Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)


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On Food

I love Bulgarian food, don’t get me wrong. But this time around, I got a little sick of the same things over and over and I longed for the variety that America provides.

(this variety and the enormous American portions are precisely why I am less than svelte!)

Since being back in Utah, I have eaten pretty much everything I craved while in Bulgaria. This, of course, means that I have had pizza (more than once), Mexican, Italian, Thai, and random junk food and candy.Lunch date with mom and Sher. #deliciousthai #yum #welikeitspicyBeer and a pie at Flat Bread Neapolitan PizzaThe BEST lemonade in the world!Cafe Rio pork burrito

The novelty is quickly wearing off and I find myself wanting my mother-in-law’s bean soup, baklava, mekitsi, and…well… pretty much everything she makes!

Alaska poses some challenges when it comes to food. Vince and I will not have our own full kitchen in our room in employee housing at the lodge. We will have a mini-fridge and microwave. During the summer not having a kitchen isn’t much of a concern as we will be eating in the employee dining room and there are TONS of options. When winter rolls around, however, and the lodge is closed…making all our meals college dorm-style is going to be interesting!

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Celebrating 27 in Sofia

Yesterday was my 27th birthday.

Side note-I don’t feel any older, but I am acutely aware now just how close 30 is. Society tells me that I should fear that number; the big 3-0. Yet, somehow, I foresee my 30’s being just as awesome, if not more so, than my 20’s. I suppose I’ll find out in 3 short years!

My day yesterday was calm, quiet, and rather uneventful. Vince and I ate breakfast together before he left for work (a trend that I think will continue as I can’t sleep in here for the life of me). I read a few chapters of my current book before starting work for the day.

We had plans to go into the city for dinner so I asked a few people for restaurant ideas. We eventually settled on Carolyn’s suggestion of Made in Home.

But let me back up a little…

We caught the Metro at the shiny new stop by our apartment. I am really quite impressed with Sofia’s subway lines. Sure, it was my first time riding on the system, but the trains were clean, the stations {mostly} modern and sparkling, tickets were easy to buy, and the stops are conveniently placed.

We were short on cash and definitely did not have enough to cover dinner, so upon exiting the Metro at the Sofia University stop, we wandered around looking for an ATM–Bulgaria is largely a cash economy. ATM’s are everywhere in Sofia, so we didn’t have to walk very far to find one. Unfortunately, I had forgotten what a pain in the ass it is to use my debit card to get cash out in Bulgaria. Both times I have been here before, I had a hell of a time finding an ATM that would work for me. I usually get the “card temporarily refused,”or “balance insufficient” errors. After trying about 4 machines, I remembered what my bank told me when I frantically called them last winter: ATMs in Bulgaria don’t usually have the option to choose to withdraw from checking OR savings. Apparently, when it comes to my debit card, they default to withdraw from savings. As much as I’d love be have lots of money in my savings account, I don’t generally transfer anything there from my checking.

After trying (and failing) at probably 15 ATMs along our walk to the restaurant, we eventually made it and asked if  they took credit cards.

No dice. Not surprised.

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229 Parks: Another Go-Round

Last season, after hearing all of the rave reviews, I visited 229 Parks with some friends.

It was AMAZING.

I have been meaning to go back since the season started, but its location (about 20 miles from where I live) coupled with the relatively high prices prevented me from going…until tonight.

***

229 Parks is an incredible restaurant and tavern located at mile 229 on the Parks Highway, just outside Denali National Park.

They specialize in offering only the freshest organic and sustainable ingredients, most of which are grown in the owners’ own gardens.

Think fresh edible flowers, micro greens, and perfect herbs served alongside grass fed beef, duck, and lamb. Their fresh Alaska seafood is also a big draw.

Their website is bare bones and they don’t post a menu online because it changes daily and depends largely on the ingredients they have on hand. It’s not a flashy place. They rely on their unique food, fresh ingredients, and cozy atmosphere.

I played the part of tourist tonight (much to the chagrin of my co-diners, I am sure) and took photos of each course.

I had to start things off with a yummy wheat beer.

For a starter I had fresh Alaskan Rockfish tacos

Handmade soft corn tortillas, pan-seared rockfish dusted with cumin and lime, shredded local greens, creamy adobo sauce, house made salsa, fresh avocado, and lime.

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