That means wonderful Vienna in German. And ein means one in German. And-to misquote the inventress of the striptease, Gypsy Rose Lee-”That concludes my entire performance in German”. Then she strips down to a sparkly G string and does an exotic dance. Well, she was getting paid, and I ain’t, so all I’m gonna do is describe a wonderful midday snack I had at Cafe Sabarsky.
Cafe Sabarsky is set in the Neue Galerie in a gorgeous old mansion on fifth avenue. Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt used to live there…if that doesn’t impress you, then you are either A) stupid, or B) really, really rich, and thus someone who should be my friend. Really. Call me. Let’s hang out and buy me a purse. This is the one I want, for reference:
Back to this glorious temple of delights. Because that’s really what it is. In Austria, there is a charming habit of everyone stopping work or play at around 4 pm and going to a cafe or tea house such as Demel in Vienna. There, they sit and chat with friends, or read newspapers or books. They sit for 20 minutes or for hours. And they rest, recharge, and focus on the rest of the day and what is happening that night. And, of course, they eat.
Cafe Sabarsky really captures this old world charm in a setting that was probably once a sitting room. It is all dark walls, high ceilings, and small marble topped tables. The moment you walk in, you start humming the Blue Danube Waltz-it really is that lovely and evocative of old time Vienna.
This beautiful art deco chandelier hangs in the cafe. They don’t sell them at Ikea. I checked.
A piano for their cabaret acts Thursday nights-very swanky.
A rack with every newspaper you could want.
And then there is this. A marble counter laden with all the sweets a diabetic’s dreams are made of. Pies, cakes, pastries, tarts, candies, chocolate, coffee, fruit…if you can eat it, they can dream it. And make it. And then put it out for you to see which one of these lovely treats you want to order. To start with. Because you will probably order more than one. Unless you are a wimp.
Marmie got this elderflower spritzer. Elderflower (which comes from elderberries) is a sweet and fruity flavor kind of like raspberry-blueberry-pomegranate. Though I found it way too saccharine when mixed with just club soda, Marmie loved it. I prefer the flavor it gives the liquor St. Germain. It makes for an excellent cocktail. But then…I am a lush.
Marmie ordered the openfaced liverwurst sandwich. Liverwurst is just what it sounds like-beef or duck liver mixed with herbs and spices into a soft sausage like meat. But there are some people who are weirded out by liver, and I get that. We live in America-it isn’t a widely eaten food. So if you are skittish about trying this-PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES, SUCK IT UP, AND TRY THE LIVERWURST! It has the deep meatiness of a bone in ribeye, the garlic and spice of the sausage on your favorite pizza, and the texture of very creamy goat cheese. If you have tried it and don’t like it, that is one thing. I can respect, if not understand, that. But not to even try it? Puh-LEEZE! It’s not going to come back to life and bite you. Try everything in life! This was homemade, so it was especially meaty and delicious, with a garlicky, peppery bite. On tangy sourdough rye bread with a sweet topping of onion jam…there is nothing more savory and satisfying in the world. Oh, and there was a very nice looking salad. I say nice looking because I didn’t touch that piddly little thing. No, like a real Austrian, I saved my room for…
The dessert. O. M. G. I thought I ordered the fruit tart but I must have ordered my heart’s true desire cause that is what this WAS! That airy looking white puff? That is schlag. No, not whipped cream. Schlag. It is unsweetened and tastes like the richest, lightest, dreamiest puff of cream that ever left a cow’s teat. Yep, I said it. If I could, i would worship that cow. Or just order an side order of schlag and eat it as dinner. Either way.
The cake is a buttery, finely crumbed, dense, vanilla scented brick of love. Set upon a crisp shortbread-like crust and crowned with juicy strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, the cake was incredibly fulfilling. The berries had been macerated in sugar, so the juices fairly spilled into the cake, making it doubly moist and sweet with the fruit’s juices. With some of the schlag, each bite of this treat was moist, crispy, creamy, sweet, tart, fresh, comforting, and vanilla filled. It was simply a joy to eat, and gone all too fast. Perhaps that was because I ate all the schlag when Marmie went to the bathroom. Yep. She got one bite, then I stole the rest. You are forewarned-if you come eat with me, I WILL steal the best bits of the meal and feel no remorse.
Really, the whole meal was nothing less than an imaginary trip to Vienna. For awhile, i was there on the
Karntnerstrasse, shopping in boutiques, listening to Mozart on the street, and eating fabulous food in beautiful
surroundings. Well, at least one of those things actually happened! Cafe Sabarsky was beautiful, delicious,
and VERY fairly priced. With a menu ranging from breakfast through dinner, a full wine list, and live piano
schlag. And please…get me that purse