Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pag, Croatia: Hotel Tony

One night in Pag The City. I'm staying at the Hotel Tony. In fact, I am the only guest tonight at the Hotel Tony. It's not the "in" season. The hotel staff is very friendly. It is clean. The room is functional. It's a great place to stay. They're spoiling me. When I mentioned the fact that I couldn't eat wheat or bread, they became concerned about my breakfast options (since the room price included breakfast, being Europe and all). I mentioned that I usually have oatmeal or cold cereal. So they're going to the store first thing in the morning just to buy oatmeal. For me. That is five-star service at a two-star price!
When I mentioned that I would not being staying for supper at the hotel restaurant because I wanted to try the famous Pag lamb, they were disappointed. Being a stranger in a strange land and all, I decided to stay. They agreed to make lamb. And serve a first course of Pag cheese. Now you may know that I do not like lamb. It's too strong tasting. But as I was researching this trip, I read about Pag lamb. It's supposed to be the best lamb in the world. These little lambs spend their entire lives munching on the salt-soaked rosemary, sage (kadulja) and lavender that grows wild on Pag. (And, in fact, are just about the only greenery that grows on the saline soil of Pag.)
After eating the Pag lamb -- and bear in mind I don't like lamb meat -- I would say that these lambs live a life well spent. They've got to be just about the most delicious creatures God has put on the earth. The pag lamb was incredible. The meat was very mild, yet very flavorful, probably from the herbs marinating from within. I also had the Pag cheese, made from the milk of the Pag sheep. It was very good, hard, with a nice flavor, but not an out-of-the-park home run like the meat course. And the salad with freshly grown tomatoes was awesome and, like lamb, I don't like tomatoes. These tomatoes were awesome, just the right combination of vegetable and fruit flavor, and they had a crunch. Not like those mealy, industrial tomatoes in the grocery store.
So yes, I recommend the Hotel Tony for lodging and dining needs next time you're in Pag.

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