Sunday afternoon we had the horses harnessed, the carriage drawn up, and drove to the downtown to inspect the illustrious flood of Budapest
so that we could boast of our big water (klein aber mein) to Wang Wei
even if it is not as big as three years ago, which still has not fallen on the painting of Miklós Szüts in the conference room of the Europe Publisher
and to put the proofs of the new translation in the mailbox of the publisher
and to give a ride to little Vidra who, since in the last year we carried her to the veterinarian almost every day for a month, is extremely fond of riding the car
and to check the hummus bar we found some weeks ago as we were looking for a good vegetarian restaurant for our Indian friend visiting us.
István Széchenyi, “the greatest Hungarian” is watching the flood together with us. “Erected to the memory of the great reformer, the first Minister of Transport, by the Hungarian State Railways, 1988”. On the best place, at the Danube, where he surely cannot see what has been done since then to the Hungarian state railways.
The hummus bar is at the beginning of Alkotmány street, near to the corner of Bajcsy, where in the Irish pub some ten years ago an American sergeant from Bosnia wanted to buy my old-fashioned rabbit-fur hat. He did not believe that just one block from there he still could get more like this. Now he could not find the shop any more.
But the old-fashioned houses are still there.
The Pension Fund of Hungarian Journalists (1880), the first building of Zsigmond Quittner who later built the Gresham Palace *, the great Art Nouveau Gesamtkunstwerk of the turn of the century.
Next to it, over the late-night xerox shop, there is the hummus bar.
Recurrent guests enthusiastically write:
I was in Budapest for 5 days, and I probably ate here 10 times. It was incredible. It’s run by a hilarious Israeli guy who brings the best of Israeli cuisine to Budapest: fantastic hummus, falafel, sabir, shakshuka, mint tea, etc. So, so unbelievably cheap and so fantastically delicious.
They also have a page with a nice “show me how you eat hummus and I tell who you are” psychological test, and they deliver to house, too. But it is different to sit out there on a Sunday afternoon.
Vidra is a great success among the guests and the waitresses, she is given food and water, stories are told about their own dogs. Even the shop owner comes out to caress her, although he seems to have some fear, but he cannot disgrace himself in face of the waitresses. Next time we will take Burkus with us, he will be even greater success with his eighty kilos!
And food is just majestic. Shakshuka, Yemeni bean soup, baklava. Light and sophisticatedly spiced. Menta tea for free. Two Shengs has been breaking our hearts for years with his legends on his Israeli falafel shops. Finally we’ve got one, too. How delighted he will be the next time he comes to visit us.
To Wang Wei and Two Shengs, with love.