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Showing posts from March, 2018

West Columbia SC: Hite's Bar B. Q.

Hite's is in a quiet neighborhood of West Columbia. It is a meat market and take-out BBQ place. The latter is signaled by the smoke that caresses your nose as soon as you pull into the dirt parking lot. They do have this pretty little picnic area adorned with lilac. In back is a huge stockpile of wood. A beautiful, relaxed dog slept nearby. I went inside, ordered some ribs, and took them back to my car to eat. The meat was outstanding: tender and moist but also with a nice tooth. The smoke flavor was infused into the meat, not added on. The mustard sauce added subtle notes of mustard and vinegar. This is superb BBQ. As I ate, cars cycled through the parking lot to pick up their lunch. I can see why folks have come here for decades.

FRA: Breakfast at the Sheraton

The Sheraton Hotel is connected to the main terminal at Frankfurt Airport so its convenience is hard to beat. The breakfast is, as is typical for hotels, expensive but it is good. This honeycomb was an unexpected treat. I scooped a spoonful into a tiny bowl made of ice cream cone batter. It was sweet and rich in the complex way that we expect from natural foods. The omelet station does a very good job. The fruit selection is complete and fresh. And they have quark. It was nice to end my visit to Germany with a traditional German food that is hard to find back home.

Dresden: Moka

Shuvra and I ducked into Moka for some caffeinated fortification. The coffee shop is hip in a very unostentatious way; the staff was very welcoming. I ordered a double espresso and this lovely treat. It turned out to be a peanut brittle-style item with hazelnuts and chocolate. The combination of hard caramel, hazelnuts, and just enough chocolate was superb. I had to restrain myself from devouring it. I will have to come back to try these twisty things. I was told that they take about 15 minutes to prepare, although you can call in an advance order. They come in both sweet and savory versions.

A Surreal Dinner at Restaurant Hasen

My KIT friends took me to dinner at Hotel Hasen's restaurant. I have written before that the restaurant is decorated with gangster movie posters. The dinner experience turned out to be something out of a Monty Python film. We were handed menus by our waiter. We studied them and made our choices. But Hussam wanted the Caesar salad he had ordered on our previous visit, which wasn't on the menu. Had they changed the menu? Quite possibly, given their emphasis on advanced cuisine. To answer the question, a waitress appeared and handed everyone a different menu. She explained (I think) that everyone at the table had order from the same menu---no menu mixing here. Of course, this discussion transpired in German, so my only clue were the quizzical looks and inflections. I had ordered the steak from this placard. Our waitress explained that this steak could ordered without disrupting their system. So it was on both menus? Or neither? We naturally speculated on the un

Karlsruhe: German Baking Treats

As I walked down the street in the morning on my way to KIT, I noticed this pretzel carved into the corner of the building. I had walked down this street several times before but never noticed it. I glanced around the corner and, sure enough, a bakery was still there. So of course I had to try their wares. This is part of their extensive selection. I bought a half of a sweet ring. And here is my slice, enlivening our technical discussion. For our afternoon break, we went to Neff bakery and I ordered this very nice Linzer torte. As one of the students pointed out, this originated in Linz, Austria, not Germany, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it.

Karlsruhe: Breakfast at the Hotel Hasen

Breakfast at the Hotel Hasen reflects the hotel's atmosphere well: quietly elegant and stylish. This chandelier, which is made of handwritten notes, is an example of the proprietors' interest in art. The breakfast buffet was very good. The big treat was my first chance to try quark, in this case flavored with orange. The cookbook Classic German Baking includes a number of recipes with quark. I can now report that it is delightful: reminiscent of yogurt in texture but more like a cheese in taste. Joerg tells me that he spent years in New Jersey trying to find quark without success. Perhaps someone has an opportunity to introduce this lovely product to U. S. eaters.

Eating on the Run

My Lufthansa flight was delayed by weather so the crew handed out this snack to everyone as we boarded. The bag contained crackers the shape of little calimari rings. They were made with potatoes, something I wouldn't have guessed, and spiced with paprika. The paprika kick really made the snack and helped to distract from our delay. I had time before I boarded my train. I stumbled across a food court at Frankfurt airport that I hadn't seen before. I decided to try Thong Thai for a change of pace. I thought that I had ordered tofu in a sauce. Thanks to my extreme lack of ability to comprehend even written German, the dish I received was nothing like what I ordered, but I did enjoy it. The chicken was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The food court had plenty of tables so I could relax a little before the next leg of my journey.

A Symphony of Pork

I have reported on The Shooting House before but I thought that my excellent lunch was worth a mention. Shvura and I walked there, about five minutes from the Dresden Conference Center, for discussion and lunch. When I saw this on the menu I was intrigued: two thick slices of pork neck plus a sausage wrapped in bacon. That is the sausage looking like an exploded firecracker. Everything about it was delicious. The pork was wonderfully juicy and flavorful, the sauerkraut was superb, the potatoes were tender. Joerg tells me that this dish is extremely traditional. Shuvra ordered pork as well. His came with a stew made from peppers and onions that looked great. We both started with this excellent garlic soup. The garlic flavor came out very clearly and was perfectly harmonized with the cream. The result was sweet and earthy. I may try to make some myself.

Dresden: Breakfast at the Maritim Hotel

Breakfast on the road is at best a mixed bag. Good breakfast spots are hard to find; you are often stuck with the hotel breakfast, particularly if scheduling prevents you from exploring. Hotel breakfasts are uniformly expensive. Despite their expense, some are alarmingly bad. I have been very happy with the breakfast at the Maritim and based on my friends' comments, this view is widely shared. The buffet gives a very wide selection, including those wonderful German breads. A chef also stands at the ready at the grill to make an omelet or egg of any style you want. Museli is also one of my anticipated treats on a trip to Germany and the selection here is wonderful. They even offer a grain grinder to grain your own spelt or whole wheat.

DATE Conference Networking Dinner

Our DATE Conference held its banquet and networking banquet at the Hygiene Museum in Dresden. This museum dates to the 1920s and is housed in a very elegant building. Inside, we were greeted with modernist decor and techno music. The buffet offered a wide variety of selections. I tried both the pork and the salmon en croute. This sweet potato and chipotle soup was my favorite. The chipotle---a surprise in Dresden---gave the sweet potatoes a very nice meaty, smoky flavor.

Dresden: Alte Meister

I enjoyed a wonderful, graceful dinner at Alte Meister. It is tucked into one of the museums next to the Dresden opera house. This seems to be a very hip district and the restaurant fits in very nicely. This shot of the interior gives you some idea of their mix of modern and classical style. It is always hard to pass up a basket of German bread. The brown bread included raisins. Both had a soft crumb with generous air holes from the rising process. My first course was this pea soup in the style of a capuccino. The soup was full of pea flavor with just the right amount of fat. The foamed milk on top really brought home the capuccino experience. My main course was an eggplant stuffed with couscous. It was both light and satisfying, a very nice balance, with delicate flavors. I finished my meal with this chocolate cake and an espresso. The orange spread is pumpkin. All the flavors were delicate and very well balanced, a hallmark of all the dishes in my meal.

AMS: KLM Lounge

I was able to spend some time during my Amsterdam transfer at the KLM lounge on the Eurozone side of the airport. KLM's food isn't quite as varied as the offerings in the Delta lounge but is more than enough to offer a refreshing bite after a long flight. They have a few warm dishes and bread. I tried the mixed vegetables. Quite a large fruit selection. Of course, this is one of the major attractions of an airline lounge for many travelers.

AMS: Neuhaus Chocolates

I transferred in Amsterdam for my trip to Europe. I decided that this was a perfect opportunity for me to grab some chocolate. I wanted to get a brand that isn't easily found in the U. S. Neuhaus, a prime Belgian chocolatier, fit the bill. This wonderful box of truffles was on sale; I also bought a bar of chocolate. The wonderful smell of the truffles filled my nose as soon as I opened the box. I have eaten several: perfect creamy texture, wonderful creamy taste. We will see how many of them make it back across the Atlantic.

Chamblee: 90 kabob

90 kabob is located in the Harmony Vegetarian shopping center. I was initially confused by the sign in 90 kabob's window advertising their commercial kabob service---they do, in fact, have a very nice dining room. The decor reminds me of a very stylish living room and is very comfortable. They are also well set up for takeout. I ordered four skewers: shrimp, okra, green beans, and eggplant. They were freshly cooked just for me and all very tasty. I asked for spicy so everything was coated in a medium-hot spice rub. My favorite was the okra. To my surprise, the skewer was a perfect way to cook the okra to tenderness; the spice rub was the crowning touch.

Restaurant Depot

Restaurant Depot is located in the Westside industrial district. I have driven by many times and finally decided to visit. Its stock turns out to be an interesting combination of equipment and food. These cans of tomato paste are a prime example---compare them to those teeny-weeny cans in your supermarket. If you are an equipment lover, you will pass by a tempting array of eqiupment choices on your way out, a supersized version of the candy/magazines display at your supermarket check out. This industrial version includes a 10 gallon Hobart mixer and a cotton candy machine the size of a washtub.

Cheese Board at Star Provisions

I very much enjoy Star Provisions' new digs as a place for lunch. The bright, airy space is restful and refreshing. And, of course, their food is great. I chose their cheese board for my lunch which turned out to be an excellent choice. The excellent cheeses spanned a range of flavors and textures. They were joined by nuts, peach jam, honey, and a rustic, raisin-studded bread. The meal was simultaneously hearty and flavorful.

Bagels in Brooklyn Heights

I'm not entirely sure of the name of this bagel establishment. I can say that they had an attractive assortment of bagels and other baked goods. They were open in the evening, which many bagel establishments are not. So I stopped in to pick up a bagel for my early morning ride to the airport. This is my egg bagel with everything. It was soft, pillowy, and rich. I enjoy the melange of the everything toppings.

Brooklyn: The Chocolate Room

After dinner, I stopped by The Chocolate Room for a small treat. Ihey offer a nice dining environment but I decided to stick with something that I could enjoy during my evening stroll. As you can see, they offer a wide range of beautiful chocolates. I went with a green tea truffle. It was beautiful on the outside. Inside, it offered taste rich with cream, chocolate, and that hint of tea. It was an exquisite treat.