My regular cocktail drink of choice is Gin. Of course, I love a glass of wine with my food, but Gin can be a great pairing for food as well. I was so excited to be invited to the Tanqueray Drinks Club in Berlin featuring the boys of Salt and Silver, Atalay Aktas from Schwarze Traube and the Icelandic chef Victoria Eliasdóttir.
The venue for this event was INFARM, a startup based in Berlin that develops an “indoor vertical farming” system capable of growing anything from herbs, lettuce, and other vegetables, and even fruits. (read more about it in this lovely article from TechCrunch)
A beautiful place filled with plants and still with an industrial flair to it. The workshop tables were set with tools, gin, fruits, and herbs. I started sipping an old school G&T while I got a bit of an introduction to the different classes of Gin Tanqueray has.
Tanqueray has 3 different products:
The most usually seen around is their Tanqueray London Dry Gin. A gin with 180 years of history, including being the favorite Gin of Frank Sinatra ;) Its smell of Juniper it's so predominant. I find that the juniper note in Tanqueray London Dry is perhaps the most significant characteristic of it, I don't recall any other gin having that singular juniper note.
Tanqueray N0.10 was released in 2000, Tanqueray No. TEN gin is named after the small copper pot-still ("Tiny Ten") that is used to produce the spirit. This is the only gin (so far) that uses whole citrus fruits in its recipe.
Tanqueray Rangpur, my favorite of the evening. Named after the Rangpur lime that is included in the recipe. Rangpur lime isn't a lime but a hybrid of a lemon and mandarin orange. But this doesn't mean it is Lime Flavoured Gin (many think so) but the lime is distilled with the other botanicals.
The amazing Salt & Silver boys (who quit their jobs to travel through the world searching for the best waves, stories, and recipes) explained to us what was going to happen during the event and that Victoria was our chef tonite (you might know her from Dottir). My favorite restaurant in the world is Icelandic Korean fusion, and knowing she was the cooking, some little part of me performed a salto of joy!
The First two dishes were: Smoked trout on Icelandic flat bread, fennel, egg & garden cress And my ultimate favorite of the evening: Baked beetroot on Danish rye bread, beetroot labneh, horseradish, lavender, red shiso cress. Mouth-watering!
The second gin I had was Tanqueray No 10 with tonic and rosemary, delicious. It was truly fun to go to the bar and create your drink with the bartender. I grew very fond of basil and rosemary on drinks during the evening.
The next dish was a Marinated sole with red grapefruit, dill, khaki & shallots. It reminded me of ceviche. Ceviche with a twist. a great pairing of the gin I was having (first picture of the blog post) It was a Rangpur base, 50/50 soda, and tonic with orange zest and forest fruits. The citrusy notes on the drink and food were superb.
The last dish was actually made with gin. It was a lemon sorbet with Rosemary and Tanqueray. This I will try to make it at home. It was just sublime.
Food was eaten, and the DIY Tanqueray workshop started. The rules were simple:
Step 1: Choose your Gin
Step 2: Choose your Fruit
Step 3: Choose your Tonic
Step 4: Choose your Garnish
Step 5: Create your own T&T
And after a short explanation, everyone started making their own drink. It wasn't only a workshop, but it would be a price for the best T&T. Everyone jumped to the workstations and tried to make the most delicious drink of the night.
My favorite drink of the workshop was called "Sexual Healing" and even though it wasnt the winner of the contest, It was my personal winner!
As I never have pictures of myself, I found this one at the events site. I look so terrible in pictures, like I am mad or something, but actually I was just paying attention to my good pal Kai from INSEARCHOF and FIBER.
It was a great evening with amazing people and food, learning how to make cocktails while having fun. I can't wait to have friends over and make our own cocktails, or maybe even a contest as well? Do you make cocktails at home? have you tried all Tanqueray Gins?
BLEND opened its doors last month in Charlottenburg and I was invited to an extraordinary opening event. The invitation said something about Charlottenburg, Bulli and Berlin. To be honest, it was Berlin Food Week so I really didn't had the time to read the invitation properly, but that was actually good, as I had no idea what was expecting me.
When I arrived, 3 beautiful vintage "Bullies" (or VW-Bus) were waiting for us.. or me as I was late. They received us with a delicious welcome gin and we jumped in our Bus and the fun started.
This was a tour through Berlin. YAY! I have been living here for over 2 years and I have never done one. We drove around listening to Berlin Facts and History of Berlin. (Now I know what the pink pipes around town are... wink..wink)
Our first stop was BRLO Brwhouse. A Beer Brewery and Restaurant with a beautiful "Beer Garden". The sun was shining and it was just beautiful. I learnt finally how you say the word brlo and the meaning of it. It is actually slavic for Berlin. Everytime I saw their beers in a menu I wondered how to pronounce it.
We got to hear about what is special about BRLO Beer. Their beers are brewed in small scale batches and each beer is given enough time to mature and develop its unique hops aroma. They remain as regional as possible: Their Helles is brewed in Brandenburg, and their Pale, German IPA, and Porter in Brauerei Landsberg in Saxony-Anhalt.
Our First dish was Cauliflower Lemongrass Creamy Soup paired with a BRLO Helles, what is their interpretation of a classic german beer, hoppy but not too bitter. It was a Great start: Warm and super creamy soup while enjoying the sun in the beautiful Beer Garden.
The second dish was a funny one for me. It was an Autumn Roll. Rumor say, I was the inspiration for this one. The Head Chef, Steffen Sinzinger was very curious about my stories of Vietnam and tried to make a summer roll himself, and his very tasty variation made it to the menu this autumn. They have cabbage, dashi mayo and pickled char.
Blend changes its menu when the season changes. Now they have the autumn menu and that is why the name of the roll is Autumn Roll. This dish was paired with BRLO Pale Ale, an English style beer. Strong and fruity in taste... hops love!
The next stop was the most romantic thing someone has ever made for me. A beautiful candlelight dinner outdoors in the Museum Island just in front the "Altes Museum". This was so beautiful: sunset, outdoors, candles... RO-MAN-TIC! Ok I was not alone with a date, but. Hey! it counts ;)
We started with a delicious Gin and Tonic, followed by BLEND´s Asia carbonara with soba noodles and caramelized pork belly packed in a cute Chinese Take out Box. The Soba were impressively good, made of buckwheat and they were cooked perfectly. My favorite dish by far!
Our 3rd and last stop was BLEND. I took a peek through the window, just to be attonish by the marquee sign logo A-lá-Vegas, the beautiful interior and lights.. I had to hurry inside to check it out!
This beautiful space was designed by the Sundukovy Sisters Studio (Moscow) who have a vast portfolio of interior design projects for hospitality worldwide. They create pure and flawless spaces based on something classic, making it functional and tasteful. with a pinch self-irony.
Every little corner of the restaurant is well thought, wherever you look there is a beautiful lamp or a giant zebra. Beautiful... Just beautiful.
Soooo about the Restaurant and Bar. Berlin is a multicultural, cosmopolitan and diverse. A city full of people from all over the world that influence the local culture as well as its culinary scene.
BLEND is Inspired by the multi-ethnic population, and reflects the spirit and soul of Berlin as a "Melting Pot": free, modern, urban, and with a creative twist that picks up on the versatility of flavors, cultures and cooking styles blending them all together in a pot ;)
The Bar has great craft beers, like German producers Braufactum and BRLO (of course) as well as Kornbrand and Gin of the Berlin cult label Berliner Brandstifter. From the Spreewald they have a single malt whiskey and a first-class straight rye whiskey and three kinds of rum, bottled in BERLIN.
After serving the first round of wine, the bread and side dishes arrived: Parsley root cream, Mash Potatoes and Pearl Barley with vegetables. rapidly the waiters brought us Lamb balls, hummus, salsify and coffee, followed by Fried cod with date, carrot and cilantro.
When you live in Berlin, you dont notice much the impact different cultures have on Food, like vietnamese food in East Germany. I always wondered why there so many Vietnamese and Vietnamese Fusion Restaurants around my flat. Well, Vietnamese people didn't need a visa to come to east germany when the wall was still up. Just a cool fact. You can find these fusions everywhere in Berlin, and BLEND shows us that in their menu.
The first dessert arrived as well as Steffen. Steffen Sinzinger is the head chef of BLEND and a friend of mine as well. He began his career at the Michelin-starred restaurant of Hotel Palace Berlin. It was there, under the direction of Matthias Buchholz, that he got to know French cooking. His break with tradition followed with Japanese crossover cuisine at Shiro i Shiro, before he developed his own style as head chef at Restaurant Le Faubourg.
Once we finished the Baba au rhum with pineapple Carpaccio and saffron ice cream, The Berliner Luft arrived. Funny wise, half of the table know that name from a shot of alcohol made of peppermint. But it is actually a dessert too, and the best of the evening imho.
Berliner Luft (Berlin Air) is a frothy cream made from eggs, sugar and gelatine, which is always served with raspberry juice, but in this version, with lemon granite. And for being "air" it was the most mouth-watering air I had.
We moved to the bar to have the last dessert, listen to music and have some cocktails. The menu has classics with a twist of Berlin, Seasonal cocktails as well as the classics. And we all wished we could try them all. I even got a special drink: Gin with rose petals and Goldberg Japanese Yuzu Tonic. Aaaaahhhhh three of my favorite things in ONE. Followed by a Goat cheese nougat with plum chutney. Yum.
And whilst the DJ continued to play some tunes, I got my second Gin, happy after such a beautiful event and culinary tour across town, learning about history, Berlin and more with awesome people, eating and drinking, "blending" and having a blast.
For the ones that dont know much about the Peruvian culinary tradition, we have loads of cultural influences. One of the best outcomes of it, is the Japanese influence. What brings us Nikkei, a combination of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine that has become new trend amongst Europe.
I mean, Sushi mixes perfectly with ceviche if you think about it. Combining Japanese dishes with Peruvian flavors and techniques has a remarkable effect. The minimalism and delicacy of Japanese food meets the rough freshness and spiciness of Peru. a deadly combination for every foodie around!
Both are so similar, yet so different. But what is Nikkei? or what does the word mean? Nikkei people are Japanese emigrants and their descendants who have created communities throughout the world. And Nikkei food, for me, is the evolution of Japanese food where these communities live.
I was in Peru this May, and I was dying to eat some Nikkei again after 14 years living in Europe. I had to Taste the trend. Sadly I couldnt go visit Micha, my childhood friend and owner of the number 13 of the 50 best restaurants in the world, but I got to take a little time to visit Osaka and get delighted with all the flavours this cuisine has to offer.
I went there with my family. And we started with some delicious Nikkei Cocktails made with japanese and peruvian fruits. Each of them tastier than the other. I got the Pisco Punch Osaka as i loved the one I tried at the Super Foods Event from last december.
We started with 2 Tiraditos. Tiradito is a Peruvian dish of raw fish, cut in the shape of sashimi, and of aspect similar to crudo, and carpaccio, in a spicy sauce.
Carpassion: Salmon, passion fruit honey, watercress and crunchy dough and Osaka Tataki, a grilled seared tuna, oriental citrus sauce, togarashi and negi.
After the tiraditos, we ordered a nigiri platter. A dream of Foie Gras, Shrimps and truffles. It was mouth-watering.
- Hotate Truffle: Fan shells, white truffle butter and lemon
- Tuna Foie: Tuna, foie gras, teriyaki sauce and Maldon salt.
- Evil Ebi: Prawn, BBQ Osk and chalaquita.
We followed the Nigiris with Nikkei Makis that included Antiku, Prawns tempura, negi and seared loin with Nikkei anticucho sauce. And Spicy Crunchy, a maki made out Prawns batayaki, crab pulp, crunchy quinoa and togarashi.
And before we decided on the main dishes, we had to try at least one Peruvian Izakaya. This was a great name for it as it means Japanese Tapas. We went for the beautiful Mariscos al Fuego, or Seafood on Fire! it just melted in your mouth and left you yearning for more! An amazingly made mix of seafood sautéed in butter, togarashi and lemon.
The main dishes arrived! As a huge fan of Yuzu, I ordered the Niku Kabayaki, a Wagyu slices, kabayaki and yuzu butter. I loved the fact that you could grill your own meat and the sides. OH MY! an onion marmalade and fried peruvian cassava.
The rest of the family ordered these amazing dishes:
- Salmon Tentsuyu, a salmon confit in lime oil, negi and avocado tempura.
- Pato Mochero, Crispy duck leg over wok rice, cecina and shiitake with honey of tumbo
- Shiromi a la Brasa, White fish marinated in shoyu with crispy garlic sauce, almonds and Peruvian peppers.
- OSK Wok, Wok rice with vegetables and shrimps.
We had a great night, everything was highly pleasant to the taste. For me, this culinary fusion is the best I have ever tried. And IMHO, everyone should try this beautiful love child between Peru and Japan.
I tested the trend, And I got even more hungry for it as I was before this meal. Damn, I will even try to make some Nikkei recipes for the blog!! If you are in Lima and you want to try some Nikkei besides Osaka
- My friend Micha's Maido
- Costanera 700 a restaurant I had the honor to work with years ago
- Mesa18 from the Legend Toshiro Konishi
Rarely I travel to NeuKöln. It is quite bike ride from work and even on a taxi it takes me about 35 minutes. But my friend and foodie fellow René (one of the responsibles for Berlin Cooking Club) told me that there is a great place in that district called: Industry Standard and that we should pay it a visit.
Once I got there I was impressed of their scandinavian interior designed, decorated with great chalk drawings on the walls. The "artistic vibe" since you get there is just so Berlin!
After a glance to their menu, you can see the french and mediterranean influence.. those duck hearts seemed to be delish, though as it was not possible to get them gluten free, I had to order some other stuff. But the highlight of the evening was "the crab". You can order a whole crab that will be served to be enjoyed and slurped until only the shell is left. It was just heavenly cooked!
In this restaurant, you do not order one but several small dishes, 3 of them are enough to get you very satisfied and you can enjoy them with delicious natural and biodynamic wines or cocktails.
You need to go to Neuköln because they will keep their promise: We will feed you.
We got invited to a tasting menu dinner with whisky pairings by Diageo - the world's largest producer of spirits. The Mortlach whisky, famous for it's rich and powerful taste, has been off the market for a long while. Now, it is back, and that was to be celebrated at the newly opened hunting lodge at Løvenskiold shooting range outside Oslo.
We were welcomed as we entered by a familiar smile. One of our favorite bartenders, and certainly one of Norway's best, Jesper Høst was making cocktails. As always, an amazingly tasty and sexy looking drink was handed over by the well-dressed man. "The Beast" consists of the following:
During the evening we got to try three different Mortlach whiskys. The Rare Old, a sweet, fruity, floral and dry whisky. The 18-year-old, a bigger and bolder whisky with dark chocolate and burnt orange flavors, and a scent of coffee, nutmeg and tobacco leaf. Finally, the crown jewel, the 25-year-old, an elegant, sophisticated whisky with flavors of sweet fruits and Turkish delight and a scent of exotic spices and incense. All of them available at the wine monopoly, just follow the links. It is worth to notice the price tag on the latter, NOK 6000 for half a liter, and without doubt one the most expensive whisky we have tried.
Global Mortlach ambassador Georgie Bell, and Diageo Whisky ambassador Mikael Lundén were our hosts for the evening. The food was prepared by two chefs from brasserie Mats & Martin in Oslo. An excellent meal with only Mortlach whisky pairings to go with the food. Definitely not something we have tried before, and quite odd, but at the same time it worked out very well.
We love cocktail bars. The drinks look beautiful, the interior is well-designed, and they have an eye for quirky details everywhere. It is like entering a theme park for adults. In Oslo we have the vintage Fuglen, retro Bettola, old classic Morgenstierne and just recently we got the equally beautiful Vérité, Territoriet and Torggata Botaniske added to the list. However, newly opened Himkok takes it a few steps further. It is the Disneyland of cocktail bars. This place has so much going on.
The location is Storgata 27. No, not in the front. Around the corner. Behind the dumpster. Yes, that door without a sign that you would never have guessed. Below the awnings that read "Pels Pels" from the old fur shop that used to be here. Maybe they will make their presence more obvious once everything inside is ready. We were there to get a sneak peak at the soft opening.
As you enter the hallway you are met by cages on the walls, with jars of pickled fruits and vegetables lined up in the shelfs. Enter the cocktail lounge on the right and the first thing you see is a huge distillery machine behind a glass wall. The guys from Behind Bars Consulting, who helped make this place, and Matt, who's in charge of the distillation, reckon this is the only bar in Scandinavia who has one.
Matt will distill aquavit, gin & vodka. The details in this lounge are beautiful, from the lamps in the ceiling to the hydroponic turbines in the far end used to growing herbs for cocktails.
The outside areas in the first floor is not ready yet, but the plan is to have a cider bar serving a wide selection of fermented apple beverages. On the other side they want to serve food of some kind, maybe a rotisserie with poultry, and serve beer. If they get their will you will also be able to take away to enjoy in the park.
Upstairs is a huge area. The music will be louder and the drinks served faster. Cocktails and beer on tap. There's a retro photo booth to take funny pictures with your friends, and lo and behold! Around the corner is a barber salon. The guys from Dapper at Grünerløkka have brought their concept to Himkok, and taken the name from the old sign outside. PelsPels Barber Salon will cut your hair and trim your beard while you sip your favorite cocktail.
In our opinion this is one of the most well made bars in Scandinavia. We look forward to many visits and tasty cocktails here, and to see how all their plans are set to life.
Restaurant Manager Ola Larsson welcomes us in the door. It's a Saturday night and we booked a table just thirty minutes ago. Brasserie Paleo is half empty on this cold, dark January evening. Ola asks if we want something to drink before we eat and points towards the bar. "A glass of wine or perhaps a cocktail?" You had us at cocktail...
The bartender this evening is Australian Pete Shaw. We order the "Paleo Garden" and "Key Lime Pie," simply because they sound wonderful, in addition to some bar snack. Pete tells us about the drinks and his passion for mixology. Later on Ola stops by the bar to explain the restaurant concept. Personally, he tries to live by the paleo lifestyle, but he is not among the most extreme. Nor should the restaurant be, and although they work towards complete paleo alternatives it will never be at the expense of a good taste experience.
The Weekly Paleo Menu
We are quite familiar with the paleo lifestyle and what you can and cannot eat. Some of you may remember our paleo recipes back in January. In Brasserie Paleo it is difficult to see much of the paleo way at all in their main menu. There is even bread and sugary desserts. Fortunately there is at least a "Weekly Paleo" menu written on the wall, that seems to be more true to the concept. We had to try this for the full experience. The dishes were not really designed to be shared, but we like this way to experience a meal so we decided to do it anyway.
À La Carte
Since we are not religious about the paleo concept either, we had to try some of the options à la carte. Green stars on the menu marks the more healthy options. We chose two green starred items, but had to check out the bread serving and a dessert as well. Boy, did we not regret that.
All in all we really enjoyed Brasserie Paleo. The people who run the place seems dedicated in the way they talk about their concept. What we missed the most was nature wine. Alcohol is not really compatible with a strict paleo lifestyle, but a definite improvement would have been wine that at least does not contain added sugar or other substances. Also, some healthier desserts could have been worked out. At least replace sugar with honey or stevia. We'll return some day to see how things evolve.
We were at the Norwegian Aeropress Championship 2015 yesterday. The event was subtitled "Back to the Aeropress - a pun on the movies "Back to the Future" - and took place at Barista School in Oslo. We were rooting for Team Kaya, but in the end Øystein "Kaffelab" Berntsen won the whole shebang. Congratulations to him! The event inspired us to make a modification of the classic cocktail Espresso Martini. Since we don't have an espresso machine we used our aeropress in stead. Here's how you can make it yourself!
6 cl aeropressed coffee
2 cl Tia Maria
2 cl Absolut Vodka
1 cl vanilla infused sugar syrup
4 big ice cubes
Cinnamon for dusting
Back to the Aeropress!
Make a concentrated aeropress brew with 20 g finely grind coffee of high quality, and water to the 2nd mark. Water should be 90 degrees C. Remember to rinse the paper filter first. 1 minute steep time, 10-15 seconds press time. I'm sure the aeropress champion does not approve of this, and by all means feel free to tweak the pressing method to your liking. If you have an espresso machine, and no aeropress, you can just make a double espresso in stead.
Make a vanilla infused sugar syrup by boiling 4 tbsp water with 2 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp vanilla seeds or vanilla extract.
In your shaker add all the liquids. You can check if the sweetness is how you like it. Then add the ice cubes and start shaking as if you wanted the shaker to be a time traveling device. Hopefully you end up in the present with a rich, foamy Tia Maria Aeropress Martini. Finish it off with some cinnamon dust on top.
After the "Disaronno wears Versace" party at Vérité a few weeks back we got inspired to copy the Disaronno Sour recipe. As well as create our own version of a Disaronno Christmas Clementine & Cinnamon cocktail. Disaronno works perfectly in a Christmas cocktail due to the almondy marzipan flavor.
Shake it up:
Start by making sugar syrup. 1 dl water and 1 dl sugar to boil. Let it reduce some in the pot. Place four ice cubes in a container and pour the syrup over to cool down. Do not try to put a lid on this and shake! I did, and all you achieve is to sugar spray your kitchen. Just stir gently till the ice cubes dissolve.
Put three ice cubes in a glass and three in a shaker. All ingredients in as well. Shake. Pour. Serve.
Disaronno Christmas Clementine
Shaking bells rock:
The procedure here is similar to the Sour recipe, except that you add cinnamon in the syrup.
Decorate with cinnamon sticks and clementine peel.
You can get the "Disaronno wears Versace" limited edition bottle at Vinmonopolet (product nr. 4322802)
and the pretty regular bottle as well (product nr. 676102).
I am Andrea, or as my friends call me, Jinx. I am a foodie living in Berlin, eating my way through life. Here are my recipes, cooking events, dining experiences and more...