Friday, August 21, 2015


Our last night in Prague produced one more immensely satisfying dinner. The day had been searing with the temperature hitting one degree below a hundred. It was the kind of heat that would punch you in the face once you walked outside. It wasn't really until later in the evening that you even wanted to be outside. We tried but we were gasping for air-conditioned relief every hundred feet we tried to travel that day. Air-conditioning is a word much of Europe has a hard time spelling or defining. Let me tell you it isn't spelled F-A-N even if the fan spurts out mist.
Despite the heat I remembered on that last night that there was one more thing I had on my bucket list for Prague and I wasn't about to give it up, Frank Gehry's "Dancing House". Amidst all the Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture that Prague is famous for the Dancing House is a whimsical counterpoint literally dancing down the street.
To our delight we found that the building had a restaurant on the seventh floor appropriately named, "Ginger and Fred". We had our hotel call to see if we could get a reservation. After an initial "no" our concierge convinced the restaurant's booking agent, this being our last night in Prague and our last chance for dinner with Fred and Ginger, that a reservation could be had at eight that evening. Damn the heat. We were going.
The restaurant is no less impressive than the building itself.
It is as quirky and amusing as the dancing exterior would lead you to believe.
The chairs are canvas with silk-screened or hand-painted images of everything from baby deer to Jesus.
The walls are a revolving gallery of works by local artists. When we arrived the comic inspired work of Kaja Saudek filled the spaces between the mirrored window niches.
It was difficult to decide which of the views was more spectacular the art on the walls or the views of the Vltava River and the Prague castle that is lit at night.
The menu at Ginger and Fred's is very reasonable for such fancy nightclub fair. As we sat perusing the menu our hostess came with an amuse bouche, a tiny glass flute filled with cranberry mousse. She sat the mousse down on our artist palette shaped placemats that came complete with a set of flatware and a perfectly sharpened pencil.
Emmy and I immediately started scribbling. I tried for a copy of one of the chairs. Emmy worked on her psychedelic flowers.
We all went in different directions for our appetizers. Rick went for a green salad with asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, Bleu de Causses cheese lightly tossed in a balsamic dressing.
Emmy, who loves artichokes, went for a warm soup of fresh artichokes with sour cream and grissini,
and I decided on a barley malt caramelized warm ham of mangolica with peas, spring onions and horseradish foam.
As a main course we were all sold on beef tenderloins with morels, asparagus and potatoes Anna bathed in a strong meat jus. The steaks came cooked a perfect medium rare and the potatoes Anna were nothing short of perfect.
Potatoes Anna are a Thanksgiving tradition with us and one that therefore sets a very high standard. Serving them outside of our Thanksgiving dinner puts a huge amount of pressure on the restaurant that has chosen to attempt them.
Fred and Ginger did not disappoint.
Rick and Emmy gave up after the main course but I wasn't about to be deterred from dessert. I ate the strawberries and black cardamom sabayon plated on a homemade beer waffle and never once offered either of them a spoon.
And that's how we exited Prague - to the dancing lights of Fred and Ginger

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