Sunday, June 17, 2012


Summer is in full swing and with it, 90 degree weather and long days where it doesn't get dark untill 9.  I was never a summer girl; in DC, I would much prefer fall or winter, to the awful humidity and intense sun.  Here, though, summer has the advantage of awesome produce.  I have mentioned the strawberries, which are now almost gone, but this past Saturday, I went to the market and got instead cherries, white and red, raspberries (they are finally here!) and some peaches; along with the tallest stems of asparagus I have ever seen and a round squash. 

My after work snack

First the celery and now the asparagus, not sure what they use as fertilizer, but it works!

This is totally random, but I wanted to share it out there and get some thoughts.  At our last Embassy gathering, I noticed that someone had served the potato chips with salsa, and the tortilla chips, which were at another table, with french onion dip.  I mentioned it to the guy in charge, a Serb, and he was like, So what?  I just raised my eyebrow and gave him the "isn't it obvious?" look.  As other Americans showed up, they noticed too, and they eventually switched out the dips, because in our heads, it just wasn't right. It's really interesting how most things in our lives are just a matter of conditioning.

Two weekends ago, we took my mom to Budapest.  This time we did a small stop right outside the city to this Memento Park, a sort of museum place where they brought a lot of the statues that were taken down after the split with the Soviets.  The place was really neat and the statues pretty impressive. Plus they had all this cool communist propaganda stuff in the gift shop.  Phil got a Tshirt and a poster.

So solemn

This was my fave, but the sun made it impossible to get a decent picture 

The second highlight of our trip was that my mom got to do the fish massage.  Now, if you don't know what that is, it's this huge tank full of little fishes that eat all the dried out skin on your feet.  When you go, you dunk your feet in the tank and they all come swimming like crazy and start nibbling.  Afterwards, your feet are soft and smooth, like a baby's.  I got it done in Thailand and for me, it was like torture.  Once my feet were in, the lady had to literally hold me down and restrain me because what I really wanted to do was yank my leg out of the water as fast as humanly possible  while swerving it around yelling, m@therf*&^s"!  I am an extremely ticklish person.

My mom, unlike her daughter, has a lot of class

The last news update is that Phil FINALLY made his teenage dream come true. We saw Marilyn Manson in concert last Saturday night at the Belgrade Arena. It was muuuch tamer than I imagined. Marilyn has definitely gotten old, along with his fans. He has  put on weight, so either he's off the coke or he's settled into middle age and suburban living. I only saw two, of what I would call "freaks". A girl with a long black cape and the Hot Topic platform boots, along with the makeup and hair and lingerie type top, and another girl with a tattoo of a skeleton. Like an X-ray. You could "see" her ribs, spine, etc. Creepy.

Phil rocking out to MM, 12 years too late

If you don't know who Marilyn Manson is, I dare you to watch the video below and not feel sorry for:

 1.  Me-- who had to endure listening to his music during my looong and painful high school years

2. His mother. Who knew that sweet baby Brian was going to go to the dark side?

3. Everyone else at that concert who has ears.

Restaurant Reviews

I realized that I don't really give props or recommend places, so I will share three restaurants that have become my new staples in Belgrade.

1. Botako Pizza - Nevesinje 6

The best pizza in Belgrade, hands down. They make the crust in front of you, rolling the outer edges inwards and add a bit of olive oil and spices. The menu has little drawings of all the toppings, so you don't need to know the words, and they can do half a pizza in one style, the rest in another. Their pastas are also really really good. A large pizza is about 12 dollars and can easily feed 3 regular people, or 2 Americans, or 4 Serbs. They have wine, beer and porn magazines next to the bathroom. What else could a customer want?

2. Mala Fabrika Ukusa - Nebojsina 49a

The best Ayvar I've had in Belgrade so far; it is so good, last time I was there, I asked for an extra one to take home. This is the kind of place you want to go with more than 3 people because they have big portions of meat, ready for sharing. One of them is called "Gypsy Dance" and it's got all the Serbian specialties, like cevapi and others. Plus some pork chops, fried potatoes (not french fries) and sausages. The place itself is really cool, because it's meant to look like an old farm house. They have outdoor seating, which is ideal because in Serbia, you can still smoke inside, which I hate. They also have really good salads and desserts. Last time I was there, we ordered a dessert called "Alchemy" and it was literally brought to us with liquid nitrogen to quickly set this magical caramel on top of a souffle. WOW. Soo good. A four course meal here runs for about 25 to 30 bucks per person, depending on the amount of wine you get.

3. Comunale - Karađorđeva 2-4

 I couldn't find their website, but this place is probably the most well known from the list because it's in the more touristy area of town. In front of the Sava river, in old Belgrade, there is a street full of restaurants, a club, and a spa, overlooking New Belgrade on the other side of the river. Most restaurants are pretty good. I haven't been to all of them, because whenever I go, Comunale calls. I am a HUGE fan of meat and cheese platters, and this place takes it to a whole new level. They have an appetizer called Antipasto Comunale and you can get the small or the large, which serves 2 or 4 people. It is PHENOMENAL. It brings, the freshest cold-cuts, marinated veggies and cheese I've had in my life. The cheese is just little blocks of Parmesan, but the meats are prosciutto, bologna, salami and sopressata. So good! The veggies are the best part. Dripping in delicious olive oil and some magical marinade, they are a different assortment every time. I have seen olives, asparagus, beets, carrots, onions, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, different kinds of mushrooms, and more. They also serve pizzas and pastas. I like the pastas. The pizzas are good, but nothing to write home (or in a blog) about. Ideally, I would go here just for the platter and dessert. Phil swears they make the best Tiramisu in the entire world. I don't like coffee, so I can't say.

So there you have it. My first three restaurant reviews. If you come to Serbia by yourself, this is what I would recommend. If you come visit Phil and I, most likely we'll take you to at least one of them.  This Wednesday, we are expecting visitor #3!!!