Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Yugoslvian Affair with my Girls at Balkan

It's official, I have turned my kids into gastronomic minions!
Like mother, like daughter, so they say, or is it like father like son?  Well whatever it may seem, I have confirmed that I will forever have growing gourmands pulling my sleeves off whenever they see a new restaurant.  
I used to detest passing by any Jollibee or KFC's for its summoning presence to y kids.  I though we are going to be dead stuck on those franchises and coming home without it from somewhere would be the end of me.  
Thank God!  We have been freed from that curse!  But come to think again, they still do love these fast food ,but of course just next in line to my home-cooking.  What I am so elated about is that  they have grown to like other cuisines and have become daring in trying out new stuff to eat, just like their mommy!
Oh no!  Need to wake up that frugal spirit in me and be more than strict in controlling my foodie addiction, oops now it's our foodie addiction.
Speaking of being daring and totally open in new dining experiences, we came across Balkan Yugoslavian Home Cooking at Crossroads, BGC.
Yugoslavian is definitely new to my little girls vocabulary, even the words Serbian cuisine.  Big words for Dana, 9 yrs old and Danica, 8 yrs. old.
The word Balkan however, is also new to me. And when I was asked why the restaurant was named as such, (shocks!) I don't know what to tell them.  Their dad however said that Balkans are the people who live on Balkan Peninsula, people also known as Serbs, Bosniaks, Croats, etc.  Yeah, he doesn't look like a nerd but he knows a lot.  
My kids though finding those words too big for them, weren't really anxious of ordering and checking out their menu.  Now, my husband and I were scared!  They are not picky eaters and I still haven't the slightest idea how they pick their food when dining out, except when we are at a resto serving pasta.
Before I reveal what my  three girls got, let me share you how we admired the interiors of Balkan.

The room gives off a very soothing and relaxing feel.  Modern if compared to my limited vision of Yugoslavia.   I gave my girls a little tour to the Balkan nation through the photos on the yellow-orange wall.  Seeing the photos on the wall gave us all a glimpse of what a Serbian culture is and they love seeing palaces and rustic Medieval European structures with ponds and rivers beside them, as we are flippin' through their almanac.

How can we not have "kulitan" moments!
Readying for a jump shot!  My timing was really bad, don't think?

Another clever yet not that fancy idea on their decoration was news prints used as wall papers and some old books on make-shift shelves.  The bar being simple  and clean with white paints are adorned with colorful eye-catching bottles, cups and saucers, with the contrast of the vintage lamps on the middle.
 Now, moving on to our food, we started with the only Serbian food I know, Goulash.  It's their version of beef stew richly seasoned with paprika.  The beef are braised to tender soaking it with the rich  tomato sauce and vegetables.  Served with Balkan's traditional bread, it was such a comforting feel, every sip brought me to my childhood moments having my lola's pochero or kaldereta for lunch.  It already made my best night.  My kids even shared with me and liked it with rice.

 Our youngest had the Chicken Kebab.  Grilled chicken breast wrapped with smoked bacon served with rice or fries.

 Anything with bacon was such a star to my kids' plates.  A chicken meat, marinated and wrapped with bacon however brought their liking up a notch.  She didn't finish the whole kebab, not that she didn't like it but it was of huge serving, such serving for a man who deserves a huge plate as a reward for hard work.
 Dana had Chicken Batak.  It's boneless chicken thigh, grilled to perfection, topped with melted mozzarella served with rice or fries.  I read that Serbian food is like European that meat is served in extreme size.  Manly eats version, that is.  Surprisingly, she was able to consume the whole chicken, since the savoriness and tenderness of the meat coupled with lots of cheese really won her, of need I mention that she also like her younger sister's bacon-wrapped chicken kebab?

 For the professional PG ("patay-gutom" jokingly), Danie, she never hesitated ordering this huge plate of Stuffed Pljeskavica.  Imagine ground beef formed to liken a patty, then filled with mozzarella and cooked like a steak.  One of the most popular dish in Balkan regions, served most often than not with Sauerkraut, or caramelized onions.  Again, another huge serving, even Danie was humbled by it.  Thus, his brother was so thankful, we took home the other half of it.

 For the man of the family, food suited for a real man...The signature Serbian dish made from ground beef-
Cevapcici in the form of a burger

What goes with cevapcici, besides the flatbread?  The sausages are traditionally served with ajvar, a red pepper relish, either homemade or the commercial variety.  Along with that, there is kajmak, a sort of clotted cream that is hard to find in the United States. Labne or Greek yogurt have been found to make good substitutes.  Grilled onions and peppers, along with tart raw vegetable salads, rounds up the whole Balkan sandwich.

Before I forget, we were all crazy checking out the ginormous lamps on our table.  Tricky!

Thinking that we were all stuffed with carbs and meats, we were ready to cap the night off.  But as soon as we asked for the bill, our Dana asked for dessert.  They do have a few, both the traditional and those with twists.  She ordered Apple pie, thinking that it was the regular American apple pie.

What came to her side of the table was folded Palacinke, Traditional Serbian crepes filled with caramelized apple slices flavored with cinnamon and topped with Vanilla ice cream.  She didn't really like it that much, It was so-so for me us well, adding a few more apple filling to it may elevate likeness somehow.

All I thought, Italian cuisine will be our favorite forever, but every time we have something unfamiliar, turned out that tasting life to its finest is next to tasting the world one plate at a time.

Italian, French, Japaneses, Indian/Middle East, now Yugoslavian.  What do you suggest for us try next?

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear your thoughts on my post, care for a comment?