Monday, February 26, 2007

Mariánské Lázně - Part II

Renault: What in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Renault: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
Rick: I was misinformed.

If you come to Mariánské Lázně for the waters, you are in the right place. If you come for the food, you were misinformed.

The spa town is definitely worth a visit if you enjoy looking at restored grand hotels or nature walk in the nearby woods. And, of course, there are the spa treatments if you like that sort of things. There may be some good places to eat that are hidden away in the hotels. We didn't see them. Granted, we didn't look very hard.

The Colonnade near Hlavní třída

The town's main street, Hlavní třída, is full of shops selling tourist kitsch and the large, round sugar wafers that the city guide calls "spa waffles" (Lázeňské oplatky). The streets and restaurants are pretty deserted in the winter.

We were in a bit of a hurry, so we thought we'd just find into a decent place for lunch while walking down this central street. We were wrong.

One hotel restaurant looked decent from the outside and very depressing on the inside. We walked out. Then, we saw the Churchill Pub and Restaurant in the Hotel Excelsior.

Inside it looked very clubby, with wood paneled walls, big, stuffed leather booths, and a picture of Sir Winston on the wall. A little more inviting than the other place.

V got chicken with tomato sauce (180 CZK). The chicken was chopped into small granules of meat. The sauce itself had a ketchup and water base. A coulis, if you will. V also had a small salad of lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and cucumbers (30 CZK). No dressing. Oil and vinegar available on request.

I had penne with four slivers of sun-dried tomato, four slivers of sautéed onion, olive oil, flecks of tasteless basil, and Parmesan cheese (105 CZK). Not bad, actually. I like minimalism.

For drinks, we had a couple of bottles of Mattoni mineral water (30 CZK each). V had the house red at 60 CZK a glass (20 cl).

Shortly after we came in, I noticed the music. It was the Muzak version of "Feelings." As the next song began, I realized it was the Muzak version of "Feelings."

"They're playing the same song over and over again," I said.

Luckily for V, she had never heard this tune before, so the full effect was somewhat lost on her. As for me, at the beginning of the meal I was laughing. By the end, I was crying. Lunch was an emotional roller coaster. I needed to get off.

Before we left, I had a shot of Becherovka to calm my nerves. Then, I had a shot of Fernet Citrus. To help me forget.

Churchill Pub and Restaurant
Orea Hotel Excelsior
Hlavni 121
Mariánské Lázně
Czech Republic
Tel. 354 697 111

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hotel food = overpriced shite. Why didn't you sample the local flavour instead of the garbage of ML??! Odd, really.

Brewsta said...

You're the one who got so upset during the sandwich and salad discussion, right?

Lighten up, Francis.

If you ever decide to leave a serious comment or question, I'll take it seriously.

Escoffier said...

What's odd? It is VERY difficlut to eat well in Spa towns. They are all stuck in a time warp.

The food in the Lazne's is really awful. Russians and elderly Germans are the clientelle. There IS one goodish restraunt in Mar. Lazne..but I forgot the name..it is on a street at a right angle to the Colonnade. Goats spring to mind? There is something hanging from the door...ah..you'll find it :-)

As for Karlovy Vary...popular with obese arabs, but is a gastronomic desert. The Embassy is good though:

http://www.embassy.cz

Very pleasant dining rooms & cooking. Gets even better during Film Festival Week.

"Interesting" Footnote:

Although no recorded list of the "heavy" guests of Mariánské Lázně was ever kept, one may obtain various facts about them that are documented in other sources. In his book on Edward VII, Sigmund Muenz mentioned that a heavy-set Egyptian stayed in the spa and could only move with the aid of tower-shaped arm rests.

This was probably El Gamal Bey, dubbed by the local newspapers as the heaviest of all spa guests. He was a regular visitor. During his first cure, he lost 54 kg and experienced a notable improvement in his health. Later on, the Englishman William Campbell of London was the acknowledged heaviest guest. His weight was 240 kg. In 1970, Mr. Žemlička, weighing 235 kg at the beginning of his cure, was treated in Mariánské Lázně.

Brewsta said...

Thanks for the tip and the trivia. Love trivia.

If there's one thing I've learned in the blog game so far, it is that trolls are to be pitied.

You have to pity people who need to share their anger and insecurity with the world.

It is worth pointing out how pitiful, laughable, or uninformed they are.

But never feed them red meat.

Escoffier said...

Troll? I see no troll. A troll is an artist who - using subtelty - winds up people, causes argument and mayhem. I think that you have yourself a common or garden yob. This guy is about as subtle as a pyschedelic mullah at a bar mitzvah.

BTW: The place in ML is "At The Golden Ball" - nothing to do with goats - there is a golden ball hanging outside. Serve whole duck with a bib! Cosy and pleasant staff.

Tuck in!