Prague was tons and tons of fun. Unexpectedly so. When I was
searching online for things to do it didn’t seem that interesting,
but now it is one of the cities we would like to revisit. And eat
holousky in. Halusky? I have seen it spelled both ways.

Something to know about every tour company in existence: Optional
Excursions. These are itineraries that are not included in the
base fee for your tour, but which they offer for an additional
fee. When I booked this tour I honestly did not intend to sign up
for a single one of their optional excursions, because a lot of
them are overpriced drastically (Versailles for 65 Euro, when it
costs me less than 20 Euro to go on my own??). But I have to
admit, Joe sold us on a few of the optional excursions.

To be specific, all of the ones that include food.

Anyway, we went on our first optional excursion this night, a
traditional Czech dinner accompanied by traditional Czech folk
music played on traditional Czech instruments. It was fantastic. I
had no expectations about what Czech music sounded like (ok maybe
I did and I thought it would suck) but it was really marvelous,
lively and joyful and harmonious.

The dinner was even better. We started out with HOLOUSKY which are
potato dumplings flavored with Czech style saurkraut, which is
much better than any saurkraut I have ever had before, and smoked
pork. The kraut had a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness,
and was still slightly crispy. The whole dish came together
wonderfully, and I asked for seconds which Joe happily arranged.
The main course was a … spicz? spic? spiz? kebab of pork,
mushroom, peppers, onions, bacon. It was juicy and flavorful. The
sides were a perfectly cooked green bean and smoked ham, potato
croquettes, and a kind-of-sort-of potato gratin. The beans still
kept their bright green color yet were beautifully tender. The
potato croquettes were too doughy for my taste, too much flour not
enough potato. The potato gratin was an eye opener. The potatoes
were completely soft, yet still held their shape so that I could
see the distinct layering of potato, cream sauce, potato. They
clearly prepared it in a large baking dish and then cut out
individual portions, and they were all perfectly cut squares that
held together. The top of the potato gratin cake was perfectly
browned and crispy.

You know how potatoes have a bad reputation as being a boring
food, and if you say that someone just eats “meat and potatoes”
then that is equivalent to saying they are boring and
unadventurous eaters? If everyone cooked meat and potatoes like
the Czech people, that saying would be turned right on its head.