Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Vienna Naschmarkt

We set out to walk around and get our bearings. It's a lovely day, chilly but clear and the city appears beautiful at first glance, filled with pastel colored baroque buildings. We go back to St. Stephan's and go inside. Unlike the church of the same name in Budapest this place was quite crowded with both tourists and devotees. It's stunning high gothic and the level of sculptural detail is incredible. There are two massive pipe organs, one above the entrance and one to the right of the alter.

From there we walk to the Hotel Austria where we'll be for the following two nights. It's about 6 blocks in the opposite direction. By now it's mid-afternoon and time for our daily coffee and apple strudel. We stop in Cafe Diglas but leave after a few moments because it is ungodly hot and smoky inside (later we discover this is not the same famous cafe mentioned in the guidebooks-it must be a smaller offshoot).
We end up at a large cafe which seems to be famous for it's gelato since every other person walking down the street is eating ice cream. We sit outside under a canopy with heaters and have our coffee and strudel.
I am on the quest for the perfect strudel and have yet to find it. Only the one in the market in Budapest fresh out of the oven seems to be close to perfect. Most others have been over-refrigerated or over-microwaved. I'm seriously considering calling this "Kristina and Sharon's Amazing Apple Strudel Advenure". Hmmm...maybe not.

We figure we have to see something else for the day and opt to go check out the famous Naschmarkt. This place has been somewhat maligned by the foodies on as being too "sterile". I've seen "wet" markets all over the world and yes, this is not one with pigs heads on display or fish blood dripping on your shoes, however it is probably one of the most beautiful displays of foodstuffs I've ever seen.

The market is outside, on a center island between two busy streets. There are two rows of permanant stalls/shops with the one on the Linke Weinzeille side appearing to be primarily restaurants and bars. The one on the Rechte Weinzeille side however has all manner of produce, cheeses, flowers, fruits, meats, spices etc. What makes this so impressive however is the sheer beauty and color of the vendor's displays. Everything looked good. There is an amazing stall selling nothing but small batch vinegars of all flavors. These were so tasty, I wished I could have bought some, but then we would have check our luggage going home.
We walk and walk and finally break down and buy olives, apples, and tangerines.

Spices in the market

Olive Guy

Back to the hotel and rest before dinner. Then we go to a place called Augustinerkeller am Albertinaplatz which is below the Albertina museum and close to the hotel. It supposedly has good traditional Austrian food and wine.
We start dinner with a couple of glasses of Austrain white; Gruner vetliner DAC 2005-2.9€
Weinviertel Schrattenberg Trocken and Sauv Blanc 2005 -Weingut Ipsmiller Weinviertel Schrattenberg Trocken-2.90€

Mom has the "menu" which at 15€ consists of;
Leberknödelsuppe-beef consome with liverwurst meatball, very tasty.
Hirsch deer in Rahmsauce mit "Seewinkler Spirlnudeln" und Preiselbeeren

I have 1/2 Hintere Stelzegegrillt mit bratkaroffel (grilled pork shank with roasted potatoes)

With another glass of wine it's 36 euro total. This place is ok, but afterward I find myself wondering if dinner might not have been better (and cheaper) to have wurst at one of the local stands.
Like most places here (shops, cafes, restaurants, internet cafes) it must be over 80 degrees inside. I know it's chilly outside, but why do all the interiors have to be superheated?

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