If you think that Vienna is a compact city, try to order a goose at Gelbmanns in the 16th district and carry it to your home in the middle of the 22nd. Perhaps the early darkness of December afternoons played a role, but the one hour-long journey seemed endless, especially with the tempting smell of the goose coming out of the takeaway bag.
The warming-up was a no-brainer, because the Gansl, the red cabbage and the sauce all came in convenient, sealed microwave-ready boxes. The restaurant was actually over-generous with the sauce, for using all of it would have turned the dish into a goose soup, but with one-third of the container emptied over the goose, and the dumpling, the apple, and the berries arranged on the plate, the dish looked quite appealing for something that required less than 10 minutes to prepare.
Unfortunately, it look even less time to finish it. The dumpling was big, the cabbage more than sufficient, but the goose itself, after I separated all the bones, was pitifully small. Worse still, it was not very good. Although it did not exhibit any characteristics of a badly cooked goose, like excessive fat or a rubbery skin, it tasted old and not of high quality to start with. Neither the wine-spiced sauce, nor the peculiarly flavored cabbage with chestnuts could hide the fact that no culinary talent in the world could have turned that sad old bird into anything even slightly above average.
I was not at all disappointed that the dinner turned shorter than expected, but I did regret all the trouble I took to order the goose, pick it up and then carry it across the entire city. Honestly, it was not worth the effort.