

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I can’t promise there isn’t more later.

Places:

Cake & Beer

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Via Facebook

A relatively new pub (they opened in November 2016) the name says it all. Cake & beer (and also card games). The beer was great–we tried the Ubik Eklektik Herbál IPA, Budapest–and it was really great, one of the best beers I’ve had since we moved. They also have sandwiches and coffee for the morning visitors too. We didn’t get a chance to try the coffee, but it sounded great. We also played a solid two hours of Uno and Rummy while enjoying our beers.

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Cat playing cards!

Blue Bird Cafe

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Via Facebook

Such great breakfast and lunch we had to go twice (in one weekend). Blue Bird is a cafe by day and insane karaoke by night. The cutest restaurant with amazing food, house roasted coffee, and homemade cheesecake, Blue Bird is my new favorite spot.

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I’m dying of cuteness.

I ordered the vegetarian eggs Benedict both days and Chris had Philly cheesesteak and pulled pork bagel.

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And I also ordered cheesecake….

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Via Facebook. I ordered blueberry.

Fat Mama’s

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Via Facebook

We had Christmas lunch at Fat Mama’s and it was delicious. Chris ordered a BBQ burger (shredded beef neck) and I ordered the veg burger because we were both craving fries.

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But I really want to visit again to try this adorable/amazing breakfast menu:

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Azteca Tex Mex:

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We stopped by Azteca because it was close to our Airbnb and we were craving burritos. Really extensive menu, fast service, solid food! Plus they deliver.

Manufaktor

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Via Facebook

An adorable shop near Blue Bird, they hand make and sell art prints, toys, puppets, and cards around the theatre theme. The art studio is home to work of Garami Richard and Ötvös; you can also buy their work online via their Etsy shop.

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Via Facebook

Budapest State Opera House:

This January we went to see Pushkin’s Evgeny Onegin performed by the Hungarian ballet at the Budapest Opera House. It was a beautiful building and great performances.

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Incapable of taking “nice” pictures.

Random Sites:

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Ashlyn inspired outdoor seating if I ever saw it.

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Calling my name.

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Old Man Status 😦

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-Ashlyn

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Cooking with Porkchop & Ike: Roasted Red Pepper Pasta for All

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Catching me pull the veggies out of the fridge. Also Ike is NOT taking no for an answer.

We’ve all got friends with dietary restrictions. When you’re cooking for people who eat meat, don’t eat meat, eat fish but not cheese, have a gluten allergy, or whatever might come up, it can be difficult to make a good meal that doesn’t leave anyone out.

This recipe can not only be used for any occasion but can be altered for even the most restrictive dietary restriction. On the scale of “I grew these tomatoes and garlic in my backyard” to “Prego” this dish falls more on the homemade side without all of the extra effort. You’re not Ina Garten, but I think she would probably approve.

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My hero.

We’re going to start with the sauce, then outline how you can customize the rest of recipe depending on who you’re feeding. This dish is easy but tastes better if you let it cook down for a while, meaning you have an excuse to watch those extra episodes of Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia/America’s Next Top Model and have a beer/glass of wine because “I’m cooking!” Do you.

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta for All

(Adapted from my Mom. She had a pasta sauce recipe that I’ve been altering for the past few years.)

Pasta Sauce:

Ingredients:

  1. 3 onions (sweet or white, whatever you prefer)
  2. 4 garlic Cloves
  3. 2 red peppers
  4. 2 cans whole peeled tomatoes
  5. 2 cans tomato paste
  6. 1 can crushed tomatoes
  7. Couple of tablespoons of olive oil
  8. Seasonings: salt, pepper, red pepper, garlic powder, whatever else you like in sauce!

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Directions:

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Roasted red peppers are seriously the best. Turn your oven onto broil and place your two whole red peppers on a baking pan. You can line the pan with tin foil or parchment paper to help with cleanup. Put your peppers in the oven and check every 10 minutes or so, CAREFULLY moving the peppers around so they char evenly. They’ll sweat in the oven so make sure you’re super careful moving them; this means don’t flip them while reading the ending of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

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Once they’re charred and deflated (about 30 minutes depending on your oven), take them out and carefully put the peppers in a bowl, covering with a towel so they can cool.

While the peppers are roasting, peel and cut your onions and garlic. The cuts don’t have to be super exact or anything–that’s the beauty of letting this sauce cook for a while–no one will be able to see them in the final dish anyway. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat and cook your onions and garlic until they’re translucent and your house smells awesome.

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I’m the laziest slicer ever.

Once your onions and garlic are done scoop the cans of tomato paste into your mixture. Stir and allow the paste to cook, about 8-10 minutes. It’s really important to make sure the paste is cooked through or else it can still retain that metal can taste.

Once the paste is cooked through, remove the pot from the heat and add one (drained) can crushed tomatoes. Then one at a time, the two cans of whole tomatoes. Use your hands to squeeze the whole tomatoes into oblivion; take all that anger and stress out on those tomatoes. Then return the pot to medium-low heat and stir, adding salt, pepper, red pepper, garlic and onion powder to your liking.

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Carefully dice up your peppers (including the skin) and add them to your pasta sauce, stir, and cover.

Cook your sauce for the next hour or two, making sure to stir in between episodes of whatever show you’re watching. Make sure to taste your sauce and season accordingly. I like a thicker sauce but if this is too thick for your likening you can add a bit of stock to thin it out. Again, do you.

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Now for the All Part:

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These are just suggestions of how to pair your sauce with different dietary restrictions.

Pasta: Gluten Free/Not Gluten Free

  1. Regular Pasta: Boil half a box of your favorite pasta (I prefer penne) to al dente.
  2. Gluten-Free: Gluten-free pasta is available at most grocery stores. Just like with all pasta, make sure you don’t overcook it. Gluten-free pasta tastes fine but it can get super rubbery if it’s cooked for too long.
  3. Healthy Option: Use zucchini-noodles (zoodles). Again, make sure you don’t overcook them. I usually slice two zucchinis length-wise on a cheese grater, then cook them for about 5 minutes over medium heat with s+p.

Want to add more than just pasta to your sauce? Duh me too. The key here is to use the same seasonings from the sauce with whatever you add to the dish.

Meat Eaters:

  1. The Way Your Mom Made It: Brown 1 pound of ground meat (chicken, pork, beef, whatever you prefer) and add same seasonings used in your pasta (onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper) until done.
  2. Healthier Option: Season one pound of chicken breasts and place on a baking pan sprayed with olive oil. Bake on 200 degrees Celsius and flip once until fully cooked. Once finished, remove from oven and carefully slice chicken and add to your dish.
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Chris prefers old school.

Vegetarians/Vegans:

  1. Mushrooms are Awesome: I like to use a variety of mushrooms including portabello and cremini. The other day I found some insane looking mushrooms (enoki) that were really great too. You want to cook mushrooms like proteins. Roughly chop (I like bigger pieces) your mushrooms and cook them with a little olive oil (mushrooms hold a lot of water so you don’t need a lot of olive oil) over medium heat. Add your seasonings and cook for about 8-15 minutes, making sure to stir. If making enoki mushrooms, heat a small amount of oil in a pan on high. Once the pan is hot, add the enoki mushrooms and flip once until they’re crispy (about 3 minutes).
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Weird little enoki on the left. They were super good!

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Cheese:

  1. Vegetarians/Meat Eaters: I’m a mid-best girl so I like cheese. You can top your pasta with any cheese you like, although I prefer mozzarella or this awesome combination of gouda/paprika.
  2. Vegans/Lactose Intolerant: Don’t use cheese

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Pretty easy dish with a lot of options for even the pickiest and most restrictive of eaters.Bonus points for this pasta sauce because it lasts a couple of days so if you aren’t cooking for a ton of people it’s there for you on the laziest of weekends. It doesn’t judge.

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Let’s be real, I may have written this just as an excuse to include an enoki pun.

—Ashlyn

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Bonus picture of Ike’s swagger

What I’m Listening To: Funeral (Arcade Fire)

What I’m Watching: American Splendor (Directed by: Ewan McGregor)

Things I’m Loving 12.31

I’m a little late with these, but its been a crazy week!

Final 2016 edition of reflections.

To Watch: Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul

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Phew. We binge-watched Breaking Bad in about a week and a half; I honestly didn’t think that my heart or nerves could handle it. One of the best shows of all time and the writers truly showed the evolution of Walter White from passive high school teacher to a murdering meth-making sociopath. Phew. My life will never be the same.

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Bonus points to the severely underrated Better Call Saul. Saul and Mike were my favorite characters from Breaking Bad, so I was stoked to have a whole couple of seasons telling the story of the characters. SOOO GOOD. I can’t wait for season 3 (and happy its on Netflix so we can watch it in Europe!)

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MIKKKKKEEEEEEEEEE

To Play: T-Pain Performing on NPR’s Tiny Desk Series

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Our friend and overall amazing person Meagen Olah visited Charleston right before we moved. In between binge-watching OJ Simpson: Made in America she introduced us to the T-Pain performance on Tiny Desk. I wasn’t really a fan of T-Pain before, but honestly I now have the biggest crush on him. That voice. Those glasses. SWOON. I can’t even pick a favorite song.

Watch it! And while you’re there, watch more of the Tiny Desk episodes. They’re amazing.

To Do: Christmas Markets

One of the best reasons to live in Europe is visiting the Christmas markets during the holidays. Set up in small villages and big cities, each market is unique to that location, with different crafts and food representing that culture. Plus, all the mulled wine you can drink. We visited Bratislava and Budapest this year but hoping to hit up a couple more spots next year.

Our lovely friend Haley visited from London and we had a blast roaming around the big Budapest market in Vörösmarty Square. We tried the kürtös kalács (chimney cake) but not the Rooster-testicle stew (kakastöke pörkölt).

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Bratislava

To Eat: Slovakian Dumplings (Bryndzové halušky)

Slovakian dumplings are my new favorite food. They are usually made from potatoes that resemble gnocchi and served in a soft cream or milk sauce (bryndza).  There are a couple of variations across the region (Hungarian and Czech), so I’ll need to do a couple of tastings. For science.

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With Mushrooms

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Not my picture because I forgot to take one, but these are from the Slovak Beer House, Bratislava.

To Read: Abuse Allegations in UK Soccer

Last post I wrote about the sexual abuse allegations in USA Gymnastics and how many former employees including National Team Doctor Larry Nassar have been arrested for abusing underage girls. The New York Times published a similar story of abuse in the UK; the article outlines the systematic abuse of children playing soccer. Chelsea, one of the largest clubs in the UK, paid a former athlete to not come forward with allegations of abuse against his coach. Now, another professional player, Andrew Woodward, has gone public with his story of abuse as a child, prompting at least 20 other athletes to now tell their stories. According to the article:

At least 20 police forces across Britain have opened investigations into 83 suspects in cases involving about 350 possible victims and 98 soccer clubs from the amateur level to the Premier League.

Woodward’s former coach Barry Bennell served prison time for raping a 13 year old boy at a soccer camp in the United States, then was arrested again on 23 charges of sexual abuse. Heartbreakingly, Bennell married Woodward’s sister after years of abusing the young player. Following a conviction in 2015, Bennell then lived under an assumed name. The article further explains how the abuse was covered up by various organizations, allowing coaches to continually hurt children.

To Look Forward To: Visiting Charleston

This month Chris and I visited Charleston for the first time since moving in August. Its been great getting to see everyone again (including out of town friends visiting over the holiday) and it makes my heart happy to be surrounded by such lovely people.  Oh and watching Draft Day as many times as possible.

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Me listening to Lemonade while driving around Charleston after getting my license reinstated (lololol)

I’m so thankful to be able to share Jen and the Duke’s special day; I can’t believe my work wife is all grown up! (sobbing)

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We’ll be back on the other side of the world tomorrow so we’re spending as much time with friends and this crazy girl as we can 🙂

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Cheers to a happy 2017!

-Ashlyn

Listening to: Solange | A Place at the Table 

Celebrating: Placing #1, #3, #3 in my fantasy football leagues (yaaaassss)