When we first arrived in Bulgaria, our house wasn’t ready yet, so we lived in an apartment in Sofia, which is the capital for those of you who don’t know.
I had gotten my hands on a english language ex-pat guide to Sofia called the Sofia Insider’s Guide . It was really useful because it listed all the grocery stores in Sofia and where to find stuff. The problem was there was not one good grocery store. Each had something good to offer, but to get all your shopping done, you needed to go to 3 – 5 different stores all in different parts of town. For example; HIT in Mladost 4 (Младост 4) a really good produce section. You can find shallots, different lettuces, avocado, ginger, star fruit, mango, passion fruit, etc… Elemag in Lozentez (Лозенец) had Argentinean beef and cooking wines (Marsala, Madeira, Sherry) Picadilly had a variety of international ingredients, such as Mexican & Thai.
Besides the driving there was another problem the price. A bunch of old asparagus was close to $7.00 USD (10 BGN). Beef, well that was truly a bank breaker, when you could actually find it. My grocery bills were astronomical especially compared to Bulgarian standards.
I try to go back to the States every 6 months and during my time home it is usually spent at the grocery store. The things that I bring home in my luggage is astounding. Here is a brief list: Annie’s Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese, JIF Peanut Butter, Vanilla Extract, Hoisin Sauce, Organic Maple Syrup, Aunt Jemima’s Butter Lite Syrup, Molasses, Crystal Light Decaffeinated Ice Tea, Echinacea Immune Boosting Tea, Quaker Instant Oatmeal….
Besides the ease of shopping and finding ingredients for recipes, I missed TAKE OUT!!! I loved having any food I desired delivered to me in under 30 minutes. Wow! With my husband and I both working while we lived in New York, dinner mostly consisted of something delivered. Right before we left, we were addicted to Papa John’s Hawaiian BBQ Chicken pizza. Now “Papa” can’t hold a candle to good NY pizza, but this specialty pie was heaven.
So, tonight I am going to attempt to make a Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza. I found an italian recipe for pizza dough. I am a little “yeast-tarded”, but things seem to be going good so far. The dough has doubled already. Then I have the BBQ sauce, chicken, pineapple, onion and pancetta (there is no good bacon in Bulgaria or maybe I haven’t found it yet). My standards are set high, I will report any success.
I have been back in the States four times since moving here and each time I miss the food less and less. When I go home now, I end up going to a TGI Friday’s. AppleBee’s or Ruby Tuesday’s with my family. I realize now that that stuff is crap, well, I do love the Jack Daniel’s Sauce at TGI Friday’s. I am usually so busy visiting family and friends, I don’t have time to just roam around New York City eating at my old haunts! I will have to make a point to do that the next time I am back.