Monday, September 5, 2011

Hungarian in Rural Oregon: Novak's - Albany, OR

I've been working in Albany, OR all summer. That means commuting 150 miles a day round trip from Portland. That means experiencing life in rural Oregon. Well not until I get that bear meat I've been promised -  but I did stay at the glamrous Super 8 motel a few times, conveniently located at the HWY 5 - McDonald's Drive Thru - HWY 99 trifecta and I did do some urban hikes, despite being picked up by co-workers on my last attempt due to fear of my safety (?) walking through the Meth part of town. I am saving that part for another post about how I ate a burger that was completely recycled from the same beer I drank.

A Hungarian family settled in Albany, and opened Novak's some years ago and business has been good. They are an I-5 "Food At Next Stop" Stop. Never trying Hungarian food, I didn't know what to expect just that this place was crazy delicious per local commentary. 

Paprika Butter and Multigrain Bread

There is nothing like fresh, granular bread. Especially with a spiced up, fluted butter.

 Marinated Cucumber Salad

Sweet, refreshing, with just enough dill and the right amount of cooling sour cream.

Székely Töltött Káposzta: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

One of the house specialties. Cabbage leaves stuffed with a warming spiced ground pork, topped with sour cream. There was tangy stewed sour kraut, buttered red potatoes and perfectly pan fried zucchinis as well. This is not something I would usually eat/order, but I felt compelled to as it was what my work mates were ordering and raving about per previous conquests. And It was absolutely delicious. Every bite of the roll was full of flavor, with good doses of sweet and hot paprika and a depth of never been tasted before Hungarian spice that was contrasted with a large dollop of sour cream. 

Hungarian Close Up

On another occasion I picked up a ricotta lemon bar for breakfast. It was atypically spectacular having the perfect tinge of lemon and a moist crumb. I wasn't expecting this.

Lemon Ricotta Bar

If you find yourself on the 5 and hungry. You must stop. On future trips I am getting the house made sausage. And hopefully taking a glorious comatose nap afterwards. 

Novak's Hungarian Restaurant
2306 Heritage Way SE
Albany, OR  97321


tasteofbeirut said...

I once had a Hungarian babysitter and the lady really knew how to cook and I learned a few things from her; Hungarians are artistic folks and i am not surprised this place is good.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

No goulash? :P I've been to Hungary several times and the food is very good. They do like their peppers though. I've never eaten so many varieties of peppers before. Not so much spicy, seemed more like bell peppers, but a huge variety of them. I had steak tartar for the first time in Hungary too. And excellent crepes, ice cream, and wine.

Dewi said...

I love Hungarian food. I especially like that stuffed cabbage.

Mary Bergfeld said...

They are within an hour of our home. I'll have to give their food a try. It looks wonderful.Now, if only you'd stay out of the 'meth' section of town, life would be perfect.Please don't be getting your brains bashed :-) I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Banana Wonder said...

tasteofbeirut - Lucky you! I hope you blog some of those recipes sometime.

Wandering Chopsticks - I was tempted! I will have to get it on the next go round (along with sausages). That's awesome you've been to Hungary - I hope to make it there this summer. I will ask you for some tips.

Elra - I can't wait for more!

Mary - Hah - you should give it a try and please let me know what you think.

Helen said...

I've not tasted Hungarian food per say but the food reminds me of Polish food i.e. the cabbage rolls and stewed sauerkraut, which I have eaten on many occasions. Wish I had the recipe for their lemon ricotta bars. They looks fantastic!

Helen said...

correction: "per se" ;)

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