Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Prague: So Many Vegetarian Cafes, But Only One That I Get Engaged In

Vegetarian cafes in Prague seem stuck in the 90's, but that's better than nothing. The city itself is quite a mistress, whoring herself out to holiday Italians who came to buy garnets and marionettes. But deep down, underneath her bridges and on her Jewish tongue, she hides a little bit of everything. There's the street lined with Hermes, the Stairmaster-like climb for an absinthe ice cream ripoff from nuevo hucksters. On a deserted alley graffiti-boasting the word Romantik, there's a Buddhist veggie cafe that's half Horizons, half Cantina. Inside, we grasp guarana-laced juices and order more Euro-style Mexican food. Are we assholes for that?

"I think you mean the Clear Head," the concierge, a young Hugh Grant, laughs through his eyes.

Clear something. I knew it was clear something. "Yes, that's it. Is it far from the hotel?"

He pulls out a Four Seasons map of Prague, pen in hand. He draws a hard circle a few blocks away and starts dropping Czech street names like a gypsy gangster rapper. No mind. My reading is excellent.

Still, only famished vegetarians would ever notice this place, positioned indirect from much else. The food will not blow me away, but it will soothe me. It will nourish me the way that an eggplant quesadilla for a Philadelphian who has been stuck eating Austrian cake-food for days does. There's no reason to expect fireworks.

Like Cantina, if run by Buddhists

Oooh. That guarana.

There my hands are in front of me again, always jumping ahead.

I order dessert because I'm not ready to go.

I order dessert because carrot cake with millet is like how badly some people want FiOS over Comcast.

The server leaves us alone in the dark room. Or nearly alone. I have mentally blocked out the other couple that live in the corner over their own dessert. She only pops back to deliver that carrot cake, studded with millet and raisins, paused over a pool of dark chocolate. A nutritionist's melee.

There was love at this table before this thing showed up. My whole body is fucking melting into the table. I am a table. We are not letting our hands go.

I ordered the rest of my life.

We might have been to every vegetarian cafe in Prague, including the sister restaurant from the Lekha Llava (Clear Head) folks. Maitrea was larger and had newer design, with a feng shui interior. My soy bean burger, well, it had wonderful spatial arrangement, too.

Beet tartare with sweet potato chips


kmudrick said...


kdubz said...

Thank you! Fella must be crazy, right...

Janet Follmeyer said...

I went to the same place in March after a thorough search in the rain, it was worth it.