As I write this I'm not really sure how Jenn and I have any energy at this point. As we hit day twelve of the Ultimate Europe Trip I'm starting to realize we're just hitting the half way point. That's what made this morning so dang perfect. Our one and only activity today didn't start until 2PM so that gave us the entire morning to do absolutely nothing and that's basically what we did. I didn't go out for a run until almost 9:30AM and got back with coffees and waffles from Starbucks at close to 10:30AM. It felt amazing.
When we finally got ready for the day it was a little after noon, and we didn't leave our hotel until 1:30PM. Today marks not only our last full day in Prague but it also marks our last food tour of the trip. We started the food tour craze in Barcelona last year, and have done now three on this trip. We love it. It's a great way to try new foods, eat what they consider to be the best of their city, and enjoy a day of eating and drinking. That's what Jenn and I love to do.
The tour, Taste of Prague started at 2PM and by the time we got there it was just starting to rain. The first and hopefully only rain of the trip. We took out the umbrellas, met the other two families on the tour (a couple from Boston and parents from Tapei with their daughter from New Jersey) and the guide and went off to our first two stops across from each other.
The first two tastings came from a cafe called Sisters. You can probably guess why it was named that. They specialize in open-faced sandwiches. You can also guess that Jenn was not excited when she heard that. The first open-faced sandwich we tried was a celery-root salad sandwich which was phenomenal. Even Jenn who despises anything of that texture was able to eat half of it. The second open-faced sandwich was not as great. It was a beet root puree with goat cheese and caramelized walnut. Neither of us are big fans of beets but I took one for the team and wolfed down both.
The next stop was literally across the street from Sisters and was called Nase maso butcher shop. It's one of the most popular butcher shops in all of Prague and we can see why. We started out with an incredible meatloaf sandwich. I'm pretty sure I've never had meatloaf in my life, probably because my parents seemed tortured with it when they were kids. This one was amazing, full of flavor and delicious. We then moved on to steak tartare on bread which too was out of this world. Both Jenn and I grinned at each other after this one. We finished our time at the butcher shop with a fantastic Debrecen sausage or in other words a hot dog. Jenn's favorite of the tour so far.
From there we made a short walk to a restaurant called Lokal. This is one of those restaurants that almost every website we looked at recommended for great food. We were so happy to hear we were going there because we didn't get a chance to go there during our time here in Prague. We started out with beer, the Czech national food/drink/lifestyle. Our tour guide Anicka said that the average number of beers consumed by a Czech at Lokal is nine. If you see the picture of the bigger mug I'm holding, you will soon realize that is an insane amount of beer. We had their Pilsner Urquel lager which is brought in fresh every morning. Jenn got a small glass drank one sip and handed me hers. So lucky for me I had two.
Our first item to eat at Lokal was Prague ham with horseradish cream. I was shocked at how good the horseradish cream was with sliced ham. It was literally like whipped cream with a slight hint of horseradish but it worked. Next up was their take on pork schnitzel with potato salad. I've had two takes on this in Berlin, but this one blew it away. The breading was just so much better, although once again could have used a sauce. The potato salad on the other hand was just OK. Last but certainly not least was the beef goulash with dumplings. This was a dish made for Jenn. Hearty with deep flavors and amazing texture. It's the first goulash we've ever had and it blew both of us away.
At this point we were both stuffed. Not exaggerating at all, we could have stopped eating at this point and been good for the day. Sadly, or luckily depending on how you look at it we were only on the half-way point. Next stop was a short walk to a hidden wine bar called Bokovka. There we got to try three Czech wines, two whites and a red. The two whites had very Czech names so I wasn't able to catch them. The first was a sparkling crisp white wine followed by a much fruitier almost Saunignon Blanc white. The last tasting was for a red wine a Pinot Noir which was good but not great. The wines were good but what was better was the atmosphere of this very remote but interesting wine bar.
After we got done plowing back three glasses of wine we jumped on their above ground tram to the last restaurant of the day, Eska. Before we did we stopped right outside and tried a shot of 50 proof plum alcohol. It's a drink that was made during communism and boy was it strong. Somehow we both got it down and felt nice and warm for hours. We got to the restaurant and were given the chef's table right in front of a beautiful open kitchen.
To our both shock and dismay we had three courses at Eska plus an amuse bouche. I don't normally mention bread and butter but their bread was right out of the oven, thickly sliced, and out of this world. I may have even snapped at Jenn when she tried to take some of my bread. Our first course was burnt potato in ash with potato espuma. Sounds odd right? The potato was burned in ash in the oven and tasted amazing, weird, but great. It was in this foamy liquid that was to die for. I got caught "mmming" a little loud by the rest of the table while easting this one.
The second course was neither Jenn or my favorite, mostly because it contained a lot of mushrooms something we both can eat but aren't big fans of. It was fermented red wheat with sous-vide egg (love the sous-vide) and button mushrooms and zemlovka It was still really good but a little to dense of a dish for this late in the food tour.
Our last dish of the food tour was dessert and it was bread pudding with apples in an espuma of vanilla and rum. It was so delicious, it had so many layers, and was such a complex dish for dessert and yet tasted amazing. I'm pretty sure although our entire tour seemed stuffed there wasn't a drop of dessert left on anyones bowl.
We then were fortunate enough to be able to do a tour of the kitchen and learn more about the process of making some of these very complex dishes. It put Chef Joel & Jenn to shame, but gave us inspiration for better food in the future.
The tour ended and walked down the street for our last try at finding the right Prague Starbucks mug. It came up disappointing but we purchased a different Prague Starbucks mug all the same. We then grabbed an Uber, hit some traffic, but eventually made it back to our hotel a little after 6PM.
When we got back we started packing our stuff and getting ready to leave tomorrow. Thinking back on our time here in Prague I'm still amazed with all the great memories we've made. We walked for miles, ate amazing food, pedaled a boat in the Vlatava, saw a ballet, played mini-golf in an old warehouse, Segwayed to the Prague Castle, and loved every second of it. It's hard to think about leaving tomorrow, but the Ultimate Europe Trip must continue, and so it will in the beautiful city of Vienna.