As 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.
We chose this restaurant randomly for dinner, and it turned out to be my favorite dining experience. Our waiter was extremely obliging and efficient and there was a relaxed and homey ambience, as well as excellent food.
We had a delicious Greek salad to start. With my main course, i asked if I could substitute the winter vegetables for the onion rings that were served with another main course. I was told, no need to substitute- we will just add the onions to your plate.
Axel and Sandra, our Viennese host dance teachers for the Waltz Week in Vienna group, arranged for a group dinner at one of the Plachutta restaurants. Plachutta Hietzing, near the Schonbrun Palace, was the original Plachutta restaurant in Vienna. The Plachutta restaurants are synonymous with boiled beef and this was my first opportunity to try boiled beef or Tafelspitz.
He emphasized the address, as there were a couple of different Huth restaurants on that street. When we walked up to the address I was given, 6 Schellingasse, it was not yet open. The Italian restaurant where the concierge had made a reservation was actually around the corner.
After our final session at the Tanzschule we decided to accompany our instructors to the Naschmarkt where they were headed to do their grocery shopping. After cruising around the various stalls and picking up some supplies for our train trip to Salzburg next day, we joined friends for lunch at Nautilus.
The Griechenbeisl restaurant is located in a historical building that is hundreds of years old. According to the restaurant description, the 1350 City of Vienna register, this building was listed as the home of a rich citizen and knight-commoner Lienhart Poll. By 1447 it was mentioned as an inn called “Zum Gelben Adler” or the Yellow Eagle. From this time on, though the names changed, it has been an inn. In 1852 the innkeeper Leopold Schmied introduced Pilsner Urquell as the inn’s beer.
Over the centuries many prominent artists, scholars and politicians met at this inn. One room of the restaurant, the Mark Twain zimmer, features walls on which famous people have signed their names. You can see the signatures of Mozart, Strauss, Beethoven, Wagner, Mark Twain, as well as more modern celebrities such as Johnny Cash.
The S'parks restaurant is the main restaurant at the Hilton Vienna for lunch and dinner and where the breakfast buffet is served.
We had dinner at S’parks Restaurant twice. The first time was our first dinner in Vienna on the evening of the Johann Strauss Ball. We had an early dinner in the hotel restaurant before getting ready for the ball. I managed to resist the delicious looking breads brought while we were waiting.
I found the smoked fish very delicate and light. A nice appetizer before the schnitzel.
The Kettle Restaurant
1138 Highland Avenue
Manhattan Beach, California
Instead of spending a 6 hour layover in the not-so-comfortable International departures area of LAX, I was lucky that my family came to pick me up at the airport to take me out for lunch. We drove out to Manhattan Beach and enjoyed a nice lunch at The Kettle restaurant a couple of blocks up from the beach.