Monday, August 29, 2011

HOLESOVICE part 1




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When I first came to Prague I used to live with a good friend in Koblisy and one of our favourite areas to visit when we didn't feel like taking the tram into the centre was Holesovice. It has everything in or around its vicinty: parks, galleries, zoo, museums, theme park and the list goes on and it is also cheaper and less touristy. A lot of my friends live in Prague 7, and if you haven't been to Letna, had a cheap Staropramen in a plastic glass and seen the fantastic views of Prague then what are you waiting for. If you visit Letna you can't help but notice how many Non-Czech sounding conversations you can hear. It is a buzz of expat conversations, games of American football and frisbie golf, roller skating, pogo sticking and many other pursuits and if Letna is easy to find just look for the giant metronome swinging from side to side, occasionally still, at the end of Revolucni and there it is. The metronome has been there since 1991 and before that it was the home of a pirate radio station which was housed under the plinth of what used to support the hugely impressive statue of Joseph Stalin, but in 1962, 10 years after Stalin's death, some 800kg of explosives, Semtex I imagine, were used to remove it and till 1991, when the metronome was erected remained clear, and briefly in 1996 there was a 35ft statue of Michael Jackson used to promote his History tour.
Holesovice is largely an industrial area and the train station and the river Vltava were a hive of activity in the earlier part of the last century but now as with most locations situated near transport hubs, businesses found cheaper ways of producing and delivering goods so as with Karlin the areas around the river became derelict, but in recent times and this seems to be a world wide trend new business and residential areas have started popping up and around Holesovice and the area is coming slowly back to life and the residential properties in this area have become a wee bit pricy.


Review no. 1


This place came as a recommendation from one of my students, who also happens to be the editor of Reflex magazine and his office is close by, so knowing how hard it is to impress him, I decided to treat myself to a nice Sunday lunch, well Uruguan Rib eye to be more precise and my experience was a pleasant one, it wasn't quite cooked as I had asked for it but a lot closer that previous requests. My SVG who as the blog has gone on, has suddenly become more difficult to please. I am not sure whether the blame can be put on the blog and the wide variety of places that we have visited or the fact that the baby is due to drop any minute now. She had the creamy risotto with wild mushrooms and it was creamy and the mushrooms were wild man!, she said that it was the first risotto to make her happy, also she had a homemade ice tea which she also enjoyed. So to recap, the service was very good, the menu is very nice and there are a lot of choices. The theme being modern Czech/continental influenced,  plain and simple with relatively good quality produce and quite reasonably priced considering as well. The location is in the middle of a new commercial/residential area of Holesovice's dock area so it has a great catchment area for its clientele and the restaurant is amply sized to cater for this. It is very nicely designed and looks very stylish and my SVG also asked me to add that the hand lotion in the toilets smelt very nice. I don't think she stole it, well I hope she didn't. Living with a pregnant partner they are prone to random acts of the strange and unusual.



 

 
My Life
                                            www.restaurant-mylife.cz

Other places of interest

Restaurant Pet Penez                          Mecca music club
www.restauracepetpenez.cz                 www.mecca.cz



Internet shop                                     Brixton bikers' shop
www.alza.cz                                      www.brixtonbest.cz


Bowling club
www.absolutnibowling.cz


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

KARLIN





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The summer is over, well as far as entertaining my children before school starts and the weather is concerned, it is. This week we visited Karlin and this area is significant to me for several reasons. The first one is that it was the first area of Prague that I visited in 1999 on arriving in Prague to take my TEFL exam, I had a welcoming meal with all my fellow studiers at the Charleston, all of whom have now left but I am happy to say that some of them are still good friends and thanks to Facebook and the internet in general we still keep in touch and if my life is an example there has been plenty of things to talk about. The next reason is more known to everyone and there are visible signs on almost every street corner and that was the floods of 2002 and caused a substantial amount of damage which almost 10 years on is only visible on the plaques on the wall marking the water level at its highest point and the last point because I did say several though in fact there could be many more, is the outdoor cinema and the gardens around the residence of the War veterans which, and I mean the gardens or park, have recently been refurbished or redesigned, anyway it looks bloody good and worth a visit.

Review no. 1

Karlin unlike other districts of Prague is doable in one trip so by the time we reached the Golden Cross we were scorched, parched and hungry and from the outside this place looked a wee bit expensive but as we had a look at the menu we were pleasantly surprised and that was just the beginning. The main reason for going in apart from our physical distress was the sign for the beer. It wasn't Plzen and I had never tried it before so it was game on. As we walked into the restaurant we were a little concerned that it being so nice and also so close to the more expensive hotels in Prague we were going to lose an arm or a head but sometimes you can be wrong with your first impressions and happily today was going to be one of those days. We decided that we would stick to the daily menu from the start so as to get a perspective of the no frills food and I had the chicken saltimbocca and my darling SVG who at 9 month pregnant is still waddling around the streets with her long suffering partner, who constantly complains about how slow she has become and tries to convince her to find me a younger slimmer companion to cover the blog with him but she surprisingly yields to such requests, had the spring onion soup.The saltimbocca if I was being picky was a little overcooked and the cured ham wrapping was a little too strong for the delicate flavour of the chicken breast. The sauce was also a little too salty and not bright and clear. The soup on the other hand was clear and sharp with lots of flavour. The one thing that we were very surprised about after our meal was that everything that was served to us was gluten-free from the bread to the beer, so for that it gets a big thumbs up, I was slightly suspicious that something was a little different but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. To sum up then we were satisfied with what was served to us and thought that it was good value for money and the staff were very friendly with the right amount of attention and they were very professional and not in a snobby way.

Na Zlate Krizovatce
                                                  www.nazlatekrizovatce.cz

Other places of interest


Vietnamese pho                                      Vegetarian restaurant
Sokolovska 48                                         www.mlsnakavka.cz
 

Futurama caffe                                      Wine bar
www.restaurace-bobovka.cz/cs
/73-futurama-caffe.html
                         www.zuckmantel.cz

 

Golf shop                                  Equipment for horses
www.golfprofi.cz                        www.mujkun.cz
 

Maternity and family centre      Ecologic products for babies
www.acentrum.eu                    www.vbavlnce.cz
 

Christian psychological consulting            Shooting range
www.kppp.cz                                           www.avim.cz
 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

SMICHOV part 2




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Hello again, it has been a while since I last put fingertip to notebook but here I am. Since my last interesting and revealing article on Liben I have been on holiday and admittedly gotten out of the sync of all things creative so I appologise for your long wait for this post on Smichov and hopefully we are back on track again, and next week you will be enthralled with our adventures in Holesovice.

Smichov Smichov Smichov, it is a frequently talked about place mostly in a negative way I must say, compared to the rest of the city centre  but there are some very nice places to visit and it is surprisingly big. My previous knowledge relating to Smichov was the area surrounding the railway station, which is pretty run down to be honest but it is under going a transformation gradually, and as we see with Holesovice it will be very interesting to see the final outcome. Actually Smichov is a very big area. Unbeknownst to me it incorporates all of Andel all the way to Svandovo Divadlo, which is a very nice modern contemporary theatre putting on modern plays unfortunately in Czech, well unless you speak Czech of course then hip hip hip to you and if you head away from the river it goes as far as the Malostransky hrbitov.

The surprising thing about Smichov are the large green areas all of which are between Andel and Petrin but very nice and the views that you get of the whole centre are worth the trek up the hilly environs. There is also a city farm and a large playground for the kids and some very beautiful gardens but my favourite place is the Malostransky hrbitov, yes it is a graveyard but it just looks so beautiful. It is completely overgrown with moss and vines and it is closed most of the time but from what my SVG told me, you can make an appointment to go inside and walk around, so that sounds really interesting or as one American friend would say "Awesome".

Review no. 1


I have been to this restaurant before. It was a work's Christmas party so I only got to see the interior and it was one of those typical Czech cellar restaurants. You must have been to one of them, bare bricks and animal's head trophies hung on the walls and lots of wood etc, so it was not my first choice but seeing as I was with my SVG and friends, I let them decide on where they would like to eat.
I would describe the restaurant a bit like a Czech Berni inn. For all of you Nonanglophiles it is a chain of family restaurants that specialise in good value steaks and grilled meats with an emphasis on good value for money but not necessarily  good quality produce but very generous portions and for families it is a great place to go but for someone looking for a sparkle of creativity or passion for their trade it it not so.
My SVG had the tuna steak with a pepper sauce and it came with broccoli and mashed potatoes. The picture tells the story and as for the tuna it had been frozen and was overcooked but apart from that my SVG licked the plate clean so she was satisfied, no complaints there. I had the shoulder of lamb with haricot vert or green beans and chips. The lamb was well done and the onion rings a bit too much on the dark side for my liking and the chips were the frozen variety, but the portion was very generous and like my SVG I polished the plate clean. I would describe it as a good home cooked meal. The way my mum used to cook it but for the gourmet probably not the most gastronomic experience.
Our good friends, well my SVG has first dibs on them so when we are going through a messy divorce in the future I am sure that they will not be offering me reassuring advice about looking forward and not looking back, Vanda (Slovak), I know this because she had a Slovak flag stitched on her back pack and Daniel (Polish) I also know this because he has a moustache and when he speaks it sounds like a Czech person with a hot potato in their mouth. Vanda had the fried cheese, again it was the frozen type but no complaints and Daniel had the pork neck with croquette potatoes. It was a nice portion and again he was happy with it. This place is great for a family dinner or with work colleagues and it is a cut above most restaurants. They have found their niche and are very organised, but for me there is not enough flair, and I wouldn't say that I am a snob but I love to cook and I like to see something with a bit of love creativity put into it that's all.




 
 
                                   Steak restaurant Vesely Bizon
                                           www.veselybizon.cz

Quiz

This week's photo was taken not too far from our review and it is also in Smichov. They have a very interesting light breakfast menu and a small range of light lunch options, so where is it? Get it right and I will buy you a light lunch with a beer.


 



Other places of interest

Columbian-Argentinian restaurant               Cafe bar Hugo z hor
www.elarriero.cz                                        www.hugozhor.cz
 

Specialties from Provence           Japanese teahouse Koke Iwa Chashitsu
www.provencenature.cz              Zubateho 3
 

Georgian fast food                Gym for children                     
Plzenska 38                         www.thelittlegym.cz                 
Shared space / cafe & bar        Shop with maps
www.cafeoffice.cz                    www.mapis.cz
   

Monday, June 20, 2011

LIBEN part 3



Looking at the photo that my SVG chose for the second part of Liben, which we thought would only take 20 mins tops and ended up taking more than 2 and a half hours, reminds me of my earlier years in Prague when all these cows started appearing on the streets around the city in the least expected places such as the one outside the main office building of HP in Budejovicka for example. The cows all had an original design, usually designed by a well known local artists or individual and the theme was connected with the cultural identity of the country and the idea was to raise money for charity. I think that is was called the CowParade.

Armed with a map and 2 digital cameras we set off for our cleaning up of the streets of Liben and the streets of Liben do need a bit of attention as do the buildings generally. What we found quite surprised us and by far the diamond in the rough was a brewery pub in the entrance to the hospital at Bulovka, also what we must add on a more topical note due to the recent release of the movie Lidice which is centered around the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich during the 2nd World War though the actual street doesn't exist, happened close to the hospital.

Review no. 1

This was, as I said before, our big find in Liben. It is situated in the entrance to Bulovka hospital and the unique thing about it is that it brews its own beer on the premises and on the menu we noted that they have around 10 beers but not all of them are available at the same time. On this particular day there was a list of 5 beers on offer chalked up on a small blackboard. They also have a very nice food menu. The focus is on traditional Czech food which means only one thing to me and that is cheese. For the people who need to be on line they have WiFi though when we visited there was a problem with the password and we weren't able to solve it before leaving but I am sure that it was just a glitch. I went for the pickled cheese again and it was very good I have to say, probably one of the best that I have tasted and my SVG had the grilled hermelin with green peppercorn and a compliment of cranberry sauce on the side. The food was very well presented and also very good. We would definitely go there again and would recommend it for its service, food and unique selection of beers and the price was also very reasonable. The restaurant seats about 80 I would say and the majority of the tables are those typical long wooden benches so ideal for groups up to 50 possibly or more if you had the whole space to yourself.



                                             Richter brewery
                                      www.pivovarubulovky.cz

Review no. 2


I must admit that I haven't been to many Pakistani restaurants, well to be exact and the other one is in Zizkov but I have been to many Indian restaurants and a hobby of mine is preparing traditional Indian food from scratch, so I am a bit of a snob when it comes to Indian food and I much prefer my home cooking to what you can find in Prague's Indian and Pakistani restaurants. Rana interestingly though has a neat little twist. They are a Pakistani pizzeria and as you walk in on your left is one of those typical wood burning pizza ovens.
When I arrived, which was about half an hour late, my SVG had already got stuck into some veggy samosas so I ordered a beer. I wanted an 11 degree Staropramen because that is my favourite but they only had the 10 degree, so I was a little disappointed but after one of my SVG's samosas I soon forgot about it. To be honest I don't really know the difference between Indian and Pakistani food and I assume that most of the dishes are very similar. It is also to do with the fact that in the past they were the same country, so I was familiar with most of the dishes. I went for the lamb biriyani which came mixed with the rice and I am used to it coming separate but it looked nice and the lamb was tender. My SVG had the aloo tinder which is a potato and baby pumpkin dish which comes with a mild creamy sauce. She enjoyed it even though she did admit to being a little stuffed, that doesn't mean that the portions were large though they were very generous, it just means that she doesn't have a big appetite. Personally I had no problems wolfing down the biriyani and if I had a complaint it would be that biriyani is a dish that should look very colourful and the sauce and rice should be served separately but the this one came as one. Overall it got the thumbs up. Good food, service and decor plus WIFI I must also add and if you are really greedy then you can order a pizza to take away. They do have a delivery service as well on their website and you can also have the Pakistani food delivered as well.

Rana
                                              www.pakistanirestaurant.cz

 

Other places of interest

Cooking school                                       Pension and camp
www.atelier-culinari.cz                             www.nakorabe.cz


Manana music bar                         Home made pies

Restaurant & bar Fantomas
Na vartÄ› 3