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Western/International/American

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/

 

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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/

‘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
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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/

It’s the insides that count.

dsc07243-01-01.jpegIt was my first time ever to London town visiting some old and very good friends, who I had not seen for a couple of years. Besides this long overdue reunion, I was also super excited to explore the city and its culinary secrets and one of our first ventures followed another friend’s recommendation to St. JOHN Restaurant close to Smithfield market.

Coming through the bar with enclosed bakery, the interior of the dining room reminded me of that of a slaughterhouse with white tiles covering the walls of the room all put into dim light and set with long tables covered with white paper cloths. Our host for the night was extremely accommodating, funny and knowledgeable on today’s dishes and made sure we were having a great night.

So off we started with a nice bottle of red and too many starters for the three of us. My friend who recommended St. JOHN made sure I understand the importance of having the Welsh Rarebit, a delightful version of a grilled cheese sandwich created with their own signature spread mixture  – which they also sell in jars nowadays – drizzled sweetish with some Worcestershire sauce. Simple and absolutely brilliant. This was followed by the equally mind-blowing roast bone marrow with parsley salad and roasted bread, savory fatty sardines, and the browned crab open sandwich to lift our cholesterol levels to heaven.

Okay, my evening was already a win because of the starters but my excitement didn’t seem to quiet down one bit. For those of you, who don’t know, St. JOHN specializes into ‘nose to tail’ dining so, besides the fish, there were no meats on the menu tonight, it was all ovals and innards. M., therefore, chose the flatfish, which was kept light and natural in flavor but was clearly fresh and skillfully prepared. E. and I, on the other hand, went all in for fantastic tender ox heart with beets and creamy horseradish and my first go at lamb sweetbreads with beans and bacon. The latter had a distinct and particular taste and texture, which I had never experienced before, quite lamby but in a good way and in combination with the beans and bacon just outstanding. My favorite must have been the ox heart though as its pure muscle texture and deep flavors were just hard to beat.

Over the recent years, I have developed a strong preference for ‘nose to tail’ dining due to the endless possibilities, the broad palette of available flavors and the high skill level and creativity that is required to turn ovals into something new and delicious. Also because of that ST. JOHN has catapulted itself into my special book of favorite places and will be a must go to for every of my potential future visits to London. Thanks for a fabulous night, an outrageously good dining experience and the smile I left with that very night. Be sure I’ll be coming back. Cheers.

Get Your Grub On!

St. JOHN Restaurant
26 St. John Street
London
EC1M 4AY
United Kingdom
p: +44 20 7251 0848
https://www.stjohngroup.uk.com/

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/