Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Dam Fine Meal

So off we went into Old Town Vilnus in search of dinner—Nate, Amy, Amy’s husband Ryan, and I. Luckily, I had a Lonely Planet book that covered Lithuania, which meant that I was put in charge of finding a restaurant and mapping our way. Bleary eyed and spacey from the 10-hour time change, I paged through the book. “How about this place, guys? They have traditional Lithuanian food, like spiced wine and, ummm, something about all kinds of hunting game.” No one had the energy to come up with an alternative, so traditional Lithuanian fare it was.

By the time the waitress came over to take our order, we had consumed enough beer to convince Nate he should order the Beaver stew. Billed as a house specialty, it looked kind of interesting and, after all, how could we (read: Nate) pass up a Lithuanian tradition?

Newly pregnant, Amy wondered if she should even have a bite. “Is it safe?” she asked. Fresh off my
canoe trip through Minnesota, I knew where she was coming from. “Those things are like river dogs, with all kinds of bizarre oil glands and super powered tail muscles. I’d steer clear.”

Over dinner we swapped transport stories and learned what was in store for us over the next few days: a tour of Vilnus, a visit to a black current farm, the wedding, and then an all-night reception at a campsite with cabins and a sauna. “Oh, and Lina’s 6 foot 6 “baby” brother, Mendogas, is gonna be our tour guide of sorts throughout the trip. He’s a man of few words, doesn’t take no for an answer, and can knock back vodka like it’s lemon aid. Something is bound to go awry.”

By this time, we had finished dinner and moved onto vodka…and beaver jokes. “Well this certainly shaped up to be a dam fine dinner!”
Ryan announced, slapping Nate on the back. Amy, completely sober, rolled her eyes.

When Nate called Lina later that night with the report on our first night out, she burst into laughter. Having lived in Lithuanian most of her life, she explained that she’s never once been offered beaver. “Damnit!” Nate responded, now experiencing the beginnings of a stomach ache. “Those bastards passed off their crap meat as a local delicacy and we played right into it. I’m gonna blame Lauren so she can deal with the scorn of your brother tomorrow.”

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