To accompany my last Prague vlog and blog post, some miscellaneous recommendations and reflections from spending four days in Prague.
We were lucky to live literally above where Sisters and Naše maso were located. Sisters specialises in Prague's famous open faced sandwiches, which were so gorgeous to look at and great to eat too, even if you need to work a bit to get a bite of all the elements. On our first afternoon in Prague, we bought a range of the sandwiches and retreated to our apartment to watch Federer play at Wimbledon for about two hours before venturing into the sunset. Naše maso serves fresh grilled sausages and other grilled meat, as you might expect. We didn't get a chance to eat there but there was always a reliable crowd outside, so it's worth checking out.
My Chinese parents caved after two days in Europe and had to go on the hunt for Asian food. I fared much better but Prague has a surprisingly large Vietnamese expat community, according to Vladimir, and so we decided to try out one of the several Vietnamese eateries dotted in Old Town. Banh-mi-ba modernises and makes the banh mi experience very aesthetic. The banh mi isn't the best I've had but it isn't bad at all.
The Messina of Prague, apparently. They have some really interesting flavours (I tried the basil flavour which was actually not bad) but they're all relatively simple (usually either one or two flavours) and not like Messina's wacky combinations.
Shamelessly extracted from the other excellent food places Vladimir took us on the Prague Foodies Tour. I can't recommend this place highly enough - we loved it so much we went back twice. You have to get the duck, but if you're feeling like slow-cooked beef (with creamy mashed potatoes) or pork hock, this is the flavour-packed hearty meat dish for you. Czech cuisine at its best, and local-approved.
ART AND MUCHA
I had actually forgotten Alfons (Alphonse) Mucha was Czech and so seeing a gigantic poster of an exhibition on his work at Old Town Square was a surprise of the best kind.
I would recommend the Art Nouveau exhibition in the Municipal House (Obecní dům), which is, itself, an Art Nouveau building. The exhibition at Municipal House featured a whole bunch of Mucha's sketches (which are just as beautiful - if not more - than the final prints), Art Nouveau household items (ft. ridiculously beautiful lamps) and prints by other art favourites such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Seeing an exhibition of prints - as opposed to paintings - is a particularly interesting experience because there is no definitive 'original' in a print run, especially if it was not valued as a piece of art in the context. How many of us save movie posters and brochures? (admittedly, I do). Many of the things on display had very banal origins - a postcard sent to a friend where you could still see the uneven press and fading of ink, a poster taken from an alleyway, perhaps even from someone's bedroom a century ago. They've now been recontextualised and made into something to be displayed and looked at. The gallery, being casually decorated with Mucha posters was also intriguing because the only thing distinguishing them and the posters framed and glass-protected was time, printing method and location. It does make me wonder which casually thrown and regarded brochures, posters and illustrations we might see as 'art' in the future.
One of my first conversations with a good friend concerned the Four Campfires of Art - Mucha is another of my favourite artists that draws me to the Classicist campfire due to his unapologetic focus on beauty and the idealised female form. I draw a lot of inspiration from the way he marries flat graphic design elements with traditional realism. There's such a vibrant play of dimension and lines in Mucha's work. It's definitely worth seeing in person.