The Hairy Vegetarian in Vilnius, Lithuania
On the evening of my birthday, and the birthday of Janet, another member of our group, 22 of us took the tour bus from the hotel into the old town of Vilnius to a Lithuanian restaurant called Lokys. We had a private room. I enjoyed a Lithuanian dark ale called Švyturio Baltios. We toasted our birthdays, then ordered our food. My appetizer was Pickled Brown-Headed Boletus, which are mushrooms. These tender and bright flavored chunks of mushroom were served in a lettuce cup. I could have eaten three or four of these. They went very well with the beer. I sat next to our guide, Rasa. She had lots of stories to tell. The restaurant, I’m kind of sorry to say, featured meat from the hunt. One item was beaver meat. Rasa told us that in ancient Lithuania beaver testicles were dried, mashed, mixed with alcohol, and eaten as an aphrodisiac. I’m very glad to be vegetarian.
My entree was a mound of buckwheat with chanterelle mushrooms and peas. It tasted good, but was dry. I thought it would benefit from another binding ingredient like yogurt, or something like a tahini-vinegar sauce. After dinner we all toasted again with a local liqueur called Triple Nines. It’s an herb and vodka drink developed by pharmacists. I could still taste it as we crammed into our small bus to head back to the hotel. It was quite a memorable birthday.