Seeing a Different Side of Prague

Thanks to our Chase Sapphire credit card points, we ended up staying in an area of Prague (Prague 3 district) that was slightly off the tourist trail.  We were located east of the Vltava River and a solid two-mile walk to the main square in Old Town, which is where many visitors go to see famous sites like the Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock.  As a result, we spent more time in our area of town, where there were relatively few tourists, affordable dining options and a more authentic glimpse into the city life.  The streets were quiet and there were small parks at every corner. We literally got to see a different side of Prague!

Of the restaurants we came across, there were two that were so good (and affordable) we just couldn’t say “no” to a second encounter.  The first was called Café Pavlač.  It is a small café with an assortment of great drink options, from iced espresso to grizzly milk, which was what brought us there in the first place.  It wasn’t until we got there and tried it out that we learned their food is just as outstanding!  We are talking freshly homemade gnocchi with spinach and turkey, quinoa salads, and grilled ciabatta sandwiches. Both of us continued to ask one another “who is the chef at this place?” because the food and the overall presentation were incredible.  If you’re looking for a good coffee, reasonable prices, and fair portions for your buck, don’t miss Café Pavlač!

Our first meal at Café Pavlač!

Our first meal at Café Pavlač!

The second “must-eat” of Prague in our opinion is a small little pizza joint called Pizzeria Persona.  Yes: it’s exactly what it sounds like!  With a vast assortment of individual-portioned pizzas and calzones, there are so many delicious ingredient combinations.  The term “individual” is certainly relative, for most people might consider it a meal for two.  But for the pizza-loving Kimble family, we were able to get the job done.  Once again, the price is budget-friendly and the staff is very hospitable.

So, while we admit to not doing much advance planning for our trip to Prague, we definitely lucked out with the location of our hotel. We were able to eat at some really delicious places that didn’t break the bank! For anyone looking to visit Prague but hoping to get outside of the main square for food or lodging, we recommend heading east of the river towards the Prague 3 district. It’s within walking distance of all main sites, but is also quickly available by bus or tram for those looking to get off their feet for a bit.

Check out the link below or visit the “Kimblesinbits” Youtube channel for our video recap from Prague!

Breaking Bread

Pan campesino is to the Kimbles as blue meth is to Walter White.  Even when we have some, we’re thinking about more! Prior to arriving in Peru, we knew relatively little about what to expect in the way of food.  Now that we’ve had a taste, we feel qualified to give our two cents (how do you convert that into Peruvian soles?).  The categories of food below are broken up into the following: things you know, things you probably don’t know and things we still have to try.

Things you know:

1. Avocados: They are so green and the perfect consistency.  I never imagined in my life that I would be fighting Karen for the last bite of avocado!

2. Ceviche: This dish is a type of raw (usually local) fish cooked in lime or other citrus juices.  Local Peruvians often eat ceviche after a long night of drinking to cure their hangovers.  If you’re a seafood fan, this is right up your alley!

3. Mangoes: Rainy season in Cusco is also mango season.  If you enjoy mangoes in the United States, you will be blown away by the size, flavor and juiciness of these incredible fruits!

3. Pan campesino: Karen and I take a trip to the panadería (bakery) about every other day.  One of our staples has been the pan campesino (peasant bread), which is similar in flavor to a delicious wheat bread.

5. Queso Andino: Say cheese!  This Andean cheese is pasteurized, unlike much of the cheese sold in the region. We didn’t want to test our stomachs too much so we went the safe (and delicious) route. We often pair this with none other than…pan campesino!

6. Starbucks: Before you lose your cool on why we included this, let me explain.  The Starbucks in Cusco is the only Starbucks in the world which uses organic coffee beans!

Things you probably don’t know:

1. Aji de gallina: Karen and I both agree that this is the best meal we’ve eaten since arriving in Peru.  Translated as “chili chicken,” this dish consists of a heavy cream served over chicken (or hen), potatoes and rice.  Hard-boiled egg and sliced olives garnish the top!

It's blurry because Karen was so excited to eat it!

Aji de gallina. It’s blurry because Karen was so excited to eat it!

2. Bistec a la olla: Quite simply, “steak in the pot.”  The steak is cooked in a pan and then served with a variety of vegetables and rice.

3. Cancha: Pieces of salted, fried Andean corn served as a side with some meals.  It looks like a combination between fried corn kernels and corn nuts, but the taste is much better than either of those!

4. Chicha Morada: This is a Peruvian drink made from the purple corn that is grown in the area.  It’s a very refreshing and much less-sugary version of fruit juice.

5. Inca Cola: Not food at all, but necessary to include on this list.  The South American brother of Coca-Cola, this drink initially tastes like you’re drinking a gumball. But give it time and it may become one of your favorite drinks.

6. Lomo saltado: A local favorite (and the favorite dish of our host Manuel), it typically combines pieces of steak with onions, tomato, fried yellow potatoes and rice. Delicious!

7. Saltado de acelga: Very similar but less popular than its friend above, this has nearly everything that lomo saltado has minus the tomato and onions.  It will likely includes sautéed swiss chard or a similar green for added flavor.

Saltado de acelga.  One of our first meals in Cusco!

Saltado de acelga. One of our first meals in Cusco!

Things we still have to try:

1. Alpaca: Similar in appearance to a llama, these animals are used primarily for their wool and meat.  We’ve seen some walking on the streets but have yet to see them on our dinner plate.

2. Cuy (Guinea Pig): This is considered to be the number one delicacy in Peru.  Our host’s father has a birthday this weekend, and it’s looking like guinea pig might be on the horizon!

3. Quail eggs: These little hard-boiled eggs are peeled and served by street vendors all over town.

Our next report will hopefully include follow-up on the “things we still have to try,” as well as a slew of other delicious Peruvian foods!