Monday, September 7, 2009

Vienna: Hotel Cake Wars and the Never-Ending Market

By this time, all was well on the vegetarisch diet. Soft-boiled eggs, room service yogurt, muesli with booze in it, along with real coffee (long espresso) to start the days, afternoons spent over coffee in Viennese cafes, trying not to order cakes. The thing was, you had to order cake in Vienna. They made you.

This is home to the beloved Sacher Torte, a dense chocolate novel of apricot jam. Viennese coffees are unsweetened whipped cream suicides. Our hotel, the Imperial, was the front of the Imperial Torte, a small square answer to Hotel Sacher. I thought the Sacher was far superior.

Dr. Falafel. If a moment was ever nothing-can-fuck-with-this, this was it. Falafel is one of those things that's great everywhere (even in the South, I bet). It went beyond that here. After communicating with the cook at his take-out counter, we sat down and ordered drinks from the bar. We watched our falafel hiss onto some plates, then sat in the crowded, sticky, perfect setting. Every bite was a different lover. An 11-year-old bussed our table quicker than anybody at Parc blinks. This was one of the cheapest things we ate on vacation.

This meal of all meals came out of nowhere in Vienna: Naschmarket. It might be one of my favorite places in the world. Miles of fruit, veg, falafel, and more outdoor lunch sessions than any market I've been to.

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