Back in Czech for food and beers

Finally back in Prague for hearty food and lots of cold beers! 

It has been 1.5 years since I was in Prague and I really enjoyed my time there. So it was definitely time to go back and I have to say that this time was even better. I knew my way around and could spend more time just hanging around instead of hasting from tourist sight to tourist sight – been there – done that. Plus, I also know some people now in Prague, which made the whole experience a whole lot different compared to travelling solo. Ready for 6 days of hearty Czech food, pretty local lemonades and (maybe a bit too many) cold beers?

Thursday: arriving and finally having proper Czech food again

I don’t know what’s happening at the moment, but for some reason I’m quite unlucky with flights and I had to spend an extra 2 hours at the gate. Once I arrived I slightly got lost in transit because I didn’t listen to the announcements. Yap, that was definitely my own fault… Nonetheless, I somehow arrived at my destination again. First order of business: A sausage and a beer!

A greasy smoked sausage semi-dried sausage slathered in mustard and sauerkraut. Oh how I missed these…

Over the last 3 years I worked a lot with my Czech colleague Michal who is now based in Prague again. We met up and went to Tiskárna – a restaurant that reinvents dishes from century old Czech cookbooks. See, these are the places you usually don’t find in tourist guides.

Veal meatballs with goose liver and bone marrow in a creamy cauliflower sauce with Czech style semolina butter gnocchi. My dish was a modern take on a recipe from 1883

Afterwards we went to a koala decorated pub (Tlustá Koala) for another drink. Time to get active again, so we went over for some video games at the Joystick Bar. This place reminded me quite a bit of TonTon in Amsterdam. I got utterly beaten at Mortal Kombat but could regain some of my pride when playing Street Fighter!

Even the bathroom door are nerdy

Before heading home, we ended the day with another sausage at one of the shops on Wenceslas square. Is there a better way to end the day than with a greasy sausage slathered in mustard and sauerkraut?

Friday: Slow start of the day before going to a ska concert

Oh yes, one of those mornings, when you realize you may have had one too many beers the night before. I slept in before heading to Cafe Neustadt. It’s a cozy little hipster place with great coffee and tasty bites. Perfect if you want to work for a few hours – if you don’t mind sitting between hip people with silvery products featuring apples. For breakfast I ordered the breakfast salad which turned out to be huge – and delicious!

Tasty grilled mushrooms, sliced avocado, bacon, eggs and croutons. Good start of the day!

When I read James Brisicione’s The Flavor Matrix I scribbled down tons of ideas for new and crazy recipes. I spend a few hours in the café to work out some of the ideas into draft recipes.

Maybe some homemade cherry lemonade will cure that hangover
Otherwise this huge double espresso should do
If nothing else helps, back to sipping on a local beer might: Matuska California – American Pale Ale

In the evening I picked up my colleague Michal at the office again. He asked me to bring one of my cookbooks with me to Czech as Amazon doesn’t really sell there. He gave me a quick tour around the office and afterwards we headed over to the train station pub in the Dejvice district. We had a beer and waited for another friend to arrive. Obviously drinking beers makes one hungry and especially with the upcoming concert in mind we went over to Chickin’. A fried chicken shop that serves free range organic chicken with some great spicy sauces. I chose for the Southern style fried chicken and a mango soda.

Crispy greasy delicious spicy fried chicken and fries with bacon salt. Trust me, that chicken thigh was way bigger then in looks like on the photo

Turns out one of my Czech colleagues plays trumpet in ska band called Larika – they call their style ‘rocksteady’. The concert was at Klubovna – a relaxed and slightly alternative venue. I have never been to a ska concert before, but I actually quite enjoyed it. The concert was obviously followed by more drinks and we stayed at the venue till the early morning hours.

Saturday: Relaxing on a sunny day

I woke up slightly hungover again (oh oh oh, I see a pattern emerging here…), but a hearty breakfast should do the trick. From my last time in Prague I remembered that Potrefená Husa was always a safe choice for good food. It’s a chain operated by Staropramen – one of the biggest beer brands in Czech. They still had their Easter menu available and the cream of wild garlic soup with quail egg jumped my eye. For some reason they also had Bulgarian Shopska salad on the menu, which is one of my favorite salads (check my recipe out here), so I ordered that as well. The soup was the absolutely yummy. The wild garlic has such a subtle flavor, which is really different than the taste you know from garlic cloves. The salad was only mediocre unfortunately.

“Krem z medvediho cesneku” – Delicious creamy wild garlic soup topped with a little fried quail egg. Really good!

With my new found energy I took a long walk through the city to enjoy the sun. The Franciscan gardens in the city center are a lovely hidden gem, but ultimately I ended up in the Letná Park towards the north of city. Of course I was not the only one with that idea, so you could see people sitting everywhere in the park and in the Letná beer garden.

Well, after all that walking I could definitely eat again. There was one place I walked by and noticed the last time I was in Prague, but skipped unfortunately: Lokál Dlouhááá. A beer hall famous among locals and big chance you won’t be able to get a seat without a reservation. Sounds fancy and exclusive? Quite contrary! It has prices that even the poorest student can afford! Beer is cheap, food is good. This place is just perfect if you are on a budget. I had the variety of sausages, 6 weeks ripened fried cheese with tartar sauce and potato salad.

Afterwards I headed to Cafe Neustadt again to work some more on recipes, of course, eventually I got hungry again and chose for some nachos for dinner. Is that a a weird choice?

Nachos with salsa and sour cream for dinner. I feel kinda bad to admit it, but sometimes this is my dinner, even if I’m not traveling 😀
Sunday: A cloudy day in the hipster quarter

Waking up before 10 for once again and not feeling hungover for a change. One other place that I remembered from my last trip was Bageterie boulevard. It’s a local fast-food-kinda chain for all kinds of goodies. I had a double espresso and a halloumi avocado smashed breadroll.

Okay, that thing looked way bigger on the advertisement. I mean come-on, that espresso cup is bigger than the bread roll

By now you may know that I have a weakness for good graffiti. There is a legal wall in Prague where people can paint legally. As a result most graffiti in Prague also seems to be centered around there.

Love that wild-style, which reminds me a lot of Daim

Afterwards, I was sitting at a coffee place called “mamacoffee” writing and working some more. Later that day Michal picked me up again and we went to the hipster part of town. After having a beer in an old cinema we ended up in a small grungy little pub where we had some pickled smelly cheese as well as deep-fried cheesy bread. “Pickled” cheese is actually just “marinated”, but the name got lost in translation, because the Czech use the same word for both processes.

This pickled cheese was really harsh on the nose but it tasted absolutely to die for
Fried garlic bread sprinkled with aged cheese. I would almost call this the Czech version of Bruschetta

We ended up at Cross Club – a venue I heard quite a lot about. It was quite empty, which was no wonder given it was a Sunday night. The music was good, but we didn’t stay for too long.

Haha back in the days when I was even more into graffiti and scribbling around myself, this was what my tag ‘”fake” kinda looked like. This one however was done with hundreds of small little light-switches at Cross Club
Monday: Heading out to nature

One of the places I remembered best from my last trip was Divoká Šárka (pronounced Shark-a) – the nature reserve on the northwestern outskirts of Prague. Every tourist passes it when they come from the airport to Prague, but most don’t even notice it. For a rather healthy breakfast and to get some energy in, I went to UGO Salaterie and got myself a pea & basil wrap alongside a pineapple carrot smoothie.

Pea & basil wrap – This wrap was super filling! Think of it as a wrap slathered with British mushy pea’s

I spend a few hours walking around in the nature resort. Again, I was the only tourist there. All other passers-by were locals with baby pushcarts. The woods and hills here are ridiculously quiet and beautiful. Everything is completely untouched except for the one concrete road leading in. All the small little side roads are just dirt-paths.

Only one way in. Let’s just follow the road and see where we end up…

Moooom! Can you please come and get me? I think I’m lost…
Okay, now I’m getting hungry again and started to seeing things… are these wild tree Oreo’s?
Well, I’m not the only one here. Maybe I should try to climb out as well…

Ultimately I ended up in civilization again! There is a place called “Restaurace Šárka” at the entrance to the reserve. So what better way to reward my efforts than with some proper Czech food? I ordered myself some pickled cheese and goulash.

Pickled cheese on cabbage. The one thing I love most about the pickled cheese in Czech is that it’s different in every place you go to
Some hearty rich goulash with red onions and garlicky potato fritters

Back in Prague I saw a chalkboard advertising craft beer. As I’m a sucker for craft beers I had to have a look at their selection. The beer that seemed the most intriguing to me was the Space Shake from the First Order brewery.

First Order Space Shake – A papaya mango flavored milkshake lager. Very interesting stuff! Fruity and mild
I’m usually not the biggest fan of berries, but this homemade lemonade was really good

Afterwards I headed over to my favorite hipster place Cafe Neustadt again. I spent a few hours working there sipping away on strawberry and blackberry lemonades. Ultimately I decided that the Craft House was the better place to hang out and work. Stout is my favorite kind of beer and I wanted to give the local varieties a try. I had the First Order Solitude which turned out to be super heavy, which actually shouldn’t have been a surprise with it’s whooping 11% abv. Afterwards I chose a astonishingly light dark beer (Albrecht Kateřina Dark Lager).

There is only one thing that can properly complement beers: Sausages! While I was working I smelled that someone else in the bar ordered sausages. So I had to as well!
Tuesday: Time to say goodbye again

Oh time flies when you are having fun… All of the sudden it was Tuesday again, which meant it was time to leave. Last time in Prague the hostel staff broke open my locker because I didn’t check out in time. I packed my stuff and headed for the airport. For brunch I went to the airport restaurant in terminal 1. This is not your regular touristy overpriced airport restaurant however. It is basically the canteen for the airport personnel. Okay, it doesn’t have the fancy flair of a restaurant, but then again, which airport eatery has… It’s open 24/7 and priced very reasonable! Next time you arrive or leave Prague, skip all the fast food chains, head over to terminal 1 and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!

My last meal in Prague before boarding the plane: Goulash with Czech dumplings. Not only cheap, but also quite tasty and filling as well

My flight was delayed again, so I spend the time working till my plane finally took off. Once I arrived in sunny Amsterdam, I headed straight to the gym. The days in Prague definitely have not been well on my waistline… But having to workout is a small price to pay for all the delicious goodies that I was able to enjoy.

Foodie travel on a budget

Truth be told, one reason why I chose Prague as my trip destination is price. I’m rather broke at the moment but still wanted a long weekend away. Food, drinks and accommodation can be very cheap in the Czech republic, but then again Prague is probably one of the most expensive cities you can go to there. If you ever want to go there on a budget or just want to be a bit more safe and avoid the scams, check out Honest Guide to Prague on YouTube. Local Janek exposes all the scams and shows you how to get good cheap eats. I had no idea that the ‘traditional Czech Trdelnik’ I was so proud of eating the last time I was in Prague is actually one of the most famous tourist scams. Their name is the only thing that is actually traditional or Czech about them. I went to a lot of cheap places I came across in Janek’s YouTube videos. Two places I can definitely recommend are Lokál Dlouhááá and eating at the staff restaurant at Airport terminal 1.

Tourist scam: Trdelnik – Turns out this is one of the traditional foods that is not traditional at all. Tasted okay though

In my head I had accounted €500 for the whole trip. When I was there I did not really watch my budget though. I went to a lot of cheaper places, and to some that are definitely more expensive. Cafe Neustadt for example is not cheaper than local cafés in Amsterdam. Ultimately I ended up paying 424 euros which comes down to €70.67 a day. This includes the flight (€107), accommodation (€52), public transport, a concert, going out for food several times a day, waay too many drinks, as well as a trip to the nature resort.


PS: Back home, there was a bad surprise waiting for me. I totally forgot that I raided my fridge completely before leaving. There was nothing food related in there…

No food to be seen in this sad fridge. Just all kinds of dip sauces, mustard and light…
Alright, fries and “berehap met pinda” it is then (deep-fried sliced meatball and onion with peanut sauce). This is my guilty-pleasure!

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