You call that a schnitzel? Now this is a schnitzel!

October 14, 2012 • 9:27 pm

Lunch yesterday was a schnitzel about the size of a Frisbee, accompanied by a warm potato and watercress salad, all washed down with a bottle of the house Grüner Veltliner.  Note that you can’t see the plate.

The restaurant was the famous (and a bit touristy) Figlmüller, near the Cathedral. You can also see the calf’s-liver dinner of my companion, the estimable evolutionary biologist Nick Barton, who works at the Institute of Science and Technology in Vienna. I’ll be speaking there today (and flying to Chicago tomorrow), so posts will be thin on the ground. Let’s hope my pinch-bloggers step up to the plate.

Two more comestibles for your enjoyment. First, candied fruit (my favorite among all sweets) in a local confectionary:

And a seasonal drink, Sturm (“storm”), basically grape juice that has begun to turn into wine, so it’s alcoholic but sweet and cloudy.  It comes in both red and white versions at 3 Euros per 250 ml. It goes down like pop, and so is deadly. The locals are swilling the stuff in droves every night, for it is available only briefly in fall after the grapes are harvested. I had one or three, of course.

27 thoughts on “You call that a schnitzel? Now this is a schnitzel!

  1. Note that you can’t see the plate.

    Ah… but we can clearly see the origins of Texas-style chicken fried steak.

    Whence the cream gravy? During the mass immigration of German settlers into the Texas hill country, did cream gravy emerge as a spandrel, perhaps?

    The gradual transition from watercress to cole slaw is another interesting bit of culinary evolution.

    1. An Austrian wouldn’t be caught dead with gravy on a Schnitzel, you would immediately be outed and shunned as a German.

      Also these updates remind me how much of a cultural/culinaric mistake it was to move to Canada. Poutine? Hah! *cries a little*

  2. That’s exactly what I thought of when I ate it: and I remember the large chicken-fried steak I ate in Houston. Of course much of Texas was settled by those of German descent.

  3. “pinch-bloggers”!! Ohhh, surely you mean “pinch website-post-contributors”? Or is this the slippery slope to blogdom?

  4. Amused by the “Marzipan-obst” in the sweetie-shop window and wondering if the Museum shop industry is big enough to encourage the sweetie industry to produce candied “ammonites”, “Conulus”, “Lingula” et al. Or maybe I’m just showing my ignorance of the museum-shop-to-dentist caries conspiracy? (It must be 3 years since I was last into a natural history museum of any description, with or without a shop.)

  5. I had a similar experience with a steak in Italy a few years ago. It was a seafood place and I hate seafood so the only option was a giant steak, overlapping the plate on all sides, accompanied by about a dozen chips.

    Have these people never heard of vegetables??

    1. The semiannual enzymology meeting that I used to attend was in S of Dublin in 1992 at the 100y/o Killiney Court Hotel (a rambling mansion that overlooked Killiney Bay, now sadly converted into residential apartments). Breakfast was served from a menu, and the first day I noticed Fried Plaice at the bottom of the list. Nobody else was eating anything unfamiliar, but being reasonably sure that that was some sort of fish, I ordered that (vs. your strategy). It arrived looking much like the schnitzel, altho only overhanging the plate here or there. By the end of the meeting, half the dining room was eating plaice.

    2. When I was in Argentina, after I asked something like that, they told me (laughing) that steaks came with greens. My one pound steak did in fact come with a little stem of parsley on top.

      I’ll be in Vienna in a couple of months so these posts from Jerry are quite useful. The schnitzel doesn’t attract my attention that much, but the liver looks yummy.

  6. The most intriguing items depicted by Jerry are the chocolate candied fruit labelled “Hofbauer ROHKOST”.

    Rohkost meaning literally “raw food”, with the exact implication “uncooked, unprocessed, organic”, the irony seems, how shall I put it: raw.

    Turns out, “Hofbauer Rohkost” is a showcase product of the Confiserie Hofbauer, described thus:
    “Slow cooking in a special sugar solution renders the dried fruit particularly soft and juicy”. No trace of irony at all, diabetes ahoy.

    The same website links to the Hofbauer group’s financial data (in English, this time): a subsidiary of the Lindt&Sprüngli conglomerate. A-ha.

  7. Can’t see the plate?!? You almost can’t see the table. And what’s that green stuff off to the left, there?

  8. In Frankfurt am Main, the drink is Federweisse . Famous for their Apfelwein, the unfinished grape must is served up with Zwiebelkuche (onion cake). Yes indeed, Federweisse can really go down fast, and take the consumer with it. That progression from just harvested to completed (and aged) food product is all but gone from our marketplace. I loved the seasons of beer in Germany; from cloudy Hefeweisse to start the season in May to Doppelbocks and Alts that are brewed at the end of the winter, both to fulfill Lenten celebrations (Yea! Trink starkes Bier!) and prepare the vats for the new cycle of summer brews. The Beaujolais Nouveau follows the same trend, the need to bring alcohol to market fulfilled by turning the recently harvested (or too old to do anything with) to fermented products. Such ingenuity, if necessity is the mother of invention, then the quest for hooch is the driving force. If there is a god, and we are innately drawn to be close to it, then god is a yeast. I think it’s Belgian too.

  9. The sturm sounds like what was generally called neuwein when I lived in Germany. At any wine festival, and on any given weekend there was bound to be a beer or wine festival some place not too far away, neuwein was sold for dirt cheap in half liter cylindrical clear glass cups. It was a murky purplish brown color and very pulpy. It had a minor amount of alcohol and was delicious. It was even commonly given to children.

    Then, after everyone was feeling happy it was customary to whack each other in the head with these plastic mallets that had bellows at the business end and produced a loud squeak with each blow. There was also an annoyingly loud whistle built into the handle.

    Then when everyone got really happy, it was time to see who, if anyone, could make it through the slowly rotating tunnel without falling down.

    And finally, the bumper cars. I don’t know what it is like now, but back in the 70’s any and every festival of any kind or size in Germany had bumper cars.

    Oh, and schnitzel must be accompanied by a rich hunter’s gravy. Preferably made with mushrooms that someone just walked out into the woods and picked earlier that day. It’s really good on the french fries (‘er pomme fritz} too. You do order your schnitzel with pomme fritz, right?

      1. Right? You’d think with all the historical animosity between the two cultures that Germans wouldn’t go borrowing words from the French.

  10. Sturm is Sauser in Switzerland and is allowed in the work canteen – when wine is not…

    My Austrian relatives aways complain about the size of schnitzels in Switzerland — not big enough for a toddler…

    Also check GernKnoedel and backhandel – battered chicken amazingly like Col Saunders. Thinking about it he looks very Austrian 🙂

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