06 June 2011

Prague's Grand Cafés - Grand Café Orient

This is it, the last stop on our Prague coffee house tour, Grand Café Orient.

I was hungry, thirsty and ready to rest my tootsies after walking circles around Prague all morning.

Much is made of the Orient's Cubist design underscored by the fact that it's on the first floor of the House at the Black Madonna, home to a Cubist museum.

Side note--until this area fell under Hapsburg rule there were no house numbers.  Locations were referrenced by unique paintings or sculptures on the individual buildings.  These "house signs" like the Black Madonna still remain on buildings throughout the oldest areas of Prague.

Cubist, huh? I didn't find it to be noticeably different than other places I'd visited that were all built around 1912, but then I looked closer.

Where were my beloved Art Nouveau curves?

What about the vines and leaves and goddess-y ladies?

Here the lines were straight.

Here the curves were angles.

Instead of flowers, branches and leaves, triangles found their way into everything from the hooks holding the newspapers to the chandeliers.

It reminded me a bit of a New Orleans café.  Balcony, bay windows--so clean, open and airy.

Maybe it was the sound of the jazz band playing on the street below that put the New Orleans picture in my head?

Yeah, yeah all this talk of design and ambiance is...well...fine, but let's get on to the dessert, right?

After a salad with smoked salmon and toast points for lunch, I was ready to splurge.  I looked in the pastry case where a swirly chocolate cylinder topped with a chocolate cigarette caught my eye.  I pointed and told my waiter, "I'll take that!"  He said it was the house specialty, the Grand Café Orient, and they were fresh out.  Ugh.

I looked again.  I didn't want the Sachertorte or the Cheesecake or the Honeycake or the Carrot Cake or the Creme Brulee.  Nothing really spoke to me.

I settled on a little cake in the back with apples or something.  I was nervous because I really don't like cooked apples or cooked fruit of any kind.  Fruit should not be mushy!  I was stuck.

It's called, Dort s jablky a jemným krémem--WHAA?  Or, Cake with Apples and Soft Cream.

Clunky name, but what flavor.  Such a surprise!

The best part--the apples weren't cooked!!  Shredded apples tossed in a little cinnamon were suspended in soft gelatin and cradled by spongy vanilla cake with fluffy cream between every layer.  Very light.

Confession--I didn't just taste, I ate everything except the mint.  Couldn't help myself.

Gotta dig up a recipe for this one.

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