Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Salzburg and a Sneaky Meal

Before coming out to Vienna, my handsome Bobby told me he had a surprise lunch reservation for me. Over the course of a few days he gave me the following hints: the restaurant is a 3 hour train ride away from Vienna; I need to bring a nice dress; it's Mexican food; it's located in an airport; it's associated with a company I once considered working for; and once there we might be able to get a drink 'that gives you wings.' Well, needless to say, I was worried. Mexican food in Europe is usually pretty awful, and it could only be worse if it was served at an airport! The clues just didn't add up and I had no idea what to expect. It turns out I should trust Bobby a bit more because we had a wonderful meal!
Bobby found out about Restaurant Ikarus through some work colleagues. Located in the private airplane hangar of the energy drink company Red Bull (the company in based in Salzburg, and the hanger, known as Hangar 7, also houses some of the Red Bull race cars, planes, and helicopters), Restaurant Ikarus has a Michelin star. The restaurant brings in a new guest chef each month, and the restaurant only serves the menu of that chef for the entire month. For February, the restaurant was host to Mexican chef Enrique Olvera, whose Mexico City restaurant Pujol is in the top 50 restaurants in the world. We sat down to a 11 course, 4 hour lunch, and I loved every minute of it! The first course was a mini coun with coffee powder and ants (yep, you read it right, ants. That's the second time we've been served ants on purpose at a restaurant; the first time was at Noma) served with a salty corn infusion. The second course, pictured here, was beef tartar with herbs and jalapeño, served with a glass of 2011 Grüner Veltliner 'Hochrain' by Veyder-Malberg (Wachau, Austria).
The third course was a souffléed tortilla with scallops and celery, served with a 2008 Chardonnay 'Jungenberg' by Markus Altenbuerger (Neusiedlersee, Austrai) - such a fantastic wine. The fourth course, pictured here, was a cebiche of loup de mer (a type of fish) taco with avocado and hoja santa (hoja santa is an aromatic herb found in South and Central America), served with a 2010 Riesling Smargd (Emerald) 'Weissenkirchner Achleithen' from Rudi Pichler (Wachau, Austria) - also a fantastic wine.
The fifth course was Mexican octopus with tomato and olive cream. The octopus was perfectly cooked, and the flavor combination with the creams was great. This course was served with a 2009 Malvazija 'Sv. Jakov' from Giorgio Clai (Istria, Croatia). That was the first wine I've had from Croatia and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The following dish was a roasted turbot with zucchini, jalapeño and three herbal creams: radish leave cream, arugula cream, and leek cream. This was served with a 2010 Bourgogne Blanc from Domaine Roulot (Burgundy, France).
The seventh dish was a black bean tamale with sour cream. At first, the dish looked like it was covered in about 3 cups of sour cream, but it turns our the sour cream was whipped into a foam and was therefore quite light. It was delicious! This was served with a 2009 Sauvignonasse from Marjan Simcic (Goriska Brda, Slovenia). Again, this was a new wine region for me, and I wasn't disappointed. The eighth dish, pictured here, was a suckling pig in bean broth with sweet and sour vegetables, served with a 2008 Spätburgunder G.G. 'Untertürkheimer Gips' from Ger Aldinger (Württemberg, Germany), the only red wine of the meal. The pig was really, really good; the skin was nicely crisped while the meat underneath was tender and creamy. Paired with the earthy bean broth and tart pickled vegetables, it was a winner.
We finally came to the desserts. First we had the pictured ripe banana with macadamia nut and cocoa bean, which was served with a 2000 Arbois Vin Jaune from Domaine Rolet (Jura, France). The banana was wonderful, but the wine wasn't our favorite. Next we had an avacado cream with coco sorbet and passion fruit, which was served with a 2006 Rieling 'Undhof Auslese' from Salomon-Undhof (Kremstal, Austria). Both the dessert and wine were spectacular. We ended the meal with a chocolate mousse and petit fours: Bobby picked a bell pepper and raspberry fruit jelly (a surprisingly delightful combination), while I chose the orange-bergamot macaroon (what can I say, I'm a sucker for both bergamot and macaroons!). If you're ever in Salzburg and want to go to an excellent restaurant, I'd highly recommend Ikarus. The food was outstanding, we were introduced to a lot of new and very good wines, and the service was fantastic.
After our 4 hour lunch, we had a few hours to spare before taking the train back to Vienna. We headed into the Old Town. Many of the shops and attractions were closed (it was late Sunday afternoon), but it was nice to just walk and see the beautiful sights, and we didn't have to fight any crowds! When we return for a proper trip to Salzburg, we'll be sure to visit the Hohensalzburg Castle, which is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe.
Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart, so we saw plenty of shops, streets, and cafés named after him. We even saw his childhood home, albeit from the outside. Again, something to visit the next time we're in Salzburg. I loved the narrow, winding streets of the Old Town. Walking through these romantic streets was the perfect end to our romantic day: a wonderful meal planned by my wonderful husband.

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