Friday, January 25, 2013

Prague - FOOD

There are two things that you should probably really, really like if you're heading to Prague - pork and potatoes. And beer, but if you don't really, really like beer then I'm not sure why you're reading this blog. 

Vegans need not apply. I love you, but you will have issues in Prague, where the only "Vegetarian Option" on the menu (and yes, it's listed as such) is fried mozzarella. No joke.

But for us, the pork was a selling point when we chose Prague as a destination, mostly because The Gentleman's current street address happens to be smack dab in the middle of a Muslim country. You want pork there, you have to go into the special "Non-Muslims Only" pork room, and buying it carries about the same amount of shame as purchasing a black plastic-wrapped magazine in a busy 7-11 at one in the morning. Evvvvverybody knows what you're up to, and yes - they're judging you.

Did you like that comparison? It wasn't that much of a stretch from pork, because I only had to change one letter.

I digress.


First off, I have to note that food and drinks in Prague is incredibly cheap. The most expensive meal we had - with an appetizer, two entrees, and drinks for both of us, was $60. With tip. On average, an entree was between $7-$12, and it bought you a lot of food. Portion sizes are huge, which is probably why we would eat breakfast around 8, lunch around 3, and dinner around 10pm. You gotta space out all of that rock-solid food with lots of walking around.

And we spent a lot of time walking around, and thus had several meals that consisted of street meat from stands at the Christmas markets. I don't know if these stands are in existence year round, but we were there over New Years and they were everywhere. Notable areas include Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square. Most of the stands sell mulled wine, hot rum, mead, sausages, Czech bread, and pretzels. And they are delicious, all of them.

This was one of the first things we saw at the market. It was terrifying. 

And this was the second. Spinning rows of dough. It was not terrifying.
Heck yes, it is!

Beautiful sausages.
Mmmm, street meat.
Menus in all of the restaurants we wandered into had items listed in English and Czech, and many had photos of the food as well. There was some confusion over what, exactly, "pork knuckle" was (since, to my knowledge, pigs do not have knuckles), but we figured out that it's actually the knee of the pig, and it's actually delicious. Behold the pork knuckle:

It's braised, and fall-off-the-bone delicious. Fatty and rich and knuckle-y.

We also enjoyed a variety of sausages. I can't remember how they were described, only that we seemed to get a different kind of sausage every time we ordered them. This one is sliced fancifully and curled up with some delicious French fries.

Another thing I love about Europe is the sandwiches. Europeans love their cold cuts, and I do too. And the bread is fantastic. I don't know how they do it, but it's forever chewy and flaky in all of the right places. 

 By the third day, I was starting to feel like I maybe needed some greens in my diet. Greens that weren't made up of the lettuce on my cold cut sandwich. So, I ordered a Caesar salad. And - GUESS WHAT IT CAME WITH?!

Pork. It came with pork. And it was delicious.
 We went to a traditional Czech restaurant on our last night in Prague, only to find out that they were completely sold out of pork knuckle, sausages, dumplings, and all things traditionally Czech. They did, however, have a "Super Burger." When I ordered it, the server shook her head at me. No? No I cannot have the Super Burger? 

"You share," she said, pointing to The Gentleman. Well, ok then.

I was incredibly glad that she made this decision for us, because when we got our food (45 minutes later - European service is not exactly quick), an entire cow arrived at our table:

To give you an idea of scale, please note that this is a full-sized dinner plate, and see how much of it is buried under burger.

We had to cut it into eighths to eat it. And, of course, it came with  pork on it.
 One night, I ordered what I thought would be a small sampler platter (because it cost about $7), and The Gentleman ordered a braised pork stew. Here is what came to the table:

Also for scope, The Gentleman's plate at the top is a full-sized dinner plate. My dinner was served in a round trough.

Braised pork stew, and a variety of dumplings. Dumplings are actually sort of like soft, chewy slices of  bread and potato. 

We've got ham, duck, pork, dumplings, two different kinds of sauerkraut, and a partridge in a pear tree. 
 Let's get back to the spinny, rolly, dough thing:

Apparently this is Trdelník. It reminded me of cinnamon toast, and is a warm, sugary, cinnamony, flaky tube of bread that peels off in strips and is heavenly and delicious:

Rolling out the dough in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Also, let's take a closer look at that sign. We ordered a hot wine and what we assumed was a hot rum. It wasn't. It was literally four fingers of rum in a plastic cup. A SHOT of rum.
I am not even sure what a Chocobomb or a Bombardino are, but I'm guessing it involves four fingers of alcohol, a wish, and a prayer.
 Sausages, sausages, and more sausages. And potatoes. And bread. It was dreamy. And also probably the reason why we overloaded on Asian food in Berlin, because one cannot subsist on sausages alone. As much as one might like to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I want that cinnamon bread thingy.

And the pig's knuckle.

And the burger.

And the sausages.

And more cinnamon bread thingy!