pondělí 16. listopadu 2009

Letenská husa, Hvězda and Lokal

St Martin’s wine is available from 11 November, but we didn’t have the time to go out for dinner or wine tasting somewhere. We took advantage of a Sunday off.
This St Martin's wine trend trend that came out from nowhere is amazing. Following the tradition of Beaujolais Nouveau Czech wine makers decided to give it a go and make this into a full scale wine festival. Restaurants caught on quick, more and more of them offering goose specialties and St. Martin’s wine. It’s a marketing trick from A to Z but it works well.
But why are geese eaten during St Martin’s day? My Culinaria Germany book says that geese gave out St Martin’s hiding place by squeaking and so during this saint’s day geese’s necks were wringed and the geese eaten. A bloody habit…
Not having eaten any goose during the St Martin’s festival we decided to check out the Letenská husa in the agricultural museum. It’s a small presentation of young St. Martin’s wines and some thematic food.

Unfortunately, there was no goose! Only duck, and it wasn’t particularly cheap. I thought that 160czk for a leg of duck was quite a lot, regarding the fact that there was no seating and the food was served on plastic plates. We decided that it was not worth the money. It always amazes me how inflexible some vendors are, they sell klobasa for 40czk or duck legs for 160czk. Why not sell duck paté or picked duck meat in sandwiches etc.??? But it's always either the cheap stuff or the expensive stuff, nothing in between. 160czk is simply way too much money to spend on stánek food and I don’t think I saw anyone actually buying or eating the duck.

We turned our attention towards the stall with ostrich meat.

This is an ostrich steak. I never had ostrich before and thought it was interesting. The meat was juicy although too salty, it had this slight metal flavor (like blood) and tasted like something between beef, pork and lamb. I didn’t think it was well prepared but if it’s cooked and seasoned properly it might be a delicacy. This piece cost around 80czk which is fine but, I found it appalling that they charged 5czk for every serving of ketchup, mustard and bread. They’re incredible, these people! When will they learn?? I've been charged 5, 10 and even 45czk for single serve ketchup packets, but never for ketchup and mustard out of 10 litre plastic containers. OMG
We bought some Černá hora beer for my dad in law, he collects beer stickers, his collection holds more than 3000 pieces now. We bought just one bottle of rosé wine, we’re not into St Martin’s wine. It's all about the hype, not about the wine.

We also had a potato pancake with garlic and smoked pork. The pancakes were prepared in advance. Upon order the lady and her little helper put some minced garlic and smoked meat inside the pancake, folded it and grilled it on the griddle with some lard. It was tasty! The pork lard on the pic below is ours. Pork lard with škvarky is one of my many guilty pleasures, it's simple irresistable on a piece of warm dark bread.

Some koláčky. We had quite a few and they were delicious.
We had a nice walk in Hvězda park afterwards.

And then we headed to Lokal. I will not go into much detail about this place, it has been discussed by many before. It’s a spectacular place, I never thought that Dahab (the restaurant that occupied this space before) was that big. It’s HUGE. Even if all the tables would have been occupied it still would feel kinda empty. It was fairly dark inside, not good for photos.
I had boiled beef with horseradish sauce and bread dumplings. I now know that I’m no horseradish sauce fan :) IMHO the horseradish flavor is very weak and the sauce is floury, milky and bland. I’ve tried horseradish omáčka for a couple of times before and it’s probably just not my thing, because the people sitting at the table next to us said that the sauce was finger-licking good and better than their grandmother's. The beef was cooked perfectly and the dumplings were some of the best I had.
Husband’s fried cheese with tar tar sauce was very good. Wow, husband had a vegetarian dinner ;-) It was not greasy at all. He ordered a cucumber salad to go with it, it was a classic Czech style grated cucumber salad with a sweet and sour dressing, very refreshing.

The beer is exceptional here, one of the best in Prague. I really liked how stylish the place is. The curtains, the wall painting (I mean the green flowers) and other stuff, it all looks like the hospoda in the village where our weekend house is :)
We will be going back for sure to sample more items and to have some more of that great beer. I can’t wait to try the Svíčkova in Lokal. Service was exeptionally good. The barman (or rather the beerman) eagerly answered our questions about the beer system inhouse and he even admitted that the spectacular cooling spirals served a mere decorational purpose. The other staff was very friendly and helpful too.

Big thumbs up for Lokal!

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