Middle of Nowhere Restaurants

— a once in a lifetime meal

It’s not easy to come across a decent restaurant. I’m surprised how few restaurants in cities serve tasty meals made from fresh ingredients. Maybe I’ve got too high of a standard?

This weekend, we were in a small town visiting a botanical garden. Afterwards, my husband and I got hungry. Located in rural Poland, the town was run down, nothing fancy. I was looking for wholesome Polish food. My husband found a restaurant in the town center that had good ratings.

When parking our car at the center plaza, about thirty children from the ages of 8-13 were gathered. Speakers were standing at one corner and a tripod was set up for filming. A man with a guitar showed up.

Approaching the restaurant, I spotted a cage with a blue and white bird and a green bird. ‘Is this it?’

Stepping in, I found a dining space filled with antiques. Paintings, accordions, clocks, old vases, plates and old objects covered the walls. Each table had a frilly lamp and lace tablecloths. It felt cozy and tasteful–unexpected for a place in the middle of nowhere.

The food lived up to the ratings. The cabbage pierogi I ordered was better than most I’ve had in Poland. The casing was doughy but chewy. Most of the pierogis I’ve had turn stiff after a few minutes. These pierogis were chewy to the last bite. I also ordered potato pancakes which had its own texture, different than others I’ve had. The pancakes were equally delicious to the last bite.

My husband and I have traveled across Europe and we’ve made stops in small towns to eat. So often, we’ve found delicious food of higher quality than restaurants in the city. In the Czech Republic we ate at an old farmhouse in the middle of a field. Although there was only one other table of people, the food was amazing.

In Denmark, in a small farming village, we had the most amazing breakfast. A young chef running his first restaurant made us a smorgasbord. I was vegan at the time, yet he was able to create 8 toppings to go with my bread. The place wasn’t advertising vegan, however, the chef knew enough about food to accommodate me. I was so grateful to have tasty food–I hadn’t had it while vegan.

These tasty restaurants are not common. They exist in small towns that have nothing going on, they’re less expensive and low key.

As a foodie, I’d travel for food. And food in the middle of nowhere? It’s even more enticing. So many small towns have their own kitschy, unpretentious flavor. There are weird things to see and wander about. There are no hip coffee places. There are hardly any tourists.

Walking back to our car, the children started singing about Jesus. An older man accompanied the voices with a guitar and older women gathered to watch. Our car was parked behind the children and when we got in, we saw how many sulking kids were hiding in the back. So many were forced against their will to be at this event on a sunny afternoon.

I’ll never go to that restaurant again. There will always be another small village with a delicious restaurant waiting. Our meal was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

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