Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dresden to Prague Train Food

What can one say. It's better than many restaurants in Prague, and it's better in the Dining Car than in 2nd class . . .
I don't understand why I don't have pix of the eggs that came with, for our brekky on the way from Prague to Dresden ... but this was very nice nosh with our mimosas & cappucinos ...

Mrs somehow overcame her now pathological disdain for potatos after 18 mos in PRG to join me in some soup. Very satisfying, I found, on a very cold day.

Compare & Contrast this green salad with chicken to the Caesar Chicken Salad at Spagos... I'l wait here ... too much chicken again for Mrs... she said the green salad was just fine, but those toast bits were sub-ordinary.

I had the chicken schnitzel. Perfectly fine, tho' I too grow weary of the ubiquitous czech brambory.

Karli Indian Gate Leipzig

knowing full well we were dining at a very fine restaurant that evening, we just wanted a lite lunch to keep us going thru our site-seeing till then . . . el amir on Karl Liebknecht seemed to fit the bill . . . handn't had a good doner kebab since we left Scottsdale ... but they didn't open till noon, so we walked around the gentrified neighborhood, then they still weren't open . . . so we looked for other options . . .

finally settled on Karli India Gate . . . that is, Mrs recognized the name from her Lonely Planet guide, but this is not the one in the book -- it's on Nikolaistrasse, and this is Karl-Liebknecht -- might be a chain, don't know . . . but this threw our plans off-kilter . . . instead of a quick kebab we had an Indian Feast lasting 2 hours ...
Started with Vegetarian Samosas, as is our custom...

Geez, it took a while .... fortunately we had a whole bottle of shampoo to tide us over while we waited ... they musta hadda dig up the clay pot ... but it looks good, dudn't't? Mrs says it was very good.
I had the lamb vindaloo ... sorta middlin', but I love, love, love vindaloo. The daal was very good, too.

After all that, sight-seeing was at a minimum...8^D . . . we walked around the neighborhood some more, then trammed over to walk around the CBD Xmas market, just as a constitutional, but eventually we walked back to the hotel to take a nap before the evening's festivities. Whew!

Carousel Dresden, Redux

Well, we wanted to have a Michelin Weekend plus see the Xmas Markets in Dresden & Leipzig.

We didn't plan to see much of either city, just shopping and so forth . . .

but we were excited to go back to the Carousel...

Started with a glass of champagne. . . old habit . . .
Mrs had a salad with mushroooommmmmmmmmmms.
I had Scallops in Chestnut Soup. Speaks for itself, I think.
Have you ever seen any dish so droll? Yellow gnocci, Red Beet root, with Cod (and some foamy white stuff).

Roast Leg of Wild Boar, Red Cabbage with Apples and Mushrooms. To say it didn't measure up to the Lamb Shank I had last time might seem like criticism, but not at all . . . the Lamb Shank was other-worldly, where this was merely excellent . . . I love red cabbage, and paired with the boar it was just ... I almost said heavenly, but that would be other-worldly, too wouldn't it . . .8^D . . .

A very fine menu just to peruse ...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Old Prague Fire Drill?

Maybe I could puzzle out the czech-english translation but I can't read the old script . . . Looks like there's too many feet, but there is a 4th face in the very back....

Tichy' Photo Exhibit in Prague

never heard of him before . . . the prague post review filled us with trepedation . . . but we went anyway . . .
he has Some fig leaf of artistic integrity . . . I liked in the short film they had, an interview of him, he said,

"I have no interest in Beauty...
 I have no interest in Feelings...
 I am only interested in MY imagination."

if you google him you will see many interesting things . . . words & pix . . .

Of the apparent quality of his photography Tichy says:
Photography is painting with light! The blurs, the spots, those are errors! But the errors are part of it, they give it poetry and turn it into painting. And for that you need as bad a camera as possible! If you want to be famous, you have to do whatever you're doing worse than anyone else in the whole world.
I think the official web site is here. I have read, and pass on to you, with no judgement, the idea that the other "official" web site is a rip-off, of which the artist Tichy' is critical. Tichy' is on ARTNET . . . tho' he gets not a kopek from the sale of his works.

Natcherly, since other people are in charge of his art now . . . they wouldn't let me take pictures of the photos . . . I got two before they stopped me -- courteously, I should say . . . but the ones I wanted were mostly in the back room after they had stopped me . . .

this is mostly how they look . . . in real life . . .they're small and require study . . . I think for the most part, the vagueness of the photos is what allows viewers' imaginations to run riot over the same ground that he covered . . . so. . . it ain't him, it's all of us . . . except for the children's (mlady) pictures . . . reminds me of Ralph Ginzberg . . . tsk, tsk, tsk.
One more, that I gleaned off the web . . .
this exhibit was in the Old Prague Town Hall, next to the clock Tower where all the tourists gather... never been in there before . . .amazing old building. . . if all I had to do was blog, I'd a taken pictures all over, of the walls, the doors, and the vistas. Given the nature of this exhibit, I have to include this one statue there on the stairwell, between 1 & 2 . . . 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Adventures on the Train In PRG

So I’m just sittin’ on the train, playing with my iPod Touch (listening to jazz and playing Bejewelled), going to work on a late Sunday night to make changes to the database.

The fat slob I was sitting next to -- he spilled over into my seat, but I wanted to sit so I could concentrate, if you see how I mean, on my game – smelled acridly of hard likker of some sort.

Some guy got on the train and started passing the hat – actually a plastic bowl full of coins. He shoved it under my nose and I callously shook my head and kept playing my game.

The guy next to me sat up, looked into the bowl and tried to grab it . . . a tug of war appeared to ensue.

I stood up the way I used to in akido after a break-fall, with a hip pivot, back out into the aisle, out of the line of fire, saw an empty chair down the car so I just kept walking – all one smooth motion – I could sense gasps and admiring glances at my efficiency – sat down and kept playing.

I vaguely heard raised voices, and the guy with the bowl got off shortly at the next stop, with his bowl, but with loud imprecations for his antagonist.

I paid no mind, tho’ I did once again sense the public opprobrium for the offender.

I don’t know if the other passengers were actually embarrassed or upset at the confrontation, or viewed my callous discretion as admirable or appalling.


My old akido teacher Bruce used to say that the Old Masters were so together, that if the chair on which they sat collapsed, they would not fall – the lesson being that one should always sit in readiness. I’m not saying I do all the time but I was ready this time . . . 8^D . . .

Saturday, January 8, 2011

AMS In De Lompen - Hoe De Kramer

there are these signs in AMS -- this is the second I've noticed -- like street signs, but there are so few of them that they have gravitas not ordinarily given street signs, if you see how I mean.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

1st 2nd Xmas in AMS

like the hobbits in Lord of the Rings talking about missing 2nd Breakfasts. . . . here (Amsterdam) they don't call the 26th Boxing Day, nor do they spend it busily returning unwanted presents . . . apparently they spend it with their families. Snort.
So NIN invited us (Oktober, I mean, and we tagged along . . . 8^D ...) to a dinner cooked by his Father . . . not knowing what to expect, we were not entirely nonplussed by the large horse living in their house, a young dog 7 hands tall, some kind of black lab, I don't remember -- BIG dog . . .
Had no idea what to expect for dinner . . . NIN had proved a very able chef, but these things are not necessarily hereditary, y'know . . . so . . . we didn't get a photo of the first course, Forest Mushroom Ramekins . . . it's hard to describe how wonderful they were . . . crispy light dough crusts, succulent mushrooms with a hint of some fine, delicate Dutch cheese . . . insert Shivver with Delight.
Sea Bass (we think?) in herb sauce with mild peppers on a bed of Green Onions and Seaweed. . . .
Ted had some name for the Green Onions, like mini-leek, or something and we've totally forgotten what the seaweed was called ... it grows locally in the Netherlands and off the coast of Mexico.
Just awesome, but you shudda seen the Mushroom Ramekins !

We were laughing out loud by the time they brought out the dessert: nut-flavoured ice cream wrapped up in a toasted crepe, with a ribbon on it . . . just truly imaginatively conceived and executed flawlessly . . . it made us giddy.
The last, in the Coals-to-Newcastle category, Ted brought out some Belgian Chocolates . . . but I don't think there were any left when we left . . . it wouldn't seem polite, if you see how I mean. . . 8^P

Monday, January 3, 2011

Service Complaint

I will never learn . . . .most of our other train trips had been almost flawless, needled only by the picayune objectionabilities that inevitably occur in any travel . . . and free of the indignities and humiliations of modern Air travel, but this trip was awful. So now begins the long painful process (I fear) of getting justice . . . I mean, I appreciate the rock-&-a-hardspot position of the conductors, but still . . . . I want my pound of flesh . . . .


Stížnost služby

Prosím, přesměrovat náš dotaz na správnou stranu - to je matoucí,na mezinárodních cestách.
Chtěli jsme rezervy soukromý prostor pro 2. To byly vyprodané,takže jsme se usadili na prostor pro 4 (2 jsme rezervovali lůžka). Vizpřiložené fotografie našeho lístku (AMS - PRG, 27/12/2010).
Nicméně když jsme nastoupili do vlaku v Amsterdamu, nemohli jsme najít naše auto # 173.
Ve skutečnosti tam byly 3 skupiny z nás v této situaci: rodina 6Mexičanů, 4 Korejci a dva z nás.
Vlak neměl 
auto # 173!
Reakce vodičů 
v rozmezí od zneužívající lhostejnosti k zmatenipodrážděně.
Po nějakou dobu, to bylo nakonec dohodnuto, že bychom všichni měli mít lehátka do Berlína, pak přejít na jiné lehátka z Berlína doPRG.
Jsme se usadili na prostoru pro 4, protože věděl, že jsme se mohlisdílet tento prostor, ale vzali jsme bolesti nejsou rezervovat lehátka - to je nevyhovující a nepohodlné nahradit.
V Berlíně, na 5am, museli jsme se sami sebe vyburcovat ze spánku,a přesídlit do jiného oddělení pro 6.

Nechápeme, jak to je, že jsme byly prodány vstupenky na spaníauto, které neexistuje.
vodiče může 
dobře dělali všechno, co lze očekávat v takové situaci,ale výsledky nejsou uspokojivé pro nás, vůbec.
My otázka, zda můžeme věřit železniční systém již správně čestvstupenky. Pokud se nám to opět cestovat vlakem, rádi bychomvěděli, jak je k řešení takových událostí v té době, na koho mluvíme?
Rádi bychom náhrada za služby, které není považováno. vodiče se snažil zastrašit nás do přijetí sedadel spíše než prostor vůz, který jenna základě našich počet - téměř plné auto - jsme byli schopni se bránit.



Service complaint.

Please redirect our inquiry to the proper party – it is confusing on international trips.

We wanted to reserve a private compartment for 2. Those were sold out, so we settled for a compartment for 4 (we booked 2 berths). Please see the attached scan of our ticket (AMS – PRG, 27/12/2010).

However when we boarded the train in Amsterdam, we could not locate our car #173.

In fact there were 3 groups of us in this situation: a family of 6 mexicans, 4 koreans, and the two of us.

The Train had no car #173!

The reactions of the conductors ranged from abusive indifference to perplexed exasperation.

After quite some time, it was finally arranged that we should all have couchettes to Berlin, then switch to other couchettes from Berlin to PRG.

We had settled on the compartment for 4, knowing that we might have to share that space, but we took pains to not book couchettes – this is an unsatisfactory and uncomfortable substitute.

In Berlin, at 5am, we had to roust ourselves out of sleep, and resettle in another compartment for 6.


We do not understand how it is that we were sold tickets on a sleeper car that did not exist.

The conductors may well have done all that could be expected in such a situation, but the results are not satisfactory to us, at all.

We question whether we can trust the train system anymore to properly honor tickets. If we do travel by train again, we would like to know how to address such contingencies at the time, to whom do we speak?

We would like a refund for service not rendered. The conductors tried to browbeat us into accepting seats rather than compartment berths, which only by virtue of our number – almost a full car – were we able to resist.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

2nd 1st XMAS in AMS

Dang. Using Sugar's pix & descriptions. Better'n mine.
Course 1: Scallop carpaccio surrounded by a coulis of red paprika peppers with cream and parmesan.

Course 2: A rocket salad with vinaigrette dressing and blue cheese, topped with flambeed pear, sunflower seeds, and almonds.
Wait? What? Flambe? You didn't call us to watch! You know how I loves my flambe! Especially when you're using my armagnac!

Sugar & NIN paired this with an astringent white.
OoooOOoooOOooh. The sauteed pears, the bitter greens, the sweet nuts, the creamy bleu cheese, and the crisp white wine. A perfect Pairing. We talked with NIN about his skill in pairing. Apparently he used to be sort of a sommellier at a Swiss restaurant -- a difficult position, but one that would focus ones attention, no?

Course 3: Sweet potato soup, topped with a garlic and ginger sour cream sauce.

Course 4: Chateau briand with a freshly made stroganoff sauce (flambeed with vodka), served with snowpeas and baby carrots. What a chef! Flambe' with two different licquors . . . 8^D
At least this time they let us watch them flambe' . . .

Don't realize how small Sugar's Kitchen is until there is 4 of us in there cringing away from the fireball . . . 8^D
We had a nice rioja with the ChateauBriand. Perfect Pairing, again.

Course 5: Rudolf the red-nosed brownie. Brownie with pecans, served with two sauces: a white almond cream sauce, and a cranberry puree.
So I hadda have a snifter of Armagnac, y'know, to "cut the trench" . . .

dang this stupid blogware that doesn't rotate my photos like I want, even after I rotated them in the photo-editor. Montal XO. The only one I can really find in a bottle shop near Sugar's . . . not bad, but not the best. I think it must be a Haut Armagnac based in Auch, rather than a Bas Armagnac, but it is in the Labaude / Tariquet league, anyway: sorta peculiar, if not particularly interesting, if you see how I mean . . . 8^) . . . but then, I read recently that the Dutch have imported Armagnac from the earliest of days, but mainly as a fortifier of wine . . . what about a fortifier of MEN, that's what I want to know! . . . so. . .