Sunday, July 1, 2012

What's For Lunch?

The group's trip was planned by Music Celebrations International to have a sumptuous Continental breakfast at the hotel, lunch on our own, and dinner with the group, either at the hotel or at a local restaurant. Because lunch (and sometimes dinner) had to be fitted in around our travel or sight-seeing schedule, irregular meal times was probably the most frustrating aspect of the trip. (Maybe this doesn't bother you, but Dear Husband and I enjoy ourselves more and are pleasanter to other people when we aren't hungry!) I have already told you how uniform the dinners were, so this is a post entirely about some of the different lunches we ate in the various places we visited.

Budapest, Day 2: Our lunch at the cute little restaurant next to our hotel on Day 1 had taken ridiculously long (when we were all starving after having gotten off the plane and then been taken for sightseeing until we could check into the hotel), so because lunch on the day we went to the spa had to be fast and cheap, we treated ourselves to street food: gelato cones from a vendor in the square by the Fishermen's Bastion and warm pastries from a hole-in-the-wall bakery recommended to us by the local guides, Dora and Nora. DH had a sweet one with cherry filling, while I chose a savory one with cream cheese and dill (left).

Vienna, Day 6: After playing with the Karlskirche organ, we asked our travel guide, Karel, for a recommendation of a cafe on the Ringstrasse. He recommended Cafe Schwarzenberg, the oldest cafe on the Ring (est. 1861). We ordered traditional Austrian foods: Wiener Schnitzel with boiled potatoes (and green salad) for him, Knödel mit Ei (and a house salad) for me. My dish was new to me and appeared to be made from a thick dough poured in a pan and then cooked/chopped with a scrambled egg. It was tasty and filling. Poor, DH, though--schnitzel was on the menu for dinner that night! (It's the photo with the parsley from the dinner post.) Still, he figured two schnitzels in more than twelve months isn't a bad record.

"Seriously? You're taking a photograph of me with our
food? I'm freaking hungry: just let me eat already!"

To drink, he asked for a Soda-Himbeer (mineral water with raspberry syrup), and I had a Soda-Zitrone (mineral water with freshly squeezed lemon juice). His was a Schorle--something he learned to like visiting me in Germany--and tasted sweet, like a fruit juice soda. Mine was a fizzy version of the hot drink, heisse Zitrone (hot lemon[ade]), that I first learned to like in Vienna--only without the sugar, so it had quite the pucker to it. I suppose I could have used the sugar on the table to sweeten it, but I decided to try it straight up. You can see how large the glasses were: they were very refreshing.

Travel, Day 7: The photo on the left shows Dear Husband and a traveling companion in front of the rest-stop cafeteria, called the Samoobslužná Restaurace, on our way from Vienna to Prague. I had hoped the name meant "smorgasbord restaurant," but no such luck; it means "self-service restaurant" in Czech. We each got a cup of vegetable beef soup and then shared a surprisingly tasty filet of salmon with white rice and steamed veggies and a Fanta from the fountain that--again surprisingly--was not watered down. I doubt the average American rest-stop cafeteria has food that good.

Prague, Day 8: The weather was cool and sometimes wet in the middle part of our trip, so on the day of the Prague concert, DH and I just wanted to get in from the drizzle someplace warm and eat something hot for lunch. Here I am just before enjoying a hot chocolate before a lunch of pizza and salad (veggies, had to have our veggies!). We shared a thin-crust, four-cheese pizza, but others made the mistake of each ordering a different pizza--there was no way they could eat it all themselves. Some members of our group went next door to a stand-up place, where they got to watch the chef knead and spin their dough for a cheaper "Italian pie."

I'm curious: do you have memories of food while traveling, whether in the US or abroad? It could be something particularly good, bad, or unusual about the place, food, circumstances, or your dining companions.

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