The Pancaky Papers: Thingorjus in Praha

Jul 18th, 2004, 08:40 AM
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The Pancaky Papers: Thingorjus in Praha

Scene: dark basement restaurant called AMFORA. Waitress with the look of a gypsy (think of Yvonne De Carlo in tight black pants) has just brought dessert menus to our table. Kim Carnes? BETTY DAVIS EYES is playing in the background.

I ask, ?What would you recommend for dessert??
?We have yes delicious pancaky for you yes. You can have chocolate or some very nice ice cream or fruit pancaky yes.?
?Yes, we will have pancaky!!!!?

And we had pancaky every single day, thereafter. Did I mention that we now LOVE pancaky?? (For those of you who don?t understand, pancaky are pancakes stuffed with fruit, whipped cream, ice cream, or chocolate.)

Thank you to Elaine for recommending RESTAURANT DAVID to my mother and me. It was EXTRAORDINARY. It was not easy getting to from our hotel in Nove Mesto, but it was worth the effort. I had an outstanding appetizer of foie gras, followed by deer roll. My mother chose goulash and young bull steak. The portions were so HUGE that we could not have dessert. The restaurant was charming in a rustic sort of way, and our waiter was hysterically funny. He reminded me of Graham Norton, albeit the Slavic version. DAVID was our favourite place to dine in Prague. Two dinners, two appetizers, bottle of wine (Spalkovy Zweigeltrebe 2003) came to $100 US.

We also dined at LA PERLE DE PRAGUE. While the view was ethereal, the food was not as good. Nothing was bad, but nothing was exceptional. I can recommend the eggplant appetizer, and the cheese plate. My entrée was rabbit spine with noodles. It was rather mediocre, with my noodles being cold (probably sat too long in window). My mother?s fish was so-so, but she said her crème brulee was very good. If you choose La Perle, go for the beautiful view, not the food. Service at the restaurant was too pretentious. Every time I took one sip of water, a waiter would come charging across the room to refill my glass. Waiters were very amicable, however, no snootiness at all. Two dinners, one appetizer, cheese plate, one dessert, bottle of wine (Modry Skelka Muller Thurgau) came to about $100 US.

We dined TWICE at ZAHRADA V OPERE (Garden in the Opera). The food was better than La Perle, but not as good as David. However, it was VERY good. I highly recommend it, especially for the quirky, post-modern décor. I had appetizer of apergine stuffed with goat cheese, with entrée of lamb. My mother had small salad from salad bar and Chinese-style chicken with cashew nuts. We each had pancaky for dessert, with cappuccino. Bottle of Frankovina wine. The bill came to about $62 US. On the second return I had fried blue cheese salad, and pasta tagliolini with calamari. My mother had tomato and mozzarella salad, with entrée of pasta tagliolini with chicken. We had three glass of wine between us, and two cappuccinos. Bill came to $45 US.

We had dinner at CAFÉ AMFORA on Stepanska St. Food was VERY good for the price. Two spaghetti Bolognese, two salads, two glasses of wine, pancaky for dessert, two cappuccinos came to a WHOPPING $16 US.

I also recommend neighbouring TITANIC STEAK on Stepanska St. Very good food, although atmosphere is slighly seedy. (Stag party in back room with stripper parading around in bathing suit. We thought it highly entertaining, however, as my mother and I have sense of humor.) Two HUGE entrees, two salads, two glasses of wine, and two cappuccinos came to $22 US.

Stay away from cafes in OLD TOWN SQUARE. Like San Marco Square in Venice, prices are HIGHLY inflated. Just walk down Tynska, off of Old Town Square, and you can dine much cheaper. We liked a little café opposite the front door of BOTANICUS perfume shop.

I am happy to report that we had no bad meals in Prague.

Part II to be posted later.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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Happy to hear from you John!
Now I wish I had some pancacky!
Thank you for writing, I miss you

Scarlett is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 09:19 AM
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WOW! Are you still thin after all that food?
kybourbon is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 09:25 AM
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I was SO eager to hear about your trip, thanks for reporting back. However, already sated or not, you made a major mistake by not having pancaky at "David" where one of my nephews, a picky eater, just swooned. Well, maybe not swooned, but he darn well liked them.
I don't feel so bad now about not having tried La Perle. What's that landmark building like inside? Conventional elevators, or curvy swirly ones? Is La Perle atop Fred, or Ginger?

But you left out a very important detail. What did your mother BUY? And how did she get the chandelier into the suitcase?
elaine is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 09:32 AM
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Pancaky sounds deeeelish ;-)!
Judyrem is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 09:39 AM
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Good to hear you are enjoying your trip with your mum, John. Also glad to hear you are eating well, dear.

My favorite pancaky is stuffed with vanilla ice cream and drizzeled in Belgain chocolate. Mmmmmm.

Looking forward to part II and curious about the chandelier, as well.
Statia is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 09:42 AM
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Did you actually order the crepes as "pancaky" ???!!! I have never heard them called that, and I have been to Prague 8 times...! The proper way to order them is "palacinky", but I guess enough waiters have heard people butcher their language to the point that they understand other's slang terms. Since I am going over there next week, I'm going to try Restaurant David, as well as the "Opera Graden". Thanks for the report, and glad you enjoyed your food!!
amp322 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 01:15 PM
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Amp, the waitress at AMFORA called pancakes "pancaky," so naturally we called them that too. I think that you are correct by calling them "palacinky."
But, I did see a chalkboard menu outside of a restaurant on Vaclav Namenski with "pancaky" printed on it. Most of the restaurants we ate at had English menus, so "pancaky" was listed as "pancakes."

I didn't gain any weight on this trip. How could you after CLIMBING up the steps to Prague Castle? My mother said, "Where is the elevator?" I said, "No elevator. You have to walk." She thought I must be joking.

I wasn't. We needed oxygen masks by the time we got to the top.

We bought no chandeliers. However, my mother SWOONED when she saw the Meissen chandelier at Karlstein Castle. I think she pondered about taking it, but decided against it when I told her the guards at the front gate had guns.

The shopgirls at BOTANICUS perfume and soap store on Tynska couldn't believe my mother returned 4 times. One girl said to her, "Again?" I think she bought 15 bars of soap and ALL of their stock of BITTER ORANGE cologne. She bought enough bath oil to last one year.

She bought a Moser glass pot-pourri container and a garnet ring, as well.

Well, Elaine, the elavator at La Perle (pronounced La Per-LA) is very ordinary and whisks you to the 7th floor, where the restaurant is. The restaurant seems to be in both "Fred" and "Ginger." I think we sat in "Ginger." There is a cafe and bar on the ground floor, just inside the "Ginger" side. The decor of the restaurant is very minimilist, concentrating on the color white. I didn't like the men's room, as the urinals where perpendicular to each other, so your buttocks were touching the person next to you (very odd indeed) Then, if someone was washing their hands at the sink, they were looking down into your urinal! Not a very good design, if my opinion.

Don't dress up for dinner in Prague. Even in the best restaurants, people were wearing shorts and sandals. A Japanese man at La Perle was wearing shorts and a NY Yankees hat. I think the casual dress code is a leftover from the Communist era, where it was "elitist" to dress up.

We loved the Metro. It was very easy to use. If you have any trouble, there are plenty of people around to help you. Everyone was very helpful. We encountered no hostility to Americans. Even though my mother and I were born in England, we have lived in the US for almost 25 years. However, no one thought we were American, everyone pegged us as either German or English. This even before we spoke. One girl at Karlstein Castle told us that we looked very German when she mistakenly tried to speak German to us. One American man from NJ said the same thing when he tried to speak German to us at the Sternberg Museum.

What does a German look like?

A Frenchman in Cesky Krumlov told us, "You are English yes? You can't be American, you are both too thin."
ThinGorjus is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 01:34 PM
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Lol, very funny report, as I hoped. You and mom sound like fun to travel with.. We had a waitress the other night, I commented , "she looks and sounds like Marie Montez." Dumb look on the friend's face, not knowing who she was. Nor would she know Yvonne.
My husband looks German and he goes.
through the same experiences.
John, are you home now posting?
Did Jackie-o welcome you back with lots of licks?
cigalechanta is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 01:33 AM
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Prague is next on my list! Great trip report.

My partner is always mistaken for German. In a hotel bar in Florence the Barman kept speaking to us in German so we thought he was German and answered back and ordered in German (Mine is rubbish but his is much better ...sort of). We got confused when he spoke Japanese to a Japanese couple and realised he just pegged us for German. We told him we were Irish and his still spoke German to us...very strange. Similar thing happened to my partner inParis. I think it's the build and face!

Thin...just my observation. Do you have a part in your hair? Now this is what my other half says gives an American Man away. They all have some sort of part in their hair while European men don't all do this as much.
SiobhanP is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 05:08 AM
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Part II
Our hotel in Prague was ESPLANADE, near Vaclav Nemenski (Wenceslas Square). The location was a bit far from Charles Bridge, but the Metro (Muzeum) was only a block away. The hotel was beautiful, but our room was small. The marble bathroom was spacious and brand new, with nice window to let out steam. A heated towel rack was great for drying clothes. My jeans were dry only 8 hours after washing. The bathroom had a small shower, no tub. (I like to take a bath, not shower.) The breakfast buffet was wonderful?fresh fruit, eggs, bacon, 5 different kinds of bread, cereals, yogurt, juices, etc.

The highlight of the hotel, however, was the Murano chandelier in the dining room. (We just can?t escape chandeliers, can we?) It was so beautiful it could have been in a museum.

Service at the front desk was very good. The maid service was not. We had to call for toilet paper and Kleenex. This normally wouldn?t bother us, but this hotel is supposed to be a 5-star property.

We loved the Sternburg Palace (National Gallery). Some world-class art, including Durer?s THE FEAST OF THE ROSARY and Cranach?s THE OLD FOOL, is on display. Lorenzo Monaco?s THE LAMENTATION OF CHRIST was mesmerizing. The museum also has a gorgeous home altarpiece made of amber.

Another museum I highly recommend is the Convent of Loreto. There are monstrances on display here that rival the jewels of the Russian Czars. The convent also contains an unbelievable Baroque chapel with skeletons dressed in gowns above the altar. We never saw anything like it. If you are visiting Prague, this convent MUST be on your itinerary.

Our St. Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle experience wasn?t as enriching as Loreto or Sternberg Palace. We went on a Sunday morning at 10 AM, not realizing that St. Vitus isn?t open until noon. Not much to see in the Palace, as their isn?t very much furniture. Crowds were OVERWHELMING. Highlight of our tour of the Castle complex was the GORGEOUS painted-glass window my Alfons Mucha in St. Vitus. Views from the castle are unbelievable. Golden Lane was very touristy, with shop full of souvenirs.

Decorative Museum was FANTASTIC, full of Meissen, jewelry, antique Moser glass, Aubusson tapestry, and Czech clothing from the past century. This is definitely worth a trip.

We visited the Jewish cemetery, Pichas synagogue, and Spanish synagogue. Pichas synagogue had display of drawings from children interred at Terezin concentration camp. You couldn?t help but cry.

We went to St. Agnes Convent, but it has been closed for months. We were very disappointed, as no one seemed to know that it was closed. None of our guide books from our hotel had it listed as closed. Even the desk clerk at our hotel was surprised.

Charles Bridge was so crowded it was hard to walk. I think it would be good to get up very early if you want to see the bridge in all of its glory.

Overall, we had decent weather. It would be cloudy one minute, sunny the next. Rain only lasted about 20 minutes. We carried umbrellas with us at all times.

We also visited Terezin, Karlstein Castle, and Cesky Krumlov (one of the most picturesque towns I have ever seen).

More to be posted later.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 05:20 AM
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No, Siobhan, I don't part my hair. However, I have light hair, fair skin, and blue eyes. Maybe that is why people though I was German?

Yes, Mimi, Jackie O was glad to see me, as while I was away Keith was probably calling her "Taffy." (My husband calls our dog "Taffy" instead of Jackie O.) She hates to be called Taffy. I know that he didn't brush her out once while I was away, as her fur looked dull upon my return. She is getting a bath and good brushing today. Husbands are useless. My house is a mess, with dirty dishes in my sink. It is going to take me all day to sort everything out.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 05:21 AM
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John, this trip sounds exotic, but not overwhelmingly so. Glad to hear your mother is weathering the zillion stair steps like a trooper. Looking forward to hearing more, and glad to know you and your mother are well.

bookchick is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 05:39 AM
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Poor John. To return from a fabulous trip like that and have to clean house.

I have to admit that my husband always makes sure the house is spic and span, and dinner is cooked when I return from a trip. can't have him!

Thanks for the great report, John.
Statia is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 06:58 AM
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For those interested in the children's drawings(terezin) I mentioned once that I have a book of those drawings titled, "And I never saw another butterfly."I think it is out of print but when I wrote about it, someone emailed me that they found a copy on Amazon.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 09:09 AM
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Part III

Our trip to Terezin was very moving. We used Premier Tours. We wanted to go with Wittmann Tours, but they did not pick you up at your hotel. Our guide?s father was interred at Terezin. He was not Jewish, but Czech, and he did eventually escape. The museum at Terezin was very good, especially the women?s barracks recreated with found furniture and belongings. The story of Petr Ginz was also very emotional, as he was 14 and started a newspaper in Terezin. His sister, who now lives in Israel, made dolls that were used in some displays at the museum.

I was very upset when I went into one room and saw the names of those who died at Terezin, especially upon seeing the name LEVY, which is my husband?s last name. If we lived in Germany, they would have come in the middle of the night and taken him away on me. I am glad he was not with me on this tour and was instead at home making a mess.

Someone posted here that Terezin was not worth the visit, but I can?t comprehend that kind of mentality, as it was an extremely emotional and educational experience for me.

My mother and I also took a day trip to Karlstein Castle, which was much more uplifting.
I would definitely recommend this trip, as it was very educational and interesting. The castle still has many pieces of furniture, glassware, paintings, and jewels on display, all belonging to Charles IV. We also used Premier Tours. Our guide, Tatiana, was outstanding.

Our favourite day trip, however, was the visit to Cesky Krumlov. This was probably one of the most beautiful towns I have ever seen. I was wary of this tour because I had read that it would be overrun with tourists, but that was not the case. The Palace of the Rosenburgs was magnificent. One room had a Meissen chandelier that made your head spin. There was another room filled with Chinoiserie, gorgeous red wallpaper and jade figurines.

Another reason we liked Cesky Krumlov was that there were no McDonald?s or Wendy?s around, like you see in places like Garmische.

I wish we had more time in Prague, because I would definitely have stayed overnight in Cesky Krumlov if I had known how spectacular it is.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 09:13 AM
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Mimi, I bought a book at the museum in Terezin with the children's drawings. I am at work now, and can't remember the name of the book. When I get home I will post the name here. It is an outstanding book.

John G.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 09:38 AM
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Sorry, but when it's about the book, I gotta chime in:

I have not seen a butterfly around here: Children's drawings and poems from Terezín

I think this is the one Mimi's talking about, and it's usually sold at the Jewish Museum in Prague. Some out of print book services here in the USA can sometimes get a copy. There are a couple of other kids' books on Terezin, though.


bookchick is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 09:44 AM
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John. Welcome home and thank you for sharing. Your trip sounds delightful!
SharonNRayMc is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 09:45 AM
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Hi Kathy, I checked an amazon, there are a few copies listed.
cigalechanta is offline  

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