It is hard to find a squad who isn’t gluten intolerant, who don’t feel guilt when they eat meat products and who can go out to have lunch in the middle of a working Monday. These days, the only people who have time are influencers, politicians/ diplomats and artists. Luckily, I belong to the influencers and those above are the only people I hang out with anyway.
The wicked will now say that the only people who have time are retired people and unemployed, but that would be a lie. If there wasn’t for them, who would be out there digging through trash cans and retrieving plastic bottles in exchange for coins? Oh, they work alright. If anyone is going to save this planet from plastic pollution, it is going to be our elders and wards of the unemployment center. Where are you now Greta Thunberg?
Let us get back to food. I gathered a squad made of gastro hedonists and asked them to join me for Leskovac grill at the Magazinska klet – Pri Staroj smokvi on Strojarska street. The 8 chosen ones, actually 7, sat at the table. Namely, we were waiting for Ribafish. I think he was embarrassed because he didn’t invite me to taste his blood sausages so he was reluctant to come. We were so hungry that we started to show first signs of cannibalism. Luckely, Ribafish showed up. Much like croatian former president Kolinda, with his head and hand held high, he walked into the dining area in a theatrical manner and with no shame about bout being late, he joined us at the table.
We ordered for appetizer: veal tails (Boneless veal tails and vegetables in rich sauce. This dish is cooked for 10 hours), mazalice with kajmak (Grilled patties with spicy minced meat topping) and pickled spicy peppers with cream.
Guys dug in the food like Dracula’s teeth into a Romanian peasant neck.
Vegans might be reading this as well so I moved from the table a bit for this photo. The last thing I would want would be for some herbivore to see people enjoying meat delicacies. If there is a god and he is a vegan, may he think of me on Judgement day.
My hand is short, but wide so I made it known that more food was about to arrive shortly. Talk of the town is they have such huge portions one can barely finish the entire meal.
Platter Leskovački voz (Leskovac train) for 4 people.
With meat platter we also got baked beans, Šopska salad, leek, cabbage and lepinja (traditional flat bread).
This is how it looks all together on the table:)
Our kind hoast and restaurant manager Nada told us that their philosophy was: “It would be better to have leftovers on the plate than to have people talking around town about us being cheap”
As soon as she heard about the huge portions, Maja put on a big Joker-like smile. She teaches growth and development and is also a business coach in the House of Learning corporation. The only growth potential I saw here was her potential to grow in width by the time we were done with lunch:)
As a renowned gastro know-it-all, Ribafish dug into cevapi like Trump into his next secretary. When he made sure there was no trace of soy and pork in the mixture, he let the rest of us try a bit.
To eat cevap or not to eat cevap, that is the question. Ribafish aka Bosnian Hamlet – oil on canvas.
Ribafish recommended croatian wine Adžić – graševina to go with all of the meat delicacies and his choice was approved by my friend TETEC FRANC who happens to be an international expert for anticorrosion protection. I know that his vocation sound as exciting as the Jehovah’s witness ringing on your door bell , but he will be the one you’ll call as soon as you have rust problems.
I would like to say that the wine paired superbly with the grilled meat.
Zagreb’s famous painter and jewelry designer Jasminka Škalić also liked the wine. She put on her Keith Richards smile and asked for another glass.
After two bottles, she started bragging about her new mini skirt she bought at the gypsy market.
We also had Dejan Đorđević, a military delegate of the Republic of Serbia in Croatia, in our company. If anyone can make and appreciate a good grill, it is our eastern neighbors. Dejan gave me a 15 year old Serbian plum rakija (schnapps). A true eliksir. I took it proudly to my parents house to try it at our family lunch. My parents said: “This is phenomenal. The best rakija we have ever had. Where did you get it?” I replied: “I got it as a present from Serbia” My parents: “Still, our homemade Croatian rakija is much much better”.
Nataša Kačar, owner of Business in tourism web page, was sitting next to Dejan. If you are looking for chefs or waiters, she is your woman. She imports workers from the whole region, but also exports them. She asked me to take a photo of her for her profile and to use some of my filters to make her younger, but not too much so that people wouldn’t notice. I pulled the photo through Kardashian filter, but let that stay only between me and Nataša.
Now comes the cherry on the top – Željka Barišić, founder of Adria Business Network platform for business connecting through education and networking events. She glued herself to Maja, chugged down a liter of rakija and felt heavenly. I asked her to connect me with Bill Gates so I can do some business with him. She promised she would, but I am not sure if that was her speaking or the alcohol in her.
Speaking of cherry’s on the top, Leskovac grill without a desert is like my parent’s village without an exorcist. We have ordered pancakes with Plasma cookies and Nutella. There is no need to describe this. Photos say a thousand words.
Ribafish left straight after the desert because he was rushing to his religion class. I took the liberty to read the lees in his coffee cup. I demonstrated the ancient village art of divination. They asked me: “what do you see?” I said: “The vision is a bit blurry, but I can see islands and Ribafish swimming – ROKOTOK”
How do you sleep at night, Nostradamus?
To sum up, we stuffed ourselves in the most gourmet manner. It is hard to choose the best dish. Everyone had their favourites. The portions are above average and there is not much chance you will be able to finish them completely. The prices are, in my opinion, very cheap compared to the amount of food we got on our plates. If you want to eat well, not pay too much and if you are not vegan, Magazinska klet – Pri Staroj Smokvi is the right place for you.
Strojarska 32, Zagreb
tel: 01 6155 200
Ps: I only regret not having more photos of myself for this column. They made an altar for me back home the other day and my opinion is that every city, every street and every cultural institution in this fine country should have something like this to honor me.
Remark: this is not an add for tumble dryer:)
Author: Dear Leader Joe aka Vin Diesel for Poor People, a corresponding member of the “Eat Leskovac grill or be vegan and look ill” magazine, a friend to the wealthy, a tycoon and a Gastro Snob, but above all a human.