Sunday, April 3, 2011

Eats and Treats: Krakow

Kara and I were pleasantly surprised by Krakow, Poland. It was cold and rainy the whole time we were there, but the people were pleasant and the city was fantastic. We found some great restaurants too.

We had taken the night train from Prague to Krakow, so we were pretty tired when we arrived in the morning. Because it was so early, there wasn't a lot of restaurants open. Luckily we found a quaint little hotel in the Jewish Quarter that was open for breakfast. Hotel Ester turned out to be just what we needed - a hearty breakfast buffet with eggs, meat, fruit and some strong coffee. The coffee even had a heart shape in the foam. We knew we were off to a good start!

We adventured around the Jewish Quarter for a while, then headed over to the Schindler's Museum for the rest of the day. It was very powerful, sad and disturbing. We decided on dinner at an Italian place we had seen near the Jewish Quarter called Moment. It had a funky atmosphere and huge menu. I had Penne pasta with spicy tomato sauce, bacon and mozzarella. One thing I loved - whenever we ordered mozzarella on anything - it was always the fresh mozzarella balls. So much better!

The next morning we had breakfast at our hostel, The Secret Garden. I found a jar of Mister Choc's Choco Duo. What is Choco Duo you ask? Let me tell you! It's very similar to Nutella, but the flavor is white chocolate and milk chocolate. You spread it on bread like butter. Can I just say.....yum, yum and more yum. I am bummed because I don't think they sell this in the states. I could be wrong.....I have been doing some research and will keep looking!

We spent the whole day at Auschwitz concentration camp  - which again was powerful, sad and very disturbing. Even more so since we were actually walking around the camp and going into the buildings where so many horrific things took place. Our hearts were burdened when we left. We decided to get dinner and call it a night. We wanted to try a typical Polish dinner, so we asked a local and they sent us to a restaurant near Old Town. For the life of me I can't remember the name. The restaurant was very unique - the upstairs had a log cabin look and feel to it and the downstairs was very extravagant and fancy. We went for the log cabin atmosphere! We ordered roast chicken and potatoes. It was delightful! The chicken fell right off the bone. The potatoes were buttery and smooth.

On the way home I was having a snack attack. I was craving some chocolate. We found a shop and I came out with much more than chocolate. This was the first of many European snack attacks. Note the paprika chips. I fell in love with these suckers and would buy them any time we saw them. Another item I wish we had in the states!

I have to admit it, we ate at McDonald's. I know! Bad to eat at an American fast food restaurant when in Europe. BUT - we were late for our Old Town walking tour and we had to find some food - FAST. Wala and tada - the golden arches were right across from our meeting point. So we had to do it. :) They have some fun things on the menu that we don't have though.....curly fries, mozzarella sticks, and some tempting looking pastry desserts.

Kara and I were frozen after our walking tour, so when we saw a coffee shop called Coffee Heaven, we couldn't resist! They lived up to their name because the coffee was heavenly. I had a caramel macchiato - one of the best I've had. It was really sweet. I like sweet! As it turns out, we saw Coffee Heaven in Budapest as well. That got us thinking that it might be a chain. It is! It started in Poland in the late 90's and is in 6 countries.

Our last dinner in Krakow was at a restaurant called Morskie Oko. This charming restaurant serves traditional Polish food from the Highland region. I ordered the Highland style potato pancakes with beef goulash (a thick stew) and goat cheese. AMAZING. Loved every bite. The potato pancakes were crispy, the beef goulash was tender and the goat cheese was nice and tart.

After dinner we caught our next night train to Budapest...where our adventures continued!

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