Day 4: Gluttony Day in Croatia

Wed, May 15, 2013

Today is Gluttony day, my favorite day!  We’ve got a drive from Ljubljana to two towns in Croatia.  I’ve booked us two restaurants which were featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations Croatia Episode.  Konoba Mondo is a restaurant in Motovun that serves classic fine dining food with loads of shaved truffle on top…which is never a bad thing.

In Rovinj I booked the chef’s table @ the Wine Vault.  This is going to be a 13 courser of awesome fancy food that prioritizes itself on tasting good .

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Konoba Mondo

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Started off with two appetizers, the house gave us the bread, it was delicious 😀

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Truffle Pate with toasted bread and reduced balsamic vinegar.  The pate is nice and creamy.  The acidity from the vinegar really completes the dish.

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Truffle cheese.  I wasn’t really a fan.  It was alright.  Brittle/salty.

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Fresh baked fluffy bread with truffle tapenade.  Fragrant, heavy flavors.  Accompanied with a bottle of red, this is an awesome way to start the meal.

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Perfectly cooked creamy cheesy risotto with lots of truffle.  I’m in truffle heaven.

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Tagliatelle pasta with…you guessed it, more shaved truffle.  Are we getting sick of truffle? Not even close.

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Orange ones stuffed with pumpkin, Green stuffed with…I forget.  It was covered in truffle and I enjoyed it 🙂

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Truffle beefsteak with a wine reduction sauce.  I didn’t like it.  I’m picky about steaks.  I like my steaks to have a sear and this was tough to chew.  Wasn’t cooked very well.

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Good bottle of wine from the region.  Went really nicely with the meal, heavy bodied.

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There wasn’t much else to do afterwards.  I feel like this town was made just for eating really good food and enjoying the view.

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Walking through the town was a cool experience.  I’ll definitely come back to this town more than once.

We drove over to Rovinj which took a couple hours.

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It’s a pretty town on the coast, small enough to walk around.

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Cool windy cobblestone roads, colorful buildings here and there, as well as a bunch of shops.

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Another restaurant on No Reservations is in Rovinj, called the Wine Vault.  My friends came here the year before and said they had a lot of fun at the chefs table, so we followed up and did the same.

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Fish with apple and oyster leaf.  This is really cool.  Chew on the leaf and it starts to taste like an oyster.  It grows in Croatia and they have no idea why it gives off that smell.

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Scallops, baby red cabbage, caviar, buttery yellow stuff.

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Clams with a tomato consomme I think.  The meaty brothiness from the tomato went really well with the clam.

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Croatian asparagus on top of brioche.  I forget what the sauce is.  I liked trying this dish.  Tom, the chef, said Croatian asparagus has a bitter taste, for some foreigners it’s too much, I thought it was subtle.  But it’s nice to see a modern take on a local dish.

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Salmon paired with Jamon Iberico with foam of I can’t remember all this stuff.  Oh my god this was sooo good.  The salmon I think was smoked, the jamon had this very beafy-scent/taste.  It was an awesome surf and turf.

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Fois Grais with beet jelly and a cranberry sauce I think.  Yeah I’m a big fan of Fois + fruit + acidity.  Salt flakes? Nice bonus!

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This was a really cool dish. Frog legs with Sweetbreads, lavender, and baby red cabbage.  I think it’s weird when meat flavors compliment each other and this does it very very well.  The lavender and cabbage give it a nice kick.

Wow there’s a course I didn’t shoot a photo of and it was one of my favorite courses!  Goose liver served on top of lentils paired with a Tokaji wine.  I think there was sugar on the liver, it had a nice sear and a sweet taste, tastes amazing when paired w/the Tokaji – which is a hungarian sweet wine.  I’m going to learn how to make this dish some day.  I think for main courses sweet dishes are hard to pull off and this was perfect.

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Break time! I made a big mistake earlier today.  Ate way too much for lunch and now it’s impacting this meal!  Damn it!  Seeing us struggle, Tom offered to let us take a break and even came and hung out with us.

It was pretty fun talking to the chef about food and how the restaurant industry works.  A hard thing about running a top restaurant these days is keeping the same staff.  More and more chefs want to open their own restaurant at a younger age, which makes it hard to keep a kitchen that does consistent solid work.

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Blood pudding with bacon wrapped escargot over a risotto with a beetroot sauce, topped with bits of apple.  DELICIOUS.  Bacon wrapped escargot is the new bacon wrapped hot dog.

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Sea bass with black morels and a bunch of other shit I’ve forgotten.  It was a really well balanced dish.

Aaaand one more break.  They showed us the wine room which is worth around $800,000 usd in WINE!  The sommelier was holding one golden looking bottle while talking about how it’s their upper end bottle but it’s not that much, I asked for the price and he said $4,000.  I joked about how that’s not very much and he told me wine bottles can sell for a hundred thousand dollars.

So restaurants have to buy their top-tier bottles by packs of 6 minimum.  They can’t afford to just have one bottle and not have more incase a party comes through and wants to make it rain.

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Sous-vide duck (cooked at 62 degrees I think).  I’d love a good sear on it  but hey, it had a very nice ducky flavor in each bite.

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Argentine steak with five different cheeses.  One has hay,  the other is blue, and I can’t remember what the others are.  Accompanied by two different sauces.  This was a perfect rare steak.  Awesome sear and juicy bites.

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I never knew baked apple could be so good.  I think that’s 12 slices of apple layered on top of each other.  It’s so thick and gooey, tasted a little like cinnamon with sugar in each bite.

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Chocolate souffle.  Can never go wrong with that.

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We finished dinner at 2am.  Guests can sign the wall after they’re done eating.  The record for # of courses eaten is 23 I think.  Anthony Bourdain’s signature is behind the lamp.

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On the way back to the hotel, we found a hedgehog mongling along the hill.  It did not want appreciate our desire to be friends.









May 15 2013 mikeysong Category: Food Restaurant Travel

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