To celebrate the first day of the 2011 Winter Bites Culinary Week, we headed out to Blue Danube Restaurant on Ottawa Street for lunch.

As I stated when I first mention Blue Danube was participating, husband and wife duo Sam and Zora Popovic are two of the nicest people you’ll meet and are alone worth the visit. Add great Hungarian cuisine on top of that and you can’t go wrong.

Jillian ordered the Goulash and Chicken Paprikash while I enjoyed the Goulash and Cabbage Roll & Sausage Combination.

A bowl of goulash with a glass of Egri Bikavér, Hungarian wine, served at Blue Danube Restaurant in Windsor, Ontario

The goulash was excellent and had a little bit of a kick to it. Along with homemade dumplings, there was also beef and potato cubes in it.  Zora insisted we try a Hungarian wine with it saying the two matched very well. It was a bottle of Egri Bikavér: Egri being a region in Hungary and Bikavér translating into ‘bulls blood’. Of course, she was right. The dry and smooth red wine enhanced the flavours of the goulash. I recommend ordering the other if you’re already getting one.

Chicken Paprikash served at Blue Danube Restaurant in Windsor, Ontario

The Chicken Paprikash was incredibly tender. The meat just fell off the bone. It was ordered with baked rice that was savoury and complemented the chicken very well. The sauce on the chicken brought together all of the flavours in a dish that warmed you up perfectly on a cold day.

Blue Danube Restuarant's famous cabbage roll served with homemade dumplings and sausage

My dish, the Cabbage Roll & Sausage Combination, was huge in portion and incredible in taste. I’ve heard people rave about the cabbage rolls at Blue Danube before, but, this was my first experience with them. They didn’t disappoint one bit. The sausage didn’t disappoint either. Owner Sam Popovic makes all the sausages himself. Zora says that it’s a secret recipe, but I was told it was a blend of veal and pork. Sam proudly said he hasn’t changed the recipe since Blue Danube opened 36 years ago and people are still loving it.

Palachintas, Hungarian crepes, served at Blue Danube Restaurant in Windsor, Ontario

For dessert, Jillian ate homemade apple strudel while I chose the Palachintas. The strudel, which Zora proudly told us is made in house, had an amazingly rich pastry and chunks of warm apple inside. It was like being on vacation in Hungary. The Palachintas are the Hungarian version of crepes. The flavour and aroma was so rich and satisfying. Jillian compared it to enjoying a great scented candle and actually being able to eat it and enjoy it. Odd, yet somehow she’s right.