|Beef goulash from Jozsa Corner|
The descriptions were absolutely accurate, this place could not be more unpretentious or informal. The old building sits in front of railroad tracks on a sparsely populated corner in a working class neighborhood. It has a storefront with a counter, a couple of stools, a kitchen with an ancient cook top and well worn appliances. You can imagine generations of Hungarian immigrants stopping in after their shifts at the factory to pick up dinner on their way home.
|Dinner in the parlor|
Its just he and his daughter, cooking dinner for people when they get appointments, which is no more than about 10 at a time. At lunch, they serve to-go dishes like keilbasa sandwiches, soups and single servings of haluska, which is sauteed cabbage and egg noodles. For dinner, you don't order off a menu, its just whatever Alex wants to cook that day. It is served on plastic tablecloths with plastic forks and styrophome plates and bowls. There is a pitcher of water on the table with no ice. This is as no-frills and you get.
The Hungarian dishes I grew up eating were prepared differently than Alex's, but I found his cooking to be totally authentic. That food probably tasted exactly the same as it did when his grandmother prepared it a century ago. I was inspired by this dinner and committed myself to cooking all my favorite Hungarian dishes over the next six months. The following weekend, I bought a pork shoulder and a couple bags of sauerkraut and I made Transylvanian goulash. While I would put my paprikash or goulash up against Alex's any day, my version of this dish didn't come close to what he served us that night in his living room. This winter, I'll be cooking the beloved Hungarian dishes I learned from my mother and will post the recipes here so you can give them a try.