Gulaschmuseum

You know that scene in “Forrest Gump” when Bubba tells Forrest all the different ways to prepare shrimp? Well, the Gulaschmusem restaurant is a lot like that, except with gulasch. The menu lists and has pictures of gulasch made with various meats and parts of meat (chicken liver gulasch, anyone?), vegetables, fish, and rice. They even boast a sweet chocolate gulasch for dessert, which is mysteriously not pictured. I guess they want to entice the diner to order it.

Needless to say, I love this place even though it’s a vivid reminder that while I have a recipe for good gulasch (view that recipe here), I doubt my gulasch will ever be as wonderfully fantastic as that available here. I don’t think I will have quite the variety, either. For example, on my most recent visit earlier this week I enjoyed the fischgulasch:

Gulasch such as I will never make.

Gulasch such as I will never make.

My husband I and both had some of this dish and couldn’t agree on whether the base for the gravy was a fish or vegetable stock. Obviously it had paprika in it, but in what proportion to the tomato, if tomato was used at all? (I thought there was tomato, my husband didn’t.) How can I re-create a dish like this when I can’t even figure out what’s in it? This is one of the things that I will just enjoy while we are here and remember fondly.

Rathaus Film Festival

One of the highlights of our past two summers in Vienna has been the music film festival. A large screen is placed in front of the Rathaus, and hundreds of chairs and bleachers are put out so people can enjoy the music films. The music films range from classical to jazz, and there are some ballet performances and modern rock and roll thrown in for good measure.

Film festival on Rathausplatz

Film festival on Rathausplatz

Of course, this is not what interests me. About 20 food stands are set up along the path leading from the ring road to the front of the Rathaus, representing culinary delights from both Austria and as far afield as Australia. Each booth has, in addition to its ethnic food, a couple signature cocktails on offer. There are also a couple ice cream stands and coffee stands interspersed with the food stands.

The first time we visited the food… er, film festival this year, we went to the Australia booth.

The closest we'll ever get to Australia

The closest we’ll ever get to Australia

I had the grilled tuna and my new favorite drink, Mango Dream (mango juice and champagne). My husband got the *sniff, sniff* kangaroo steaks, which came with perfectly roasted fries and dipping sauces. I’m not going to lie — the kangaroo was pretty tasty and I enjoyed it more than my fish.

This afternoon we visited the stand operated by Gelbmanns Gaststube.

Tafelspitz Gröstl mit krautsalat

Tafelspitz Gröstl mit krautsalat

I had the above-pictured meal, along with an erdbeere bowle (strawberry punch). Gröstl is roasted potatoes, onions, tri-color peppers, and cubes of bacon seasoned with caraway seeds, with slices of tafelspitz (boiled beef) mixed it. It was served with a generous portion of krautsalat and a sour cream sauce, and garnished with kren. My husband and I both enjoyed this dish and I plan to find a recipe to recreate it.

Sadly the film festival ends 1 September, but I have the consolation that it’ll be back next summer.

 

Gösser Eck

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

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.

Arsenalstuben

Tomatencremesuppe (tomato cream soup) is very popular here, but I had never tried a bowl before yesterday. I figured that tomato soup is familiar to me thanks to Campbells, and it would be a waste to order a bowl of soup that I already know when I could try something new. After a terrific morning at the military history museum yesterday I headed to Arsenalstuben, a restaurant located in a different part of the armory. I ordered the set lunch menu, which began with a bowl of tomatencremesuppe.

Where have you been my whole life??

Where have you been my whole life??

Wow. I know it sounds completely cliche, but I felt like it was the first time that I ever had tomato cream soup. It had bits of vegetables and herbs in it, which gave it a different texture than what I’m used to. It was also tangy, to the point where I would not have been surprised to learn that it had paprika and/or cheese in it. It was the most wonderful bowl of tomato soup that I have ever had.

I’ve researched recipes for this soup and found two wildly different recipes that I am going to prepare for a tomato cream soup taste-off this weekend. The first has only two tablespoons of broth, a lot  of cream, and some garlic and paprika to add some interesting flavor. (That’s my theory at least.) The second has about two cups of broth and a smaller amount of cream, but the recipe begins by telling you to fry onions in butter. You can’t go wrong there.

Stay tuned to see which recipe “won” the taste off, though I suspect both will have a delicious yield.

Wienerwald

My parents are visiting and as they’ve never been to Vienna before, we started the week with a bus tour. Staying with the “tourist” theme, we headed to Wienerwald restaurant in the 1st district for lunch. It’s one of those restaurants where the menus are in multiple languages and have pictures. While it isn’t high cuisine, it does serve traditional Viennese dishes. Oh, and my kids love it.

Tessiner Rösti

Tessiner Rösti

I don’t know what compelled me to order such a heavy dish as we were sitting in an un-air conditioned restaurant in 97-degree heat, but oddly enough I am glad I did as it was pretty tasty. The dish is a chicken filet covered with pepper cream sauce, mushrooms, and fried onions, and served with tomatoes and rösti.

Rösti are fried potato pancakes, and I must admit that I did not know what differentiated them from kartoffelpuffer (see my recipe for those here). I did some Googling and learned that rösti are Swiss and are never made with eggs or flour, as kartoffelpuffer are. Hmmm… I could not taste an appreciable difference between rösti and kartoffelpuffer, but that may be because the sauce was so overpowering.

I plan to recreate this dish at home in the near future, maybe even with rösti instead of kartoffelpuffer if I’m feeling really industrious. Stay tuned.