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Wine and Food

Alexander van Dülmen

Brawn, Restaurant, London

Brawn, Restaurant, London, England

6 points

London is probably one of those cities almost everyone has been to or still plans to get to at some point. As the capital of the United Kingdom, it is, on one hand, a very international and cosmopolitan city, while on the other hand, it is also the capital of England with strongly English roots– when London was a labor and workers’ town and not only the financial and international hotspot it is today. Right in the center, we mostly know the architecture of such rich, elegant and very wealthy areas as Belgravia – which are very beautiful, without a doubt. Fortunately, areas or districts are constantly developing into new centers of life, areas which were frowned upon twenty or ten years ago as neighborhoods of socially disadvantaged people or as areas in which it was simply unpleasant because of their lagging behind in the overall economic growth or development of the city.

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Jägerklause, Berlin

Jägerklause, Biergarten and Pub, Berlin, Germany

very bad

If you are good-looking and wearing a white shirt and you go to a beer garden with a wonderful female director in Berlin Friedrichshain, do not go into Jägerklausel.

If, however you want to meet frustrated pseudo-left arnachos whose latest self-discovery is a full-body tattoo and a whole toolbox of piercings in their face to distract from their fake, bad skin in her face or between her chin and dropping bosoms and who consider everyone useless except for themselves,

so, basically, if you want to experience embarrassing characters who serve lukewarm Löwenbräu and sell a lousy piece of meat as pork steak, who make fun of women, because they are stupid and don’t know that Berliner Pils is bitter and Heineken, the worst beer in the world, is sweet,

if you want to experience a Nazi war dog accompanied by an alleged anti-fascist puffing,

if you want to experience the escalation of Berlin BVG rudeness, if you want to observe seehoferische self-gloriousness in black hooded sweaters,

Then this is your place!

A self-proclaimed scenster place, but very embarrassing in real life. This is not a beer garden. Neither is it an animal garden, because zoo keepers treat their animals better than the egocentric Stalinist clique of the Jägerklausel treats their guests.

This is the most fucked-up place I have visited in Berlin in a very, very long!

Cuvée Hautes Terres, 2011, Chateau Fourcas Dupré

Cuvée Hautes Terres, 2011, Chateau Fourcas Dupré, Listrac Médoc, Bordeaux, red wine from France

2 points

It is perhaps easier to write about something beautiful, good, and tasty — because when you write about something ugly, bad, and inedible, you can be driven by anger. Anger in turn is not a good guide and of course not good for the nerves. Often you cannot change it anyway, because usually the cause of annoyance or anger is in the past. However, fuck it! Yesterday I was angry and before others do too, this short text may at least be a well-intentioned warning.

Last night I opened a Cuvée Hautes Terres 2011 of Cháteau Froureas Durpé. Not a special or well-known wine from Bordeaux. No idea, frankly, where I got this bottle from.

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Zibibbio in Pithos, COS, 2016

Zibibbio in Pithos, COS, 2016, white wine from Italy

7,5 points

Until now I have not written about COS, although I am a big fan of this winery. Not only because of the great wines of Azienda Agricola Cos, but also due to the presence of Joanna Dubrawska, who for many years was not only responsible for marketing and sales for COS but could also introduce wines in a very special way. She left COS a few months ago and is now working somewhere in France. Behind the winery are actually three founders, C. O. S. is a reference to their surnames.

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Seehaus, Inn, Fichtelberg

Seehaus, Inn, Fichtelberg, Germany

5 points

I am thankful that Elisabeth Burghardt (former Bartel) once again accepted my invitation to post another review on my blog (here first one is here: Panama, Restaurant, Berlin )

The Fichtelgebirge (Fichtel Mountains) is a fairly well known region in northern Bavaria, close to the Czech border. It’s an idyllic and remote area with breathtakingly beautiful woods where you walk on soft terrain, surrounded by nothing but the twittering of birds, the gurgling of a small stream and crisp fresh air. It’s a region that was once known for its mining industry (basalt, marble but also gold, tin and iron). Its massive granite rocks once left a deep impression on no less than Johann-Wolfgang von Goethe and even inspired him to an essay about the prehistoric rock (see quote below).

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Móra, Klinec, 2009

Móra, Klinec, Medana 1. Classe, 2009,  red wine from Slovenia

6,5 points

Here is a review about another wine from one of my favorite wine regions in Europe: Goriška Brda. In this rather small area, some of the most ambitious winemakers produce unique organic wines — recently I read someone calling this area the epicenter of organic wine-making. This description rings true. In addition to organic wine-making, many of the wineries also produce so-called orange wine.

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Jägerheim Ützdorf – Hotel & Restaurant Liepnitzsee, Ützdorf

Jägerheim Ützdorf – Hotel & Restaurant Liepnitzsee, Ützdorf, Germany

3,5 points

Berlin is surrounded by a region called Brandenburg. I wrote about it once already, please see this post: Philippsthal, Restaurant, Philippsthal. Brandenburg boasts beautiful nature but from a culinary perspective, it is somewhat barren. Because of the beauty of the land, it is certainly worth leaving Berlin once in a while to enjoy pure nature.

After a recent walk around the Liepnitzsee (a lake to the north of Berlin) I passed an inn with a very simply but plausible name: Hotel & Restaurant Liepnitzsee.

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Indian Accent, London

Indian Accent, Restaurant, London, United Kingdom

7 points

Given the lack of alternatives, some time ago I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Casa Enrique (Casa Enrique, Restaurant, Queens) in Queens, New York.  Even though I’m no big fan of Mexican cuisine, it turned out to be an unexpectedly great experience. When I was in London recently, I could have perhaps found some alternatives, but we ended up at an Indian restaurant — though I am also not a big fan of Indian cuisine. And? Indeed, it turned out to be fantastic. The same experience again, somehow.

It is a persevering cliché that food in England is bad. Isn’t there the famous joke: “What would be paradise in Europe? The Italians cooking, Germans constructing cars; British policing, the French making love, and Swiss organizing everything. But what would be the nightmare of Europe? The Swiss making love, the French building the cars, British doing the cooking, Germans as the police, and Italians organizing everything.” But the aforementioned cliché must have some basis. I guess if London weren’t so cosmopolitan, you would find far less interesting and inspiring food there. Actually, I am very seldom in London (unfortunately) but I have a few friends there who are fortunately into more than bad English beer and fish & chips afterwards. Those friends occasionally invite me for nice lunches or dinners, which by itself is a proof of friendship, considering the price of a meal in London. The prices are ridiculous! Food is expensive in the British capital – even if the pound went down due to the stupid Brexit idea.

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Omoni, Restaurant, Berlin

Omoni, Japanese Restaurant, Berlin, Germany

5,5 points

It’s not exactly news that one can always discover a great new place in Berlin — if one only searches. The press and the internet often outdo each other in reviewing the latest restaurants and bars, so I should probably refrain from writing about Berlin’s restaurants if I’m looking to get any attention with this blog. But since this is not my motivation in writing, I of course will continue to write about what I want, including interesting or less interesting places, also those in Berlin. And if I look at the stats of my blog, it always surprises me to see which articles are read more and which less. I don’t really see any particular logic behind it, since there aren’t subjects that would seem to connect the interest of the readers. So, it isn’t that the reports about wine necessarily have more readers than reviews about restaurants. If the place is rather unknown or not many people wrote about it before or posted about it on any social network, then it happens that my review appears among top 5 in google or other search engines. But again, this doesn’t mean so much, since my handful of reviews of Bordeaux wines are all pretty popular, although many reviewers have written about these same wines. The good thing about this realization is that you can just write about anything and if you do that — and make it entertaining enough, hopefully — you will find one reader or another. As said, I’d like to continue writing only about my personal and, thus, of course, subjective experiences and insights. Continue reading “Omoni, Restaurant, Berlin”

Kupra, 2008

Kupra, 2008, red wine from Italy

7 points

In June 2015 I wrote about Marco Casolanetti’s famous Kurni. If you are interested in Marco’s wine-making, and if you don’t know Kurni, please have a look here: Kurni, 2008

When I visited Marco – probably it is now perhaps even eight years ago – he also introduced me to his second wine, Kupra. Since he produces only 400 to 600 bottles of this wine per year, you would think that this is the little brother of Kurni, also because Kurni is so prominent. Actually, this would be wrong: first of all, Kupra is not made from Montepulciano, but rather from a grape called Bordò, a kind of a clone of Grenache. Secondly, it should be higher quality than Kurni, which is ambitious to say.

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Hutong Yakiniku – Bade Road Branch, BBQ Restaurant, Taipei

Hutong Yakiniku – Bade Road Branch, BBQ Restaurant, Taipei, Taiwan

6 points

So this time I’m talking about a restaurant in Taipei that I could actually eat at, and which I really liked. It’s called Hutong Yakiniku and is one of several in Taipei (and if I am not mistaken, there is a branch in Beijing, too) – the Bade Road Branch. Again, it is difficult to find references online in English; both the website (http://www.hutong.com.tw/store.php?cid=2&id=4) of the restaurant and the FB page are available exclusively in Taiwanese. Maybe it’s just out of western arrogance that I’d wish for broader language skills. Nevertheless, it is also curiosity, because the restaurant is absolutely recommendable.

I felt like eating meat that day, was tired of running around for hours, and was more in the mood to go to a non-experimental location, but one which still fit well with Taipei. In addition, one that was not too far away from my hotel (Artree Hotel), which I’ve already praised in a previous review.

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鷹流東京醬油拉麵蘭丸, Ramen Kitchen, Taipei

鷹流東京醬油拉麵蘭丸, Ramen Kitchen, Taipei, Taiwan

0 points

Taipei, a city many of us probably do not know. If not, then, forgive me. Anyway, I was unprepared for a stopover of three nights in the capital of Taiwan. Frankly I had no great expectations. Since my blog is not about traveling, but about wine and food, I will not go too far here, but I must say that my visit to Taipei really impressed me and therefore I’ll allow myself to share my impressions with some photos:

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