So very sad that it has been ages since my last post! Long story short, I did a little loop through Central Europe, visiting Prague, Vienna, and Budapest (with a pitstop in Bratislava), got a terrible stomach virus on the plane back, and have been out for about a week and a half. By out, I mean miserable at work and not at home healing my body (sigh). You can imagine how sad I was that I could only eat toast and Gatorade. No caffeine. No alcohol. No meat. No chocolate. No spice. NOTHING REALLY. But now all is good and I am trying very hard not to binge on all the great foods I missed out on in the last week.
Our first city was Prague. Prague is amazingly beautiful, almost unreal because the only other place I’ve seen such well-maintained beautiful old architecture is, well, a place like Disneyland (except Disneyland isn’t real). There’s a kitschy vibe to the place only because you just don’t see such beautiful places like that anywhere else other than in movies (probably why a lot of movies are made in Prague).I ate a lot on my trip (duh), mostly great, some just good, and one really bad place. Everything was surprisingly cheap (beer and wine is cheaper than water). Read on for the highlights!
Best meal in Prague. This restaurant happened to be right outside our Airbnb, and also happened to be rated super well. When I travel, I like to go to the little places with comfort foods that local people crave and flock to. This was definitely one of them.
I ordered the Pork Knuckle (~$11.50) baked on black beer and served with mustard, fresh horseradish, and gherkin. The knuckle was gloriously juicy and flavorful. As you probably know, I’m not the biggest fan of flavoring things with sauce and much prefer marinated meats that just have INNATE FLAVOORRRR. (See my recent post on these amazing ribs that have just that.)
This knuckle has a lot of that flavor and amazing textures from the fatty meats, tendons, skin, etc. It came with a variety of little pickles to help cut the fattiness of the knuckle. Great in concept, except the pickles were all the limp, super acidic kind, which just wasn’t great to me. Much prefer a fresh, crisp pickle.
LAW got the Pork Sparrow (~$7) served with a side of potato dumplings (which do not taste or look anything like what I know of as a dumpling) and spinach. Not sure why it is called sparrow, but it is a braised pork dish that somehow tasted very Asian to me. The pork was cooked until extremely tender. Sauce super flavorful. This is actually one of LAW’s favorite dishes from our trip. Spinach tasted like…. Indian saag paneer, minus the paneer. Potato dumplings were SO dense I could only have a bite. Impressed with how people wolf these down over here.
We also shared a side of potato pancakes, which were THE BOMB. They were like dense little hashbrowns with way more spice/seasoning. Much crispier. Kind of like if a hash brown and seasoned potato chip had a baby…
Meated out, we ordered grilled veggies as a side. The vegetables tasted like Chinese stir fry. The eggplant in particular tasted just like my Fish Fragrant Eggplant. Loved it. Overall, would definitely recommend this place for no frills local Czech food. You’ll likely be sitting next to a big group of local Czech men eating knuckle and potato dumplings with pints and pints of beer.
Love how the city is all uniformly topped with these red roofs.
One of the breakfasts we had was at this cute little café that served sandwiches, little (by little, I mean really little) pastries, and coffee. We got an egg salad sandwich and two bite sized brownies.
The brownies had the perfect balance of fudgeyness and cakeyness. I love how tiny these brownies come, and wish they would have these here in NYC. That’s all I really want with a cup of coffee. A bite of chocolatey goodness.
PRAGUE HAM. Definitely one of the best pieces of ham I’ve had. We got this right in Old Town Square, which was super touristy, but we were enjoying the people watching and couldn’t resist the smell from the huge hunk of ham rotating over a spit right by us. Soooo we got some. Totally worth it. Juicy, flavorful, and a little sweet. These Czechs have got their meats down.
Stay tuned for Vienna!