Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bled, Slovenia: Birthday Dinner

The castle was not available!

I was very much looking forward to having my half-century birthday dinner in the 1000-year-old castle (even older than me!) towering over Lake Bled. I was told that I would not need a reservation this time of year. Turns out, the castle was booked. By some hotel. No castle.

So, of course, I moped. Momentarily.

Luka, the owner of the Garni Hotel Berc, saw that I was disappointed. He called to make me a reservation at the Ostarija Peglez'n in Bled. He kept talking in Slovenian to the person on the other end, so I didn't know what was up. I went to the restaurant, which was a short walk from the hotel. I had a table reserved. In the back. Next to a group -- started as five but grew to seven -- jabbering on and on about international fiberglass. C'mon folks. You are in a beautiful vacation destination and there's five guys yammering as if they had no life other than fiberglass.

Anyway, I had a delicious filet of sole. For the appetizer, I could not decide between the octopus salad (salata od hobotnice, I believe) -- which is really a Dalmatian specialty and is incedibly more delicious than it sounds -- and the Slovenian prosciutto (pršut). So they gave me half and half! Being a birthday boy has its privileges. Both the octopus salad and the pršut were awesome. The sole was light and tasty, served over mixed grilled vegetables. Yum. E.

Then came dessert. And this was an unexpected pleasure. Luka apparently told the owner of the restaurant it was my birthday, so he brought out a tiramisu with a candle in it:

I know I know I know I know. I'm not supposed to eat that! But it was looking so delicious. And it looked like it had far more marscapone than cake. And it would've been ultra-extra-rude for me to refuse.

So I ate it.

And, birthday miracle, I had no "reaction." I will not go into details about what said "reaction" entails, but some of you can fill in the blanks.

I washed it down with a borovnica. What's that? Slovenian blueberry schnapps. And all I have to say about the borovnica is this: Where have you been all of my life?

It was thick and purply-blue and, this is key, very very blueberry. It could be the most awesomestly delicious ice cream topping of all time!

So, if you're ever in Bled, I would heartily recommend Ostarija Peglez'n.

And, birthday miracles continue, by the conclusion of my dinner, the rain had let up and it was almost sunny. Time to walk off dinner with a stroll around the lake.

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