Locanda Mariella {Calestano} – The Perfect Meal

Ziggy:

Busy busy, with various projects and no time to post. Here’s one of my favorite meals from last year

Originally posted on Eating With Ziggy:

Locanda Mariella eggsWhy are we here?  How did we get here?  What exactly made Kim Kardashian famous?  When is an egg no longer an egg?  I feel like starting this one like Anthony Bourdain starts some of his shows, with deep, philosophical nonsensicalness that grabs your attention and never lets go… until commercials.  Its the perfect prelude to what’s to come, whether its “The best soup in the world” (Vietnam – last episode), “Best Duck Feet I ever had” (Beijing), or “Best Meal I ever had” (French Laundry).  Because somehow “The Perfect Meal” or “Best Egg Dish I ever had” would simply get lost in the shuffle of this blog if I dont start with a deep Kim Kardashian question.  Makes sense?  I thought so

Locanda Mariella OutsideWhat makes a perfect meal?  When you are hard-pressed to find any little detail that worked against your enjoyment of the meal.  From the food, the host, the wine, the room, the environment…

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HK Just a Bit Outside Update

Blue Ribbon Sushi Oxtail Fried RiceTime to update that good ol’ Hell’s Kitchen Survival Guide once again, the bread and butter of this blog.  Well, not from the financial standpoint as I haven’t made a dime yet (I made 8 cents so far total, so almost there).  The theme this time, purely accidental, is as Harry Doyle put it “Juuuust a bit outside” of Hell’s Kitchen, but closer to most readers staying in or near Times Square

Adding Blue Ribbon Sushi on 58th st (near Columbus Circle).  My monthly dose of their oxtail fried rice with bone marrow (top) is becoming more of a religious experience.  As of late I also bring co-workers and visitors to Kung Fu Steamed Buns Ramen for their… you guessed it.. soup dumplings (top of the menu labeled “pork buns” or something like that).  And almost just around the corner is Bibble and Sip for dessert to complete the one-two punch.

Pork Buns

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lupulo – A Taste of Lisboa in… Chachkitown?

LupuloOh oh.  We may have our first “Where the hell is this place” situation on EWZ.  Is it in Chelsea?  Is it KoreaTown?  Is it the newly formed NoMad neighborhood?  Or is it the even newer “Midtown South” whatever it is.  I’m pretty sure its not Flatiron, I already established that.  Although its in Flatiron according to Yelp.  You see, up until a few months ago there was really no good reason to visit this area unless you have a cheap Chachkies fetish or in desperate need of a groin massage.  I suppose Chachkitown is another possibility if we are  inventing names as we’ve been doing for the past 20 years (“Clinton”? no thanks.  We are proud of Hell’s Kitchen thank you).  So I’m filing this under Chelsea until Chachkitown catches on.  And then when we are ready we can move on to Nocita. North of Chachkitown

George Mendes’ new gig Lupulo is the sexiest spot in NYC at the moment, which really means North America when you think about it.  It all feels very sexy, with a sexy staff, sexy bar, and those sexy light bulbs, but that vibe sort of diminishes once you get to your table.  From the semi-comfortable table vantage point, it feels like a casual, bustly Portuguese cervejaria.  Mendes who was Michelined with Aldea has something pretty cool going here

My food critique below may seem a little too critique as overall we enjoyed the buzzy atmosphere and most of the food.  Other than one outstanding dish there wasn’t anything particularly noteworthy, nor bad.  But I still recommend Lupulo for some fun Portuguese comfort food like the Chicken Piri Piri which is a Lisbon staple.

Lupulo derives from Humulus Lupulus which has almost nothing to do with hummus I’m pretty sure, but hops.  Beer is the name of the game here, though what I ordered failed to impress as the Mitten and the Saison fell rather flat.  The Saison (forgot the name of the brewer.. “Home” or something like that) came about 30 minutes after I ordered it, but there were no other hiccups I should mention

Bread:  Terrible.  I read somewhere that it comes from a Portuguese bakery in Newark.  Might as well come from the deli across the street.  Mendez should talk to chef Guerrieri of City Sandwich who also gets his bread from a Portuguese bakery in Newark

Chicken Liver Pate – On the drier side with decent flavor.  The lack of creaminess adds to the difficulty of spreading the thing on thin gap-filled crisps.

Green Peas, chorizo and egg – Nice, light and springy.  The peas were enjoyable, as was the occasional okra that was almost as rare as the chorizo.  If you put chorizo in the name, put it on the plate too

Red Snapper crudo – By far the best dish.  Just about the spiciest crudo I ever had, but the heat is more of a delayed, back end heat allowing the fish to shine without much interference.  Great dish, though at $18 its Marea price Crudo, and should really be in the small plate column, not “fish”

Octopus Rice – Did not suck.  Essentially a mini paella priced as a regular paella ($26 or $24) with maybe one octopus leg sliced inside it.  Although I was assured the octopus came from Spain and passed immigration, it didn’t have the “balls” of a Portuguese octopus we enjoy sometimes.  Recommend still

Chicken piri piri – Simple, nicely cooked, good size, and a shockingly low price tag compared to the other dishes. How can this be $14 while the rice dish $26.  I would order it again even with the same overcooked Mcdolands fries.

Chocolate Salami – Minty, rich, with ice cream. Must have.

Pasteis de Nata – Egg tarts.  Misshapen and not very traditional looking (perhaps not on purpose), a little too greasy but not too bad overall.  Borderline recommend.  You cant go to Lisbon without having Pasteis de Nata after your chicken Piri Piri

Lupulo
835 Avenue of the Americas
$$$
Recommended Dishes: Peas chorizo and egg, Red Snapper crudo, Octopus Rice, Chicken piri piri, Chocolate Salami, Pasteis de Nata

***** Terrible iPhone pictures alert ********

Lupulo Pate Lupulo Peas Lupulo Octopus Rice Lupulo Chicken Lupulo Pasteis Lupulo Chocolate salami

 

 

 

 

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A Man and his Mountain. And a Choo Choo Train

1546Consider this Hallstat part deux.  A day so immense with beauty that it requires two posts.  Three actually with a visit to Bad Ischl in between.  50 minutes from Salzburg, in the town of St Wolfgang in the region of Salzkammergut you can hop aboard the SchafbergBahn, the little red engine that could.   A 40 minute picturesque trek takes you to the summit of the Schafberg where you are surrounded by 16 lakes.  Ok, I may have counted the same lake more than twice but you get the idea.  A breathtaking, stunning, 360 panorama, with a little restaurant on top to boot.  If you decide to stay less than an hour in the summit after seeing this, there’s something seriously wrong with you

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Categories: Austria/Czech Republic | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Battle of The Bridges: Seeking Best Pizza, Fuku, Wings

204Winter is coming!  Time to file some Citibike miles under the belt.  About twice a year the Hummus Whisperer and I take a day riding between the boroughs (Brooklyn and Manhattan) losing crazy amount of calories, while gaining back three times as much from munching in various places.  We try to hit at least 5 random spots, some are planned, some not.  This time HW couldn’t make it, but we did meet up at some point.  Here’s how the ride went

In my constant pursuit of great chicken wings as of late (another middle age crisis symptom), I targeted two year old Distilled in Tribeca.  Distilled originally opened as an interesting looking destination spot from a Momofuku Noodle veteran, and settled down into more of a popular neighborhood gastropub with a talented team of mixologists (partly judging by the exceptional Bloody this morning).  But the one constant since the beginning seem to be the glorious wings.  They are double fried to crispy perfection, and coated with a thick and messy layer of Gochujang (that fermented Korean sauce you put on your Bibimbap).  They serve it with their own version of not too funky blue cheese sauce to cool things down.  Really excellent hefty, top quality wings.Distilled wings

Back on the bike, sort of full after just 5 wings (I left one for good luck), where to go next?  Cutting across east I decided to bike the selfie stick happy Brooklyn Bridge.  With all the crowds and craziness, I still rather bike iconic Brooklyn Bridge than any other bridge.  Then down to Sands street, Flushing, and Kent before crossing the Jewish side of Williamsburg and parking by old favorite Zizi Limona.  The one big surprise here is the large Puerto Rican community in this part of the woods.  The big parade was in Manhattan this day, but I felt the celebration here in Brooklyn.  With Citibike, I feel like I’m rediscovering my own city

Best PizzaMy next destination is a slice of Pizza.  Yes, I biked all the way here from Tribeca for a slice.  But lets go back for a sec.  About a year ago, when I had one of those cherished free days, I decided to drive around Brooklyn for various iconic slices I haven’t had in a while and more.  I had the great L&B Spumoni, the legendary Di Fara (after a 45 minute wait), and then drove to Williamsburg for Best Pizza which proved to be Best of the bunch especially while factoring in some of the pain involved getting some of the others.  The funny part is that Roman based food writer Katie Parla did something similar a month later, and also proclaimed Best Pizza as the winner.  Now, back for yet another NY style slice (need to save room for the next most highly anticipated stop) from the wood burning oven, with that signature basil leaf in the middle for added aroma.  Great slice again with an unusually well balanced cheese/sauce proportions.  Owner Frank has an extensive pizza resume, along with a stint at the Culinary Institute of America.  The paper plate art alone including the “Jews love Best Pizza” plate is worthy of a schlep.Best Pizza art

photo (18)Back on the bike, and back to the “city” via the much quieter Williamsburg Bridge.  The emptiness means more freedom to move around so you can fly like a bold eagle!  Until you realize you are on a Citibike, and you are dangerously close to being passed by an 80 year old woman (that actually happens often to me in Italy).  Its hard to look cool on those little blue bikes, especially in Central Park.  The only chance you have is to ride in the rain (not drizzle, rain), or with just one hand.  Until you face another blue frontal balding biker riding with one hand and you realize it doesn’t look as cool as you thought.

Anyway, sometimes the most anticipated items prove less than thrilling at the end (see Best vs Di Fara).  Such is the case with Fuku, the hottest sandwich in town at the moment from David Chang’s Momofuku empire (As some of you know, I’m a fan).  Perhaps I got Fukued.  My 30 minute wait was about half outside, half in after paying for it.  “Credit Only for now” is something I haven’t heard anywhere yet I don’t think.  After paying, you get a number with a stick, and you can stand with your number just about anywhere looking like a dork, for the order girl to eventually find you.  Sort of like one of those bachelorette games…”bachelor #23 if you were a kitchen appliance, what appliance would you be”… Eventually the “spicy fried chicken” arrives.  Its a flat almost schnitzel like, thigh meat sandwiched by a tiny potato roll that is meant to serve as a handle.  Not the sexiest looking thing.  There are also sliced pickles in there somewhere that serve almost no purpose.  The first few bites were interesting, featuring decent flavor, then the struggle took over.  Stringy, uneven texture throughout, with crust and meat not so happily married.  Not very spicy for a sandwich called Spicy Chicken. It wasn’t a total mess, but far from that hot, much anticipated item I was so looking forward to.  Try for yourself!Fuku

photo (99)A Battle of the Bridges is incomplete without my favorite thirst quencher which happens to be nearby, the Grasshopper from Liquiteria.  Its not cheap at around $9, but so refreshing on a hot day.  I proceeded then west, cruising 13th st, passing Da Andrea, All’Onda and eventually Santina on the way to meet Hummus Whisperer and baby Hummus Whisperer at the new Whitney Museum by the Highline.  There I rediscovered the joys of quirky American art, and the joys of watching quirky American art while holding hands of a baby surrounded by the striking Manhattan upper class.  Its a a scientific theory that’s proven time and time again; Babies, preferably cute ones, are babe magnets!  The museum is actually very cool.  You can couple it with the Highline, and dinner/lunch at Untitled (thats the name) inside the museum, or Santina a few steps away.photo (16)

I said goodbye to HW and baby for hire and headed uptown via Hudson River Park, perhaps our most important and one of the most scenic bike paths.  Between the rotating art in the 50’s and 60’s, various parks (another good place to bring your neighbor’s babies!), piers, people watching, and stops along the the way like Chelsea Market, Gotham West, I can easily spend a whole day here.

My last stop was at one of the newest Hell’s Kitchen bakeries, Bibble & Sip.  Well technically just outside Hell’s Kitchen but got all the making of another unique Hell’s Kitchen bakery.  Nice place to sit, relax and BS all you want!  The Earl Grey Banana Bread is quickly gaining neighborhood fame.  Add the Matcha Cream puffs, various scones, the occasional English Muffins sliders and all sorts of rotating goodies.  I visited it three times before, and on this day the Earl Grey Panna Cotta proved to be the perfect finisher to a fun day.

bibble photo (13) photo (14) photo (15)

 

 

 

 

Categories: Brooklyn, East Village, Midtown West, New York City, TriBeCa | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Note From the Food Network

feature-choppedI figured I’ll help out one of my favorite food shows looking for young talent…

Food Network is now casting the most talented kid chefs around the country!
Does your kid/teen cook like a professional chef?
We are in search of young culinary masterminds between the ages of 9 and 17 who have what it takes to compete on Chopped!
If you’re a culinary prodigy that can take the HEAT in the kitchen and the competition, we want to hear from you!

Apply now at http://www.JSCasting.com

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This is Hallstatt

HallstattI dont pay much attention to Trip Advisor lists because they are usually review algorithm based.  But sometimes they send lists based on their Destination Experts inputs (like myself) which are more interesting.  Last year they came up with a small list of unknown picturesque gems in Europe that no one knows about (that’s why they are unknown).  Sintra in Portugal was one of the only towns from the list we visited.  But a few weeks ago I received the same list yet again (which I cant find it) from TA and noticed there are two more places I can now check off, Cesky Krumlov, and this beauty located in the Salzkammergut region in Austria.  Hallstatt.

1739 1755 1767 1758 1778 1800 1803 1732 1839 1842

Such stunning location very often lacks ample flat cemetery space.  Up until 50 years ago, the graves would be recycled every 10 years or so.  Bones and skulls would be removed and put inside the Charnel house, or bone house which visitors can visit today.  About half of the 1200 skulls are lovingly painted, along with the deceased’s name, and sometimes profession, and date of death.  And the cemetery itself offers more stunning views from above.  A little tricky to find but well worth it.  When walking back from the side of town where you’ll take the top picture, look for steps going up with a bunch of signs pointing up.

1826 1828 1831 1824 1835

20 km west of Hallstatt, there’s yet another stunner, Gosausee.  You can walk around the lake (about an hour) or find a spot and just stare.  Its so quiet you can hear a lung collapse.  The drive from here to A10 toward Salzburg is a fun one, as long as you stay alert (otherwise, you already know where the best burial place is)

 

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Aquavit – How to Train Your Pastry Chef

Aquavit Bird's NestTo become the second female in the country to get a second Michelin Star, after Dominique Crenn of SF (Suzette Gresham, also from SF joined the list since).  Quite the feat for Stockholm native Emma Bengtsson.  In a city where Michelin stars are randomly distributed like candy (my mom has one.  Found it on Craigslist), the action, the crème de la crème usually starts with the ultra coveted #2.  Although, more often than not, when the time comes you are more concerned about losing a star, as opposed to hoping to gain one.  Aquavit, a name that’s been hanging around like that balloon your kid brings home, hovering all over the house for days until it loses its luster and scares you in the bathroom in the middle of the night with its new wrinkled dog look which normally means its time to get rid of it.  Where was I?  oh yes..  Aquavit is a rejuvenated gem, rejoining the city elite.

Pete Wells who awarded Aquavit with a three star review last month, mentioned an overall stiffness, with servers suffering from “Michelinitis”.  In comparison to that, our dinner was a Swedish House Mafia post concert party.  The staff was extremely professional, but friendly, loose and engaging.  We felt comfortable, and you get a sense that the patrons around you are as well.  Maybe its Wells, whose bust is Googleable, making everyone nervous.  Though I do agree with him about the chairs, which weren’t the most comfortableAquavit

There are 3 different menus as you can see on their site.  While all offer a nice glimpse of Emma’s greatness, to take full advantage one should look left, at the Chef’s Tasting.  Eight dishes are listed, but with all sorts of fun surprises in between, its more like 15.  I cant recall all the details (the meal is now a week old) but I do recall much.  The other night I had trouble sleeping because both of us couldnt remember Daniel Craig’s name with no electronic devices next to us.  She wanted me to go downstairs and look it up (which would also mean bringing yogurt), but I refused.  At 1 am I finally figured the first name is Craig, at 3 I realized its the last name, and in the morning I saw the hard truth: Turns out Daniel Craig’s name is Daniel Craig, and we are pathetic.  But thats for another post.  Here’s the long rundown of the meal at Aquavit.

The bread – A great meal must start, and end (and some in the middle) with great bread, and this one did not disappoint.  In fact Emma herself was also in charge of bread service before the big promotion.  The Danish rye and the brown butter in particular was simply… wait for it… Divine!

Aquavit - Gravalax and AsparagusGravlax Asparagus – Starting with a bang.  Like a full plump egg ravioli, with layers of salmon coating more salmon bits, with essentially an asparagus ménage à trois.  Asparagus panna cotta, apsaragus tips (let me know when I start sounding like Bubba gump), asparagus ribbons, and asparagus espuma.  Ok, so there was no espuma.  But there was something exceptionally delicious in this dish that I havent found in any gravlax/lux before.

King Crab and Rhubarb –  With nutmeg butter, you can see the ingredients clearly below.  The least favorite dish came in early.  Not much wrong with it, but lacking the brilliance of the others.  You are supposed to eat all three together, and you quickly realize that you include too much of the tarty rhubarb.   And on your second bite you realize that you have too much butter.  By the time you find the right balance you are left with a quarter of the king crabAquavit King Crab

Calf’s Liver and Cucumber – I dont know what Pete Wells was eating, or perhaps they adjusted this dish after the review but I thought this was one of the strongest dishes.  A hockey puck of creamy calf’s liver wrapped inside this cucumber gelatin, with a surprise inside in the form of braised oxtail, and sliced cucumbers adding a nice crunch.  Spectacular looking, and tasting dish

Beef Tongue and Nasturtium – While I truly enjoyed this one, the name of the dish should really be”Potatoes”.  Marbles potatoes baked in ash, some of the smokiest, tastiest potatoes I ever had.  Yes there were tender strips of beef tongue and Noma-esque Nasturtium (flowers and sugar are two common Aquavit elements) among other things, but it was the potatoes that took center stage.Aquavit Calf's liver

Mackerel and Pistachio – Perfection!  Mackerel’s strong personality was well contained, and the result was quite flavorful.  Simply put, perfectly cooked.  Candied pistachios, more flowers, foam contributed to the fun.  This is the dish that showcases Emma’s style the most

Lamb and Spring Onion.  Essentially this one is lamb and spring onions!  Onions posing in every way shape or form, Kardashian/Jenner style.  Lamb, slowly cooked for three days had a nice crispy top layer and a fatty middle layer.  Nice flavor overall, but a bit more fat than we like

Aquavit HavgusHavgus and Walnut – One of the havgus cheese strips was still alive when it showed up, and eventually unrolled itself.  There were more candied nuts, along with thinly sliced fresh peaches and birch syrup, though the Havgus midway proved a bit heavy and tiresome.  And tiresome is the last feeling you want to have before the next dish

Arctic Bird’s Nest (top) – This is the star, the main event. the Thrilla in Manila of the tasting menu.  You anticipate it, you know its coming, and at some point you think maybe its not a good idea to have that third Danish rye with brown butter, because we are not here for Danish rye and brown butter.  I cant think of another such place in NYC whose menu’s star is a dessert.  I’m sure it exist, but I cant think of any.  The Bird’s Nest was as selfie worthy and spectacular as we imagined.  There was a “cookie” nest, Goat cheese parfait eggs, snow dusting of frozen yogurt, blueberry and raspberries sorbet, a hint of gold and more than a hint of brilliance.  Well done!

Aquavit
Park Avenue Tower, 65 E 55th St
$$$$
Recommeded Dishes: Get the Chef’s tasting menu

Aquavit sorbetAquavit Lamb and Onion Aquavit  Mackarel Aquavit Oyster 010

 

Categories: Midtown East, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eating in Prague

Krystal Mozaika Bistro Lamb ShankPraha, what took you so long.  Such beauty, such history, such personality, such food?  Yes, apparently!  The popular notion that its not especially known for its food scene may have something to do with our hesitation all those years.  Conclusion after three days:  Color me surprised, and impressed, and.. a little heavier full.  There were beer gardens, bistros, and even street vendors, all cooking with high degree of skill.  Some meals were better than others (hint: pay special attention to the last three) but overall we did not have a bad one, a rarity during our travels.  Every meal offered something.  Whether it was the food, the Provaznice menubeverages, the location, or in some cases all of the above.  And yes, there was plenty of pork, there was plenty of beer, and there was even plenty of pork swimming in beer.

At Provaznice we learned about what happens to cheating Real Housewives of Praha.  Nothing better than a nice meal with a life lesson on the side for the ladies.  Relatively quiet side street by the same name in the center, with community tables on the sidewalk.  Our first foray into the town’s celebrated Pilsner Urquell scene.  The goulash and the schnitzel did not disappoint, and so was our first pork knuckle (of many to come, even when we were offered “oxtail” in Germany).  But the most memorable item was one of the more healthier local vegetarian options, fried hermelin cheese!  Skip the fried mushrooms unless you enjoy eating fried dough (like Beignets that took a wrong turn in the cooking process).

Provaznice Hermelin

Provaznice Hermelin

At Sisters Bistro we sampled some Chlebicky, open faced sandwiches.  Hana Michopulu a local food celebrity and farm to mouth pioneer opened Sisters along with.. you guessed it.. her sister not too long ago.  It can be tough to choose betweeen the large Chlebicky array, but the girls speak English and can help.  The beets one was the surprising winner.  I’m finding that “beets” and “surprise” are being used in the same sentence very often lately on the blog.  Something is up.

Health conscious folks exiting Sisters, are staring straight in the face of danger.  Nase Maso, a newish popular butchery.  After multiple attempts I havent actually eaten anything here except for a few lean pastrami slices.  On both visits, things got a little hectic, and I ran out of time.  Its practically a standing room only butchery where they cook their fresh goodies right on premises.  Burgers, steak, meatloaf, and much more.  Seems very popular with the locals.  You can grab one of the few tables in the back, or hover over one of the tables outside and eat like in the good ol’ days.  The cave days.  Nice option for a quick bite or combined with Sisters next doorSisters Bistro Prague Nase Maso

Strahov Monastic BreweryWe planned the castle visit around our Strahov Monastic Brewery lunch appointment.  After a shaky start where we were led to an empty room “This is where we sit reservations”, we said “no diky” and proceeded with a nice meal outside where the action was (and weather to boot).  Nice pork tenderloin in beer sauce.  Ribs, a bit dry but a terrific ginger sauce (out of 3) to the rescue.  Tried another local specialty, Svickova na smetane – Sirloin in cream sauce with bread dumplings and cranberries.  A somewhat uninspiring meat with gravy like cream sauce that will make anything taste great.  Meat, car keys., anything.   Domácí utopenec which translates to “drowned men” (after the rope maker of Provaznice strangling his wife story, I dont want to know what happened with this one) featuring cold pickled sausages.  Nothing out of the ordinary but probably my favorite dish here.  And one of the better beers of the trip, the St. Norbert, in particular the complex, slightly fruity darkStrahov Monastic Brewery Beer

PragueA note on sausages.  They are all over the place, and they deserve proper respect.  Sacrifice one dinner, or lunch, or in our case, a 4 pm snack to sausage and beer from one of the stands in the center.  They are juicy, with ample heat, and pack more flavor than the ones we got in restaurants.  Same goes for sausages all over Austria.

And then there’s the Trdelnik.  I don’t even need to mention it because you cant really escape it, and resistance is futile.  You may survive the first day, but after two you will not only succumb, but start experimenting with it.  Add nutella, jam, pork, or anything else that comes across.  Essentially its sweetened dough, rolled on a stick and grilled out in the open.  Whether I liked it or not is not important.Trdlnik

Once you are tired of all that meat and potatoes, consider the meat and potatoes at Krystal Mozaika Bistro in the up and coming Karlin hood, a short subway ride away from the center.  A full menu more akin to what you may find in Soho, or Paris with a touch of local flair.  Nicely executed soups.  A silky smooth home made chicken pate.  Melnik asparagus was the beginning of our white asparagus love affair during the trip.  An excellent salmon tartar.  Burger krystal with Emmentaler cheese was the real deal in both size and flavor, and would fit in quite nicely in burger town NYC.   There was that addictive svickova sauce again but this time featuring a tender beef neck with herby dumplings.   The star however was a Moroccan style falling off the bone lamb shank with spinach, bulgar, sundried tomatoes and an aromatic minty pesto.  Plum Dumplings with poppy seeds, nuts and clarified butter was a proper, if not a bit heavy finish.  Very impressed with this oneKrystal Mozaika Bistro Burger
Kolkovna Olympia wingsSomething tells me that in Prague, the rule of avoiding chains does not apply, with restaurant gangs such as Lokal and Kolkovna pack with locals nightly.  We tested this theory at the bistro looking Kolkovna Olympia which delivered all sorts of surprising flavors for a chain joint.  There was “Spicy” (but not quite) sausages swimming in a tangy tomato pepper sauce.  Hermelin cheese, this time not fried, but topped with garlicky bread crumbs.. an improvement.  There was creamy but refreshing Asparagus soup.  Beef cheeks with French style mash was spot on (I’ve been spoiled with an abnormal amount of crazy good beef cheek dishes in NYC lately).   A chicken roulette stuffed with liver, spinach, and egg wasn’t as memorable as the chicken wings that came at about the same.  Yes, chicken wings, spiced and cooked to perfection, with BBQ sauce on the side that demanded a few finger dips.  Ok, more than a few.Kolkovna Olympia Hermelin
Another gem in the Karlin neighborhood is the popular Pivovarsky Klub where a room full of patrons sing 250 bottles of beer on the wall on a nightly basis.  Not only it features the largest collection of bottled beer in Czech Republic but, it can also boast something very few in the country can, “Bourdain was here”.  Six rotating beers on tap with the excellent Benedict at the helm.  Fried Bread with raw garlic was just that, but quite addictive.  Juicy sausages can be had in beer sauce or with red and white beans.  Get both.  Pork knuckle with light gravy came in sliced but retained all its glory.  And if you leave without trying the excellent venison goulash, you haven’t done any homework.
Dobrou Chuť
Pivovarsky Klub Sausages

Pivovarsky Klub Sausages

Pivovarsky Klub Beer

Pivovarsky Klub

Pivovarsky Klub

Sisters

Sisters

Provaznice

Provaznice

Provaznice Knuckle

Provaznice Knuckle

Strahov Monastic Brewery Sausage

Strahov Monastic Brewery Sausage

Krystal Mozaika Bistro Dumplings

Krystal Mozaika Bistro Dumplings

Trdlnik Prague

 

 

 

Categories: Austria/Czech Republic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This is Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace 3312 3393 3362 Schönbrunn Palace - Vienna 3439 3430 Schönbrunn Palace Vienna 3402 3395 Schonbrunn Palace 3370 3363 3366 3346 3342 3338 3324 3313 3320 3435

Categories: Austria/Czech Republic | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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