I’m a fan of both Tina Fey and travel, and as such, I find myself using her oft-used remark from 30 Rock, “I Want to Go to There,” more and more lately. Most often uttered when Fey’s character, Liz Lemon, is in a dreamlike, gut-response mode, “IWTGTT” is the feeling I get when I see or read something that makes me want to leave my desk immediately and jump on the next plane. So I figured that alone should make for a good feature for the blog. (Also, the line was a sentence her young daughter strung together, Fey fessed up at the SAG awards, making it that much more awesome.)
So what’s my IWTGTT moment of the day? The Heuriger Hirt in Vienna, alluringly presented by the good folks at Spotted By Locals. Heurigen are essentially Austrian biergartens, only they serve wine instead of beer, along with locally-sourced cheeses and other savory snacks under the open sky. The word heuriger translatets to “new wine,” which means that the spots typically serve whatever is the most recent blend. Because they’re seasonal joints commonly located on the edge of vineyards, a bunch of pine twigs known as a Buschenschank is hung outside the door, alerting the passing traveler that the establishment is open and the wine is flowing. The Virtual Vienna site describes a delectable afternoon at a Heurigen:
A typical visit to a Heurigen goes something like this: it is late afternoon on a summer’s day; evening is approaching, but it is still light out; you and your party find agreeable benches and a table, and are served white wine and mineral water, both in carafes, by a waitress (frequently wearing a country dress, like a Dirndl). Anyone serving as a “designated driver” can opt for a delicious “Kracherl,” a sweet carbonated fruit-flavored beverage.
Neither beer nor coffee is ever served at a Heurigen – if that is what you desire, you are in the wrong place! With your first few rounds of wine, you might begin the evening’s consumption of food with some bread and butter or, more customarily, some pretzel-sticks (Soletti) and savory Liptauer cheese-spread. Later, as your appetite grows, you make a trip to the compact but wide-ranging buffet, with many varieties of meats, salads, vegetables, and other delights. The flow of white wine ceases around midnight, at which point you catch the last streetcar or hail a taxi, which returns you to your permanent or temporary abode.
Spotted’s suggestion of the Heuiger Hirt comes with an added bonus beyond wine and homemade snacks – it also offers a fantastic view of the Vienna skyline and nearby Kahlenbergerdorf. I want to go to there.
Photo: Via Spotted by Locals, by Doris Neubauern