Fotoeins Fotografie

location bifurcation, place & home

Posts from the ‘Food and Drink’ category

Mayer am Pfarrplatz, 19. Bezirk, Döbling, Wien, Vienna, Austria, Österreich, fotoeins.com

My Vienna: 20 food spots from A to V

Bäckerei, Beisl, Café, Heuriger, Imbiss, Kneipe, Lokal, Restaurant.

Whatever your choice or preference, there’s no shortage of places for a sip and nosh in the city of Vienna. Over a period of 30 days, an extended stay in the Austrian capital city provides plenty of opportunities to try something new, though truth told, I also prepared a lot of food in the apartment …

I describe below 20 food visits in Vienna, for all the tasty bits including Döner, falafel, finger sandwiches, horsemeat, ice cream, pastries, raspberry torte, roast pork, Shakshuka for breakfast, Viennese veal schnitzel, and shwarma Syrian-style.


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My Vienna: Habsburg favourite Tafelspitz, at Plachutta Hietzing

What appears to be a plate of slow simmered beef is anything but “simple”.

Tafelspitz is a dish with a lot going on,” said Austrian chef Kurt Gutenbrunner to the New York Times in 2002. “It’s hot, cold, spicy, creamy, crunchy and soft.”

Eaten daily by Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph I (1830-1916), the dish is well-known among Vienna favourites. Among members of the Jewish community of the time, the Tafelspitz was a beloved symbol of assimilation in late 19th-century/early 20th-century Vienna.

Reading about the description for Tafelspitz brings about a sharp childhood memory of a soup made by Mum. Tender chunks of chuck roast, accompanied by carrots, potatoes, celery, shards of ginger root, and often with apple to provide extra sweet; cooked slow and simmering in a huge pot on the stovetop for hours. The resulting soup was a meal on its own, or served as a final course at dinner.

Plachutta is well-known among the Viennese for making some of the best Tafelspitz in the city. A big Plachutta is located centrally in the inner city, but I head west to the city’s 13th district for their original Stammhaus location in Hietzing. It’s fitting somehow that the Hietzing location is close to the Habsburg summer palace at Schönbrunn.

The images show a wonderful spread with the Tafelspitz dish with my choice of the Tafelspitz or rump steak cut. I started with the long slow simmered soup broth, ladled out into a bowl with big chunks of egg frittata. And provided within a bowl of soup are the specific details of family: nourishing, caring, satisfying.

After a section of slow-cooked bone is presented, I spread the soft gelatinous marrow onto slices of toasted dark bread, topped with salt and pepper. Next, slices of moist tender slow-cooked beef are laid onto a plate, along with crunchy fried potatoes, creamed spinach, apple-horseradish sauce, and chive sauce.

Certainly, I paid a little more for the meal, but the Plachutta Tafelspitz was a great dining experience, providing a new memory of Viennese cuisine, combined with a family memory of Cantonese-style home-cooked food.


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My Vienna: Beethovenhaus Heuriger Mayer am Pfarrplatz

Above/featured: “Beethovenhaus” Heuriger Mayer am Pfarrplatz. Pfarrplatz square, Heiligenstadt, in Vienna Döbling (19.)

26 May 2022.

It’s a nation-wide holiday on the 26th of May (2022): Ascension of Christ (Christi Himmelfahrt). On a bright and warm late-spring day, people are out and about, and very few shops are open.

I’m halfway through my month-long stay in Vienna, and today, I’m in the city’s 19th district, Döbling, where in his time Beethoven spent many summers resting, composing, and contemplating life with total hearing loss. I’ve spent the morning wandering through the Heiligenstadt neighbourhood, including a visit to one of his summer residences that’s now a museum dedicated to Beethoven. Not far down the street is another Beethoven summer house that’s now a wine tavern or “Heuriger”. A hanging bunch of pine branches at the front door means this tavern is open for service, with food and their own wine on offer.

The Austrian capital city is home to the world’s largest “urban vineyard” and is the world’s only capital city producing wine within its city limits. There are some 600 wine producers; 400 individual vineyards; over 7 million square metres (75 million square feet) of cultivation space producing both white and red wines in a 80/20 split, respectively; and an average annual yield of 2 million litres or over 2.5 million bottles of wine. Most of the wine is sold for immediate consumption at wine shops and grocery stores, and at the city’s many wine taverns.

1pm on a holiday is going to be busy, and most tables in shade in the outdoor patio are occupied. I don’t intend to linger; so, I take an open spot under sun. A waiter comes by and asks if there’s something I’d like to drink. I request an “Achtel” (“eighth”, 125mL) of Mayer’s own 2021 Grüner Veltliner, and ask whether’s a buffet today. The food counters are around the corner, he replies, handing me a slip of paper with my assigned-table number. I can pay for the food upon ordering at the counter, or I can pay when I’m done. Inside, there’s the unmistakable glow and refrigerated chill of the food counters. There are salads of the German/Austrian kind (no much of the green leafy kind, though); pickles and Sauerkraut; fatty, meaty, cheesy spreads for bread; the “usual suspects” including pan-fried potatoes, roast-pork and -chicken, sausage, blood sausage; cold cuts and cheeses; and naturally, a dessert display.

I’m not gonna eat too much or fill up on carbs on this very warm afternoon. Keeping it simple, I’ve a tomato and onion salad, to go with a pork Bratwurst, a meat patty (Faschierte Laibchen/Frikadellen), and a big juicy slice of caraway-roasted pork (Kummelbraten). Staff behind the counter ask if I want “Saft” (gravy/juices) with the meat choices. “Ja, bitte!

The tomato and onion mix is a little sweet and sour. This along with the smooth yet sharpness of the wine provide a lighter taste balance to the “heavier” meat portions. The Bratwurst and meat patty are very good, but the Kummelbraten. Oh, the Kummelbraten. The outside is crunchy-chewy (knackig), and the pork is juicy (saftig) and delicious (gewürzt). It’s a style of old-fashioned cooking my parents would have recognized and enjoyed.

The tavern provides a cozy setting. People are shuttling between their tables and the food counters, and there’s a happy murmur to the conversations around me. The young and old fill up tables in both front- and back-garden seating areas. In my view, it’s a pricey meal for one person; yet, I was tempted by the Cremeschnitte on display. However, I also think sharing a variety of food and splitting a bottle of their white vine among a group of people would be a fun spread for an afternoon or evening.


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My Vienna: Wiener Schnitzel at Meissl and Schadn

“Schnitzel: das ist nicht nur nach den Umfragen das Lieblingsessen der Österreicherinnen und Österreicher. Das ist fast schon ein Religion, oder zumindest ein Kultobjekt, der Mittelpunkt eines heliozentrisch-kulinarischen Systems.”

Not only is schnitzel Austria’s favourite food, it’s almost religion, or at the very least, a ‘cult object’ (at) the centre of a heliocentric culinary system.

“Genussland Österreich: vom Wiener Schnitzel”, by Gert Baldauf (ORF 2011).

The short wood mallet strikes with a thud.

Then, a second; followed by another.

The targeted slab becomes flatter, the fleshy disk gets thinner, growing outward with every thump. The shape is closer to circular, its size as large as a dinner plate.

The prep staff in kitchen-whites, in full concentration with their labour.

And that piece of freshly cut veal pounded thin will soon be breaded, and deep-fried to a crispy golden-brown.

The Wiener Schnitzel will soon be mine.


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Central Market, Adelaide, SA, Australia, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, thirty-two

10 years ago, I began an around-the-world (RTW) journey lasting 389 consecutive days, from 24 December 2011 to 15 January 2013 inclusive.

16 August 2012.

I’m visiting friends in Adelaide in South Australia, and one of our first stops is the city’s Central Market. Since 1869, the market’s vendors have provided fruit, vegetables, meats, cheese, and dairy products from South Australia, around the nation, and beyond. The sight of tiny little sausages pulls me towards Con’s Fine Food who’ve been present at the market since the 1960s. And I can’t forget there’s still rashers of bacon and slices of cheese.

I made the image on 16 Aug 2012 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi) and these settings: 1/100-sec, f/2.8, ISO400, and 50mm focal length (80mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-mk7.

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