Hubby travels a lot for work, usually gone 3 or 4 days each week, and to fill the evenings, I sometimes meet up with friends to see the city or discover a new watering-hole or restaurant. I mean, he’s off to Budapest, Zurich, Geneva, Brno, etc each week (admittedly, not as exotic and lavish a trip as it sounds), so I should try to get in a little luxury and Old World aristocracy too, right, lol?!
All fun and jokes aside, my last foray was into the most traditional and posh area of Vienna with my long-suffering girl-friend (let’s call her S). She and I met up with her husband (she’s also a transplant like me, married to an Austrian) who suggested Cafe Prückel. Located on the famed Ringestraße, Cafe Prückel (today and 1990’s) has been serving fine Viennese kaffe (coffee) since 1903 and is one of THE historical and traditional kaffehaus to be (apparently…)! Ok, I’ve been to my share of hoity-toity cafes in New York (in fact, often they were THE only places some of my friends there would deign to dine at) so I thought I – a jaded New Yorker – would be in my element, right? Wrong!
The decor was amazing! Incredibly high ceilings, highly polished floors, antique cafe furniture, and the soft buzz of conversation welcomed us. We were seated by what I have to describe as the snootiest-looking water I have ever seen! I don’t think his neck ever moved, he just (literally) looked down upon us over his incredibly aquiline nose as he took our drink and meal orders – mind you, without taking a single note! Oh, and did I mention, dude was rocking a tuxedo! Yes, in fact, all the employees were! After we recovered our composure, S and I smugly (and admittedly disdainfully) commented to her husband “Betcha he comes back with everything wrong!” S giddily giggling and added “Lil’ prick!” to our statement. The waiter appearing (he didn’t walk, he just APPEARED!) at our table with our drink order perfect, wiped the smirks right off our faces. In silence, we awaited our meals as S’s hubby laughed until tears flowed down his cheeks. Once, he sobered up, we gave us a little history of the cafe and why the waiters are so ‘composed’ (apparently, the establishment has been a mainstay for the bourgeoisie and literati for generations. Now the virtuoso’s are having their turn. Its the place to have a kaffe and read a paper). Our meals arrived and they were outstanding! As we settled into the tradition surrounding us, we found ourselves going along with the flow and even getting along with our waiter (I almost got him to smile – no small feat!) All in all, a fabulously luxurious night – I think I could learn to like this aristocratic living, lol.