I was so happy when I got the call from VisitBerlin about being the food guide for Helle... I met Helle when I was blogging in Norway and we were at many events together. VisitBerlin invited her to get enjoy Berlin, and that includes the mixed culinary scene we have in this great city.
I made my plan. Let's show her the diversity, the new places and some of the new trends Berlin has to offer. I didn't want to repeat what the other Norwegian bloggers have seen lately and at the same time, show her some of my latest finds. So here I1ll show you the places I took her and why I took her there.
1. %Arabica // Kreuzberg // New
The tour started at 5 pm outside of %Arabica. The first stop was this newly open coffee spot in Berlin. You can find this hidden gem actually hiding in a backyard in Kreuzberg. The first thing you notice is the minimalist interior, a mix of Japanese simplicity and that follows as well the iconic Braun designer, Dieter Ram. Japan meets Germany.
In the middle of the store, it is a big open kitchen surrounded by glass, like an aquarium. And that kitchen is run by Tyler. Tylers has worked in some awesome places I had the honor to visit, like Noma, Momofuku Milk Bar and Torissi (that is closed now but it is a spot everyone still talks about).
In addition to that resume, he makes all handmade fresh pasta and uses all local ingredients who he visits regularly for sourcing. His mindset is sustainable and all those dishes he prepares are carefully sourced and prepared simply to bring the power of ingredients out on to our pallets.
"% Arabica is about my love for coffee, design, and seeing the world," Says the Founder & Owner Kenneth Shoji.
While the coffee trend in the past years has been following the light coffee roast of the Norwegians, %arabica goes back to basics with a stronger and darker roast. They are known for their Latte and the Arabica Latte standard. They do hand brewing but if you really want to taste their coffee at its max, try their latte with an option of less milk.
While Helle got the recommended darker roast latte with less milk, I had the Spanish Iced Coffee, and I am now addicted. As a fan of iced Vietnamese coffee (that uses sweetened condensed milk) this Japanese/Spanish version is way richer and delicious (sorry Quaphe)
They offer cold press juices like the one in the picture. A delicious combination or watermelon, pineapple, pears, lemons and jalapeño... YES! Jalapeño!
On Sundays there is brunch and every day there is delicious food and pastry on their menu. I totally recommend trying this place as I would even drive all the way to Kreuzberg for a glass of that iced coffee.
%Arabica Berlin Kreuzberg: Reichenberger Strasse 36, 10999 Berlin, Germany
2. Shishi // Kreuzberg // New
Second stop. I wonder how many people have ever tried Israeli food. I never had it until a guy in Berlin took me to Yafo in Mitte. And I was stunned... I don't date that guy anymore but I continue going to Yafo for that sweet sweet roasted cauliflower with tahini. But you will be asking yourself why I talk about Yafo?
Shishi is the sister restaurant from Yafo and it has newly open .. actually less than a month ago. Hidden behind a parking lot and inside of yet another Kreuzberg backyard, you will find the beautiful setting of Saint Laurent blue tables adorned with lights and with the most friendly service. Shishi shows us a more refined dining experience of Tel-Aviv in Berlin
We ordered 2 dishes and a dessert and asked the super mega friendly Dimi to choose a wine for us. His choice was Coenobium. A religious experience literally! This wine produced from the Trappiste nuns in Vitorchiano from white grapes. It is refreshing, savory and mineral with aromatic notes of hay, wild herbs, and ripe white fruits. All their wines are natural, of course.
This was a perfect pairing for the grilled kohlrabi with fresh cheese, sesame seeds thyme and chili. I don't think I had grilled kohlrabi before but it was delicious... it tasted a bit like Jerusalem artichoke, one of my favorites.
Shishi only purchases products from local farmers. The beef in this sirloin tartare we ordered was a Grass-fed and even the farmer has named every one of the cows he has. No wonder why this dish covered in cured egg yolks was so good! Did I mention the cows get massages????
To end our stop in Berlin's Tel Aviv, we ordered the raw milk Malabi homemade roses syrup and Iranian pistachio. When you serve raw milk it is important to have great quality milk... as they do in Shishi. Their rose syrup is made weekly by their chef, he gets many bags of fresh local petals to make it... Can you imagine how amazing the kitchen must smell that day?
You guys have to try Shishi! For real! I need to come back for sure and try some other things... maybe this call for a Yafo/Shishi Blog post? what do you think?
Shishi Restaurant: Ritterstraße 12-14, 10969 Berlin
3. Maison Han // Neukölln
Now I need to explain why I took Helle to a Vietnamese Restaurant. Like Japan and Israel influence Berlin's food scene, Vietnam does it too, and a lot! Do you ever wonder why there are so many Vietnamese restaurants in Berlin? and mostly in East Berlin?
Back on the GDR times, Communist countries all over the world would be seen as ‘brother states’, which meant they would try to help and support each other as much as they could. And there were certain groups that were welcome to work in socialist Germany, like Vietnamese. And of course, Vietnam started influencing Berlin's Culinary Experience at that point.
I was traveling around Vietnam with Pepa and got a taste of their food (or in other words, I ate Vietnam in 5 weeks) And even though you might think that Pho, Banh mi, and Banh Cuon are lunch or dinner options, these were my breakfast every day. Yes! the Vietnamese food you all eat for dinner is brekkie material! And that is what Maison Han does, it serves breakfast all...day...long!
We started this "late breakfast" with Bahn Cuon. One with minced meat, morel, coriander and Tia to, and the other one was the vegan option with tofu and a spicier vegan fish sauce. I have loved these little gluten-free Vietnamese steamed rice rolls since the first time I ate them.
Besides serving breakfast, they have their own roastery in-house: Han Coffee Roasters. Because why serve Vietnamese breakfast if you aren't going to wash it down with some tasty Ca phe? They stand for the finest coffee culture in Vietnam's Highlands and promotes direct and fair trade.
We weren't gonna order something else as we had still 2 places to visit, but that Bahn Bao with avocado and fried egg was way too tempting to not order. And if that wasn't enough reason to add this place to this tour, They have the Berlin Bear in their logo ;)
Maison Han: Panniertstr. 40, 12047 Berlin
4. Cookies Cream // Mitte // One Star
How would I miss a vegetarian place and Michelin restaurant on this tour? And I am super happy I could kill 2 birds with one stone. Cookies Cream is a vegetarian Restaurant that has 1 Michelin star. They got it a few days after their 10 year anniversary. And they are just an institution of Berlin culinary scene.
If you were in Berlin during the 90s you will recognize the name "Cookies". And why? If you ever heard of Studio 54 in the US, Cookies was the 54 of Berlin and was in the 90s (and for 20 years) the most exciting nightlife in Berlin.
The owner of the club Cookies, Heinz Gindullis a.k.a. "Cookie", is a vegetarian, so when he decided to open a restaurant, we all knew he was going to be the pioneer of vegetarian fine dining. And this is how Cookies Cream was born.
Even though I knew that it would be the fastest Michelin dinner I have ever had, it was a MUST to take Helle to this restaurant as it is quite rare to find a vegetarian restaurant with a Michelin star. We had one hour and WAY too many favorite dishes. To be exact, we tried 6 dishes and 3 wines.
We ordered the starters. First the tomato Tea with verbena, fennel blossoms, capers, and croutons, paired with a 2016 Groll n Roll from Le Vignes Babaas. This was the perfect start, a delicious gazpacho with a twist and the pairing was just divine.
Then the vegetarian caviar with Avocado came waltzing to the table. I had this dish before and I still cannot believe it isn't caviar. The buttery avocado blends together... and that hazelnut mayo... just yummy. The pairing for this dish was a 2016 vegan chardonnay from Saint Veran Terroir, Burgundy... We had the quail egg in brioche with port wine and shallots, potato mousse and truffle jus.
The main thing about cookies is... I don't miss the meat! In most restaurants, I feel like there is something missing or it is incomplete. In Cookies, I was surprised every time i had a bite or ordered something. Like the Baked Aubergine with corn cream, green beans, peanuts, and papadam (first picture) That aubergine tasted like it was from another world. The depth of taste of it had nothing to envy a great sweet slow braised pork... I would take that aubergine in a split second against pork... and u know I am a meat lover.
The parmesan dumplings with Perigord truffle stock were the group's favorite. the pine nuts were amazing combined with that creamy truffle cream. Now... the recipe I would love to try at home would be the Celery with stained egg yolk filled with macadamia nut butter. This is the heaven for any vegan celiac (#veliac) It was a soft lasagna filled with creamy nuts... and instead of parmesan on top, egg yolk.
All together was a great experience, but it was just an hour dinner. We probably got a record for eating that much in so little time at Cookies. But I promise you I'll to be back later and eat the whole dinner and show it to you in more detail. what do you think?
Cookies Cream: Behrenstr. 55, 10117 Berlin
Wagner Cocktail Bistro // KreuzKöln
So we returned to Kreuzberg, or can I call the Paul-Lincke-Ufer Kreuzkölln? I wanted the last stop to be the new trend: Gastropubs or Gastrobars. These are pubs/bars that specializes in serving high-quality food. I had two of them on my bucket list. So after a round of messaging with my foodie friends, everyone pointed me to one of them: Wagner Cocktail Bistro.
It is located in the same street as big boys like Cocolo Ramen and La Lucha. And welcomes you with a very beautiful and vintage sign. It used to be the sign of an old toy store back in the old times. Hanging in a beautiful brick corner building.
When you go to their website you can read their philosophy: "Playful yet sophisticated adaptation of comfort food with precisely crafted cocktails. Innovative and entertaining version of a modern bistro concept delivered in a clever and casual setting" But this definition doesn't even begin to explain how good their food is.
If you have been at some of the great Scandinavian restaurants (or you follow some Scandi-foodies) you would soon feel like you teletransported to one of them. With some hints of Maaemo, Relæ, Ylajali, Amass and similar, Wagner surprises you with a delicious yet delicate menu.
Sébastien helped us with the ordering. First the Cocktails. The Negroni 2.5 with London Dry Gin, Byrrh Quinoa and Amaro, The Bronx Cocktail with Plymouth Gin, Red Vermouth, dry Vermouth and orange and tall beautiful Sakura made of Sake, Cherry water, dry vermouth and Plum Blossom made of Umeshu Rosé Plum Sake, Amaro, and Muscat d'Alexandrie. I loved them all, but my favorite was the Negroni. But then again, I am a Negroni Fan.
While we were having a chat with Sébastien, the dishes started to arrive at the table. First, a beautiful plate with tomatoes, peaches, and yogurt. The Chef came to our table and explained the dish while serving the aromatic and light rose hip sauce over it. And then, the Ceviche. I am always skeptic about eating ceviche as I am Peruvian and I am very picky, but this scallops ceviche with baby corn, onions and elderflowers were amazing. The chef told us that they use vinegar instead of lime and hey! the scallops were so buttery I could just die.
The next two dishes to arrive were the Cod cheeks schnitzel and Pumpkin flowers filled with anchovies, ricotta, and bottarga, an Italian delicacy of salted, cured fish roe. Again the chef came to our table to explain. We were having a fine dining experience in a cocktail bar. Then we hear he has actually worked in Amass and Relæ in Copenhagen and then we suddenly understood where the inspiration came from.
The Pumpkin flowers were extraordinary. One of my favorite drinking food next to the braised duck hearts at (my all-time favorite and now closed) Pjoltergeist and Truffle popcorn & reindeer tongue at Brasserie Paleo.
Since that day I have been recommending this place to every person I meet... Not paid to advertise here. But I have to say that I was very surprised by the ambiance and quality of food and drinks. Go get yourself to Kreuzkölln and grab a cocktail and indulge yourself with amazing food.
Did I mention we had the same awesome wine from Cookies Cream at Wagner? I guess they already knew our taste.
Wagner Cocktail Bistro: UMSPANNWERK Paul-Lincke-Ufer 22, 10999 Berlin
For the ones that know me well, it is a sure thing that my comfort food is sushi. Whenever I feel down, I have to stick some raw fish in my mouth. But as a Peruvian and after living in Oslo for 6 years, it is hard for me to find sushi that actually hits the spot.
I got a voucher to test the takeaway service of Sticks n Sushi, and I was so surprised by the quality of the food and the presentation as well.
I ordered one of the menus by phone and met my mega babe Sophia to pick up that sushi and went home to have a sushi feast. Everything looked still great and even the Makis survived the way back. When we opened the bags we found the following:
Kataifi: Octopus Kataifi, Trout Roe, and miso aioli
Spicy Edamame: Grilled Edamame with spicy miso
Tataki: Beef, smoked cheese, Tosazu, Goma shiro and Jerusalem Artichoke chips
Tartare: Salmon and Tuna Tartare
Momo Chilli: Chicken with chilli and chives,
Koushi Habu: Entrecote with miso herbs butter
Kushi Katsu: Fried Duck with wasabi caesar
Ebi panko Roll: Tempura prawn and spicy sauce garnished with avocado, sesame, and Tsume soya
Hell's Kitchen Roll: Tempura shrimp with avocado and spicy sauce garnished with tuna and barbecue sauce
Pink Alaska: Salmon, avocado and cream cheese in Lumpfish Roe
Nigiri: Salmon, Tuna and Ebi
All together great sushi... so good, to make me wanna live closer to get it more often. Hopefully, they will open one closer to Prenzlauer Berg. I totally recommend it for a wine & sushi night at home, or after a hard day at the office. The cost of this menu was 99 euro.
Advertising - because of voucher
There are loads of places in Berlin that serve brunch, but my all-time favorite place to go with friends is Allan's Breakfast Club aka ABC. This tiny french place owned by the super french and super cool Allan is not only cute, but serve the meanest eggs benedict in town. It is situated in the heart of Kollwitzkiez in Prenzlauer Berg and just some minutes from my flat, very convenient.
I took Kay and my frenchie girl Marie for some drinks and brunch last Friday. While we waited for Marie to arrive, we had some coffee and lemonade while we had a chat with Allan, man! it was hard to decide what to eat, but this time we didn't go for those mean Bennies, but tried some other stuff.
We chose to try different dishes instead of ordering just one per person. Starting with a delicious potato waffle covered with cured salmon rose, capers and avocado, sprinkled with a buttermilk & creme fraiche dressing and red pepper.
Did I mention that I had a hangover? And the best cure for this is: Bloody Marys! The best frigging BMs in town, even better that the ones my grandma used to make *wink wink*
If you are into this ridiculously tasty red drink, you definitely need to make a pitstop at ABC after a crazy party night. Or if u are like me, just after 2 glasses of wine, haha.
Talking a bit about Allan, he comes from France but he used to live many many years in Australia, hence the awesome eggs Benni and the poached eggs in some of his dishes, like in this creamy Czech Mountai soup with a drowning poached egg on top. Did I mention bacon???? BACON!
Marie ordered a hot chocolate with Belgium Callebaut chocolate buttons. OHMYGWAAADDDDFFF! Allan adds the hot steamed milk over them so that they melt... ahhhhh heaven! If I wasn't too much afraid sugar, I would stop by everyday to have this chocolate and milk heaven.
You wold think that ABC wouldn't have a choice for vegans with all these eggs and bacon, but their boost up smoothie bowl is vegan, glutenfree and AMAZING, it is a bowl of frozen smoothie, covered with fresh fruits, coconut flakes and cacao. A huge bowl of energy and awesomeness.
What would it be a menu of a french restaurant without a Croque Monsieur? Well, Allan offers a Tweaked Croque Monsieur. He uses brioche instead of bread, filled with loads caramelized onions, melted Gruyere cheese, Ardeche ham and mushrooom bechamel, served with chips and salad.
But don't let this picture fool you, I moved the chips to show you the brioche and the whole thing was bigger than my head ;)
Here is Allan opening a Bodvár n5 rose from provence for me. If I didn't have to go to work after brunch I would have probably stayed there for hours sipping some more glasses of it. And for the ones not drinking wine, we got some more homemade lemonade and a beautiful and elegant coffee martini.
Some will ask why i didn't show you the many-times-mentioned Eggs Benedict in this blogpost. It is so you get up and run there and try them! And of course the rest of the menu and the flat whites and the oysters in summer and enjoy their terrace. and and and... Just go there!
As their opening hours were confusing in the past year for many people... here I´ll explain them to you:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday Friday and Friday 10am-3pm
Sat and Sunday 10am-4pm
But from May:
Thursday and Friday: 3pm-6pm open for coffee, cake and Rosé
Wednesday- Thursdays and Fridays 6pm- Midnight for Wine
I have been driving past BRICOLE for the weeks. Mostly I am in a hurry to pick up Pepa at preschool. (The restaurant is very close to it) So I added it to my "Food Bucket List".
Lucky me, Berlin Food Week organized a "Stadtmenü or City Menu" on the topic "Mushroom Parade" with over 60 restaurants, including BRICOLE, offering the opportunity to get to know the city in a new culinary way. Whether regional noble mushrooms, exotics from Asia or noble truffles. Whether three or four courses, with or without wine accompaniment, whether gourmet restaurant, down-to-earth classic, vegetarian restaurant or innovative newcomer, each of these restaurants interpret the motto for itself and implements it in the sense of its individual kitchen line.
OFF WITH YOUR HEAD, MAIN COURSE! Their menu does not impose a main dish but offers a selection of dishes that you can combine and order as your mood takes you.
You have a menu that contains about 9 to 10 dishes and you can decide if you want 3, or 5 or all. Your decision. The dishes aren't small though, be prepared to eat!
The first Mushroom was the truffle. While I got served some bubbles, appeared bread and a fluffy beaten butter sprinkled with truffle and sea salt.
The menu looked exciting and the wine pairings as well. The First dish was a Porcini ravioli with smoked celery broth and pickled radish and black walnut. A mouth-watering combination. I am a fan of ravioli, but then again, who isn't?
The ravioli was paired with a delicious Weißburgunder from Weingut Krebs 2016, Fine on the nose and complex with hints of meadow flowers, ripe apples, and pears. This is accompanied by a fresh hint pineapple. Full with a fresh minerality, two of my favorite qualities for a light wine.
The next dish was a poached halibut, savoy cabbage, turnip and morel foam. The fish was very well made. the softness of it combined with the airy morel was really good.
The wine they selected to accompany this plate was a Grauburgunder "Juwel" from Juliane Eller 2016. A strong Pinot Gris with a dense aroma of fruits like melon and pear.
A Spätburgunder was being served. From Genheimer - Kiltz Vintage 2014. A full and strong dry wine with a milder taste of wood, peach, melon, and gooseberry.
While enjoying this beauty, the duck breast with pumpkin cream, oyster mushrooms, and potato crunch did its grand entry. The duck was tender and juicy, and I really loved the taste of the mushrooms with the pumpkin cream. That bird was exactly how I like it. I am still thinking of it.
Paring the dessert, was a Huxelrebe Auslese from Albiger Hundskopf 2015. The Huxelrebe grape is one of the so-called new breeds. Their crossing is between the two white grape varieties Gutedel and Coutellier Musqué. It has a juicy, spicy taste with aromas of caramel, honey, mango, orange, and peach.
Very well chosen wine for the Kefir, aerated chocolate, candied chestnuts, and fermented tea gel.
I can't wait to see what next year's Berlin Food Week will bring, or which restaurants will be part of the Stadtmenü. But for sure I will be there. As for BRICOLE, I will go again and try some more of their dishes as the ones I had so far, At the Côtes du Rhône Gourmet Crawl and BFW were delectable.
Here I leave you with a small video of that evening. It is always nice to see the ambiance of a restaurant in moving pictures than in regular ones.
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.
Last Sunday I was invited to a blogger dinner at Brasserie Colette. I was super excited because most of the guests were my friends; like Maria and Sophia from IN SEARCH OF, Maria and Philipp from Herz & Blut and Sissi from Eating in Berlin.
I was so happy to finally try more of this restaurant. Last year at Berlin Food Week´s Food Clash Canteen, I got to try the Salad Nizza made by Dominik Obermeier from Colette...So I was very curious about the rest of the menu.
We started with Tim Raue´s pickled cornichons, Bread with 2 different kinds of butter and a delicious Bouvet-Ladubay Cremant De Loire - blanc de blancs. Our table was very fun and cozy as we all knew each other. And we were all looking forward to try the food.
Tim Raue has not only a 2 Michelin Star Restaurant, but is the creator of the concept of the restaurant chain: Brasserie Colette. And funny wise, they are all in the first floor of the retirement houses Tertianum.
You can find them in Berlin, Munich and Konstanz. They have 14 Gault Millau points and they are in the Bib Gourmand Guide Michelin 2017... bravo!
The starters arrived to the table. My favorite was the Stewed artichoke served with a strong vinaigrette based on parsley puree, rice casserole and green chili oil, a Safran mayonnaise, and Crème fraîche
This dish took me right back to my childhood in Peru were we ate this in summer, A whole artichoke for each person but ours was dipped in lime juice and oil with a pinch of salt and pepper.
We had some other tapa-like starters like a Tuna Tartar of North Pacific bluefin fish tuned with a sauce of pickled chili and lots of lime, with cucumber caviar and dried powder of salad cucumbers. and a mouth-watering cucumber sorbet.
Besides the Tartare, a salami arrived: Jesus Basque, this is a salami from the French part of the Basque country, which is bound with 3 strings to its traditional 3-star form like the three-star form of the 3 Stigmata of Jesus Christ.
The salad was a cherry tomatoes without skin inserted in passion fruit vinaigrette with basil cress and roasted sour dough bread from Maitre Philippe. I loved it.
As a super fan off oysters, I was glowing when I saw them coming. Gillardeau Oysters!!! Heaven! Some of us havent had oysters before, so it was exciting to see that "first time" reaction.
The salmon was espectacular. And red.. but after asking why was it red, I got the answer: The Ikarimi salmon was stained in salt, sugar, star anise and red berry juice. This gives it the light red berry flavor and the strong red color. This was by far the best starter!
The main dishes started to arrive. We all ordered different dishes. Some ordered the Icelandic cod, steamed and covered with a jelly from Dashi.
Dashi is the Japanese counterpart to the Consommée, which has a similar spicy-salty taste, but consists only of water and bonito-tuna and it was served in bacon potato foam.
For the vegans, the Wild herbs Beignet.
The wild herbs are made in the same way as classic potatoes, with a puree of pimpinelle, borretsch, sorrel and young garlic blossom.
The donuts/beignet are served on a horseradish potato and leek sauce together with a red beet salad, which is sweetish-ly spicy with currant jam and red chilies.
I asked the waiter which dish was the best. She told me that the Cordon Bleu was. I was very sceptic as Cordon bleu is a very traditional and "boring" dish. But this version surprised me. The cordon bleu in the Colette is strongly reminiscent of the classic one, but differs significantly in most points:
It consists of 2 days of marinated maize chicken skewer, unrolled with grated 14- month old Gouda and Chaumes cheese. The panade of dried pork skin, which bounces crisply during the subsequent baking.
There was a carrot, which was braised in apple juice and then glazed in apple-butter sauce. This is on a fine chilli pea puree, which was unexpected good.
We were eating and having a blast...sipping wine and talking about the food. The restaurant has 2 different areas, a bar and a super fun toilette (you have to go there to see it, or just check this picture showing a golden hand seat)
Another vegan dish was the Ragout marocain, where chickpeas are cooked in apple juice with the Arabian curry "raz el hanout". Finally, pomegranate kernels, date cubes and finely chopped coriander stems are added.
In between laughs, selfies and instagram postings; the desserts emerged served with egg nog. Like a Bourbon vanilla Creme brulee with caramelised with brown sugar, with a ball sorbet of red currants
These were followed by Le Croque en bouche which is a traditional French wedding bouquet, which consists of filled small wind bags. These are filled with a honey mousse au chocolate and are attached to it a sail of caramelised honey.
Madeleines, Madeleines! These are a traditional French pastry dough baked in a mussle-shape and served with vanilla liqueur and a ball Valrhona chocolate ice cream. These Madeleines were laying on a mango butter pudding... yummy!!!!
Overall the food was great and it was impossible not to have fun with such a great bunch, thanks Brasserie for such a lovely event. Cheers!! to more Sundays like this to come!
My dad was a Commander Pilot so most of my childhood I spent in hangars, planes and choppers. When I saw I was going to attend the event "Dine around the World" at Food Zürich I was thrilled. I read a big plane was involved and the location was direct in the airport... After a ride on 2 trams and 5 minute walk I was there at RUNWAY34 right in the airport, almost at the landing strip or "runway".
The entrance was just like a sleeve of a plane. I felt just like boarding one. Inside the hangar restaurant was a huge Ilyushin plane just in the middle of the whole space.
I got greeted with some bubbles and my First Class card, for drinks of course! It was a buffet. I regularly dont blog about buffets but the location was awesome, the idea was super and the food was good.
One of the cool things was, there is a simulation academy there and you can actually get inside the big Ilyushin plane. I will tell you guys what is inside later on.
I started my trip around the world in Asia, my beloved Asia. I had a Thai green curry chicken with jasmine rice, a Tom Yum from Thailand, Samosas from India and Spring Rolls from Vietnam.
Most of the seats were taken from old airplanes. The "crew" was actually wearing flight hostess and pilot uniforms. And most of the decoration was plane parts, food carts and so on. My dad would love this place for sure.
A small food break to test those simulators. You can fly the Lockheed Super Constellation, a Pilatus PC-7, a Boeing 777 and a Jet Ranger BELL 206B3, the one my dad used to fly and was an instructor at Bell Helicopter in Texas back in the 80s. Sorry, I am a nerd with airplanes and helicopters.
Next Stop: North America and Southamerica. Argentinian entrecôte with chimichurri, baked potatoes with sour cream and corncobs . Served with grilled tomatoes and green beans rolled in bacon.
Now we are in Europe. Yummy! I started with some San Daniele Ham cut with a Berkel machine, antipasti and salad with different dressings. Some bread and the mushroom risotto with loads of parmesan.
Lets go fly again! now the coolest plane in my honest opinion. The Swiss Air Force Pilatus! muahaha This baby was so much fun! You fly around with 9 airplanes through the alps. Perfect break before the next continent.
We are now in the last stops: Africa and Arabia
The highlight of my trip was the pumpkin soup, I loved it. I was not sure if it was in the America or Africa tables, it doesnt matter. It was the best pumpkin soup I had since I was a kid. (Ok after a short research with my friend Google, pumpkin soup is actually from Africa, craziness!)
I had as well couscous, sheep cheese, veggie taboule, hummus & babaganoush with pita bread.
After all those continents, one last tiny bite of dessert and return my wine passport into my purse and drove back to my cozy hotel The Yard to meet my bae Food Bloggers for a Beer at the bar :)
Want to know what was inside of the big plane in the middle of the restaurant??
This blogpost was in collaboration with VisitZürich
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
Me and my daughter went backpacking through Vietnam last March. We went around, stopping in places like Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Hoi An, Da Nang, Ha Noi, Halong Bay and Phu Quoc. We explored these amazing places, making new friends and tasting loads of different foods.
In Vietnam, It is impossible to really go wrong when it comes to food. Vietnamese people know their stuff, and their food is for sure amazing. Here I made a list of things IMHO are a MUST TRY when you are in in this culinary destination.
1. Bun Cha Ha Noi
Or as the locals call it "Obama Bun Cha". I had to laugh so hard when I heard they call it Obama. The story is that during a 3-day-visit to the vietnamese capitol, Ex-President Obama and Anthony Bourdain had a cheap meal in tiny plastic chairs. It was everywhere on Social Media, Everywhere! They both said it was delicious while drinking some local beer and having a great time.
I decided to try this fatty grilled pork, served with noodles at the same place he did. But the locals told me the best place to eat them was at Bun Cha Nem Cua Be Dac Kim.
Bun Cha Ha Noi is served in different bowls and you have to mix it all in your plate. Rice Noodles, Braised pork slices, Pork meatballs in a delicious sauce, fresh herbs, Chili, garlic and the best: Spring Rolls.
You are supposed to add the chili and garlic to the sauce and dip the noodles and herbs before you munch them. It was mouth-watering! Dont be afraid to sit in a plastic chair in the middle of the street, it is totally worth it.
Restaurant: "Bun Cha Nem Cua Be Dac Kim" - 1 Hàng Mành - Ha Noi
2. Pho or Soup at the Lunch Lady
The Lunch Lady is almost a Landmark in Saigon. Or at least she should! I heard from several foodies, bloggers and travel eaters (like my pal Nick from Eatacity) that I should get there and try the soup of the day. What I mean with this, is that she has a rotating menu, a different dish every day of the week.
Thi Thanh aka. The Lunch Lady, Warmly welcomed us (after a sweaty 2-hour-walk with a baby on a carrier) and we were the last customers of the day. We almost didn't make it... damn heat! But we were there and we got our table served in 2 seconds. Spring rolls, sweet potato and shrimps fritters (Bahn Tom) and my soup: Bun Bo Hue!
Bun Bo Hue is a Spicy beef and Pork soup with vermicelli noodles. Full body and loads of taste. The pork sausages reminds me of a bratwurst somehow, and the beef meat was as soft as is gets. It was an explosion of umami in my mouth.
Thi Thanh surprised me with her knowledge of german. She was in Germany many years ago and she can have a fluent conversation. The ladies closed the stand and we kept talking about food and Germany (i eat very slow) What a great afternoon.
Street Food: "Lunch Lady" Saigon 23 Hoang Sa St., District 1 - Ho Chi Mihn
3. Cao Lau
We were staying at a Homestay next to the beach, And the lovely hostess told me to try the restaurant Sen at the beach. I took Pepa and my towel and went for a swim and after some hours enjoying the sun and some local beer, we were ready for food. And after reading a bit online, Cao Lau was the one to try.
I was really amazed by this regional dish from the town of Hoi An. It reminded me on "Tallarin Saltado" from Peru. Pork sauteed with chili and onions, served on special chewy rice noodles and some fresh mint and coriander with it. I am a sucker for Tallarin Saltado, so this one became instantly my favorite dish of the trip.
This special noodles can only be made in Hoi An, they are like Soba noodles, but they are not made out of buckwheat but reis. The rice has to be stone ground and mixed with ash and water. The ash is made with firewood from the Cham Islands. The noodles are cut and then cooked three times with firewood. The water to cook the noodles is also very special because it only comes from specific wells in Hội An. This is why Cao Lau is a dish that can only be prepared in Hội An.
Restaurant: "Nha Hang Sen" - 12 Lạc Long Quân, Cửa Đại - Hoi An
4. Vietnamese BBQ
To cover more areas in the island of Phu Quoc, I rented a scooter. Everytime I passed next to the BBQs on the streets of the island I got soooo hungry. I asked the people working at the resort we were staying where was the best place to eat this. They told me that they go all together to celebrate birthdays or special occasions at the "No Name" BBQ place. So I had to try it, What a great name!
You could choose the ingredients next to the grill and make your own mix. I chose a whole squid, okra, pork ribs and some other small things. After a short while, All came to the table and it was amazing! the taste and freshness of the ingredients left you licking your fingers. I had to order more food as Pepa was eating it all.
The warmth, music and atmosphere was like eating in a backyard with friends while listening people having fun and watching the dogs wander around. I wish I was more hungry to try more things, but the heat was killing me those days.
Restaurant: "No Name BBQ" - Ông Lang, Cửa Dương - Phu Quoc
6. Hot Pot
Hot Pot has been a favorite of mine for a long time. There was this tiny restaurant in Oslo I used to go all the time. While walking through the night markets I saw some fishtanks with live seafood, and I thought it was just for buying, for an aquarium maybe? But I was so wrong!
I met a great family at the resort and we took our scooters to the night market. We were starving and found a place at the market that was filled with locals. Hot Pot was a great choice for 3 adults and 3 kids. You choose the living fish and seafood and they bring it to the table with a hot pot filled with broth. You add the food and 5 minutes later is ready to eat.
The kids wanted shrimps, so we got this gigantic ones and they were in heaven! The hot pot was great and it was more than us could eat. I really like eating very hot dishes when is hot outside, it cools me down in a way. I totally recommend trying a hot pot when you are in Vietnam!
Night Market: "Night Market Phu Quoc" - Khu 1, Dương Đông - Phu Quoc
7. Sugar Cane Juice
Sugar cane juice or Nuoc Mia or just Mia is served EVERYWHERE in Vietnam. It is a yellow semi-sweet, tropical refreshing drink that is perfect for the HOT HOT days and nights. The sugarcane produces a really musty, tropical flavor. The froth is irresistible.
Stands selling Mia are everywhere They have a machine to grind the sugar cane. The sugar cane gets pressed through a few times until there is no liquid left. The sugar cane carcasses are left in a pile in front of the machine.
Stand: "Nouc Mia", Everywhere in Vietnam
8. Market Food
I know sometimes Asian markets don't look like a place to eat food. They look dark and dirty and probably the best place to get food poisoning. But you HAVE TO eat at a market in Vietnam!
There is a few tricks to it:
- Eat food that has been fried or boiled
- See if the ice was made by a machine (cold beverages) do not drink anything containing self made ice.
- Clean your chopsticks and spoons with desinfectant
- See when they open your beer/drinks
- If you are still afraid, avoid fresh leaves of lettuce and soy sprouts
We both had food at the market and we were not sick at all. I had a delicious soup and spring rolls with a local beer, it was terrific, we went around to see what else to try. (OMG my hair was SHORT!)
I found a lotus seeds drink (AWESOMEEEEE!) very refreshing and it has Anti-aging properties. And on my way out of the Ben Thanh Market, I found a Lady selling Mang Cut or Purple Mangosteen, it is a bit pricey (4 units for the price of a meal) but definitely a delicious fruit.
Market: "Ben Thanh" - Đường Lê Lợi, Bến Thành, District 1 - Hồ Chí Minh,
9. Vietnamese Contemporary Haute Cuisine
I was very curious about the "contemporary" Vietnamese Food. I was looking for a high end restaurant to try the most delicate version of their food fused with non-vietnamese ingredients. In the island of Phu Quoc, next to my Resort was the best restaurant on the island: Mango Bay. A beautiful restaurant by the beach where you can enjoy dinner while watching the sunset.
After a whole day at the beach with our new friends: Ina & Lisa from Germany, we headed to Mango Bay. We had seafood tempura, chicken wings, spicy watermelon Squid salad, bun cha, stuffed squid, vietnamese pancakes in between others.
The sunset was beautiful, the location and food was just dreamy and romantic. The price was higher than a regular meal, but the amount of food was incredible. I don't think any of us were able to finish the dishes.
Restaurant: "Mango Resort & Restaurant" - Cửa Dương - Phu Quoc
10. A place where just locals eat
Get out of your comfort zone! I walked through many places in Vietnam that didn't seem like it was a restaurant or a sanitary place to eat. Though all this places where PACKED with locals. Very close to my hotel was a street that is know for their great restaurants called "De Tham".
I walked many times through that street before I dared to get in a restaurant and eat the food. It was a restaurant where they repaired scooters, filled with old parts, oil cans, screws and more. Every night it was filled with locals eating in plastic chairs drinking beer and singing karaoke.
We went inside, And I ordered Banh pho xao bo, a Stir-fried rice noodles with beef made with Mì quảng Noodles (the rice cousin of a pappardelle), a side of Garlic Morning Glory and to go WAY out of my comfort zone: Hot Tamarind Chicken Feet.
The food was outstanding, as well as the service. It was by far the best Chicken feet I ever had. Dont get scared of trying a restaurant in Vietnam that doesnt look like a european restaurant, I am pretty sure you will have an amazing dinner and feel like a local sipping noodles while listening some vietnamese karaoke.
Restaurant: "Qua An 26" - 28 Đề Thám, District 1, Hồ Chí Minh
Extra Tip: Kem Cuon
And as a final tip, for those hot night walks through the streets, Try the Ice Cream rolls! Check for the stands that make them with real fruits instead of syrups. I ordered a Mango Chocolate one. And here is how they make them:
Stand: "Kem Cuon", Everywhere in Vietnam
Have you been to Vietnam? Have you try any of these? Any tips for my next trip there?
Even though it is summer, we have some rainy days here in Berlin. And that makes me even more hungry. I needed to go out for a bite! So I called my twinster Sophia (from INSEARCHOF) to have breakfast.
I have been following the Instagram Account from Keyser Soze since I moved to Berlin, and even though it is in Mitte, (not far away from my office) I never made it there.
I Found this place when I clicked on a hashtag about of one my favorite movies: The Usual Suspects. Keyser Söze was the main character and antagonist on that film. Who doesn't love Kevin Spacey on that roll? If you haven't seen that 1995 film, take the night off and watch it!
Lately, all breakfast places I have been going are gluten and lactose free, organic, vegan, blah blah. That is what it's trendy in Berlin at the moment. But as 90s the name Keyser Soze is, so it's their menu. Delicious traditional bread, fresh squeezed orange juice and huge platters of everything, from Brie to Nutella.
We were hungry, or at least our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. We order the 3-eggs scrambled eggs with bacon, orange juice and the MAXI breakfast: Emmental Cheese, Brie, Quark, Salami, Serrano Ham, Turkey Ham, Nutella, Marmelade, Vanilla Joghurt, Butter, Bread and Fruits.
It was a huge amount of food. What started as a breakfast, had to turn into brunch and into lunch. Outside was raining cats an dogs while we were watching the people walk in the rain listening to a very soothing playlist trying to finish all this food.
This place was exactly what I expected after seeing their instagram for months. And with awesome company and a great talk, was even more enjoyable. This 90s flair Café is definitely a place to give a try while you are in Mitte. And by checking other people's orders, the lunch menu looks very yummy as well.
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...