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Western/International/American

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/

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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/

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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/

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/

A night out in BrisketTown.

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Meatfest: Ribs, Brisket and Pulled Pork

Our day in Williamsburg was coming to an end, but we really wanted to have some good old American BBQ before heading home and calling it a night. Our first try was at Fette Sau, but the last guy in the queue reckoned it was going to be at least a one and a half hour wait so I quickly checked the internet for alternatives, found a place called BrisketTown, sealed the deal. The place was kinda cold and super dark (so I have an excuse for the bad pictures) but the bar ladies were really nice and welcoming and got us a booth ready within five minutes.

We ordered a Meatfest mixed plate with all the meats but turkey and a medley of sides including collard greens, mac & cheese and coleslaw. I really did like their brisket, tenderly smoked and nicely spiced with a salt and pepper dry rub. The pulled pork was good but didn’t really blow me away, but the ribs again were outstanding. They had a dark and delicious spice crust and were bright pink with a smokey taste, just falling off that bone with ease. Fantastic stuff. Of the sides, I liked the mac and cheese and the collard greens the most. The vegetables had a slightly bitter touch and the strong fiber gave a nice bite in contrast to all the soft meats. Solid, no thrills address for some good old smokey barbecue with nice staff in a good location.

Get Your Grub On!

BrisketTown – Delaney Barbecue (open daily)
359 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn
NY 11211
United States of America
p: +1 718 701 8909
http://www.delaneybbq.com/

The Hot Dog Lottery.

editDSC00360After Smorgasburg, we started exploring Williamsburg. We walked around for a while, had a cold one here and there and then came across one of Crif Dog’s shops. Not being overly hungry we still decided to go in and try them out. The place had an arcade / comic store kind of interior with some action figures sitting in glass displays on the wall and tables made from old pac-man machines and such. While my buddy went for their lottery meal including two dogs (the cook decides which dogs you will get) I just went with a classic crif dog with relish, onions, sauerkraut and mustard.

The smoked beef and pork wiener tasted quite nice with just a little snap to it. The sauerkraut was rather light in taste but nicely crunchy and the onions and relish unfortunately, didn’t add too much to it. I would say it’s a decent quick snack in between or a late night supper pitstop, but nothing I would really go out of my way for. There are many other dogs on their menu to try though and the chili dog, that my friend got actually looked pretty delicious so if I should ever pass a Crif Dogs again, I will most likely give it another shot. The guy behind the counter was pretty funny, though.

Get Your Grub On!

Crif Dogs (open daily)
555 Driggs Avenue
Brooklyn
NY 11211
United States of America
p: +1 718 302 3200
http://www.crifdogs.com/