Restaurant U Kucharzy w Arsenale, Warsaw, Poland
If you were in Poland during the nineties and the first years of our century, you needed good Polish friends to find restaurants and inns which served edible food. Perhaps my Polish friends would protest, but at that time there wasn’t any culture for good food and even any interest in wine. Of course some homemade basics – a pickled herring with potatoes with some fresh dill – could have been delicious, but in general you got only heavy on meat (99% pork) and flavors which were the clear opposite of piquant. As in every other country in Eastern Europe, you would have expected that after the wall came down there would be a huge “hunger” for new flavors, for foreign influences in cooking and some new tasting experience aside from vodka, beer and salty water. For whatever reasons it wasn’t like this for many years: one of my first foreign food experiences in Warsaw was bad Mexican cuisine (another problem is that I am not a big fan of Mexican food in general). It was frightening to see how my friend from Warsaw enjoyed this bad fast food and some cheap red wine from Chile.
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