Archive for August, 2012

Europe is for (Food) Lovers: Part II Paris

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Oddly enough, before flying to Paris the last thing I ate in Prague was a crêpe from a food stand at the pop-up market in Old Town Square. In case you’re wondering, it was a chocolate and banana crêpe, about a foot in length and every bit as delicious as you’re imagining. So with the fitting send-off, I was ready to take on the food scene in Paris.

 

Fresh Cheese - Rue de Seine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh cheese selections at a Sunday street market on the Rue de Seine.

 

Salad with Smoked Meat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We noticed that a lot of the salad choices came topped with smoked meats – and this huge portion was deliciously satisfying.

 

Glaces - Eiffel Tower Ice Cream Stand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An ice cream stand right in front of the long lines of the Eiffel Tower…genius! The pistachio flavor was a huge hit.

 

Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream - Paris, France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can’t be in Paris and not indulge in dessert. This is a classic apple tart a la mode.

 

Chocolate Lava Cake with French Vanilla Ice Cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite of the sweets I ate in Paris (besides the macarons) was this chocolate lava cake with French vanilla ice cream.

 

Cave La Torelle - Rue de Deine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a typical French market, fresh produce outside with other grocery items inside. There are very few supermarkets in Paris like those we are accustomed to in the states as Parisians prefer to buy very fresh and typically stop by the market at least 3 times a week, if not every day.

 

Croque Madame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This signature French dish – croque madame – was served on the perfect piece of crisp, thinly sliced bread. The croque madame is a variation of the original croque monsieur that adds a fried egg to the famous hearty snack. A croque monsieur consists of a grilled ham and cheese served open face atop a crisp slice of bread.

 

Tartine Italienne at Café Reale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This tartine Italienne at Café Reale in the jardin des tuileries in Paris was a great choice for a refreshing lunch on a hot day of sightseeing. Artichokes and mushrooms on a thick slice of cheese-topped dough (sort of like a Sicilian pizza) served cold with a side of pesto greens.

 

Parisian café scene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just love this shot – so exemplary of the Parisian café scene. Outdoor seating, people milling about and even a man playing an accordion!

 

Maison Georges Larnicol in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood Macarons display

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beautiful and mouthwatering macaron display at Maison Georges Larnicol in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood.

 

Chinese Fortune Message - A part of us remains wherever we have been.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first day back at the office, this is the fortune cookie I got.  I couldn’t have scripted a more poetic message to welcome me back from a wonderful and memorable trip.

 

Europe is for (Food) Lovers: Part I Prague

Monday, August 13th, 2012

I was lucky enough this summer to get to spend some vacation time in Europe and as a foodie, I – of course – ate my way through the trip. No, really. There are as many pictures of my meals from the adventure as there are of the beautiful sites.

Prague, Czech Republic is one of the most breathtaking cities I have ever had the privilege of experiencing. Everywhere you turn your head you’re overwhelmed by an architectural feast for your eyes. It is absolutely and unequivocally magical. When we weren’t busy falling in love with Prague’s cathedrals, castles and historical charm, we were having an affair with its food. Czech this out:

Traditional Czech Meal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my mom’s first Czech meal she wanted an authentic, native dish: pork four ways with three different dumplings and red and white cabbage. She was very happy with her choice and there was plenty to share with the whole crew.

Mushroom Polenta - Prague

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first taste of Prague was this mouthwatering mushroom polenta. The mushrooms had sooo much flavor and were a perfect accompaniment to the mild polenta.

Smoked Salmon, Whipped Potatoes, Grilled Zucchini - Prague

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoked fish is a very popular menu item throughout Europe and Prague was certainly no exception. This salmon was smoked to perfection and served with whipped potatoes and grilled zucchini.

Czech Food Kiosk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This food kiosk on a busy promenade is exemplary of the prominence of smoked meats on the Czech food scene.

Mushroom Soup - U Tynka Restaurant - Prague

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hands down, the best mushroom soup I have ever tasted. Really and truly. By the way – have I mentioned that I adore mushrooms? If you do too and if ever your travels take you through Prague, do yourself a favor and stop in at U Tynka Restaurant in Old Town Square for an unforgettable taste of this Czech mushroom soup.

Escargot Appetizer - Prague

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While there was no shortage of native dishes, Prague also cooks up great meal options spanning all of Europe. As a tourist-heavy city, they do a great job of offering authentic cuisine choices from its many European neighbors, like this escargot appetizer.

Shimp - saffron cream sauce - whipped potatoes - Prague

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This shrimp with saffron cream sauce and whipped potatoes was as delicious as it was beautiful.

Traditional Czech Meal - Kielbasa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional kielbasa appetizer served with some fresh veggies, mustard and horseradish.

Pork Knee, Ribs, gherkin pickles, mustard and horseradish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In case you need any more evidence that meat is a staple on every menu. On the left is pork knee and on the right ribs – two pounds of each! Both served on their own wooden cutting boards with a bowl of gherkin pickles, mustard and horseradish.

Food Stand - Old Town Square - Prague

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On weekends in Old Town Square you can enjoy strolling through the pop-up market with plenty of food stands, souvenirs and crafts. This merchant is keeping an eye on his ham as it cooks over the rotisserie.

Old Town Square Meat Vender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A close-up of the finished product.

Old Town Square - Trdelnik Pastry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Czech Republic’s most well-known pastries, trdelnik, is made from rolled dough that’s wrapped around a stick, then grilled (like in this picture) and topped with sugar and a mix of sweet toppings like walnut, almond and vanilla, among others.

Prague Castle and the Vltava River at Dusk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night falling over Prague Castle and the Vltava River. This magical city won me over, and it took all of about ten minutes.

Check back next week for the second half of Europe is for (Food) Lovers: Paris edition.

 

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