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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Favorite Restaurants – Novak’s Hungarian, Albany, Oregon

There are only a handful of restaurants in Oregon that I would classify as our favorites.  Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant in Albany Oregon ties for first place in the small list of restaurants.

I have been eating at Novak’s for at least twenty-five years.  My first experience was through my work when we would travel over Oregon visiting customers and my co-worker introduced me to Novak’s.  After that, whenever I am in the area, I will stop in for lunch of dinner.

My wife and I recently met some friends at Novak’s for a wonderful lunch.  We arrived at 1 PM which was after the lunch crowd so we had a very quiet and relaxing lunch and visit.

We started our meal with the cucumber salad, which consists of marinated sliced cucumbers, onions, and peppers, topped with a light mayonnaise.  Before we arrive, we anticipate eating this very light and refreshing salad.

My wife and I both had the lunch portion of the Shepard’s Combo.  This wonderful dish is a sampler of four different entrees: Chicken Paprikas, Beef Porkolt, Székely Töltött Káposzta (cabbage roll), and Kolbász sausage.  This meal is served with cooked vegetables and some nice spicy mustard for the sausages.  This is our favorite dish because we get to enjoy the different flavors in each item.

I almost ordered a Hunter's Combination Plate that included Töltött Káposzta (cabbage rolls), Bécsi Szelet (breaded beef cutlet), Kolbász (homemade sausage) and Párizsi Szelet (batter-dipped pork tenderloin), served with Parsley buttered potatoes and red cabbage.  I enjoy all the items, and I wanted to make sure that I had some of the sweet and sour red cabbage, so I ordered the Shepard’s Combo and a side dish of the red cabbage.

Our friends enjoyed gluten free Linguine Primavera which had grilled chicken breasts sitting on a bed of rice and fresh vegetables and sprinkled with grated parmesan.

We all enjoyed our meals, the chicken and beef portions were very tender and moist.  We really savored the noodles and sauce that accompany both the chicken and the beef.  The sausages were very flavorful and the mustard is a nice complement.

We were glad these were the smaller lunch portions as that allowed us to eat everything and still have room for dessert.  We would almost make the ninety minute drive to Novak’s just for the Chocolate Box!

Chocolate Box, the name gets my mouth watering.  This dessert starts with a hollow base about 2-inches high made of dark chocolate which is molded in a paper bag.  For the filling inside the box, you have your choice of dark chocolate moose, white chocolate moose or both.  We always get the dark chocolate moose filling.  The chocolate box sits in a lake of raspberry sauce and topped with whipped cream and a small molded piece of chocolate.

We always order pre-order the chocolate box when we arrive at the restaurant to make sure there will be one available when we finish our meal.  My wife and I split this rich and creamy dessert as there is too much for one person to eat (on one of my first visits, I ate a full lunch and tried to eat the chocolate box by myself – no way, it was too rich).

Papa Novak is a refugee from Hungary and you can read a little bit about his story at the following site:  He still visits the restaurant almost every day and now his daughters run the restaurant and continue to serve the same great food.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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