Springtime in Vienna Tablescape

It was pretty wet and chilly, that March spring break in Austria eleven years ago — my first trip to Europe. That doesn’t keep me from thinking about Vienna and Salzburg when I think spring. The pansies were profusely blooming and there were flowers and trees making their homage to spring everywhere, despite the weather. Nature is like that.

GotMyReservations Mirabell Gardens

Mirabell Palace and Gardens in Salzburg was one of the shooting locations for the Sound of Music.

Those pansies kept coming back to tantalize me when I started planning this week’s tablescape. I knew I wanted to incorporate the beautiful faux pansies I had seen at Joann’s, since it has still been too cold to have plants outside. I remembered the intricate embroidered cloths that I bought in Austria and voila! I had my inspiration for the week. Continue reading

The View from Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg Castle

Today’s Photo of the Day takes us to Salzburg, Austria, for a view from the ramparts of the Hohensalzburg Castle, a medieval fortress dating from 1077.

GotMyReservations -- Salzberg, Austria

The view over Salzburg, Austria, from the Hohensalzburg Castle

For more Austria photos, check out my Austrian Pork Schnitzel and Cabbage Pasta Bake recipes, our visit to the Do-Re-Mi garden from Sound of Musicmy thoughts on visiting Vienna, our visit to The House of Music in Vienna, and Christmas in Austria.

I’m linking up with The Tablescaper for “Oh, The Places I’ve Been”, Travel Photo Monday” at Travel Photo Discovery, and “Travel Photo Thursday” at Budget Travelers Sandbox,  and Our World Tuesday so stop by and get some more inspiration for your travel bucket list!

Got my bags, got my reservations,
Spent each dime I could afford. 
Like a child in wild anticipation, 
I long to hear that, “All aboard!”

Music and lyrics by Bud Green, Les Brown and Ben Homer (1944)


On the Menu Monday: A Visit to Vienna

I was watching Rachael Ray the other day and she did a show about food in Vienna. I’ve been dreaming about going back to Vienna, as evidenced here and here. If I can’t travel to Vienna right now, at least I can recreate this for our empty nest at home, thought I.

When Music Man and I visited Vienna, I kind of fell in love with schnitzel, but it’s a lot of food and not so good for my diet. People usually make it by pounding the meat flat, coating it in breading and then frying it.

Refusing to let schnitzel be the boss of me, I started with the problem of most online recipes. They are designed for a family or a party, not just for the two of us in our empty nest. Voila! I decided to go with just two perfect palm-sized pork chops.

Rather than pounding them flat I kept the thicker size so that I wouldn’t have so much breading and less oil actually hitting the surface of the chop. I coated them with flour, egg, and panko bread crumbs just as Rachael did.

I ended up serving a meal that was not only relatively healthy, it was also delicious and satisfied that pesky schnitzel craving. Be sure to try this — it’s VERY easy!

Pork Schnitzel

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Serving Size: 1 pork chop

Pork Schnitzel

This recipe can be made with chicken, veal, or pork.


  • 2 pieces lean pork chops
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
  • A handful flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest


Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Place a baking sheet in oven to keep cooked cutlets crisp.

Trim the pork chops of any visible fat.

Arrange a station for breading: flour, beaten eggs, bread crumbs mixed with paprika, parsley and the zest of a lemon.

Heat just enough oil to coat the bottom of a large nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat.

Bread each chop in flour, then egg, then bread crumb mixture and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side, and transfer to oven. Keep the cooked chops hot in the warm oven until ready to serve.

Serve with lemon wedges.


For Rachael Ray’s original recipe, click here.

Of course, I couldn’t just serve the schnitzel, so then I went looking for a side dish, and boy, was I lucky to find this one.

Krautfleckerl -- cabbage-pasta bake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Krautfleckerl -- cabbage-pasta bake


  • 1 lb. egg noodles
  • 1 white cabbage head
  • 2 Tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • Salt, caraway seeds, ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar


Wash the cabbage and remove the stalk. Cut into quarters, then cut the quarters into smaller pieces. Add salt to taste. Cut the pieces roughly into squares, bruise by hand and let stand for about 15 minutes.

Caramelize the sugar in the oil, and add the cabbage, onions and the caraway seeds. Cover, and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly, until light brown in color. Season with pepper.

Boil some water and cook the noodles until soft, drain and combine with the cabbage. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss.Let stand for a few minutes. Before serving, season to taste with pepper and salt.


This recipe calls for fleckerl, a small square, flat noodle. I was not able to buy this at my grocery, so I used the thickest egg noodles I could find.

My husband hates caraway, so I made a spice mixture of cumin, dill, and fennel and ground them in my mortar. I don't think I would ever go back to the original caraway, as the sweet spice mixture was divine and went beautifully with the balsamic vinegar.

This recipe makes about six servings, and we have been enjoying the leftovers. It warms up beautifully in the microwave -- if you have any left over!


For the original cabbage and pasta recipe, click here.

Combined with some edamame salad straight from the deli counter, we had a healthy and satisfying meal that reminded us of our wonderful trip to Vienna, Austria.

 I’m linking up with On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable. Be sure to stop by for some inspiration for your table this week!

Travel Diary: Vienna 2003

I just sent in my passport for renewal. I can’t believe it’s been ten years.

I got a new passport photo taken, of course. My contact lenses are long gone, replaced by my sassy hipster frames or my sparkly dress-up glasses. My hair’s still brown, albeit a little redder and a lot shorter because it’s easier to care for. I’m working on getting my weight down, but let’s just say my sturdy German girl frame fit right in among the Austrians — and I had a lot of layers on under that coat because it was March and it was cold in Austria.

We visited a family friend who was studying in Vienna while we were there.

The world was a lot different in 2003.

The United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland had joined with the United States to invade Iraq just before we were scheduled to visit in March 2003 during my spring break. The rest of the world was not as supportive and we were warned not to take any clothing displaying American flags or blatant patriotic sayings. We were supposed to blend in. Apparently the Viennese were not happy with our choice, as we found out with this display on a museum plaza. I think we were successful at blending in, as we were sometimes asked for directions by other tourists…

Both of my children had been to Europe three times by the time I actually got there myself.

For a woman who had visited almost every state in the Union, as well as Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Canada, I was woefully under-traveled when it came to Europe. As a small-town girl from Ohio with a modest upbringing by my educator parents, I didn’t get to take the school trip with the band. There wasn’t one. I didn’t do junior year abroad, although some people at Miami University were able to study abroad at the University Center in Luxembourg. Not me. I needed to get my degree finished so that I could get on with life and my parents could not have afforded it anyway.

That first trip through Heathrow was a revelation. The center lounge with rows and rows of armchairs where travelers of every persuasion melded together in a huge melting pot was amazing to me. Going from shop to shop, comparing magazines, books, travel items, and even candy, took the sting out of our long layover. I was actually waiting to change planes in London, England!

Our visit to Vienna was the beginning of a travel odyssey that I hope we will continue for many years.

As I walked up to the post office today, I was thinking that in another ten years, I’ll be ten years older, too. We’ll still be traveling, unless something dreadful happens to us, but we will be different travelers by then. We probably won’t stride into the Vienna train station, confident that we can drag our own bags onto public transportation and get to the airport. We’ll probably take more cruises and do less driving.

But we’ll still be traveling.

A Viking River Cruise will someday take us back to Vienna; there are five cruises for us to choose from. We could even go during the Christmas markets in December.

The charming Hotel Beethoven is still alive and well and helping tourists to learn about Vienna. They still offer a comprehensive breakfast buffet and small-hotel ambiance and service.

Some things change and some things don’t.

I’m sure Vienna isn’t the city that we visited ten years ago; most likely, it is a better city. Globalization has changed the way we eat — I’m sure there are even more interesting restaurants to try. The fabulous museums are probably even more fabulous, as curatorial processes and styles have grown along with the advancement of digital imaging and modern historical preservation techniques.

Yet, I imagine that much about Vienna is the same. I’m sure that people still honor crosswalks and are polite. The Viennese probably still speak enough English to be helpful to tourists (unlike us who only know how to use cognates to read signs). The vitality of this centuries-old city is most likely still there, waiting to be discovered by another visitor.

When are you going to Vienna?

Contact me at jennie@gotmyreservations dot com if you would like me to help you plan a trip to this marvelous city!


Food Cult: Zum Huth – Im Haus der Musik, Vienna

For this week’s photo story, we’ll travel around Europe to visit some fabulous restaurants and revisit some extraordinary food.

Our first stop is in Vienna, where we spent a romantic dinner overlooking the rooftops from the restaurant-cafe Huth in the Haus der Musik. The Sound Museum is an often overlooked but wonderful museum that is centrally located near St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Vienna Opera.

If you are traveling with me, don’t be surprised if I order the cheese plate at every meal. This one was extraordinary.

These photos were taken in 2003 with our brand new Olympus digital camera. It has since gone to digital camera heaven.

HAUS DER MUSIK is an interactive discovery museum located in the heart of Vienna’s first district nestled between St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Vienna State Opera. A host of interactive installations playfully communicate openness to new things, understanding and enthusiasm in approaching music HAUS DER MUSIK was awarded the Austrian Museum Prize for its innovative design and is located in the formerPalais of Archduke Charles. You will find all 67 of its new inventions here. A total of 5,000 square meters has been set aside exclusively for areas dedicated to a wide array of approaches to music, and most of all, to the experience of music.

At one time the former Palais of Archduke Charles, today’s HAUS DER MUSIK was also the residence ofOtto Nicolai (1810 – 1849), who composed the opera “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and founded the Vienna Philharmonic concerts here. This connection provided the impetus for the Vienna Philharmonic, with itsHistorical Archive, to make HAUS DER MUSIK its new home. Here, the scientific documentation of this world-famous orchestra continues and is made available to the public. On the “Beletage” first floor, the only historically preserved rooms in the house, the Vienna Philharmonic present original documents from their history.  Source

22 Days of Christmas 2011: Christmas in Austria

Does your cable channel carry Anthony Bourdain? If not, you should picket your cable headquarters until you get it. Bourdain is the most irreverent-while-being-fascinating host on television today (I LOVE hyphenated adjectives!).

I blogged about Anthony Bourdain earlier this year when he visited El Bulli, but his Vienna show really hit home with me. It’s a long story– are you ready for it?

I had never been to Europe prior to our Spring Break trip in 2003. Our family friend Lara spent her junior semester abroad in Vienna and it seemed the perfect place to initiate the Europe virgin (that would be me) into European culture. I mean, really, how many books had I read about Marie Antoinette at that point? I was pretty sure I could handle Vienna. I don’t speak German, but my mom did. Isn’t that enough? I speak some passable Spanish and NRB speaks some passable French. Between our passable Romance book-languages and Lara, we figured we could probably get by.

Fast forward to nine years later. I’m looking for something fun to watch on the tube on the eve of my Veterans’ Day holiday off from school. Usually we don’t get Veterans’ Day; we trade it for an extra day before Thanksgiving or something. This year, we got both. It was a rare gift. I scrolled through my DVR’d programs, not finding Glee. What happened? I watched a bit of Hung on HBO. Really? I’m going to have to come back to that one. So I settle for Anthony Bourdain in Vienna which I know doesn’t require me to remember any backstory.

Yet I had my own personal backstory.

Tony visited Schloss Schoenbrunn, the childhood home of Marie Antoinette and so did I.

Tony toured Vienna, and so did I.

Tony didn’t go to Salzburg, but it wasn’t a trip to Austria for me without paying homage to Maria Von Trapp and Mozart. This is kind of a cheesy video, but does give some interesting information. If you keep clicking through the videos, you’ll get the whole Salzburg story.

We also took pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. We bought our first digital camera right before this trip and were still learning how to use it. As I looked through these photos, I realized that in my rose-colored view of our vacation, I had forgotten how cold and often rainy it was in Austria in March.

The Austrians love Christmas, and there were Christmas stores everywhere. Of course we bought an ornament at this store and I’m getting ready to hang it on my tree this year along with all of my other vacation memory ornaments.

For your Austrian music companions to today’s post, I chose The Best of Christmas in Vienna and Christmas in Vienna. Both feature Placido Domingo with friends.

As I look at this 22 Days of Christmas post from last year, it’s hard to believe that we were anticipating snow. Today was a balmy and sometimes rainy day in the upper 40s. If it’s not global warming (as some of my students and their families believe), Mother Nature sure is playing tricks on us. See you tomorrow, and be sure to comment!

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