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eG Foodblog: Rehovot - Prague: City of a Thousand Forks


Rehovot
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Whew, I'm glad the beer turned out to be only normal in alcohol - I was wondering how you managed to get an in-focus shot outside the door of the pub after what I thought was an incredible amount of really hammerhead beer.

Prague is on our list of places we hope to get to in the next year, so I'm delighted to see you blogging.

Edited by Abra (log)
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Great blog, Rehovot. Prague is high on my list of places to visit, and I do hope to get there soon. Your photos are beautiful. One question, because this made me think of a different eGullet thread: the basket of that absolutely wonderful looking bread -- did you have to pay for it separately, or was it served as part of your meal?

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I was out all day...eating...in the name of research. :biggrin:

At the moment, I'm sorting through photos from today and snacking on some chocolate-peanut spread on toast, called "Nugeta." It's not as good as Nutella...but good in an emergency, and I'm starving.

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Great blog, Rehovot. Prague is high on my list of places to visit, and I do hope to get there soon. Your photos are beautiful. One question, because this made me think of a different eGullet thread: the basket of that absolutely wonderful looking bread -- did you have to pay for it separately, or was it served as part of your meal?
The bread is part of the marinated-cheese dish, so it's served with it. But in restaurants, you typically have to pay for it. In some places, you just pay for however many rolls or pretzels you eat.

In my favorite restaurant here, Kogo, if you're just there having drinks and appetizers, no bread for you... But we always get it, because the bread is fantastic--what it would be like if sopapillas existed, baked, in Italy. :smile:

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I met a good friend for coffee, this morning, on Jungmannovo namesti (Jungmannovo Square) at Kavarna Adria, which just reopened a couple of months ago. It's only a block from Vaclavske namesti (Wenceslas Square), but it's hidden well... We hadn't been there before and had to wandered around the lobby of Palac Adria (built in the 1920s and with a great cubist-style facade) for a while before we found the stairs leading up to the second floor and the cafe.

My friend had the bramboracky (potato pancakes). (I forgot to ask her what they were topped with.)

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I had jablkovy zavin (apple strudel); this strudel was full of nuts and grated apples, with a buttery crust. Each cafe seems to have its own strudel recipe. This one is very different from the one at Cafe Savoy, on the other side of the river... Theirs has a lighter strudel dough and the apples are sliced. Everyone here tells me that really good strudel dough should be so thin you can read a newspaper through it. :blink: I have no hope of reproducing that at home, so I'm happy to bounce from cafe to cafe in pursuit of the best strudel. My cooking-genius work colleague makes a delicious sour cherry and poppyseed strudel. :smile:

If the sun is shining on your strudel, it must be a good omen...

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We also had cappuccino and espresso with milk.

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There were other people there, really... :laugh:

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Espresso, cappuccino, strudel, and potato pancakes, came to Kc154, or about $9.75. :cool: (Rounded to include tip, it was 170, about $10.75.)

We wanted to check out an organic-foods shop in the Palladium shopping center, so we headed down to the patro gurman--the gourmet floor. The lowest level of this shopping center has a deli, a seafood shop, a branch of the French cafe and patisserie Au Gourmand, and shops for tea, coffee, and chocolate.

Here are some shots from the Biooo store. (For "bio", read "organic.")

I mostly took this because I'm not sure what takuan is...

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Good news: you can find umeboshi here. :smile:

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Can you see the writing on this package? :raz: The last word is "Bugs." :wacko:

My friend was standing a few feet away and asked, "Oh, are those sunflower seeds?"

"I don't think so," I said. :raz:

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I bought two tiny bars of "Green Kiss" green chocolate...which really does look green and tastes like green tea. :wub:

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I mostly took this because I'm not sure what takuan is...

Takuan are picked (daikon) radishes.

I'm enjoying your blog immensely, especially the dessert photos. Can I request some photos from bread bakeries and patisseries?

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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The Au Gourmand patisserie has about four branches in town; my husband and I usually go to the one in Old Town, on Dlouha. From quiches to iles flottantes, if you can find it in a Parisian patisserie, the chances are good that you can find it in one of the Au Gourmand branches.

That third row of shelves contains nothing but jellies and jams. :wub:

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Quiches and croque-monsieurs... Since it was many hours after we'd been to Kavarna Adria--or only two hours :laugh: --I had onion quiche.

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Tarte tatin and Black Forest Cake...

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That's $48 worth of lemon tart, right there. :blink:

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This place is on my list of cafes to visit when the weather is so awful that there's no need for a view outside. :wink:

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Onion quiche! Deceptively light tasting and with great pastry crust.

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Takuan are picked (daikon) radishes.

I'm enjoying you blog immensely, especially the dessert photos. Can I request some photos from bread bakeries and patisseries?

Thanks! I should have bought those. Next time. :smile:

Funny you should ask about bakeries and patisseries... :laugh: The Czech ones are coming up.

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Funny you should ask about bakeries and patisseries... :laugh: The Czech ones are coming up.

That was fast! I'd also love to see what kind of loaves and sandwich breads are common in your part of the world. Especially pictures of the crumb.

Thanks!

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Erhartova cukrarna (the Erhart bakery/sweets shop), near the tree-lined neighborhood of Letna, in Prague 7 (about a ten-minute tram ride from the center), is really unique: the bakery was restored, this winter, to what it looked like in 1937 (in Functionalist/Modernist style, which echoes a lot of the buildings on the street where it's located), and everything about it is wholeheartedly Czech. I'd been dying to go there since it reopened, and since I'm now on vacation :cool: as of today, I did.

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That cylinder in the middle of the photo below (the one that looks like a barbershop pole) spins slowly, and those cake pictures sort of hypotize you right through the door...

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The top shelf holds decorated gingerbread cookies; the bottom, small Italian-style tartlets and cookies. Inside, there are two cases of dozens and dozens of cakes and small cookies; the cafe itself is pretty small, from what I could see, with about six tables and a host of red leather stools...so it's possible to squeeze in more pastry-loving people than you might expect, from looking at the outside. :biggrin:

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There were three smiling women in red aprons behind the counter when I went to order, and when I only ordered one pistachio cream puff, they exchanged worried looks.

"Just ONE?"

So I added a mignioni (a little tart with almond filling)...and espresso with milk. :rolleyes: Honestly, I've never seen cookies or cakes like this (well, the Italian ones, anyway) anywhere else in Prague.

The little cookies and cream puffs are sold by weight, and you could sit there all afternoon and pleasantly inhale a lot before it made a significant dent in your wallet.

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This little snack came to Kc54, or less than $3.50. If I still worked in this part of town, I would be in grave trouble. :wink: But I'll go visit often.

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Incidentally, there's a shop in Letna called "POPCORN." :cool:

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I came back downtown and wanted to sit someplace and read for a while, so I went to the Lucerna pasaz (passageway) and had water and juice at the Cellarius wine shop (where I discovered they're selling armagnac plum paste in film-cannister-sized containers and am tempted to buy some). They also have one wine fridge dedicated to French cheeses. :smile:

The windows in the background of the photo below belong to Cafe Lucerna, where we used to go. Cafe Lucerna looks out on the passageway (and on Czech artist David Cerny's parody statue of King Wenceslas on his horse). This is a great place to sit and watch people (and drink wine and eat cheese).

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My husband arrived downtown from work around 5:30, and we went to go get a snack before the wine tasting. Once we got to the Paneria bakery--of which there seem to be approximately ten thousand branches in Prague alone :wacko: --I realized that I had hit my snacking wall for the day. So he snacked for both of us... parek v rohliku (aka a pig in a blanket) and an apricot and strawberry pastry, the name of which I forget.

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We walked over to U Zavoje and discovered that 1) neither one of us had actually thought to make the reservations for the wine tasting, and 2) it was completely booked. :sad: So we walked over to Skolksa street, where there's a great tea shop with a few tables (very few; in fact, one) and had tea... We wanted Genmaicha, but they were out of it, so we had Gunpowder tea, instead.

Tea cakes for sale...

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Teapots and cups...

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I usually buy tea and masala chai here, although it was very entertaining when I tried to buy chai for the first time, since the Czech word for tea is "caj" and is pronounced exactly like "chai"... :biggrin: Eventually, I read that masala chai is known as "yogi caj," here...and the blend at this tea shop is great.

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Plus, I'm a sucker for packaging...including these gift bags for tea.

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We were under strict instructions to pour the water from the thermos (not visible in the photo) into the cups, let it sit for three minutes, and then pour that into the tea pot and wait for thirty seconds. The first cup was great; the second, we didn't wait long enough for the water to cool, so it was bitter; and the third cup was perfect. :smile:

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Tea is a big deal, here... Tea for breakfast, tea with lunch, tea for kids, etc. (At work, there are at least two drawers full of tea...and another box on the microwave. It might not sound like much, but there are only about 30 people in the company.) So Prague has its share of teahouses, which are great fun and boast hundreds of varieties of tea.

Tomorrow, I'm determined to hunt down two of the country's best bakeries as identified in last month's (Czech) Apetit. And there's a cake I want to bake...and I need to figure out what we're cooking for my father-in-law on the weekend, when we'll go cook at his place.

Dobrou noc! Good night! :smile:

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Whew, I'm glad the beer turned out to be only normal in alcohol - I was wondering how you managed to get an in-focus shot outside the door of the pub after what I thought was an incredible amount of really hammerhead beer.

Right... I don't drink much anyway, so it was semi-plausible to me after one beer... :biggrin:

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Here's what I ended up bringing home... Bananas, a square of green chocolate (sorry; impossible to see), Temple of Heaven tea and Yogi chai, and a bit of fresh pineapple bought on the way home from a fruit and veg stand in a passageway.

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I'm having a delightful time, wandering a new city and being conducted to such lovely establishments.

I've lived all this time without having sampled Figfop Puttabong---it's such a captivating name I googled it. We were given a gift certificate to Teavana for Christmas, and they list it!!! I'm going to order some right now.

Serendipity---ain't it great?

I guess it's a good thing all those pastries aren't available at the touch of a keyboard.

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I had jablkovy zavin (apple strudel); this strudel was full of nuts and grated apples, with a buttery crust. Each cafe seems to have its own strudel recipe. This one is very different from the one at Cafe Savoy, on the other side of the river... Theirs has a lighter strudel dough and the apples are sliced. Everyone here tells me that really good strudel dough should be so thin you can read a newspaper through it. :blink: I have no hope of reproducing that at home, so I'm happy to bounce from cafe to cafe in pursuit of the best strudel. My cooking-genius work colleague makes a delicious sour cherry and poppyseed strudel.  :smile:

If the sun is shining on your strudel, it must be a good omen...

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I think K8memphis has a recipe for it that's on eG somewhere, and I really want to try it because she kept saying it wasn't THAT hard. I just don't have a table that's big enough!

(I have to run, but I'll dig it up for you tomorrow.)

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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Apologies for offering a correction on the beer, though- but I'd wager any amount that those percentages don't refer to the amount of alcohol. The Balling (or Brix) scale uses degrees as well, each of which realtes to a percentage point of sugar dissolved within a liquid-in other words a beer brewed at 13 degrees balling would start out with a solution of 13% sugar. For a rough estimate of how much alcohol is in there just multiply by .4, or 5.2% AbV in that case. 13% is just crazy-high for a beer (but not impossible), and that just doesn't seem like what is in the glass (I told you I could smell it  :wink: )
Thanks, TongoRad, you're absolutely right. I goofed; a ten degree beer is about 4% alcohol and a twelve degree one, 5%. 13% alcohol sounded weird as I was writing it, but, then again, many weird things seem reasonable to me after one pint. :wacko::laugh:

Thanks, and let me know where to send the beer. :wink:

That's why we drink it, I suppose- or else we'd be leading much more boring lives. :raz: And I'd take you up on that offer if I wasn't on a self-imposed break from the stuff (gotta lose the bloat, ya know...)- but now I know what my first one will be when it's over (I can find Herold Black pretty easily).

For the past few weeks I've been eating the way you described earlier in the blog- major meal for lunch, and maybe a salad and/or yogurt or something light for dinner- and it seems to be working for me in a couple of ways. I'm certainly feeling better throughout the day than I did a few months ago, so there may be something to it. Then again, so far I have been pretty pastry-free, but those photos are damned tempting, they are. :smile:

Edited by TongoRad (log)

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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Checking in late again after climbing out from under a pile of work ...

I don't know which is more ravishing, the food or the architecture. The interiors of some of those cafes practically glow. And the modernist signage! :wub:

I for one would love to know more about those passageways.

Great blog!

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For breakfast, I warmed up some sour-cherry and walnut bread pudding I'd made last week. After Easter, we had a ton of mazanec (Czech Easter bread that tastes like a close cousin of panettone) left over, so I cubed and toasted it in the oven, with some apricot jam...and then stirred in sour cherries, raisins soaked in rum, and walnuts, along with the usual bread-pudding basics of eggs, cream, and milk. Oh, and I added ricotta.

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Topped with yogurt and banana slices after coming out of the oven, it's not a half-bad breakfast. :smile: But watch out for the cherry pits! :biggrin:

I have some work to do from home, this morning, and then I'm off to find these prize-winning bakeries: the Alchymist Cafe (in Letna) and Lemon Cafe (in Bubenec, which is on the western side of the city, past Mala Strana).

Oh--about passageways: Prague is full of them, and they're great for shortcutting your way around downtown. The best part is, there are excellent quiet cafes and small pubs hiding in them. In the Lucerna pasaz, for example, where I was yesterday, there are at least two restaurants, three cafes, and one of my favorite pubs (named after Gregor Samsa :wink: ), which is also a bookstore.

Across the street from the Lucerna passageway, there's the Svetozor pasaz, with the Ovocny Svetozor bakery and ice cream shop. At the first sign of spring, the line at the ice-cream window stretch all the way down the passageway. One Prague tradition is to get ice cream and go eat it in the Frantiskanska gardens, which are at the other end of the passageway. :smile:

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Late in the afternoon, the stained-glass window at the end of the Svetozor pasaz looks pretty amazing...and as colorful as the Ovocny Svetozor shop.

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There's also a to-go sushi place and one of the best Chinese restaurants in town, in the Svetozor passageway.

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Thank you! What a gorgeous stained-glass window. I just love the idea of these passageways. I've known and loved urban features here in the States that are sort of kind of like them, but I can think of few that are meaningfully functional for getting from one place to another. Or that are so charming-looking...

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Everything about this blog makes me want to visit Prauge! The food is making me swoon and the setting is stunning. One thing I don't like about where I live is that there isn't a lot of pedestrian traffic. I live in an apartment and there is no place nearby to go sit outside and relax and just watch the world go by. I envy that about a lot of Eurpoean cities that seem to have that cafe culture.

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really enjoying your blog! man, talk about a carb coma; i wanted to reach in and eat each and everyone of those pastries. that bread pudding looks so lovely. i am a big fan of bread pudding and love to fool around with all sorts of ingredients.

Prague is so picturesque. would love to go there someday. looking forward to what you will be cooking during the week.

For breakfast, I warmed up some sour-cherry and walnut bread pudding I'd made last week. After Easter, we had a ton of mazanec (Czech Easter bread that tastes like a close cousin of panettone) left over, so I cubed and toasted it in the oven, with some apricot jam...and then stirred in sour cherries, raisins soaked in rum, and walnuts, along with the usual bread-pudding basics of eggs, cream, and milk. Oh, and I added ricotta.

gallery_22207_5713_36207.jpg

Topped with yogurt and banana slices after coming out of the oven, it's not a half-bad breakfast. :smile: But watch out for the cherry pits!  :biggrin:

I have some work to do from home, this morning, and then I'm off to find these prize-winning bakeries: the Alchymist Cafe (in Letna) and Lemon Cafe (in Bubenec, which is on the western side of the city, past Mala Strana).

Oh--about passageways: Prague is full of them, and they're great for shortcutting your way around downtown. The best part is, there are excellent quiet cafes and small pubs hiding in them. In the Lucerna pasaz, for example, where I was yesterday, there are at least two restaurants, three cafes, and one of my favorite pubs (named after Gregor Samsa  :wink: ), which is also a bookstore.

Across the street from the Lucerna passageway, there's the Svetozor pasaz, with the Ovocny Svetozor bakery and ice cream shop. At the first sign of spring, the line at the ice-cream window stretch all the way down the passageway. One Prague tradition is to get ice cream and go eat it in the Frantiskanska gardens, which are at the other end of the passageway.  :smile:

gallery_22207_5713_74744.jpg

Late in the afternoon, the stained-glass window at the end of the Svetozor pasaz looks pretty amazing...and as colorful as the Ovocny Svetozor shop.

gallery_22207_5713_78761.jpg

There's also a to-go sushi place and one of the best Chinese restaurants in town, in the Svetozor passageway.

Leslie Crowell

it will all be fine in the end. if it isn't fine, it isn't the end.

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I've lived all this time without having sampled Figfop Puttabong---it's such a captivating name I googled it.  We were given a gift certificate to Teavana for Christmas, and they list it!!!  I'm going to order some right now.
Both of those tea names looked exciting... (And if you're a darjeeling fan, the one you mentioned should be excellent.)

And I'm going to try to use the word "figfop" on a regular basis. :biggrin:

Edited by Rehovot (log)
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Everything about this blog makes me want to visit Prauge!  The food is making me swoon and the setting is stunning.  One thing I don't like about where I live is that there isn't a lot of pedestrian traffic.  I live in an apartment and there is no place nearby to go sit outside and relax and just watch the world go by.  I envy that about a lot of Eurpoean cities that seem to have that cafe culture.
I'm glad you're enjoying it. :smile:

I love cafe culture, which is why I'm happy to be going to this Prague cafe history exhibit, tomorrow.

The museum where the exhibit is showing is in the Karlin neighborhood (which was hit badly by the floods in 2002 but has since rebounded) and is about a two-minute walk from the Pivovarsky Klub, one of my favorite places, with great dark beer (and hundreds of specialty brews) and very, very hot sausages. :cool:

I had big plans for cafe/bakery excursions, today, and then got swamped with work. :wacko: I grabbed some rolls and ham for dinner, and am going to do some baking, later tonight. Contrary to appearances, I do like to cook...but it gets kind of crazy during the week with commuting (as you all know), so it's often easiest to eat out...

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