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 3-The Best Day of All


On this day Sister #3 stayed back at the apartment and Sister #2 and I headed out for another wander around beautiful Prague.

We noticed an increased Police presence and a crowd accumulating in the square. Students systematically took turns voicing their issues while others, mostly tourists I would imagine, politely listened and supported them with clapping and chanting.

A couple of hours later we came upon the gathering, marching through the streets in an organized and respectful manner. When I thought about the trucker protests back in Canada last winter, I was very impressed by the Czech protest and equally embarrassed about the disorderly protests back home. But this was not the highlight of our day.

If you recognize these unusual photos of life size porcelain livestock affixed to the ceiling, you will know that we could only be one place in Prague-Vinohradsky Parlament Restaurant!

The successful local restaurant was designed with a perfect mix of tradition and modern design. In the large main hall, pigs and cattle look out from the ceiling. In the back rooms there is a greenhouse for herbs and salad. The additional success of the restaurant is its partnership with a local brewery. The open kitchen is both modern and traditional. As I read on their website: “No frothy food to be added, but pleasant portions at a fair price”.

Once we settled in with refreshing beers, we carefully perused the menu. After all, this was likely our one visit to this lovely restaurant. Game and beef dominated the selections but there were a number of vegetarian choices as well.

This dish was beer battered cauliflower which seemed like a resourceful menu item when you were connected to a brewery. It was said to be light and crispy and was enough for a couple of lighter eaters to share.

The chicken and pea risotto was my selection. I have sometimes made easy risotto recipes at home using Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay’s recipes. I like the latter’s concoction the best. In this case though, the peas themselves became the “rice” which made it even heartier and more nutritious. The skin-on chicken breast was a lovely treat as I typically remove the skin, but not in this case! It was crispy and fragrant with herbs and spices.

Sister #3 chose the Venison Goulash where the Vinohradsky Chef also made this version his own. Even though goulash is typically a stew of meat and vegetables, the venison went solo in this case and floated in a paprika gravy. Alongside were sliced bread dumplings which served the purpose of soaking up the deep and delicious gravy.

Sister #2 who is a somewhat less adventurous eater (we didn’t know this until we travelled with her) selected beef in gravy. She too was well pleased.

You might guess that the piece de resistance were the plum dumplings that were singled out for dessert. They certainly brought back a flood of memories of my Polish/Czech Grandma Felicia who made prune dumplings in her little farmhouse in rural Saskatchewan. One of these was a potato dumpling with poppy seeds and the other was a more traditional bread dumpling. Both were satisfying and so delicious.

I must admit though, that by this time I wasn’t really focused on the food anymore. To make a hundred-year story short, we were dining with Czech relatives that we didn’t even know we had until Sister #3 tracked them down on Facebook!

The handsome elderly gentleman really reminded of us of our Poppa and his grandson who was our find on Facebook, resembles our nephews and my own son! If the mannerisms and physical appearance had not been enough to associate them with our Dad’s family, the fact that they were from the precise area in Moravia where he was from, cinched it! We shared gifts, embraces and instantaneous love! That is why this dinner and evening will be forever etched in our most cherished memories.

Kath’s quote: “So much of what is best in us is bound up in our love of family, that it remains our measure of our stability because it measures our sense of loyalty. All other pacts of love or fear derive from it and are modeled upon it.”-Haniel Long

Love-that is all.

Prague Day 2, Part 4-Light dinner at Sisters Bistro


Sister #3 is an expert food and restaurant researcher. I would say that I am pretty good too when I am not busy with my Media Chef work (my media consulting company) and it just so happened that I was happily busy before our Europe departure! As a result, Sister #3 had a short list of places that she wanted to check out including Sisters Bistro above. Perhaps she was sentimental that the three sisters were on this monumental trip together, perhaps it was our fondness for gourmet open face sandwiches…

We started the evening with a quick stop at a gorgeous floral store. We were going to meet family the next evening and we wanted to pick up something for them that would remind them of us, so we chose a dried grass arrangement which included oats, barley and wheat all grown on the Canadian prairies.

Coincidently there was another item for sale in the shop that reminded me of home. This beautifully fashioned dream catcher. Dream Catchers originate with the indigenous people of North America, hand made to protect infants from illness and evil spirits. But I digress….to the food!

At Sisters Bistro, we allowed Sister #3 to order for us and were delighted when the six different “oblozene chlebicky” arrived for the three for us to share. Since we come from a family of six (three girls and three boys), we have always known how to share fairly. My Momma instructed us that if one person cuts the portions and the other people get first choice, the person doing the apportioning is sure to the make the cuts are equal as possible. And so, it was….

The sandwiches, in addition to being delectable to the eye were the perfect combinations of food enhanced by their accouterments. They included roast beef, egg with sun dried tomato, smoked turkey, beet root and goat cheese, Hungarian salami and Parma ham. We were in heaven!

We were considering the purchase of another Czech treat that we had seen in and around the square. We had spotted “trdelniks” – a pastry shaped like a spiraled cone in the bakery section of the bistro and were very tempted, but we opted for an even more traditional Czech dessert, one we remembered being made by our Polish/Czech grandma who passed decades ago in her 90s.

We made the quick stroll pack to “our” Pekdy Bistro as Sister #3 had spotted “Medovik” (Honey Cake) on the menu. I had never attempted to make it and didn’t remember even tasting it. That was likely because I was such a picky eater as a kid that had my Grandma Felicia had ever offered me a slice, I would have balked at the sweetened cream of wheat which separates the layers. I will immediately hear from Sister #3 if I have gotten this recipe incorrectly.

Sisters #2 and 3 were smitten with the cake and appreciated that it was delicious without being too sweet which is not the case with many North Amercian desserts. In fact, every confection that we tasted in Europe we were struck by this including my choice that evening: carrot cake chock full of raisins and spices.

Soon after, we headed the short distance home to get our beauty sleep, for after all, we had many more eating adventures ahead.

Kath’s quote: “Dessert is to a meal what a dress is to a woman.”- Beatrice Peltre

15 Heart Shaped Valentine's Day Desserts - OMG Chocolate ...

Love-that is all.

Prague, Day 2, Part 3- Boat Tour


Later that same day we headed down to the Vltava River again. this time to join the boat tour that was included in our Hop On Hop Off ticket (the Jewish Quarter ticket was included too). We embarked by the Manes Bridge but were soon floating under one of the many bridges, where I got this shot of Prague Castle.

We captured other views of the Charles Bridge too, having walked over it our first day in the city. We certainly understand why Prague is one of the most beautiful river front cities in the world.

We also got another view of the Old Town Bridge Tower and its stunning Gothic design.

Both Sister #3 and I were intrigue by this adornment on the Charles Bridge, but a Google Lens Search did not pull up a name for the sculpture or an artist.

We were soon passing the building which houses the Czech Ministry of Industry and Travel. Constructed in 1920 I imagined the sun that streamed into the building through the windowed dome.

Once the boat made a turn in the river, we were able to enjoy the beautiful changing colours of autumn since we were missing a similar show back home.

Almost simultaneously I spotted this unusual site-a giant metronome. I was intrigued by it there and found out that it is directly on the spot that a gigantic monument to Joseph Stalin once was perched. That was demolished by dynamite in 1962 and this was installed instead in 1991 to be a symbol of the new world.

As we approached the shore to disembark, we passed another sightseeing boat and a gaggle of white swans.

The cruise was relaxing and enjoyable and we devised a plan to return to the river in a couple of days hence.

Kath’s quote: “To move, to breathe, to fly, to boat, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.”-Author unknown

Love-that is all.

Prague Day Two, Part 2-Guided Tour of the Jewish Quarter


We met our entertaining and informative tour guide on the square and after his pre-amble we arrived at our first stop: the Maisel Synagogue (top) which was built in 1590-1592 by the former mayor of the Jewish Quarter Mordechai Maisel, who also funded the extensive reconstruction of the ghetto. The synagogue is now a Jewish Museum.

A short stroll away was our second stop at the Ceremonial House and

the New Jewish cemetery in the 3rd district. The building once housed the “The Holy Brotherhood of Those Who Perform Charitable Deeds”. 700 years ago, the brotherhood ensured that Jewish burial traditions were followed for its deceased members. The honoured society still performs these ceremonies today.

Illustrated in the bottom picture is the wall of the cemetery which is many meters high. We were told that there are many layers of bodies that lie in this resting place. The cemetery is one of the largest of its kind in Europe and one of the most important Jewish historical monuments in Prague. It served its purpose from the first half of the 15th century until 1786.

I was fascinated! And then our tour guide told us the fascinating story that the Australian rock band had once filmed a video in this very spot. Old meets new. Open this link to check it out. If the link doesn’t work go to Youtube and search for INXS video shot in Prague.

Along the way, we also stopped at the Pinkas Synagogue. In the early 16th century, it was built as a private house of prayer for the family of Aaron Meshulam Horowitz. After the Nazi occupation of Prague, the synagogue was vacated and converted into a warehouse of confiscated Jewish property. The Pinkas synagogue when restored in 1954-60 to stand as a memorial for more than 78,000 Jewish victims of the Shoah from the Czech lands.

The Old-New Synagogue was one of our final stops. Built during the 13th century it is the oldest building in Jewish Town and one of Europe’s oldest synagogues still in use.

I read this information from a Prague tour site later: Designed by Christians because Jews were not permitted to build, the Old-New Synagogue has witnessed many pogroms …it dominated the quarter of mostly one-story buildings during the Middle Ages. Imagine its walls streak with blood: during the pogroms of 1389, some 3,000 Jews met their deaths, many of whom were trying to take refuge in the synagogue. The blood stains remained on the walls until its restoration in 1618.

Witnessing this, my sisters and I, always sympathetic to Jewish communities, were mostly silent and somber the rest of the day. We all had trouble dreams that night. Travel is indeed meant to transform you.

Just across a lane from the synagogue was this beautiful Art Nouveau residential building on Parizska Street-the widest street of the Old Town of Prague. The building is the entrance to the old Jewish quarter and the street is dotted with high end designer boutiques making the rents amongst the highest in Eastern Europe. Ironic, don’t you think?

Kath’s quote: “It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.”-writer unknown

Love-that is all.

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.

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