36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 25, Curry

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

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

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

Get Your Grub On!

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

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 23, Shoyu

 

Shoyu Ramen

Shoyu ramen

I was now almost one day in classy Düsseldorf and felt it was already time for seconds at Naniwa, where I had started my foodie safari through this town. It was a few hours past my udon lunch and there was still a bit to go before our big sushi dinner tonight so coming back here just seemed the logical thing to do. Because of the weird mid day timing, the queue, short to begin with, went super fast and before I could think about it too much I was already sitting at the bar counter browsing through that beautiful menu of theirs. I could’ve ordered without even looking at it again as I already knew what I wanted since I had left yesterday. They’ve proven themselves worthy, so now I sat here excited again, waiting for my shoyu ramen.

 

 

 

Oh gosh, it was beautiful. The broth was amazing, clear on the surface though porky and muddy on the ground with a salty, tongue-coating umami. I already had that content smile crawling up on me again. Feeling pretty proud of myself and my brilliant idea to fit in another meal today, I started lifting springy noodles and slurping them down in a machine-like manner, being twice as fast and louder than the guy in the neighbouring seat as if it was some sort of challenge. The chashu came in a few thin slices, soft and melt-in-my-mouth and even the tamago, not perfect, however, had strongly improved on the wax level compared to yesterday. Enough said, I liked this even better than their delicious Tantanmen and because of the less thicker broth I also emptied that bowl down to the last drop. This was awesome, domo arigato gozaimasu.

Get Your Grub On!

Naniwa Noodles & Soups
Oststraße 55
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 161799
http://www.naniwa.de/

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 18, Izakaya

UdonAbout halftime in food paradise and I was far from being finished yet. Today the plan was to meet my host and his colleague for some Tekka Don at Big Tuna just around the corner. We had missed the sign at the door last night though stating that the shop was gonna be closed for the holidays and so we found ourselves before closed doors and sadly also without any tuna rice bowls. His colleague, a passionate foodie himself, quickly came up with an alternative not far away from Big Tuna and this is how I ended up at Kushi-Tei of Tokyo unintentionally.

Entering the shop, a cloud of fragrant steam hit me right in the face with scents that instantly triggered memories of past trips to Japan mainly spent at random izakayas and ramen shops. The kitchen and service crew greeted us in a loud and familiar chorus and the many Japanese customers made me feel confident that this was gonna be a good choice.

Out of curiosity and for research reasons I grabbed one of their regular menus off the bar. I hadn’t even opened it yet when our waitress swiftly took it away signaling that they don’t serve food from this menu before dinner time. Being surprised but hungry I started scanning their small lunch menu with mostly little set meals and a few noodle dishes.

My choice fell on the udon with wakame, scallions and tempura crumbs. I don’t know what it is with the dashi broth that’s so particular to udon but I could soak it up by the gallon, light and defined. By the time I was finished taking my pictures the tempura had already softened but the udon still had their signature bounciness and chew, and even though I’m not huge on wakame I really liked theirs here. This dish always seems so simple and easy but it’s so much more than just a soup and hardly ever disappoints.

I truly liked it here and would have loved to experience its full smokey izakaya potential and spirit in the evening but I guess this just has to wait until next time.

Get Your Grub On!

Kushi-Tei of Tokyo
Immermannstraße 38
40210 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 360 935
http://brickny.com/kushitei-de/

 

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 7, Nightcap

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

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

Get Your Grub On!

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

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 4, Reds

DSC01835-01I felt very happy with my belly full of ramen noodles from Naniwa‘s and since the night was still young we headed further into district 1 to Pempelfort for some dessert options and wine. We ended up at this cozily lit wine bistro and I followed my chocolate craving and ordered the tartufo accompanied by a heavy Italian Primitivo.

That ice cream was rich but not too decadent and a thorough balance between sweet and tard, with dark chocolate powder and roasted nuts sprinkled all over. The rustic wine went quite well with it all and seemed like a nice finish to a great start to my Düsseldorf stay. Or so I thought.

Just as we were about to finish our glasses the owner approached us and asked if we would mind one of his suppliers and wine makers to show us a couple of his creations. Oh no we didn’t and so we were introduced to a nice range of reds from Spain and France by Bjoern the friendly wine guy, had a nice conversation and shared our unqualified views about those tasty grape juices. Thanks so much for an unexpected turn of events and an additional hour of laughs and drinks.

Get Your Wine On!

D-Weinbar
Moltkestraße 120
40479 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 5150 7979
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36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 1, Tantan

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Tantanmen

I haven’t been out to Düsseldorf enough and always only heard what insane food paradise in regards to Japanese cuisine it’s supposed to be. Since being so close this week I decided to make a stopover and visit a very fun friend of mine, who just happens to live right in the midst of Little Tokyo, the area neighbouring the Düsseldorf main train station, which is home to many Asian (predominantly Japanese) shops, restaurants and people.

After dropping my stuff at the apartment and throwing in a quick cold one with my friend and his brother we headed around the corner to get some dinner at one of the ramen shops in the area. To my delight, there was a queue out front, which is always a good sign, and luckily it kept on moving quite fast too. Not long and we were sitting down and I started smiling just browsing through the menu.

We had a little selection of appetizers to go around before the mains and we were off to a good start. We had crispy and succulent tori karaage, some juicy gyoza and nutty gomaae with a thick sesame gravy. All washed down with a cool asahi from the tap and I, still smiling, was ready for my first ramen bowl since way too long.

My sin of choice was a spicy Tantanmen with extra f.o.c. tamago and veggies. Oh goodness, this mince infused broth was thick and rich like a gooey katong laksa with a mud-like sediment of the best kind. Strong sesame flavours my taste buds, instantly but gently numbed by the chilli oil and fibres. Loved the noodles, implied curly and the chewy bouncy kind I use to admire. Just the egg didn’t quite make the mark and was lacking that particular waxiness of your usual flavoured ramen tamago. Nevermind that, I’m head over heels crazy about this place and am already planning my next visit.

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Get Your Grub On!

Naniwa Noodles & Soups
Oststraße 55
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 161799
http://www.naniwa.de/

Schlemmer-Teller

IMG_20170720_122202-01Amara is another of my frequented lunch places in the Stühlinger hood when things have to be fast or I just feel like crispy falafel or squeaky halloumi. Yeah, I actually do prefer their vegetarian options, not that the meaty stuff is bad or anything, the meat-free dishes are just that good.

I had an extra big appetite today and ordered the vegetarian version of the Amara Platter. There was everything on this plate, oven-roasted vegetables and potatoes, bulgur, simmered carrots and eggplant, made-to-order crisp falafel, hummus and a light garlicky yogurt sauce. Aside this massive portion of goodness came a small side salad with slaw, tomatoes, and greens. I was stuffed but not unpleasantly and the EUR9.00 for such a portion seemed more than reasonable too. Thanks guys, next up: pizza!

Get Your Grub On!

Amara Schlemmerstüble
Engelbergerstraße 37
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 1567 326
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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/

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/

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/

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/

Himmel & Ääd Burger.wp-1458498362959.jpg

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/