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Currywurst & Pommes Schranke

IMG_20170713_122004-01We started coming to Casino Service Milz on occasion with some of our developer colleagues who are quite the regulars here. It actually serves as the cantine for the train (Deutsche Bahn) personnel, is located just down the road from our office and seemed like a good new option to further expand our ever growing catalog of lunch options.

Thursday is the day of the week here when the queue grows the longest, and the only unhealthy reason being, its fries and currywurst day. You can opt vegetarian but the standard set contains this massive red sausage buried under a mountain of fries. The sausage is good but the curry ketchup gravy was a bit thin yet still enjoyable and enhanced using the help-your-self-curry-powder-dispenser it actually got pretty tasty. The fries were crispy enough and I got them some creamy dippy company in form of mayonnaise and ketchup because what difference does it make now anyway right?

It’s a cantine charm no matter what and probably it’s also not your most healthy joint in these waters but it’s good food prepared and served by nice people in slightly too generous portions, and all that to a really good price (EUR5,20 for the dish of the day).

Get Your Grub On!

Casino Service Milz
Wentzingerstraße 7a
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 212 3327
http://casino-service-milz.com/

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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/

 

 

Schnitzels after Feldberg hiking.

DSC01382-01Following a family friend’s recommendation, we started our Feldberg hiking day from the very end of St. Wilhelmer Tal and spend most of our day hiking up and down that beautiful mountain. We were past knackered and glad the parking lot, we had left the car kinda belonged to an old restaurant, which was also the last house of the valley.

We snatched one of the last benches outside and ordered some hearty pork schnitzel with brägele, the locally acclaimed version of roasted potatoes. Like in the old days the schnitzels here were thumb-thick, juicy and fried til crisp. I really like ’em thin but after a long hike like today, this hit the spot right in the face. The potatoes had a good balance between crunch and chewiness and together those two made for a fulfilling finish to a great day.

Service was kind and slightly slowish and the place came with a familiar breeze of blackforest charm. Other than that it’s just at the perfect location for an energy refuel after a day on the mountain.

Get Your Grub On!

Gaststätte Zur Linde-Napf
Feldbergstraße 14
79254 Oberried | St. Wilhelm
Germany
p: +49 7602 944 690
http://linde-napf.de/

Premium inside?

IMG-20170705-WA0006-01One of my food loving co-workers recommended to check-out this place in Haslach. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant at first as using the word ‘premium’ in your shop’s name often implies quite the opposite, but a good recommendation outweighs such reservations any day so we had a plan. It was a bit tricky to find, sitting on the second floor of a car rental and dealership.

This place has a nice bright interior with a big bar functioning as the centerpiece of the inside restaurant and the breezy terrace offers the best seats for a summer dinner.

When I come to an Italian restaurant like this for my first visit and feel like pizza, most times I do get a Margherita for two main reasons; for one it’s my favorite pizza of all times and second, it’s actually quite hard to make a really exciting one and it can reveal the true skills of a pizza chef. This Margherita (EUR7.00) was truly one of the better ones I have had here in Freiburg. Even though I’d prefer mine with leopard-crust, fruity with mozzarella islands and almost soggy in the middle this one’s paper thin and crisp dough and the focus on simple flavors did the job just fine and will find many fans under the crisp-crust-lovers-community. One more thing to add here was that they served some fabulous and pungent Italian chili in oil to pimp my pizza and I almost finished that little jar of fierce goodness myself.IMG-20170705-WA0001-01 We also had their homemade salmon and ricotta ravioli and these were just delicious; an intensely flavorful salmon filling wrapped in thick and chewy pasta dough, covered with a sticky tomato gravy that accompanied but didn’t overpower the aromas of the filling. Nice one.

I liked this place. Except for the uninspiring mixed salad (EUR5.00) at the start, which I would give a miss next time the food was tasty and satisfying, service was friendly and the ambiance on the terrace great for a chill after-work dinner if don’t mind a commercial surrounding. Grazie mille.

Get Your Grub On!

Premium Restaurant Pizzeria Pinocchio
St-Georgener-Straße 10
79111 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 445617
https://www.premium-pinocchio.de

Sabai Sabai in Herdern!

IMG_20170712_182937-2We had kind of an Asian food streak this week so it just made sense to throw in a little Thai spree as well.  Luckily we made it here early as this outlet is always (always) booked out and so today they still had some terrace seats left for us walk-ins.

 

We began with a refreshing yet tooth-dissolvingly-sweet Thai ice tea and quickly moved onto the appetizer section. We didn’t go for that kohlrabi Som Tam this time again but instead tried out the crunchy vegetarian summer rolls (Po Pia Sod | EUR4.90) with sweet hoisin sauce and a tard peanut chili dip. Furthermore, the chicken satay (Sate Gai | EUR5.90) wasn’t too shabby either, lean chicken breast nicely spiced and fried with a Thai curry peanut dip and genius pickled spicy cucumber, chili, and onion.

 

 

My main was, what a friend so fittingly calls ‘Ente Kross’, which pretty much translates to ‘roasted duck’. The dish (Ped Pad Gaprau | EUR15.90) was quite different from the picture of my imagination since I had ordered a version with Thai basil and chili and expected something more similar to ‘Phat Kaphrao’. Despite the different look, this was a fine dish with a strong fragrance coming from the basil and enough chili to press a few sweat drops from my forehead. M. had Gung Schuschi (EUR15.90), prawns in a red coconut curry served in a whole coconut loaded with vegetables. The prawns were nicely cleaned and fresh and it all had a mild but quite present heat to it. Both went perfectly well with the fragrant rice and brought back some delicious memories.

Although Thai is not necessarily my most missed Asian cuisine, I’m glad to have a place around with people that know what they’re doing and who are dishing up pretty tasty and authentic stuff with a smile on their faces and a kind word for every guest coming in. Oh, and by the way, they have a second branch out in Malteringen. Khob-khun-krab.

Get Your Grub On!

Chada Thai (Freiburg Branch)
Richard-Wagner-Str. 24
79104 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 8815 7905
http://www.chadathai.de/

New lunch opportunities.

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It all started with a quick talk between doors when my colleague suggested to go and check out Bengal for lunch someday, and then only a few days later I found myself sitting on their little backyard terrace with a whole bunch of my coworkers ordering from their lunch menu specials.

I went for the Rost Polaw, which is a chicken dish, simmered in a light tomato yogurt gravy with potatoes and raisins. This was actually really good, the chicken was tender, the gravy slightly sweet and that chili mango sauce aside…let’s just say, we finished that bad boy til the last drop. Oh, and there was a side salad with mango dressing too.

So yeah, I really liked it here, and it was a welcome change up from our usual lunch stops. Sitting on the terrace was so nice, the service was funny and accommodating and there are so many more dishes to explore here that I’m sure it won’t be long til I’ll be back at Bengal again. Thanks so much.

Get Your Grub On!

Bengal
Eisanbahnstraße 43
79098 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 1371828
http://bengal-freiburg.de/

Foodie Wunschkonzert!

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Sushi Kusakabe is part of a fabulous 3-in-1-foodie-experience in the midst of Umkirch, a lil town just north-west of Freiburg. Part of this trio is a hotel (Hotel Pfauen #1) and a restaurant that’s half Thai (Villa Thai #2) and half Japanese (Sushi Kusakabe #3).

We visited this place for our anniversary last year, and since we kinda loved it back then – like a lot – we returned for this year’s happy occasion again.

IMG-20170710-WA0025-02Diving in, we went exactly the same way as 365 days ago without even realizing it. There was a crisp and tangy tempura moriawase and a tako karaage with a hearty spiced, yet light batter getting us off to a great start.

Next up came the main course, sushi galore. I couldn’t hold back (didn’t want to either) and just had to have that outstanding otoro (fatty tuna belly) again despite its higher price tag (Eur9.00/piece). No regrets though as this was a melt-in-my-mouth experience, and one of the best kind at that. Following close behind, right up there on the same quality level, were crunchy, fresh ebi (prawn) nigiri, unagi (eel) glazed with sweet sauce, massaged-til-soft tako (octopus), perfect tamago  (omelette) as well as crunchy shinko (pickled radish) and tuna avocado maki.

To finish up this wonderful meal we chose the papaya with lime sherbet with little pieces of lime peel for a tad more texture, and the thai favorite: mango sticky rice, which was a bit pricey at Eur12.00. That mango was ripe though and sweet, and the coconut sticky rice balanced out that fruity sweetness just perfectly.

All in all another memorable evening filled with amazing food crafted with skill, patience, and experience by sushi master Kusakabe-san. Outstanding performance on the service front as well, and thanks to all the staff that made our dinner such a lovely one. Sure, we left with a lil lighter wallet than we came in with but also with a big fat smile on our faces! 🙂 🙂 See you next year (latest) and domo arigato gozaimasu.

Get Your Grub On!

Sushi Kusakabe – Villa Thai – Hotel Pfauen (closed on Tuesdays)
Hugstetter Straße 2
79224 Umkirch
Germany
p: +49 7665 93760
http://www.villa-thai.de/

 

Back in (baja)style!!!

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I hadn’t been to the shack for a while but the sun was out, I had Mexican-Food-Loving-Friends in town and these guys just had announced the return of the baja fish tacos to their menu. So when we arrived back in Freiburg after a day of exploring the black forest and beyond we headed straight for Stühlinger and one of their outside tables ordering a set of fish tacos each.

I’m not sure if my picture does it actual justice but these babies were intimidatingly ginormous. M. and our friend C. intuitively reached for fork and knife but I was willing to get my hands dirty. After all, these were tacos, right? Flipping up the sides of the appropriately large flour tortillas I wasn’t even able to close them properly above the crisp battered perch but I was ready for my first bite and didn’t plan on letting go of it. This was amazing. I still remembered them vaguely from the BZ food truck festival last year but it was like a brand new experience altogether. The batter cracked under my teeth making way for the wonderfully flaky fish meat that was breezy fresh and cooked ’til perfectly glassy. Just moments after the fish literally melted, and the juices had drenched my hands in tasty goodmess, all the other flavours started kicking in; the creamy chipotle mayonnaise, the crunchy greens and veggies, some sourness coming from that tropical salsa and especially awesome vibes blazing from the fresh Mexican herbs. It was like being teleported to a Californian beach (without ever being to one) for a couple of minutes, sipping on a cocktail enjoying the sun. Oh yes, I am glad these fish are back in town.

On top of an excellent meal the service today was super refreshing, attentive and friendly and on my way out I also finally got to say hi to some of the great people, who are responsible for all this. Thanks so much guys and see you soon.

Get Your Grub On!

The Holy Taco Shack (closed on Sundays)
Barbarastraße 18
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 176 32970414
http://www.theholytacoshack.com/

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What an amazingly beautiful day it has been yesterday and the city was full of locals, students, tourists, and shopaholics alike soaking up the sun and roaming the streets of Freiburg, filling them like ants. We were right in the middle of it and completely lost track of time until our stomachs started growling to let us know a lunch was way overdue. It was lunch madness and almost every place around the Bermuda Dreieck (= Bermuda Triangle; a corner area in Freiburg) was packed with customers and some fast food joints even had queues oozing out their doors. Thankfully I had done my homework so we didn’t have to go on another hangry food quest and just around the corner, nestled between a garage something and another restaurant, Burger Chalet awaited us. As the name tells it’s a popular little burger joint and luckily the queue was sort of short and two lovely ladies allowed us to join them at their table for one of the rare options to sit outside enjoying the sun today.

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Burger of the Month: Himmel & Ääd Burger (Heaven & Earth)

Beforehand I had made plans to get my grub on with that ‘Alpenfeuer’ (Fire of the Alps) burger that comes with a chili-cheese-sauce, firy jalapeños and a homemade chili powder. Well, plans are great, but then life happens and as so often I did let another menu special item distract me and lead me off my  destined path. Without even thinking I heard myself ordering a medium grilled burger of the month, the ‘Himmel & Ääd’ (Heaven & Earth). Himmel & Ääd or Himmel & Erde is a popular and regional german dish, which is mostly common in the Rhineland, Westphalia, and Lower Saxony. In it’s purest version it consists of blood pudding, mashed potatoes, fried onions and apple sauce and actually so did this burger. Together with that juicy beef patty and wedged between two appropriately sized and perfectly toasted buns this just worked. All these very different textures and flavors merged together wonderfully and created something new and delicious. My favorite, besides the remarkable standard items of the burger, was the thin slice of tangy blood pudding, that added a spicy, almost creamy component on top of the patty. The tart and sweet apple chutney gave some fruity notes and the onions, being sweetish as well convinced with a light smokiness. The only thing that didn’t do too much for the whole concept and the flavor palette was the mashed potatoes, and frankly, it made it all just a bit more difficult to eat. I do get it though, it completes the transition of the traditional plated dish to a hands-on inventive burger. Fries were good.

Additionally to the fact that they know how to cook their stuff it’s worthy to mention that they are sourcing most of their ingredients locally, aren’t using any additives, the meat is freshly ground every day and they are making all their sauces themselves and from scratch as well. A lot of craft and thought goes into every burger here and the entire menu is also available with an in-house made vegetable patty for the vegetarians out there. The shop is small and cozily set up for a quick meal in a relaxing atmosphere, however, the glass barrier in front of the grill can’t save you entirely from all the food smell, so don’t mind taking a bit of burger scent home with you. The staff seems to enjoy themselves, is friendly and the guy  behind the counter was particularly fun to chat to. I was super full and happily content when we left and already have the next visit scheduled in my head. This time hopefully trying my original choice of burger and those fabulous looking rosemary potatoes. Thanks for the great grub.

Get Your Grub On!

Burger Chalet (closed on Sundays and public holidays)
Niemenstraße 9
79098 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 278 382
http://www.burger-chalet.de/

A cheesy update.

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What’s your favorite day of the week?

I had a bit of a rough day yesterday so since I was in town for Japanese class and needed something to cheer me up, and because it was ‘Taco Tuesday’ I went back to Yepa Yepa to load up on some heartwarming tacos.

After I did – four, I ate four tacos – I still felt some emptiness deep inside and was planning to fill it with some loving gooey cheese so nothing seemed better than finally giving their quesadillas a shot. They’re pretty much the same as a standard taco just with some salty cheese melted to the tortilla over a hot plate. This was just the stuff I needed. The delicious filling of the taco was already amazing on it’s own ‘but that cheese tho’, a great combination. I still prefer my tacos non-cheesy but what a great possibility to change things up a little bit. Thanks, this was soul healing.

Get Your Grub On!

Yepa Yepa Mexican Taqueria (closed Sundays)
Merianstraße 30
79104 Freiburg
Germany
http://www.mexikanisch-essen-freiburg.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

Phontastic!

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Pho Ga (Update March ’16)

We came here tonight prior to catching a movie at the Cinemaxx on the others side of the road. My brother in law originally intended to bring us to the running sushi place next door but that joint was bursting with people and no free seats were to be seen. Not having much time before the movie started we improvised and swiftly opted for their sister restaurant that cooks up a variety of Asian inspired wok stir fries, that were my definition of Asian cuisine about 8 years ago.

In the tradition of good germanized Asian food, I set my mind on ‘Ente Kross’ (crispy duck), a friend’s fitting name for a common fried-to-the-death-duck dish (not literally of course). Other than in Asia, where people love their fatty and chewy bits, Germans, in general, are not too fond of excessive fats and wobbly textures so those duck dishes are crisper than crisp, probably a bit dry yet still kinda delicious. Almost decided, I browsed my the pho bo on the menu and got indecisive again. When I am confused at a restaurant nowadays I tend to ask the staff for their recommendation given my shortlist of dishes. The lovely waitress was pretty quick in swaying me into the direction of the big bowl of piping hot Vietnamese soup, filled with lots of goodies; there were lime wedges, loads of those flat rice noodles, greens like herbs and scallions and deliciously tender beef slices. I was only missing some chili padi but they were also just one request to the waitress away.

As far as the broth goes I was pretty impressed. As always I would have wished for some more cinnamon flavor but since I mention that every single time that I am eating pho, I’m not even sure anymore if it’s actually supposed to have such a strong flavor or if it’s just in my head. The sriracha added a ubiquitous and intensifying heat to it all but the fresh chili just gave out free right hooks for my taste buds. It almost gave me the hiccups, which in my case stands for a proper chili experience and at the same time signals that I’m very close to crossing my line of tolerance. I was slurping and sweating away and felt quite happy to see such a decent bowl of pho in a place that I wouldn’t have expected it.

Dish Update March: I recently came here again during a shopping spree in town, and this time, I ordered the pho ga with chicken. I’m not 100% sure if it was the same broth, I would maybe say it was a little less intense but the chicken was just delicious; white meat that was somewhat tenderized, lightly panfried and kicking out some proper chicken aromas. A nice changeup and still healthy enough.

The place is no thrills, functional and clean but because of the open kitchen you might take a nice little food scent home with you depending where you were seated. There are tables for couples and groups with benches, meant for quick meals and not for lounging around for hours. Service is mostly nice, especially our waitress was super attentive and later even checked if I was actaually happy with my final choice. As a result of the streamlined menu, the kitchen runs very efficiently and fast and the food we had was great and cheap. You can never go wrong with an affordable delicious pho now can you? Nice one.

Get Your Grub On!

Mai Wok (open everyday)
Bertoldstr. 53
79098 Freiburg
Germany
http://www.maiwok-freiburg.de/

Too many tacos? No such thing.

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Trio of Tacos: Al Pastor, Pollo Ranchero, Birria

Freiburg seems to be secretly working on becoming the Mexican food capital of Germany as yet another taqueria has opened its’ doors very recently at Merianstraße just outside the border of the old town. Yepa Yepa is a cozy little mission style food place offering standing or bar table seating only. They carry a small selection of tacos and quesadillas on their standing menu plus some special items once in a while. Unfortunately, we just missed Tamales Week, which I didn’t have since Casa Latina closed its’ doors in Singapore a couple of years back.

Pretty much a freaking bummer, but trying not to be too devastated I swiftly ordered a trio of their tacos with corn tortillas, filled with all the different meats and every available salsa on the menu. I always try to build up to the part of the dish, which I reckon will be the most amazing, so I went with the Pollo Ranchero first. Not because it didn’t look good, but because I thought it would have the lightest flavors. The tortillas were nicely crisp on the edges and held up all the way but the chicken, even though soft and moist, tasted a bit bland together with the corn rice. Thankfully the pico de gallo was here to save the day and add some smack to it all. Great filling for a light lunch burrito, I thought. Second in line was the Al Pastor with the Salsa Taquera, which overall was my favorite flavor combo of them all, with that delicious pork in a slightly cinnamony gravy, some fresh coriander, a pungent pineapple relish as well as that fantastic smokey salsa. This worked outstandingly well together and danced right to my taste buds. Last up was the Birria, a, in chili broth slow cooked and pulled beef filling with beans, fresh onions and coriander topped with a lovely fruity-ish tomatillo salsa verde. This was the most delicate of the meats here for sure, but flavorwise Al Pastor was still my top 1 hands down.

Except the cheese and soft drinks, they make everything themselves here, from the crispy tortillas to the last tangy salsa and the ingredients are mainly regionally sourced. Yepa Yepa is a nice place, where nice people, service you delicious food. Due to the setup, though, it’s not a place to spend too much time in, relax and maybe have a nice evening and drinks with your friends. However I think that’s not their mission anyway, so I’m just happy we are getting more and more options for tasty, authentic (I actually don’t like that word) Mexican food in the area.

Get Your Grub On!

Yepa Yepa (closed Sundays)
Merianstraße 30
79104 Freiburg
Germany
http://www.mexikanisch-essen-freiburg.de/

FreiBurgern.

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BBQ Bacon Burger

Okay, so I am actually gonna take up writing again. The great thing is I have a lot of material to practice on as I still took loads of pictures during my year off, made notes about almost every mentionable meal and also have collected a big library of audio reviews, that I’ll try to transfer piece by piece onto digital paper. So don’t be surprised if there are some backdated reviews popping up in between. This one’s a rather recent one and a place I wanted to try for a while now. derfreiBurger was one of the places leading the rise of burger joints (the newer ones are mainly food trucks) in Freiburg and is located conveniently in a side street along Schwarzwald City. It’s a pretty tiny place with only few seating options; some bar kinda seating, a big shared table or if you’re lucky enough a little booth area for 4-5 people. It’s like a little fast food restaurant, where someone put some extra effort in, giving it a bit of a more homely feel.

Against my instincts, I went for the BBQ-Bacon-Burger (EUR5.80), that comes with a fried onion ring and loads of bbq sauce. When it flew out the open kitchen my first impression was, that there’s something off with that patty to bun ratio. Don’t get me wrong the meat is definitely big enough for that price, it just gets a little lost in that huge roll, which doesn’t do it actual justice. They get the freshly baked buns from a local bakery and use only fresh, well-seasoned beef for their burgers and you can actually taste that extra bit of craftsmanship. I also enjoyed that sweet and crispy onion ring very much and absolutely loved their homemade smokey bbq sauce. That last one was important because there was loads of it, like close to sloppy joe’s kinda loads (so you better like it saucy). For me, the bacon strips could’ve used a couple more seconds on the flat pan to crisp up but were nice and salty anyway. Pretty good.

So the place is tiny but also not meant for you to spend hours in it, the people working behind the counter are genuinely nice and the food is mostly homemade, pretty tasty and for that very very reasonably priced. So to sum things up, I maybe would have wished for a thicker and juicier patty in general but in that price range this is a great burger overall and I’ll probably come back and check out some other menu items, like that Chilli-Cheese-Dog that caught my eye. Thanks for the delicious burger and all the best.

Get Your Grub On!

derfreiBurger (closed on Sundays and public holidays)
Schiffstraße 16
79098 Freiburg
Germany
http://www.derfreiburger.de/

Bavarian ramen.

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Tan Tan Men

It was the last weekend of Wiesn in Munich and I went back to the beer tents at freaking 7:30 a.m. in the morning to meet my friend from Hong Kong and her hilarious entourage from Spain, Belgium, Ireland and England, from whom most had never been to the Oktoberfest before; no reservations, no choice. After a bit over an hour wait, we actually made it into the Augustiner beer tent and…well let’s just fast forward for a couple of hours and a few emptied stones. Our little group split up; some went missing, some went home and a few continued on their german beer quest. I, even though ready for an extended nap on the couch, made a little detour to my favourite ramen shop in Germany to date, Takumi in Maxvorstadt, just a little train ride away.

I was obviously lucky today, unlike on other occasions, as the place was actually open and no waiting in the queue either. I sat down and ordered my favorite, the Tantanmen. I have tried others, but so far no bowl could beat that red and rich, spicy broth. Portions are huge here and I was a bit overwhelmed when the piping hot bowl showed up, doubting I could actually finish it, I was wrong. The broth was awesome, savoury and spicy, thick and rich, loaded with peanut and sesame flavors and loads of that deliciously spiced minced meat. I absolutely loved it. Now let me talk about those noodles; I do come here almost everytime I’m in town, but these were hands down the best ones, they’ve ever made for me. Maybe because the place was not as packed as usual, maybe they improved generally or I was just darn lucky, but these noodles were very very close to perfect. Speaking pasta terms, they were absolutely on spot al dente, chewy and with this unique texture, that only ramen noodles have. Not that they have ever been really bad before but more often than not, they were a little on the softer side. Not stopping there, even the eggs went through some sort of evolution here and seemed more beautifully waxy than ever. So awesome guys, keep it up.

Service here has always been super nice and everybody is offering you smiles and it was exactly the same today. Staff is friendly and service is pretty fast and efficient. If I would need to pick on something negative it would be the fact that your ordinary ice tea here comes by the glass for EUR1,80, which gets quite pricey if you (like I) tend to drink loads while eating big bowls of hot soup. In the end, it’s just water, so I would rather pay a bit more for a free flow of my jasmine tea rather than order over and over again, but maybe that’s just me being used to free flow tea and water in these kinda places. Other than this little blemish, I totally love it here and see no reason why not to come back again and again and again.

Takumi München (open all week)
Heßstr.71
80798 München
Germany
Tel: +49 89 528 599
http://www.takumi-noodle.com/index.html

❤ tacos.

The Holy Taco Shack - Food Truck
I collected a huge repertoire of food memories and pictures since I have been back to Europe, mainly because I have been traveling a fair bit to the Netherlands/Holland, Switzerland, France, Spain and Italy, which of the two latter were very focused on the local food experience. That aside I think it’s only appropriate to choose a place in Germany for my first review since almost a year, not German cuisine however representative for what’s going on here at the moment. The Holy Taco Shack is part of the reinvention of the culinary scene in Germany right now. Many people put a totally different value on the food they sell and eat today with a lot of love for detail and appreciation for culinary skill. Some results out of this are the growing numbers of food trucks as well as street food festivals and markets that seem to have started in Berlin but already have spread into all corners of Germany. This particular truck, or actually more a food trailer, is run by a German-American couple that left their former jobs behind and started their own business filling the big gap of proper Mexican food in Germany and thankfully decided to do so in beautiful Freiburg.

The Holy Taco Shack - Classic Tacos Mango SalsaAfter many missed opportunities to try their food before, I finally managed to be in Freiburg at the right time for their weekly appearance at the Rieselfeld Market on Saturday. We went fairly early, as apparently their food sometimes sells out rather quickly and I wanted to have free choice. So here I was, ordering my first round of Classic Tacos – a set of three – with all the meats from the menu, chicken chipotle, beef brisket and my secret passion, the carnitas, medium spicy with some extra mango salsa on the side. They use their homemade corn tortillas, made from maíz azul (a black purple-ish type of corn) that have a bit more to them than the regular corn tortillas. It might be just the colour but I thought they were pretty great. Now on to the inner values and I must say that all of the meats were exceptionally delicious. The beef was super nice and tender like it was slow cooked for ages (which it probably was) and the chicken, which I expected to be either a bit on the dry side or drowning in sauce, I liked even more, just so juicy and fantastic. My other expectation though proved to be right; the carnitas are still my absolute favourite. They were wonderful moist with a good char on the edges that had touched the hot plate, an insanely good combination of meat and fats. The homemade medium salsa was just right, not too spicy but still gave me a kick on my tongue and the mango version for an extra €1 was the perfect companion and totally worth it. Fruity, slightly sour and refreshing in between the flavour party going on around here.

The Holy Taco Shack - Spicy Classic TacosSince I wasn’t sure when I’d be having another chance to eat here again I went for a second round of the same, just this time with the spicy salsa and the extra jalapeños. This salsa is fun and squeezed cold sweat right out of my head so that I wished I would have ordered this mango pineapple salsa again to cool things down a little bit. All in all amazing food.

It was busy that day, the queue got longer and they still stayed cool and friendly even that many people were asking a lot of questions about the food and the TV show they have just been part of. I hope I’ll be able to come here many more times, it’s good to have you guys around, keep it up and all the best.

The Holy Taco Shack
Maria-von Rudloff-Platz 1
79111 Freiburg
Germany
Tel: +49 176 329 70 414
http://theholytacoshack.com/

P.S.: This is their usual Wednesday and Saturday location but follow their Twitter or Facebook for the latest updates and additional spots.

Now that’s a proper brunch.

image‘Alte Kanzlei’ in Stuttgart is a very nice and popular place for brunch and lunch and so we found ourselves stranded within a crowd of people and without a reservation. The fabulous waiter though spotted a soon to be available table for our group and after an only 10 minute wait we already sat down. Off to a good start.

It wasn’t lunch time yet so I was looking for something smaller and after discovering ‘Weisswurst‘ on the weekend menu I didn’t have to look any further. The sausages were darn good and well seasoned considering we were outside of Bavaria. They obviously had used an “opferwurst” (victim sausage) – a sausage cut open into the broth so the gets saturated with salt and doesn’t drain the taste out of the other sausages – so the ones I got to eat were still hearty and delicious. The brezel maybe was a bit dry but added nicely to the saltiness of the whole thing and that all topped with some sweet and grainy mustard. Washed down with an extraordinarily refreshing ‘Spezi‘ and I was home.

It was a really nice place, bright and warm, bustling and yet the waiters went out of their way to help us. The food was appetizing and service efficient, friendly, funny and fast; screams for a repetition.

Alte Kanzlei
Schillerplatz 5a
70173 Stuttgart
Germany
Tel: +49 (0)711 294 457
http://www.alte-kanzlei-stuttgart.de/

There’s still hope.

imageI was back home for hardly one week and even though it was just for a couple of days I already craved some Asian food. Doing a bit of research online brought us to ‘coa’ (cuisine of asia) in central Stuttgart. At first I was pretty sceptical about this place as it offered a big mix of dishes from Vietnam, Thailand, India, China etc. and I would have felt better if they were specialized in just one type of cuisine but now we were here already, so what?

We had some Vietnamese ‘Summer Rolls‘ which were quite tasty actually but I didn’t really get the fact that they just served the ingredients and we had to assemble them ourselves, one of those weird “food experiences” I suppose. We also had the ‘Shao Mai‘ which I didn’t like but then, I never really do. As main we both ordered their ‘Pho‘ and I had ankle-height-low expectations that this was going to be any good. What a nice surprise it was then when it turned out being pretty delicious. The broth was super good, full of that cinnamon I miss so often and there were many herbs like coriander floating around in it too. The noodles weren’t anything too fancy but the meat was softly tender and super lean.

They messed up our orders a couple of times so we had to wait quite a while for our food but the staff handled the situation fairly clever by throwing in some free espressi at the end of our meal. Generally I must say though that eating here actually made me pretty happy. It was probably not the best pho I have ever had but it can easily keep up and even outdo some of the bowls I tried in Singapore and it’s always fantastic to find some decent Asian grub in good old Germany. I’ll remember this one.

coa – cuisine of asia
Lautenschlagerstr. 23
70173 Stuttgart
Germany
Tel: +49 (0)711 2184 2566
http://www.coa.as/

Green Sauce Goodbye!

imageAt the end of a long trip I was driving down from Erfurt to Frankfurt with three lovely friends and wanted to show them some local dishes there before we all jumped on other trains and planes to go our own ways. We ended up in Sachsenhausen where I was just a couple of weeks ago with my family and I spotted a place I had been to a couple of times in the past – ‘Lorsbacher Thal’ – another of those famous ebbelwoi (apple cider) places.

While I was really tempted to order something else I couldn’t other than having the ‘Fleisch mit Grie Soss‘ (meat with green sauce) again. The portions here were ridonculous as the one big slap of cooked beef on the picture is hiding another one right underneath. Tastewise it was also pretty good maybe just a little bit too dry. I really enjoyed their take on the sauce, really refreshing on a summer day like this and plenty of it to drown all my boiled potatoes.

Nice place with a small beergarden outside and the guy who served us was overly nice and extremely friendly. Just the meat could’ve been a tad juicier and the kitchen also wasn’t the fastest that I have ever waited for. ‘Lorsacher Tahl’, can.

http://www.lorsbacher-thal.de/

Lorsbacher Thal
Grosse Rittergasse 49-51
60594 Frankfurt am Main
Germany
Tel: +49 69 616459

Stripclubs & Currywurst

imageIt was the hottest day of the year and we had celebrated my youngest sister’s birthday with some beers in the sun. It was getting late and we felt like supper, like currywurst supper to be exact. We literally walked the extra mile to reach ‘Brunnenwirt’ a tiny corner shop located in the red light area of Stuttgart – Bohnenviertel –  that sells hearty grub on the go and until late.

We used to come here quite frequently when we were living around the corner and therefore ordered our old time favorite, the ‘Currywurst Spezial‘. The currywurst here was an extra large skinless pork sausage that they chopped in bite sized chunks. Then all covered with ketchup (tomato sauce) and mayonnaise and sprinkled with curry powder. But the ‘spezial’ came from the dash of gravy they added from the pot in which the ‘Shashlik Skewers‘ simmer for hours. The sausage was not too strong in taste and traditionally lacked the snap because of the missing casing. The other flavors are hard to separate but the sweetness of the tomato sauce, the creaminess of the mayo, the curry taste and the meaty shashlik gravy fused together very nicely, just what we wanted after a long day in the heat.

It’s quite a dodgy little corner stall with a very mixed clientele but it is also an honest place, no thrills but still clean, tasty, unhealthy junk food with a sometimes quite entertaining combination of characters around. Go check it out.

Brunnenwirt
Leonardsplatz 25
70182 Stuttgart
Germany
Tel: +49 711 245621