Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Get it right!

Flying is one of those things that brings me out in a mild panic, or at least the taking off and landing bits of it. The generally smooth bit in the middle with trolley dollies prancing up and down the aisle I can handle, especially when armed with good reading material. Sunday's flight back from Paris Orly on Sky Europe (who I heartily recommend to all and sundry, and not only because the dollies look like air hostesses should rather than SleasyJet's "let's be mates in polo shirts" crap) was going particularly well: smooth take off, cruising nicely, the Observer to read and a quick glance over Mrs Velkyal's shoulder revealed an article in the Sky Europe magazine waxing lyrical about a "food revolution" in the Czech Republic - which means only Prague, because there is nothing else here of course.

In due course Mrs Velkyal fell asleep and tired of reading about Liverpool beating Preston North End in the F.A. Cup I swagged the mag to read the article. Apparently a food revolution in Prague consists of fancy pants restaurants in fancy pants hotels (including the one we spent our wedding night in) selling very expensive food for "a more international palate". The only mention of Czech food was that it was stodgy and unhealthy. What does this all have to do with beer?

Well, there was a little sidebar on places to drink in the new, international, hip foodie heaven in Prague. And it was this which raised my ire. Generally speaking I like people to do some research about the topics they write about, and so the author of the article (name available on request to those vicious enough to bombard her with emails highlighting her poor journalism and ignorance) told readers about U Pinkasů and a pub called the Marquis de Sade.

Apparently the Marquis de Sade serves "hoppy thirst quenching Staropramen", which is something of a problem, and not just because Staropramen is an abomination to the traditions and heritage of Czech lager, but because the Marquis de Sade no longer exists. I have many fond memories of drinking in the Marquis; pretending to American kids on exchange programs that I was a British lord, ordering Blow Jobs from a very lovely Croatian barmaid (Bailey's and vodka topped with whipped cream for those not in the know) and generally lounging around getting boozed up.

Alas the Marquis closed its doors about 18 months ago, and the building it was once in is being renovated into a fancy pants hotel - so perhaps it will be part of the foodie revolution sweeping the Czech Republic (sic).


  1. Ha! At the same time, it seems many of those fancy pants restaurants are really struggling, while most hospody around town seem to be doing just fine.

    I really hate those food writers that bitch about the low quality of Czech Food. But of course, they never went further than the tourist traps in the centre, where you won't see a Czech at all. Those places have bad food, period, pseudo Czech or otherwise.

    And as for the mentioning of Staropramen and Marquis de Sade. Seems the writer went to the same school as the signer of that article about The Best Beers that appeared sometime ago in an Argentine mag. He listed Staropramen Premium Lager as one of the best Pilsners, together with Klášter Světlý Speciál, a beer that is so good that is no longer brewed....

  2. Your antics remind me of watching the World Cup at the Liverpool supporters bar right around the corner from my place. I was rooting for Croatia (wearing the colors, too) in a bar full of authentic Aussies. Good-natured ribbing ensued about Australia having so many Croats on their squad and the connections between the two countries, but I definitely stuck out like a sore thumb. That and the time I hit on the Czech barmaid that spoke no English at a dive bar in Prague. Fond memories, indeed.

    As for the football, it looks like it'll be a Merseyside melee during the next couple weeks, which should be entertaining!

  3. YOUR that British Lord???

    You son of a bitch!!! Give me back my money!

    Kidding of course. Really entertaining entry, much appreciated!


  4. Everton's season will be completely over by the end of it all. Happy days!

  5. Pivni - totally agree with you, I love Czech food, probably because it goes so weel with Czech beer!

  6. For availability in the smallest hospoda, to the portions, prices and generally top notch taste, Czech is the best food scene in Europe in my opinion. Beats frozen food in the majority of British pubs.


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