Sunday, February 13, 2011

Where to buy IHT in Prague

Where to buy the international herald tribune in Prague.

During the week maybe easier than on the weekend,
some hotels, like the Intercontinental sell the IHT during week, but on the weekend sometimes they open very late or not at all. The Hilton Old Town referred me to the kiosk in the train station (just to get rid of me). The Marriott across the street (down the street from Namesti Republiky) usta, but the last time we went in there, there were no newspapers at all, and my pidgin czech seemed to alarm them more than coax information -- apparently the Marriott does not sell IHT, has never sold IHT, and never will sell IHT.

There are lots of Traffic and Relay mini-kiosks all over town & especially in Prague 1 & 2 .  .  . these are hit-or-miss, one reliable place just off Vaclavsky Namesti on Na Prikope just in front of the H&M. Theres another not-so-reliable across the tram tracks from the Palladium Shopping Mall . . . you're going over there to Starbucks, anyway, admit it . . .

Starbucks is not a reliable source in-and-of-itself, regrettably . . . The one on Vaclavsky Namesti  usta, but I reckon some thoughtless ex-pat was stealing them and several packets of natural brown sugar and napkins . . .
The absolutest, rock-of-gibralter reliable source is the of course The Globe Bookstore & Restaurant . . . if reading your IHT over coffee & a muffin still leaves you unfulfilled, try to overcome your natural reticence and let the Globe comfort you in the style to which you would like to become accustomed. The friendly staff, the - er, uh - comfort food, relaxed ambience, and the availability of suitable reading materials make this the primary source.

Of course, you could always just read the IHT online from your laptop or ipod while you enjoy your Globe Brekky, too . . . for a very nominal charge....8^) . . .

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Remember Vietnamese near Bila Labut

What's the name of that Vietnamese Place next to Bila Labut?
Idon't know, says Mrs, I can't remember.
I don't know what they're trying to remember . . .the old sod, or injustices, or grandma's recipes, but it verges on divine. . . 1st visit we had the prawns . . . if you cock your head right to look at the menu above, on the bottom left . . . I like bun and mrs likes pho, so we didn't look at the menu going in either time, just trusting we could find what we wanted on the ordering menu . . . Next time I will point to the dish in the middle of the menu picture, which is not quite like from Mae's Kitchen in Houston, or Phuong Dong in SCX, but closest I've seen so far in PRG.

we started with Spring Rolls . . . Mrs top fave of all time . . . with the Presque Vu tantitillizations of goodies within . . . next time we'll ask for peanut sauce instead of fish sauce. 

by groping on the menu for bun, I wound up with Hanoi Rolls, by the time it got to my mouth it was almost a bun, no peanuts and no sprouts, but almost enough mint & basil to suit me . . . 8^) . . . they have the squeeze bottle of orange chili sauce with the rooster on front, ubiquitous in us thai & vietnamese restaurants on the table, too, which I have applied liberally . . . 8^)

Mrs poked her pho, muttering, no jalapenos like at Tea Lite in SCX, so she dumped the little bowl of thai chilis into her soup, 10 minutes later she was wiping her nose and forehead, wheezing, ooooh thats good. The other little dish is bamboo . . . she added that thinking it was some fruit . . . i guess it is in a very broad way . . . .
January 2011

 Our first visit we had these almond shrimp . . . for such large prawns, they are awfully sweet . . . 
 Mrs eschewed her usual pho for some glass noodles
 I had as close a bun to my favorite as I could get . . . I mean, from Mai's kitchen in Houston or Phuong Dong in Scottsdale, i get shrimp, spring rolls, and bbq-pork all in one bowl, but here, I take what I can get . . . 
Only place in town so far I've found the magic elixir.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pas Partout - the late lamented of Prague

Pas Partout is no more.
They were so reliable that we relied on it.
They were so close that we took it for granted, just at the sea-monster fountain where Americka and Zahrebska intersect.
They were so friendly that we considered them friends, not restauranteurs.
It was so ambient sitting out front by the fountain we thought the summer days would go on forever.
 We relied on it as a place we could go on the spur of the moment, just across the street without giving up any quality of experience.  During Restaurant week 2009 in Prague we went over there to see what they would do. Started with Salmon Tartare & toast Points.
 Then they served a Salmon Mouse Creme Brulee -- a little bit challenging, for us . . . 8^D

Then a standard, comforting boeuf bourgaignon ... hmfph. . . .pardon my french.

Now I am happy to say I think we have adopted Mozaika for this role in our lives, which it fills very well. We may not ever take them for granted, since we have lost Pas Partout . . .It's so wrenching, if you see what I mean, to lose . . . not to say, the favorite, necessarily, but the old-stand-by.

Maly Buddha - Prague

Way overdue review... haven't been to Maly Buddha in almost a year, now... Probably should go back. Many people think very highly of it . . . seems kinda overrated to me . . . but it was kewl to sit in the very back this trip by the alter, on very low Pasha seats . . . sort of Reclining & Dining, if you see how I mean.

I guess that could just be white wine in the glass. Might be sake, my norm. Soup is delicate / tasteless, depending on your POV, if you see what I mean . . .

The one-of-everything plate, what ever they call it.

Mrs' stir fry.

If you, too, stay at the Intercontinental, You can have two babes . . .

from outside the Intercontinental Hotel In Prague.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

U Stare Pani Hotel Appel Strudel

from one of Mrs' day-time adventures without me.
the old ladies like their strudle, I guess . . . 8^D

Siam Orchid - Prague

I can't believe -- and I am a little abashed -- that I haven't blogged Siam Orchid before . . . it's our favorite Thai, and indeed, if pressed, our favorite restaurant at all in prague.

The tom yum kai and tom kar kai are non pareil in prague, and heavy-weight contenders anywhere else . . . with magical curative powers to heal the lame, make strong the weak, give sight to the blind.

The curries are uniformly excellent, panaeng, green, red, yellow.

The pad thai is perfect (unless, like us, one wants a little more spice, which they WILL provide if you have the sense to ask) -- all the noodle dishes are well done.

This time, going for something different, I tried kai phad khi mao, rated 3 chilis . . . I could feel my face flush and had a violent sneezing fit half way thru, but really it's no where near unbearably hot . . .
The Pad Thai is so reliable, as long as you ask for some spice to be added.

but this tom yam kai  . . . words just cannot convey the extremes inherent . . . pieces of ginger root as big as potatoes; pieces of lemon grass as big as pencil; whole lime leafs, pieces of little red thai pepper as big as the end of your pinkie . . . of course you have to pick those out, you can't eat those . . . but if that's what's bugging you, you don't know what youre about . . . the delicious left in the bowl from such infusions is almost hallucinatory.

It bears repeating:
we're always on the lookout for a new Thai Place, wherever we go . . . we don't expect any to be better than the Thai Orchid, but we're open minded . . .

Just for the record, as of today . . . the Prague Rankings are as follows . . .
1) Siam Orchid -- in the final analysis, no other choice
2) Lemon Leaf -- almost, not quite, as good, and a wonderful ambience and great staff & service
3) Orange Moon - chain, but bona fide. . .
also ran-s)

  • Modry Nub (Blue Tooth) - inconsistent and quirky
  • Noi - limited appeal
  • Sawadee - good, but not great
  • Noodle Shop - expensive and not great
  • Thai Oishi - good, but not great, too

New Years Eve at Super Marios

What a spread.

Thai Oishi - Prague

we're always on the lookout for a new Thai Place, wherever we go . . . we don't expect any to be better than the Thai Orchid, but we're open minded . . .
Our Friend CPT said we should try Thai Oishi, so we did.

Tom Yum Kai. very nice

Spicy Nudle Salad. Mushrooms were a nice touch.

Pad Thai.
So: we had tom yam kai and pad thai . . . that's probably enough to judge, tho' sampling a curry would be in order to separate the fine from the good, but, in this case, not necessary. We would go back, but we mayn't . . . not as long as Siam Orchid, Lemon Leaf, & Orange Moon are open.

Just for the record, as of today . . . the Prague Rankings would be as follows . . .
1) Siam Orchid -- in the final analysis, no other choice
2) Lemon Leaf -- almost, not quite, as good, and a wonderful ambience and great staff & service
3) Orange Moon - chain, but bona fide. . .
also ran-s)

  • Modry Nub (Blue Tooth) - inconsistent and quirky
  • Noi - limited appeal
  • Sawadee - good, but not great
  • Noodle Shop - expensive and not great
  • Thai Oishi - good, but not great, too
Siam Orchid is the only one that would contend for favorite on a multi-city basis, e.g. the only Prague Thai that would compare favorably with the Bird in Amsterdam . . . but we feel the Orchid's tom yam kai has curative powers . . . if one is a little down, ennervated, phegmatic, or depressed. a bowl of that will fix you up like no grandmothers chicken noodle soup ever could. Promise.

Las Adelitos - Prague

If you had told me that there would be a good Mexican Restaurant in Prague before I came, I would have lafft in your face . . . Heck, I didn't even consider there to be a good mexican restaurant in Phoenix, hardly (excepting Chino Bandito and El Barrio, and maybe that place way south of phoenix that name I forget, just maybe) . . . but apparently these 4 young mexican men have studied at the feet of their grandmothers. I mean, and this is not my opinion only, but others from the southwest US, that Los Adelitos is not only OK, its not only authentic, its Beyond Authentic, into OMG, this may be the best dang mexican food anywhere . . .

We always start with drinks and a nosh plate of jalapenos, guacomole, chips, salsa Las Adelitos, with white wine (or Sekt) for Mrs to wash it down, and a margarita classico for me. They do serve pitchers of margaritas there, but I shudder to think what might happen. They are very patient with my pidgin espanol, for they are completely multi-lingual, espanol, english, & czech . . . it's a wonder how to me they can remain so true to their roots . . .but that czech-mexican fusion might be an awesome thing to contemplate . . .I was awfully fond of the jalapeno-ham-cheese kolaches back in texas.

I would have to work to order something besides the Enchiladas Mixtas, it's just my favorite, but we've had some amazing things there for the lunch special that I never photographed. The mixtas is 3 enchiladas, each covered by a different salsa: green, red, or chocolate-mole . . . now this chocolate mole . . . sometimes thats all I get, because I am so partial to that, and This Is One of The Two Finest Chocolate Moles on Earth (the other being El Barrio in Phoenix -- some say Pico's in Houston had a good one, but I don't remember it being this good. I use chocolate mole as the discriminator, as flautas and salsa roja have proved inconsistent and inconclusive measures.

but this Mixtas plate, with all three is just awesome: 
  • the green is so fruity, so zelene, so spicy, it is right up there in the glorified pantheon of excellent salsa verdes I have ever sampled, from the exalted purveyors of northern New Mexico to the bona fidest, down-and-dirty vendors of south texas . . .like as if one catches a perfect fresh batch of Hatch Green Chilis in September, but consistently, visit after visit.
  • the red is awesomely, reverently, orgasmic in a way that will have the endorphins racing thru your body in the most exciting and fulfilling way un-imaginable.

that's the one that Mrs picks . . . I try not to be jealous as she makes the nummy sounds of complete satisfaction.
  • this chocolate mole, if I haven't said enough already, is so sweet and chillied, with the perfect texture as an adornment to enchiladas, not as an overwhelming (yea, tho it IS overwhelming, in a good way) glop of pudding, or a stingy, brothy-thin mistake, that it is all I can do not to pick up the plate and lick it clean.
When one happens to get a forkful combination of 2, or que milagro, all 3 salsas, the tears that come are not even the exquisite agony of spiciness, but the overawesome disbelief of the senses that anything could be so savoury/sweet/spicy/pungent.

It may seem ludicrous to come to prague and eat mexican food, but missing Las Adelitos might turn out to be the worst mistake of a tourist's visit. I nominate them for a Michelin Bib award, pronto, with an eye towards elevating them to Rated status.
excellent once again -- don't worry about THAT . . .
We always start off with Jalapenos (they call 'em Rajas), salsa, guacomole, & chips.
With a margarita classico, for me, for sure.
Mrs got her fave, the Enchiladas Rojas . . . that sauce IS Beyond Authentic, if you know what I mean.
I had something new, the Burrito Pastore . . . I wouldn't say it was Carne Adovada in there, but if they said it was I wouldn't argue . . . it is spicy, meaty, saucy. . . I wonder if I could get 'em to put mole sauce on top next time?

2011- 05 - 22
 Mrs gets her standard Enchiladas in salsa roja . . .  I ventured off into Tacos Pastore, since I'd enjoyed the Burrito Pastore so much . . . not as good, IMVHO, but I just don't care for the blue maize tortillas . . . nuthin'wrong with the stuffing tho' and I liked the green rice, too . . .

Le Terroir Prague

Lupe has engaged us into the snobbery of Michelin discrimination . . . so we're finally making an effort here in Prague . . . I mean La Degustation is the only Rated restaurant, but the bib-awardees are probably good enough for us . . . and Sasazu proved so satisfactory that when we walked by Le Terroir for the 30th time, and noticed the Bib award, we decided to come back and give a try.
It's downstairs, in this grotto-like basement, but its not as grotty as the Triton Restaurant in the Adria hotel, which was "fine", but this is excellent, if you see how I mean the difference . . . .

not for nuthin' just some artwork on the wall leading to the restrooms. I liked it.

We just opted for the Degustation Menu . . .bring it on . . . it was only 5 courses, so I didn't think it would be as crippling as the Michelin experiences in Amsterdam or LeDegustation here in Prague, at least that was my thinking . . . .

The largest amuse bouchee' ever served to myself. . . I negligently didn't note the wine pairings, which were excellent thru-out the meal . . . either it's not as hard to make these pairings as I first thought, or there are more adept practicioners that I first estimated.

Marinated Salmon and Shrimp in Ginger & Apple salad.

Fresh Fish of the day with grilled octopus and sauce beurre blanc.
Oh. Shiver me timbers. Awesome.

Veal Sweetbreads with mushrooms, morels, and tarragon sauce . . . 
one of those dishes that just makes me giggle with delight. . . Mrs & I entertained ourselves debating the difference between morels and mushrooms.

Roasted Venison with bacon gnocci and plum sauce . . . 
my giddy laughter from pleasure was disturbing the other guests now, but the management forebore cautioning me.

Coffee cake with nuts and cappucino granite. We were afraid to order the French Cheese. It just is gonna be some time before we go back in the water, if you see what I mean, after the Toulouse Incident.

I so prefer Madeira to Porto, anyway.

well, of course, after all that, nothing would do but I have some armagnac (even after the madeira? silly question) . . . I had peeked into the cognac closet before on my way to the restroom. my breath fog and finger prints on the window to the closet make the flash inconsequential to the quality of the photo . . . 
So to my order for armagnac, the waiter asked me "what year?" and I asked "How much?" and he said "I'll bring the menu." Which filled my mind full of christmas-sugar-plum-fairies sort of things, but the menu exceeded expectations, to put it mildly. . . this is the last page . . .1897 is their oldest, for 19,455 KC . . .
just round that in conversion to USD as $1000. . . 8^0 . . . but even when I paged back to the front it still appalled me how much they were asking for one snifter. . . .

the cognac ranged as high as 27,000 KC, if you can believe it . . . 

I 'll settle, I said, for the stuff out of the big decanter.
It's very fine, the waiter reassured me with what seemed a practiced mien, it's a 10 year old blend . . . 
it was fine. . . 
but on our way home, I made us stop at Flora to get a bottle of DeLord Hors d'age, for 2700 KC, it's pretty dang good enough for me.

We eagerly await our next excursion to Le Terroir, apparently they change the degustation menu every 2 weeks, so . . . .

Java Indonesian Cuisine Prague

Our friend CPT wanted us to try this Indonesian Place . . . she's from Malaysia . . . 
I think this was the most typical dish . . . I saw mee goreng on the menu but she did all the ordering, so we were content to let her . . . 8^) . . . chicken & rice is always nice . . . 
she was late arriving . . . trying to get ready to go home to malaysia for the Chinese New Year . . . I think she got a little pressed for time, handing off her projects for her month-long absence . . . while we were waiting we ordered these stuffed jalapenos and some wine . . . might as well entertain ourselves, we thought . . . she was very apologetic and harried when she arrived, but we were f-i-i-i-i-i-i-n-e. . . 8^) . . .

Nuthin' will do for me like comparing Indonesian Curry to Other Curries. tick!
Tofu & broccoli. Mrs was in heaven.

we could go again, but I'm not sure we will . . . the earth didn't move for us . . .