23.4.17

spring break: auschwitz.



Insert humorous lead-in here, but not too humorous: we're going to Auschwitz for Spring Break 2017. My main non-WWII history goal is to eat some food from Georgia. The republic.

And yes, I know it seems terribly, awfully wrong to have food plans around Auschwitz, but we will have a 15 year old and a 70 year old in the car, and we'll have to eat lunch on the way to the ehm "museum", we're coming from Wroclaw, and so it's like either get something at a gas station, which is almost always the same shitty food everywhere in the world, or have a lunch that is remotely Polish.

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QUEDLINBERG
Hotel Theophano. So many of the hotel reviews say "great food" that we should probably look at the menu when we get there. If not, there's always....
Himmel & Holle: Heaven and Hell, a flammekuchen place that KK recommended from her travels a while back.
Vincent's Käsekuchenbäckerei. A place that only does big pieces of cheesecake, this is another KK recommendation, but it's hard to imagine where it could be squeezed in. But there it is anyway.

WROCLAW
Chinkalnia. Georgian, a chain, but food looks pretty good. Ambience, not very inspiring.
U Gruzina. Georgian. A snackbar more than a cafe, but good emergency lunch option. The whole point is chaczapuri po adzarsku. I guess I'd rather drive 10 minutes to get here for a quick lunch and get my Georgian needs taken care of than plan an evening meal around it.
Mleczarnia. In the hotel. It's a self-service restaurant maybe? Anyway, reviews are very good, seems worth a beer and a bite at least.
Mama Manousch. I had a really hard time finding a place that looked like it would be OK for everybody...this was the best I could do.
Przedwojenna. Well this sounds good: “Stinky place. Every night full of drunk people who don't require any social standard. Beer is awful, vodka as well." But the photos. Full of nothing but steak tartare and beer.
Sarah. A Jewish/Polish place, looks like it could be OK but I wouldn't lead with this. Wroclaw: difficult.

AUSCHWITZ
Chata na Zaborskiej. This looks like a lodge with supposedly great food.
Karczma Mlynowska. This looks like Disneyland. With supposedly great food. Could be, eh, fun.

KRAKOW
Przystanek Pierogarnia. Pierogies. Another chain, with four locations.
Guliwer. Looks like a civilized breakfast option.
Moment. Supposedly good breakfast, but looks way lounge-y.
Kolanko No. 6
. Mm, they have a breakfast buffet, but still individual things sound good, kind of an emergency cafe option.
Klezmer Hois. Our hotel, in the Jewish Quarter, a total tourist attraction and the restaurant looks exactly how that sounds, but I could imagine succumbing to this after a long long day.
Khinkalnia. Same Georgian chain, just in case Wroclaw doesn't work out.
Miod Malina.
Haha Bar & Grill. Can't remember why (oh right, zapiekanki).
Wesele.
Cafe Mlynek. Vegetarian cafe, recommended from several places, but sounds like "good but not mind-blowing" is the general consensus.
Zielona Kuchina. Beetje gourmet, zeg, not much vegetarian but one option per course.
Introligatornia Smaku. Also.

MEISSEN
Not totally sure this is happening.

22.4.17

sabih + amba.























VDuck has a bit of a tradition of loving multi-component street-foodie kinds of things, kind of almost more than anything else when they're really good. Chipotle corn cakes. Fish tacos. Bao. Bhel puri. Maoz Falafel.

I think the above is about ready to join those storied ranks. Indeed, it's essentially a Maoz Falafel salad box without the messy hassle of making falafel. Or a sabih without the bread and eggplant. Anyway the main delivery vehicle here is a cheela made with a handful each of chopped and sauteed spinach and iceberg lettuce, yes iceberg, I think this helps keep it moist and a little crunchy. And then there's only cumin and curry powder as the spices, basically a big falafel pancake.

The other components are zhoug; tahina and/or hummus (storebought); a tomato cucumber onion salad that's basically Momofuku's cucumber pickle plus tomatoes and a red onion; a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, a small pile of pecans, why this works so well I have no idea, you could probably combine the pecans and pomegranate molasses into an interesting spicy sticky nut thing come to think of it; and finally amba, an Israeli mango ketchup that kind of almost stole the show. There should also be fried eggplant in here but I was kind of cooked out when it came right down to it.

Anyway, it's unsurprising I guess that all of this works together so well, but with the addition of amba and its combination with zhoug and hummus it kind of becomes something I'd serve to "guests". In Israel they add a hard-boiled egg, which sounds fucking great. You could probably add a drizzle of yogurt and/or sriracha and that would also be great. Fuck, just keep drizzling things until there's nothing left to drizzle. Drizzle.

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amba. 
250g frozen mango pieces
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
juice of a lemon
2 tbsp honey or agave syrup
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp toasted cumin seed
salt to taste
1/2 cup to 1 cup water

Mmm, yeah, just blitz everything except the water in a food processor, adding enough of the water to make it blitzable, and then cook it for 10-15 minutes on the stove, adding the rest of the water to get to a ketchup-like consistency. Adjust to get to ketchup-like levels of salt and sweetness and sourness. Use liberally.

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2.4.17

brown note.
























Difficult to photograph, but yeah another surprise from the Anna Jones cookbook. Don't know where this idea came from originally, she said she got it from a Japanese place in London, but Ottolenghi's got one too...it seems to just work. I found that adding a little of this to some buttery cabbage and mushrooms was not a terrible idea.

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miso-walnut paste. 
2 tbsp miso
100g toasted walnuts
2 tbsp date syrup
splash rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce or ketjap manis depending on what direction you're headed.

Blend.

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1.4.17

pech onderweg.






28.3.17

scholastic.



21.3.17

ghost town to tarifa.


















Zahara de los Atunes was no more populated the next morning. The same dudes who yesterday had been outside hammering and sawing and sanding and otherwise preparing hotels and restaurants for being open for the season were still hammering and sawing and etc. The same one hotel that had been open for beer and potato salad before dinner yesterday was also apparently open for coffee and cigarettes this morning. I made an executive decision and decided executively that we would forego that shit and instead I walked to the Dia for a little bread and butter and blueberry jam.

Which was kind of like breakfast but on the way out of town we decided that coffee really would be a good idea after all and stopped back at the place we'd had dinner at last night, which wasn't open but they let us in and made us coffee anyway. This is how you run a restaurant btw.

Then a brief look at the beach, after which the idea was to drive to a mall near Estepona on the way to the airport in Málaga, Our flight wasn't til 9pm, Nelson desperately needed clo-thes, and I myself desperately needed a new pair of jeans that didn't look retarded (which, amazingly, I found, and bought), but around Tarifa we started getting dangerously hungry so it seemed wise to stop and do something about it. Plus it seemed like we might find something vegetarian since Tarifa is known as one of the windsurfing capitals of the world, and as we all know, surfers love vegetables (?).

That was the thinking anyway, and it proved to be totally correct. Not only that, but Tarifa was totally charming and exotic, a bit like a safe-feeling Tangier. Well, being in Tarifa put Tangier on our minds anyway, since that's where we took the boat to Tangier from last year, but the two were somehow very similar in layout and feel. Very difficult to have any idea where you were going, but here you didn't feel like being lost was a total liability. Anyway, very cute and we were all "why have we not considered coming here before."

TripAdvisor steered us toward Chilimosa, a name which sounds like a crappy suburban Mexican place in Wisconsin, but turned out to be the right kind of hippie vegetarian joint, with really solid falafel and a curry that reminded me of my beloved Himalaya in Atlanta. Plus the right kind of no Wifi, a sign saying "no we don't have Wifi, please talk to to each other."

Then back in the car, to the mall, we split up to do shopping, I knocked mine out in like 15 minujos and then stopped at Beher for one last chorizo sandwich and a cup of coffee. Then the airport. Then a very turbulent flight and the bumpiest landing I've had in years (people screaming "I'm going to die", etc). Then a cab ride. Then a chat with Johnny D. Then a brief sleep. Then a long train ride. Then attempted recovery and reintegration.
 










17.3.17

heading south.


















Above: view from the back yard in Ronda. Below: driving to Zahara de los Atunes, stopping along the way for a pee at a place called Venta de las Acacias, where I had a tapa of lomo con Pedro Ximenez cream sauce for €1.50. It's a crazy place, apparently only closed for 3 hours per day (and here's what most people eat there, glad I didn't know about it).

Then we somehow narrowly missed a giant storm and finally made it to Zahara de los Atunes to find that well we were the only people there. They're pretty much closed from November to April. I didn't even think to look because our restaurant's Facebook page kept saying "Open now" when I'd look at it, and heck, we'd had quite a hard time getting a room.

Yes, that was because none of the hotels were open either. Well two were. Ours, and one where you could drink a beer and play some cards. But in a town of 100 restaurants, maybe 10 were open: two pizza places, five seafood-centric tapas bars, probably something else, and then the place that I braved a serious Death Mope to get to. Arrocería Zokarrá.

They were open, we were the only people there, they even asked us what kind of music we wanted to hear. The food was about the best we could possibly have done that night I think: that's a tomato magically filled with burrata over quinoa, and a really tasty rice with payoyo, roasted vegetables and fried artichokes. I accidentally ordered nasi goreng in a pineapple. But everything tasted great and the hosts couldn't have been nicer.