During my first few years living in the US, I always wanted to go to Wienerschnitzel because I thought I could get a schnitzel there. Past all the advertisements for hot dogs and fries, I thought they would have an actual schnitzel. You know flattened veal meat, breaded, and fried to a crisp. Top it off with some lemon juice and you would get some pretty awesome food. To my disappointment, I never could buy a schnitzel at a Wienerschnitzel franchise.
When I lived in Rüsselheim Germany, the youth soccer team I was a part of always went to a schnitzelhaus after a game. While visiting the town where I used to live and the apartment complex where my family stayed at, I tried to look for the restaurant. There was never a better time to look but it was not meant to be. I got many puzzled looks from locals when I tried to ask for a good place to eat schnitzel. Did this place not exist anymore? Maybe it was better this way and it kept my fond food memory intact.
Fast forward to my winter in Vienna, Austria. This being Vienna or Wien, I had to have a Wienerschnitzel here. My guide book suggested a place called Schnitzelwirt Schmidt on a street called Neubaugasse. It is west of the city center and a bit of a walk to get to but I wanted schnitzel so I’m going to get schnitzel. I entered the establishment and the waiter was a bit surly but in a playful way. I found it funny. I ordered the Wienerschitzel with fries and sat there looking around. It was a good mix of locals with a splattering of tourists like myself. The waiter brought back two big slabs of schnitzel and a basket of fries. Eating into that schnitzel brought back a flood of memories from my youth soccer days. Putting on my shin guards, wearing my black track suit, and sliding to steal balls from the opposing teams. Of course, there was the schnitzel after every game. The schnitzel was thin but not so thin that it seemed like a crisp cracker. Crisp outside, succulent inside. I finished both pieces but I couldn’t finish the fries. It was just too much food. Adding to my childhood memory, a Wienerschnitzel at Schnitzelwirt Schmidt is another wonderful association to schnitzel in my head.