Saturday, September 13, 2014

Last Night in Zadar, Las Night in Croatia

Sailboat in the Adriatic. My camera flash was not powerful enough to illuminate it
Friday night September 12 was our last night in Zadar, our last night in Croatia, and our last night with my Sister's (and B-I-L's) friends, the C**** and G*** P*******. They had joined us for the Split and Zadar parts of the trip, the Croatian meat in the sandwich with one slice of Munich bread and one slice of Slovenia bread. (Metaphor over-extended. Not to be used again.)

We decided to have a stylish dinner at the Art Hotel Kalelarga, the sister property of the Hotel Bastion, but located dead center in the historic Old Town section of Zadar. But, first, the reason for coming to Zadar. Another visit to the Sea Organ and Greeting of the Sun!

With the storms earlier in the day, and the heavy winds, the Sea Organ was loud. The night before, we did not hear it until we were right there, Tonight, we could hear it from several blocks away. We also learned something interesting about the Greeting of the Sun. The large circle, of course, represents the Sun. Heading away (toward the Sea Organ and down the Riva) are the planets, starting with small Mercury close to the Sun and ending with a large circle representing Neptune down past the Sea Organ.

Venus. Earth. Mars. And then a large Jupiter where the people are standing.
We learned this from C**** and G*** P*******. While Sister, B-I-L and I were getting soaked to the skin in Plitvice Lakes, C**** and G*** P******* were getting a private tour of the historic core of Zadar. We basically got the benefit of their tour without spending several hundred kuna by letting them tell us about their two-hour-plus private walking tour given by an Art History professor at the local university. We're so bad.

Night time is the right time for the Pillar of Shame
For example, the Pillar of Shame, the large column beside the entrance into the Church of St. Donatus? It's Roman. And it marks the spot where you would go to atone for your Roman era sins with an animal sacrifice. The hole for draining the sacrificial animal blood was nearby.

After a few stories, it was time for our 8 o'clock dinner reservation at the Art Hotel Kalelarga, where we ate and drank to the bursting point. Let's dine, shall we?

Pag cheese, octopus salad, prsut
The first course was the appetizers, all arranged on a platter. The Pag Cheese was awesome. The Prsut, incredible. The octopus salad? Good, but too tomato-y. For wine, we opted for a bottle of local red (a merlot) and a bottle of local white. For water, we opted for one bottle of still and one bottle of sparkling, We were an eclectic group of diverse tastes. They brought out a bag of icy water to chill the white wine.

The ice chiller bag
Isn't it cool. C**** and G*** P******* were pleased.

C**** and G*** P******* are stunned, amazed and pleased by the ice chiller bag. And they're sophisticates!
Actually, I'm not allowed to post that photo above. They were not happy how it turned out. I'm supposed to post this one, instead, I promised. So here's the one they asked me to post, the "official" portrait (with wine chiller bag sack):

The official portrait of the P*******s with the much-loved wine chiller bag sack
So if you see C**** and G*** P*******, make sure you tell them that they looked great in the "official" portrait with wine chiller bag sack and that you did not even see the candid, un-posed shot f them not paying sufficient attention to the wine chiller bag sack.

Time for the next course. And it's a soup course. I ordered the Cream of Truffle Soup, seeing as nearby Istria Croatia is the truffle capital of the universe and the price was quite reasonable:

Cream of chickpea soup (with bacon)
I know what you're thinking: "Bob, That is NOT cream of truffle. That's cream of chickpea. Why is there a picture of cream of chickpea when you say you ordered cream of truffle?" Actually, all of the men ordered the Cream of Truffle (the women opted to go soupless) and all received the above soup. The soup was delicious and creamy. I could taste no truffles, but I assumed that was because the delicious thinly sliced bacon in the above soup had overpowered the truffles.

Nope. Right as we were all finishing our last spoonfuls, the waiter came by all apologetic, telling us he brought out the wrong soups. These were the chickpea soups -- they did not taste like chickpeas and I mean that as a compliment -- and that he was going to immediately bring out the Cream of Truffle.

And he did:

Cream of truffle soup
And it was AWESOME. I'm not a fan of cream of mushroom soup. To me, it's not a soup. It's a casserole ingredient. But this was so good that I had to finish my second bowl of a heavy cream soup.

Me. Pushing the local Syrah.
By this point we had run out of wine. And we still had one course to go! So we had no choice but to get a third bottle of wine, a local Syrah.

Finally, out came the entrees. I ordered an herbed chicken accompanied by green gnocchi. Why were the gnocchi green? They did not tell their secret. They were a little bland, could have used some Pag cheese. The chicken was delicious, but I was too full to finish.

Herbed chicken cutlet with green gnocchi
If I were home, I would have asked for a styrofoam box and put my entree in it whole, uneaten. But seeing that I was traveling, and leaving Croatia the next day, I ate as much as I could. Which was a chicken cutlet and a half and only a few of the greens.

After all, I had to save room for gelato.

Yes. I went there. To the mountains of gelato store, I ordered the "dinja" flavor, which was absolutely awesomely incredible. Dinja? Cantaloupe,

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