June 23, 2008
Prague post-prandial part deux
Before Boulder, it’s back to Bohemia...While I enthusiastically partook in the Czech tradition of high-quality, flavorful, totally cheap beer, nary a dumpling or over-boiled vegetable crossed my plate. Other than a cup of “Czech soup” (don’t ask, garlic galore and weird bread crumbs floating in some sort of oily liquid – it was a desperate situation of near starvation) my meals in the capital were wonderful.
Four standouts off the beaten tourist path: Cervena Tabulka (www.cervenatabulka.cz), Mozaika (www.restaurantmozaika.cz), L’Ardoise (www.lardoise.cz) and Pasticka “Kvelb & Pub” (www.Pasticka.cz). C’mon, how could you not want to go somewhere called a “kvelb”? Must ask Nico what that means. Anyway, let’s get to the burger from Mozaika. Mozaika is a “fusion” restaurant, though I’ve started to hate that word too. Where is all this hate coming from, hmm? Anyway, a Czech chef and owner with an international bent. A nice vibe, smiley service AND super juicy burger on a spinach roll, sautéed onions, mushrooms, and cheese along with a pile of perfectly crunchy fries. Yum. Also worth noting was the “tuna au roast beef”. It would take much too long to explain the name, but the dish is a riff on tartare and delicious. Just for kicks had a glass of Moravian Muller-Thurgau that was unremarkable, but the burger, mmmn.
Next up - Pasticka. Ok, felt like a cool underground Czech pub – and I have the overwhelming urge to call it a rathskeller. Don’t know if I’ve ever used that word before, much less in a sentence, but there you go. From an online source since I’m too lazy to walk across the room and get my dictionary: rathskeller - a tavern below street level featuring beer; originally a German restaurant in the basement of city hall. Not too far off, though the Czechs might take offense at being confused with Germans. Let’s ignore that for now. The food was hearty and fairly traditional I guess as there were meats in sauces. They were tasty though, and I loved the ambiance. Do skip the pickled brie in oil, onion and garlic unless you feel a need to ward off vampire hordes.
L’Ardoise, run by charming French film industry veteran, Alex, was the site of my most gastronomic meal: foie gras ravioli, sea bass on a bed of sautéed vegetables, cheese bien sûr, and a bottle of Châteauneuf du Pape. We had sorbet for dessert - I mean come on - and closed the meal in Eastern European fashion with shots of chilled vodka, offered by our host. (I was forewarned!) Then there was the added bonus of chatting with French film star Hippolyte Girardot. Oh just google him.
Lastly, I vaguely recall the Cervena Tabulka as a lovely place. However, we went there for a quick appetizer and glass of wine before a concert and after I had been awake and traveling for a zillion hours so please forgive me if I skip the details. Just trust me.
How did I not gain 10 pounds with all this eating? Oh right, it was the dancing past dawn every night….
Next time, my dinner of more than 30 wines. If you can’t wait – hahaha – check out what a professional had to say about it: http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/tasting-room/2008/6/17/Aspen-Recap-The-Schoenfeld-Dinner