p1130524-w500-h500.jpgp1130281-w500-h500.jpgVienna may be variously termed the City of Music, the City of Dreams or the City of Waltz, but it most definitely merits the title of City of Fabulous Food and coffees.  In a short visit one can only touch the surface of the restaurant, cafe and coffeehouse scene but I certainly got a taste, so to speak, of the overall food scene, and I did not have a single bad dining experience.

kayvon_kelly_-_persephone_theatre_2013-2-w700-h700.jpgChelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen
Conceived and directed by Tracey Power
Musical Direction and Arrangements by Steven Charles
Firehall Arts Centre
Till March 29 th, 2014

Vancouver, BC: Wow! I really enjoyed this show. The multi-talented cast of Rachel Aberle, Lauren Bowler, Ben Elliott, Steve Charles, Marlene Ginader and Kayvon Kelly have strong  voices and great moves. I missed the premiere of Chelsea Hotel in 2012 so this was a completely fresh production for me and I was thoroughly captivated.

 

floyd_dress_0375-w700-h700.jpgFloyd Collins
Music and lyrics by Adam Guettel
Book and additional lyrics by Tina Landau
Directed and choreographed by Peter Jorgenson

floyd_dress_0570-w700-h700.jpgVancouver, BC:     Long time readers of ReviewFromTheHouse may remember my stories of having to overcome my sometimes incapacitating claustrophobia to undergo magnetic resonance imaging  (Claustrophia and your MRI) and to stay calm on being trapped in a New York elevator.  What  I have never disclosed is that my first experience of severe claustrophobia occurred as a child, crawling through a confined tunnel like Floyd Collins, but in the Cango Cave system near Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape of South Africa. Like the caves of Central Kentucky, the Cango Caves are an extensive system of cave and tunnels formed in the ancient limestone strata in the foothills of the Swartberg (Black Mountain).

Merely reading about the horrific  end of the real Floyd Collins, trapped in a space eight inches high, evoked the same terrifying sense of suffocation and panic that has stayed with me since that long-ago nightmare. Even though, while watching the story unfold,  my rational self acknowledged that these were actors on stage, and the "dark cave system and confined space" where Floyd Collins (Daren Herbert) was "trapped" was a construct of Amir Ofek's clever representational set and Jeff Harrison's somber lighting, this sense of unease coloured my entire experience of this dark work.

 

20140223_hor8172-w700-h700.jpgThe IAEA Ball at the Hofburg Palace was a larger and seemingly more formal affair than the Johann Strauss Ball of the previous Saturday. Because of the International nature of the sponsoring committee there was an amazing array of different national dress to be seen, as well as exquisite gowns worn by so many of the guests.The men all looked so elegant and handsome in their dark suits and tuxedoes. This time there were no ticket mishaps or funny stories so this post will mainly feature pictures from the ball.

p1130582-w600-h600.jpgVienna is known as the city of grand  balls, with more than 450 balls taking place annually,  providing more than 2000 hours of dancing. The Carnival season wnp_9024x-w500-h500.jpgin Vienna is filled with more than 150 large formal balls and hundreds of smaller dances that are held from before New Year till Lent. The 2013/14 ball season opened with the Vienna Red Cross Ball held at the City Hall in November.  On New Year’s Eve, Le Grand Bal at the Hofburg Palace brought in the New Year.

During the week that I was in Vienna, I could have gone to four balls including the Coffee-House Owners Ball and the  Russian Ball. I opted for two on the first and last Saturday nights of my stay - the Johann Strauss Ball at the Vienna Kursalon and the IAEA Ball at the Hofburg Palace.

p1130360-w250-h250.jpgCafe Restaurant Diglas, Wolzell 10

After  morning dance lessons we lunched at the nearby Cafe Restaurant Diglas. I was intrigued by the chandelier which had a variety of coffee cups attached. Very unusual and clever.

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strauss2-w600-h600.jpgSituated where the Vienna Ring Boulevard touches the City Park, the Kursalon Wien was built in Italian Renaissance style between 1865 and 1867 and is quite beautiful. The first concert featuring Johann Strauss compositions took place in 1868. The Kursalon has four ballrooms located on two floors and a terrace with views out over the greenery of the City Park. The Strauss, Lehar and Schubert Halls are on the first floor while the Lanner Hall,  upstairs on the second floor, is the in-house concert hall.

kursalon-w500-h500.jpgFor the Johann Strauss Ball the three first floor ballrooms were interconnected, with tables for the pre-ball dinner set up in both the side halls and the periphery of the centre hall. In the main centre ballroom the orchestra playing mainly Viennese waltzes, waltzes and the occasional polka, alternated with the band playing more Latin and swing music.

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p1130266-w250-h250.jpg  Gustl-Bauer Wirtshaus,  Am Hof Drahtgasse 2

p1130267-w250-h250.jpgAfter classes at the Tanzschule, four of us took a walk  to find a nearby place for lunch. We found a table at the Gustl-Bauer Wirsthaus. In my quest to understand the many terms used here for restaurant, I found that Wirsthaus like Wirstschaft means inn.

Anyway I was interested to see that they offered gravlax - home made pickled salmon served with mustard sauce and pickled onions so I could not resist trying it. Delicious though a bit too salty for me. 

p1130740-w220-h220.jpgRestaurant Koenig von Ungarn, im Mozarthaus, Schulerstrasse 10

p1130739-w220-h220_0.jpg For our last evening in Vienna we chose to have supper  just up the road from our hotel, at the Restaurant Koenig von Ungarn. It was located right near the building where Mozart  lived for three years from 1784 to 1787 during which time he wrote Le Nozze di Figaro.

p1130742-w220-h220.jpgFor starters we respectively chose the Erdapfelsuppen (creamof potato soup) and the Pflücksalate (green salad with fried sheep's cheese).

p1130283-w500-h500.jpgAs I was going through my  photographs of chocolates, pastries and street food from my Vienna visit, it struck me how I am always more drawn to savory delicacies than sweet. To the bemusement of my friends and family,  I always choose charcuterie over chocolate or appetizers over dessert. Easily distracted from the task at hand, uploading photos to my posts, I wondered how contemporary knowledge about taste and taste preferences has advanced from the basic information I learned in first year physiology eons ago. We were  taught that there were four primary taste senses - sweet, sour, salt and bitter, and that the distribution of taste reception in the tongue  was bitter at the back, salt and sour  along the sides and sweet at the tip. My first idle foray via Google into the matter of taste introduced me to the fifth taste sense, umami - and got me sidetracked into reading about the genetics of taste. Hmmm.. maybe I can finally understand my gustatory peculiarities. It's not me that hates cilantro and olives, and loves prosciutto and salamis - it's my genes.

Here follows some of my non-restaurant focused food experiences in Vienna.

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