Monday, August 12, 2013

A Visit To Vienna

I decided it would be nice to have a quick trip to Vienna enroute to Yacht Week. I haven't been before and I've heard great things - from food to culture - so Vienna seemed to be a great spot to explore for a few days.

I was especially excited because I was flying Austrian Air's new business class product. New seats, new entertainment system, and, most importantly, NEW CATERING by Do&Co!

At JFK, I stopped into the Lufthansa lounge. There is a difference between the Senator and Business Class lounge, which I did not know until I arrived. The Senator lounges are only available to passengers who have Hon Senator or Gold level on Star Alliance. Since I am Gold on Star Alliance, I could use the Senator lounge even though I was "just" in business class. The Senator lounge was not as busy and had better champagne (while the Business lounge just had a few bottles of wine/spirits you could pour yourself, the Senator lounge had a bartender/full bar spread), which made it a winner.

I wasn't very hungry, but the food selection seemed to just be okay. I picked at a few desserts and some M&Ms.

Per usual, I spent too long in the lounge and made a dash to my gate (best form of cardio). I didn't take enough pictures of the actual seating area in business for this to be a proper write up on that, but, the seat configuration is such that every other row, there is a single "throne" seat on the window side. I read in some reviews that there is not enough leg room in these "throne" seats versus the two-seaters, but I am 5'3 and never have a problem with leg room. In the future, I would definitely try to book this seat so I have my own row. Also, you may want to note - try not to book the last seat in business class on this flight. The row behind is the bassinet row for babies. I can generally tune out babies crying on a plane, but not when the entire gerber baby nursery is behind me (and I like babies). 

Now, on to the important stuff. 

You can ignore the menu in the photo below, and just admire my lovely manicure.

And/or for dessert? Note I made it very clear that I would have ALL THREE.

Since this was my kick-off flight enroute to Yacht Week, this page was of interest to me. Though, who are we kidding, this page is ALWAYS important to me. I stuck with champagne the entire flight. Maybe I should have asked if I could stand on the seats and spray it all over the cabin (also a pre-req for Yacht Week).

And here is the rest of the wine list...

Now it was time for the meal service! I was so excited - I had kept reading reviews about how Do & Co is the best out of all airline caterers.

Here is my potpurri of smoked salmon. My favorite was the one on the top left, but it was all shockingly fresh tasting (yes, for fish, you'd hope so).

I ordered the filet of beef as my main course. Note, those are TRUFFLED potates in the back. Yes, truffled. Well done, Austrian.

These glasses are Riedel!

Does anyone have any idea what this mini clothes pin is for? Other than showing off my manicure from another angle?

Three glasses of champagne deep and I thought I was being funny and clever by pretending to eat my chocolate mousse with the clothes pin. Also, I did not eat all three desserts. I was too full to even finish my first one. And for the record, the clothes pin did not work, I ate my dessert as a normal person would.

The coolest thing ever? Austrian has an entire menu devoted to just coffee!

All hype...I wasn't overly impressed with my coffee by the time I ordered, but, I did like the milka chocolate.

I almost slept through the breakfast service, which is actually quite an unbelievable feat for me. I ordered the hot chocolate which was actually disgusting. The croissant and fruit plate were just fine, and I have to say the eggs were sub par. 

My favorite thing about the entertainment system was that it doubled as a mirror, perfect for taking selfies on an 8 hour flight (I'm semi joking). I didn't watch much on the entertainment system, but I have to say it was one of the best ones I've seen so far (better than Swiss, better than Lufthansa, better than United).

I finally landed in Vienna, bright eyed and bushy tailed. I hit the ground running as soon as I got to my hotel. Most of my day involved some kind of food, though I did manage to include a walking tour of Vienna. You can check out a whole host of free tours here

{Homemade chocolate ice cream}

The place to go for schnitzel in Vienna is a place named Figlmueller. The schnitzel here was tasty, it is fried meat, after all...I wanted to be really excited about it and love it, but, schnitzel is kind of bland. There are other things on the menu, so don't despair. 

 In the Austrian Air in flight magazine, I had heard about an Austrian sparkling wine named Sekt. Had to order that to go with my Schnitzel!

One massive schnitzel, coming right up!

Per a recommendation from Becca, and corroborated by my guide on the walking tour, Demel is the place to go for desserts.

If I had gone earlier, I would have seen Demel staff preparing salivating cakes and tortes in the open kitchen below.

Yes, I had the ice cream the next day. And yes, it was delectable. Below is a photo of the window display, made from sugar/frosting/etc.

Finally, the reason I came to Vienna in the first place...Sacher Torte.

When the waitress mumbled something to me after I placed my order, I just shook my head yes in agreement...turns out I was signing up for a side of whip cream. I think that is how Sacher Torte is generally served, but I didn't eat much of it.

Post Demel, I continued a self-walking tour through Vienna. I found a great jazz concert, and, later that evening, a huge screen was set up to project a movie.

I think I slept through dinner on my first night, best sleep ever! In the morning, I woke up and headed to Naschmarket, an open air food market. I had to save room for my huge lunch later in the day (another post on this to come), so I just looked in awe at most stalls until I picked something that looked light.

More tortes for sale!

A vast array of beer...[edited: this is actually fruit vinegar, NOT beer, silly me, and thanks for the tip, anon!]

This is where I decided to eat brunch, the menu looked simple and easy to pick from considering I could not read or understand the menu.

Per the menu below, I ordered the das meiste drauf. I really had no idea what I was getting except for the butter and speck part.

Organic peach juice served with my breakfast.

HEAVEN. No other words.

Here is the ei em glas (egg in glass).

I wandered around the market for a while longer and found more cheese and several treats wrapped in prosciutto and cheese.

I couldn't stop staring at all these items wrapped in prosciutto.

And a lot of dates!

This was one of my favorite stalls - home made pasta. Except I had nowhere to cook it, but hypothetically this could make for a great dinner party.

I don't know what this fruit was, so I snapped a photo of it. Any ideas? [edited: these are gooseberries, thanks for the tip, anon].

Saffron from Iran (?)!

I had one more leisurely breakfast to enjoy in Vienna before flying over to Croatia. I found a place named Neni at the Naschmarkt.

I ordered the Israeli breakfast, so delicious and filling. It had me at "labane". A plate full of labane.


I had a bit more time to kill before heading to the airport, so I took another stroll through the market.

Just some massive, white asparagus. The last time I had white asparagus was at Geist in Copenhagen.

Then I found a juice stand that had just about every juice imaginable.

I ordered the passionfruit mango juice. Nice and refreshing, and hopefully full of all the nutrients I would soon be skipping while on Yacht Week (unless champagne has vitamin C in it?).

Then it was time to catch my flight from Vienna to Split to start Yacht Week. I made a brief pit stop in the Austrian lounge. Not much in terms of food selection (there were a few other random dishes, nothing particularly stood out).

But I opened up a brand new bottle of bubbs!

I didn't eat anything on my flight to Split because I was upgraded to the cockpit. 

I actually have no idea why the air hostess decided to invite me up here, but it happened and it was definitely an auspicious sign for Yacht Week. 


Anonymous said...

Just stumbled across this post, thought I'd answer your question. The fruit you didn't know are gooseberries. Sweet-tart, great for jams. They're growing all over the country though, so why anyone would pay 6 euros for a small tray is beyond me. The "vast array of beers" is actually a vast array of artisanal gourmet fruit vinegars made by Gegenbauer. They are great to add some acidity and flavor to all kinds of dishes and some of them are so smooth that people drink them as a non-alcoholic digestif.

Hom Nom! said...

Hi Anon,

Thanks for the clarification for the gourmet fruit vinegars - that explains why I saw people drinking them! Appreciate the feedback.