I am a Groupon junkie. At the very least, I hear about restaurants around the city that I would not otherwise come across as it seems to be the smaller (and usually ethnic) ones that offer deals on Groupon. I also like how restaurants offer set meals with way more food than a normal person could ever eat for a super-low price. Case in point: last night we enjoyed this Viennese feast at Gösser Eck, a beer garden located inside Prater:
Grill Plate for Two: Meat, meat, and more meat
The top layer consisted of two pieces of schnitzel, two sets of ribs, two Frankfurters, chicken wings, and onion rings. Underneath was a bed of buttered rice and roasted potatoes. This plate plus a digestive that tasted like a Unicum and Coke was ours for a mere Euro 14,90. I would love to report that we gave it our best shot but were overwhelmed by this meal, and unable to eat it all. Alas, with the help of some Gösser specials to wash it down we ate every last bite.
The meal was great and this is the type of restaurant that we love to visit. It is a typical Austrian restaurant with an outdoor beer garden that serves Viennese and Styrian specialties, with an emphasis on meat. When you first enter the beer garden, you see a large roaster with several entire chickens slowly rotating on spits. How can you go wrong with a restaurant that serves copious quantities of meat and beer, I ask you. We’ll be back.
Yesterday we found ourselves in the unfortunate situation of being out of yogurt and beer. Unfortunate in that it was an Austrian national holiday, and all the stores are closed on holidays and Sundays. The tiny groceries found at the gas stations and train stations are open, as is the large Billa at the airport, but this is no fun when there is a better alternative: driving to Slovakia!
We spent the day at the Carnuntum archeological park, walking around Roman ruins and reconstructed Roman villas. This park is very close to the Slovak border, so once we were Roman-ed out we crossed the border and headed to the closest Tesco. I am glad that we did because we were treated to delights such as this:
Self-serve bakery cart
How can one resist such a sight, especially when everything in the cart was less than 1 Euro a piece? We came home with these:
Orechovnik and Makovnik Kolacky
These are kolacky or kolache, a sweet bread filled with fruit or nuts. The ones I chose were made with a lightly sweetened yeast bread, as opposed to pastry, and were filled with poppyseed (makovnik; top) and walnut (orechovnik; bottom). I thought they were great, but my husband thought they were so-so and my kids would not touch them, so I am not going to be making these.
We got a couple more gems, in addition to the yogurt and beer that led to the visit in the first place:
Am I the only one who thinks “Cowboy sausage” just doesn’t sound right?
Dancing Goat Beer! (That’s how I will always think of it at any rate.)
Every night that we were in the Salzburg area, save one, we had dinner at a bier haus. “Another night, another brewery” but in the best possible sense. After driving through the Bavarian “hills” we stopped in Berchtesgaden to have a meal at Bankhammer’s Bräustüberl/Hofbrauhaus Berchtesgaden. We tried several liters of their various brews and enjoyed every last one, lamenting that we wished we had a car with a bigger trunk so we could bring some home.
I ordered “bierochse in dunkler Biersosse mit gerösteten Breznknödel” for dinner. Until five minutes ago I would have said this dish is a pot roast cooked in and served with a gravy made with dark beer, accompanied by pretzel dumplings. When I searched for a translation for “bierochse,” however, I discovered that it’s actually an ox stew as opposed to (beef/cow) pot roast. Ooops.
Either way, this was a fantastically delicious meal. I think that I can re-create it by using my normal pot roast recipe, substituting part (or all) of the beef stock with dark beer. I am not sure that I will go the extra mile and also substitute the beef with ox meat, though. I have friends coming for a visit in a few weeks and they will be my guinea pigs as I test this theory. Stay tuned.
The third night in Salzburg, we had our third dinner in a beer hall that served locally brewed beer. Do you sense a trend? (Spoiler alert: we had dinner in a beer garden the following night, too.) Ironically, we did not have the Zipfer beer and opted instead to try the Bernstein beer from Kaltenhauser brewery. It wasn’t until the following day that I made the connection that “bernstein” is German for “amber” and this was an amber beer, but there you have it.
Spargelcremesuppe mit Bärlauch Creme
I started with a bowl of spargelcremesuppe that was topped with a blob of bärlauch creme. I think the creme was creme fraiche (or something similar) with bärlauch added to it. Assuming I can find bärlauch in Virginia, this would be a very easy dish for me to recreate because I’ve already found a good spargelcremesuppe recipe.
I’ve already written about how I enjoy faschierte laibchen and have posted the recipe that I use, so I was interested in trying the vegetable version. It did not disappoint. Fried vegetables served with tartar sauce are very popular here (my favorite is fried mushrooms), but I hate frying food at home. My husband says that we’ll get a deep fryer when we return to Virginia and that will hopefully cut down on the smell and splattered oil all over the stovetop. In the meantime, I will work on learning a good tartar sauce.
Stiegl is a popular beer in Austria, and it is brewed in Salzburg. You can take a tour of the brewery, buy a variety of Stiegl beers and beer merchandise, and have a meal at Stiegl Brauwelt. We only had enough time to enjoy a meal there, but even that was informative because we ate in the machine room that housed some brewing equipment. Needless to say, our dinner was accompanied by delicious, fresh Stiegl beer straight from the teat (so to speak).
I had the Innviertler Knödel, which were dumplings filled with minced meat and served with a wheat beer sauce and warm sauerkraut. The dumplings were good, but I am not sure that I’m willing to take the time to make the knödel in an effort to recreate this dish. Dessert knödel are a whole different story because everyone in my family enjoys them, and I plan to try those at some point this summer. I also plan to try my hand at sauerkraut in the very near future.
Everyone in my family loved Salzburg and we hope to return to the area before we leave Austria. We want to return to Stiegl Brauwelt to see all that it has to offer, and to enjoy another meal in its restaurant. Hopefully there will be a follow up to this post.