Boom Burger + Kanaal Craft Beer @ Sofia

Located a stones throw from off of Vitoshia Blvd, Boom Burger is only gourmet burger shop in Sophia. If you go here try one of the more interesting burgers, the boom burger looked nice and tasted fairly good, however the surroundings of the meat were the main contributors to taste; I found myself wishing that I'd ordered the pulled pork ribs burger instead. On the brighter side they serve a wide selection of beer here, I got myself a White Stork, which was a crisp Bulgarian brewed compliment to the meal and helped smooth over any negative feelings. Although gourmet burger culture may have a far way to go in Sofia, when you only have 1 choice that makes this the best one in town.

Inside Boom Burger
Boom Burger

Bulgarian Treats

In order to get me more familiar with the local culture in Bulgaria, my tour guide brought me to a couple of restaurants near Vitoshka street yesterday. I placed my fate in his hands to decide what what types of Bulgarian things I should sample, here's what he came up with:

A thick red sauce made from tomatoes, yet not called ketchup, Lyutenitsa has been a popular snack for centuries here. This was supposed to be spread on bread, however it was tasty on everything I put it on.

Bowl of Lyutenitsa

Ale House @ Sofia

In order to help my sleep cycle reach the desired point, I went out for some beer last night with my local guide. We ended up at an underground bar called Ale House for a while while he explained to me the dark underbelly of living in a former communist state, which includes everything corrupt police to gypsy's stealing your electricity. Each table in the bar had a metered tap, allowing us to sit down and poor delicious weisse beer right out of the wall. The only danger with this is that a foreigner like me might not have enough beer tap skills to poor a perfect glass each time, I ended up with a couple glasses full of foam.

Main drinking hall
Our tap

Sofia Bulgaria

Occasionally in life, a problem becomes so convoluted that the solution sounds almost irrational. The one that I just got dragged into had degenerated to the point, that the best solution anyone could come up with was to fly me from Beijing to Bulgaria with a 10 terabyte hard drive and a bottle of Baiju. After landing I walked around Sofia a bit and snapped some photos:

Suburb of Sophia from the plane
Presidency and Ancient Complex Serdika

Yantai Trip

My one day trip to Yantai was as spontaneous as some of my other trips, the location decided about 3 hours before the flight would be leaving Beijing. My decision was based on what I could find on the coast, that still had tickets available before 2pm.

As my plane descended over the new landscape of Shandong, I found myself reminded of the terrain of central California, the rocky formation specifically rung similar those around San Luis Obispo. The whole ride into town from the airport, the song Ventura Highway stuck in my head as we passed imagery reminiscent of one of my many rides up the coast.

After I got to town and walked around the beach front area in the center of town, I checked into my hotel and did some googling. What I learned made it all click into place, the area surrounding Yantai is considered the 7th best wine making climate in the world.

Rocky hill tops caught my eye

Nanchang Fandian - Jiangxi Provincial Hotel

Another day off, another provincial hotel. This time I decided to try out Nanchang Fandian, the ride there in rain ended at what looked like something between a run down apartment building and a military compound. After I checked the address from the photo I'd taken off my computer screen earlier, I was able to verify that the Chinese characters on the compound matched the ones on the address, I was there.

Inside the compound I discovered a small room with 6 tables, which could probably double as a holding tank for offenders against the communist party. I got myself the local Jianxi Beer, some sort of hot plate of eel, and a pile of pork and veggies. I found the crunchy texture of the eel quite nice, however from what I was eating I couldn't have recognized that this was pieces of eel, for all I know this might have been a mistaken translation in the menu. The sauce at the bottom of the bowl reminded me of squid ink except with a spicy edge, I enjoyed this enough I drank several spoon fulls straight. The pork and veggie dish had quite a lot of meat however was a bit bland, to help spice it up a bit I employed yet more of my favorite eel liquid. Unfornuatly by the time I finished the eel liquid had caught up with me and I ended up leaving a pile of snot filled clean-ex on the table.