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#Food Types

Food heaven on the upper floor.

Crawfish tail.

Crawfish tail.

After that currywurst kick-off at Bahnhof Zoo we ventured further for some window shopping, following the crowded streets all the way down to KaDeWe, which stands short for ‘Kauhaus des Westens’ (Department Store of the West). It’s quite a big store indeed with enough goods for a daylong shopping spree. We didn’t know yet what we were looking for here but it was neither perfumes nor fashion.

We took the escalators all the way up to the top with the intention of working our way through every section back down to street level. Once we arrived on the upper floor though we found an endless ‘food court’ (the fancy way) and a deli section, which should grasp our entire attention for the next two hours or so.

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Guo tie.

Being overwhelmed at first – I mean there was a whole section jam packed just with those awesome colorful fleur-du-sel-eggs – we spotted a Chinese food bar kind of place (‘Silverpagoda’) and deemed it an appropriate place to reset our intentions and just continue with our foodie adventure weekend right here, right now.

We had a serving of the xiao long bao and the guo tie, accompanied by a refreshingly chilled beer. The xiao long bao weren’t as crafty, thinly skinned and pretty but from a taste perspective, I was very happy with them, juicy and yum. The same goes for the thinner skinned guo tie that had a lovely crust at their bottom side. I have been away from Asia quite a while now so those, while not being perfect by any means, instantly hit my sweet spot (yes, that’s my tummy) and if they have had some julienne ginger soaking in their Chinese vinegar, this would’ve been even multiplied. Funny how the small things still matter.

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Xiao long bao.

We spend the following hour taking just one single round on this level full of goodness almost buying everything, ending up buying nothing, but one of the best window shopping sessions I have ever had nevertheless.

Eventually passing through a section of seafood restaurants in the higher price ranges made a craving for crustaceans crawl up on me and thankfully in the next section, just outside, were a couple of fish butcher type food stalls selling similar fair at slightly lower prices. I grabbed me a straight langoustine tail, with cocktail sauce and bubbles to close this fine experience. It was good and I felt classy.

I wouldn’t say that this was the best food I’ve ever had or that you’ve got to go out of your way to see this but if I’m in the area again in the future and feel a light hunger for nothing in particular, I might just come back all the way up here to get inspired and fed.

Get Your Grub On!

KaDeWe – Kaufhaus des Westens
Tauentzienstraße 21-24
10789 Berlin
Germany
p: +49 30 21210
https://www.kadewe.de/

 

Gourmet butcher burgers.

Pulled beef burger with salad.
Pulled beef burger with salad.

Just when I thought there’s nothing more to discover on this site of the train tracks my colleagues told me about that butcher a rough 10 minutes down the road, that apparently does some pretty good dry ageing and pork pulling. So without further ado, two colleagues and I went down to check out this magical ‘secret’ shop on Lehener Straße that was hidden from me for such a long time.

We were greeted warmly by the kind ladies behind the counter, who took our order of pulled pork burgers with a smile. Now those burgers weren’t huge but decently sufficient, and at the prices, they’re calling here, more than fair anyway. It was already a burger for lunch so I passed on the fried and starchy side options and went for some green beans from their salad counter, which seemed like a proper enough addition to the set.

The layered toppings on my sandwich were made up of tenderly pulled apart pork neck, crunchy leaves of butterhead, crunchy creamy coleslaw, and just the right amount of bbq sauce all squeezed in between a well holding up bun with mixed sesame seeds. Excellent.

Just about two weeks later I already held my second sitting here with the equally tasty pulled beef version of this, which was way saucier and to my surprise at least as succulent and juicy. Again, excellent stuff.

This is one of the best, if not the best butcher delis in town and I won’t be holding off my third visit for too much long either and return to throw back one of their dry-aged burgers and chat some more with the boss about his mighty fridge of treasures. Loving it.

Get Your Grub On!

Metzgerei-Feinkost Pum (closed Sundays)
Lehener Straße 40
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 281 882
http://www.feinkost-metzgerei-pum.de/

Sabei, sabei.

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Pad Thai

On our never-ending quest to find good value Asian food we followed the pointer of one of my food-loving colleague-friends to Chang’s on Grünwälderstraße. They had exactly two tiny round tables out front and we were lucky enough to catch one of them.

For starters, I had their satay gha, two chicken tender skewers with a dry rub spice mix and a nutty jelat peanut dip. Slightly dry but very tasty and good starting.

Next up were pad thai and fried duck in a savoury spicy sauce with chili, thai basil and vegetables. The duck was lovely crispy but still had a thin and jiggly fat layer sitting underneath that scrumptious skin. Sauce and vegetables were delicious with a good, yet not too unique taste to them. That pad thai though, it was, I’m not sure how to say it any other way but AWESOME! This was probably the best version of pad thai I had around here and since this is one of M.’s favorite noodle dishes we had quite a few. It had the right balance of tamarind, prawns were great and there was that certain tang. Loved it.

Get Your Grub On!

Chang Thaiküche
Grünwälderstraße 21
79098 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 1379 684
http://chang-thaikueche.de/

My vegan zen place.

Raw vegetables with extra bread.

Raw vegetables with extra bread.

I’ve been quite a big fan of the comprehensive vegetarian and vegan options around Freiburg and especially the neighbourhood surrounding my office. They allowed me to conveniently live a bit healthier and be more considerate and balanced about how and with what I stuff my face. So certainly I was happy to hear that former Freundsaft got a new tenant to run another full-on vegan restaurant at their old location on Lehener Straße.

After their ramp-up phase during which they performed regular trial cookings, Deli Vegaani opened their doors with a small but fine selection of hot, warm and cold dishes, a few cakes and sweets as well as coffee, spreads and the like.

My favourite and the most satisfying dish thus far has been their big bowl of steamed vegetables on a bed of country risotto rice which is covered by your ‘sauce’ of choice that could be hummus, baba ganoush, lemon-coriander and what not.

This week I also got around to trying the raw vegetables (‘Rohkost’), a salad-like mix of crunchy beets and root vegetables, lightly dressed in vinaigrette and covered under a slightly bitter cushion of rocket leaves. This was brilliant, pure freshness, snappy and with some extra slices of that crazy good toasted seed bread just made for the kind of lunch that I needed.

Additionally, to the great and wholesome foods, the people here are just extra nice and considerate, there are other vegan and organic goods to buy (e.g. sandwiches, tea) and the little pricy sweets at the counter are simply outstanding. Try those fudgy chocolate chip cookies, they will blow your mind.

Get Your Grub On!

Deli Vegaani (former Freundsaft)
Lehener Straße 13
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 3839 9139
https://www.vegaani.net/

Sawadee-khrup.

[1] Beef bowl with lean beef, meatball, veal tongue and liver.

[1] Beef bowl with lean beef, meatball, veal tongue and liver.

This week’s most anticipated event for me was the opening of Chada Thai’s new noodle shop at Rempartstraße. Even after a few years in Asia, I couldn’t really make out what Thai noodle soups would be like but yesterday was the day I should find out.

We were planning to go with a bigger group but one colleague and I were held up by a spontaneous hall meeting and so the two of us followed the rest with a few minutes delay. Arriving at the shop we spotted our group with no free seats anywhere close to them or anywhere period. No choice but parking our behinds on the comfy waiting benches and hope for some fast noodle slurpers.

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Seafood and beef bowl.

Not long though and we were sitting at our table, ordering food and making ourselves familiar with the multitude of condiments on the table – chilli in vinegar, chilli flakes, sugar (??) and nuts.

My colleague ordered the seafood bowl, which was a heaty tom yam broth, filled with all sorts of water goodies like mussels, prawns, squid, salmon and fishballs. One to remember for my next visit but I just had to go for the beef bowl with all available add-ons, which meant that it was stacked generously with soft pieces of lean meat, veal liver and tongue as well as a bouncy meatball, whose texture took me back to those yong tau foo stalls in Singapore. My favourite meaty ingredient was the liver but the tongue definitely won the contest for most intriguing consistency and bite. The soup itself was tasty strong with hints of that sweet and sourness, typical for beef broth, and the noodles were just right. All in all a delicious bowl, that I’m happy to have so close by.

 

 

So the food was great, that I didn’t even mind the ten bucks I had to leave at the counter here, and I hope that Freiburg will appreciate having such an authentic (oh gosh, I hate using that word) shop around with the friendliest of people serving up some truly great stuff.

Get Your Grub On!

Chada Thai Nudelsuppe
Rempartstraße 5
79098 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p:
http://www.chadathai.de/

 

A drunken boar.

Drunken wild boar (in whiskey marinade)

Drunken wild boar (in whiskey marinade)

I’ve been to Ketterer’s Rebstock once before for a truly amazing schnitzel feast, so when we decided to take M.’s uncle and aunt here during their visit I resisted that natural temptation of ordering the known and delicious and ventured for something new from their seasonal menu. As the interior suggests, this family consists of passionate hunters, so naturally, there was a lot of game, from deer burgers to wild boar roast. The lady of the house explained to us how the dishes are prepared and when I heard that the wild boar was marinated in scotch whiskey I was sold big time.

After the time it took us to finish our beers, my food showed up on a massive plate filled with goodies and spreading an aura of appetizing smokey fumes. Now, this was something different; the sauce was completely infused with the smokiness from the whiskey, awesome and unfamiliar, and even though it was strong, it didn’t get old during my entire conquest through my plate. The meat was cooked until smooth and tender and those buttery spätzle were just the perfect vehicle for that heavenly ‘Scottish’ cream.

I also had a little taste of the venison burger patties, which was obviously a less refined dish than my boar but somehow surprised by its simplicity and mindblowing deliciousness. I’m not kidding, I was so happy with my whiskey sauce, but I definitely would have ordered those patties if I’d knew them before.

Rebstock is just one of those places that I consider little village gems, which are not as obvious to find but there seems to be plenty of them around. I’m glad we came here for a schnitzel safe sometime back and that therefore Ketterer’s had the chance to make it on my list.

Get Your Grub On!

Ketterers Rebstock Heuweiler (closed Mondays)
Dorststraße 20
79194 Heuweiler
Germany
p: +49 7666 9379 344
http://www.rebstock-heuweiler.de/

‘Flotter Dreier’ in Elzach.

Duck breast with mash and broccoli.

Duck breast with mash, broccoli and jus.

I had friends raving to me about this place forever now and so when last week two of them asked M. and me to join them for a double date we instantly were game. The day of choice was Thursday, which by chance was also the day of their weekly ‘Flotter Dreier’ promotion. While in German this has a rather suggestive meaning, here it describes a triple course surprise dinner with a choice of meat, fish or a combination of both, paired with a selection of regional wines.

 

 

I chose meat for all my courses and my entrée turned out to be a brilliant trio of chunky deer tartar, carpaccio of the same and some field salad with candied walnuts and kracherle (badisch for croutons). The tartar wasn’t that gamey but had a distinct texture that wasn’t entirely pleasant but more of the intriguing kind. Paired with the more dominant fried caper fruit (not sure if that’s the actual word) and the crispy bread splinter this was just on spot. The carpaccio seemed more intense but still light and fresh as raw things should be and the playful combination with the sweetish coated nuts was simply lovely. Great kick-off to the evening. [Wine pairing: Grauburgunder (Salwey | Oberrottweil)]

 

 

My main was a beautiful duck breast, perfectly broiled to a deep rose, with crispy skin on the outside and all the important juices locked in. The mash and broccoli where solid supporting acts but the true star was definitely the duck. [Wine pairing: Cuvée (Landerer | Vogtsburg)]

I also got a little taste of the second main option of pan-fried pikeperch, a glossy scallop and the best cream cabbage that I’ve ever had. The latter was warm and cooked but still kept that typical crunch alive and kicking, almost on the edge of raw. I don’t know how they did this but I was genuinely amazed.

 

 

The finishing moves were performed by this extremely capable trio of sweetness. My favourite must have been the lardy caramel mousse, closely followed by the mixed fruit sherbet which showed some strong apricot tendencies. [Wine pairing: Scheurebe (Weishaar | Kaiserstuhl)]

I have been swept off my feet by tonight’s food and service. The ambience is comfortably classy, not detached or posh and also not as rustic as I had initially expected, very easy and convenient to settle in. Big kudos on the wine pairing too. All being great wines, every glass suited the corresponding dish optimally and the only regret I have is forgetting to note down the Riesling pairing of the fish main.

I’d love to come here every Thursday from now on, and if the use of great regional produce, skillfully orchestrated and prepared isn’t enough, it is the absolute steal at Eur33,00 all in that just makes this a major no-brainer. I’m bowing respectfully with many thanks to all involved.

Get Your Grub On!

Gasthaus Rössle
Hauptstraße 19
79215 Elzach
Germany
p: +49 7682 212
http://www.roessleelzach.de/

A not so classic Classic.

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Linsen mit Spätzle und Saitenwürschtle

If there’s a new place opening only remotely close to our office it doesn’t take too long and people at work start talking about it. So it was just a matter of a few days until I heard that the former ‘Auerhahn’ at Egonstraße has become ‘Das Quartier’ and that apparently they do their food the good way. Actually, they have daily changing lunch specials with a meaty and a vegetarian alternative as well as a standing weekly option and a few smaller dishes to choose from.

My good colleague accompanied me to try the place out and on the first impression, everything seemed promising. The large bright room was inviting, classy but not pretentious and if anything it seemed a bit empty maybe. However, we were greeted warmly by the waiter (possibly the owner), sat down and ordered a Swabian classic, ‘Linsen mit Spätzle und Saitenwürschtle’ or English: lentils, with German noodle dumplings (?) and Frankfurter sausages. Traditional for me and a vegetarian version for my friend.

They put some real effort into the presentation of this otherwise down to earth and bowl-filling, rustic dish. As you can see this version was nothing ordinary, creatively assembled and simply gorgeous. When it comes to food though, good looks are great but I have an ugly and tasty dish over a pretty but boring one anytime. Thankfully this was the best of both worlds. The lentils had bite and the sausages were snappy, buttery spätzle and a (good) weird touch of alien presto did the rest to complete this culinary creation. Btw, this wasn’t the official vegetarian option of the day but the guys specially replaced the sausages with grilled spring onions for my mate.

Very nice stuff and I’m glad we have these guys in the neighbourhood to endorse our local food community and widen our lunch horizons. Definitely, see you soon.

Get Your Grub On!

Das Quartier (former Auerhahn)
Egonstraße 48
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 2908 2797
http://www.quartier-freiburg.de/

Let’s make this a tradition, shall we?

dsc02268-01.jpegOur time in South Tyrol was coming to an end and we had packed all our things, finished some last minute shopping for local delicacies, jumped into our car and were on our way back home just as the weather took a turn for the worse.

After a few hours driving, we took yet another break at St. Anton for another quick and early lunch exactly like during our drive down South. We even went to a place right on the other side of the road from the restaurant we ate a couple of days ago and their bacon dumplings with chanterelle were nice and did a pretty good job in the fluffiness department as well. Nothing thrilling and a bit too creamy but comforting nevertheless.

dsc02272-01.jpegObviously, we had Kaiserschmarrn as well and it was good too but a lot sweeter than the last one and it reminded me more of ripped apart pancakes than those savoury sticky bricks of fluffy and caramelized goodness. Friendly service as always.

Get Your Grub On!

Restaurant Fuhrmannstube
Dorfstraße 74
6580 St. Anston am Arlberg
Austria
p: + 43 5446 2921

Day trip to bellisimo Merano.

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Homemade tagliatelle w/ chanterelle

The weather forecast didn’t promise a day too exciting, so we decided to take an extra trip down south to Merano through something, that seemed like one single and endless apple plantation. I have never seen apples in such amounts ever in my life. Traffic was comparably tame and so it took us just a little over one hour to reach our destination.

Merano is an appealing little town with hidden alleyways, blemished shop fronts, beautiful old buildings and some pretty street art. Strolling through the road-web of the central old town scouting for food we stopped at one of the rather touristy spots for a sitdown lunch and people watching. While M. went for the lasagna, I had the handmade tagliatelle with chanterelle. The pasta was actually kind of a hybrid between Italian tagliatelle and western flat noodles, thick and the ideal vessel to carry as much of that glazy and buttery sauce as possible. The chanterelle were great too, even though I’d prefer the smaller ones compared to the massive mushrooms on my plate. It’s a texture thing.

Even that my dish of choice turned out to be rather nice, I just felt like I had missed my chance on some truly Italian pasta as this was more noodlelike. Makes sense? Anywho, that is me always looking at the greener grass on the other side but honestly, it was a good place. Touristy? Sure, but with great and personal service, some people watching potential and tasty food to go with it.

Get Your Grub On!

Ristorante Hasen Jos
Via Portici 204
39012 Merano BZ
Italy
p: +39 0473 232599
http://hasenjos.com

 

 

Pizza halfsies.

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Pizza Margherita

The second day in South Tyrol and we took the recreational activities down a nudge, from hiking 20k to simply driving around the area and lying at the lake’s shore enjoying the sun before the clouds started rolling into the valley. It was food o’clock and by chance, we found ourselves back at San Valentino exactly like the day before.

We left Franco’s behind this time and moved a block up north to Hotel Lamm where there still were some free seats on the sunkissed terrace. Not having done much moving our appetite wasn’t as massive to we went splitcies on a Margherita. The pizza wasn’t spectacular but pretty good, light char marks on the outer crust and fruity soggy in the centre, just a tad too cheesy which slightly overshadowed the otherwise great sugo.

We also had some apple strudel with vanilla sauce for dessert which was okay but didn’t quite knock me off my socks, but hey that’s maybe a bit much to ask for.  All in all another nice place to grab a snack in the sun with very personal and friendly service as it seems to be common around these waters. I like it.

Get Your Grub On!

Hotel Lamm
Hauptstrasse 67
39027 San Valentino Alla Muta BZ (Südtirol / South Tyrol)
Italy
p: + 39 0473 634641
http://www.hotel-lamm.it/

How bad can it be?

dsc02100-02-01.jpegSpending most of our first day here orbiting Lake Resia at an elevated level and visiting the local sights like the famous sunken church tower of the old town of Curon (Campanile di Curon Venosta Vecchia). About halfway, we passed the small village of San Valentino just as our bellies started growling for food. Everything seemed to be closed for the break between lunch and dinner service except one little unassuming café at the side of the main road. It didn’t look too appealing at first with its simple interior and the standup menus with semi-great photographs of their dishes.

But since we slowly were getting hangry and with limited options, we didn’t mess around any longer and just went for some pasta. I mean how bad could it be, we were in Italy after all, and actually, this was amazing. In just a little over 5 minutes, we were presented with a delicious portion of tagliatelle con ragù. It seemed such a simple dish, but in one of its best possible version, an honest plate of homemade pasta as if mama was standing in the back kitchen cooking it up herself. Thanks to Franco and his crew for a surprising and more than tasty lunch. Fantastico.

Get Your Grub On!

Café Franco
Vittorio Veneto 58
39027 Curon Venosta BZ (Südtirol / South Tyrol)
Italy

 

 

A gourmet short trip to Italy

Salad & antipasti buffet

We stayed at this beautiful newish hotel at Lake Resia that promised a couple relaxing and tasty days because of the attached mini spa and a daily dinner service with a 4 course meal curated by the junior boss of the house and head chef Markus Strobl.

During the few days we stayed here, we had so many dishes that I will keep this brief and short and let the pictures do most of the talking. Just that, there was a salad and antipasti buffet each day to start off the menu and even though it was mostly the same, every day they had some changing highlight items like perfectly grilled and chilled veal. My favorite picks were the marinated artichoke hearts and that slightly blanched and lightly dressed coleslaw with cumin.

 

  1. Fluffy dark Rye Bread dumplings in fond with oven vegetables and fried parsley
  2. Barley soup with ham roll and chive-gel
  3. Insane Meditteranean swordfish with pea flan, snow peas, and minestrone broth
  4. Perfect Topfenknödel with nougat center, figs, and cinnamon ice cream

 

  1. Amazing ravioli with carbonara filling, truffle aroma, and oven melanzane
  2. Essence of peppers, chorizo-egg-dumplings and carrot pearls
  3. On spot Ocean beef flank, tomato, dauphine-potatoes and oven carrots
  4. Genius peach sherbet, water melon and arunda bubbles from east of Meran

 

  1. Fresh and bio beef tartar, parmesan splinters and crostini, celery walnut salad and red onions
  2. Parsley cream soup, bacon trameszzino and gel of smoke
  3. Lardo stuffed breast of guineafowl, young leek, white bread pudding and chervil mousse
  4. Lukewarm chocolate lava tart with wild berry sherbet and strawberries

 

  1. Celery filled tortelloni, truffle foam, and broccoli
  2. Consommé double, fantastic mushroom crêpe and zucchini julienne
  3. Beef cheek, smoked mash, black carrots and parsley
  4. Farmer yoghurt mousse, ice cream, meringue and acidy passion fruit
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Regional cheeses, chutneys, and nuts

As the salad buffet at the start, the dinner closing was also the same every day, an interesting selection of regional cheeses, chutneys, and nuts.

The time we spend in this dining room was such a treat and I didn’t have a single dish I didn’t like and many that I loved. Atmosphere-wise it took us some getting used to as everybody was whispering quietly at their tables which made it all a bit library-like but after the first night we had some good wine, turned up the volume a notch and enjoyed ourselves. Thanks for a wonderful foodie stay at your hotel and keep being inventive.

Get Your Grub On!

Alpine Diner Restaurant & Bar (Hotel Eden Reschensee) – reservations mandatory
Hauptstrasse 4
39027 Reschen BZ / Resia (Südtirol / South Tyrol)
Italy
p: + 39 473 633137
http://www.eden-reschensee.com/

Kaiserschmarrn Stopover.

Kaiserschmarrn

Kaiserschmarrn

We had some organizational difficulties putting together a holiday this summer so eventually, we simply took a week off and decided on Sunday that we’d be going to drive down to the very northern tip of beautiful Italy the next day. On our route, we passed the picturesque town of St. Anton and made it a point stopping by and have a go at some good old Austrian Kaiserschmarrn. The restaurant I initially chose wasn’t open yet so we went to next best place we could find, sat down and were instantly greeted warmly by the waiter as if we’d be coming here every Monday afternoon.

We started with some hearty soups and I actually quite enjoyed my first ever liver dumpling in a rich and strong beefy broth. Though this was mainly the door opener for the main object of desire, a two person serving of buttery kaiserschmarrn with an acidy and sticky plum compote aside. Kaiserschmarrn is kind of a thick pancake that sometimes gets ripped apart chaotically or like in this case is jabbed into more or less consistent, tasty cuboids. This by itself was so worth the stover, thick yet fluffy blocks of pancake dough, caramelized in butter and dusted with a light coating of powdered sugar. I dipped every other piece into the compote to have a nice changeup between the almost savoury and fruity flavours. So decadent, so wonderful, I strongly recommend it.

Get Your Grub On!

Restaurant Maximilian
Dorfstraße 57
6580 St. Anton am Arlberg
Austria
p: +43 5446 333310
http://www.maximilian-stanton.com/

 

 

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 23, Shoyu

 

Shoyu Ramen

Shoyu ramen

I was now almost one day in classy Düsseldorf and felt it was already time for seconds at Naniwa, where I had started my foodie safari through this town. It was a few hours past my udon lunch and there was still a bit to go before our big sushi dinner tonight so coming back here just seemed the logical thing to do. Because of the weird mid day timing, the queue, short to begin with, went super fast and before I could think about it too much I was already sitting at the bar counter browsing through that beautiful menu of theirs. I could’ve ordered without even looking at it again as I already knew what I wanted since I had left yesterday. They’ve proven themselves worthy, so now I sat here excited again, waiting for my shoyu ramen.

 

 

 

Oh gosh, it was beautiful. The broth was amazing, clear on the surface though porky and muddy on the ground with a salty, tongue-coating umami. I already had that content smile crawling up on me again. Feeling pretty proud of myself and my brilliant idea to fit in another meal today, I started lifting springy noodles and slurping them down in a machine-like manner, being twice as fast and louder than the guy in the neighbouring seat as if it was some sort of challenge. The chashu came in a few thin slices, soft and melt-in-my-mouth and even the tamago, not perfect, however, had strongly improved on the wax level compared to yesterday. Enough said, I liked this even better than their delicious Tantanmen and because of the less thicker broth I also emptied that bowl down to the last drop. This was awesome, domo arigato gozaimasu.

Get Your Grub On!

Naniwa Noodles & Soups
Oststraße 55
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 161799
http://www.naniwa.de/

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 18, Izakaya

UdonAbout halftime in food paradise and I was far from being finished yet. Today the plan was to meet my host and his colleague for some Tekka Don at Big Tuna just around the corner. We had missed the sign at the door last night though stating that the shop was gonna be closed for the holidays and so we found ourselves before closed doors and sadly also without any tuna rice bowls. His colleague, a passionate foodie himself, quickly came up with an alternative not far away from Big Tuna and this is how I ended up at Kushi-Tei of Tokyo unintentionally.

Entering the shop, a cloud of fragrant steam hit me right in the face with scents that instantly triggered memories of past trips to Japan mainly spent at random izakayas and ramen shops. The kitchen and service crew greeted us in a loud and familiar chorus and the many Japanese customers made me feel confident that this was gonna be a good choice.

Out of curiosity and for research reasons I grabbed one of their regular menus off the bar. I hadn’t even opened it yet when our waitress swiftly took it away signaling that they don’t serve food from this menu before dinner time. Being surprised but hungry I started scanning their small lunch menu with mostly little set meals and a few noodle dishes.

My choice fell on the udon with wakame, scallions and tempura crumbs. I don’t know what it is with the dashi broth that’s so particular to udon but I could soak it up by the gallon, light and defined. By the time I was finished taking my pictures the tempura had already softened but the udon still had their signature bounciness and chew, and even though I’m not huge on wakame I really liked theirs here. This dish always seems so simple and easy but it’s so much more than just a soup and hardly ever disappoints.

I truly liked it here and would have loved to experience its full smokey izakaya potential and spirit in the evening but I guess this just has to wait until next time.

Get Your Grub On!

Kushi-Tei of Tokyo
Immermannstraße 38
40210 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 360 935
http://brickny.com/kushitei-de/

 

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 4, Reds

DSC01835-01I felt very happy with my belly full of ramen noodles from Naniwa‘s and since the night was still young we headed further into district 1 to Pempelfort for some dessert options and wine. We ended up at this cozily lit wine bistro and I followed my chocolate craving and ordered the tartufo accompanied by a heavy Italian Primitivo.

That ice cream was rich but not too decadent and a thorough balance between sweet and tard, with dark chocolate powder and roasted nuts sprinkled all over. The rustic wine went quite well with it all and seemed like a nice finish to a great start to my Düsseldorf stay. Or so I thought.

Just as we were about to finish our glasses the owner approached us and asked if we would mind one of his suppliers and wine makers to show us a couple of his creations. Oh no we didn’t and so we were introduced to a nice range of reds from Spain and France by Bjoern the friendly wine guy, had a nice conversation and shared our unqualified views about those tasty grape juices. Thanks so much for an unexpected turn of events and an additional hour of laughs and drinks.

Get Your Wine On!

D-Weinbar
Moltkestraße 120
40479 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 5150 7979
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36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 1, Tantan

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Tantanmen

I haven’t been out to Düsseldorf enough and always only heard what insane food paradise in regards to Japanese cuisine it’s supposed to be. Since being so close this week I decided to make a stopover and visit a very fun friend of mine, who just happens to live right in the midst of Little Tokyo, the area neighbouring the Düsseldorf main train station, which is home to many Asian (predominantly Japanese) shops, restaurants and people.

After dropping my stuff at the apartment and throwing in a quick cold one with my friend and his brother we headed around the corner to get some dinner at one of the ramen shops in the area. To my delight, there was a queue out front, which is always a good sign, and luckily it kept on moving quite fast too. Not long and we were sitting down and I started smiling just browsing through the menu.

We had a little selection of appetizers to go around before the mains and we were off to a good start. We had crispy and succulent tori karaage, some juicy gyoza and nutty gomaae with a thick sesame gravy. All washed down with a cool asahi from the tap and I, still smiling, was ready for my first ramen bowl since way too long.

My sin of choice was a spicy Tantanmen with extra f.o.c. tamago and veggies. Oh goodness, this mince infused broth was thick and rich like a gooey katong laksa with a mud-like sediment of the best kind. Strong sesame flavours my taste buds, instantly but gently numbed by the chilli oil and fibres. Loved the noodles, implied curly and the chewy bouncy kind I use to admire. Just the egg didn’t quite make the mark and was lacking that particular waxiness of your usual flavoured ramen tamago. Nevermind that, I’m head over heels crazy about this place and am already planning my next visit.

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Get Your Grub On!

Naniwa Noodles & Soups
Oststraße 55
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 161799
http://www.naniwa.de/

Stühlinger Lunch Specials

IMG_20170717_121440-01Hermann is a place I really came to appreciate since starting my job here in Stühlinger already a while back now. It’s located at “Radstation” a roundish construction that includes a few offices, a parking lot and rental for bicycles as well as Café Hermann with its stunning roof top terrace for the sunny days of life. Pretty much all staff here is friendly and kind and even though sometimes service may drag at a bit mostly ordering, getting the food and paying the check is swift and fast. The best thing though is their lunch menu which changes every week usually offering a mix of healthy and hearty, meaty as well as vegetarian and even vegan dishes. In this post, I cover two more recent visits but since I’m coming here regularly, over time you may get a broader view of what Hermann’s kitchen has to offer.

The top pic shows the latest dish I tried at Hermann’s, Asian inspired wok noodles with root vegetables and a tomatoey touch glazed all over. Tastewise this was really nice with a hard to define mix of flavors, herbs, and spices. If I had to pick out something less exciting about it, it may be the puddle of oil I found at the bottom of the bowl which was quite substantial and made me feel a bit guilty from a pure calory point of view.

img_20170522_123351-01.jpegAnother truly fabulous lunch meal was the ‘Mixteller, Wurstsalat mit Brägele und Bibiliskäs’, that regularly makes an appearance on their specials menu. It’s a mix plate put together from cold cuts with vinaigrette (Wurstsalat = sausage salad), some pan-fried potatoes (Brägele) and a type of local creamy cottage cheese (Bibiliskäs), that I usually don’t fancy but theirs is actually quite good. Besides the taste, the great thing about this dish is the interplay of warm and cold elements, sour vs. heartiness vs. the creaminess of the cheese. The perfect summer dish and should you be a visitor to Freiburg, a true local favorite.

Summarizing, I am very happy to have Hermann so close to my workplace and helping me keep my lunches exciting and diversified. Prices normally range between EUR7.50-8.90 which is quite reasonable for the big portions you get but there may be the odd plain salad out at a price that sometimes makes you wonder. Anywho, I’ll be back soon for more of this lunch goodness, thanks a lot guys.

Get Your Grub On!

Hermann Café
Wentzingerstraße 15
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 6125 7024
http://www.hermannfreiburg.de/

 

 

Schnitzel Haven.

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The Schnitzel (these are two ‘small’ portions of breaded pork schnitzel)

M has been raving about ‘Zum Ochsen’ and their ridiculously awesome and huge schnitzels, so this had to happen eventually. We were quite lucky as we made our booking rather spontaneous and therefore, had to show up at point 6 p.m. to be done by 7:30 p.m. when the guests for the proper evening reservation arrived. Inside and outside you can see and feel the history of this old Freiburg institution that until today has no written menu. The waiter introduced us to the few dishes of the day with schnitzel having a permanent gig besides more seasonal dishes like venison sausage and vegetarian mushroom pancakes. Since M ordered the ‘small’ portion of schnitzel which included two huge slaps of thin and crispy breaded pork escalope, I knew I was getting a taste of it. That, and not having one in ages played a role in me ordering the cordon bleu instead.

First up came the default sharing bowl of green salad. You don’t get to see this serving style very often nowadays, it was huge and the best was that the dressing was made in good old grandpa style. Nice one. Since the menu is so small and an estimated 75% of all customers going for the schnitzel, the kitchen was pretty streamlined and food came out reasonably fast. My cordon bleu was absolutely delicious. The excess oil was nicely drained, the crust was crispy and the inside juicy and very well seasoned. The ham and cheese gave extra flavor but didn’t overpower the main act. It was pretty fantastic, sufficient and at Eur15 tolerably priced. Sneaking a couple of pieces of that famed schnitzel though I already knew what my order was gonna look like next time. Super thin and still having strong flavors going on with another thin layer of crispness blanking it all wonderfully. The potato sides also did the job with the brägele  (roasted potatoes) being full of nice and crunchy baked bits and the potato salad being pretty good as well .

If you’re in Freiburg and love a good schnitzel you should definitely come and check this place out. If you’re bringing an even bigger appetite you can go for the large portion that comes with an extra (third) schnitzel so you should be all set. And in case you shouldn’t be able to finish up, the friendly waiter will be more than happy to supply you with enough tinfoil to doggy bag it all home. I for one will be back as soon as I feel like a solid meaty schnitzel meal again. Can’t be long.

Get Your Grub On!

Zum Ochsen (closed Wednesday)
Zähringer Str. 363
79108 Freiburg im Breisgau
p: +49 761 553860
Germany