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Everything posted by cmling

  1. 1) Rösti (a Swiss version of hash browns, but with a difference!) 2) The gratin I ate at the Auberge du Cheval Blanc in Lembach in Alsace. 3) Mashed potatoes, if excellently prepared (something that happens all too rarely in my life). Can be very, very disappointing otherwise.
  2. It probably doesn't matter at all, but if, for example, you are trying to look up restaurants somewhere, the correct spellings are "Coburg" and "RieGi". Don't worry too much about the RieGi reservation. Unless something special is going on in Vienna (balls or things like that), you should be able to get a table at short notice.
  3. I have heard nice things about RieGi (note the unusual spelling). It is on my list of restaurants I want to visit soon. (I did try to reserve a table twice on short notice, but they were full. A good sign!)
  4. Friday and Saturday: probably a week or two in advance; other days: two days or so in advance. A lot depends on what is happening in Vienna at the time (by which I mean how many potential gastro-tourists are in the city). They have a three-course prix fixe at EUR 35 or so, which is good value indeed. Everything else is subject to "usual" pricing. Hearsay: Steiereck is getting back on track, Le Ciel is still in the doldrums. More hearsay: I have been told that reservations for "Österreicher im MAK" are very hard to obtain; have also been told that there is no reason to make such efforts. There is a webpage somewhere, in English, too. Your favourite search engine will direct you. The best Japanese restaurant in Austria is in the Grand Hotel in Vienna. Unkai is its name. Be aware that this is serious stuff. Do tell me if you ever find good pizza in Vienna! I have never been so lucky. (Well, let's say I have found good pizza, but never anything to throw your hat in the air about.) I can't help here. But with so many Turks living in Vienna, there must be some restaurants catering to those of refined tastes. They are very, very different. If you have time, see both. The Naschmarkt is more expensive, the Brunnenmarkt more down-to-earth. Can't think of anything right now! If you have any further questions, I'll gladly try to help! Sorry for getting the quoting all wrong, but I hope it is still intelligible. Greetings to all, Charley (who has to go to bed)
  5. I am happy to hear that, Jerry_A! And I am looking forward to your report, too. Charley
  6. I assume you mean Freiburg in SW Germany? I can only see three "Bib Gourmand" restaurants, all of them quite deserving of the honour. The best hotel *and* the best restaurant is the Colombi. Nothing else comes close. (I travel to Freiburg regularly. I have friends there and once lived there for three years.)
  7. In the 8th district, actually. It is very cute indeed, although I do not remember the food as remarkable. Charley
  8. I am confused. Not that I want to delve into the question of your evidently quite tender age at the time, but I don't understand the currency equations. I am, however, old enough to remember that France, even Paris (almost), was once inexpensive. Tempi passati...
  9. Walnut oil and sherry vinegar is a marriage made in heaven. Charley
  10. Oh, this one is easy to answer. I enjoy reading cookbooks! I read them like novels. That is the way I primarily use them. Of course, I might use the recipes, but I consider that entirely optional. Charley
  11. Sorry for being a bit vague, but I read in a reliable magazine that ALL white truffle oil is entirely artificial and to be avoided like the plague, at least if you want to have truffles involved in whatever you are doing. Charley
  12. Dined at the Restaurant Coburg for the second time on Saturday (2 December). The first time was perfection, this time was only superb. (If you like to think in Gault/Millau terms, let's say 19.5 vs. 18. I won't hesitate to admit that such numerical exercises are a bit strange.) Sorry that I can't help MsAzadi. The concierge might have ideas? (And I wonder what the Mozart House is.) Greetings to all, Charley
  13. Fascinating reading, great pictures. Thank you very much! Charley
  14. It is, alas, safe to assume that practically all restaurants in Vienna except for those in hotels will be closed on Christmas Eve, and those that are open will be charging much more than they generally do. (This is a Viennese speciality. On New Year's Eve, they go completely crazy, although then the choice is huge.) The situation on Christmas Day is perhaps a bit better. I'll see what I can find out. No promises, I fear... Charley
  15. What I cannot stand is a dessert consisting of a hot thing and a frozen thing on the same plate. This causes the frozen thing to melt too soon. This makes me angry. Charley
  16. Sorry for the ambiguity. Meinl am Graben is alive and kicking. Gradwohl came from a place called "Maestro" (or something very similar). THAT's the one that no longer exists.
  17. A further note about the Restaurant Coburg and Kracher's "stickies" (I like that term!). The wine accompaniment to my "menu surprise" included a Muscat-Ottonel Beerenauslese specially made (if that's the word) for the restaurant. Delicious, of course, Kracher can do no wrong. Trzesniewski is indeed something very special. Do go if you can. I wouldn't claim their Brötchen are something to be worshipped, but they can become strangely addictive... Plachutta will perform reliably. It is not a favourite of mine; the operation seems soulless, impersonal, and streamlined to me. You will get a good meal, I am sure. I wish I could direct you to the Tafelspitz of my dreams, but I can't. I had that at a restaurant that no longer exists, its chef was Joachim Gradwohl, who replaced Christian Petz at Meinl am Graben, the latter now at the Restaurant Coburg. And so the circle is closed. Charley
  18. I have a sentimental attachment to the Steiereck; I followed them from their very modest beginnings to the giddy heights they achieved. (Interesting to note that Chef Helmut Österreicher's years of service were the same as those of Pope John Paul II.) My last visit left me disappointed. However, I have heard that they are hitting their stride again, and I certainly wish them well. Mraz & Sohn also seemed to me not to be what it was on my last visit. Excursions into foams and smoke, etc. didn't work at all. But all credit to them for trying to keep up with the Adrias, I suppose. Coburg. I'll say it again: Coburg. (What MIGHT just be a competitor is the Restaurant Korso at the Hotel Bristol. You'll have to be there on a good day, and you'll have to put yourself - most declaredly - in the hands of Chef Reinhard Gerer, who is one of Austria's greatest chefs, as no one will deny, but sometimes one of the laziest, too. I haven't been there since the sommelier recommended an Armagnac [Laberdolive, yes, but not ancient] that cost USD 50 without mentioning the cost and professed his own astonishment when the bill arrived.) But, well: Coburg. And as I said, you can prevent unpleasant surprises on the "Menu Surprise" by making your wishes known. Charley Oh: Geflügelleberaufstrich is a spread of poultry livers. Chickens surely, geese probably not.
  19. Jacket and tie is certainly not compulsory, but you might want to wear that anway if it's a special event? Me, I find that it heightens my sense of expectation, and I am certainly not a jacket-and-tie person. I think about half the male guests wore ties, and quite a few were not wearing jackets, but sweaters or something similar. I haven't been to RieGi yet, but have heard good reports; it sounds very promising. I hope to eat there before winter, I'll let you know how it was! I know Meinl am Graben quite well. Interestingly, Christian Petz, who is now the chef at the Coburg, was Meinl's first chef. Meinl now also has a very fine chef (Joachim Gradwohl). I have eaten there often. I was never disappointed, but never enthralled. Prices are not much different from those at the Coburg (except that Meinl offers a three-course lunch at something like EUR 35, a nice deal; the Restaurant Coburg isn't open for lunch). So: if you only go to one of these two, I strongly suggest the Restaurant Coburg. Feel free to ask me anything else you might want to know! Charley
  20. Interesting that you ask that question at this moment! Only two days ago, I had one of the finest meals of my life at the Restaurant Coburg: http://www.palais-coburg.com/html_en/gourmet_restaurant.html Unfortunately, the web site does not have the menu in English, and the wine list is also truncated: the real thing has over 100 pages! I had a "Menu Surprise" (5 courses + amuse-bouches, pre-dessert, friandises: EUR 86) with a wine pairing (EUR 75). I can find no fault with ANY aspect of the meal. It is my considered opinion that this is the finest restaurant in Vienna at the moment. Everyone I know who has been there agrees. I do not claim to be an expert on the Sachertorte. The Hotel Sacher (where it originated) is a safe bet, of course, although that is where just about every tourist goes, so that it can be a bit crowded and hectic at times. To be honest, I think you will get a very good Sachertorte in just about any reputable café or pastry shop in the centre of town. Speaking German? Don't worry. Tourism is a huge industry in Austria and the people who work in it have learned that a serviceable knowledge of English is a must. You will also find that most people under, say, 40 speak some English, too, no matter what field they work in. Don't expect the fluency of the Dutch or Scandinavians, though. Hope you have a great trip! Charley
  21. cmling


    I don't have *the* recipe, Béarnaise (if I may call you so, assuming your name is based on the sauce from Béarn). It is a matter of trying things out and finding what suits you best. But it is truly imperative that it be served very, very soon after the meat is chopped.
  22. <snipped> I assume "$22 Euro" means € 22 and that you had to pay 13 times that for your lobster? If so: impressive indeed. Thanks for the lovely photos! Charley
  23. I wouldn't wait more than 10 minutes. Either I have a reservation: then 10 minutes is about the limit of my patience, or I do not: then I have myself to blame and would go elsewhere. Of course, if people put up with this, they deserve no better. Charley
  24. I think it is fair to say that Wolfgang Puck is no longer considered a European chef. And why should he be?
  25. As the thread "Vienna Dining" has been mentioned, to which I contributed almost three years ago, I would like to update some of my comments. First, the restaurants considered a cut above the others: I can no longer offer an unqualified recommendation of "Restaurant Steirereck". They have moved (which is not the problem, although I consider their new residence a bit hideous) and also lost their chef de cuisine. The demotion in the Austrian Gault & Millau from 19 to 17 points reflects my sentiments exactly. I might also mention that prices have risen quite a bit, but that is normal these days, alas. "Mraz & Sohn" - still interesting, but I was not overly enthused the last time I was there. Don't let me persuade you, or dissuade you either. It will NOT be horrible, that I promise; you might have a wonderful time. "Meinl am Graben" is recommended. You can expect excellent products, a fine selection of wines, a nice view of the Graben (one of Vienna's pedestrian zones with expensive boutiques, etc.) if you are lucky, and a bill of EUR 100 if you don't go overboard. "Palais Coburg" is often mentioned as the top in town. I have never been there, but I have heard that it is good to very good, not great. This was from people I do not trust blindly, so you may just have the best meal available in Vienna there, and possibly the most expensive. Moving down a notch or three: "Zu den Drei Husaren" is not taken seriously by Viennese gourmets. I am sure they serve excellent, unexciting food. I was there a few years ago: it was all delightful, but no more. Not a bad thing, that, of course. They rely on the tourist trade, and by all accounts make the tourists happy. "Figlmüller" is farcical. First, they do not serve "Wiener Schnitzel". A Wiener Schnitzel is (by law!) veal. They serve deep-fried pork and seem to be proud that their plates are too small to handle it. Emetic, if you ask me. But I do have a recommendation, somewhere in the middle here: "Tempel", Praterstrasse 56, in the 2nd District (not at all far from the centre of the city - the U1 station "Nestroyplatz" is right next to it). Excellent value for money (5-course evening prix fixe EUR 37 with deductions if you want fewer courses), somewhat trancelike service, but fine cooking. The Wachau? If the weather is right, GO! For a Heurigen in the wider sense of the word, I very emphatically suggest Jamek in Weissenkirchen. You can eat well there, too. Last of all: Vienna's best restaurant is probably in Mayerling, if I be permitted to add to all this confusion. Mayerling is some 30 km (18 miles) to the south of Vienna. "Hanner" is the cook and the name of the restaurant/hotel. I have heard that he achieves miracles these days. I haven't been there for ages; I was happy then, I might be rhapsodic now. High time I went... Best wishes and good luck, Charley
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