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Of cold brew & hipsters

DSC02718_1-01On our way back from KaDeWe to the train station, we made one last stop at Bikini Berlin to check out a Japanese tea shop, that had a green tea road show going on.

Rolling in, we first made a quick pit stop at the Funk You stall right across the big monkey window, where the young crowd spent their afternoon and a single elderly man meditated in between all the buzz like it was the most normal place.

DSC02722_1-01I had an iced black moon cold brew coffee and M. got herself a huge chai milk tea. I can’t speak for the tea but I loved the cold brew with its chocolaty notes and a sucker punch of caffeine. Even though the coffee is Berlin branded I would have assumed that a place like this would make their own coffee specialties, including cold brew and such but who am I to judge their make or buy decisions.

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It’s a nice place, nothing too exciting or unique, but nice and cosy within all this hustle and bustle. One last mentionable thing was the super friendly staff, truly enjoyable service.

Get Your Grub On!

Funk You – Natural Food
Bikini Berlin
Budapester Straße  42-50
10245 Berlin
Germany
https://funkyounaturalfood.com/
https://www.bikiniberlin.de/en/

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/

 

Curry at Bahnhof Zoo.

Currywurst.

Currywurst.

So this was our first day in Berlin and I was overly excited about the days to come, the friends to meet, the things to see, foods to eat and drinks to drink. In this spirit, we ventured out from our base in Mitte to the surrounding area of Bahnhof Zoo and Kudamm (Kurfürstendamm). Not entirely hungry yet but feeling a slight craving crawling up on us, we were glad to see that famous Curry 36 has a second shop directly in front of the train station here, as just for us to grab a little snack.

Coming from the south, I’m generally a white sausage, no casing kinda guy but ordered, what I thought were the local signature specs here; red sausage with casing. This was nice though, because of the casing the sausage had a refreshing snap and the sauce was surprisingly fruity with a hint of heat from that curry spice coating the sausage underneath.

Curry36 at Bahnhof Zoo.

Curry 36 at Bahnhof Zoo.

A place frequented by tourists and locals alike, feeding humans from all shapes, backgrounds, and trades and a lovely start to our little food trip.

Get Your Grub On!

Curry 36 (Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten)
Hardenbergplatz 9
10623 Berlin
Germany
p: +49 30 3199 2992
http://www.curry36.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 new meister is in town.

Cheeseburger with curly fries.

Cheeseburger with curly fries.

There’s a new burger place in town and thankfully it opened up just a short 3min walk away from the office. The place is run by the guys from Mr. Döner at Eschholzstraße and since apparently their small selection of burgers went quite well over there, they decided to open a dedicated shop in the old halls of the former Hanselmann.

Quite a few colleagues and friends went during the opening week and I heard a wide array of feedback about the food and service, from delicious burgers to mixed up orders there was everything. As the feedbacks above suggest, kickoff weeks are not very representative of the standard of a newly opened place but I didn’t intend to wait any longer and so two colleagues and I went to pay the Burgermeister a visit, a little earlier too, to beat the lunch crowds. As time would tell, this turned out to be a rather clever move.

Closeup cheeseburger

Closeup cheeseburger

We had two cheeseburgers with sesame buns, one of the vegetarian options in a spelt roll and curly fries for everybody. The burgers have sort of the perfect size, manageable, neither tiny nor ridiculously huge but the 140gram patties could be just a notch thicker to allow for medium and rare broils as well. Anyhow, they still had a rustic charr, meaty flavours and were full of their natural juices. I truly enjoyed my sandwich and those crispy curly fries. Their signature Meistersauce, some kind of cocktail sauce, worked its magic nicely on the burgers and fries and gave it all a bit of refreshing lightness. The garlic sauce, however, should only be consumed, if you don’t have any meetings lined up in the afternoon or if you actually don’t mind having intense dragon breath.

No complaints really, our orders were all correct and came out quickly, the food was very enjoyable and the customization options – beef, bio beef, chicken and vegetarian | three types of buns | multiple side and sauce options – provide much more room to experiment for coming visits. A big table of colleagues across the room wasn’t as lucky with their ordering but I guess and hope this was because the daily routine hasn’t entirely settled in yet. I’ll definitely come back for some of that bio beef and chicken and wish you guys a great second start in the neighbourhood.

Get Your Grub On!

Burgermeister Beef & Vegan (former Hanselmann)
Klarastraße 46
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 7667 0430
Facebook

 

 

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/

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 35.75, Da Bao

Peking Duck Bao

Peking Duck Bao

I had such big plans for my last meal in Düsseldorf but there were just a few too many gin tonics between me and my bed (my friend’s sofa) last night so I kinda overslept a bit. Rushing towards the train station I already saw myself wolfing down some greasy maccas burgers just when we passed an Asian convenience store that had a tiny food section out ifront. Swiftly scanning the menu I instantly knew that maccas could suck it.

I didn’t have enough time to really go overboard here so I ordered the one item I deemed the most delicious, the Peking Duck Bao. I did get it for takeout (da bao) so I was only able to enjoy it when I was already in my seat while the train started pulling out of the station. This thing was the bomb. The bao was perfectly made, fluffy but solid and the roasted duck, succulent and sweet from that plum sauce with fresh cilantro biting through with a pleasant menthol sharpness. The small greens aside were dressed in tasty sesame sauce and I made an absolute mess eating it cause I had missed grabbing some plastic cutlery at the shop. Thankfully I was all by myself in the little quite chamber at the end of the train, belly full of bao and duck and face and fingers full of sticky sesame and plum sauce. What a nice finish to an otherwise awesome short stay. See you soon Düsseldorf, I think I love you.

Get Your Grub On!

Tains – Mein-Asiamarkt
Immermannstraße 50-52
40210 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 9173 6415
http://www.mein-asiamarkt.de/

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 26, Raw

DSC01900-01We made it back from Curry just in time to freshen up and head out to meet my host’s buddies at Yabase, an izakaya-style sushi restaurant close to his apartment. A quick meet & greet and then straight into the serious stuff. Starting with drinks I asked for a lemon sour (shoju, lemon, and soda), that a former colleague had introduced me to during my last trip to Japan and with a hint of hesitation and a nondescript smile the lady said it should be possible to organize, and it was. Cheers.

We continued with a medley of dishes including a great quality sashimi moriawase, a tuna and a salmon platter. The latter two consisted of lean to fatty cuts as well as an aburi version each and some fabulous other bits. I truly think every sushi restaurant should have some of those, they’re just the perfect thing for solo eaters.

The next two hours we spend our time ordering random dishes like raw gyu, maki, beautifully made agedashi tofu and sweetly glazed savoury tsukune yakitori. After those were all washed down with cold brews and hot sake, we discovered they even had ice cream mochi dessert and since they were kind of miniature we had a multitude of ’em. The choco mochi were like frozen drops of mousse au chocolate, chewy on the outside and freezy creamy on the inside. A cool finish to an ortherwise delicious meal.

Awesome food, fabulous company and ass kicking service. Great night.

Get Your Grub On!

Yabase
Klosterstraße 70
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 362677
yabase-ddf.com

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 25, Curry

DSC01887-01After my delightful afternoon snack, I went on to pick up my friend at work, grabbed a coffee at his shared office space, enjoyed the view and moved on to stroll through Düsseldorf without any particular destination. Somehow we ended up at the urban harbor down at the Rhine river and just hung out at some pedestrian bridge for a bit enjoying the quiet Friday afternoon.

Since he didn’t get anything to eat since lunch he suggested a quick currywurst run to a shop around the corner and not being hungry at all myself I just went with it.  A 10-minute-walk away we sat down outside an obviously popular fast food joint with waiters that cracked me up every time they opened their mouth. I was still a little full from my second lunch so my friend managed the ordering. His choice fell on the spicy currywurst and, after a short dispute about necessary portion sizes, on the large fries with mayo and raw onions to share. The fries were good, crisp and plenty, and worked just great with the thick onion mayonnaise but the sausage lacked a bit of snap and wasn’t really spicy at all, more fruity actually. Since my mate comes here frequently though he confirmed this was not the usual, so it probably just got mixed up in the process. Happens.

There is tasty food here, a definitely entertaining bunch of people and the place comes with a nice little beer selection of local and ‘foreign’ brews like Zäpfle pils from Rothaus. A nice local hangout for pre and post-party grub and beers.

Get Your Grub On!

Curry
Hammer Straße 2
40219 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 3032 857
http://www.curry-deutschland.de/

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 7, Nightcap

dsc01859-011.jpegNot finished just yet and there was still a little time left for one last drink. This place was cramped packed when he went to D-Weinbar earlier but now only a few patrons sipped on their last drinks for the night. This place was nicely decorated with a welcoming charm and soothing lighting.

The food here sounded good but we only had enough time to have one last cold one for the road. This must have been my first drawn Beck’s from the tap and even though it did have as many bubbles in it as there were hours left in the day I still thoroughly enjoyed it. The staff was super friendly, the place inviting, I’ll be back for more if I’d get the chance to. Last call, thanks.

Get Your Grub On!

Löffelbar
Oststraße 51
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 5447 3877
http://www.loeffelbar.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/