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I’m checking in with a little joy spotting for the long weekend. Some of you are eating super clean, juicing, and bio-hacking. Normally I’m keen on such things in the New Year (and yes, I’ve been listening to all the podcasts about brain health: I’m focused on good sleep and cold showers) but for my spirits this time of year—and after the three year’s we’ve all had—I also need to stay tapped into pleasure.
Maybe you do, too.
In my opinion, there’s no greater pleasure than having something delicious to wake up to. Before the holidays, when we were living in Hungary for a spell, Greta and I went to Vienna—a short train ride away—for her birthday. Because we left the boys behind, and because she’s had just about enough little brothering for one lifetime, we stayed in a chic, uber-glam hotel called Die Josefine—think 1920’s Paris—a hotel that many might consider luxury, for the price of a mid-range hotel back home.
Vienna, though not inexpensive, isn’t Paris either. You get what you pay for and then some (bonus: the dollar is strong right now, go soon!).
Vienna has all the makings of a dreamy getaway—music, glitz, art, and pastry shops galore; I’ll be doing a full dispatch about this sparkling city later this month, but there’s a smaller takeaway that deserves its own moment: Viennese breakfast.
After three fabulous days of museums and art, and architecture to die for, the thing that filled my cup to the absolute brim is how much pride Viennese chefs and servers take in giving you delight. Every meal came with good moods, good cheer, and good quality—plus a little something inexplicable—as if just before serving each plate was sprinkled with fairy dust. Breakfast, especially so.
Many of the great hotels in Europe include breakfast with the room for a reasonable fee. Elsewhere, we skip this—wanting to venture out and try out every bakery and restaurant on my list. In Vienna, though, hotel breakfast is marvelous!
At Die Josefine, you can have breakfast in the lounge (dripping with velvet) or your room, in your fabulous (!) robe—for the same price. We took our first two breakfasts in the lounge, surveying the menu for the best treats, but on the last day of our stay, we opted for breakfast in bed, with our giant French windows flung open.
Our server arrived at our door with a huge grin— and a tray piled with croissants, an ample bread basket, soft-boiled eggs, tiny plates of pancakes with berries and cream, cheese and ham plates, yogurt and fruit parfaits, fresh-squeezed orange juice, hot cocoa, and cappuccino. No detail was spared.
Being a troubled decider (who can choose between sweet and savory—on vacation?), we especially liked that we could try many small things, instead of having to commit to one giant plate of pancakes. The charm of European breakfast is the mixture of sweet and savory, plenty of fruits, hard-boiled eggs, small hard rolls and brown ones with nuts and seeds, cured meats, pastry, and good cultured butter!
Occasionally, we had a second breakfast later in the day, instead of sit-down lunch (since you can get fabulous sausages on the street—and world-class Schnitzel for dinner, everywhere).
Below, to inspire a long lazy weekend breakfast at yours, find a list of ideas for Hallmark Viennese breakfast feels, with some sources and how-tos, and lower down— a few of our favorite breakfast spots in Vienna and New York.
Pretend it’s vacation until you can get back to the real thing—soon.
HOW TO DO VIENNESE BREAKFAST AT HOME:
serve your coffee or hot cocoa in tall (heat-resistant) glasses instead of mugs, where you can see the layers—like Melange or Einspänner. Here’s how to make something similar at home (and a video). This Korean technique (dalgona), would also be fitting.
go big on the foam/whipped cream!
serve orange or grapefruit juice, always freshly squeezed
Serve fruit salad/yogurt parfaits in a juice class, instead of a bowl (like this).
Slice your apples thin, and fan them (for pomp!). Here’s the best way.
If you’re serving pancakes, make them tiny, tall stacks (small plates, even for big appetites, always feel fancy)
fresh raspberries win on everything!
include savory options: cold cuts and cheeses make a lovely plate; fan the meats and sprinkle with finely chopped chives or small baby greens. Here’s a sample.
When in doubt, add croissants (flaky, buttery, no-hold bar croissants). Here are our favorite ones to bake fresh, at home. (plain, chocolate, mini mix)
OUR FOUR FAVORITE BREAKFAST SPOTS IN VIENNA:
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