Dinner: Cupcakes and Wine In a … Plastic Pop-Top Bottle? (Keep Reading, There’s More)

After the day  I  had, I would have been entirely alright if dinner was a cupcake (or two) and 550 ml of red wine (or more).

photo(2)We were at the Prospect Park bandshell on one of the loveliest summer evenings yet so far this year, Femi Kuti was coming on in a bit, with all his brass and his feel-good music and rump-shaking ladies. The air was festive. Lounging on blankets, hanging out in the late-afternoon sun, drinking wine and eating cupcakes — it felt like one of those time-outside-of-time moments that I treasure.

photo_4Later, concert over, bellies began rumbling. Someone apparently knew something about the neighborhood, knew where to go, and I followed, literally having no idea were we were, or where we were going. Zoom out on Google Maps enough and I could point out that we’re in Brooklyn, sort of in the vicinity of the southwest corner of Prospect Park, but bring it in any closer and … nada. Which was fine. I love getting a little lost on occasion, letting someone else drive. I get to check out the scenery.

photo(3)We ended up at Cafe Steinhof in Park Slope, a wonderland of German food. I was immediately enamored, this menu is bomb-ass. (Apparently they do an amazing goulash on Monday nights, according to the local insider.) Chicken liver pate, served with sour cherries and cornichons; bratwurst (fresh), kielbasa (smoked), weisswurst (veal) and debrechina (spicy) sausages; cheese spaetzle — I felt like ordering the entire menu.

I finally decided on the Wiener Schnitzel sandwich ($10): Several pork cutlets tenderized until flat, coated in breadcrumbs and lightly fried, accompanied only by a couple of requesite slices of lettuce and tomato in a sturdy kaiser roll. Slightly dry — problem solved after I slathered the schnitzel with hot mustard from a little pot on the table — incredibly hearty. I ate half, and the salad, and hit the wall. Which means one thing: You’ll be seeing more schnitzel soon.

TIP: The food all-around was excellent, but the seafood ragout stole the show. Generous servings of trout, mussels, shrimp, cod and salmon swimming in a creamy broth — if this is the Austria’s version of bouillabaisse, I’m sold.

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