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#Shop/Restaurant 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/

 

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/

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/

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/

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/

Smorgasburger – Go Ramen! Go Life!

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Ramen Burger

One of our first activities in New York was walking all the way from West Village to Williamsburg to check out that famed ramen burger from Keizo Shimamoto at the Smorgasburg food market. It was a super hot day and we underestimated how long that “little walk” would take us, speaking alone that it took forever just getting over Williamsburg bridge. So when we eventually arrived we were pretty much done for the day but also saw a lot of beautiful city views on the way. Williamsburg is actually a pretty nice and grungy neighbourhood, full of cafés, bars and restaurants and Smorgasburg must have one of the best views on Manhattan, that a foodmarket could have. It was pretty busy out here, but we still managed to locate one of our hosts and the ramen burger stall quite easily. The queue was long but moved down fast as these guys really knew what they were doing. Everything was impressively set up in an assembly line kind of way, so patties were sizzling, ramen buns getting crisp and burgers were assembled by the dozens. Thank goodness as we were starving and dying to try this.

That thing was nothing but genius. The meat was not overly seasoned, maybe a bit too little, however beefy, juicy and had the right size in comparison to the noodle buns. Cheese and lettuce weren’t either outstandingly good nor bad but that sauce, a shoyu reduction glaze that tasted something like a sweetish Asia style bbq sauce, had some absolute delicious flavours going on. Last but not least the most curious of elements, the buns. I had a ramen type burger before in Singapore but the noodles were fairly crisp and crunchy and some parts broke off while taking a bite. Here, I have no clue how they actually did it, as it really tasted like qq cooked ramen noodles and still stuck together in it’s patty bun shape until the last two bites maybe. So it really was like the perfect fusion of two fantastic dishes into one; innovative, genius and best of it all delicious.

Get Your Grub On!

Ramen Burger (open Sundays in season)
Smorgasburg (at Williamsburg Flea)
50 Kent Avenue
New York
NY 11249
United States of America
http://ramenburger.com/

Banana Pudding and Red Velvet.

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Magnolia Bakery Takeout

Just down the street from our friends in West Village was the famous Magnolia Bakery so eventually, we had to make a stopover here and get some of their famed red velvet cupcakes and some banana pudding, which was highly recommended to me by my friend Baked HK.

The cupcakes were a bit of let down in my eyes as there were no distinct or exciting flavors present, the frosting was just sweet and it was all a wee bit too dry. The banana pudding in the contrary was just addictively yummy. As it was chilled and squashy (in a good way) it reminded me partially of a gooey fudgy ice cream and even though the mass was fairly dense and filling, the doughy biscuit pockets somehow balanced it all out and made it kind of light. The banana flavor was strong in this one and only some little sprinkles of dark bitter chocolate sauce were missing to make this perfect for me (note to myself).

Oh, and all the people working at the shop were really nice to us, answering questions, making recommendations and just being generally kind. The only problem I have now is how to get my hands on that crazy good banana pudding ever again. Please help.

Get Your Grub On!

Magnolia Bakery (open ever day)
401 Bleecker Street
New York
NY 10014
United States of America
p: +1 212 462 2572
magnoliabakery.com

Momofuku Tour – Part 2.

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Cold Beef Ramen (Seasonal Special)

After our delicious fried-chicken-sandwich-stopover at Fuku we went just a few doors down to Momofuku Noodle Bar to have some of those tasty sounding chashu buns, our friends had been raving about while eating their crispy chicken; I love these foodies. Unfortunately, they were just about to close for their afternoon break before dinner service so we checked, when they’ll be open again and went for a little bar in the area to bridge the waiting time with some happy hour drinks. We were back at the door like 20-30minutes after they had re-opened and the place was already full and bustling with people. I must say, I came here with high hopes but very low expectations. You never really know how these hyped places turn out to be. So let’s see.

We started with a couple of beers, a few glasses of sake and some dishes to share. The spicy cucumbers were nicely done and slightly different from how I know them. Someone smashed the hell out of them and they seemed a little bit fermented, covered in that red Japanese chili pepper mix (togarashi) and some crushed almonds. Pretty nice actually. The chashu buns, the actual reason we came here for, were great. Finally, someone got that meat to bun ratio right. Two thick slices of beautifully and soft pork belly with some crunchy lightly cured cucumbers and a sticky hoisin sauce. That’s the stuff and I still regret not having tried the brisket buns too. Then came the first real surprise of the evening. I was wondering why my friend had ordered the rice cakes here and reckoned it would just take up unnecessary space in my stomach, that was reserved for that big bowl of ramen we had coming but oh my gawd, I’ll be eternally thankful to him for doing that. I don’t know how they created this texture, fry or maybe pan fry them until literally rice-crispy-crisp on the outside and teeth-sticking chewy on the inside. Then they all lay around in an absolutely insane and hard-to-define cream sauce, that was wonderfully savoury with a sweetish touch, that reminded me a bit of okonimyaki sauce. I really have to work on my palette again to become better in identifying single flavours, but for now, it was good enough for me just eating and enjoying that amazing dish. The kitchen had added even more layers of texture and flavor by sprinkling scallions, bonito flakes and tobiko over it all. The only ingredient I was indifferent about was the chicken. Anyhow, best rice cakes ever.

After this, my low expectations rose into the sky and thankfully I had the best yet coming. For the bowl, I ordered one of their seasonal summer items, a cold beef ramen dish that sounded just right for a hot day like today. The looks instantly brought back memories of Matador, with its’ perfectly rose slices of roasted beef. The meat was delicious just a bit hard to bite off from, so I ended up eating it by slice and mouthfuls. Not that I cared. The chilled or rather cold broth was light with some citrusy flavors like yuzu or ponzu. This was so refreshing that I would have actually preferred to take it outside to the street and eat it in the warm summer sun. The noodles had proper bite and bounce that reminded me of Korean Naengmyeon not only because that’s a cold dish too. Just the egg, however perfectly made, somehow felt a bit out of place to me. I loved everything about this, the unique aromas and the innovative approach of taking something traditional and transforming it into something entirely new without losing the slightest bit of awesomeness. A dish definitely in my top 3 for the year and one that makes me want to live here and see what else they come up with next.

To the Noodle Bar itself, it’s a rather simplistic and minimalist setup, with light colored wood and mainly long sharing tables, like a bar exactly. On our table getting in and out of my seat was a bit of a hassle though, climbing over other people’s bags and stuff and I also found it a bit too cold inside (having a coolish dish as well). This places is crowded and the air is bustling of chatter from a cool mixed crowd hanging around before heading out to town. Thankfully there are many more Momofuku shops and concepts for me to try out during my next trip to New York but this one’s a definite keeper. Thanks, your food made me smile today.

Get Your Grub On!

Momofuku Noodles Bar (open ever day)
171 First Avenue
New York
NY 10003
United States of America
http://momofuku.com/new-york/noodle-bar/

❤ 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.

Baked to go.

imageI had an early morning yoga session at Tanjong Pagar and made a little detour on my way home for some takeout breakfast from ‘Tiong Bahru Bakery’.

I was starving and even though I tried to be reasonable about it, seeing all these delicious looking baked things I totally over-ordered anyway. Back home I opened my takout boxes and started with the ‘Forcaccia‘ topped with a generous layer of salty parma ham, some fruity cherry tomatoes, savory cheese all under a bed of fresh sharp red onions and bitter arugula, cutting through the other more heavier flavors. That was pretty darn delicious and actually would have been enough as the rich forcaccia bread together with the cheese layer filled me up rather well. The stuffed bread loaf, I forget the name of, was unimpressive soft and nearly tasted sweetish. All in all it wasn’t too memorable if not maybe for the hearty and chunky filling of ham, cheese onions and herbs but I definitely preferred the forcaccia over this. It also seems that recently I add something sweet to my order more often and today it was an interestingly looking ‘Chocolate Snail Pastry‘. At first it seemed quite dry on the outer twist but became more chocolatey, sticky and fudgy the further I circled my way in. The chocolate also wasn’t too sweet either which I appreciated.

I liked this place a lot besides maybe the higher price tag but proper baked goods are a rare find so I didn’t really mind paying a little extra. People are welcoming and friendly, the self service proceeds rather fast considering the crowds coming through here and it seemed also quite a nice place to sit down and spend an hour with your friends over a good breakfast or brunch. I’ll be back to try more.

Tiong Bahru Bakery
56 Eng Hoon Street
#01-70
Singapore 160056
Tel: +65 6220 3430
http://www.tiongbahrubakery.com/