11/20/18 – Budapest – Onyx

Dinner at Onyx is a perfect 2 michelin star experience. Service was very welcoming and friendly despite the fairly formal space and all dishes quite good. The bread basket is perhaps the best one I’ve had and its truly a shame that I couldn’t put more of a dent in it. Definitely a do not miss when in Budapest.

water buffalo tartare, shallot, mushroom

goose liver, coffee, almond

catfish, bacon, fish soup

oxtail consomme

venison “montage,” duck ravioli, celeriac, chervil

turo rudi, forest fruits

Stockholm – 6/28/18 – Mathias Dahlgren & Gastrologik

Mathias Dahlgren
During the day this space in the Grand Hotel is absolutely lovely and makes for a quite perfect lunch stop.  It is pricey but every dish was fantastic and it was very hard to choose what to order.

raw marinated pike-perch & pine nuts, trout roe, orange, lemon verbena

steamed bun “pork adobo,” pickled cucumber, coriander, pepper

green peas & roasted cauliflower, pickled garlic, rye bread, lime

With very limited time I had a very difficult time trying to narrow down where I wanted to dine in Stockholm.  This was the opening I debated for a while and can’t imagine having missed Gastrologik.

tunnbrod with smoked perch

summer onion and rakfisk

chicken liver, apple and meringue

grass kelp with truffle algaes

seasonal greenery with last winter’s smoked cod roe

knackebrod made with Warbrokvarn spelt with lovage ‘margarine’

karintorp tomatoes with mates herring, sour cream and pine shoot oil

raw shrimp from Smogen with radishes and horseradish

soured vegetables, daikon, black currant leaves and maritime flavours

smoked mackerel from Smogen with cucumber, unripe gooseberries and angelica

Zander’s cheek with peas and white asparagus porridge

Lettuce from Karshamra farm with grilled butter

Breast, thigh and stomach of corn-fed duck from Munka-Ljungby with rhubarb

Elderflower with frozen yoghurt and cucumber

Frozen sorrel with cream and parsley


“Sandkaka’ with currant leaves and early summer blossoms

White asparagus tart with honey

NYC – 3/25/17 – Marea & Momofuku Nishi

So many years later still a standby and one of my favorite midtown lunch stops.  It is a bit scary to think about how much of the fusilli I have eaten in my lifetime!

polipo – grilled octopus, smoked potatoes, pickled red onion, radish, chilies, tonnato

fusilli – durum wheat pasta, red wine braised octopus, bone marrow


Momofuku Nishi

If only I could now transport Nishi to my new neighborhood on the west coast.  It quickly became one of my favorites in NYC.  Service has often been spotty and on this particular visit it took me an entire course to get our server’s attention to order another drink.  But the food somehow always trumps the less than perfect service and I continue to return. Plus finding a penicillin on a cocktail list is reason enough to visit.


diver scallops – shio kombu, tiger’s milk, cucumber

romaine – walnut bagna cauda

beets & avocado – shiro shoya, quinoa, chia seeds

squash pancake & onion vinegar

roasted pork – brussels sprouts, barley miso

pound cake

NYC – 12/30/16 – Momofuku Ko truffle dinner

One of my earliest NYC food memories is of the wonderful truffle tasting menu at old Alain Ducasse at the Essex House.  At the time I couldn’t afford these types of experiences.  But I am blessed to have an aunt & uncle who prefer French restaurants and every time they came to town would invite me to dinner.  I am often asked how I got so into food.  I attribute it partially to the endless hours that I watched the Food Network in its early years.   But my love for fine dining came from these visits to places like Alain Ducasse, Bouley, and Daniel.

Anyway I have been a complete sucker for truffles ever since.  So there is just no way this could have been anything other than fantastic.  It is difficult to pick favorite courses in this amazing menu by Sean Gray (but I would certainly love if the honeynut squash made a reappearance next winter).  Excellent wine pairings from Chase Sinzer and service from the rest of the Ko team.  I wish I could do this one all over again. ❤

chicken oyster – montepulciano white

lobster – mornay, aragon black

otoro – scallion, dashi

scallop – sunchoke, aragon black

honeynut squash – benton’s ham, aragon black

royale – foie gras, naked pruner, montepulciano white

king crab – tofu, montepulciano white

madai – sweetbreads, aragon black, shellfish

dry aged beef – aragon black, lettuce


buckwheat waffle – montepulciano white, vanilla ice cream

Hozon blondie to go

NYC – 12/7/16 – Momofuku Ko

Ko continues to be my favorite restaurant in New York and the one always at the top of my list of recommendations for foodie friends from out of town.  I have stopped including in this blog my many visits for the shorter bar menu otherwise you may tire of these posts, but this trip was for the full menu.  I am still trying to figure out why I like the sea urchin-chickpea dish so much considering I dislike urchin and have texture issues so that this dish on paper is something I wouldn’t even want to try.  After much contemplation I think that the olive oil is the magic component.  The ko egg will never ever get old.  Of the new-to-me dishes on this menu it was a tie for my favorite between the sweet potato-brown butter and beef-au poivre.  If you haven’t been yet, GO.

pomme souffle

lobster paloise

chicken oyster

blackfish – barrel aged bonji

sea urchin – chickpea, hozon

ko egg – caviar

sweet potato – brown butter

beef – au poivre

razor clam – pineapple, basil

bouillabaisse – potato, saffron

duck – squash

foie gras – lychee, pine nut, riesling jelly

wild rice – kombu

melon – honey, mint

Bordeaux – 10/28/16 – Chateau Cordeillan-Bages

A somewhat last minute lunch in an absolutely beautiful setting on a gorgeous day.  This was one of the sometimes rare moments when you realize that life is very good.  I loved the contrast in textures in many of the courses, especially the foie and the lobster.  The cheese cart was as lovely as can be expected.  And the mignardise cart was amazing.  All of the caneles please!


Butter selection

Monkfish carpaccio, tartare of Medoc oysters and Aquitaine caviar

Warm foie gras in a cereal crust and fig sorbet

Toasted seaweed bread and thinly sliced cuttlefish, roasted sesame seeds broth

Blue lobster roasted with oregano butter, vegetable risotto and coral emulsion

Squab fillet, spiced bouillon, baby vegetables



Confit pear with hot chocolate foam, yuzu and hazelnut

Chocolate and cannele

Brussels – 10/21/6 – Bon Bon

As I dine out a fair amount, sometimes the meals tend to run together.  And when it takes me months to complete a blog post, it is not unheard of that I can’t remember anything about it.  Chef Christophe Hardiquest’s Bon Bon was a truly memorable experience.  I had what I thought was the best seat in the house at the chef’s counter which was so close that my bread is literally on top of a ticket in one of my photos.  Dinner started with a long serious of snacks.  They aren’t on my typed menu and I can’t remember all of the ingredients of each, but many are at least partially self explanatory and all were delicious.  There were many great touches in dinnerware such as the egg cup and the multitude of amazing knife handles.  Its funny that I will probably remember those knives forever.  I have a weakness for a cheese cart of any sort, let alone one with this many selections, but a macaroon cart?  Brilliant.  Highly recommend.

Saint-Jacques de Dieppe – Finement tranchees, Chantilly d’echalote, Gaspacho d’huitres

Moules parquees 2016 – A la marollienne

Raviole – A la truffe blanche d’Alba

Coeur de cabillaud – Broccoli, emulsion chaude aux huitres

Caille farcie – Racine de persil, Jus de caille, genevrier-gin

Incredible knife handles.  Each one in the block was different.

Assortiment de fromages

Il n’y a pas d’omelette sans casser des oeufs

Truffe – Mousse de lait cru a la truffe blanche, Opaline de chocolat, Poire pochee

Macaroon cart!

Chicago – 9/16/16 – Smyth

The dining room at Smyth is one of my favorites of the year.  Perfectly informal is the best description that I can come up.  It is inviting in the same way Noma felt to me, as if you are at a dinner party hosted by a friend with an amazing house and decorator.  The highlights for me were the brioche donut of sorts fried in beef fat (extras should be offered for a supplement…please?) and the outstanding dessert of egg yolk soaked in salted licorice with yogurt meringue.  I’m looking forward to checking out the Loyalist downstairs later this month!

The farm potato

Tomato ice, seaweed, oyster

Smoked & dried beet with scallop

A salad of duck and herbs with roasted squid

Dungeness crab & foie gras with scrambled kani miso

Aged carrot roasted

beef and brioche

Squab, pineapple sage, grapes and peas

Slow cooked saddle of lamb with kelp marmite

Milk chocolate, huckleberries, and preserved shiitake mushroom

Sage honey tart

Egg yolk soaked in salted licorice with yogurt meringue

Frozen tomato mousse, noyaux, and spicy flowers

Chicago – 9/15/16 – Au Cheval and Roister

Au Cheval
Of course now that United’s fares from EWR to ORD have been cut in half there is talk of Au Cheval coming to New York.  This burger was my reward for the dozens and dozens of trips I have made to Chicago, especially those early morning flights to be there by 11am when it opens for lunch.

A seat at the hearth at Roister may be my new favorite place in Chicago.  In a way the plating is deceiving as some of these dishes are dark and are not necessarily made for today’s instagram age.  And while looks can be deceiving, menu descriptions can be as well.  Oysters are one of the very few foods that I genuinely dislike.  I have been trying to train myself to like them for 2 years now but was set back by an unfortunate episode of food poisoning.  When Chef Brochu kindly sent out a gift of the smoked oysters my stomach sank.  I was dining with my mother, the only person I know who dislikes oysters more than I do, and who would be of no help in eating these.  I made her try one and she admitted it wasn’t bad at all (which is a very high compliment).   I happily ate the rest as they were completely delicious.  I love having my mind changed about an ingredient.  The fries I likely would not have ordered myself as bonito and tofu are not ingredients I particularly enjoy but a friend ordered them on a previous visit and I had to have them again. Then there is the chicken that I still think about.  The leftovers are the first thing I have ever taken in a doggie bag from any meal while traveling.  I cleaned out half of the hotel mini bar and we ate the rest for breakfast. It may have been even better.

Tomato bread – mayo, shallot, pecan oil

Aged cheddar rillettes – truffle, cauliflower, fry bread

Chow chow mein – aged cabbage, noodles, relish

Cucumber – melon, smoked creme fraiche

Smoked oysters – garlic butter, breadcrumbs

Yukon fries – soy dusted, bonito flakes, tofu mayo

Whole chicken & chamomile – braised, poached, fried with sunchokes

Hushpuppies – corn crema, sour corn, manchego

Napa – 9/7/16 – Meadowood

I had no idea that a 3 Michelin star restaurant could be so polarizing.  I dined at Meadowood  in close proximity to several friends whose opinions I trust and had most to all of the same dishes I had.  They loved it, yet I was completely disappointed.  I utterly disliked many of the dishes and the menu as a whole.  To start with the positives, the eggplant foster was absolutely amazing.  And the squab and pasta courses I wished were 3 times as large.  But the menu overall  was just too many soft textures with no contrast.  A few things like this may have been fine, but far too many dishes could have qualified as baby food.  Teeth not necessary.  The braised cucumber in a damp rye is definitely the worst bread course I have had this year.  I suppose I just didn’t get it but nothing about this was a good idea.  Fermented squash juice squeezed over halibut sounded somewhat awful but was just completely flavorless.  And broth has to be the worst trend of the past few years.  I was so excited when lamb arrived but it was so fatty that I couldn’t find one decent bite of meat.  Not even a final bite of babka could save this dinner.  I wanted to love it and I will note that service was impeccable but I guess its just not for me.

okra flower

oyster okra seed caviar

eel smoked over cabernet staves beef tongue

braised cucumber rye dried albacore

tomato clam caviar

roasted gwen avocado walnut oil

sunflower pasta spot prawn chanterelle

halibut fermented squash

steamed potato cod purslane brandade

coal seared squab berries mustard

lamb broth

lamb plum pestled marigold

buffalo milk yogurt cultured with rose overripe melon

eggplant foster

candied peaches

chocolate babka

San Francisco – 9/4/16 – Kin Khao and the Progress

Kin Khao
Months later I wish I could rewind and do over this day.  I love everything about Kin Khao and would be quite happy to eat here on every single trip to San Francisco.  There are few places where I eat past the point of being full because I literally cannot stop.

Pak Pow – lager, appleton reserve rum, allspice dram, ginger, lemon, nutmeg

Nam Tok Beans – ayocote morado beans tossed isaan-style with lime, chili, rice powder, light soy, shallots, scallions, mint, cilantro

Som Tum Papaya Salad – spicy chili lime fish sauce dressing, green beans, cherry tomatoes, dried shrimp, peanuts

Pad Kee Mao – spicy stir-fried drunken noodles with ground pork, rice noodles, garlic, birds eye chili, onions, bell peppers, holy basil

Khao Mun Gai – chicken fat rice, ginger-poached chicken, served with pim’s secret sauce and a cup of chicken broth

The Progress
It took me far too long to get to the Progress.  As I knew I would, I loved everything about it.  The space is gorgeous, service is fantastic, and all of the food as excellent as expected.  But now I a torn and I see Progress/State Bird double dinners in my future.
(Apologies for the caption-less photos which is what happens when it takes me too long to update this blog.)

melon with sesame & dukkah, zucchini bread with pickled carrot creme fraiche, fried pickles with buttermilk & smoked hot sauce, claim cocktail with avocado & seven pepper cracker

pig’s head charcuterie, korean melon, fish sauce & chiles

hog island sweetwaters, yuzu pickled local nori

NYC – 8/15/16 – Jean Georges

Sadly I ended up sick in the middle of this meal after battling a migraine and did not make it to dessert.  The evening is consequently a bit of a blur but from what I remember this summer menu was lovely.

Caviar, buttermilk-chive panna cotta and tomato coulis

Madai sashimi, summer radish and nasturtium vinaigrette

Charred corn ravioli, cherry tomato salad and basil fondue

Black sea bass, purple potato butter and charred poblano peppers

Steamed summer squash and lobster, black truffle and lemon dressing

Fragrant spiced-lava lake lamb chop, cucumber yogurt and herbs

NYC – 2/15/16 – Luskus (w/ Kitchen Table)

A terrible snowy night to trek to Brooklyn and on the walk from the subway I was wondering what the heck I was thinking.  But I absolutely loved my visit to the Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs last year and was quite excited for this collaboration dinner.  Plus it has been far too long since I have been to Luskus.  I could have eaten a complete meal of the chicken skin and was thrilled to have it again.  It was an utter surprise that my favorite dish of the night was the one I thought I would hate – balsamic, truffle, artichoke.  All individual components that I love, but cold the thought was immediately terrible.  It somehow took me back many many years to when I first had the olive oil gelato at Otto.  I would love to do this entire dinner over again.
 beetroot, salsify, dulse
 razor clam, blood orange, fennel

beef tartare, purple daikon, laver
 chicken skin, rosemary mascarpone, bacon

sea scallop, ginger

Ryan and the Gosling – Evid Twin/Crooked Stave

shrimp, walnut, tarragon
 Sasuga – Oxbow

roasted sunchoke, rye, dulse
 sea bass, onion, nettle
 squab, damson, hay, rye
 lamb breast, salted plum, rutabaga
 balsamic, truffle, artichoke

 carrot, bay leaf, licorice

NYC – 11/12/15 – Momofuku Ko

While I probably will not make a list of my favorite dining experiences of 2015, if I were to do so this dinner would easily be in my top 5.  This was my first time sitting at one of the two tables instead of the counter and certainly some of the presentations are just far more impressive for a larger group.  There was not one course which I did not absolutely love which is consistent with previous visits.  Our essentially second course could have been a meal in itself and if it had ended at that point I would have gone home very happy.  If there were not any witnesses I probably would have eaten the guinea hen to the point of making myself sick.  Food aside I just love the entire environment of Ko 2.0.  I am often down on friendliness of service in New York restaurants but Ko embodies the concept of hospitality.  Now that I am somewhat thinking about my favorite experiences of this past year, the stand outs are the ones that not only have amazing food and impeccable service but also have figured out, for lack of a better description, the ‘it’ factor in hospitality.  I am definitely looking forward to many more visits in 2016.

a blank canvas
 vegetable roll.  pommel soufflés.  lobster paloise.  millefeuille.
  black bass, madai, uni, mackerel, chickpea, finger lime, bonji, shiso, sudachi
   razor clam – apple, basil
 siberian sturgeon caviar – radish, potato
 sourdough bread & radish butter
 halibut – cauliflower, hungarian pepper
guinea hen – matsutake, black vinegar
   celery root – white truffle, tandoori
 beef – daikon, scallion
 foie gras – lychee, pine nut, riesling jelly
 carrot cardamom – meringue
 pistachio – apricot
chocolate – fernet branca

Lisbon – 10/30/15 – Cais da Pedra and Belcanto

Cais da Pedra
I am certain that I have never even thought about ordering a burger outside of the US because it just screams American tourist.  But when a well known chef opens a well reviewed burger place with a lovely waterfront location that happened to be in the neighborhood I had already found myself in that day, I figured I might as well try it.  Surprisingly this was a very good burger.  It was more well done than I would have preferred but far exceeded my expectations.  I won’t be making this a habit by any means but I would certainly return to Cais da Pedra.

 Seabass tartare with ginger and apple, wasabi avocado cream, frisee salad
 Cais da Pedra burger, “Queijo da Ilha” (typical cheese from the Azores Islands), lettuce, caramelized onion, cherry tomato jam and basil

Next up on the Jose Avillez list was Belcanto, the first Michelin 2 star restaurant in Portugal.  Unfortunately I have no descriptions of the dishes as I assumed I would receive a menu at the end of the meal as the table next to me had.  But mine was evidently forgotten and I did not realize it until I was several blocks away in pouring down rain.  This was an absolutely lovely meal which included some more contemporary takes on classic Portuguese dishes and aside from the missing menu, service was impeccable.  I recognized the chicken skin from Mini Bar although at Belcanto it was a slightly fancier version.  My only small quibble is that I am tired of the el Bulli olives appearing on menus of so many people who have worked there.


NYC – 10/6/15 – Contra & Commis

For some reason this is the first Contra collaboration dinner that I have managed to attend.  Such a fun evening and I’m glad to have finally experienced some of James Syhabout’s cooking as I have yet to get myself to Commis.   So many fantastic dishes that it is difficult to choose a favorite but I think I would have to go with the trout skin as I could have easily eaten a dozen more.  Looking forward to the next of these collaborations!

trout skin with smoked roe, cultured cream
 oyster, horseradish & red shiso, dried scallop broth
 cabbage & caramelized sunchoke, dill, anchovy
 hake, warm soup apple, verbena, licorice, caviar
 treviso, carrot, pistachio
 raw beef, kale, sorrel
 squab, ginger & plums, hazelnuts
 grape & oats

NYC – 9/12/15 – Semilla

Semilla had been on my to-do list for a while but as several rave reviews rolled in I was afraid that it might be overhyped and so I just kept putting it off.  A month later I am sure this menu is completely outdated but the seasonal tomato dishes were outstanding, especially the perfect tomato tart (they should have sold extras!).  Just like a pan con tomate the comparative simplicity of tomatoes and pastry or bread is one of my favorite things when done well.  I have never had a chawanmushi that I enjoyed prior to this dinner as I suffer from texture issues with certain dishes such as this.  But I am still shocked that I loved this one.   And it was the same story with the roasted eggplant course.  While I don’t have many dislikes, I think its very special for a dinner to be able to completely change my opinion on more than one of them.  I enjoyed this dinner so much that my only complaint is that the experience felt very rushed.  I was at the end of the first seating but as people began to finish and leave I felt a bit like the store was closing and I needed to hurry up and complete my purchase.

Tomato gazpacho with peaches, rat tail radishes & black olives
 Roasted tomato with corn
 Corn chawanmushi with matsutake mushrooms & ham 
Roasted eggplant with pepper leaves & grapes

Tomato salad with cucumbers & scallops

Tomato tart
Chicken of the woods mushrooms with corn & mole
 Peaches, saffron & bitter almond
 Tarragon profiterole with wild blueberry & buttermilk

NYC – 9/9/15 – Eleven Madison Park

For many years EMP was one of my favorite places in New York.  Back when the menu was a la carte I enjoyed many lunches there as it was possible to just pop out of work for a relatively quick meal (and yes using “back when” makes me feel 20 years older than I actually am). I had taken a bit of a break from it recently as it seemed to have become a bit too kitschy.  But as reviews and rankings seemed to only get better I kept wondering if I was missing out. And so I made an impromptu visit to the lounge earlier this summer where unfortunately I had a very disappointing experience, i.e. the sort that would make me completely write off most other places. But in this case it just made me sad as I had so many great memories here.

So I gave it another shot, in the dining room this time, where happily the experience was completely different.  Service was impeccable. Actually improved from previous dinners where I had some nitpicky comments.  The caviar course was a standout for me and I wish I had taken a second photo when I found the egg underneath. Yes an egg makes everything even better in my opinion.  And while the lobster boil could have bordered on gimmicky, I love presentations that show a more formal restaurant isn’t taking itself too seriously.  My other favorite had to be the farmer’s cheese sundae as I loved the concept and its one I have not seen before (plus somehow the older I’ve gotten the more I’d rather have cheese than a traditional dessert). And I hope the tonging tradition makes more of a comeback as this was very cool to finally see in person.

Lately I always seem to be a bit ‘down’ on NYC dining and feel that I have far better experiences when I am traveling, especially in hospitality.  But thank you Will Guidara for exhibiting what hospitality should be at this level.  It is rare that my expectations are exceeded and you certainly did so.

(….and very proud of myself that I got a perfect score on “Name That Milk.”)

Cheddar – Savory Black & White Cookie with Apple

Tuna – Marinated with Cucumber

 Eggplant – Slow-Cooked with Shelling Beans and Mint
 Squid – Poached with Peppers and Artichoke
 Tomato – Salad with Basil and Red Onion
 Caviar  – Benedict with Egg, Corn and Ham
 Foie Gras – Seared with Plum and Thyme
 Lobster – Boil with Clams, Shrimp and Beans

 Tonging Sunflower – Braised with Green Tomato and Sunflower Sprouts
 Duck – Roasted with Lavender, Honey, Apricots, and Fennel

 Farmer’s Cheese – Sundae with Honey, Grape, Sorrel, and Oats

 Whey – Sorbet with Caramelized Milk and Yogurt

 Berry – Cheesecake with White Currant Sorbet and Raspberry Vinegar
 Chocolate – “Name That Milk”

 Snowcones in the Kitchen

Copenhagen – 8/29/15 – Kodbyens Fiskebar and AOC

Kodbyens Fiskebar
I loved the location of the Fiskebar in what is the meatpacking district of Copenhagen. It was bustling yet felt off the beaten path and was an excellent spot for an outdoor lunch. Far far more refined food than you would ever expect from the location at first glance. And while the food was outstanding, in American terminology, a perfect Sunday funday spot.

Cod tartar – rye emulsion, capers, dill and burnt onion
 Plaice – peas, morels, bone marrow and tarragon
 3 Nordic cheeses

I definitely felt that I qualified as a local having biked to dinner in 6 inch heels. How I made it back to my hotel after wine pairings I have no idea. This was an absolutely perfect meal to end my trip. Once again it was amazing to see so many ingredients repeated yet done in such different ways. For example I had already had several courses of mackerel in the previous days, but I certainly didn’t have to cut any out of branches and eat as finger food. Nor did I have to break a potato out of a plaster cast with a stick. And while I had plenty of onions, none had merited a table side presentation. The baked onion course perhaps illustrated one of the many things I loved about Copenhagen. An onion is rarely the star of the show, often a forgotten but necessary ingredient in many recipes. But done right, it can be a star all by itself. Perhaps my most memorable dish of the meal, and one of the most memorable of the entire week was the extra aged steak course. Umami to the millionth degree.


Razor clam, Apple, kale & parsley

Mackerel, vendace roe, hazelnut & sea buckthorn

Baked onion, elderflower & caviar 
Turbot, lard & turbot roe 

Grilled greens, veal sweetbreads & stinging nettle pure 
Dry aged beef, caviar, mushrooms

Pigeon breast, cherries, sorrel & smoked marrow 

Gooseberries, woodruff & pine 
Blueberries, sheep yoghurt and thyme 
Burned Jerusalem artichoke, walnuts & sugar beet syrup 
Tea and mignardises

Copenhagen – 8/28/15 – Sollerod Kro and Relae

Sollerod Kro
Restaurants aside, the only thing I absolutely had to do on this trip was visit the Louisiana museum which is a short train ride north of Copenhagen.  It was well worth the excursion and made an absolutely perfect day trip when combined with lunch at Sollerod Kro which is on the way back into the city.  Its website says that the setting is idyllic but I’m not even sure that adjective does it justice.  The setting is straight out of a movie and reason enough to visit.  We enjoyed an absolutely lovely meal outdoors despite the rain.  I’m still not sure how the servers with umbrellas managed to keep all of our dishes dry.   Jan Restorff you are an amazing host and I could spend hours picking your brain about restaurants!  It is always such a joy to find people like you who are so passionate about food for your own enjoyment and not just professionally.

Cauliflower parmesan lemon
Crispy potato turnip asparagus
Apple marinated with lemon verbena

Sollerod caviar “en surprise”

Langoustine, almond, olives nicoise  Turbot, salad, mussel
 Lobster, walnuts, smoke

 Foie gras, parsley, garlic
 Guinea fowl, morels, asparagus

 Raspberries, peach, vanilla

After a long day out of the city and a late lunch we somehow had made the perfect dinner choice with perhaps the most casual of the week.  There were so many things I loved about this experience from our fantastic view of the open kitchen, to the very entertaining bathroom art, to the cutlery drawers, to the people who work here.  The additional cheese course is probably my favorite ever and it just now occurred to me that I didn’t even offer to share with any of my dining companions who had not ordered it as well.

Celeriac, black olives and seaweed
 Mackerel, cauliflower and bergamot
Sunflower seeds, nettles and truffle
 Carrots, sol and black currants
 Sodam chicken, cabbage and lovage
 Fermented milk, raspberry and rapeseeds

Copenhagen – 8/27/15 – Studio and Geranium

What an absolutely amazing lunch experience at Studio.  We somehow had the whole counter around the open kitchen to ourselves.  Thank you Chef Vildgaard for what was definitely the best chef’s counter experience I’ve had anywhere.  Absolutely beautiful and delicious food.  I am still thinking about the caviar and squid courses.  But the foie was truly outstanding and one of the most memorable dishes of my trip.  I will definitely be joining you for dinner on my next trip to Copenhagen!

Potato chips with smoked cod roe  Oysters with green strawberries and dill
 Quail egg and summer truffle
 Gougeres and lojrom with sour cream
 White sturgeon caviar with walnut milk
 Sauteed squid and creamy mussel sauce
 Pan fried foie gras with beetroot and rhubarb
 Whole roasted monkfish with Vadouvan and grilled silver onions, fermented garlic
 Green strawberries and sheep’s milk yoghurt, orange tagetes

Yet another completely outstanding meal that more than exceeded my expectations. While perhaps the most formal of the dinners we enjoyed, it was still so comfortable and whimsical. I loved the soup course served in the kitchen and can’t believe everybody stopped what they were doing for a group photo. Quite a few unique serving pieces which I always love. Such a nice touch to have made a delicious birthday cake for one of our group. And so much fun to continue to see so many local ingredients used differently than anywhere else.

Crispy Grains from Kornly

Milk, Fermented Juice from Carrot, Crab & Sea Buckthorn Oil

Pear & Pear Vinegar & Lemon Verbena

Jerusalem Artichoke Leaf, Rye Vinegar & Walnut
 Dried Apple, Apple Juice & Dried Flowers
 “Charred Potato” & Lightly Smoked Sheep Milk Butter
“Cep Mushroom Soup”

“Seaweed & Razor Clam” Impressions of the Ocean
   Jellied Ham, Tomato Water & Wild Flowers

“Dillstone”, Mackerel, Horseradish & Granita from Pickled Cucumber
   Salted Hake, Buttermilk, Lojrom & Herb Stems
 Bread with Emmer & Spelt
 Biodynamic Onions with Chamomile & Melted Hay Cheese

Flavors of the Ocean, Beach Plants, Brown Butter & Dried Scallop Roe
 Egg Yolk in Melted Lard & Essence of Black Currant Leaves
 Chicken, Red Pointed Cabbage, Pine Sprouts & Meadow Hay Beer

 Flora of Grilled Raspberries, Hip Rose, Elderflower with Frozen Sheep Yoghurt

 Beeswax Ice Cream, Cloudberries & Salted Caramel
 “A Walk in the Forest” Woodruff & Wood Sorrel
 “Birthday Cake”

 “Lingonberry Bush” with Beetroot
Small Cake with Pumpkin Seed Oil
 Green Egg with Pine

Berlin – 5/10/15 – Dachgarten and Horvath

I booked lunch at Dachgarten as it affords entry into the Reichstag building and certainly seemed easier than trying to figure out how to register to visit otherwise. It is quite the production to get through security and into the building but certainly worth it as the dome is stunning. Lunch was quite good although the prices a bit steep.  But consider it the price of admission!

Green rooftop salad – smoked ricotta, cucumber, green asparagus, peas, avocado, wid herbs 
Unfortunately I don’t recall all of the ingredients to this dish!

I admittedly ended up at Horvath by default as it is the only Michelin starred restaurant in Berlin open on Sundays.  Whatever the reason I’m quite glad to have visited.  It was a bit of a hike from public transportation and sits along a canal on a slightly difficult to find street.  The space was quite cozy and almost felt sort of tavern-ish which was the perfect atmosphere for such a chilly evening.  Every course was accompanied by a small card listing the name of the dish and ingredients.  I’m actually not sure if these were provided to all tables, or only to me as an English speaker.  Either way it was a cute touch and I’m happy to have the detailed description as I am writing this.

broccoli | mustard seeds | garlic
steamed broccoli from the “keltenhof”, white chocolate cream with camelina oil, roasted garlic, sprouted mustard seeds

mushrooms | celery | malt
bread cream, well-hung sour cream, burnt celery root, king oyster mushroom cooked and baked, poppy-seed oil, reduced celery root juice

trout | eggplant | pork chin
raw “lunenburger hiade” trout filet, grilled eggplant with ham-caramel sauce, pork chin and mustard pickle compote, cucumber-yoghurt emulsion, grated iceberg lettuce, cress, smoked greaves

parsley | egg yolk | radish
duck lard emulsion, poached egg yolk, juice and oil from the garden parsley, in beer marinated black radish, frozen radish, wild herbs

veal | root vegetable | chervil
roasted veal “tafelspitz”, root vegetable with meat aspic, pickled flamed yellow carrot, beaten egg bouillon with chervil

hazelnut | molasses | brown butter
salty hazelnut cream, roasted hazelnuts, molasses aspic, sweet hazelnuts and root vegetables, hazelnut oil, fluffy chocolate, nut butter ice cream

Berlin – 5/9/15 – Tim Raue and NENI

Tim Raue
Some friends had been to Berlin a few weeks before me and Tim Raue was their favorite dinner of the trip.  While I was visiting for a much shorter period of time and could only fit in 2 of Berlin’s 2* restaurants, I was certainly looking forward to this one and it exceeded my expectations.  I love encountering things I haven’t seen in other restaurants, such as the very cool tables with inlaid linen tablecloths – the perfect way to make a white table cloth completely modern.  Beautiful plates and plating and an overall absolutely delicious dinner.  I could go into much more detail, but suffice it to say this will be my first stop on any future trips.

Unfortunately I did not write down descriptions of all of the initial courses.

Green asparagus
violet | coriander
boiled green asparagus, butter & green thai chili, coriander coconut cream, mango

kamebishi soy 10y | leek & ginger
steamed pikeperch, butter, spring leek & young pickled finer, stock of 10 year aged kamebishi soy sauce

wasabi | caantonese style
stock made from fish sauce, mango & carrot, langoustine turned over in starch flour and deep fried in wok, marinated with wasabi mayonnaise & deep fried green rice

Pork chin
papaya | nuac mam
smoked pork chin, jus from smoked paprika, nuoc mam jelly, carrot raw & cream, pickled papaya, sour tomato, trevisano salad, basil

Manny’s beef
beetroot | morel
manny’s dry aged beef shoulder, morel stock, braised beetroot, as jelly & meringue with morel mash, pearl onion pickled in port vinegar, green thai pepper

pondicherry pepper | basil
raw gariguettes strawberries, woodruff jelly & woodruff meringue, rhubarb-strawberry stock, ice-cream, pondicherry pepper oil

And my favorite wine of the evening

I’ve switched the order of lunch and dinner here because I just couldn’t start this post looking at this meal. Its rare that I have a meal that I would describe as horrid and leave hungry. NEHI is located on the top floor of the Hotel Bikini and was close to my hotel (and appeared on a recent Eater heatmap) so I decided to check it out for lunch. When I got on the elevator and it was full of tourists, I should have been tipped off that this would not be good. Ufortunately the only thing NEHI has going for itself is the gorgeous view. For the only time on this trip I felt like I was being ignored by waitstaff as I was alone. I received most of my food before I had even received my drink which is an immediate indicator that nothing is prepared to order. The salads were so horribly overdressed that they were literally swimming in liquid and one of my dishes was entirely forgotten but appeared on my bill. I left here starving, and went back to my hotel where I had some absolutely amazing hummus.

Berlin – 5/8/15 – Reinstoff

I never thought I would publish this post after almost losing 2 months worth of photos on my iPhone.  An expensive lesson learned….back up frequently.  Actually this dinner almost didn’t happen due to a delayed flight and crazy traffic. Then when I finally arrived at Reinstoff horribly late, I discovered that the restaurant had cancelled my reservation after supposedly not being able to reach me to confirm.  By some miracle there was an empty table in this relatively small dining room on a friday night. While the overall vibe was quite casual and friendly (and I felt a bit overdressed) service was impeccable.  So glad that I did not miss out on this one!  

Onion tartlet
Brown trout jerky
Chioggia beet and Mochi
Venison sausage

Black morel in stock, mushroom noodle and fermented shallots

Artichokes, hop sprouts and baby artichokes  in beer

Fried veal sweetbreads, peas, young lettuce, apple and liquorice
 Quail – leg, mirepoix and gravy

Quail – breast, vegetables in red wine and Mangalitza pork ham

Refresher – Medlar sorbet, fir shoots and orange wine
 Goats cheese from fresh to mature with roasted celeriac and pickled strawberries

Asparagus and mocca caramel

Tiramisu, Andraschko coffee and ice cream