We might have found the world’s best sandwich joint on a narrow cobblestoned street in the old Jewish quarter of Budapest: Bors Gasztrobár. We went there for the first time yesterday after our visit at the Hungarian National Museum. Audrey doesn’t like museums in general. The only one that she’s ever truly enjoyed was Musée Mécanique on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, where they exhibit clever mechanical gadgets and toys of a bygone era. Visiting the Hungarian National Museum was not exactly something on her to do list here.
Audrey was tired, hungry and in an irritable state after three hours in the stuffy museum. It was a 15 minutes walk from the museum to Bors Gasztrobár, and when we arrived we saw a big crowd waiting in and around the tiny joint. There was no place to stand, let alone sit. I almost regretted going there.
Much to my relief, the line moved quite fast and the menu looked really interesting and enticing. The atmosphere, too, was youthful and pleasant. The two owners and their two staffers handled the orders with a light-hearted briskness, but nothing was rushed. They acted as if they were the hosts of a party — just having a great time with their guests.
Audrey ordered Ham Baguette, and I ordered French Lady. We had wanted to take the sandwiches back to our hotel to eat, but they arrived piping hot in paper bags. It would be a shame not to eat them right then and there. The Ham Baguette had in it veal ragout, hamburger sauce, home-made pickles and cheddar cheese, while French Lady had in it raspberry onion jam, roast chicken and Edamer cheese.
Audrey’s eyes lit up when she took her first bite and devoured her 12 inch baguette sandwich in a matter of minutes. Between bites she declared that this was the best sandwich she’d had in her entire life. I couldn’t agree with her more. Those sandwiches were peerless — perfectly crunchy on the outside, cheesy and saucy on the inside, and simply bursting with flavor.
Sandwiches are not something I usually get excited over, but the first thing Audrey and I uttered to each other this morning was how delicious those baguettes were. I had a rehearsal today in the outskirts of Budapest and immediately after we came back, we went to Bors Gasztrobár. It was 3:30 in the afternoon and the place was less crowded. We ordered exactly the same sandwiches that we had eaten yesterday. I suppose we will move on to other sandwiches eventually, but for today we just wanted to relived the experience of yesterday. And amazingly we did.
Let me not forget to mention the price. It is just as unbelievably good as the food. The most delicious sandwich in the world costs 780 forint, about US$2.80 each.
After all the heavy restaurant food that we have been eating, I had a craving for pickles. Since I didn’t have a mason jar, I made a quick pickled radishes in the mugs.
1 bunch fresh radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 small daikon, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
Radish leaves, tender parts only
1 cup or more rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon sugar
Mix the vinegar, salt and sugar in a container. Marinate the carrots and radishes for 30 minutes or longer.
We discarded the marinade and and squeezed a little lemon juice on the radishes. Then we ate them with the tender radish leaves like a salad. It was a much needed and refreshing change from the heavy Eastern European diet that we’ve been keeping.