Tag Archives: Eastern Europe

I found the burek!

25 Jan

I have long bemoaned the lack of Eastern European food in Nashville.

We’re pretty international, but really people just eat a lot of Asian and gyros.  My sister and our friend call ourselves the Sketchy Restaurant Club…we’ve had Thai, Middle Eastern, El Salvadoran, Indian, Greek, Japanese…but there are definitely unrepresented parts of the world. There ain’t no Finnish restaurants, or Kyrgyz, or even Russian ones.

But lo and behold, Nashville has gained an adorable little Eastern European place called Euro Grill. Although, they seemed a little hesitant to proclaim their true identity, as the sign says, “Mediterrainian Food” [sic]. I understand, guys. Some people need to be tricked into discovering their true love of feta-filled pastry.

Apparently the restaurant’s been open since 2010, but when I got back from Eastern Europe in 2011, I looked everywhere for Balkan food and couldn’t find it. I finally got wind of Euro Grill last year, and this was my first time going.

I was a little excited.

I was a little excited.

Not only was there legit food, but most people in the place were speaking a variant of Croatian/Serbian. There were tiny coffee cups, guys wearing sweat pants and Nikes, and a group of men playing darts basically the whole time we were there. It was literally a piece of Eastern Europe in Tennessee.

And I loved it. You will see me again, Euro Grill! (and Serbia!)


O food, thou canst make drama!

7 Aug

Okay. So I’ve been gone all summer with sketchy internet connection…wooed yet again by Eastern Europe’s heady quirkiness, drawn by the promise of a media internship and the opportunity to teach English.

I spent eight weeks in Belgrade, Serbia, from where I got to take a quick jaunt to Budapest and stop by London on the way home. Let me tell you, I had LOTS of adventures, although for once, most of them did not involve food. Why, you ask? Here are my eight weeks in a nutshell:

Stage 1: The Honeymoon (3 weeks )

She arrives in Belgrade, fresh-stomached and eager to discover the culinary delights of Serbia’s capital city. Her first tastes of burek and pljeskavica don’t live up to her memories of small-town Serbia, but she is still hopeful. She soon discovers other delicacies – wonderful pizza, awesome coffee, and superbly greasy french fries (pomfrit). Life is good.

Stage 2: The Realization (2 weeks)

She wakes up, fresh from a dream about strawberry spinach salad. As she thinks about the day before her, she knows that her only meal options are pizza, meat, bread, or pomfrit. She lies back down. Life is a little hard right now.

Stage 3: Starvation (4 hours)

“Cheese or pepperoni?” her friend asks. “I’m not hungry, actually,” she lies, ignoring the gaping hole in her stomach. Life is extremely, entirely, dramatically terrible. 

Stage 4: Normalization (3 weeks)

She can see the end in sight, and her stomach has gotten used to constant fast food. Pizza? Bring it on! Pomfrit? Can’t get enough! After all, she only has a couple weeks left, and you can’t get ćevapi in the U.S.! She eats everything in sight, and uses the last of her dinar on ice cream (sladoled) and even more pomfrit. Life is good (and four pounds heavier) once again.

Lesson: When life gets hard, drink coffee.

Lesson: When life gets hard, drink coffee.

I can’t shut up about coffee

28 Apr

When I was living in Eastern Europe, I was accused of only taking pictures of coffee and food. This is obviously not true. I have at least one picture of my friend, I think, and a pretty building in Budapest (joking, of course!). Yet I have realized a lot of my memories revolve around food.

Those European McDonald's get all shmancy

This doesn’t mean I don’t value relationships or history or whatnot. It merely means that by remembering the smell and taste of whatever I was consuming at the time, I can more clearly remember the people I was with and the places to which we went.

I never think about the time I worked at Pinkberry without “ghost smelling” fresh yogurt and sanitizer.

And coffee, well…those memories are always good!

I couldn’t fit all the pictures of me/coffee in this 30-second video, but there are some of my favorites. Costa Coffee drinks make it in there a couple times. Oh, Costa, if you find this post somehow by your SEO magic, please consider bringing your wonderful cafés to America!

Watch the video here: