Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happy Name Day, Kvido! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Kvido.  Happy name day, Kvido!
The name Kvido is often used in Czech, but its source is Witu, an Ancient Germanic name meaning "wood."

Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Name Day, Arnošt! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Arnošt.  Happy name day, Arnošt!
The name Arnošt is of Czech origin and means "determined, stubborn".

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Name Day, Taťána! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!


Today we honor Taťána.  Happy anme day, Taťána!

The name Taťána is the Czech variation of Tatania, which is of Russian and Latin origin.  Tatiana is the feminine form of Tatius, a Roman family clan name. A king by this name was said to have reigned over the Sabines and the Romans with the legendary Romulus.

A more popular name, Tanya, is the short form of Tatiana.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy Name Day, Soňa! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Soňa.  Happy name day, Soňa!
The name Soňa is the Czech variation of Sonia, which is of English origin and a variant of Sophia, which is of Greek origin.  The name means "wisdom".

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy Name Day, Dita! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!


Today we honor Dita.  Happy name day, Dita!
The name Dita is of Spanish and Old English origin, and its meaning is "strife for wealth".

Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy Name Day, Emanuel! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Emanuel.  Happy name day, Emanuel!
The name Emanuel is a variant of Emmanuel, which is of Hebrew origin and means "God is with us".

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy Name Day, Marián! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Marián.  Happy name day, Marián!
The name Marián is of French origin.  It is a blend of Mary, which is of Latin origin and means "star of the sea", and Ann, which is of Hebrew origin and means "grace".

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happy Name Day, Gabriel! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor, Gabriel.  Happy name day, Gabriel!
The name Gabriel is of Hebrew origin and means "God's able-bodied one; hero of God".

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Name Day, Ivona! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Ivona.  Happy name day, Ivona!
The name Ivona is of French origin and means "yew".

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy Name Day, Leona! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Leona.  Happy name day, Leona!
The name Leona is of Latin origin and means "lion".

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Name Day, Radek! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Radek.  Happy name day, Radek!
The name Radek is of Slavic origin and a variant of Roderick, which is of Old German origin.  The name Radek means "famous ruler".

Happy Belated Name Day, Světlana! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Yesterday we honored Světlana.  Happy belated name day, Světlana!
The name Světlana is of Russian and Slavic origin and means "light".

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring is almost here...and I can't wait!

It's almost here!  The first day of spring is sooooo close I can feel it.
There's just something about the warm sun on my face, seeing happy people enjoying the outdoors, and knowing that my favorite season of all is not far off... summer!



















Happy Name Day, Josef! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Josef.  Happy name day, Josef!
The name Josef is a variant of Joseph, which is of Hebrew origin and means "Jehovah increases".

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy Name Day, Eduard! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Eduard.  Happy name day, Eduard!
The name Eduard is the Czech variation of Edward, which is of Old English origin and means "wealthy guard".

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Get your Guinness on in Prague

Where will you be celebrating with a pint in-hand?

There are several Irish pubs in Prague to get your Guinness on because apparently...
 

Caffrey's in Old Town Square 

The Dubliner located in the Tyn courtyard (not far from Caffrey's) 

The James Joyce Pub (formerly Molly Malone's) has the most authentic Irish country pub atmosphere and is just a 5-minute walk from Old Town Square.  U Obecniho dvora 4 Prague 1

Rock O' Reilly's located at Štěpánská 32 attracts lots of stag and hen parties, so be ready for a packed house
 

J.J. Murphy's Irish Bar   located at Trziste 4, Praha 1
is situated around the corner from Malostranské náměstí

The Irish Club  at Keramická 4 in Prague 7 has a cozy, homey feel thanks to its woodwork (direct from Ireland apparently).

Money Murphy's  at Krymská 39 in Prague 10 may not have the most authentic Irish feel, but if you're looking for a laid back atmosphere, this is the place for you.  Word of warning... Guinness is bottled.

Pub O'Brien's at Janovského 36 in Prague 10 is situated near Výstaviště, the exhibition grounds.  It's a cross between Irish and Pirate.  Yes, pirate.  Argh.



Happy Name Day, Vlastimil! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!


Today we honor Vlastimil.  Happy name day, Vlastimil!
The name Vlastimil is derived from the Slavic elements vlast "homeland" and mil "gracious, dear".

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Name Day, Elana & Herbert! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Elena & Herbert.  Happy name day, Elena & Herbert!

The name Elena is of Greek origin and means "sun ray, shining light".
The name Herbert is of Old German origin and means "illustrious warrior".

Thursday, March 15, 2012

And the Michelin star goes to...

You may think us Czechs aren't foodies with our carnivorous appetites and our love for dumplings, all washed down with a good pilsner (Czech of course), but we are.  Oh, we are.  And this foodie is extremely excited to try Prague's haute cuisine at our Michelin-rated restaurants.


An article in yesterday's Prague Post informed me of just where I'll be dining...

The Prague Post Food Blog

Prague Michelin stars announced
Posted by Fiona Gaze on March 14, 2012

Alcron, La Degustation take top honors with others recognized

The long-awaited news of which restaurants — if any — in Prague would receive Michelin stars was released today, with the 2012 edition of Michelin Main Cities of Europe. Previously, only Allegro in the Four Seasons had received the coveted award, and since that restaurant’s closing in October, many had wondered if Prague would go starless this year.

The Alcron, a seafood-specializing establishment in the Raddison Blu Alcron hotel just off Wenceslas Square, is surely celebrating today, as its chef, Roman Paulus, was awarded one Michelin star. Likewise, La Degustation Boheme Bourgoise, long considered a front-runner for a possible award, finally has the star to add to its list of accolades.

Another of Michelin’s awards, the Bib Gourmand status, is given to restaurants in recognition for accessibly priced, high-quality food. SaSaZu, Le Terroir, Aromi and Divinis all retained their Bibs from last year, and new ones were given to Sansho and the Monastery restaurant, which has been rebranded as Lichfield with a new concept and a new chef.

While some may dispute the overblown authenticity of the Michelin star system, it’s nonetheless great news for Prague and the local dining scene for several restaurants to receive such international recognition for quality. Long gone are the days when anyone can say that Prague lacks a reputable fine-dining scene.

A new chapter

After Allegro at the Four Seasons closed at the end of October, in honor of its award-winning chef, Andrea Accordi, moving to St. Petersburg to open up a Four Seasons restaurant there, the Four Seasons in Prague decided to go a different route and offer up something completely different at its flagship Prague restaurant.

Cottocrudo opened two weeks ago with a celebrity-studded event, where press bulbs flashed and cocktails clinked, but the main star was the food. Even the trays of appetizers were delightful: braised beef cheek and potato puree, simple pasta with fresh tomatoes, fried risotto balls. It’s in keeping with chef Richard Fuchs’ idea for the new restaurant: simple yet elegant dining where the focus is purely on the quality of ingredients, not on the intricacy of a given dish.

I chatted with Fuchs a few months ago about his plans for the restaurant, which you can read here.  Last week I got the chance to stop by Cottocrudo to sample the menu, and I left about five kilos heavier but in heaven. For the best experience of the food, I’d recommend snagging the hightop table right by the raw bar; here, you can watch the chefs at work preparing fresh fish, mozzarella and charcuterie. Here are some photos I took of the dishes I tried:
 
At the raw bar is a “mozzarella bar,” where you can see the luscious cheeses stewing into goodness. The chef gave a tableside demonstration of how the burrata is made, by folding cream into the sack of leftover buffala: 
 
Next up was a selection of charcuterie from the meat fridge, where tempting salamis and proscuitto hang. This mixed plate came with braseola, parma proscuitto and salami Felino. While all were tasty, the salami in particular had a wonderful flavor.
 
A basket of bread arrived with these, a nice mix of freshly baked focaccia flecked with rosemary and some dense, flavorful bread. The presentation in newspaper was a nice touch, and a bottle of spiced extra-virgin olive oil proved perfect for dipping.
 
Cottocrudo has first plates and second plates in addition to starters, and the portions of many are decent enough to make a meal in and of themselves without pairing a primi and secondi, which can make a meal much more expensive. Out of the primi plates, the tagliatelle with boar ragout was a standout. 
 
This was intense comfort food, the ragout a salty, sweet mix of the dusky meat. A topping of shaved Pecorino gave a welcome bite, and the perfectly al-dente pasta below ensured that I ate every last bite, even though I began to worry how I’d get through the secondi I’d ordered. Greeting chef Richard Fuchs out of the kitchen, he recommended the sea bass that day, as he said it had just arrived moments before. It was indeed an incredibly fresh fillet, although in general I’m not partial to the white fish. A buttery sage sauce, bobbing with vongole and fennel, however, gave some great personality. 
 
Although it’s often hard to save room for desserts, the Amareno cherry chocolate cake was absolutely sumptuous.  While pretty on the outside, the light and fluffy exterior opened up to a sinfully rich wedge of fudgy chocolate within and tart cherries. 
 
Cottocrudo is definitely expensive, but it’s a bold new step for the Four Seasons that is worth checking out, if even just for a coffee and a dessert. Here’s the menu: http://www.cottocrudo.cz/images/documents/menu/LunchDinnerMenu.pdf


Other goings-on

SaSaZu, which can now further revel in its Bib Gourmand status, unveiled last week a new Philippines menu. The Philippines have a beautiful cuisine, with influences from Spain. Colors abound, and seafood and meat commingle with fresh vegetables, sweet touches of coconut and bright, zesty herbs and the like.

Another local favorite, Ichnusa Botega Bistro, is hosting its second event in its “The Taste of” series. Taking place this Sunday, it focuses on Venice this time, and will be presented in partnership with a restaurant in Venice, Riviera. The goal of the series is to be a “a cycle of events to taste the genius loci,” and combines sampling of a particular Italian region’s cuisine as well as experiencing its culture through music and art.

“The Taste of — Venice” will be held at Theatrino in the Amedia Hotel, Bořivojova 53, Prague 3–Žižkov, on Sunday, March 18, starting at 5:30 p.m. Lasting approximately four hours, there will be a welcome drink followed by a presentation of Images of Venice, a documentary, with live music performed by Luigi Nono, a Venetian composer (1924–1990) performed by the Prague Modern Ensemble. There will then be a tasting of traditional Venetian antipasti with a paired wine; Baroque music from 17th-century Venice by the group Collegium 1704, then a first course accompanied by a theater production, followed by second course and dessert with similar cultural entertainment. All courses are prepared by Ichnusa chef Ivo Koudelka, and are accompanied by wine.

Tickets cost 1,500 Kč and can be purchased at Ichnusa, Plaská 5, Prague 5-Malá Strana. Reservations are possible by calling 603 375 012 or e-mailing tasteofvenezia@gmail.com.

Happy Name Day, Ida! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Ida.  Happy name day, Ida!
The name Ida is of Old German and Greek origin and means "hardworking".

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

World's 16 Most Picturesque Villages

Budget Travel released its list of the World's 16 Most Picturesque Villages and one of our very own made the cut.  That's right, Český Krumlov is on that list (not that I'm the least bit surprised).


Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
One of the oldest villages in the Czech Republic, Cesky Krumlov is set in a valley in Bohemia south of the Blansko Forest and circled by the Vltava River. The village grew up around the 13th-century Gothic castle of the Lords of Krumlov, which has 40 buildings and palaces, gardens, and turrets and today is a major performing arts location. The cobblestone streets of Cesky Krumlov's Old Town are lined with Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance buildings housing art galleries, cafes, and quaint B&Bs. One of the best ways to experience the town is to take a ride down the Vltava on a wooden raft ($24, en.ceskykrumlov-info.cz).

Getting There: Prague, about 110 miles away, is connected to Cesky Krumlov by a three-hour bus ride ($10 each way; jizdnirady.idnes.cz).

Happy Name Day, Rút & Matylda! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Rút & Matylda.  Happy name day, Rút & Matylda!

The name Rút is the Czech variant of Ruth, which is of Hebrew origin and means "friend, companion".

The name Matylda is the Czech variant of Matilda, which is from the Germanic name Mahthildis meaning "strength in battle".  The name was brought to England by the Normans and was popular until the 15th century in England, usually in the vernacular form Maud.  Both forms were revived by the 19th century.  This name appears in the popular Australian folk song "Waltzing Matilda", written in 1895 by Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What A Damn Shame

Krásna Hôrka is a castle in Slovakia, towering over the village Krásnohorské Podhradie near Rožňava, Košice Region. The first written mention of the castle is from 1333. Since 1961, Krásna Hôrka is a National Cultural Monument of the Slovak Republic.  
It was said to be one of the country's "best-preserved" castles, but unfortunately, much of it was damaged by a fire on March 10, 2012.


Article in the Huffington Post
BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Two Slovak children were suspected of burning down a large gothic castle in eastern Slovakia when their experimentation with smoking went wrong, police said on Sunday.

Police were investigating two boys on suspicion that they set grass at the foot of the Krasna Horka castle on fire on Saturday when they tried to light up cigarettes, said Jana Mesarova, police spokeswoman for the eastern Slovak region of Kosice. Children under the age of 15 cannot be prosecuted in Slovakia.

"A unit sent to the site found that two local boys aged 11 and 12 were trying to light up a cigarette and because of careless use of safety matches, they set grass at the castle hill on fire," Mesarova said.

The castle subsequently caught fire and emergency services deployed 84 firefighters to the scene.

The Slovak National Museum wrote on its Facebook page that damage to the castle was extensive but about 90 percent of historical collections were saved, including contemporary photographs of furnished castle premises from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, oil paintings and various ornaments.

"The castle's roof burned down completely, as well as the new exhibition in the gothic palace and the bell tower. Three bells melted," the museum said.

The castle, near the UNESCO-protected Domica Cave, dates back to the early 14th century.

(Reporting by Martin Santa and Jan Lopatka; Editing by Karolina Tagaris)





And from MSN.com:

Kids burn down Slovak castle but won't go to Slovak juvie
1 day ago
A couple of Slovakian boys aged 11 and 12 had a weekend they'll long remember. Seems the mischievous duo were trying to light up cigarettes when they set some grass afire, and before they knew it, a castle in the eastern Slovak region of Kosice was in flames. The Krasna Horka castle dates back to the early 14th century. According to the Slovak National Museum, the castle's roof was completely destroyed along with the new exhibition in the gothic palace, and three bells in the bell tower melted. Some 84 firefighters were dispatched to the scene. Fortunately for the young smokers, children under the age of 15 cannot be prosecuted in Slovakia.


Happy Name Day, Růžena! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Růžena.  Happy name day, Růžena!
The name Růžena is the Czech variant of Rose, which is of Latin origin and means, not surprisingly, "rose".

Monday, March 12, 2012

Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta

Of all the times I have strolled down Bartolomějská Street in Old Town I have never, not once, noticed Al Capone's.  Shame on me.

The cheapest cocktails in town?

By Jennifer Rigby

Cocktails are a classy drink, as a rule. And with a classy drink often comes a classy atmosphere, classy music – and equally “classy” prices.

Not so in a little joint called Al Capone’s in the Old Town. And when I say little, I mean little – with 25 people in there, it could feel cramped. It’s dark, possibly a little scruffy (hard to tell because of the lighting), and packed to the rafters with different kinds of alcohol. 

But most importantly, the cocktails are pretty good, and they are extremely reasonably priced – 65 Kč for the main list. That amounts to a real bargain, when you are in the mood for the high life – but not the high price.

Cheap cocktail bars can be truly unpleasant, with syrups and sugars replacing real fruit and watered down liquor replacing the real deal. But at Al Capone’s it all seems pretty authentic.


Late on a Saturday night, there was a free tiny table (in the back, there are bigger tables, but on the way in past the bar, there are only tiny two-person perches, each with their own lamp) and a pleasant hum of conversation.

All in all, a pretty cool bar, nice drinks, nice atmosphere, nice prices. The only thing holding me back from wholehearted, full-throated recommendation are the frankly terrifying pictures on their website – including naked women and passed out blokes with their heads on the bar. Slightly inexplicable to me – for a start I’m not sure how they fitted in the naked ladies alongside all the regular drinkers – but on my two visits that kind of stag party debauchery seemed totally off the agenda.

I certainly hope so – because it would be a shame if this chilled out bar with such brilliant prices was taken over by the “drink until you’re sick” crowd.

Well, Jennifer's article intrigued me enough to add Al Capone's to my list of "should try"- I'll let you know what I thought.  Hopefully my night will be free of "naked women and passed out blokes with their heads on the bar...".  See for yourself at Al Capone's


Address:  Bartolomějská 305/3
Praha 1, Old Town


Summer in Prague

I was reading  Condé Nast Traveler earlier today and they listed 5 European cities that you can afford this summer...Prague being one of those cities!

Check out the article here


Happy Name Day, Řehoř! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Řehoř.  Happy name day, Řehoř!
The name Řehoř is the Czech form of Gregorius, which is of Latin origin and means "to awaken".

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Happy Name Day, Anděla! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Anděla.  Happy name day, Anděla!
The name Anděla is the Czech form of Angela, which is of Greek origin and means "messenger; messenger of God".

Happy Belated Name Day, Viktorie! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Yesterday we honored Viktorie.  Happy belated name day, Viktorie!
The name Viktorie is the Czech form of Victoria, which is of Latin origin meaning "conqueror; victory".
Victoria was the Roman goddess of victory, the equivalent of the Greek Nike.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Happy Name Day, Františka! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Františka.  Happy name day, Františka!
The name Františka is the Czech form of Francis, which is the English form of the Late Latin name Franciscus, which meant "Frenchman".

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy Name Day, Gabriela! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Gabriela.  Happy name day, Gabriela! 
The name Gabriela is of Hebrew origin and means "God is my might".

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Happy Name Day, Tomáš! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Tomáš.  Happy name day, Tomáš!
The name Tomáš is the Czech version of Thomas, which is of Aramaic origin and means "twin".

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Happy Name Day, Miloslav! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Miroslav.  Happy name day, Miroslav!
The name Miroslav is of Slavic origin and means "peaceful glory".

Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy Name Day, Kazimír! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Kazimír.  Happy name day, Kazimír! 
The name Kazimír is of Slavic origin and its meaning is "famous destroyer of peace".

Happy Belated Name Day,Stela! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Yesterday we honored Stela.  Happy belated name day, Stela!
The name Stela is a variant of Stella, which is of Latin origin and means "star".

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Happy Name Day, Kamil! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Kamil.  Happy name day, Kamil!
The name Kamil is a variant of Kamal, which is of Arabic origin and means "perfection, perfect".

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Name Day, Anežka! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Anežka.  Happy name day, Anežka!
The name Anežka is the Czech variant of Agnes, which is of Greek origin and means "pure; chaste".

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Name Day, Bedřich! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Bedřich.  Happy name day, Bedřich!
The name Bedřich is the Czech form of Frederick, which is the English form of a Germanic name meaning "peaceful ruler".