Hard to believe, but we rarely dined out in D.C., and we rarely do so here in Vienna. A large part of the reason for that is because I love to play in the kitchen; but more to the point is that, at least in DC, we could never justify wasting money on chain restaurants, saw no reason to “wait” for an open table at a “No Reservations” place, and saved the higher end dining for special occasions. All that remained was “ordinary” food, and we could prepare better in my kitchen, so why bother?
Here in Vienna, dining out is tedious if one is not in the mood for Austrian food; there are far too many “ordinary” restaurants (yet still somehow expensive); and at this time of the year, quite a few places that we might consider are “Auf Urlaub” for weeks at a time. Chains are thankfully nearly non-existent, the horrible T.G.I. Friday’s being the biggest blight on the Ringstrasse, in case we lowered our standards.
On Friday I desired French food. No tables left at the marginally Parisian bistro here in Vienna; and my other go-to was, you guessed it, “Auf Urlaub.” To the Internet I went, and in a matter of moments booked a night at a luxury river front hotel, made reservations at a favorite French brasserie, and off we set on Saturday evening…for Bratislava.
Dinner. I loved the geometry of this plate and the disharmonious drop of Balsamic vinegar. With seeded bread and pumpkin seed butter to curb the rising appetite, examining the wine list was the next task.
Our Slovakian Frankovka red favored by Maria Theresia made a fine accompaniment to the amuse-bouche, foie gras with marinated apples and almond puree.
Pork-knee terrine followed, atop a cozy nest of spinach puree and pumpernickel crumbles.
(I really must take a course in food photography.) This dreadful photo is of the most sublime grilled duck breast I have enjoyed in a while, perfectly paired with black lentil puree and tart kumquats. Tony went with a classic steak Bernaise. Our dinner was perfect.
After our meal we had just enough energy to hail a taxi back to the hotel for some time in the whirlpool, watching the lights twinkle on the Danube through the floor-length glass windows high above the river.
Morning dawned at the late, late hour of 06:00 (for us, anyway!) A sauna visit was the perfect starter to breakfast and before we even pondered the exquisite buffet of regional and international plates, a piping bowl of Congee for me and Belgian waffles for Tony started our day.
A little shopping followed breakfast, and eventually we made our way back to Austria, shuttered, of course, as it was Sunday. Our luxury overnight had come to an end.