Showing posts with label Prague restaurants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prague restaurants. Show all posts

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Food and Views at the Prague Food Festival

On the tram
heading up to Prague Castle
from Malastranská

Last night was the start of the Prague Food Festival, taking place this weekend at Prague Castle. Elsie Pells, a Cape Wine Master from South Africa and Karen Parker, an Australian expat from Adelaide and I went out to enjoy the view and the food.

 Karen and Elsie entering the festival
set up in the Prague Castle Gardens

Karen and Elsie
are both very active members in the
International Women's Association of Prague

Just looking at the beautiful scene
we knew we were in for a wonderful evening.
Beautifully carved watermelons on display.

I was fascinated by these
suckling pigs on a spit

American food writers always say that Americans
are so far removed from the real source of their food.
I took a moment to take in the reality of this rotisserie pig
complete with his juicy eye sockets and seam up his belly.
I can see why meat gets sold in sterile packages.
It is a lot easier to face!

The castle gardens look over
all of Prague.

 I love this picture of Elsie.
She was our wine master
suggesting vintages for the evening.

Elsie is proud to represent a new
South African wine on the Czech scene
called Phant (short for Elephant).

Wouldn't a bottle of Phant
be a perfect hostess gift or
wine to serve during South Africa's
coming-out party - the World Cup?

This was my food selection:
salmon on wasabi potatoes.

The ladies had a beef burger
with fois gras tucked into the burger.
Our selections were from
the Kampa Group booth.

The light became golden as the sunset
slowly spread through the clouds
on part of Prague.
 The sun stopped short of the House of Tyn
But you can see the spires on the Old Town Church
with the Zizkov TV tower in the distance.

A rainbow appeared
over the incredible view of the city.
Pinch me.  I'm in Prague.
I'm at the Castle.
This is one of my last evenings in Prague.
I feel so privileged to get to see this.

We stayed until the festival closed.  It was sparsely attended the first night, probably due to the iffy weather.  We watched the full moon play with the clouds, finally it rose from behind it's cover and as large and as golden as a charger plate, it came out in full glory for our admiration.  What a setting! We slowly walked down the cobblestones stairs of Prague Castle, savoring every moment of aesthetic pleasure, and went home.

Related posts: Who Will Be the Czech "Jamie Oliver"?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" Under the Stars at Letní Scéna

As soon as I read that the Prague Shakespeare Festival was going to put on "Romeo and Juliet" under the stars in the medieval open-air Vyšehrad theatre called Letní Scéna, I knew I had to go! "Romeo and Juliet" is, of course, the most romantic play in the English language and Vyšehrad, overlooking the Vltava River, is one of the most romantic places in a city overflowing with romantic places. It was such an inspired idea. And ladies, you don't always need a man in tow to appreciate the romance of the setting! Romance is a state of mind.

I forgot to take a picture of my date, Black Girl in Prague, who was her usual fabulous self.  I waited to meet her at the Vyšehrad Metro Terrace.  Since I forgot to eat before I came, I slipped into the little Thai restaurant there so I would have some food in my stomach.  Who wants their hunger to interrupt the balcony scene? Not me.  I expected no greatness from any restaurant situated within a metro station.  Indeed, the opposite.  After all, the customers are in a hurry, there is graffiti everywhere outside, what could possibly be aesthetically-pleasing about the experience? I even let the waiter pick my food out because I was too lazy to make a choice myself.  OK, so I was wrong. Greatness can reside in a metro restaurant.

Kaeng pet kai, rice, and green tea
at Yam Yam Thai Restaurant.
The open-air theatre
at Vyšehrad.
Can't you picture
all the people and performances
that have taken place here
over hundreds and hundreds of years?

We were lucky to grab one of the seats with a back rest.
Can you find me in the audience?

Prague theater director
Gordon Trufitt and his wife Eva
sat across the aisle.

I used to see my Prague blogging buddy
everywhere in Prague.
This was my first time meeting
Grant Podelco and his fiancee Daisy
 with young Emma.
It was a pleasure!
Grant gave me great blogging tips during intermission.
He writes two blogs: Gusto and Grant's Prague Bike Blog.

Mercutio was played by Guy Roberts.
Guy is the Founder, President and Artistic Director
and he was sooo good in his role as Mercutio.
David Fisher played the Nurse.
You know when you watch someone act
and you can just tell how much fun their having?
David Fisher almost stole the show
with his hilariously bawdy portrayal
of Juliet's Nurse.
Wow, could he project his voice too!
Romeo and Juliet
were played by
Kendrick Ong and
Lenka Fisherová-Novaková
Juliet had wonderful enthusiasm
and Romeo was appropriately dreamy.
We had great seats for
enjoying the ensemble on stage.

I loved the sword fights!

Letní Scéna (Open Air Theatre) was perfect
for balcony scenes.
Thanks so much to Guy Roberts and his artistic company at the Prague Shakespeare Festival for putting on an enchanting evening of theater.  It can't be easy in this funding environment. I for one, appreciated the opportunity to enjoy your gifts!  Prague Shakespeare Festival will put on the play "As You Like It" May 12-22, 2011 in this same theatre next year.  I'm impressed with the ambition for next year: ten days of performances!

Related Posts:

Prague Playwriting Contest Shows Off Three Finalists

Wonderful English Language Theater in Prague

Monday, December 7, 2009

Prague, One Pint at a Time

One of the easiest things to do in the Czech Republic is become a beer snob. It even happened to me - somebody who previously had a beer every couple of years. The New York Times' Evan Rail celebrates the variety of craft beer available throughout Prague in this article readable by clicking on my title. My only question for Evan is shouldn't it read "Prague, one half-liter at a time?"

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pavel's Prague, Part III: Tonino Lamborghini

Pavel entering Tonino Lamborghini,
his favorite cafe

Pavel Pisan, an accomplished ballet dancer with the Prague National Ballet, has been taking us, that's you and me gentle blog reader, to his three favorite cafes in Prague, saving the best for last. We had first visited Cafe Emporio, and then the Grand Orient Cafe. Did you enjoy them?

Tonino Lamborghini is Pavel's very favorite cafe. I was surprised the first time I went with him because it didn't seem very Czech to me with it's ultramodern vibe and sleek styling - more Italian, like it's name. The exotic appeals to people all over the world, doesn't it?

The cafe has originally been called Pasta Caffe, and changed it's name to Tonino Lamborghini, when it became part of the very successful Ambiente restaurant group.

Pavel loves coming here because "of the excellent service. The first time I came in here, I felt it was the right place. The staff helped me. They knew when to talk to me, and when to leave me alone. Besides, it has the best espresso in town, simply THE BEST. In eight years of coming here, I've had bad service only once. I think that's a good record." He also appreciated the excellent venilation, "even the smoking section air seems healthy."

Pavel's two favorite entrees here are "al pesto di basilico and con pollo e limone all Ambiente." And don't forget dessert. The "tiramisu is great!"

Tonino Lamborghini
is known for it's pasta

The cafe doesn't hurry you.
You're free to enjoy your time here
with reading material already supplied.

That porch is also the smoking section.

Pavel Pisan,
always with a smile of pure sunshine

I didn't take as many pictures here because I was too busy enjoying Pavel. He told me about the legendary beauty of his mother and his favorite opera stars. Our conversation was over the tiniest cups of esspresso accompanied by the tiniest little yummy cookies that came with it. I loved the "just right" serving sizing for walking away guilt free.

Pavel adores American opera diva Jesse Norman, " a goddess!" He waxed rhapsodic about Czech mezzo soprano Yvona Skarova. "99% of the time she was singing, I was in the audience. The first time she sent me a stage present with her calling card I screamed." He also enthused about Jiri Solzenko, an operatic bass singer with "perfect technique and amazing acting. He's perfect in both comedies and tragedies." What a compliment it must be to hear the appreciation of a fellow artist who has these same acting gifts. When I saw Pavel dance, he played Paris in Romeo and Juliet. You wouldn't believe how evil he could make his face look!

"It doesn't matter where you are in Prague," Pavel said, "Prague makes you happy." He continued, "I'm not a big fan of walking. I don't need it. But when I walk across the bridge by the National Theatre or across the Charles Bridge, the views are just gorgeous."

Thank you Pavel for sharing your favorite spots in Prague. Prague makes me happy too!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pavel's Prague, Part I: Cafe Emporio

The number of inspiring cafes in Prague is literally overwhelming. I would love to see them all because they are as different in personality as people are. Some you come back to again and again because slipping into the booth is like being embraced with a familiar hug by someone who cares for you.

I love everything about the European coffee experience: from the strength of it's flavor and smell, the exquisitely foamed and expertly presented cappuccino, to the comfort of settling down with a friend in an interesting spot to enjoy caffeine and each other's company.

I have found wonderful places through friends. Among my favorites are the Cafe Imperial, the Cafe Louvre, Cafe Tobruk on St. Peter's Square, and 7th heaven around the corner from the Cafe Savoy (try the warm goat cheese toasts). I asked a friend with impeccable taste, Pavel Pisan, the ballet dancer, to show me his favorite cafe spots in Prague.

One of my very favorite things about Prague is that high culture is everywhere. I love high culture and believe that I know it fairly well. It's a whole higher level of appreciation and awareness though when you are a creator of it.

Pavel had previously shared with me tickets to see "Romeo and Juliet." I may know the story and the music. Pavel knows each of the characters, their moves, their presentation, how one should inhabit each personality. It's a level of knowledge I love listening too and learning from because it's beyond my aficionado status. I learn from Pavel every time I'm with him. And it's not just ballet. It's Czech culture, opera, and acting. I could go on and on.

Me and Pavel at Cafe Emporio that day

When my American girlfriends and I first met Pavel, we were a bit awestruck by his beauty. But then one of my cheeky friends nicknamed him 'David' reducing us to a fit of giggles and starting endless rounds of teasing this wonderful man who spreads sunshine wherever he goes. Pavel's smile is electric. His exuberance is part of his entrance. It grabs your attention and never lets go. Everyone looks up when Pavel enters a room because his joyful spirit emanates outward and lifts the mood of everyone present.

Pavel loves to use cafes for a moment of solitary relaxation - to enjoy the paper or a great meal. To think and people watch over a cup of espresso. He had three favorite cafes he thought I should see.

We decided to meet at Cafe Emporio
at Jindrisska 3 in Prague 1.

It's just off the intersection of
Vaclavska Namesti and Jindrisska.

Is there a better sight than a friends' big smile
through the window?

Behind the white leather banquette seating
was this intriguing wall of
chocolate color and eggshells

And an ultra-hip mural that predated the bar

Other cafe goers under the
metal strip chandelier
hanging from the second floor

Up on the second floor -
a view of the mod chair seating and wall.

Pavel says, "The eggshell wall has been refreshed. It used to have feathers amidst the eggshells. I was sensitive to the dust because I'm allergic. They redid the wall which is great because it keeps people excited to come."

A larger view of the mural
on the second floor

Pavel continued, "When I came here in 1995, this wasn't a cafe but the mosaic was here. They kept it. It's originally from the '60s." Does anyone know who the artist is? I would love to know more about it.

Later, I came back to this place when I was walking home with my flatmate from going to see a movie at Kino Svetozor. It's this wonderful art house cinema palace with movies from all over the world, a bar with tables to meet your friends before the movie, and a convenient location on Jindrisska just on the other side of Vaclavska Namesti from Cafe Emporio. I literally thought life can not get any more perfect than to go to an art cinema house in the middle of Prague, and walk on cobblestones four blocks to our apartment, with a contented nightcap at this magnificent spot on the way home. Life in Prague is so fabulous.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Taste of Vietnam Emerges in Prague

The best Vietnamese food in Prague is at my friend Nhan's house. But the New York Times has a suggestion of where you might want to go if he's not cooking that night. Click on my title to read the review.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My favorite tea in Prague

I just discovered that the wonderful tea that sustained me in every Czech restaurant and cafe is available for sale in the States. The delicious teas of Harney & Sons are served everywhere in Prague, however, I could never find them on the shelf for sale at a Prague grocery store so I could make great tea at home.

In the States, they are available at Barnes & Noble. I've probably walked by them a million times and never noticed. And of course, they are also available via the Internet but it never occurred to me to look until I wanted an image for this blog post. The tea names are slightly different in the States but I've already figured out which one is Bangkok green tea. Heavenly comfort is soon to be brewed in a teapot near me.

Friday, May 22, 2009

36 Hours in Prague

See this is why I need to go back to Prague. What is the very first thing the New York Times thinks it's readers need to see in Prague? St. Vitus Cathedral. Haven't been there, haven't done that. If you want to see what else they recommend, click on my title. What would you recommend?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Could Tap Water Come to Prague Restaurants?

A Czech company is trying to bring tap water to Prague restaurants. What a terrific development! But it's doing market research to see if Czechs would pay for tap water. Why would someone pay twice for something they've already paid for once through their taxes. Tap water is already theirs. It's a mystery to me Czechs haven't demanded it sooner at the table. Click on my title to read the Prague Post story.
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