Blogs

Vienna Dining: Wiener Schnitzel at Bastei-Beisl

18 Mar 2012

Bastei-Beisl‎

Stubenbastei 10
1010 Vienna, Austria
01 5124319
basteibeisl.at‎

"Beisl" is a Yiddish/Hebrew word that, in Viennese German, indicates a restaurant/pub. the decor and layout of a beisl is similar to inns and pubs across most of Western Europe. Since one does not need a 3-star Michelin place to eat deep-fried food, I go to beisls for schnitzel.

Potato soup for a starter, creamy, chunky, and bacon!

Wiener Schnitzel and boiled potatoes. This Schnitzel was made with pork. As a kid who grew up on panneed veal and beef round, schnitzels and I get along very nicely.

Another riesling! Don't you just love the little soccer-bal plant holder?

Ice cream sundae for dessert. Even with two glasses of wine, the tab for this meal was under €30.

Even though the Stubentor Metro station was only a block away from Bastei-Beisl, I wound through the neighborhood to get back to Stephansplatz and the Metro station across from the cathedral, window-shopping along the way.

Cafe Brulot from @Antoines: @Paulineagain debunks the Coffee-Pirate Connection

6 Mar 2012

Traditional cup and saucer for "Devilishly Burned Coffee," better known as Cafe' Brulot Diabolique.

I'd never heard of a connection between the brothers Lafitte and Cafe Brulot until I did some background research for my latest article for GoNOLA.com, on Dominique Youx. As part of the crazy pirate lore of the city, the invention of Cafe Brulot was attributed to the Lafittes and/or Dominique Youx. Fortunately, Pauline's Pirates and Privateers straightens everyone out.

Being a huge fan of Restaurant Antoine, I already knew, of course, that it was Jules Alciatore, son of restaurant founder Antoine Alciatore, who invented this coffee beverage in the 1890s.

Here's the Antoine's recipe:

Cafe Brulot

2 sticks cinnamon
8 whole cloves
peel of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 ounces brandy
3 cups strong black coffee

Put the cinnamon, cloves, lemon peel, sugar, and brandy in a fireproof bowl and heat on an open flame. When the brandy is hot, but not boiling, bring the bowl to the table and ignite with a match. Use a ladle to stir and pour the liquid around the bowl for 2 minutes. Pour the hot coffee into the flaming brandy and ladle the mixture into demitasse cups.

Weekend Breakfast at @CafeRalphie in #themetrys

5 Mar 2012

Cafe Ralphie on Urbanspoon

Had breakfast at Cafe' Ralphie over the weekend. The location used to be Cafe Angellina until a couple of months ago. Now, Chef Ralph Pausina is in the kitchen and his wife, Glenda Rhode-Pausina, handles the front of the house.

A new paint job inside, and they've created a space for video poker machines. That also means they'll have a liquor license.

Two eggs over easy, grits, sausage patties, and a biscuit. Pepper on the eggs is my addition. The eggs were cooked just right. Most importantly, the grits were excellent! All too many places rush grits and they end up a bit thin. Not these; they were solid.

Another change along with the paint and the ownership was table service. My server took my order at the table, and brought me the bill when I was done.

A good breakfast, now to come back for the lunch and brunch menus. If you're looking for a good breakfast in #themetrys, Cafe' Ralphie is a winner.

Parents must control their children in restaurants!

18 Feb 2012

Unruly children? Most pizza places have an option just for you...

 

Not sure this headline is fair to the restaurant or to Yelpers:

Georgia Pizzeria Kicks Out Crying Kids to Appease Yelpers

When I read this article, my first thought was to Tower of Pizza, in Metairie, LA. Tower of Pizza is a very popular place and arguably one of the best hand-tossed pizzas in the metro New Orleans area. It doesn't seem to be all that different in terms of what they're trying to appeal to than Grant Central Pizza, the subject of this Eater article. I've been in Tower of Pizza when people bring in their kids for end-of-season soccer team or t-ball dinners, and the place is a really a hot mess. If a couple walked in, they might well just back out the way they came in.

But that's not the real problem. Tower of Pizza isn't CiCi's or Pizza Hut, so there's a certain expectation there. Chain restaurants, particularly those with all-you-can-eat setups, are the Lowest Common Denominator of the dining world. Little local places aren't. The date-night couple heading out to CiCi's should expect children running to and from the game room, screaming infants, and parents who just don't give a crap. That's why they went up a notch on the scale in the first place.

Is it reasonable for a restaurant to ask diners to control their children? You bet. Here's what GCP put on their menu:

"Dear all present and future patrons: GCP is proud of its reputation as a family restaurant, a title that we will work to keep. Unfortunately a number of our diners have posted unpleasant experiences because of crying and unsupervised children. To ensure that all diners have an enjoyable lunch or dinner with us we respectfully ask that parents tend to their crying tots outside."

This isn't all that unreasonable, and not much different from the tongue-in-cheek signs you see in many indie coffee shops:

Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy

Parents should not expect the other diners in a restaurant to babysit their children! While I'll be the first to agree that many Yelp! users are unreasonable in their criticisms, this is not one of those times. In the GCP article, the manager is quoted as saying a diner complained once that another diner's child actually hit them. Totally unacceptable behavior, and the restaurant would be well within their rights to ask the offending parents to leave. If your kids can't sit still, it's on you to control them. If you can't control them, it's on you to take them someplace else.

Crying children are another issue. A small child's schedule often doesn't coincide with their parents' dining plans, and they have no issues whatsoever in communicating their displeasure. To me, this is a grey area when it comes to dining. You feed the kid, put them in the car, and drive to a local restaurant. They're sleeping and you hope they'll stay that way long enough for you to enjoy a meal out. Most of us who are parents get it (and probably have been there). I remember one pizza place not far from our house. We took my then-15mo-old firstborn with us, and he napped peacefully through most of dinner. Then he woke up hollering! As I was gathering him up to take him outside and (hopefully) rock him back to sleep (or at least calm him down), the mom of the owner came out from the back, took him from me, sat me back down with my wife, and walked him around in her arms. With the special attention, he settled down and started giggling, as we then ordered dessert.

You can't expect that sort of thing whenever you go out, though. A restaurant isn't an airplane. If your kid starts crying/screaming, you have an option--go outside!

Lunch at Liuzza's on Bienville!

1 Feb 2012

Liuzza's on Bienville is one of the great neighborhood/Creole-Italian places in Mid City. We had a nice lunch there just before Christmas.

Draw One! Abita Amber in Liuzza's big frozen schooners.

For a starter, we had fried eggplant with marinara sauce.

There were three of us on this visit, and we all picked interesting mains. The top photo is Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade. Deep-fry breaded green tomatoes. Cover that with some boiled shrimp, then top with remoulade sauce. Delicious!

This is a classic oyster po-boy, something Liuzza's does well. Leidenheimer's bread, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and oysters fried just right.

Usually you see Shrimp Remoulade on the menu, but on this visit, Liuzza's was doing Oysters Remoulade, and they were wonderful!

Wonderful lunch, good conversation, totally New Orleans!

Vienna Dining - Demi Tass (Indian)

25 Jan 2012

Indisches Restaurant Demi Tass
Prinz-Eugen-Straße 28
1040 Wien, Austria

+43 1 5043119
+43 1 6067572 (Fax)
restaurant-demitass.com

I often look for an Indian place in the cities where I'm on my second (or more frequent) trip. After all, there's only so many schnitzels one can eat in Vienna, for example. My basic approach to finding a place is to use Google Maps, search for (in this case) "indian restaurant" and see what comes up. Demi Tass was the highest-rated place in the G-Maps aggregation. It wasn't that far from the metro, so off I went.

Palak Soup. Spinach-cream soup, not too spicy. Good starter.

I had a couple of glasses of the house red with the meal. One of the downsides of my European dining adventures is I often just order the house red or house white, and forget to ask what it actually is. Rarely is the wine bad, and I don't want to spend a fortune when I'm by myself.

 

Lamb Buhna, rice, and nan.

Lamb in a tomato sauce with lots of green onion in it. Spicy, but not overwhelming. The lamb was tender and tasty. Loved the tomato and onions combined with the meat; it all made for a tasty sauce. The rice was aromatic and flavorful, and the nan cooked up just right.

Being from New Orleans, I always bristle a bit at being charged for bread (like in an Indian or a tapas place, but you gotta do it to get the sauce properly.

"Mango Coup." OK, this was worth the price of admission. Fresh fruit and vanilla ice cream. I'm glad I didn't gorge on the rice and nan!

I'll be back to Demi Tass on my next trip to Vienna.

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