After waking up at 3am for our 6:45 flight to Prague, we were feeling a little yucky upon arriving. I hadn't slept well the night before and definitely didn't sleep well on the short plane ride over. But our moods were highly lifted when our super fab hotel, K+K Central Prague allowed us to check-in at 10:00am....fab right (I'll be gushing about this place later)? We found our room and laid down for a short bit before our food tour was scheduled to begin at noon.
I love to cook and I love to eat.....I even considered culinary school at one point and time. And I have been dreaming about this food tour ever since I read about it on one of my fave blogs so needless to say, I was excited. And starving. I hadn't eaten breakfast as I was trying to keep myself ravenous for this tour knowing that we would receive a ton of food. Well, I don't think it would have mattered how many days I could have starved myself for the amount of food was immense. But that comes later.
We met our tour guide Jan (pronounced Yan) a few minutes after noon as we were running a bit behind and he was more than welcoming. The Taste of Prague tour only allows 4 people per tour (unless you arrange something else with Jan) and we met our fellow tourists, who hailed from Lyon, France. Jan had us all tell a bit about ourselves as this tour was to be as if we were friends....not tourists. After our introductions, we all had a plum brandy shot, which was basically the equivalent of Czech moonshine, and headed to our first stop of the day, Sisters. Talk about a wake up to get our day started!
|photo from Jan|
Our next stop was just across the walkway. Nase Maso is a butcher shop serving up the freshest organic meats....
I was a little concerned about all of the meat dishes on the tour because I am not a big red meat eater. Smoked meats really cause me to be puffy and just leave me feeling unhealthy. But after I tasted this array of meats, I knew I was eating something so fresh and simple. The meatloaf was the most amazing meatloaf I have ever tasted. So moist and just perfectly seasoned. The sausage was delicious as well and I was so surprised at how much I liked the pastrami....again, not very salty and just so fresh tasting. So unlike the over salted meats that we are used to in the States. Jan advised us not to eat all of the bread with the meats to save room....I'm glad I listened!
Our next stop: Lokal. A local pub serving up traditional Czech dishes. We had the pork schnitzel with potato salad, Prague ham with horseradish cream and beef tongue with mustard and horseradish. Yes, I said beef tongue. The pork schnitzel was perfect and the potato salad reminded me of home. I commented that all the food so far reminded me of the south in the US. Oh, and lets not forget our first taste of Czech beer. Kozel dark beer, fresh from a tank that had only been open for 3 days. Um, wow. My new favorite.
Now, for the beef tongue. Not my fave. The men on the tour ate theirs up fairly quickly, but us ladies kind of took a bite and then kindly refused the rest. I tried to force my mind to not think about what I was eating but it really was not very appetizing to me! However, Van was impressed that I tried it!
While finishing our beers, Jan informed us that he had a little surprise for us. La Degustation. As an avid No Reservations watcher for years, I knew exactly what he was talking about. La Degustation was a restaurant that Anthony Bourdain visited on his trip to Prague. The restaurant is Michelin starred and casually fabulous. The staff that runs the restaurant is nothing short of a small army. The kitchen crew consists of 2 shifts of 7 crew each day. They were already there at 1pm working away for the dinner opening at 6pm. And get this, the restaurant only serves two dinner settings a night for 40 diners on each setting.
We were given a tour of the two kitchen areas and the wine cellar. We were also shown the kitchen 'bible'....a cookbook that was basically falling apart that was at least 100 years old. I loved the open kitchen that fed into the dining area. Any restaurant that has an open kitchen is awesome in my book!
We had the amuse bouches, the small plates. These included rabbit ear with rabbit pate and pickled mushroom (my favorite), fermented potato pancake with horseradish cream and flowers, fried trout skin with dill mayonnaise, hay-burnt potato with curd cheese and pork cracklings, and an assortment of biscotti. Fancy and artistic right? You could tell that these dishes were created with love and passion. An experience of a lifetime!
You would think that the tour would be amazing after these 4 places right? Oh but there is more! After the whirlwind of La Degustation, we headed over to Sansho, an Asian fusion restaurant serving Asian dishes with Czech influences. Shown below was arguably the best dish of the day. And surprisingly so because remember I said I'm not much of a meat eater? Well, I give you pork belly with pepper sauce and broccoli. I mean whoa. It was absolutely, mouthwateringly good. I was so surprised and unfortunately too full to eat as much as I wanted. I will dream of this dish for years to come!
We also had duck and squid rolls with peanut sauce, rabbit curry, and beef randang with hot jam. Dee.Licious.
So, our last stop. Another Anthony Bourdain place. Cafe Savoy. This will always be a memorable moment for we had our first taste of Becherovka, an herbal liquor known to help settle the stomach after a large meal. Boy, was this a little life saver! Cleansed the palate and helped washed down the most amazing sweets. Which included, "vetrnik" (round windmill choux pastry with caramel and cream filling and caramel glaze), “venecek” (choux pastry with vanilla cream and a sugar glaze), apple strudel and “laskonka” (coconut meringue and chocolate cream). My favorite was a tie between the vetrnik and the laskonka!
If you are planning a trip to Prague and you love food like we do, do yourself a favor and splurge on this tour. And take the tour on your first or second day in Prague. Not only do you learn a lot about Czech culture but you get a nice sample of what food is on offer in the city. Sometimes I leave a location wanting more or feeling like I might have missed something. But with Taste of Prague, I left Prague feeling that I had a very well rounded taste of the city!
For more information on the tour, head on over to Taste of Prague