Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Prague Day Two-Another Tour of Old Town Square


Since we stayed so close to the Old Town Square, we could hang out there any old time, so I spent another morning in the square including this spotting of St Nicholas Church.

We were delighted with the proximity of the Old Town Square from our apartment. But there were other things we liked about the apartment too. It was very secure, very quiet, very well appointed, very spacious, had a separate water closet from the shower and sinks AND a well-equipped kitchen.

In fact, the kitchen was so spacious that you could sleep in there and Sister #2 did! This meant we all had a private space-me the Living/Dining Room and Sister #3 the bedroom. The room assignments were decided upon since we predicted Sister #2 would be up before us and could possibly get the coffee going. This was an incorrect assumption because some mornings we had to tip toe in when we just couldn’t go without our caffeine fix any longer.

An anecdote about coffee etc. We decided to do a grocery shop close buy and were pretty proud of our purchases despite the language barrier. Unfortunately, we carried home pre-sweetened cappuccinos when we thought we were buying regular instant coffee, sparkling water when we wanted still and buttermilk when we thought we were buying whole milk! Guess what? We lived.

Here is a better look at the Pekny Bistro. We were there twice that day.

By this time, we realized that everyone else was paying at Pekny with vouchers, so we made arrangements at our front desk to get in on the deal too at 9 Euros per day. I opted for banana bread that day but should have had eggs for their protein. I was hangry halfway through the day and my sisters were just fine.

We hadn’t taken the obligatory photo of us at the Astrological clock so that was the first order of business. I thought that the clock was affixed to a church especially when the heads of the apostles poked out when it chimed, but no, it was attached to the Old Town Hall-a majestic one at that. A lovely family from Colombia took the picture of the three sisters and Sister #3 was able to converse with them in Spanish.

I had long been a fan of the Art Nouveau artist lAphonse Mucha, never knowing that he was Czech. In my first little downtown apartment while I was still in university, I had posters of his work adorning the walls. I fancied myself a bohemian like his models with cascading hair and too much skin revealed. If you know me, I am anything but. There was a small gallery of his works right off the square!

I was really impressed with how the Czechs carefully used their space. This restaurant was situated at the corner of the Old Town Square and Tynska street just below the Tyn Church. In fact, it shares two walls with the church.

I loved this vantage point. It reminded me of a similar picture that I had taken in Florence with the Duomo at the end of the street.

Almost adjacent from the Astronomical clock was this sidewalk cafe that advertised pork knee. Haven spent most of my career in the advertising and restaurant business, I could think of a couple of better ways to promote this dish.

I was drawn to the delightful aroma of roasting ham by this food stall on one side of the square. I went back there the day we departed for Malaga and bought enough of the treat for my sisters and I to have delicious sandwiches at the airport.

I had so long dreamed of visiting Prague that I captured Tyn Church over and over again, hardly believing I was finally there.

This picture really struck me. There was a group of nursery or kindergarten kids with their teacher at the square that morning. I don’t know if they were learning about the history of the square or simply going for a walk. I thought about my own grandkids and wished that they were immersed in a rich history and culture like that of Prague.

The time had come to for us to meet our guide for a tour of the Jewish quarter.

Kath’s quote: “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”-Winston Churchill

Love-that is all.

Prague Day One- Dinner at Mincovna Restaurant


Here am I with Sister #2 toasting our beer heritage at our first dinner in Prague.

Long before we actually landed in Prague, we had been researching the best spots to eat. The way I knew to check out Mincovna was this: I have a friend (who I have never met in real life). We go to the same Mexican Island every year but miss meeting each other. I have been an admirer of her photos of the island for many years and finally had the gumption to introduce myself to her on Facebook. We have kept in touch ever since. When she heard that I was travelling to Prague, she consulted her nephew’s significant other who had once lived there. What came back was an extensive list of her suggestions. Some were out of our way, and we couldn’t get into others without a reservation, but we did visit two of her favourites, Mincovna being one of them.

I had read in advance that Mincovna means “mint” and the 200 year old building that once housed Czechia’s mint was beautifully adorned with posters of Koruna, the Czech currency. Coincidentally, the Royal Canadian mint is situated in Winnipeg where we are from, and they had the pleasure of minting commemorative coins for the Czech Republic in previous years.

I also found out that the Chef’s vision was to prepare tradition meals with a modern twist which I eagerly anticipated. The restaurant also boasts many local and Moravian wines. Moravia is the area that my dad was from but that was not enough to tantalize me away from ordering a Czech beer.

My son who is a brewer back home suggested that I go to a beer spa or at least take one of Prague’s many beer tours. But with limited time and wanting to focus my spending on food, I settled for ordering Pilsner Urguell that evening. I love blonde beer, so I was delighted with my choice.

When Sister #3 told me that she was looking forward to a good goulash I was surprised when she ordered Svickova, but here is Chef David Kalina’s modern twist. Whereas goulash is a Czech meat stew often served with dumplings, Svickova is the name of the root vegetable sauce served with this braised beef and topped with sour cream and cranberries as tradition warrants. The ode to dumplings were the bread and dough towers at the back of the plate. She was in heaven.

Sister # 2 opted for pork tenderloin in brown sauce and was well pleased.

I was concerned about the richness of these gravies and opted instead for Wienerschnitzel. Schnitzel has been a favourite all my life as I remembered my Polish Grandma’s mastery of breading meats. The tender veal came with a side of potato salad which too must have had a Czech twist as it tasted nothing like the potato salad by Norwegian influenced mother-in-law makes.

I was appropriately stuffed after our meal and couldn’t even consider tasting the apple strudel which my sisters shared. I said to myself, “Oh, I will have another chance at strudel” but that chance never came. Lesson learned.

We stayed close enough to the restaurant to walk home, and the stroll helped us digest our hearty meal.

Kath’s quote: “Blessed is the mother who gives birth to a brewer“. -Czech saying, author unknown

Love-that is all.

Day One in Prague-Bus Tour & Charles Bridge


Just around the corner from our apartment was the Hotel Paris. I smugly thought to myself that they had the same distance to walk to the square as we did, and we likely paid a smidgen of what their guests paid. But I digress as I am prone to do…..

We boarded our bus at the edge of the square but had some technical difficulties with our headsets and the app so sat on the bus for two loops to take in the breathtaking sights and to know what they were!

We got off at one of Prague’s many famous bridges. I was never able to capture the shot above, so I have “borrowed” it.

We walked along the bank of the Vlatta River to reach the Charles Bridge and that was a treat in itself. The weather was cool, so we appreciated it whenever the sun broke through the clouds.

Right across from the bridge entrance was the Church of St. Salvador which boldly declared a message to Russia’s Putin! I thought that it was brave of them since the Czech Republic has had its own issues with Russia’s bullying.

The walking bridge of Charles is adorned with many beautiful statues as depicted here. This one is dubbed Madonna and St Bernard. I couldn’t help but picture the material girl walking a large dog.

This bottom sculpture was of St Francis of Assisi. While strolling, it occurred to me that Prague’s society was once of religious characters and beautiful churches but something dramatic must have occurred in the past because Czechia is now one of the most secular counties in the world.

From the bridge we got a better view of Prague Castle perched high above the city. The castle is a glorious sight, and I was able to capture it again in the evening at sunset (stay turned).

This end of the bridge has two names “Bridge Tower of Lesser Town” or the “Mala Strana Bridge Tower”.

We didn’t get to wander through Lesser Town as we were chilly and needed reviving.

So, we reversed directions and walked through the Old Town Bridge Tower

but not before we admired the tower’s detail including the band-aid fix to some of the molding.

We happily came upon this cheerful place called the Peppercorn restaurant.

We all ordered hot drinks including hot mulled wine for moi. And since we were a bit peckish, this order of fried parmesan which we shared. Both Sister #2 and I have tasted the same dish in Quebec City and we agreed the Canadian version was tastier (IMHO).

Stay tuned for our first authentic dinner in Prague at Mincona (a former mint).

Kath’s quote: “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”– Henry Miller

Love-that is all.

Day One in Prague-Old Town Square


As indicated when I left you, we rested up and were ready to hit the ground running.

But first….food. The apartment where we stayed was affiliated with this lovely little restaurant that became our “go to” and landmark for our stay in beautiful Prague. The decor was homey and every morning it was filled with students, families and others visiting the city.

That first morning I tucked into their creamy eggs and hearty bread made into toast. Except (perhaps this was a Czech Republic thing), we had to ask for butter and jam wasn’t offered up either. A good way to maintain my slim figure-ha ha!

Upon leaving the cafe, we spotted this church spire in the distance and thought that it might lead us to the square.

We didn’t know at the time, but this was the steeple of the Basilica of St James.

Just beyond the church was this lovely little square which I will elaborate upon in a moment. But see the two spires at the top of those trees? That was our first peak at the Church of our Lady before Tyn, or simply Tyn Church. We were that close to the square without knowing it at the time.

A couple of our favourite shops were in that square. We had been lured into the first of many glass shops where we got our first look at the lovely blown glass pieces. The place had the feel of a gallery more than a shop and Sister #2 and I spent a lot of time oohing and awing over the displays.

We continued on passed Tyn Church and were in the Old Town Square. It reminded me of the scene in the Wizard of Oz when all of a sudden, the black and white film morphed into the most vivid colours! While the square may not be colourful, it was truly a transformational moment for me.

My husband D had been to Prague many years earlier, when he and our son backpacked Europe together. He knew at that time that I would fall in love with the city and always wanted me to see it. It was he that originally found us the affordable tickets to Dublin which was the basis of months of planning to get us to this very moment.

I twirled around the square with my camera, recognizing Old Town Hall and landmarks I had previously only dreamed of seeing. Being brought back down to earth, was the statue of Jan Hus above, I had read that he was a Czech priest, philosopher and Christian reformer who had been burned at the stake for his threat to Catholic leadership.

I find that travel is both exhilarating and somewhat depressing as you witness the joys and sorrows of a country.

Next up, we were off on a Hop On, Hop Off tour of the city.

Kath’s quote: “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Unknown

Love-that is all.

Europe with my Sistas!


To be honest, at the time it was tough to leave our wonderful summer house and return to the city to prepare for this trip but….our time was beyond our expectations in so many ways! I learn so many things when I travel. On this sojourn I learnt that:

– eastern Europe where my Dad and his family came from is full of rich history and beyond beautiful

-what I love about Mexico is transferrable to Andalusia, Spain. The people, their love of family, their intentional way of life and their food!

-Dubliners, in spite of their history of hardship, are uncharacteristically warm, fun-loving and absolutely delightful.

Our flight from Winnipeg to Toronto and then onto Dublin was largely uneventful except to say that the food on Air Canada was pretty dreadful and did not improve in the TO airport. As a result, when we spent the day at Dublin airport (which we had planned in order to save us taxi fares and overnight costs), we were thrilled by the delicious offerings. Sister #3 and I shared this hearty array of roasted chicken and a variety of veggies including parsnips!

We knew our Prague arrival would be a late one and that we won’t be oriented to our surroundings enough to head out for dinner. Sometimes it is an advantage to always be thinking about food-we had the foresight to shop at the Dublin airport. We bought a trio of creamy Irish cheeses as well as a local jam and crackers made to pair with cheese. We added to all of this, the apple slices and cheddar that had been packed for nibbles from home and voila: a lovely late-night cheese party! I bought a lovely mini mottle of French merlot on the plane that was the perfect night cap.

We snuggled into our new beds and rested up for the next day’s adventure.

Kath’s quote: “Airplane travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo.” – Al Gore

Love-that is all.

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