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A Little Latin Flavor in Bulgaria

My weekend began with an invitation to attend a monthly staff Happy Hour at the U.S. Embassy on Friday evening. A former Fulbrighter has been working at the Embassy all summer and introduced me to some of the political staff. It was a great opportunity to network professionally, but more so it was just nice to meet new people since I don’t know many here in Sofia. Most of the folks at the Embassy have only been here for as long as me or a few months. Foreign Service officers and members of the U.S. Military tend to do 2 year stints and then are transferred to an Embassy in another country.

After a cocktail or two, I was invited to join a few of the Embassy guys to try a new TexMex restaurant in Sofia called “Mis Amigos” that literally opened up 3 weeks ago. According to the group there is a rule regarding your ability to accept/tolerate attempts at home cuisines. Basically, the longer you are in a foreign country the more likely to accept foreign attempts at recreating Mexican food, etc. Since I had only been gone a month I guess my standards were a bit higher. When we arrived we were greeted with big Corona signs and souvenirs which decorated the restaurant. I was excited to get a real tortilla chip and salsa — in Bulgaria the closest thing to a tortilla chip that you can find is Doritos and salsa is basically nonexistent. It turns out that they needed to import corn flour from Mexico because the corn here is not the same type used in the Americas and would not produce a proper tortilla. The tortillas were homemade and were a little thick & chewy and and the salsa was more like pico de gallo, but it was decent.

We ordered a round of margaritas and when the waitress came with our drinks she managed to place one on the table, but the rest fell with the tray directly down my backside. I was drenched in Margarita! We did get 2 free appetizers to make up for the spill and I had a phenomenal chili for dinner. I’ll probably still go back for a little taste of home.

After dinner we joined a larger group of Embassy folks at a Salsa club, which I had been told was in the same area as my apartment. I planned to see where the place was and then run home to change out of my margarita smelling clothes. As the taxi approached our destination I thought it got our directions wrong and was talking us to my apartment first, but it pulled up to the club which was literally around the corner from my apartment. It was a 1 minute walk to my place. At the Salsa club I met a group of Latina/o Expats who were from Spain, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. It was interesting because one of the girls from Spain did not speak English or Bulgarian so I had to use the Spanish I hadn’t really spoken since high school. Surprisingly I remembered a lot more than I thought I would and everyone in their group was extremely nice. I was also introduced to a group of Bulgarians who knew one of the guys who worked at the Embassy.

I ended up going out every night that weekend and had some amazing Lebanese food on Sunday night with everyone in my Bulgarian Language class. So this has been quite an eventful and fun weekend for me. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of new people and enjoyed some of Sofia’s restaurants and nightlife.

Laka Nosht!!*

*”Laka Nosht” means “Goodnight” in Bulgarian

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