Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The food of Vienna

And now the post you've really been wanting to read (haha, and not my posts that weave over my emotional problems regarding the city).

The food.

I'd have to say that the food in Vienna was much better this time around, but that shouldn't be too surprising considering last time I was a backpacker, alone, and basically not eating almost anything but snacks and various things my hostel might have been serving. Something something starvation abroad with the occasional good meal thrown in if there was someone to share it with.


Nacho cheese Bugles. These were not original brand Bugles, as are sold in America, but some off brand that still used the word "bugles." I guess that means they're not trademarked. In any case, the general verdict about these is that they were a bit dry, very corn tasting, and the cheese powder was not salty enough nor cheesy enough. If I'm going to eat an entire bag (which I did, it was medium sized), it better be up to fatty snack standards. This one didn't pass that test but I eat junk food so infrequently now that I still wanted it. I was fat and ate it all in one day. Perhaps not justified. I bought it from SPAR, a grocery store I sorely miss from the relative east.


Pretzel bread vegetarian sandwhich. Also bought from SPAR when I bought the nacho cheese bugles. Unfortunately did not have the remoulade so celebrated and popular in Germany. Had some sort of herbed butter spread instead, which was not very noticeable, just visible instead (couldn't taste it). It was filled with sliced cheese, lettuce, and cucumbers. It was filling for what it was, but in general I feel this could have been better. I think I set my standards high having had many pretzel bread sandwiches during my time through Germany, and they tended to come fresh from train station restaurants. Perhaps SPAR was not the best place to test this memory. And Austria is a different country known for its more rye-like bread. I'm confusing two different places and this is probably why I did a bad job. I was hungry though, so that's why I bought it.


First real Viennese food. Sausage salad with green salad was the English translation on the menu. Clearly just sausage salad, really. It was tasty though; this is clearly something I would make for myself at home if I lived in Austria. Their sausages are more like hot dogs, especially since they feel the need to remove the skin (making them less like wurst, in my opinion). I liked this though; it was like everything was super easy edible. The green salad had butter lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers in yellow and red, and cucumbers. There was a very light vinegar and oil dressing on it, very light. It was lovely and heavenly. I ate the entire thing (this was actually quite large).


Martini goose with potato dumpling, red cabbage kraut, and lingonberry sauce. Apparently it's goose season so everyone and their mom is doing goose stuff on their menus. I was curious enough to try it, especially this way, which is the traditional way of cooking it, so I ordered it the first time it was mentioned. Fabulously interesting. It's like a more dry duck. The skin is wonderfully fat but the meat is pretty lean. The red kraut was wonderful, as it always is - being a little vinegary with a sweet twist (more sweet than the normal kraut), and the lingonberry sauce was a nice tart edge. The potato dumpling was like a large ball of chewy potato. It had spices in it as well. Not my favorite. Overall I thought it very worth trying this dish. Goose; so tasty and gamey.


Tofu salad with yogurt dressing and regular kraut on the side. The tofu was slightly fried and crispy. This was at the World Cafe. There were so many good things at this cafe that I'm a bit sad that I went with this in the end since it was good but not amazing. I wanted to be healthy though, after all the meat and potatoes we were likely to be having and I've not been going to the gym recently. So it was the right choice from that perspective. But I really did want that moussaka. Or the beef burrito. Sigh.


Desserts from Aida. Aida is a large dessert chain that is all over Vienna. We were told by the daughter to try the pink squares, which are cake with rum punsch inside them. They were good, but very sweet. They reminded me of much more moist petit fours. I also had the chocolate one on the top left, which was a Mozartkugel flavored one - filled with cake, marzipan, and pistachio paste. Tasty and light. Mozartkugel is really well known in Vienna, since it's where he played the majority of his career, so it was worth tasting. So famous. The other flavors in the picture are coffee (which was a coffee cream, much to Hong Kong P's dismay), and cherry, which German K thought was okay. I think all of us aren't that interested in sweets.


World Famous wiener schnitzel as served by Plachuttas Gasthaus Zur Oper. We were recommended the restaurant by a friend we met with German K's cousin and she was not wrong. The interior of the restaurant was gorgeously modern and the prices surprisingly reasonable. This wiener schnitzel was also huge - two large pieces of pounded viel with German potato salad for 19€. I ate the entire thing, which surprised everyone at the table. It was really good veal and really nice batter though...I just couldn't resist.


The German potato salad. Unlike American potato salad (which I infinitely prefer), it isn't made with mayo but rather with vinegar and oil and onions. Perhaps not the best for meeting members of the opposite sex afterwards but certainly very tasty. I enjoyed this immensely, though it was a bit intense to have a large bowl of this plus the two pieces of veal as the only things in a meal. Hong Kong P and I agreed it would have been better to halve everything and give a veggie side dish as well.


Pancakes with plum jam covered in powedered sugar. We stayed long enough at the restaurant to have dessert and several dessert drinks. This is a common German/Austrian dessert of pancakes with powdered sugar and plum jam, something that German K grew up with and hadn't had in awhile. It was lovely but I was stuffed after the entirety of my wiener schnitzel. Both Hong Kong P and German K enjoyed it immensely though.

And thus the foods of Vienna are summed up. Lovely food and so much good Austrian white wine. Larger variety and type of veggies than what I've seen in Germany, which makes me believe that I would do better in Austria than Germany overall.

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