Early on Sunday morning, May 6th, we arrived at Terminal 2A of Budapest’s Ferihegy International Airport to take a Lufthansa flight home to New York City, having enjoyed an incredible 8-day honeymoon. After we checked in, we looked around for something to eat – I had not done my homework, so we would just have to play it by ear. The first place we saw was a Caffe Ritazza just to the right of the security check-in. We debated on whether we should eat there or wait until we had gone through security. I reasoned that while there may be more choices on the other side of the security gates, we should stop at Ritazza and at least see if there was anything I could eat, i.e., anything that was not laden with cheese or sour cream or butter.
Our inquisitiveness was rewarded. Among the offerings in a sandwich case were actually two that did not have any dairy, one called “Panini Dijoni” with chicken, bacon and tomatoes dressed with dijon mayonniase on typical panini bread, and a second called “Mezzaluna” with chicken on multi-grain bread (sorry I don’t remember what else it had). I chose the former, and found it quite delicious. I washed it down with a bottle of Hinkley’s ginger ale, the same soda I had been drinking most of our time in Budapest. My wife had a ham and cheese sandwich and a bottle of orange Fanta.
After we went through security and arrived at Departure Gate #4, my wife said she needed coffee, and I went off to find a cappuccino. Well, wouldn’t you know, there was another Caffe Ritazzo right there, so I thought I would try them. The young lady behind the counter spoke some English (as do many people in Budapest), and she quickly made a cappuccino in a “go cup” for my wife. While she did that, I looked at the cafe’s offerings. They had all the same sandwiches as the before-security version, but with substantially more baked goods, including an intriguing looking apple strudel. To be prepared, in case our Lufthansa flight had nothing I could eat, I bought another “panini dijoni” for myself along with the cappuccino and a strudel for my wife. I would’ve liked to have eaten a strudel of my own, but was not up to having the conversation about dairy being present or absent from it – besides, flaky pastries usually are made with butter.
The cappuccino and strudel were excellent, my wife told me. And the panini did come in handy for me, since Lufthansa gave us mystery goulash with polenta and buttery looking vegetables for our meal on the flight back to New York – all I could eat from that was the roll and the greens from the salad with French dressing. I fared better with the snacks – the first one was fruit salad and a granola bar, and the second was sausage baked in bread (more like bologna than sausage, though, but at least palatable).
I am sad to have left Budapest behind, but happy to be back in New York City, where I can find dairy-free food with ease. My wife and I ordered chinese staples – shrimp with lobster sauce, beef with broccoli, fried pork dumplings and vegetable chow fun – from an Ollie’s Noodle Shop close to our apartment. All that yumminess helped to soften the blow of unpacking and the onset of jetlag. Can’t wait until our next trip!