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Wine and Food

Alexander van Dülmen

Macelleria Popolare, Milan

Macelleria Popolare, Milan Street Food, Milan, Italy

5 points

valentina-lori-foto.1024x1024I am delighted to introduce you to another guest writer: Valentina Lori. She is born in Milan but lives since many years in Berlin. 

 

When I tell people I am from Milan, 90% of the time their reply is either, „Oh, I have never been there“ or „Oh, yes, I have been at the airport / at the station / on the freeway on the way to Florence / Rome / Liguria etc. “.

Fact is, Milano is not well known. It does not have the eternal appeal of Rome, the elegant charm of Florence or the unique beauty of Venice but it should not be underestimated. It is famous for its design and fashion industry but it has more to offer than fancy shops and a beautiful cathedral that took centuries to be completed. It has a few popular spots but also hidden treasures, unknown sometimes even to its citizens. It is also one of the very few cities in Italy where sometimes things really change.

Continue reading “Macelleria Popolare, Milan”

Jungbluth, Restaurant, Berlin

Jungbluth, Restaurant, Berlin, Germany

5,5 points

You won’t find all of Berlin’s best restaurants in the city’s center or only in trendy areas. The diversity and, in a certain sense, the attractiveness of particular parts of the city is reflected in their culinary possibilities, and this of course goes beyond Mitte and the West. I’ve already reviewed a few of these restaurants, for example „Bieberbau“ in Wilmersdorf (Bieberbau, Restaurant, Berlin).

Michelin bestows not only stars but also the Bib Gourmand Award disctinction. This happens to be a really good thing, and is given to restaurants whose culinary offering is solid and high quality, although not on the level of Michelin-starred places.

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And this is what brought the Michelin testers to try Jungblut, a restaurant located in Berlin-Steglitz. The fact that I was willing to go all the way to Steglitz for a restaurant should demonstrate the faith I have in their recommendations. I mean, no one really wants to go to Steglitz, though of course there are some lovely spots there, as in every other part of Berlin.  Excluding, of course, Spandau!

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Nhà hàng Khám Phá Việt, Restaurant, Sapa

Nhà hàng Khám Phá Việt, Restaurant, Sapa, Vietnam

4 points

Nhiem, my Vietnamese friend and partner, has once again tested me. The Meos or Hmongs, the minorities from Vietnamese mountain town Sapa, have their own traditional dishes, as do all of us.

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There is a kind of cooking element on your table, fired by gas, in which broth gets heated. This broth is made out of horse meat, bones etc. – containing horse innards and congealed horse blood. The broth is precooked and added to the pot at the beginning. Continue reading “Nhà hàng Khám Phá Việt, Restaurant, Sapa”

Weinbar Rutz, Restaurant, Berlin (3rd review)

Weinbar Rutz, Restaurant, Berlin, Germany

8 points

There’s really not much more for me write about Marco Müller and his restaurant Weinbar Rutz in Berlin? Or is there?

Last November, Rutz joined the very exclusive circle of Michelin two-star restaurants in Berlin – and with that, Marco is to be counted among the best chefs in Germany. I recently tasted his current menu and am, once again, as enthusiastic about his culinary artistry as I am impressed by his enthralling creations. He certainly engages with the “regional” trend, while managing to avoid the excessive dogmatism of some others in Berlin, such as Einsunternull (Einsunternull, Restaurant, Berlin) – right around the corner.

Continue reading “Weinbar Rutz, Restaurant, Berlin (3rd review)”

Panama, Restaurant, Berlin

Panama, Restaurant, Berlin, Germany

6,5 points

6 points by Alexander van Dülmen

IMG-20170509-WA0001I am pleased that my friend and acclaimed script-writer Elisabeth Bartel accepted my invitation not only for a dinner at Panama but also to write her first review on my blog. 

Working on a screenplay with the word “Panama” in the title, it was kind of obvious that “Panama”, a fairly new restaurant in Berlin’s center, would be the ideal fit for dinner. Already when you enter the enchanted back yard, off a busy stretch of Potsdamer Straße, you feel you have come to a special place. We were lead to the second floor, which houses the main part of the mid-size restaurant with the half-open kitchen behind large glass windows. The atmosphere is bright and easy going but also quite loud, catering to a younger, international crowd.

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Brunello di Montalcino – Madonna del Piano, 1993

Brunello di Montalcino – Madonna del Piano, Valdicava da Vincenzo Abbruzzese, 1993, Red wine from Italy

7 points

Drinking wine, enjoying wine is so often also an emotional experience. Particularly if it’s a good wine! There are these special moments in life when you know afterwards why life is so beautiful, sometimes so grandiose …. Berlin, one of “the” towns of the world, Friday night, finishing work late, hungry for a “platform” for the transition from a heavy working week to a weekend! Relaxation is needed, but you cannot simply decree this to yourself. Too hyper to sleep, but also too tired to sleep.

Music is another element of emotional cognition. Friendship, too. On a recent Friday night, I rang the bell of Nobelhart & Schmutzig after midnight – a nice welcome, without any attitude like “hey, we are just cleaning up, almost closed, it’s “nice” to see you, but…”. Crossed the cleaned public kitchen area, seated at the bar next to Billy, who asked what I would like. Red. I got Adrianna Occhipinti. Sicilian wine. Wine experts among readers know it, and probably also know that this is a very good wine. I need to write about it, as this is also one of my favorite Italian winemakers. More importantly, someone tries to describe your sentiment, combines it with their own, the wine is in the bottle, and it smells delicious – although you already know it, or is it because you know it?

The restaurant is almost shut down for the night, the rest of the staff leaving, saying good night. Reduced light, the blue reflection of the screen of your friend’s laptop and – excellent music! A conversation among friends is never something about only one subject but so many at the time. A mixture of private, professional, daily, but also long-term things, all at once, slowed down by every sip of wine.

Continue reading “Brunello di Montalcino – Madonna del Piano, 1993”

Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru, Nicolas Potel, 1999

Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru, Nicolas Potel, 1999, Red wine from France

7 points

For starters, here’s a link to my review of another Pinot Noir from Nicolas Potel – Clos Vouget Grand Cru, 1997: Clos Vougeot Grand Cru, Nicolas Potel, 1997. If you like, please read this review, perhaps even first, because I wrote about Nicolas Potel, his wine-making philosophy, and the area. So I won’t repeat all of that here.

This particular wine of his is from 1999 and comes from vineyards of the area in northern Burgundy called Gevrey-Chambertin, so, still very much in the middle of famous Burgundy wine region. Continue reading “Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru, Nicolas Potel, 1999”

Augustiner Klosterwirt, Gasthaus (Restaurant) München

Gasthaus / Restaurant Klosterwirt, München, Germany

Points 5,5

There are days when you just want  a nice Currywurst or a Doner, but not a great dinner at a Michelin star restaurant. Food depends on mood, as does what we drink, in many cases. Right after a satisfying soccer game played by my team, FC Bayern München, a friend invited me to a classic Munich Gasthaus: Augustiner Klosterwirt, right near Munich’s landmark Frauenkirche. This was a nice choice on his part: the mood of the place is very busy, almost like in a beer hall, but with excellent, fast service and perfect quality. Since my visit to Munich was at the right time, we had so-called Starkbier (according to leo.org the best translation aside from strong beer seems to be stout), a dark beer containing more wort and alcohol than usual. There are officially two weeks of Starkbierzeit – so two weeks of stout – during that time, Munich brewers offers this special beer; something very Bavarian if not very specific to Munich. These two weeks are not always the same two weeks every year – all linked to the catholic “Josefitag” – a day in honor of St. Josef, the husband of virgin Maria, mother of Jesus. Continue reading “Augustiner Klosterwirt, Gasthaus (Restaurant) München”

Mayacamas, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1979

Mayacama, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1979, Red wine from USA

7,5 points

The first thing my friend Grant said was that he doesn’t really like Cabernet Sauvignon and, in particular, the ones from California. The second thing he did was to put a bottle of a Cabernet Sauvignon of Mayacamas on the table. When I saw the vintage, I piped down for a moment: 1979. He had opened the bottle some hours before, so it had enough time to breathe.

I have never had such an old American wine. I also think that Californian Cabernet Sauvignon is vastly overestimated and certainly much too expensive. Most of the time, these wines are too heavy, too fruity, too oaky – plump and show-off wines. Continue reading “Mayacamas, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1979”

Bandol sur Mer, Restaurant, Berlin

Bandol sur Mer, Restaurant, Berlin, Germany

7 points

In German, we have the word „Kulinarik“. The German language contains so many substantives that describe a very specific thing very precisely. Translating this word into English is a challenge, and I am curious to know how any reader of this blog who speaks German and English would translate it. According to leo.org, one of the best online dictionaries, I should use the term “culinary art”. Although I don’t really think that this is a correct description of my understanding of “Kulinarik”, I like very much that it connects it with art. This said, Berlin’s Kulinarik has such great variety, incomparable with many other places in the world. Perhaps only New York and Chicago. A Michelin star punk restaurant, probably possible only in Berlin!

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Sushi Girl, Street Food, Hanalei

Sushi Girl, Hanalei, Kauai, USA

5 points

This Sushi place really represents the attitude toward life in the northern part of Hawaii’s greenest island Kauai. Chilled, relaxed, stress-free and unbelievably friendly. The real Sushi Girl is Taylor Lowe who runs this very tiny place, which is listed in many guides and has an impressive internet presence. Actually, there aren’t even many restaurants, food shops, or fast food places between Hanalei and Wainiha, the last housing estate before the Hanea State Park and the start of famous Kalalau Trail. You either own or rent a house in this area – most  people are there on vacation – or else you pass the place on your way along the northern coast of Kauai.

DSC_0479.JPG Continue reading “Sushi Girl, Street Food, Hanalei”

Melisse, Restaurant, Santa Monica

Melisse, Restaurant, Santa Monica, USA

7 points

Let me begin with perhaps an unfair quote: This restaurant is cursedly expensive. This is quite a controversial statement since passionate chefs, engaged restaurant entrepreneurs, and audacious sommeliers all have to calculate very carefully: top quality, super fresh, preferably organic vegetables, fish, seafood, meat and other ingredients, and exotic or rare fruits. Regional does not automatically mean less expensive, since the work and desire of farmers, fishermen, and cultivators is the same almost everywhere on the planet. Raising organic shrimp in Vietnam is probably cheaper than in Louisiana – but causes pollution due to long transport distances. And how many hours does a chef spend just on thinking, testing, and creating a new dish? And to what end? Isn’t it well known that salaries in the field of gastronomy are rather low? In the US, tips are a crucial part of the income of any server.

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