Experiencing Technical Difficulties (resonant) wrote,
Experiencing Technical Difficulties
resonant

Gourmet meal in Albania

After wandering into a military training area, I just scuttled out embarrassedly - no melodrama, just humiliation.

I wasn't hungry, but I thought I should eat. Oddly, my stomach has gone on vacation. I went about 48 hours without eating, and didn't even notice. I then started eating the complimentary breakfast at the hotel - fresh omelette, fresh bread with fresh apricot jam, fresh fruit, and a warm chocolate croissant. Washed down with fake orange drink and strong coffee in a teeny cup. During the day, I might eat a flaky pastry made with spinach, but at night I'd just have a cappuchino.

One day I did get a hamburger. Made with real ham, chopped and pressed into a patty, with a fried egg on top.

Anyway, back to Dijit Park. I walked along a path until it started plunging down the mountain, at which point I retraced my steps. There was a private hotel in the park, and the Lonely Planet guide book recommended that I eat at its restaurant, The Panorama.

The restaurant had about 200 seats, all in a room with all-to-wall glass windows looking out over the city. Awesome view. I was the only person there, so I was treated well by the staff. I started with a salad, which was served with a truffle. It was a bit woodsy and earthy in taste, but I can see why people like it. Next was a cheese plate with local cheeses (although this would have been enough for two people). The cheeses were very flavourful, with the consistency of fresh feta and the intensity of an ammonia-smelling aged French cheese that has gone blue and slimy. Not to my taste, but unique. This was followed by a hot dish, served still bubbling in a pot on a wooden platter. Something like "spicy baby sheep insides.". Lots of little meat chunks were in a broth of chopped red peppers. At least one of the chunks had the mouth feel of liver, while the others were meaty but unrecognizable. I hate liver, but I liked this.

The final dish was a platter of pita triangles arranged around a bowl of pickle red peppers with spices. It looked like something you'd put out at a party for guests to nibble on. It was very good. I ate and read a book, pausing now and then to look out the window. Rain was beginning to fall. At the hotel, they had warned me of this, so I had picked up an umbrella from a street vendor.

All of this food was washed down with mineral water from Kosovo.

The waiter then tried to bring me the bill. I had to struggle with my Albanian phrasebook to convince him I had room for dessert and coffee. So, I finished with an apple-flavoured sponge cake and a microscopic cup of coffee that was thick enough to be approaching criticality.

The total cost? Less than 2000 leks before the tip. About three times the price of a poutine and pop at Harvey's, but far better food, much more food, and a luxury ambiance (porcelain plates, real silverware, linen tablecloths, and an incredible view).

During the two hours I spent stuffing my face, no other guests arrived. Despite its remote location, you're think more people would make the effort to come to this place.

After the meal of a lifetime, I wadddled off into the rain for more adventures on this mountainous park.
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