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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/

Bavarian ramen.

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Tan Tan Men

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

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

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

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

❤ tacos.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home is where your plate is.

As some of you might know, I moved back to Germany end of last year and had a lot of things to organize first besides the actual settling back into a culture and country I haven’t been living in for the last 7ish years. I decided to take a little sabbatical before diving back into a new job and used it to learn how to snowboard, visited many friends, all my siblings and the rest of my family, started signing up for language courses and am now in the midst of finding and applying for a new job, that can excite and inspire me.

I already had a huge backlog of articles from Asia and meanwhile also visited a good handful of countries (and some of their restaurants) here, which you might have recognised from my Instagram, Twitter or Foursquare (Swarm) postings. I wanted to wait a little longer until I’m more settled but all the fantastic food I came across made me miss this blog and how it accompanied me during the past three years. Furthermore from my point of view there is an undoubtable need for more foodblogs in Europe, particularly Germany, that tackle restaurants, food trucks, pop-ups etc. as I have quite a hard time finding information about places I would like to visit or finding out about the actual restaurant in the first place. I think you wouldn’t have a problem in places like Berlin and Munich but otherwise the field of foodblfoggers seems rather scattered and the majority is concentrating on home cooking and recipes.

Because of all this I decided to immediately revamp my blog as a predominantly European – not limited to – version of getmygrubon.com. Maybe not in the same high paced frequency as before but to keep it going and fill it up slowly for people out there like you and obiously myself. Also Asia hasn’t seen the last of me yet.

So watch out and thanks for sticking around.

Sincerely, Nik

Now that’s a proper brunch.

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

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

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

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

There’s still hope.

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

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

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

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