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Aroma dinner in Basel, Switzerland

25 Jun

Dinner in 8 acts

at the fabulous Stucki restaurant by Tanja Grandits

Location: Basel, Switzerland

This dinner was an explosion in colors and taste. Not much text can describe the taste. Ergo, please indulge in the pictures we took. I would go back anytime again.

Food: 100% tasty, service: 100% great, experience: 100% impressive

To sum it up: We had a gorgeous evening after visiting Art Basel that rounded up the already artsy and inspiring day.

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Thai Basil Lemonade

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Prelude: Amuse Bouche aux Herbes

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Act 1_Green Pea Curry

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Act 2_Salmon with Passion Fruit Cream, Carrots and Tapioca

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Act 3_Seafood Soup

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Act 4_River Trout

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Act 5_Egg Polenta

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Act 6_Lamb with Cassis

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Act 7_Cheese Deluxe with Nut Chutney and Cumin Oil

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Act 8_Strawberry Radish Dessert Explosion

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L’Encore_After Dinner Gourmandises

 

 

Radio Alice: the best pizza in London

9 May

What is special about pizza in London?

Not so much in the first place. I have seen fast food pizza places, pizza trucks and candle-lit Italian restaurants. No doubt about that: You will find a decent slice of pizza in London.

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I want to share a little story from my last night’s stroll around Shoreditch to celebrate my friend Birte’s birthday. A funny coincidence brought me to organic pizza and Radio Alice pizzeria as I bumped into the restaurant’s manager at the convenience store just around the corner on Old Street and ended up having a wine & chat at the restaurant.

Organic pizza, why is that supposed to be special? You can buy almost any food item organic these days. But will you also get served an organic meal in the restaurant? In 90% of the cases probably not. Cheap flour, products containing sugar and canned groceries can be found in almost any chef’s kitchen. What comes on your plate looks nice and tastes good most of the time but you will never ask what is inside. Think about it!

If you don’t trust the source and quality of the meat being served, you might go for a vegetarian meal. If you feel like you barely eat out, you might allow yourself to eat a meat dish.

If you had the choice, would you go to a restaurant that cooks with organic produce only?

This brings me to Radio Alice pizzeria: It has a strong passion for pizza made the proper way with the proper ingredients. All ingredients used come from Italy and are of organic quality. Even the wine served is organic. What is most impressive is that it doesn’t even cost more. I tastes better and is better for you though. Plus, the venue looks super nice, it is an open space loft-like restaurant with the pizza oven and an open kitchen in the middle, and plays fun tunes from the DJ pult. It has just recently been awarded Italian restaurant of the year by Gambero Rosso.

Definitely plan this one in on your next trip to London and don’t forget to book a table: http://www.radioalicepizzeria.co.uk/bookings. The restaurant crew will be happy to serve you what is London’s healthiest and tastiest pizza!

Not from London? Not a problem: Berberè is this pizzeria’s sister in Italy with branches in Milano, Firenze, Bologna, Torino and Castelmaggiore, following the same philosophy.

On top of the mountain in the Czech Republic

20 Nov

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Last weekend marked a friend reunion with Radek and Martin in Prague. Our friendship is a special one, we met 17 years ago during a summer vacation on the island of Korcula in Croatia and since then remained in touch. Every now and then (this time 10 years!) the three of us meet somewhere in Europe. What awaited us was a hiking trip to a historic place: the mountain Rip, just about 1 hour outside of Prague. When I saw it I had a smile on my face. Rather than a mountain it is a cute hill with a small church and bistro on the top.

With the winter having arrived and freezing temperatures around 0 degrees, we decided to hide inside a cafe after our 2 hour hike. Excellent idea. It has been a while since I enjoyed typical Czech cakes and a real hot chocolate (melted chocolate with whipped cream). The cafe was a local kavarna (= Czech word for cafe) in the middle of the old town center of Melnik. 

http://www.nakopci.com/

From there we headed back to Prague and found ourselves on top of another hill at a restaurant called Na kopci (= on top of the hill). The restaurant is nestled in the middle of a residential area and a little bit hidden. The menu is top though. With St.Martin`s day on Friday the menu still offered traditional goose dishes like goose soup with mini dumplings, goose rillette and roast goose with a variety of home-made dumplings and pickled red cabbage. The food was of excellent quality and came in very nice portions so that we got to taste several courses. I especially enjoyed my deer roulade that was stuffed with a fig-date-noisette paste and came on a bed of spinach with fried gnocchi. 

If you decide to go to that place, don`t forget to book. The place was so busy that we had to go at 4pm.

When we left Prague, I realized that I am leaving with a very happy belly. What you do not see on the pictures is what we got to eat at home at my dad`s place: Home-made halusky (= Czech gnocchi) with blue cheese and sauerkraut, red beet borscht soup and an assortment of cheeses that we enjoyed with red wine. For breakfast we had jablkovy zavin, the Czech apple pie or Apfelstrudel as it is called in Germany speaking countries and kolace (= traditional Czech cakes) with poppyseed, cream cheese and plum filling.

Oh boy, I am already looking forward to Christmas and our Czech tradition of fried karp with home-made potato salad. Pictures coming, promised!

Getting to know: Copenhagen food inspirations

22 Mar

Last weekend was a hit. We spent the weekend in Copenhagen. Best part about it: Apart from the flight, the Airbnb apartment and a few recommendations of friends, we had nothing planned. Blank agenda that got filled with great impressions.

We started out with a guided bike tour with Bike Mike (a curiosity in a very positive way if you ask me) indulging into the flair of Copenhagen. From there we spent the afternoon strolling around the shopping streets and Christiania, the kind of autonomous area (compare it to St.Pauli or Sternschanze’s Rote Flora in Hamburg). We ended the night with a gorgeous dinner at Almanak. The next day was a declared museum and coffee drinking day (thanks to the grey and cold weather it was impossible to spend much time outside). Not bad either, that made us discover some nice cafés and a pretty lively food market.

Travelling is one of the best inspirational sources…food for your soul and creativity. You start with a blank page when you arrive and leave with a picture book full of impressions. I tried to capture some of my favorite impressions from this weekend for you. So if by occasion you get to spend a weekend in Copenhagen, don’t miss out on these great spots:

Palæo

Palæo

I noticed the Palæo products at a local 7Eleven store where I bought one of their salads with beef and mustard honey sauce. I, myself, am rather a sceptic when it comes to paleo food. If you want to strictly follow such a diet I find it hard to organize your life around it. Having seen Palæo meals and their stand at the food market I must admit that I changed my mind. The food looks and tastes delicious and is fresh and healthy on top. Well done!

Torvehallernre Food Market, Hall No 1, Rømersgade 18

http://www.palaeo.dk/en/

 

Restaurant Almanak at The Standard

Almanak

Almanak was a friend’s recommendation. We went for the 3 course surprise menu and enjoyed it with a craft beer and Alsace Riesling.

The service was great with just the right attention and kindness. The atmosphere: relaxed and cosy. The food: The perfect composition of what I would have chosen from the à la carte menu. Small paintings on a plate.

Starter: Baked Cod & mussel soup, crispy bread and spring garlic with a trait of a very delicious dark green oil

Entree: Stuffed quail with glaced onions, thyme, cep & morrels

Dessert: Haycream, rhubarb sorbet, hip rose, vanilla & “guf”

If you go, don’t forget to book a table. The place is a popular destination! Oops, and sorry, for the lack of pictures. It was too dark inside and I came out with very blurry shots so please refer to my postcard repertoire.

Havnegade 44

http://en.thestandardcph.dk/almanak/about-almanak/

 

Big Apple Café and Juice Bar

Big Apple Copenhagen

 

We discovered this café by plain coincidence. I loved the rustic interior with olive trees and wooden furniture. The place was perfect for a laid-back chill out after our museum visit.

The tuna sandwich with pesto and a drizzle of olive oil was a hit!

Kronprinsessegade 2

http://www.big-apple.dk/locations/big-apple-kronprinsessegade.html

 

The Royal Smushi Cafe in Copenhagen

What the hell is smushi? That’s what I thought when I read the sign in front of the café. Especially in combination with royal I couldn’t imagine what to expect inside the café. My guess would have been fancy macaroon creations à la LaDurée and had to consult google to understand that smushi = open sandwich and sushi.

I like this artsy interpretation of open sandwiches aka smörrebröd. If you enjoy modern interiors with a twist of chic then this café is the perfect scene for an afternoon snack.

Amagertorv 6

http://www.royalsmushicafe.dk/

For smushi recipes take a look here:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/apr/18/smushi-open-sandwich-recipes?CMP=share_btn_link

Getting to know: Restaurant Vienna @ Fettstrasse, Hamburg

20 Jun

Moin readers, this post is for the Hamburg folks among my followers.

Some of the best culinary discoveries I make are typically those of small, hidden restaurants and restaurant Vienna (Fettstrasse, Hamburg) is my latest discovery. You might have been to this place before, if not, TAKE YOUR PHONE AND MAKE A RESERVATION.

Vienna’s menu is creative and French cuisine inspired (not really Austrian as you might have expected). When we were there we got offered a handful of starters to choose from, a handful of main courses and two to three deserts plus a nice wine list. The menu is hand-written! I was a little indecisive but the very patient waiter gave me great advice and so we ended up with a great dinner and two bottles of red wine with three people. Happy guests, happy host :)

The restaurant is tiny but very cosy with a small wind protected terrace and it’s only a short walk from Sternschanze Sbahn/Ubahn station. For the outstanding goût I found the pricing very reasonable, starters were around 8 Euro, main courses between 12 and 18 Euro.

This is what made it on my plate that night:

dorade auf gurkensalat mit rhababerwuerfelnCold dorade (gilt-head bream) filet with red beets and cucumber

lammleber auf salatbouquet mit artischockenWarm lamb liver on a salad and artichoke bouquet

topfenknoedelMini curdcheese dumplings (Topfenknödel) with vanilla sauce

 http://www.vienna-hamburg.de

P.S. In case you know why the restaurant’s name is Vienna, let me know :) I haven’t figured it out yet.

Getting to know: Lehka Hlava in Prague, CZ

18 Mar

This weekend I had the pleasure of a full-time family weekend in Prague. My parents are Czech and even though I was raised in Germany I grew up with a lot of Czech traditions and especially Czech food. You should have seen our reaction as kids if grandma hadn’t had time to bake a traditional apple strudel (jablkovy zavin) prior To our arrival; it was scandalous. Homemade dumplings were another obligation.

Lucky enough, I didn’t miss out on anything from the colorful and very tasty culinary palette this weekend (for the connoisseurs of Czech cuisine (svickova, clebicky, kolace, vetrniky, klobasa). It’s always an adventure to stroll through a local supermarket where so much food is global merchandize, yet it’s easy to spot the local delicacies especially in terms of meat, dairy and baked products.

During my last trips I have started exploring the local food scene that goes beyond Czech restaurants and I am pleasantly surprised. Not necessarily with the imitations of Italian and French cuisine (crostini are small pieces of toast and not half a baguette sandwich as seen at Cafe de Paris) but with the veggie-vegan offer. My favorite is a restaurant called Lehka Hlava (Clear Head, literally light head which wouldn’t quite suit the place).

Lehka Hlava

First time I was there I enjoyed veggie skewers with homemade potato gratin. This time I had a raw salad with red lentils and goat cheese with spinach and potato gratin. My favorite drink is aloe juice.

The restaurant is in a hidden corner about 3-5 min walking distance from Charles bridge and has a unique and lovely interior. Next time you want to avoid the typical tourist traps, this place might be a good idea.

What to eat there?

http://www.lehkahlava.cz/en_jidelni.htm

Where to find the restaurant?

Borsov 2/280, Prague 1 – Old Town

Where to find Lehka Hlava in Prague

Getting to know: Kaminsky’s (Charleston SC)

25 Jun

 

This summer I’m posting from the US again. At this moment, I am exploring Charleston and its culinaria. Charleston’s selection of food places is amazing, you can be busy testing out different places and different styles 7 nights a week! You will find anything from Southern style, over local seafood to more traditional like Italian, Chinese, Mexican or any kind of fast food. Not to forget the many coffee places that serve cakes and dessert. My mission is to present you some of my favorite places in the Getting To Know section.

The first place I would like to introduce you to is Kaminsky’s on Market Street in downtown Charleston. My friend Ali is the pastry chef there and so I went to explore their range of cakes the other day. If you are in for a treat, you should try out their berry cobbler. It will be served to you with ice cream and whipped cream. A little bomb but certainly a must. I was also impressed with their cakes and pies: The Hummingbird spice cake is a three layer cake, if you manage to eat the whole slice, you must be a dessert pro :)

During happy hour, you will be served half-priced dessert martinis. You have the choice between such delicious flavors as White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, Key Lime Pie, Cherry Ginger, The Thin Mint and a few more.

Yummy, that’s all I say! Don’t miss this place on your next visit to Charleston.

Here is the link: http://www.kaminskys.com/

And here is the menu: http://www.kaminskys.com/menu/kaminskys_menu.pdf

Getting to know: Urbanspoon

6 Aug

Hungry?

Looking for a quick lunch stop or a romantic dinner spot?

I have the right thing for you. Try the Urbanspoon application!

While traveling through the States, we used this app on a daily basis. No matter what kind of food we felt like – fast food, Asian, exquisite – we always found a good spot to eat.

You only need 3 steps to make your choice: City or street, restaurant type and price range, within seconds you will receive an overview of all available restaurants around you, including a restaurant review and rating if available.

I hope Urbanspoon will become available across Europe, too! Meanwhile enjoy your restaurant safari everyone :)

 

Here is the link to their website: http://www.urbanspoon.com

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