Wednesday, April 25, 2007

final musings on Vienna (Figlmuller,Palmenhaus,Zum Schwarzen Kameel)

My last day was an odd hodgepodge of several meals starting with lunch at the 100+ year old FIGLMULLER which is known for its WIENER SCHNITZEL that is bigger than the plate. Pounded fine and thin, it was nice but I wanted something more in the breading. The accompanying side of POTATO SALAD made with Styrian Pumpkin Oil and a salad of Field Greens was quite the item I found superb.

Before the opera I had my final plate of MARCHFELDSPARGL at the PALMENHAUS Restaurant ( located inside the Orangerie on the grounds of the Hofburg (Royal Palace). They were perfectly cooked, grilled and then layered with HOLLANDAISE with some boiled potatoes which I skipped. Sadly, we were running to the opera and after waiting almost 40 minutes had to beg for our dishes and the check at the same time. While this can be a problem, the setting alone is worth a return try.

After the opera I headed to where I was told I could get some good cheese. ZUM SCHWARZEN KAMEEL (The Black Camel)( has also been in the historic center for hundreds of years. Even the maitre d' sports a 19th century suit with long coat as well as beard, sideburns and moustache to rival that of the Emperor Franz Josef! The setting is old world with dark inlaid wood patterned walls, art nouveau chandeliers and a gorgeous frieze of while leaves on a gold leaf background. There are many antique oriental carpets and you feel as if you have been removed back over 100 years into the Austrian Empire.
An odd amuse came of a ham slice with shredded fresh horseradish on top, and then I had a small portion of Adriatic ROUGET (snapper family)with some Fennel & Orange Salad and three sauce of yellow, white and green (it looked like some nation's flag). The waiter suggested a perfect glass of PRAGER Riesling Federspiel. The cheese came and was a treat of Austrian goat, French goat with ash, two local cheeses (one hard and one soft with pumpkin seeds) and two French masterpieces, a Normandy Moulin de Carel Camembert and the ever-glorious Epoisses. Accompanying were raisins that had been soaked in wine and were wonderful with the lighter cheeses. The red wine was a Cuvee (I think he said "Unique") from Mittelberg region made from Syrah & Blaufrankisch and was soft and smooth, but big enough for the cheese. A fine finish to my stay in Austria!