When I think back on our weekend at Kaiserslodge, the first word that comes to mind is "details." The Kaiserlodge is the most detail-oriented hotel I have been in for a long time.
The trip to Austria was very relaxed. We took a direct train from Zürich, and they even had a family wagon with kids cinema. In about 4.5 hours, we were in the tiny station of Kufstein and after a quick taxi drive, in Kaiserlodge. To give you a rough idea where it is, in between Munich, Salzburg, and Innsbruck.
This luxurious "nature hotel" looks like a huge beautiful cottage. That is exactly what it resembled from outside: a charming cottage. All constructed in the traditional Tirol way and with a form similar to the mountains in the background. As soon as you get in the smell slaps you in the face, a good slap! It smells like different kinds of trees. Most of the hotel is wood, and you can smell it. It is like being at a sauna and a Forest at the same time.
Once we checked in, we proceeded to our suite. It was prettier than my flat, to be honest. It had a living-dining room with a kitchenette and a terrace on the first floor and two bedrooms upstairs with their own bathrooms.
The rooms we suited for families or couples. One room had a huge bed where we could sleep the three of us and had an extra bed with a room separator, and the other room had a big bed and a bunk bed so that you could fit about eight people... just like a small cottage.
The terrace was one of the highlights for us. We love water, and all suites have a terrace with access to the outdoors lake. Yes, it was raining, but thank god we aren’t made of cotton candy. We both enjoyed dipping to the lake even if it felt like it was freezing that day.
We were there on a rainy autumn weekend. Typically on a weekend like that is is hard to find a place to have fun indoors and outdoors and less with a toddler and a newborn, but Kaiserlodge made it possible.
We watched the rainbows after meditation yoga and laughed out asses off while making pictures infront of the rainy mountains
Kaiserlodge is quite young. Just celebrated its 2nd birthday on October 14th, and it’s the baby project of Kaiser, the oldest hotel from the same owner that is right next to Kaiserlodge. You can actually walk from one hotel to the next and use their facilities. I loved to walk around and see some unique stuff, like the halls filled with pictures of recurrent guests or the handprints of the kids that stayed at their kid's club.
The kids club! Most parents love the kids' clubs. I am pretty ambiguous in my feelings about them. I feel quite guilty about leaving Pepa in some of them. Sometimes they seem too small, or I feel it is a pity to be indoors with strange people with not much to do but sit and watch tv.
But once I saw the program and facilities of Kaiserlodges kids club, I was dying to let Pepa try it and spend some relaxed time together with Otis.
It was adventure pure. Remember it was raining, so most outdoors activities were off for kids, but indoors was just as good. They had a full area for climbing and jumping and discovering, a big kids cinema with great films going all day long and an activity area with all the tools you can imagine to have fun: face painting, reading, creating stuff and more. Pepa was so happy that she didn’t want to leave after the 2 hours I planned for her to be there... I lost her to their great kid's club, and it didn’t feel bad at all! This playground was made in cooperation with Wehrfritz / HABA.
We had a great itinerary planned as an after Oktoberfest detox: First, we started with some "breath walk" with Fateh Singh. Breathing and walking comprise two of our simplest activities, yet they are also two of our most powerful actions. By bringing them together in a systematic and meditative way, we can enhance our physical, emotional, and Spiritual Fitness.
It is a training method from Kundalini yoga. We walked through the forest, learning how to breathe and walk, being aware of our bodies and our movements. A bit harder than it sounds and very relaxing. The bit of rain made it even more magical to walk in the mostly forest.
We tried the Wellness Trend: Forest Bathing. This is known to the Japanese as shinrin-yoku. Shinrin in Japanese means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” So shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses.
Laura Keuthen was our leader through the Woods. Don’t think this is exercise, or hiking, or jogging. It is simply being in nature, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world. What helps us being healthy and happy. No pictures of this as you aren’t supposed to have a phone or camera with you.
The third seminar was "healing with herbs" with Gerti. We discovered the different healing properties of herbs and natural products. We started making the fastest bread with sweet bread clover. Pepa loved being able to mix and make buns before heading again to the kids club for their night program.
We learned how lemon, quark, bicarb and sauerkraut can help to heal your intestines when you have celiac disease and that Curcuma and bicarb can help with cancer. We all prepared stuff together and ate it afterward. Very rewarding and very detoxing.
What was very relaxing and detoxing was their spa area. I fell in love with the indoors/ outdoors pool overlooking the Austrian mountains. It was hot and steamy inside, and I got Otis butt naked and enjoyed the beach weather.
You can see how relaxed he was once we got inside. Pepa found some four-year-olds, and they were swimming from the inside to the outside pool back and forth.
I was enjoying fresh detoxing teas on my chase long with Otis on my chest, sleeping, and watching nature. Can this be more relaxing? No.
But can I finish this post without talking about food? Never! The food at Kaiserlodge was tremendous, and they were very flexible. The first night was vegan food planned, but as you may know, I am on the keto diet, and I have celiac disease. They managed to bring me some great pork medallions with salad in no time, Pepa got this beautiful dessert plate, and we both enjoyed the seasonal pumpkin cream that was delicious. Pepa’s risotto and amuse bouche was terrific.
Pepa’s risotto and amuse Boucher was terrific. The second night during the herbs seminar, she was feeling like her favorite sandwich, and they went to the kitchen and made that avocado cheese and mayo sandwich. She was so happy about it. What a service!
But for me the best was breakfast. You can cross the things you want to eat just like in Transit, remember? Or order a full breakfast, like this emperors breakfast (with it the mimosa as I was on the detox) what a treat! Can I get this served every weekend at home?
All together this place was the best getaway for a Fall Weekend, Pepa didn’t miss the outdoors as we went for walks on the Forest and had fun at the awesome kids club.
In winter, you can rent equipment even for kids, and if it doesn’t fit properly, you can change it down at the slopes. I can totally imagine coming for a cross-country weekend with the kids, and in summer, it must be beautiful as well.
Finally my Barcelona blog post online. As I don’t like talking wrong about people, I will say most of my pictures were “lost.” So after gathering some of the images, I downloaded to my Mac, iPhone pictures and some other ones I got back. I finally finished this.
Last year I needed a vacation. So why not Barcelona? Haven't been there since I became a mom, love their food, and they happen to speak one of my mother languages. But to be honest, I was a bit skeptic about being in my old "Party Town" with a toddler. We were invited to spend some days at Barceló Raval. It is a beautiful and centric hotel in Barcelona filled with art, elegant interior and the most beautiful (sexy) light for selfies or bed games if you are not traveling alone ;)
The cool thing about the location of this hotel is that you can walk around the city and leave your car parked. As a celiac, it is always hard to travel. Many countries have no gluten-free alternatives (Sorry France for bashing you), But Barcelona was a tremendous Gluten-free destination.
From small stores full of fresh fruit to huge markets offering cured meats, and seafood. A paradise for Gluten intolerants. Of course, you can have bread, but who needs this when you can have oysters with Cava and Ibérico with cheese?
I love traveling off-season. In October it was like Norwegian Summer, some days were pretty hot, but in the mornings a trench was needed. Here you can see Pepa early in the morning wearing a Mint & Berry Trenchcoat, Tiny Cottons t-shirt, Zara kids Jeans, Adidas Stan Smith kicks and Acne Studios beanie at 7 am. And before we were wearing shorts and sandals.
My favorite breakfast/brunch place was Caravelle: A very cool and Scandinavian style place that serves fantastic coffee. It was so good; we went there two times. They have a large gluten-free selection — for example this tortilla staple with poached eggs and avocado.
Or these "sunny side up" fried eggs with mushrooms and avocado. All eggs were on point and the second time around I had the Spanish breakfast that had pork with pork and a side of pork :)
Walking around Barcelona was fun. No need to move too much, and for a two-year-old, it was quite ok. The narrow streets and balconies are a must-see. Pepa was wearing a jumper from 1+family, a Nike jacket and Suicoke Sandals with Hipsterkid sunglasses.
Pepa wears a "coord" tank top and shorts from Gray Label, Nike jacket Socks with Adidas Stan Smith sneakers.
Another place I enjoyed wasDüal Café. A tiny spot next to the market hall. They had as well many gluten-free things (if you aren’t vegan) like this tortilla with mushrooms and tomatoes or a massive amount of delicious Iberico ham with a poached egg with hollandaise sauce.
After a great breakfast and walk, we needed a Mom-Daughter nap, but first some time at Barceló Raval´s terrace, they have an incredible 360° view terrace, and you can see the whole Barcelona from up there while tanning or cooling down in the pool. At night, that terrace turns into a hot summer party with live music and cocktails.
At Barceló they have a great gluten-free selection at breakfast and in the evening as well. They made the whole dinner gluten-free. Starting with some bubbles and cheese chips, Toast with hummus, patatas bravas, and zucchini rolls deliciously filled.
For the mains, fish with steamed veggies and for me a tender beef with sauce over mashed potatoes, I was not missing gluten at all!
A must do for someone that hasn’t been in Barcelona yet or if you are traveling with kids is go to Barcelonetta beach and enjoy the view while sipping Sangria and eating some mussels. Be sure to ask if they come with flour cause some of them do. Some Patatas Bravas are always welcome as well.
There is a fair as well, where kids can do some bungee, drive cars and do some vehicle crashing or drive on the Ferris wheel. I always have loads of fun and Pepa had a blast.
Pepa wears jumper from and hat from MarMar, I wore: Do nothing club shirt, vintage shorts, bag from Ebeth and sunglasses from Ace & Tate, and my favorite fun lipstick from MAC: Ruby Woo.
One of the things I like about Barcelona is that you can take the car and drive around, finding beaches and small towns and that is what we did. We saw beautiful beaches and hidden pearls when we decided to drive up north along the coast.
Most places were closed because it was off-season, but at least one restaurant per beach was open. They were very friendly about me not eating gluten and added extra eggs or meat. I didn't felt bad or left out because of gluten.
My tiny mermaid loves water so much that she was in every beach, pond or swimming pool wearing swimming diapers you can find at every supermarket in Barcelona or with her favorite bathing coord suit from Tiny Cottons with SPF 50 protection we got from Littlehipstar. The flamingo was from the store next to the beach in Lloret de Mar.
If you follow me on Instagram, you could have seen some outtakes of the trip and videos like this one. Yes, I was in love with this oversized T-shirt from On vacation club, I wore it almost every day as a dress or at the beach. Hooray for huge shirts.
I will return to Barcelona for sure. It is very celiac welcoming and kids friendly, the off-season is my favorite season as it isn’t full of cars and tourists, but you can still enjoy the warm weather and beaches.
Last month I was invited to fly to Bordeaux for a weekend to eat delicious food and drink all those amazing wines from the Bordeaux region. The dream trip. I love food and wine... and escaping to a warm place was just the best thing to do in September.
It all started with a group of influencers, a VW vintage Bully and a super cute small villa in Arcachon. I was the designated driver, and my passengers were @Frances, @oh_wunderbar, @marrykotter, and my bestie: @travelettes's Katja. We used the hashtag #ohlalabordeaux during the trip, so our Instagram followers would see everything we were doing.
We arrived at the house and were greeted with Château Favory bubbles and finger food that we enjoyed on the porch talking about our itinerary. The first stop was the famous restaurant La Co(o)rniche that stands high up a mountain and lets you see the beautiful sunset while dining on their terrace.
We talked a lot about wines and women in the wine world. While I was enjoying the marvelous tuna tataki, I got to learn so many things about Bordeaux Wines. They help and support vineyards owned by women as they bring some new things to the table. This made me extremely happy as Calon Segur makes one of my favorite wines. Calon Segur is from Bordeaux and owned by a woman. We were sipping Le G from Château Guiraud. when my big mouth-watering Entrêcote came to the table.
A beautiful evening in a wonderful location, enjoying delicious food and wine. We went back home and slept some, as the next day was going to be packed, starting with a trip to the Atlantic Ocean.
This wooden beauty was waiting for us in Cap Ferret. The boat came with a skipper, So I could enjoy all the wine ;) I needed some wine as I had huge parking problem as I didn't notice the Bully was over 2 meters. Thank god for all the "patient" Frenchmen that allowed me to drive backwards from a garage house on a one-way street... eiiiither waaay, back to the trip!
We did a tour, starting with some food at Le Monte à Bord where we had fresh and awesome seafood with pate and bread. Yes! is the only things they served. We washed it down with some cold and refreshing Bordeaux White Wines. This charming restaurant is directly on the beach and owned by 2 generations of super handsome men. Did I mention the Oysters??? I think I almost ate them all! (Sorry Girls)
After food and drinks, we jumped back to our little boat and headed to see the Europes biggest dune: Dune du Pilat. And we did some sunbathing and had some nice rosé wines while the girls had some Canelés.. sadly still no Gluten Free version of those.
After all that fun, and some shopping in Arcachon, we went home got a shower an drove to our next dinner. It was again on the beach, Pereire. But actually, we were going to dine with our feet on the sand! We arrived just on time to see the sunset while having some delicious white and rosés at Club Plage Pereire.
It got pretty fast very dark, So excuse me for not making any more pictures... And after all, enjoying the breeze while having wine and steak tartare and talking with the girls was a bit funnier than trying to get a picture of the plates.
After the dinner and spending all day on the sea, we drove straight back home and couldn't wait until next day... something about a tree, picnic, and wine...
We arrived at Château de Cerons after a very "curvy" way... French people like those roundabouts... but when you are driving a vintage car, it's workout.
What a beautiful place! Château de Cérons is a magnificent 17th-century manor house surrounded by vines, as well as the old barrel cellar and new winemaking facility. During the tour, I learned that they are testing on something I saw in a visit to Bornholm. As Bornholms-ismejeri is using algae to substitute egg, Château de Cerons is trying to replace eggs for algae during the clarification process and removing tannins. Isn't that incredible?
When the sun cleared out, we had a small "picnic" on their gardens. We ate foie gras, duck pâté, black olive “tapenade” and cheese (loads of amazing cheese) and of course got to taste 3 of their best wines as well.
Funny fact, the owners of the vineyard, were friend of my neighbors in Oslo... it seem all those Pascal I met in Oslo knew this great hosts!
But even good things have to come to an end, we jumped on the Bully (called Jean Pierre) and drove to the next exciting experience: Wine tasting on a tree!
In Château Rayne Vigneau, a first-class vineyard in Sauternes, you can taste wine in an unexpected and at the same time adventurous way in a 200 years old and 4 floors high cedar tree. But do not worry, you do not have to single-handedly climb the trunk. At least that is what we heard... But our image of being lifted up to a tree to taste some wine was sooooo far away from reality.
You actually have to climb all the way up. Sadly we were not really dressed for the occasion: sandals and dresses instead of sneakers and jeans. We all tried. We lost 4 women on our journey and I was the only one that actually made it to the top.
For sure, it is a little workout for the limbs, but the slight tremor in the legs is blown away, with the first sip of wine. Once I got to the treetop, a fine Sauternes, the famous sweet wine from Bordeaux, was waiting for me. Sorry, I lost the girls, but hey! I got to enjoy a private testing with Vincent while looking at the Château and the unique view of the surrounding vineyards. I was the 301st person to Climb Arséne, the tree.
We went for a shower and I needed some band aids for all the climbing blisters. We jumped back in Jean Pierre and drove all the way to Château Bessan where you can find La Cabane dans les Vignes. A beautiful location for our last night. It is a small wooden cottage in the middle of the vineyard.
We arrived just in time to see our third and last sunset in Bordeaux. We enjoyed the sun while drinking diverse wines and bubbles. We had some finger food until it was dark.
They prepared a candlelight dinner for us and we ended up talking for hours about wine and Bordeaux. Did I mention they showed us the coolest video ever??? Mathieu actually took his friends and they all got to surf the river while drinking their new wine called Mascaret (The Wave) Watch the video here.
Thanks, Bordeaux Weine for such an incredible weekend, full of new experiences. Made some new friends, drunk a lot of delicious wine, got to eat a lot of amazing food, drove a vintage VW Bully... climbed a tree, made an awesome "flying" picture... What a great experience! Thanks again!
If you missed the stories I made during the trip, just go to my instagram (follow me if you don't) and check on my saved stories under the name #ohlalabordeaux.
I missed this year's Food Zürich because I was too busy with a restaurant curation, So I got a super cool #Zuerifoodbox from Visit Zürich to feel a bit better. Check the end of the blog post to see what was in the box or just start following my insta stories :)
I was so surprised to see that many of the Zürich recipes are actually gluten-free or easily transformed into celiac-safe recipes. Like the Zürcher Geschnetzeltes. I just changed the spoon of flour for a spoon of gluten-free flour and voila! Zürich at my dinner table.
I used my own Rösti Recipe to serve with this recipe from the legendary Restaurant Kronhalle... But I might try their Rösti recipe soon, they use cooked potatoes instead of raw ones.
Ingredients: (4 people)
800 gr. Veal fillet, cut into finger-wide strips
Salt and pepper to season the meat
2 shalotts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
100 gr of mushrooms (white and brown), sliced
1 tbsp flour
100ml white wine (dry)
100ml brown gravy
salt pepper, cayenne, little cognac at will
1 kg potatoes
Salt and Pepper
Warm your oven to 50C and start peeling your potatoes, then grate them with coarse part of your grater. Try not to get your fingers caught there... Once you are done with that, press the water off them and leave the potatoes in a sieve and let it sit.
The main thing about cooking a great dish is to buy great ingredients. Like this veal came from a trusted butcher and you should always check for quality for a better taste.
Sauté the meat briefly in butter, season and put on a sieve. Collect the leaking meat juice. Keep the meat warm.
Press the potatoes again with your hands and let it rest again.
Start frying your Rösti and pour yourself some wine. Cooking is better when you are drinking wine. You can save the Rösti in a form and leave it in the oven to keep them hot.
For the sauce, sauté the chopped shallots in butter, add the sliced mushrooms, continue to simmer and season with salt and pepper.
Dust with the flour and deglaze with white wine. Mix well. Fill up with the bouillon and gravy, add the meat juice, simmer for about 15 minutes on small fire.
Add the cream. Simmer again briefly, puree with the stick blender and then pass through a sieve. With cayenne pepper, and add cognac until it tastes good for you. Incorporate the meat in the sauce.
In a deep plate, add the Rösti, cover with the Geschnetzeltes and sprinkle with some green herbs and enjoy with dry wine.
I can't wait to go back top Zürich for the next food and try some more classic Zürich, some experimental like the Insects Essento Dinner I was last year or try another Michelin Restaurant like the awesome Ecco.
Pictures by Christian Mentzel
Post and Styling by Me
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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
Since a couple of months, it is legal and possible to buy insects for food in Zwitzerland. You can actually jump into a supermarket and buy some mealworm patties or locust falafel. Can you imagine?
Some years ago, when I went to the famous NOMA restaurant in Copenhagen, I had the pleasure to eat ants and crickets, So I am ok about eating bugs.. yeah BUGS!
I was invited by Visit Zürich to their food week called Food Zürich. And one of the events I signed up for was the "Essento Dinner - Insekten Genuss" by Pfefferbeere. An Insects Dinner, A full 5 course dinner just using insects. That sounds exciting, right?
The dinner was in a beautiful building, looked like we were in the theater backstage: Raw walls, props, paintings. A very used Atelier. Beautiful.
Waiting for us was a table serving Marius Blanco 2016 and 3 kinds of insects: Mealworms with salt, crickets and locust with curry powder. They were exquisite and super crunchy. like chips or popcorn.
It was an open kitchen, so we could see the guys from Pfefferbeeren work. The first course was pickled quail egg with mealworm "soil", watercress and balsamic pearls. It was a perfect combination of soft and crunchy. The soil was delicious, but it was weird to see the little parts of the worms while eating them. Still, mouth-watering.
Our Sommelier of the evening, Thierry, paired this dish with a swiss wine Chasselas Cru de Champrevéyres, Neuchâtel. Delicately fruity, flowery and silky.
While we were finishing our wine, the kitchen was already busy. They were making little nests that would hold the mealworm and locust soup and next to it, the black mealworm panisse over rape butter. This was absolutely my favorite dish of the evening. The little "brownies" were salty and crunchy outside and soft like melted cheese inside. I wish i had a bucket full of those while watching a movie... just WOW.
We had the same wine as pairing, the sommelier chose this wine because it is so versatile that fits this two courses. a really good match.
And now... There was loads of smoke coming from the plating table. I had to run quickly there to see the magic happening. It reminded me the time I had dinner at the chefs table in Maaemo. loads of Nitrogen making a thick mysterious mist.
This course was kohlrabi ravioli filled with peas cricket and a forest berries gel. I loved the idea of not using pasta to make this ravioli. I will definitely try to recreate this at home. Stay tuned!
The wine pairing for this course was Tremenda from Alicante. Beautiful wine, intensive, with a hint of berries... very elegant.
Some logs starting to arrive and the kitchen was filled with rosemary scent. The grilled locust pinchos were sticking of the logs. There were 3 kinds of beauties: BBQ, Tahini and rosemary. My fave was BBQ. On the side: rosemary potato boats, hazelnut-mayo-salsa and quark. They were served all together in the table, so I am showing you the potato boats still in the pan ;)
The wine of choice was a Petit Verdot from Alicante as well, a strong and intensive wine. My favorite of the night. you could taste a flavour of dark berries in this one.
The cooks started looking like mad scientists and it was time for dessert. Nitrogen clouds started filling the room and we all started making pictures, videos, instagram stories and just going Ohhh-Ahhh. This was ice cream in the making.
Meanwhile the Barolo di Villa a very sweet but delish Recioto della Valpolicella appeared in the table and we couldn't wait for the dessert. It was a brownie with flower pollen and mealworms with a cricket covered in caramel on top. A mealworm-nut ice cream next to it. When we turned around there was spider webs made out of cotton candy and sweet crunchy locusts where hanging from them.
A delicious perfect evening that wasn't missing meat, it tasted marvellous and even tho it was weird to see little legs and heads, it was adventurous and exciting. I cant wait until there is legal to buy insects in Germany.
Thanks again Visit Zurich for let me be part of this gorgeous event!
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?
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...