Sunday, July 22, 2007

Can't go wrong with Mama

As we travel we make a conscious effort to stay close to the ground; hostels instead of hotels, small locally-owned eateries off the beaten path, and word of mouth recommendations as much as possible. This tends to give us a more colorful, cultural and local experience. The hostel guests and proprietors are more talkative and interesting and the guy behind the counter at the restaurant seems a little less burned out on tourists. This general policy however, has led us to an even more specific traveler's axiom: you can't go wrong with Mama.

In Corniglia, you remember that our under-the-table pensione (/pen-see-ohn-ay/) was secured by the Godfather-channeling "Mama" Angela. In Budapest, we found our authentic local Hungarian at Zsoka Mama's, a 6 table restaurant wedged into a small storefront a couple blocks off the main drag. Finally, tonight and last night we stuffed ourselves to bursting on rich, earthy polish food at an eatery that feels like you've walked into a Polish granny's living room -- for about $5 (US) per person. The place is "Kuchnia U Babci Maliny", and if you guessed that the translation includes "Grandma's" you win the prize.

The prototypical "Mama's" isn't ritzy or flashy; in fact, it's usually humble and often downright hard to find. Mama isn't trying to impress you, and you certainly can't impress mama; she's been at this since you were in diapers. Mama hasn't changed with the times or the tourists either; she's still using her mama's recipe.

Mama has seen us through so far and you can bet your bottom zloty that we'll keep coming back to her, wherever we find her.


Anonymous said...

Well, I for one am quite happy there are a myriad of "Mamas" seeing to your room and board in such a fine way while you are gone! :)Love, Mama

warbler5 said...

You can't go wrong with that approach!