After one final day of sightseeing in Vienna, the group got together for our farewell dinner at Silberwirt. Having subsisted mostly on sausages and schnitzel over the duration of the trip, the Global Leaders miraculously had not grown tired of Viennese cuisine. As we settled into the restaurant, we made our picks from the preset 3-course menu which was entirely in German. Thanks to our substitute guide, Michaela (not to be confused with Michela), we were able to get our orders in properly and make the proper selection of beverage.
Our first course, called “Klare Rindsuppe mit Griessnockerl,” was a savory beef broth filled with shredded turnips and carrots. In the center was a wheat dumpling, which complemented the richness of the soup well. The texture was grainy yet soft, providing a pleasant mouthfeel and minimal additional flavor. The broth was topped with scallions not only for presentation, but also to add a sharp finish to each bite. Bread was served alongside the broth to soak up every last drop, which the hungry Global Leaders enjoyed with gusto. After a long day in the cold, the broth restored our vitality.
The main course was a beef steak, topped with onion sauce and crispy onions, and served with a side of crispy potatoes and a pickle. Known colloquially as “Zwiebelostbraten, in der Pfanne Frisch gebraten, mit Zwiebelsauce, Bräterdapfein und Fächergurke,” this hearty plate was perfectly suitable for a winter dinner in Vienna. The thin cut of meat was tenderized such that it could be separated by a fork if need be. The onion sauce was rich, with a hint of red wine reminiscent of French onion soup, bringing out the depth of the meat with full-body flavor. The topping of crispy onions coated the tongue with a layer of fat, leaving that lingering salty sensation that made the next bite irresistible. In case the massive steak covered in onions wasn’t filling enough, the side of potatoes certainly ensured the Global Leaders could make it through the coldest of winters. The pickle provided a perfect palette cleanser after the large quantity of meat and carbohydrates, to prepare for our final course.
For dessert, the two options were a Viennese chocolate mousse or a berry ice cream. Pictured above is the ice cream, or “Waldbeer-Eisbecher:” a preserve made of raspberries, strawberries, and more, covered with a layer of ice cream and topped with unsweetened whipping cream, finally punctuated by two vanilla pirouette cookies. The mild cream on the surface gives way to the sweetness of the ice cream and tartness of the berry preserve, making for a pleasant eating experience. However, the significant amount of berries dyed the teeth blue and we were left wishing there was more ice cream.
Overall, we left the meal feeling satisfied (albeit 5 pounds heavier). With full bellies we made our way back to the hotel via bus and tram, once again experiencing Vienna’s excellent public transit system. After a close call with Michael almost being abandoned on a Tram, our director’s cat-like reflexes ensured our group was never separated.
With our final meeting complete, our group split up to get some rest before making the journey home. The group will be reunited upon the start of the semester, ready to start the new year with new knowledge, experience, and a strange desire for schnitzel and sausages. Or maybe that last one is just me.
Blog by Darren Liu