Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lesson #2: Eating in the Czech

There are a lot of rules to follow when eating in the Czech. J was reading them to me as we waited for our first dinner in Prague. According to the Lonely Planet: 'only a barbarian would begin a meal without first saying "dobru chut" (bon appetit)' and 'the first drink of the evening must be accompanied by "na zdravi" (cheers) and its bad manners to talk while eating because you don't want to distract people while they are enjoying their food....  Prague
tap water (as labelled on the menu) cost an extra $1.50; bread that is delivered to your table (even if you don't order it) is then charged to your bill; and beer is listed by some out-of-the-ordinary number that is indirectly related to the alcohol percentage in the beer, but not solely or accurately stating the actual alcohol percentage of the beer. Weird, isn't it? Anyway, lots of things to remember.

Our receptionist suggested we try 'Cafe Louvre', as it was her favourite. Plus, it was across the street- and I was hungry! The atmosphere was amazing. Huge windows overlooked the street from the second floor seating, sparkly chandeliers hung low and big mirrors reflected the light around the room. Victorian style trim and wallpaper gave the space an undeniable elegance and with the antique cash register on the counter, I felt like I was walking into a different time.

We ordered traditional Czech dishes. J got fried cheese dumplings in a mushroom sauce and I ordered chicken breast in a roasted red-pepper sauce with spaetzle (a yellow, thick, delightful pasta). The plates were attractively arranged and both the food (including the Prague tap water and bread) were delicious. In the middle of our meal a very old lady came over to our table came over to our table and gave me a great big hug. She didn't speak a lick of English, but from what I gathered she was from Dubrovnik and I was from either Germany, England or the Netherlands. She seemed very happy that we were here and I was happy that she was happy (and also because I was eating delicious food). J said he had smiled at her a few times over the course of our supper... maybe that's why she wanted to talk/hug!

Sadly, and as expected, I had filled up on the (not) free bread, and only finished half my meal. Not wanting to waste (and thinking it would be a tasty breakfast) I wanted to bring my leftovers back to the fridge at the hostel. But, were leftovers a thing in the Czech? There were so many rules, and with the 'double double' misunderstanding yesterday - maybe leftovers were just a Canadian thing too?! Who knows. Apparently there are a lot of things this so-called 'School of Life' hasn't taught me. I don't think in all of our travels, I have ever had leftovers after a meal out... That and the fact that this was quite a fancy restaurant (again abnormal for our travels). Would they be offended if I asked for a takeout box? The amount of time I spent pondering this, and the fact that I'm now writing a blog about leftovers is pretty ridiculous. But in a fun way- right? Anyways. I tried to eat more- thereby eliminating the need for me to ask the left-over question at all. But I really ate a lot of that (not) free bread, and I was stuffed to the gills. Our server came over to collect J's empty plate. She looked at mine. I sucked it up and asked, 'Is it possible for me to bring this home?' gesturing obviously at my food. She looks at me for a solid ten seconds without saying a word with a confused look on her face. I'm assuming she's trying to decide how to tell me in English what a silly proposition I had just made. She is still staring at me. 'The food? Yes!' she exclaims, as if I had asked her if this particular Czech restaurant served beer, 'Of course!' Turns out she was just trying to decide whether I was actually an idiot-or just blonde. Either way. I had leftovers for breakfast, and that is all that really matters.

1 comment:

Gina said...

Glad you got to take your leftovers home! Lasse wrote a blog post where he explains the beer numbers....