Sat, Nov 16, 2013 by
I recently took some time to explore a city I have not been to before, Dublin Ireland. Surprisingly with all the places I have been to in Europe, Dublin somehow was missed. My experience was like a typical tourist staying in Temple Bar and drinking loads of Guinness. The Guinness IS better in Dublin by the way. You’ll just have to go to find out what I mean. My hotel was above a night club and I just happen to be put on the 1st floor. Thursday through Saturday the club is rockin’ on until 3:30 am so there was no going to my hotel room to sleep anytime before 3:30am. That was fine because there were plenty of live bands and beer to drink to keep my occupied…Continue reading...
Fri, Nov 8, 2013 by
It’s no big secret that we’re not the biggest Paris fans when it comes to food. Why does making that statement publicly make me feel like the Francophile henchmen are going to hunt us down and feed us fois until we admit France’s superior reign in food technique, presentation and preperation? If you want a raving review about all things Parisian gastronomie, go here. Although, the rest of this story is positive, this is the anomaly in our recent week long family vacation to the City of Lights.
Above is Bolottine de Grouse avec legumes racines. Translated that means a bird like a small chicken with root vegetables. This bird, excitedly, cooks like a red meat. A thing I personally love. See my squab love here. This delicate and perfectly done fowl hit the table after an equally fantastic appetizer and half bottle of beaujolais. It would be followed by the best espresso I sipped the whole trip and an equally magnifique dessert. So I suspend my negative judgement on Paris temporarily because of Philou and their staff. Upon arrival, wine was immediately poured as we waited for our table to be prepared. The vibe was definitely neighborhood. Definitely local. English was barely heard and the menu was a traveling, table side, chalkboard that had smear marks across 86′d items proving the truly “daily market” sourced ingredients. Besides being written up in the NY Times we found this spot because it’s far from the city center. We always aim our guns just beyond where the tourist circle is drawn. We find food gems are more discoverable with this approach. In Paris, it seems the further we get from the single digit arrondissements the better food we find. “Find” is the problem actually. Even way out in the 10th or 11th the restaurants don’t seem to welcome us in like they do in Barcelona or Buenos Aires. It’s almost as if you have to be walked to the front door by a local to know which is a smart choice and which is an overpriced, sub-par food establishment.
Philou makes the cut and for more reasons than one. A single particular detail was what sold my skeptical mind and tastebuds alike. The lone cherry in the upper left of the plate was magic. It looked like a standard garnish but the cherry was pickled. The sour complimented the grouse perfectly making me hunt, unsuccessfully, for more which in turn forced me to savor the one I had. That’s where the French shine. That extra step, that elevated detail, that old world technique is omnipresent. It constantly reminds you of the roots of French cooking and their distinctive place in global food history.
12 Avenue Richerand, 75010 Paris, France
+33 1 42 38 00 13
Fri, Sep 27, 2013 by
You land in Iceland off a red eye. The sun is barely awake. It’s January and all you can see out the plane window is baron white tundra. The ambian and shot of merlot is still running through your system but you muster the energy to grab your carry on bag and make it off the airplane. Ninety minutes later you sit in front of a plate of waffles the size of your head. This IS how most visits to iceland starts. Sans waffles. Let’s change that. On your next Iceland air stopover ticket head straight to Mokka Kaffi for waffles and super strong coffee. Everything in Reykjavik is heated by steam which makes your coffee temperature not only perfectly hot but alternatively brewed. Sip and dig in. This hearty start to a 20-hours of sun light day will be much needed to get you through any power plant tours, random three legged dog visits, icelandic horse riding, geyser exploration, runtur and side of the road crashes. Believe.
Sími 552 1174
Fri, Sep 20, 2013 by
I love spaghetti carbonara BUT don’t order it here. You come here for the antipasti. A myriad of delicious, most of it sitting in excellent olive oil awaiting you to snap it up and add it to your plate of over zealous appetizers, awaits just inside the 100 year old doors off Campo di Fiori. My father has been known to make 4 or 5 trips up to the antipasti bar. From artichokes to figs to eggplant, the staples are all there. Eight types of fresh cheese. A whole sub-table for salumi. Hot dishes like anchovies sit above the table on a shelf. Everywhere you turn there is a giant serving dish with another tantalizing treat. You try and pace yourself but the assault on your senses is overwhelming. You snap up items and place them on your over full plate until your forearm muscles are so strained you fear dumping your treasure all over the ancient burgundy carpet. Not the move you want in a place like this. We remind ourselves, we can make another trip. We settle back at the table where some vino de casa has been poured. This is when the sharing and conversation begin. We all check out each others food loot jealous of what we missed but more than willing to offer bites off our plates to the rest of the table. This is commonplace in restaurants in Italy which is why I grew up with this as common in my living room. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Sunday, you name it, there is always an antipasti round in the Anello house. Eat. Share. Relax. Repeat.
Piazza Campo Dè Fiori, 23, 00186 Rome, Italy
+39 06 686 4783
Fri, Sep 13, 2013 by
Perfectly fried chicken. After all that’s what it is. In this country we think of fried chicken as a totally different thing. In Italy they think of fried chicken as an equally indulgent dish. Although I have a love for american style nothing beats the Italian’s pounded, double breaded and quickly fried version. Notice the carbonara to right accompanying this particular lunch we had in Taormina. After a half day exploring this Sicilian cliff town you’re ready to belly up at Gambero where the menu reads like a top 10 list of southern Italian staples. All of them are done to perfection but the fried chicken cutlet is numero uno. After this you are ready to tackle the ancient greek theater. Mind you, a quick hit of gelato might be needed to snap you out of food coma.
Ristorante Gambero Rossomore
Via Naumachia, 11
98039 Taormina, Italia
+39 0942 24863
Fri, Sep 6, 2013 by
Sicily is awesome for more reasons than I could explain if I wrote a post a day for a year. The nine inch squid shoot that lies across my plate above soaking in the very best sicilian olive oil like a lost treasure sitting in a post-thunderstorm puddle was pulled from the ocean 30 minutes before it hit my belly. The only other thing on the plate was a lemon wedge. Salt and pepper were detectable but in trace amounts simply because the freshness could handle all the talking. That talking being the loud, hand flailing Italian style witnessed throughout all of Sicily and the main land boot as well. What was this calamari, as the Italian’s call it, saying to me? It was firm in it’s position that recipes should be simple, local and fresh. That’s the triple threat you see in so much Italian cooking.
The squid elaborated while on my tongue. “I’m-a fresh. I grew up just-a down the shore-a there, see.” My throat heard it say “I kissa the grill-a for four-a minutes and look how-a good I turned out.” By the time it got to my stomach I heard, “A touch-a of acid-a from the lemona brought out my flavor and that olive oil gave it a track-a to travel on. Finito!” I listened to that squid the rest of the trip as it’s sound advice lead me to find the best Sicilian food from Palermo to Taoromina to RUINS to Marsala. Bravo Mr. F. Calamari. Thanks for the chat.
Trattoria Al Pescatore (It’s now called Il Pirata)
San Stefano di Camestra, Sicily, Italy
Wed, Jul 17, 2013 by
This was exactly the type of food I expected to see the first time I arrived in Germany. What I didn’t realize was that behind the bland and overcooked visual a myriad of flavor packed bites awaited. I wandered into this distinctively German restaurant hoping to get a bite of the most authentic, traditional fare possible. While in Berlin I had heard raves about their infamous pork knuckle. Infamous due to it’s size and sheer mass as I obviously, quickly found out. As the plate hit the drab patterned, oil cloth covered, 2 top, my nose was assaulted with spice combinations I didn’t expect. Seconds later I was slicing deep into the succulent knuckle. Clear juices ran off the bone to the plate and into the sauerkraut. My tongue was psyched to find the meat as moist as my eyes said it would be. The taste was mild but perfect. Not too salty with a hint of pepper and spices I still can’t fully place. I could eat this knuckle all day.
Let’s not under estimate the other simple items that dressed the dish. Two skinned and boiled potatoes, a polenta like item and a heaping pile of sauerkraut was more than just a plate filler. I quickly realized a pork and sauerkraut bite combo provided some sour with the savory pork which enhanced each forkful 10 times. Once I figured that out I started mixing and matching potato-pork, kraut-pork, polenta pork. I deduced that the kraut and pork bites were best. The potatoes I think are mean to sit in the plate. This way they wind up in a pool of pork juice. Absorbing like sponges, by the time you reach the bone, those potatoes are infused with the delicious run off of the knuckle. The “polenta” I never quite figured out but it worked well as a palette cleanser after every fifth bite or so. The short and long of this killer dish is…never shy away from the traditional stuff because it might surprise the hell out of you and all of your 5 senses. That did NOT work out for me in Switzerland but that’s a different post.
Fri, Jul 12, 2013 by
I’ve often said Berlin shocked me more than any other city I’ve ever been to. I expected something completely different than what I got in as positive of a way as you could imagine. This Currywurst, Berlin’s unofficial favorite dish, can be found on almost ever corner you look. The birth of the dish is as amazing as the city itself with unprecedented events being the catalyst for it’s inception. World War 1 brought ketchup, curry and Worcestershire sauce carrying soldiers to Berlin. An innovative German woman combined these ingredients with a grilled, than sliced, pork sausage and started selling it roadside to construction workers. Once it caught on Currywurst stands popped up all over the city as is the case today.
The above version has raw onion and paprika along with the standard ketchup, curry and Worcestershire. The sausage, on this day, was grilled to perfection and particularly succulent. The shop was nothing but a small grey kiosk with a single picnic bench along side it. Turned on to this gem by a local Berlin buddy I ordered exactly the way he told me to. He didn’t steer me wrong. Amidst the initial cringe when you hear, than see, the ingredients piled up, the combo is amazing. i pounded this back and licked the white paper delivery boat before it ever had a chance of sogging out. This spot and this combo is forever on my “must hit” Berlin list. Don’t settle for teh nearest, make the trip to Curry-Eck Imbiss. I promise the above tasty will not disappoint.
Turmstraße 85 Berlin, Germany | 0178 4639436
Tue, Apr 9, 2013 by
Not Noma and not IKEA but someplace in the middle. Scandinavian food is tricky. Albeit a bit of a sleeper food trend right now, the cuisine is definitely not for the main stream type BUT then again, when have we ever been mainstream. We plunged right in identifying the game meats immediately. The above rare and tender saddle of venison medallions sat in a rich and smooth sauce that had both a sweet and earthy taste simultaneously. The slow roasted cipollini onions contrasted well with the meat and the sauce making for a nice full bite. It’s always a good sign when you are looking for a piece of bread to smear across the plate once you finish the big stuff.
A small identity crisis gave the ambiance a weird feel as this restaurant is in the back of a boutique hotel that is decorated both in the modern, urban, industrial feel and the 80′s white table cloth motif. More of a topic of conversation than a draw back. The end of the night came with one small disappointment. Traditional Swedish coffee, a more strong and burnt taste, was removed from the menu because American palettes couldn’t handle it. A shame because if you’re going to try something different, and Nordic cuisine definitely is, go all the way. Hopefully Plaj brings it back for those of us looking for the full scano-experience.Continue reading...
Fri, Jul 27, 2012 by
This post is one I’ve been meaning to finish since my trip to London a few months ago. I figured with the opening ceremonies upon us it was a great time to pop in a recommendation for those of you Olympic bound. It was one of the last days of our trip and we woke early to make the journey out to a place I had dreamt of visiting for at least a year. I love legos and in the real world legos equal shipping containers. The simple, watertight, structurally sound, building block of a shipping container makes for unlimited possibilities when constructing things.
Boxpark is one of those amazing triumphs using these recycled and cheap containers to make a supercool shopping mecca. I could go on about the specialty shops built into the 40 foot contaner which was the base of Boxpark. I could gush over the…Continue reading...