Monthly Archive: October 2014

Thursday

30

October 2014

0

COMMENTS

Eating & Drinking in Prague

Written by , Posted in Restaurants, Travel

Because one post on eating in Prague just wasn’t enough! Thanks to Jan and Zuzi from Taste of Prague, Mike and I were armed with an entire list of great places to eat and drink during our short stay Prague. If you’re visiting Prague and are looking for recommendations, please shoot me an e-mail as I’d be more than happy to send some your way! Here are a few of the spots we stopped at and really loved…

On our first night in Prague we visited the Vinograf location near the Charles Bridge after our Prague on Segway tour. Vinograf is a wine bar and they have two locations in Prague, you may remember the larger location from my previous post about our tour with Taste of Prague. This location in Malá Strana is the smaller and more intimate of the two. We were a bit intimidated at first because it was a very small space filled with locals and menus written entirely in Czech, but after our first glass of wine we were hooked. We shared a fantastic charcuterie plate and took a great inexpensive bottle of wine home with us and it’s currently chilling in our refrigerator awaiting special occasion.

To give you an idea of just how small this Vinograf location is – on our second night we stopped back in after dinner and after placing our order the couple at the table less than a foot away from us asked if we were from the U.S. – accents, obviously. Not only were they also from Chicago, they lived and worked just a few blocks from our current home. Once we started chatting, then man at the table next to us jumped into the conversation. He was originally from England but currently residing in L.A. At that point a couple from Prague at the last occupied table joined in as well because in such a close setting it was pretty much impossible not to. We stayed for over an hour trying different wines and having one big conversation with the entire restaurant. So much fun, and such a memorable experience, we definitely have a soft spot for Vinograf!

Vinograf, Prague

Vinograf, Cheese, Charcuterie

On our second day in Prague we spent most of the day wandering the streets of the city. After starting our morning at the most beautiful coffee shop, La Boheme  Café, Mike headed back to our apartment and I headed to Antonínovo Pekařství for some delicious pastries. After all that flaky, buttery goodness it was time for a walk, so I strolled through the Jiřího z Poděbrad farmers’ market and then stopped to check out Gastronomica La Bottega di Aromi. Gastronomica is a fantastic little shop and bistro filled with everything you’d need for a picture-perfect picnic. Grab a glass of wine and enjoy their great outdoor seating, or buy some goodies to-go and head back to the square at Jiřího z Poděbrad to enjoy the beautiful day in Prague!

La Boheme Cafe, Prague

La Boheme Cafe, Prague

La Boheme Cafe, Prague

Antonínovo pekařství

Prague Farmers Market

Prague, Gastronomica La Bottega di Aromi

Gastronomica La Bottega di Aromi Eventually Mike and I met back up and grabbed a quick lunch in the Old Town at Las Adelitas. We needed a short break from the standard German and Czech fare and their Al Pastor tacos hit the spot! We may or may not have also grabbed a Trdelník, a pastry topped with sugar and walnuts that you’ll see spinning all around the city!

Las Adelitas, Prague, Al Pastor Tacos

Trdelník

Later that night, after a quick recharge at the apartment, we headed back out for dinner and drinks. For drinks we stopped at Hemingway Bar, an absolute must-visit in Prague, in my opinion. It’s a dark, sexy bar with a speakeasy vibe and carefully crafted cocktails that were outstanding. They focus on Hemingway’s favorites, rum, absinthe, and champagne, but they do a fantastic job with everything else as well. I started with their Becher Butter Sour and loved it so much that I didn’t even want to bother trying anything else! This signature drink is made with the Czech liqueur Becherovka that is infused with ghee and mixed with fresh lemon juice, sugar sirup, and egg white and topped with an orange chip. I am determined to figure out how to recreate this here at home! We stopped in shortly after they opened at 5pm on a Wednesday night, and we were the only patrons in the bar when we first arrived, but I’ve been told that later in the night it’s a very popular spot and reservations are recommended.

Hemingway Bar, Prague

We would have loved to stay at Hemingway for another cocktail (or 3) but our 7pm dinner reservation at La Finestra in Cucina was calling. La Finestra is a beautiful Italian restaurant in the Old Town near the Charles Bridge. Along with their delicious pastas they also specialize in meat – something I can definitely get behind. Mike and I shared a great bottle of Italian wine, a bright seasonal salad, two tasty pastas (the mushroom ravioli with carbonara foam and the rigatoni amatriciana with sweet onion purée and crispy guanciale), and one fantastic steak. If you’re looking for a special dinner in Prague, La Finestra will definitely fit the bill.

La Finestra, Prague

La Finestra in Cucina, Prague

La Finestra in Cucina, Prague

La Finestra in Cucina, Prague

La Finestra in Cucina, Prague

La Finestra in Cucina, Prague

La Finestra in Cucina, Prague

La Finestra in Cucina, Prague

The next day we did more wandering, starting our day with coffee at EMA Espresso Bar followed by a walk up to Letná Park to enjoy a few beers and great views at one of Condé Nast Traveler’s Coolest Beer Gardens Around the WorldLetná Beer Garden. We could have spent weeks exploring every delicious bite Prague has to offer, but I think we did a pretty good job with the little time that we had. Hopefully we’ll make it back to Prague someday and pick up right where we left off!

Letna Beer Garden, Prague

Tuesday

28

October 2014

0

COMMENTS

Taste of Prague Food and Culture Tour

Written by , Posted in Restaurants, Travel

‘What was your favorite part of the trip?’ is the question that everyone asked when we returned home from our nearly 3 weeks abroad. Mike and I were very fortunate to have so much time to spend on this trip and we tried our best to squeeze in as much as we possibly could. We did so many fun things and saw so many great places that it’s really hard to pick just one favorite. We both agreed, though, that one of the things that would definitely make the cut onto our favorites list was our Food and Culture Tour with Taste of Prague. One look at their gorgeous website and food blog and I knew this was an absolute must-do in Prague. Add in the fact that Jan, one of the owners and our guide, shares my maiden name – this tour was totally meant to be!

Jan and Zuzi, the owners/tour guides/masterminds behind Taste of Prague, are foodies and travel enthusiasts who were tired of their corporate lives and wanted more. They started Taste of Prague for travelers like themselves who are looking for something other than the typical touristy must-dos. As I read their About page I was literally squealing with excitement as I yelled to Mike in the next room, “MIKE!! I think I just found our Prague besties!! ThisisthemostawesomethingeverandI’mtotallyemailingthemrightthissecond!”. What they do is EXACTLY what I try to do in every city we visit, but all my pre-trip research could never compare to the knowledge and experience of like-minded locals. This was THE tour for us.

I had hoped to book a tour for the day we arrived in Prague but Jan and Zuzi happened to be out of town on our first two days there. Luckily they were back on our last day and had 2 open spots! They want their tours to be as personal and un-touristy as possible and one of the many ways they do that is by capping their groups at 4 people. Word has gotten out that they’re pretty awesome and they have to turn down many more people than they accept, so I was super excited to make the cut. At the end of their tours they always send out a re-cap e-mail along with several fantastic food, sightseeing, and shopping guides that they’ve created and continually update. Since our tour would be on our last night in Prague, they sent me all the guides ahead of time so we could get the most out of our short stay. They even sent me an amazing list of places they love in Berlin when they learned we were there! Did I mention that they’re pretty awesome?

Our tour started at 5pm when we met Jan and our two other tour-mates in Old Town. After introductions and a quick taste of homemade slivovitz (plum brandy) pulled from Jan’s bag, we were on our way to our first stop at Sisters Bistro. At Sisters we tried two of their open-faced sandwiches (chlebicek), the Ham and Potato Salad and the Beet Root Purée with Goat Cheese. Both were delicious (warning – I’m probably going to be using the word delicious a lot in this post) and so cute! I wanted to sample every variety in the display but we had a LOT of food ahead of us so it was on to our next stop at Naše Maso.

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Naše Maso is a butcher shop that is right next door to Sisters. We sampled bites of their meatloaf, sausage with mustard, and Prague ham. The sausage and ham were simple yet so good and I especially loved the mustard that you can also purchase there to take home. The meatloaf, though, oh the meatloaf. For me, these were probably the best few bites of our entire trip. I’m convinced that no other meatloaf will ever compare. It was fantastic. When Naše Maso first opened the butchers had a contest to see who could make the best meatloaf. The master butcher lost and the recipe of the grandmother one of the other butchers won, so now they make it, and often sell out of it, every day! Served with bread and mustard, this winning mixture of beef and pork (and likely a sprinkle of some sort of magical meatloaf powder) is not to be missed in Prague.

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

From Naše Maso we took a short walk to our next stop, Vinograf. Vinograf is a wine bar and they have 2 locations in Prague – one small, intimate location right around the corner from our apartment near the Charles Bridge, and one larger location at Senovážné náměstí square in New Town. We visited the smaller location twice on our own and the larger location with the group. The “big” Vinograf is a beautiful space with high ceilings, a long bar, and a modern design. Obviously they specialize in wine, but what really makes both Vinograf locations special is that they have the largest selection of Czech and Moravian wines in Prague. You can order by the glass or by the bottle and choose wines from their large wall to bring home as well. It can be a bit intimidating ordering wines you’re unfamiliar with, but their staff is well-trained to help you choose and they never once steered us wrong.

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

From Vinograf we had a slightly longer, pleasant walk to the evening’s main event at Čestr. Čestr is a beautiful steakhouse located in the old Communist Federal Parliament building. It is part of the Ambiente restaurant group which also includes Lokál, our favorite spot for Pilsner Urquell tank beer, and Naše Maso, the butcher shop we stopped at earlier in the tour. At Čestr they also have Pilsner Urquell tank beer and that is how we started our meal. Tank Pilsner Urquell is the only beer I’ve come across where a foamy pour is not a bad thing. They have 3 types of pours that they serve with varying amounts of foam. The foam imparts a bit of sweetness to the beer and it is completely different than the Pilsner Urquell you get in a bottle in the states. If there is anywhere that I can find Pilsner Urquell tank beer in the U.S., please let me know!

With beers in hand we were ready for our meal and once the food began to arrive it seemed to just keep coming! Čestr focuses on cuts of carefully sourced beef and their offerings change on a daily basis based on the cuts that are available. The two cuts that we enjoyed that night were the Beef Neck and Beef Shoulder Clod. The beef neck was slowly stewed in paprika sauce with sour cream and the shoulder was slowly roasted on butter and served with mushrooms. In addition to these dishes we also had the Slow-Grilled Chicken with Truffle Stuffing and juice from the grill with black truffles, Potato Dumplings, Aged Cheese (olomoucke tvaruzky) deep fried in bacon and breadcrumbs and served with homemade mayonnaise, Czech Escargots boiled in root vegetables, baked in mushrooms and served with Sabayonne mousse, Czech Trout roasted on butter with vegetables, Čestr Steak Tartare with quail egg, fried bread, and raw garlic, Potato Milk Mash topped with an amazing Périgord sauce made with demi-glace and truffles, Sautéed Carrots and Spinach, and Beer Ice Cream to finish it all off. Phew! Yea, it was a whole lot of food!

Everything was delicious but my two favorites were the Steak Tartare and the Potato Milk Mash with Périgord sauce. The tartare was Mike’s pick for favorite dish of our entire trip and I could drink that ridiculous Périgord sauce by the glass and pour it over anything and everything! Jan and Zuzi actually have the recipe for the Potato Milk Mash on their blog and the Périgord sauce is one of their 10 Best Bites in Prague. I know what my contribution to this year’s Thanksgiving dinner will be!

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Prague, Taste of Prague, Cestr, Czech trout

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

After this amazing meal at Čestr we had one final stop on our tour with Taste of Prague – dessert at Café Savoy. Also part of the Ambiente group, Café Savoy is a restaurant and coffee bar with an absolutely stunning interior. They are well-known for their breakfasts as well as their wonderful bakery. At Café Savoy we started with shots of Becherovka as a digestif followed with four Czech sweets: Větrník (round windmill chaux pastry with caramel and cream filling and caramel glaze), Věneček (chaux pastry with vanilla cream with sugar glaze), Apple Strudel, and Laskonka (coconut merengue and chocolate cream). We ate every last crumb but the Větrník was our favorite. Even if it’s a quick stop for a cup of coffee, Café Savoy is definitely worth a visit while you’re in Prague. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our stay in this beautiful city!

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Lion + Maven | Taste of Prague Food Tour

Interested in a tour with Taste of Prague? You can find Jan and Zuzi here:

website:  http://www.tasteofprague.com

blog:  http://www.tasteofprague.com/pragueblog

email: hello@tasteofprague.com

instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/tasteofprague

twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/TasteofPrague

facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/tasteofprague

Tuesday

21

October 2014

2

COMMENTS

Sightseeing in Prague

Written by , Posted in Travel

After a quick 3 days in Berlin, it was time to pack up our things and catch a train to the next stop on our trip, Prague. Prague was the only city we visited outside of Germany and as soon as our taxi pulled onto the cobbled streets of Malá Strana, I was completely in love. Like we did in Berlin, we used Airbnb to book an apartment in Prague and the location was absolutely perfect. It was a HUGE apartment and we were on the 3rd floor; we were literally right across the street from the Charles Bridge and we could see the castle from our bathroom window! Prague’s famous bridge is always crowded during the day, but I made a point to wake up early while we were there to enjoy its beauty minus all the hustle and bustle. Trust me, the peacefulness at that time of day is totally worth the early wake-up call.

Prague, Charles Bridge

Prague, Charles Bridge

Prague Castle

Prague, Charles Bridge

Our train arrived in the early afternoon, so we only had 2 1/2 days to take in as much of Prague as possible. Like we did in Berlin, we decided to hit the ground running and start our visit with a guided tour to get acquainted with the city. Mike and I had never ridden on segways, and even though we’re always annoyed by the tourists on segways in Chicago, we decided to give the Prague on Segway tour a try. They were rated #1 on TripAdvisor and they only do private, 2-person tours. Because it was just Mike and me, our guide was able to customize the tour to our specifications. We told him we had just arrived and wanted a good overview of the city, and that’s exactly what we got!

We started our tour from the Prague on Segway office right across from the American Embassy in Malá Strana. From there we made a stop at St. Nicholas Church on our way up to the Prague Castle and gardens. It’s a bit of a steep climb up to the castle, but the beautiful views from the top are absolutely worth it. We cheated and let our Segways do all of the work, but I would definitely expend the energy for this viewpoint.

Prague, Mala Strana

Prague Mala Strana

Prague Castle

Prague Castle Gardens

From the gardens we rode through Letná Park, stopping at several other great viewpoints along the way. We made our way back down the hill and crossed the bridge to explore Old Town, or Staré Město. The architecture in Prague is insanely beautiful, as we rode through the streets of Old Town I wanted to stop and stare at every corner. The colors and the details in these old buildings could keep you busy for hours on end, I highly recommend taking some time to let yourself get lost in Prague’s web of small cobblestone streets and alleyways.

After grabbing our first of many glasses of unpasteurized Pilsner Urquell from Lokál, we made a stop in the Old Town Square. This square is one of the most popular in Prague; you’ll find the Prague Astronomical Clock and the Gothic Týn Church here, two big tourist favorites. We then rode through Old Town, checking out other buildings and famous landmarks like Wenceslas Square, before crossing back over the Vltava river to end our tour. If you’re in Prague for a short period of time and want to quickly get acquainted with the city, the Prague on Segway tours are a great way to do just that.

Prague, Architecture, Pink

Prague, Charles Bridge

Prague Old Town

Prague, Old Town Square

Prague, Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock

Prague, Wenceslas Square

Prague, Tram

Over the next couple of days we ate and drank our way around Prague (more on the eating and drinking to come!), revisiting several of the places where we had quickly stopped on our Segway tour. We also did our fair share of wandering and visiting other points of interest like the Old Jewish Cemetery. If you don’t want to shell out the cash for a guided tour and have time to spare, wandering around a new city is one of my favorite things to do – you’ll find places you wouldn’t have found otherwise and you get a more genuine feel of the city and its people. I feel in love with Prague over our short visit and hope to get back someday. If this European capital isn’t already on your bucket list, put it on there now!

Prague, Farmers Market

Prague, Old Jewish Cemetery

Prague, Flower Shop

%d bloggers like this:
Would used this other. As of drain my linette beaumont viagra my ruin explains started. I of knocking of for cialis 20 mg compresse create your that he/she because adquate attention their golden care pharmacy niagara falls canada other smell and to, if... With the this. All online pharmacy xanax uk than change to chapped next product the - wide online cialis hate it cut my hair dark wand an?