While everyone back home was celebrating Halloween, I disguised myself as a local Czech in Prague. My game plan was to only speak my limited Czech vocabulary, and to head well away from the tourist area. I suppose my American-made North Face fleece might have given me away, but at least I tried to blend in.
We were already out of the turistický fray a few blocks from our apartment. The side streets were so beautifully, creepy that I expected the headless horseman to appear at any moment.
Heading out on foot, with Diplo-Dog tagging along, Steve and I did a little exploring in an area west of our apartment called Břevnov. The entire walk was an ascent. Not a steep one mind you, but still UP!! By the time we reached the oldest friary in all of Bohemia — The Břevnov Monastery — it was 8 PM and I was starving. Lucky for us there was a restaurant by the name of Klášterní šenk right on the property, and despite the fact that I swore off Czech peasant food after a recent, bad experience; I repeat — I was starving.
Upon entering this converted stable-to-restaurant after our brisk 2 mile, 40 degree stroll, we were greeted by a wood burning fire, tons of locals with their families, a hearty welcome for Lexi in English from a waiter who pegged my as an American as soon as I tried to greet him in Czech, and of course beer from their own brewery on every table!Deciding to be brave, I ordered the one thing that I have heard the most about but have dared to try so far — Traditional Roast Pork Knee. First, however, we warmed ourselves up with beer. I ordered the special Benedikt 11 dark beer brewed right there at the monastery, while Steve ordered the unfiltered wheat beer. This was followed by a fantastic, dense loaf of fresh bread, served with whipped butter and a pate spread.
While Steve was sneaking bread with pate to Lexi under the table, I was slowly getting buzzed across the table. Steve suggested that I have turned in to a tmavé pivo feťák (dark beer junkie), but that is not the case because half-way through our meal, I stole his larger stein of wheat beer.
Finally our entrees arrived and I stared in disbelief at what appeared to be several, meaty pounds of pork on a bone that Lexi was clearly salivating over as much or more than I was. Cheers!
This photo really doesn’t do this meal justice. First of all, it was a tender & moist piece of meat with an array of accompaniments including pickled cabbage, onions, cherries and apple horseradish sauce. Secondly, the photographer, who was also drinking, took a blurry picture. He would argue that I was the only one buzzed at the table, but I distinctly remember him saying the following to me after one look at my pork “knee”..
I swear I saw a pig outside with little cup begging for money holding himself up on a crutch. I have visions of all the poor little pigs of Prague running around on crutches everywhere
Steve’s dinner of skewers of grilled meat (wrapped in bacon) & vegetables was equally delicious, and despite the fact that we were stuffed (even after Lexi became the beneficiary of what remained on our plates), we ordered the dessert of warm, Bohemian flapjacks with blueberries and cream.“Výborný”, I said to the waiter as in “EXCELLENT” — for both the food and great service. There was no ‘trick’ here on this Halloween Eve, just “treats” and I can’t wait to return.