SHOPPING in Vienna:
It seems that it got a little tight in Nathalie Perstich's shop in the Schleifmühlgasse, between kitchen and cookbook collection. Thus she opened another one in the middle of the first district. Just as in the original Babette's, there are loads of cookbooks. But the exuberant selection of unusual spices from all over the world is new. There is reason to doubt that the Naschmarkt can compete with that: 70 spices are kept in the mysterious spice chest. They are offered in bulk, plain or mixed by hand into great concoctions. Would you like to have the luxury spice of all? Then you should try the legendary, because extremely rare Kampot Pepper from Cambodia. Hungry? Then wait for lunch. Soups, curries and savoury pastries are prepared with the spices on offer; maybe that will facilitate your choice a bit.
This shop could have been flown in from New York or Paris, in its entirety. The fashion victim will find two purist white floors in which she or he finds a lot that has to come home at any cost. Cool street wear, stylish fashion and funky accessories are designed by international newcomers as well as established designers such as Raf Simons, Ann Demeulemeester, Haltbar and Hussein Chalayan. What has become commonplace in Barcelona, continues to stand out in Vienna: Next to the gear, that all cries out go home with you, the most beloved books and magazines of each designer are on sale.
Anne Morel was born in France. With shoes on her feet, as she claims herself. Whether or not that's true, the passion for fascinating footwear remained and was imported to Vienna with a tad of Parisian flair. The good thing about this shop: High heels are out. This is because Anne Morel thinks ahead, and only when a woman stands firmly on the ground can she look good. This is why there are ravishing shoes with road grip, in any style, from ultrafashionable to sporty elegant. Oftcourse, the whole selection is from cutting edge French labels such as Maloles and Pataugas.
SIGHTS in Vienna:
Those who live close by never move any more. And those who don't, come from all over the city to relax in one of the most beautiful parks in Vienna. In the Augarten every one finds a place. Even the two huge flak towers from World War II have been integrated and made themselves indispensable. The runners run around, the slackliners balance between the trees, while a few more senior park lovers meet for a Boccia game. The hits this summer are already taking shape: Advanced Frisbee and Viking Chess. If you don't know what that is just ask a park inhabitant, they tend to be rather communicative. After the whatever-it-is match you can return the favour with a beer, spritzer or icecream, which the Awawa-Beisel, also called Bunkerei, provides. And when it doesn't happen to be summer? Then the Bunkerei offers punches. And the Augarten itself is beautiful in every season. Tip for families: For the little ones there is a children's pool and countless playgrounds.
The Naschmarkt is a paradise. For cooks, for gourmets, for idlers, people watchers and those too-cool-for-school. It's becoming increasingly difficult to get any real bargains, yet you can get just about anything for exotic cuisine. Herbs, fruits, fresh meat, fish, teas and sweets. The Naschmarkt really is the perfect spot for those with a sweet tooth. The Viennese come here not only to buy ingredients, but also for eating out in one of the many great, international restaurants. You really can't go wrong anywhere, and mostly you have to hunt for available spots anyway. Insiders like the Deli, the Neni and the recently remodelled Café Drechsler. Shopping tip: Near the metro station Kettenbrückengasse the prices come down a little.
EAT in Vienna:
The secret to success is an open one: In the Figlmüller the Schnitzels are always a little bigger, a little thinner and a little crunchier than elsewhere. No wonder, since the Schnitzel etiquette is considered to be a genuine piece of professional ethics: The meat must be from the saddle of the pig and is pounded to 34 cm. The coating has to be made with Kaisersemmel breadcrumbs only. After that the Schnitzel goes through 3 different frying pans that are all filled with oil heated to different temperatures, before it finally ends up on your plate. Bon appetite! Beware: There are several Figlmüllers in Vienna. You'll do best in the parent house at the Wollzeile.
If you want to go out into nature, you should climb the Wilhelminenberg, where you don't only have a great view onto the city, green and purely romantic, but also eat excellent Schnitzel. Amidst other Vienna specialties you find Schnitzel variations that will spoil you for choice: Cordon Bleu, Unbreaded Schnitzel, Salzburg Schnitzel or Wiener Schnitzel? The search for a favourite is on. A tip for vegetarians: Don't forget the delicious desserts!
Club Sunshine in the Meierei, Roxy in the Opernpassage, Babenberger Passage at the Volkstheater and the radio station 98.3 Superfly - the Viennese party crowd associate these names with Sunshine Enterprises. Now, also the Albertina Passage Dinner Club is on the agenda of the lifestyle label. Located in a former pedestrian subway at the Viennese State Opera, it hosts jazz shows on an own stage, and offers a cigar club, a smokers' bar and culinary creations by Alexander Kumptner, a former student of celebrity chef Reinhard Gerer. Inspired by Quentin Tarantino's Jack Rabbit Slims Twist Contest the architects at Söhne & Partner have created the low-keyed venue for up to 300 guests. These amuse themselves in intimate boxes, sipping cocktails like Persian Mule or Espresso Martini and indulging in raw wild salmon with black avocado and glazed snails with parsley sauce. After a live programme the DJ puts on tunes and provides the right mood for a night out that will last until the early morning hours. That's simply Sunshine Enterprises.
STAY in Vienna:
Minimalism and discreet luxury? Not here: In these apartments it's a virtue to show off, be it with nude statues, leopard fabrics and loads of cushioning. If you stay in Vienna for a longer period and don't like the atmosphere in hotels, the exclusive Niky apartments are your best bet. The service is just as perfect as in any hotel, and the catering comes directly from the gourmet restaurant Niky's Kuchelmasterei. Niky's staff are also happy to put together an exquisite wine selection for you. So relax with a good glass of wine in the whirlpool that is waiting in your marble bath. What do you think? A night in the suite costs about 247 euros.
The hotel has 25 rooms that are so cosy that you immediately feel at home. The rooms are tastefully furnished and situated around a living-room, where a minibar and a well-stocked library invite you to stay for a while. And if you don't want to leave the house at all, you'll never get bored. The hotel has its own cinema showing Austrian classics. Moreover, there is a spa to relax and a wonderful garden, which makes you forget that you are in the middle of a big city. Tipp: Just around the corner you find the star restaurant Hollmann Salon. A night in a double starts at 140 euros.
Wine aficionados will feel understood in the Hotel Rathaus: It renders homage to the Austrian vintners, having named every single room after one of the vinous local heroes. Forty rooms and one loft suite, that reflects the diversity of the Austrian wine culture, and of course there are top quality samples in the minibar. Organized tours include wine trips to Vienna's surrounding areas, and if you don't want to leave the hotel you can join the in-house wine tasting events and presentations. The rooms have an individualistic flair and are furnished in a pleasant, modern design. A night in a double starts at 160,- euros.