Last month Chris and I spent the weekend in the Jewish Quarter of Budapest (VII or Erzsébetváros). Located on the Pest side of the Danube, this area is known as the Jewish Quarter because it was the location of the Jewish ghetto established in Budapest in 1944. Now, 70 years later, this portion of the city is known for great restaurants and craft beer in addition to the beautiful historic sites commemorating the events of WWII.
We had a great time in the capital, eating a ton of great food, drinking beer that is not Soproni, and having an adventure in this gorgeous city.
The first day was rainy and overcast, but thankfully the weather cleared up by Saturday. Wanting to stay close to the apartment because of the rain, we stopped at Szimpla Kert (“Simple Garden”) for a few beers. A ruin pub that also houses an awesome farmers market on Sundays, the atmosphere at Szimpla Kert was a lot of fun and super interesting (their outdoor seating also had an area playing silent movies!)
A couple of beers we tried.
Later we had dinner at the Hungarian version of a food truck rodeo–Street Food Karavan.
There were probably about ten or so trucks with all types of food, although our favorites were Zing Burger (Chris) and Paneer (Me). The food was so good we went twice. I ate the same sandwich (friend camembert+beetroot mayo+eggplant+cranberry) while Chris ordered the Angus Burger the first night and the Guitar Hero burger on the second (double patty).
Thankfully the weather was nice and sunny on Saturday so we spent the day wandering around the city looking at the beautiful historic sites in the district.
But first, breakfast. One of the things I really miss about living in a big city is weekend brunch so we were going to take full advantage of that in Budapest. Saturday we had amazing orange juice and sandwiches at Darjeeling Teahouse and Cafe.
Let’s be honest, I also wanted to go there just to make Wes Anderson references.
Okay on to our walking adventure.
We also randomly walked into a vintage market and I found a pretty awesome 1980 Moscow Olympics camping mug, so obviously a great day.
After touring the Holocaust Memorial Museum, we headed to Éleszto (“yeast”), a pub with over 20 craft beers on tap. It was awesome and I’m still missing the beer. While we were there we also facetimed with friends from Charleston too ❤
We tried a few kinds: Pandulabeer XMoke Ripe (Hungary-Smoked Rye IPA). Armando Otchoa Hangover Rasta (Hungar-Oyster Stout), Vilagos Sor Éleszto Propaganda (Hungary-Pilsner) Monyo Black Alligator (Hungary-Saison), Kaltenecker Chopper (Slovakia-IPA). I can’t recommend this place enough.
Sunday was back to dreary weather but nothing can stop me from that brunch game.
We had brunch at Cirkusz and it was one of my favorite EVER. Chris had the Recovery Breakfast and I ordered Turkish eggs (first time I had them!)
After breakfast we went over to the farmers market at Szimpla Kert which had the most amazing variety of cheese, meats, and spices. For lunch we took advantage of the variety of food available in the city and tried Mazel Tov. It was a beautiful restaurant with a middle eastern menu.
Chris had a Shawarma plate and I chose Shakshuka. Both were great, although I wish the Shakshuka was a little spicier.
This Sunday was actually the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution (1956). Occupied by the Soviet Union following WWII, the revolt was started by students in Budapest and lasted until November 10th. The Soviets came in after the government collapsed and regained control, with the new government suppressing all revolutionaries. Time Magazine named the “Hungarian Patriot” as their Man of the Year in 1956. Walking back from dinner, Chris and I saw the start of mural of the Time cover on a building near the restaurant.
Because I am a nerd for discussions on nationalism and state identity, one of the interesting aspects of the revolution is how different parties view the uprising. Vladimir Putin calls the Soviet intervention a “liberation” of the Hungarian people of a “counterrevolution.” Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán stated that “We no longer watch from the sidelines while others write our history for us..” Joe “precious cargo” Biden noted in a letter to the Hungarian embassy of the impact of the revolution in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In this article, Vera Molnár discusses the importance of interpretation for a nation:
History is a sum total of personal and group narratives the interpretation of which can strengthen or destroy a nation’s soul. This is why the narrative one chooses to highlight or ignore matters a great deal in terms of the healthy development of a nation—and learning the right lessons of the past. That includes Hungarians as much as Russians.
Hungary Today also posted a couple of awesome “Then and Now” pictures of the revolution and Budapest today.
Okay, back the trip.
Unfortunately by the end of the day I was feeling really under the weather–I caught Chris’s cold–so we missed grabbing Mexican food at a nearby restaurant. While at the time this seemed like the best course of action now that I don’t have a fever I’m definitely depressed about missing it.
Last day in Budapest we stopped at The Goat Herder on the way to the train station. Still not feeling well, we grabbed tea and breakfast sandwiches. I LOVED this shop. If you can think of the coziest, sweetest cafe with the cutest tea cups in the world, then you’re on the right track.
Thanks for the lovely weekend 7th district!