Monday, March 19, 2012

The Austrian Food of Edi & The Wolf

I'd like to think that I'm a pretty adventurous eater. I like trying lots of different types of cuisines, but even I have to draw the line somewhere. Confession: I usually don't like German/Austrian food. Sausages? Sauerkraut? Wiener schnitzel? was worse when I didn't eat meat. I had to go to German beer gardens and survive on overly buttery spatzle.

When New Friend M invited me to a tasting dinner with Chefs Eduard Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban from the hip Austrian restaurant and bar, Edi & the Wolf (pronounced "Eddie"), and its higher end cousin, Seasonal, I was curious. I really wanted to like Austrian food. I wondered if I could finally learn to like it.

If you ever want to get me to like your food or cuisine, start off with smoked salmon.

Smoked Wild Salmon
Mustard Creme Fraiche, Leek Water & Crispy Brown Bread

That ranks as some of the softest, "melt in your mouth" salmon that I've ever tasted. The salmon is brined and becomes like a tartare, which is an inventive and smart touch. Cool. This appetizer was more like a deconstructed smoked salmon on dark bread with better sauces and attention to detail. This meal was already starting of well.

Like the other chef event I attended with New Friend M, the chefs demonstrated how to cook their dishes in between courses. Edi and Wolfgang definitely have a good schtick going on. They play off of each other well.

Edi & Wolfgang


The next course was butternut squash soup, but it came out a little bare at first.

Beer-Cheese Crouton & Speck (a type of ham)

Each of our soups was poured tableside.

Looks lovely, right?
It was lovely. Unlike many butternutsquash soups, this soup was had no cream and was sweet with the salty contrasting flavors of crouton and speck. I doubt there can be anything bad that contains both cheese and beer. Just sayin'.

The next course was going to be a big test for me. A big one.

Wiener Schnitzel
with Potato Salad, Cucumber & Ligonberry

I usually hate wiener schnitzel. It's usually fried beyond recognition and greasy, and I can barely tell that it's some form of meat. Well, I am now a schnitzel convert. This thinly sliced piece of veal tasted like veal and and wasn't overly fried and had very subtle spice. So this is what GOOD schnitzel tastes like? Got it. The potato salad was tangy and not overly dressesd. No cloying mayonaisse. Also there's cucumber salad with a perfect amount of dill underneath all of that beautiful schnitzel.

It was finally time to end the meal with Austrian sweetness. Woo hoo!

with Apple Compote

Honestly, this is really just flour, eggs, sugar, salt and milk baked in a pancake form topped with some cinnamon and powdered sugar, a typical and total homey Austrian dessert. I'm going to try to get an invite to an Austrian home just for this.

Edi & Wolfgang did it. They changed how I view Austrian food. It can be more than just horrible fried patties of meat or sausage slopped together at a biergarten. It can actually be just as good as any other gourmet cuisine when it's done right. I guess that it's just about taking the time to just make food in a way that highlights all of its goodness. Lesson learned.

Is there any type of food that you disliked in the past and now you really enjoy? Mine is Austrian. :)


Daphne said...

I'm not a fan of Mexican food (save for tacos and nachos), but I've heard and read elsewhere that what most Americans think of Mexican food is actually Tex-Mex.

I've never been to Mexico, but until then, I'd really like to find a truly authentic Mexican restaurant to verify my tastes.

Try Anything Once Terri said...

@Daphne - You know you are not alone on that one. I think you are right that many people don't like Tex Mex food. During the time I lived with a Mexican family, I really loved the food. It's nothing like Tex Mex actually. I think you would like it. :)


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