5.14.2015

Prague - Cafe de Paris

A walk through the colorful streets of Prague.

Sometimes I feel like I'll never get caught up blogging about my travels. I love being able to share my photos and experiences, especially as processing the images and writing about what I did allows me live it all over again. Still, I have never been a fast writer, putting words to paper (or web page) will probably always be slow going for me. What I'm trying to say is that the events pictured here happened a while ago. I was in Prague last fall and I'm just now back from 12 days in Paris. I ate and enjoyed steak frites in both cities. First at Cafe de Paris in Prague, then at Le Relais de l'Entrecôte in Paris.

A foggy view up a fall hill in Prague.
Through a shop window.

At Cafe de Paris there's only one thing to order, Steak Entrecôte. You can start with some foie gras or onion soup, but the set menu of salad, bread, steak, and fries is more than enough for the average human. Out first is a generous salad, nicely dressed in a mustard-y vinaigrette, a small plate of sliced baguette on the side. Then, in no time at all, two platters arrive. Steak and fries served in abundance. Your waiter will portion both precisely onto your plate.

Interior
A very pretty salad.
Steak Entrecôte and Frites


Periodically he'll swing by to refill your plate with more steak, more fries, and most importantly, more sauce. It's a lot of food. The beef and fries are good, not great-the beef just a touch chewy, the fries a bit too crisp. Their real task is to serve as vehicles for the secret (as my waiter made sure to inform me) sauce. Rich with butter and loaded with shallots and herbs, it could make an old shoe palatable.

A bubbly bottle of cranberry juice to go with my meal.
I bet I know what they'll order.

It's a comfortable little restaurant. The dining room is intimate yet modern with smartly dressed waiters in waist coats and bow ties. I arrived to an empty restaurant just after opening, around noon, but the small space filled up quickly. By the time I was done every table was full and there was a group waiting. Bring cash! I had read that it was a cash only restaurant during my research, but it completely slipped my mind until I arrived and, thankfully, saw the sign on the door. So I wandered around for a good twenty minutes hunting down an atm to fund my meal.

Mmmm saucey steak and frites
A second serving


Stuffed and happy I headed back out into a foggy Prague to check out the view and library at Strahov Monastery. A few photos for now, I'll leave the rest for a future entry.

A tram in Prague.
Mint & snakes
Good morning.
arches + babies
tram tracks
Books in Strahov Monastery's Theological Hall
The grand Philosophical Hall at the Strahov Monastery
The epic view from Strahov Monastery, hindered a bit by the fog.
From the top of the hill.

3.09.2015

Catedral de Sevilla + Casa Roman

Still green Seville oranges frame the city's massive gothic Cathedral.


You can't miss the Cathedral of Sevilla. The Cathedral's massive size and presence dominates the skyline of Sevilla's old quarter. La Giralda, a former minaret converted into a bell tower, stands so tall over the city's old quarter that I often used it like a compass to find my way home after a day of exploring. Reflecting Spain's Golden Age of discovery, the basilica is dominated by immense columns, elaborately tiled floor, and a soaring, ornately carved ceiling. After my visit I was un-surprised to learn that it is the largest Gothic church in the world. It's pretty epic.

La Giralda towers over Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville, Spain.
A statue of Christopher Columbus at the massive Cathedral of Seville.


A UNESCO World Heritage site, the cathedral was built over the Great Mosque the 1400s. Only the minaret and interior garden survived Christianization. The basilica also houses the (alleged) remains of Christopher Columbus. But good luck finding the monument, there's so much to see and so many tombs. I was distracted by the way that the stained glass windows filtered colored rays of light throughout the massive space. A few extra euro buys you a ticket to climb up La Giralda for a grand view of Sevilla. I skipped this in favor of a trip to the top of the Metropol Parasol later in the day.

Dramatic baroque tiles cover the floor of the Seville Cathedral in Spain.
The epic vaulted ceilings at Seville Cathedral.
Tree trunk like columns dominate the space at Seville Cathedral.
An ornate alter to the Virgin Mary at the Cathedral of Seville.
The ornate interior of the Seville Cathedral in Spain.

A sunny day in the center of Sevilla - Barrio Santa Cruz.

And it was time for lunch. I stumbled my way to Casa Roman, another restaurant recommended by Shawn Hennessey, and had an incredibly simple, perfectly delicious meal. Like Las Teresas, Casa Roman has a lot of traditional Spanish charm.

Interior of the ultra charming Casa Roman in Seville, Spain
An appetizer of grilled zucchini and a tinto at Casa Roman in Seville, Spain
Along with my now customary tinto, I decided I needed something green (I ate a lot of pork and potatoes in Spain). So a tapa of grilled zucchini seemed like just the thing. As is typical of many Spanish vegetable preparations, the zucchini was smothered in olive oil, rendering the flesh smooth and silky. Served cold like an antipasto, it was lovely.The main course was even better. I had the Grilled Presa Iberica, tender little strips of ibérico pork charred just so and liberally seasoned with coarse salt. A bed of fries below soaked up all the meaty juices.

After ending the meal with a coffee, my tired feet and full belly decided it was time for a siesta. I searched the skyline for La Giralda then followed it homw to my hotel. A short siesta later and I was ready for an evening adventure at Las Setas and another lovely meal at La Azotea.

A delicious plate of grilled pork at Casa Roman.
High quality jamon hangs from the rafters of Sevilla's Casa Roman.
Dining on jamon at Casa Roman in Seville, Spain
A cortado to finish the meal at Casa Roman.
Grilled Presa Iberica at the traditional Spanish spot, Casa Roman.

Green Seville Orange trees line a path towards la Giralda and the Seville Cathedral right in the heart of Barrio Santa Cruz.

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