Thursday, February 16, 2012

This is Munich

mei ist des schee!
M. Sasek's wonderful book, This is Munich, has just been re-released this month. 

It's a wonderful gift for anyone who loves Minga. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Around the World trip updates

A long while ago, longer than I care to admit, we took a 4 month trip around the world.

Life got in the way and I never finished writing about the rest of our trip. I've had several emails about it (apologies!) and I'm working on getting it all up to date, which honestly is no small feat. I know there are worse problems to have.

Here are places we visited that I have written about:
New Delhi JaipurAgraKathmanduBangkok • 

The remaining places I will be writing about include:
Beijing • Tokyo • Kyoto • Hiroshima • Miyajima • 
New Zealand's North Island + White Island • Cook Islands' Aitutaki

Oahu • San Francisco • California's Pacific Coast Highway 1 • Los Angeles • 
Las Vegas • Bryce Canyon • Antelope Canyon • The 4 Corners Monument
Albuquerque • White Sands • El Paso • New York City • 
Savannah • Hilton Head Island • Charleston

Monday, February 13, 2012

Iceland travel spots

In just a couple weeks we are going to be heading back to Iceland in hopes of catching the aurora borealis.

2012 + 2013 are supposed to be the best years in recent times to see them, so I hope we have a little bit of luck on our side.

Aurora Time-lapse / Iceland 2012 from O Z Z O Photography on Vimeo.

These sites: aurora predictoraurora hunteraurora forecast are a fun way to get a forecast and it says September and March are statistically the best times of year, too.

Even if that doesn't prove to be a success it's going to be great to be back in one of our favorite places on the planet. I'm already excited to eat as much skyr as humanly possible. Stefan can't wait to visit Icelandic Fish + Chips which has 'skyronnaise'.

We'll also be there for Beer Day, so we can sample some of their microbrews and the Food and Fun festival will be going on, too.

We are hardly running out of things to do in Iceland.

With my love for organization, I created a google map with locations I've read about or someone has recommended to visit (red spots are locations and links to places we've visited, blue markers are locations that we want to visit... looks like we need to stay longer):

View Iceland in a larger map

A few more helpful sites and videos if you are planning a trip, too. If you need any encouragement, just watch these videos and the nature will reel you in.

Grapevine best of Reykjavik 2011... the local English news and info source
Iceland Travel blog... a cohesive site with lots of Iceland info
aurum jewelry... I saw a bracelet that I loved here during our last visit, hopefully they still have it!

(As a side note, Jeni's ice cream shop is introducing an Icelandic cake flavor in March, it's called Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake and will have skyr, sweet oat biscuits, and rhubarb compote - yum! Maybe next she'll try one like the rye bread ice cream at Reykjavik's Café Loki.)

Scenes From Niceland from SCIENTIFANTASTIC on Vimeo.

ICELAND from Gunnar Konradsson on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tartine Brioche bread pudding

This weekend we set out to make our own bread pudding à la San Francisco's Tartine.
The brioche came from a bakery to save time (... if you live in Munich you can find it at the French stand in the Schrannenhalle or at Brot- und Feinbäckerei Neulinger, but you might have to order it in advance).

We made use of the blueberries that are everywhere right now; I'm assuming because it's summer in the Southern hemisphere.

This recipe would be great with any in season stone fruit or berries though.

The Tartine cookbook is nothing short of incredible and the recipes truly taste like the ones from the original bakery. They aren't incredibly fussy or difficult, but the results are something special.

[Here is Tartine's Savory bread pudding recipe and also their famed Morning Buns recipe, which I think we might try next.]

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Books: Pierre Hermé Pastries + Henri's Walk to Paris

If you love pastries as much as I do, you'll be delighted that Pierre Hermé Pastries is soon to be released with more of his incredible creations.

It's supposed to come out March 1st, but when I pre-ordered his macarons book it came a bit quicker.

[if you want to read more about an apprenticeship with master pâtissier Pierre Hermé, check out  Food Beam, written by Fanny, a pastry chef / food blogger]

Let me know if you end up making something from the book, too! [here's an excerpt]

I think I will be making something from Pierre Hermé for my brother-in-law's wedding festivities in March.

Another great Parisian related re-release is Henri's Walk to Paris by Saul Bass. The illustrations are spectacular!

Send me an email or leave yours in the comments if you'd like a 10% off coupon and free shipping globally (before 29 February) on these books or whatever else you'd order from the book depository. (As always, I'm not receiving anything for these recommendations, but I love to share.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

San Francisco

We opted to avoid the holiday travel chaos, which meant a delayed trip to the US.

This was the best option after having several airline mishaps in the years past - driving from Washington DC to Ohio on Christmas Eve three years ago, and nearly getting stranded in El Paso two years ago.

Thankfully this year the weather decided to also cooperate with us.
Before our biannual Ohio visit, we stopped in San Francisco for 5 days to visit our dear friends, Emily & Jeremy, and their new pup - Banjo.

Having visited San Francisco twice before, it was so nice to see the city from our friends' view points and to simply catch up more on life after Germany. We sure miss them.

San Francisco is a great city;  fog swept rolling hills, inventive restaurants, creative people, and a lot of high tech industries. The only downsides are the amount of homeless people and dog poo littered sidewalks.
There are also many public parks speckled around and warm weather year round to make it incredibly livable.
Oh, how we missed the variety of American food. The portions may be larger than in many places, but it's the best way to enjoy a meal - by sharing great company and delicious foods. We did a lot of eating and this is certainly the city for that.
A few of the restaurants we visited included:

Tartine ... this is the legendary pastry shop with long lines that are worth the wait.
Nopa ... for a great New Year's eve dinner
Umami Burger ... waygu burgers
Tacolicious ... I will dream about these tacos and margaritas for a long long time. They are perfection. The tuna tostadas were my favorite, but I don't think you can go wrong.
Mosto... the tequila bar right next to tacolicious, making waiting time that much better.
Beach Chalet ... as close to a California beachside biergarten as it gets - with a veggie hops burger.
Tornado Pub ... an endless array of beers from around the world.
Mission Chinese ... this pop up restaurant has caused quite a stir and is now here to stay - don't miss it! The food is crazy good and the rap music is a hilarious blast from the past. The salt cod fried rice and the thrice cooked bacon were probably my favorites.
Bi-Rite Creamery ... delicious ice cream, which is extra sweet to enjoy in Delores Park with great weather in the middle of Winter. They also have an ice cream cook book coming out later this year! 
Chantal Guillon macarons... a touch of France in California. 
Ici ... (Berkeley) I'm not sure what the deal is, but sadly it was better the last time we went
Saigon Sandwiches .... Banh Mi, Vietnamese sandwiches
If you are planning a trip check out the following:
Jamie Oliver's San Francisco tips... We visited many of his recommendations, although the magazine came out a month after our trip.
7x7 Big Eat List of 2012... plenty more restaurants to try
7x7 Big To-Do List... 100 quintessential San Francisco experiences
Not all of our time was spent eating... we also did a lot of walking. I always seem to forget - or mentally block out - how impossibly slow and archaic the public transport is even in the biggest US cities.
With the California sun shining brightly and only needing to wear a jacket I wasn't sure if I was in some sort of alternate reality. A heavy dose of sunshine in the middle of the Winter is really is amazing and was the perfect way to start the new year. Those year-round beaches are such a luxury, too.
Fort Funston ... this beach is so unique. Dogs and their owners stroll along, splash in the waves, and find little treasures washed ashore. I'd go to take it all in even if I didn't have a dog, but I really can't wait to get one.
Tilden Park... for incredible Bay area views and a nice nature stroll.
Street art... lots of self expression around town 
St. Mary's Cathedral... home of the "two o'clock titty", at two o'clock the sun's channels its own Mary Katherine Gallagher to give the church it's own perky bust. 
What a great place to start the new year. Even the fog couldn't hold those fireworks back this year.