The other day at LOW BBQ, Ken beseeched me to visit a little market down the street, Taste of Europe. I'd been in briefly before to look at the market itself, but he told me that they serve hot foods and gave me a menu. Today I had lunch there.
The market itself is small, but has a good selection of pickled and jarred vegetables, primarily from Zergut, a big selection of European chocolates, various caviars, like cod roe spread, in the frig, various salumi and dried beef, etc. Not a lot of stuff, but some interesting stuff.
The owner is Bosnian. He has nostalgic pride for his country prior to its civil war. He also has strong feelings about how us Americans eat, lecturing me a bit on how Americans always put quantity and price above quality. He was preaching to the choir on that one. He kept saying that we need to eat good, but eat small.
Ironic considering the size of the meal he set in front of me. The menu has some interesting dishes I haven't seen elsewhere like cevapi, sis-cevap, peka, sudzuk, parizer, etc, with extras like ajvar, kajmak, and lepina. There are also more typical items, like burgers (no fries), chicken, roasted eggplant sandwiches, salami sandwiches, cesar salads, etc.
If you're as in the dark as I am about Balkan foods, you probably need a glossary for the dishes above. The menu has some definitions, but wikipedia and some books that I have were useful, too:
Cevapi: Lamb and beef sausage with Balkan flavorings.
Sis-Cevapi: Beef sausage with Balkan flavorings.
Peka: Smoked, dried beef.
Sudzuk: Smoked beef sausage with Balkan flavorings.
Parizer: Chicken bologna.
Ajvar: Pureed red peppers and other vegetables.
Kajmak: Frothy and thick dairy product with slight fermentation.
Lepina: Balkan bread.
I ordered the meat combo ($9, "sis, cevap, kajmak, ajvar and a small Mediterranean salad"). The sis and the cevap come slathered in the kajmak on the large "bun." The bread is like a more airy foccacia with onion bits on the bottom and a buttery golden top. The sausages are very meaty and dense like kofta, with similar flavorings. Very tasty and they nicely cooked them, medium on the middle and charred on the outside. The kajmak is creamy and slightly salty with a little tang. A very nice condiment. I liked having the ajvar, that sweet and earthy spread, on the side to add even more flavor. There was also a big pile raw onions, which was a little much. The salad was simple, but tasty. Just fresh romaine, mediocre tomatoes (blame the season), feta, and olives with a light vinaigrette.
I really enjoyed my meal. I'm eager to return. They have a lot of vegetarian items, too, so I know my wife will try it out. The people are very nice, too.
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