Prague Day 2: This may have been the best day of vacation and the one I will talk about continually from this particular trek through Europe.
Late night exploring the town the previous evening (that is how I like to think of it not the fact the last 90 minutes were unplanned lost not only in translation but also in reality) led to sleeping in a little late and missing breakfast. But hey I have a seriously great backup plan left over chocolate fruity yumminess also know as remaining birthday cake… a slice of cake paired with English breakfast tea (coffee and tea service in room amenity) all while sitting in this beautiful suite a perfect way to wake up.
This day we have scheduled a culinary tour with Taste of Prague, which is set to begin in approximately 2 hours. I am fully aware of our inherent ability to get lost (slight sarcastic reference to last night), I decide even though it should only take 25-30 minutes walking it is in our best interest to begin making our way to the meeting spot. Walking, looking, walking, admiring the beautiful city…Sherry Maps (aka google map) shows we are at least heading in the right direction when what appears before me….Tiffany and Co. and that famous tiffany blue box with white ribbon bow. I see incredibly tall dutch man start to grimace and try to steer me into one of the adjacent street while beads of sweat form on his brow. However, I am fixated and not even that sexy accent can detour me; seriously distracted by shiny objects. Shiny object distraction out of the way back, credit limit still intact, we are back on track making our way across Wenceslas Square to the meeting point we even arrived early with enough time to grab a Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher at Starbucks….it is a miracle that may or may not occur again during this vacation.
When I mentioned at the beginning of the post that this might have been my favorite day of the entire vacation it is solely attributed to our culinary Taste of Prague tour (if you miss this tour you have completely lost your mind…book it, take it and love it). Tiffany’s is great and everything but this is not the first or the last time I will be distracted by the beautiful iconic blue box.
I do not have enough words, expressions or praise for how great this tour was. Jan and Zuzi were incredible hosts providing the history of the city, cultural anecdotes and a first hand account into what it was like to experience communism providing the negative and few positive aspects. I know from the point of view of someone born and raised in the USA I had no reference point as to how life could be any different than how I grew up in the USA. Though I find Argentina is slowing making its way towards some of the same ideals and practices that I heard about during the tour.
Additionally, over the course of the 3.5hour tour I tasted some of the best food on earth and even acquired some new favorites that before this day I would have seen on a menu wrinkled my nose up and refused to even try. I wish I had a few more pictures but I was so distracted by the food that who has time to take photos.
First stop Cestr Steak House which is located in the old Communist Federal Parliament building. There we began the meal with beer shots, which were surprisingly delightful and Pilsner Urquell tank beer, regular and milk style. Czech beer is spectacular and believe me I sampled enough…. ok a lot… and could not find a single one I didn’t like. Not really sure what that means either I am not too picky or the beer is really just that good…I think I will just go with the second option.
The tasting menu consisted of:
- Czech sourdough bread with chive herbs cream cheese
- Beef neck slow stewed with mushrooms
- Beef shoulder with roasted truffle sauce
- Beef spare ribs marinated in red wine for 24 hours and then slow cooked for an additional 16 hours
- “Olomoucke tvaruzky” fried aged cheese wrapped in bacon and breadcrumbs served with homemade mayonnaise
- Czech salmon trout roasted with peas and carrot puree
- Czech escargots boiled in root vegetables, baked in mushrooms and served with Saboyonne mousse
- Slow-grilled chicken with truffle stuffing and black truffles in pan drippings
- Beef steak tartare served on homemade toast coated with fresh garlic
- Garden Salad
- Quail Eggs
- Potato Dumplings
- Potatoes with farmers cheese
Geeze, I am making myself so hungry recalling the wonderful tasting menu. Every dish was wonderful and tasty there wasn’t anything served that I wouldn’t have again and again. Steak Tartare who knew this was going to be my favorite dish of all time enough so that I had it twice more over the next week: just a bit nervous to actually attempt to make it myself. Though I miss it enough I may actually attempt to make it here in Buenos Aires I only need a recipe and 8 hours to find the supplies in this insane city.
Yes there was more to come….haha….you just thought we had eaten enough for an entire army but still we were not quite done at this restaurant. Desserts were just as good as the actual food and a fitting ending to a fabulous meal.
- Beer ice cream (heavenly creamy delightful goodness in a cup)
- Sweet poppy seed buns in vanilla rum sauce (as good as it sounds)
- Raspberry tartlets for mine and Sophie’s birthday complete with sparklers.
The next stop was Svetozor deli to sample “chlebicek”. It is an open-faced sandwich that consists of a baguette topped with potato salad, smoked ham, cheese, Czech pickle and boiled egg. A wonderful small sandwich great for lunch and/or snack or even right now but sadly I don’t have any.
The third stop was an official visit to “Prague Pastry Heaven” the yummy baked goodness smells coming from St. Tropez Patisserie induced a sugar high like I have never experienced. The previous experience was only surpassed by the sugar rush that ensued from tasting the divine, delicate, delicious plateful of celestial sweets. Oh happy, happy, happy day.
The plate included:
- “Vetrnik” round windmill shaped chaux pastry with crème and caramel filling and caramel glaze
- “Venecek” puff pastry filled with vanilla cream and topped with sugar glaze
- Punch cake (which I will be attempting to make soon…we will see how that actually turns out)…my absolute favorite from the day
- Sacher torte
- Nougat cake
- Additionally a sampling of macaroons, my favorite was the lavender macaroon
The day ended at the Vinograf Wine Bar where several types of wine were sampled by our group which consisted of 3 couples: one couple from the US, one couple from Europe and then the confused couple (me and tall Dutch man). The group size was perfect and was the ideal environment for allowing everyone to get to know everyone else and to socialize as the day progressed.
I wish I could take credit for remembering all the great food, pastries and drinks which were consumed on this day but even my eidetic memory isn’t that good….I must thank Jan and Zuzi for sending the synopsis of all things enjoyed throughout the day….I told you they were super wonderful…..again if you are in Prague and miss this tour you have completely lost your mind.
There was another highlight for me during the tour… the discovery of Paternoster elevators. These are the coolest elevators ever….. I think taking a ride on one will just make my day perfect…so off we go I am super excited (OK probably a bit too excited) but all the same I loved it.
YES…. I do realize the simplest things amuse me and make me deliriously happy: good beer, fantastic food, appearance of pastry heaven and open continuously moving elevators all of those things exist in Prague and discovered on this day…..