Herbeck – a new light on the outskirts of Vienna

Following Julia’s call to try a new restaurant in her part of town, we started last Saturday first with a long walk in a nearby park (only available in German) to entertain her dog Becky. Of course entertaining the dog was only partly the reason to walk in the woods, I also wanted to work up some appetite before having an early dinner in the late afternoon (one has to do new places justice by ordering a lot and sampling as much as possible). The appetite part was easily achieved since the walk turned into some kind of mud-wrestling between the ground and my boots. My boots lost by the way. They are still residing on the balcony, waiting to be cleaned… (where are the elves when I need them?)

Anyway, I am starting to ramble again, the point was to get hungry with the help of some fresh air and this worked marvelously. We arrived at the Gasthaus Herbeck shortly after 5pm with more or less clean boots (so glad nobody took a closer look).

The restaurant looked already impressive from the outside, a bit like an enchanted castle. It might not show in this grey/early evening picture but I was also told that the garden in summer is especially nice. You can sit underneath lots of old chestnut trees and enjoy the shade. IMG_9752

Inside it was light and airy which was due to the high ceiling and large windows. The windows though were also a bit of a problem, there was quite a draft (and ivy growing through a window inside which is probably really charming in summer). IMG_9754

I started my meal with a “Gabelbissen(this is how the store-bought looks. So far I never had a home-made one)”. Just seeing this on the menu instantly aroused my curiosity to try it. And what a delicious choice! I remember eating the store-bought one at boarding school for dinner, and it was always a mayonnaise heavy culinary disaster. But here it was light and fluffy, with a hint of sour cream in the mayonnaise and apples folded in with the vegetables. The two slices of ham that went with it made it into a most memorable starter.

As a main course Julia and I had both the bull’s liver with potatoes. It tasted excellent and I just love it when there is enough sauce to mash the potatoes in. The liver itself was good but could have come out of the pan a bit earlier.

The portions were generous so after the liver I was already more than happy. But since Julia skipped the starter she ordered a lava cake. It tasted fine but there was no danger from any chocolate eruptions. I don’t think Julia missed it though because the cake was gone in a flash.IMG_9767IMG_9769

I am looking forward to revisiting the Herbeck to try some more. There were a few dishes I had to decide in-between. That is really the only drawback when you go out for dinner with just one friend (and the friend then orders the same as you), you can’t try it all (such a difference to the Duspara experience). But any reason is a good reason to come again. So in Arnold’s words: “I’ll be back”.
Yours, Pollybert

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Regional delicacies and other serious business

The food festival in Vienna is a very interesting event. Nowhere in Austria can one find so many producers of local food from all our nine provinces.

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My Canadian friends Fay and Robert met me in front of the Stadtpark in pouring rain. Saturday was not the best of days for an outdoor festival. Nevertheless we decided to make the best of it since it was their last day in Vienna. The flowers were in full bloom, and their smell was fighting with the aromas of cheese and grilled sausages.

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We walked around the park, trying to sample everthing that was on display. Robert tried lots of different goat cheese, Fay was looking more into ham and sausages while I bought an award-winning blood sausage, brawn in aspic jelly from a wild boar, Kriecherl juice (sorry, can’t find an English translation but it is like a yellow plum), a nut-tomato pesto and a strawberry “jam” named ‘Mieze Schindler’ (the strawberry, not the jam) from Erich Stekovics. Everything looked delicious, in the end I was glad I didn’t bring more cash!

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When we passed these sweets

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Robert decided it was time to take a break. By then it was mid-afternoon, time for a little glass of wine on this rainy day!

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After the small snack we needed a coffee and it was decided to go for coffee at the Café Sacher. Fay and Robert have tried to go there all week but turned around when they saw the line ups. I am aware that I am using plural here, but at the Sacher there is not only a Café, but also three other venues where you can spend your money (Sacher um’s Eck, Sacher restaurant, Sacher Stub’n). All four had a line-up of course, so we settled on the one in front of the café.

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Yours truly waiting in line for coffee, heaven help me!

In the end we made it inside and to be honest the wait was not so long. Having coffee at the Sacher is not like your usual coffee experience in any of the other coffee houses in Vienna. No, not at all. Here you wait to be seated, the moment you sit the waiter comes, asks for your order, your cake is served within a minute, coffee within five minutes and with the coffee arrives your bill. You really feel “welcome” here. Why the tourists are coming in droves is not clear to me, but I give the Sacher that: The cake is delicious!

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My cake was too good to wait for the picture to be taken. Fay seemed kind of sceptic because hers was disappearing very fast as well.

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In the end they both looked happy and our waiter made time to take a picture of us. Excellent service at the Sacher!

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Don’t think that this was all the food for the day. We met again at dinner time and went to the Gastwirtschaft Huth. They serve very good Viennese cuisine. Food and service were excellent and the meal was a memorable last dinner. Montreal is sadly not around the corner.

We said goodbye the next morning in front of their hotel. Fay and Robert, it was a pleasure having you here! I have never met anyone who took eating cake so serious! But you are right, it is serious business!

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PS: I finished ‘A feast for crows’ from George R. R. Martin and have started with the final volume (so far out) ‘A dance with dragons’.