Sunday, July 22, 2007

PROTO-dining in Dubrovnilk for $$$$

Our first port on this 20 day Mediterranean voyage was DUBROVNIK, which I think anyone would fall in love with instantly. After a three hour walking tour and another 1/2 hour on the city walls in the 95 degree heat we were ready to chow down.

I had several suggestions from tour books, magazines and even the on-board port lecturer. We decided to listen to our private guide (which I WON'T DO next time) and dine at PRONTO in the center of the Old City. A simple wooden ceiling restaurant with linens, china and good service, we were in extreme shock when we saw the prices on the menu. Yes, the kuna (local currency) is 5.4 to the dollar, but when the appetizers are all over $10 and entrees tending to $30 and up for lunch in a city when the huge ice cream cone is under $2,00 it is daunting to say the least.

Luckily, the food was excellent. As always, the "cover" includes bread for about $3.00, but here also included a simple amuse of a small piece of bread with marinated anchovy, lemon, olive and tomato that was a true amuse...a hint of what was to come--excellent seafood. The wine was a POSIP KRAJANCIC dry aromatic Croatian white from the region that excels in wine (this IS where Mike Grgich, the famous Napa winemaker came from!). was tasty, but we had no clue what type of varietal or what it was akin to. The waitress said it would be great

with our seafood choices, and she WAS right on. The COLD OCTOPUS Salad featured tender large cylinders of meat with olives, tomato, potato and olive oil and while simple truly accented the fish itself. The SCAMPI ADRIATIC STYLE was served with Melon and Avocado, which apparently is eaten in small rock-hard scoops locally, something I can still not fathom, as when I tried to chew it I was forced to spit it out; rubber is not my favorite consistency for avocado. I would love to know if any of you know any Croatian folk that can verify this odd culinary fact? The sauce was a light mayo base with dill. The cheese platter had gorgeous olive-oil drenched SUN DRIED TOMATOES and two types of cheese: a crumbly OLIVE OIL CHEESE (that we never did get a name for) and a magnificent harder cheese from the nearby island of PAG that was a local treat, especially for us.

The entree of SHRIMP ADRIATIC STYLE was completely different from the "Scampi Adriatic Style" starter above and had larger local shrimp in a tomato-based almost puttanesca (slightly spicy) style with super polenta and a drizzle of balsamic over the top of that. We had more touring so skipped dessert and had wonderful (though not as good as Italy) gelato (the melon and green apple choices were refreshing) around the corner!