June 6, 2010

Parndorf Designer Outlet, Vienna…unreliable shuttle service

Parndorf isn’t a particularly well-known destination within Austria, but it does receive a few travelers, most of whom make a brief stop to see the Outlet Center.

Parndorf Designer Outlet  has a shuttle service every Friday and Saturday. Costs €7 return trip. Pick-up point at  Ringstrasse across the road from the Opera, Operngasse 4, Wien.

But be warned…the unreliability of the service means you could be standing in the cold (in my case, as it was in March) for 90 minutes. The shuttle was scheduled for hourly runs. By the time Bert and I arrived at the stop at 1.20pm, it was still a good 40 minutes to go before 2.00pm. There were no seats, nor shelter, so we gamely waited by the side of the road. But 2.00pm came and went and still there was no sign of the shuttle. By 2.30pm, half the crowd had dispersed…some having given up, others, seeked shelter from the cold. The shuttle duly arrived at 3.00pm. No apologies made, no explanations given.

I like malls/shopping centers but honestly don’t care for the ones here. The shops in general just aren’t as nice as some I’ve been to in other countries. Sure, they’ve got known high-end names such as Lacoste, Armani, etc., and medium range ones like Benetton, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. The goods are cheaper since they were mainly the previous season’s ‘hot’ fashion, now considered as passe’. Nothing particularly special.

It does take some patience to look around since the area is huge! One positive point about Parndorf is that you can freely speak English in all the shops there. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

April 3, 2010

Starlight Suiten Salzgries, Vienna…so-called suites. Not

Filed under: Austria, hotel, Travel — Tags: , , , , , — PEr @ 3:06 pm

The hotel itself was alright, nothing too fancy. It is at the center of the city and not too far (but then again, not too close either) to the main shopping area, bars and restaurants. It is not recommended for those who prefer to spend time in the hotel.

The rooms are…well…so-called suites.  However, this does not mean there is more space. The total space of the room (which consist of a living-room, bedroom, bathroom, working and dressing areas, minibar and microwave) is equivalent to to a deluxe rooms in some other hotels; hence in Starlight Suiten, it means a very cramped up room. So cramped that I have to leave my suitcase on the sofa, because they do not have space me to place it.

I used to be impressed with this hotel many years ago. My views have changed now.  If I visited Vienna again, I wouldn’t stay here again but would get somewhere closer to the action around Stephenplatz and a more comfortable hotel. This is the true truth. I say it as it is.

April 1, 2010

Figlmueller, Vienna…great tasting generous (very generous) portions

The restaurant was packed.  There are polished wooden tables and chairs, unobtrusive waiters, and menus in both German as well as English. It was also located right in the center of town, a stone’s throw from St Stephan’s Cathedral.

Service was typical Austrian – fast and correct.

When the food arrived, my first thoughts were “I did not order a pizza!” The schnitzel is incredible! Best I’ve had in my life, let alone in Austria. The breaded veal and pork cutlets were so large they literally hung over the sides of the plate. If it was any bigger, you’ll have to give it a postcode. It will defeat most people…indeed I admitted defeat. The cutlet is so large because it’s been hammered (you can hear the mallets pounding from a block away). The meat winds up wafer-thin, stunningly golden and crispy on the outside, tender and delicious. (I hear they use a quarter kilo of meat for each schnitzel). And served along with a wedge of lemon.

We’d had perhaps the best Wiener schnitzel on the planet.If you want to eat one meal a day only, you can’t go wrong at Figlmüller. Unbelievable, but it’s the true truth because I always say it as it is

March 31, 2010

Plachutta, Vienna…this is heaven on earth

Filed under: Austria, Food & Beverage, restaurant, Travel — Tags: , , , , , , — PEr @ 11:55 am

“For the best in Viennese cooking.” Plachutta sure wasn’t kidding when they coined their slogan.

“Boiled Buttock” dosn’t quite sound like the holy grail of gastronomy, but don’t miss the chance to dine here. Plachutta specialises in the boiled beef dishes that the Viennese love so much. Few restaurants have built such a fetish around one dish as Plachutta has done with Tafelspitz, offering 10 variations of the boiled beef dish. The differences between the versions are the cut of beef available.

The atmosphere in the restaurant is very cosy and the service is excellent. I first enjoyed the soup, with vegetables and dumplings. Then I spread some crisply toasted rye bread thinly with bone marrow before tucking into my main course. I got a copper pot with a delicious beef soup with a generous chunk of beef cooked in the broth.  Hash brown potatoes, chives, and an appealing mixture of horseradish and chopped apples accompanied the dish. The tafelspitz is incredibly tender, flavourful and mouth-watering.  Not sophisticated but perfect cooking.

If you are tempted to ask what’s so special about a cut of beef boiled in broth for hours, you’re definitely missing the point. In order to understand the Tafelspitz, you must experience it the real (that means Plachutta) way!

I have been to Vienna around six times but now I really wonder where I’ve been. Not having tasted tafelspitz at Plachutta means I’ve never really been to Vienna. This time, I have finally arrived!! It was that good. This is the true truth and I always say it as it is.

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