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New York, New York

13 Jun



I still can’t believe half the year’s gone by. How did this happen? I’m still living somewhere in March, which is around the time I was in New York for a few days for a media junket. Because time was tight and I had a deadline to reach, I didn’t have much chance to go out and try all the fabulous places to eat. At least I managed a couple of visits to Shake Shack, Momofuku and a couple of cool jazz bars.



Much of the time was spent holed up in the very comfortable hotel room prepping and transcribing my interviews. The good thing was it allowed me to order room service – a bowl of fruit and some tea.


I love movie companies that provide food while you wait for your interviews. This particular junket was at the Ritz Carlton, and among the yummy buffet, was this absolutely delish chocolate peanut butter cake.


I went to Shake Shack twice. Mainly because the bird dog I had on my first visit was so dissatisfying, I felt I had to go back again to understand what everyone was raving about. The cheese fries are pure feel-good American junk food and the burger is a great example of a very good fast-food burger.



Much has been made of the Momofuku chain, and fortunately, there was a má pêche and Milk Bar just down the road from my hotel. I went to má pêche for a quick lunch, where I struggled over ordering the pork bun or banh mi. Banh mi eventually won out, but looking back, I think I should have been greedy and just ordered both. The cookies I bought back to nibble on while working. The cookies, sugary delights I enjoyed, in truth tasted just like any other regular well baked cookies.

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Berlin eats. Genau.

11 Jun





I was in Berlin for about a week and a half for work, which was great. I’d never had the opportunity to explore the city previously, and now I finally had a chance to see how cool it is. I love the place – it’s filled with interesting architecture, friendly people, lovely cafes, and to top it off, affordable prices. Can’t wait to go back there again!

Breakfasts

I absolutely love the way yoghurt is served here. There’s a little deli around the corner from the office in Kreuzberg (it’s the Berlin equivalent of London’s Shoreditch), and for most of the week, I would pop in to get a €2 pot of muesli with yoghurt, chocolate and cherry compote.

It’s a cute custom for the German team to get together every Monday morning for breakfast. We had a huge spread of breads, ham, cheese, eggs, chocolate cake and little pots of yoghurt.

The German breads are also absolutely delicious, filled with nuts and seeds. I bought a couple of rolls from a market hall near my apartment, and enjoyed one of them for breakfast over the weekend.

Little eats



I don’t normally eat kebabs, but when you’ve got a very well-regarded kebab stand within walking distance of your apartment, it’s silly not to go and try. Mustafa’s just a little shack by the side of a road outside the Mehringdamm station, but it’s obviously an institution, as when I got there, there was a long queue. It took 45 min of waiting, but it was worth the wait for my durum chock full of fresh veggies and tasty sauces.

Mustafa’s Gemüsekebap
Mehringdamm 32
10961 Berlin


Mention that you’re going to Berlin, and you’re inevitably asked if you’ve tried currywurst. Just a few steps away from Mustafa’s is Curry 36, another institution that purportedly serves one of Berlin’s finest. Sadly, this wasn’t the culinary discovery I was expected. It just tasted like some sausages with ketchup and curry powder. Well, it had to be done.

Curry 36
Mehringdamm 36
10961 Berlin

It’s lucky I came across David Lebovitz’s post on Berlin, as it alerted me to Barcomi’s. There was a branch very close to my apartment (I seemed to be really lucky with my location), so I managed to pop in and buy a slice of New York cheesecake to have with my tea back at home. It was such a little slice of heaven, that when I was around Mitte over the weekend, I popped into the deli and had a slice of caramel cake. The caramel cake was good, but it was definitely the cheesecake that took the cake. Just thinking of that makes my mouth water.

Barcomi’s
Bergmannstraße 21
10961 Berlin

Sophienstr. 21
10178 Berlin

Lunch & Dinner


Quick little sandwich at The Barn


A very welcome bagel while doing a walking tour of Potsdam



Delicious schnitzel the size of my head with vinegared cucumber salad and Radler (beer and lemonade) one lovely evening after work.

Austria
Bergmannstraße 30
10961 Berlin 

Unlike the Korean restaurants in London, ban-chan is served for free here. I had a kimchi pajeon (not pictured), which wasn’t anything special, but the jab chae was pretty tasty. Portions were big, so I ended up doggy-bagging the rest and had it for dinner the next night.

Kimchi Princess
Skalitzer Str. 36
10999 Berlin


There was a lot of Japanese restaurants in Berlin, but I didn’t seem to have any luck finding a good one. This chirashi sushi was one of the better places I ate at.

Cube
Zossener Straße 18
10961 Berlin 



Big bowl of lemongrass tea and wanton soup after a long day of walking around the city

Monsieur Vuong
Alte Schönhauser Str. 46
10119 Berlin

Nopi and saying goodbye

5 Jun

And all too soon, my sister has returned to Singapore. It was a nice day out despite the rain.

Lunch



Savoury:
– Chargrilled asparagus, romesco sauce, apple balsamic
– Special of the day: a North African dish* of two Italian eggs coddled in a pan with smoky red peppers
– Grilled sea bream, pickled pomelo, tamarind relish
– Miso quail, verjuice, grapes, honey

Dessert:
– Pineapple galette, pandan, coconut ice-cream (my sister’s)
–  Kaffir lime, meringue, tapioca, mango (mine)

One of the best meals I’ve had in a while. I was doing the happy food dance throughout. Every dish was delicious and I wouldn’t be able to pick a favourite if you twisted my arm. Oh alright, if you insist. The special of the day was beautifully hearty – perfect for brunch, and the flavours of the salad in the sea bream were pure revelation. It tasted like a very refined yu sheng, probably because of the pomelo in the salad. If you haven’t eaten at Nopi, go book a table now. It’s worth the wait.

Nopi
21-22 Warwick Street
Piccadilly
London W1B 5NE

* Sadly I can’t remember what it’s called. Every time I try to remember it, my memory throws up Shah Rukh Khan. Oops.

Update (10/6): Found the name, it’s shakshuka. And thanks to the wonders of Google, have found a Smitten Kitchen recipe.

Tea-time

Genmaicha, Tombo 

Dinner

Tofu bento box, takeaway from Tombo, eaten in the car on the way to Ronnie Scott’s

Dessert


Poached pears and raspberry sorbet, Ronnie Scott’s

Listening to the orchestra play a slew of Cole Porter songs does wonders for melting away tiredness. Did you know that I’ve Got You Under My Skin was originally written about heroin? Me neither.

Ronnie Scott’s
47 Frith St
Soho
London W1D 4HT