Sunday, November 3, 2013

Swiss House


SchweizerHaus is an open air restaurant in the Viennese Prater that runs from March through October.  The Prater is a fascinating place in the heart of the city of Vienna.  It is a park divided into two separate parks: one is the Austrian equivalent of Central Park, though apparently it is much larger; and the other half is an amusement park, much like Coney Island or Navy Pier.  But more on that later...
We took the U Bahn from Floridsdorf and then walked to the SchweizerHaus, which means Swiss House in German.  This place is legendary here for its traditional Austrian food.  Of particular note is the pork shank, which appears to be roasted and is HUGE.  Literally, we watched a family of four across from us share one pork shank.  We heard that some of them weigh up to a kilo, or 2.2 pounds to us.  And that isn't all - it comes with a bread basket, coleslaw salad, and fresh ground horseradish and mustard. 
Did I mention, the Swiss House is a biergarten?  Reportedly home of the original Budweiser, in fact.  So we felt obligated to try, for the sake of an old fashioned Austrian custom. 

Our drinks came out first, mostly because I ordered the Backhendl, which is fried chicken and takes 20 minutes.  But we waited patiently, watching the family foursome at the next table decimate their roasted pork.  Above us through the tress we could see one of the rides, a giant communal swing lifting numbers of people into the air and  swirling them all in a lazy spiral. 

When our food arrived, we quickly learned that it was well worth the time.  Jon ordered the Budweiserfleisch, basically pork steak slow braised in beer with the most delicious dumplings and gravy.  As previously discussed, I got the fried chicken.  Now, the chicken was fantastic, don't get me wrong.  But, it was no replacement for Southern Fried Chicken, delicious though it was:)
After dinner we walked through the amusement park.  Jon won a tiny but loud green kazoo whistle at an archery booth, which he proceeded to blow almost incessantly.  All in all it was a perfect way to spend one of the last pretty days of our first Fall in another land.  And we will take all of our friends and family who visit us to the Swiss House!