Prague, Czech Republic
After the legendary feast at Cestr, we headed into the central part of the city to explore and see the sights. We basically hit all the main spots you're supposed to see: castles, churches, street markets, the Jewish quarter, astronomical clock tower - all that goodness. I find the clock tower intensely creepy - especially the weird little animatronic mini-villagers that come out from the windows at a specific hour in the day; some skeleton dude pops out up there too if I recall correctly.
We walked from the old town into the new town (or was it the other way around?), having all the classical spots pointed out by our guide Jana. Eventually - it was coffee break time (somewhere around hour 4/8 of wandering Prague) and we sat and chilled a bit. Turns out Jana was as big a black metal geek as me; we chatted our current favorites of the genre and let our appetites build back up. Once Paolo's Americano was downed (his signature drink mind you) and our coffees were slurped up, it was time to hit the Hrad.
The Hrad is the mammoth of a church that overlooks the entire city of Praha. We hit it at such a late hour that photos and inside touring of the castle weren't quite available - but it was a staggering site regardless. A trek down a winding stone staircase and a wander back into the central of town, and it was dinner time.
Mlejnice was to be our banquet hall; I begun the supper with a Pilsner Urquell and the ubiquitous Euro-bread showed up. Paolo and I are big fans of European bread. We feel there is quite a bit of care and significant history behind the ever-present European loaf. Even if you look back at all religious significance of bread - it's really impressive that something we take so for granted has been around for as long as it has; I love when it's done right. The rye-flavored brown bread here was delicious; simply served with no accompaniment.
We started with baked peppers with pickled Balkan cheese. Succulent olive oil dressed the dish; the Balkan cheese was somewhat like feta, crumbly like bleu cheese. This was some impressive cheese - tart, salty, but with that feta-sharpness that I love so much. The peppers reminded me of Italian pickled-peppers. We had a traditional salad with veggies, then cabbage pancakes. Hot damn were those cabbage pancakes something special. Imagine the latke (the Jewish potato pancake) only done with cabbage… with that succulent Eastern European sourness of their cabbage, battered and fried into golden perfection. Heart-clogging vegetables - my favorite kind of vegetable.
My main: Beer Goulash served in a loaf of bread. Look at that thing. You want that. A massive sphere of hard Czech bread - lift the lid and be greeted with that thick, hot, hearty beef-stew. By this point, we were all already full, but with those thick burgundy-lava-filled orbs… you just had to suck it down. Such a rustic, traditional, delicious dish. Just as good as the first one I had years back.
We wandered back to the hotel, said our goodbyes and were beyond delighted to know that we indulged on so much more than the Kentucky Fried Crap that the rest of the band and crew ate in their stale cells all day.