For about 7.50 euros you can enjoy the lunch special that features a set menu every day of the week. Tea, soup, bread with four kinds of homemade butters, an entree and a dessert is included in the price. It's by the far the best deal (and eating) anywhere east of the Baltic Sea.
I sat at a booth and admired the locals, fashionably dressed while talking business. If I've learned anything in Latvia, it's that Eastern Europeans always sport fashion. Looking good is part of their lineage. My relaxed American dress looked like I just rolled out of bed.
And speaking of getting out of bed, I had a burning appetite after walking around in the bitter cold for hours. The waitress asked if I wanted to start with soup or dessert. Starting with dessert? It sounded bizarre, but I noticed nearly everyone around me ate dessert first. How European. I loved it!
I went the old-fashioned route and started in traditional order. The Ayurvedic and herbal chai saved my soul as the clear mushroom and vegetable soup topped with fresh dill warmed my muscles. Dill is a popular herb used in Eastern cooking and is a part of nearly every meal in the East.
But the dark rye bread served with four kinds of butter melted my heart (and in my mouth). From fresh herbs to carrot - good lord - each one had its own distinct flavor that fused together like peas and carrots. I felt as if I could've eaten an entire stick right there.
Whoever was in the kitchen certainly knew how to cook.
The second dessert is a baked pear topped with a "pancake" that is similar to a softer scone. Simple yet stylish, these desserts fused classic cooking with modern baking. Somehow, I love things that still cling onto the old but welcome the new. How symbolic.
Raina bulvaris 15, Riga 1050, Latvia
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