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Zum Trauben, Unt. Witlisgasse, Kuesnacht

Homemade Pasta

Homemade Pasta

Braten

Braten

Risotto

Risotto

Dessert

Dessert

Zum Trauben in Kuesnacht is a nice italian restaurant. Since it’s located on the gold coast on the lake of Zurich, the cars parked in front of the place are a tad better looking than at your run of the mill eatery. I expected a stuck up place when I entered through the door and was pleasantly surprised. An elder gentleman welcomed me in a very warm yet unobstrusive manner, which made me feel very welcomed and at ease in the dining room. Homemade ravioli were my starter, delicate dough with a slightly salty meat (veal?) filling made me happy. My main course was a roast accompanied with risotto. I did have some slight complaints about the risotto, it was lacking a bit of bite. The roast and risotto showed the classical strength of italian cuisine, simple dishes, with just a few ingredients, done right always turn out great. I forgot the name of the dessert, because I didn’t want one at first. After seeing something I’ve never had I ordered the dish in the photo and it was great. The dough encrusted a fruit and it gave me that slight crunch, sweetness and tanginess which a good dessert needs. If I were ever to move to Kuesnacht, this place would have high chances of becoming my favorite italian place. Very nice food, unpretentious service and decent prices:

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Jaegerburg, Helvetiaplatz, Zurich

Zürcher Geschnetzeltes mit Röschti

Zürcher Geschnetzeltes mit Röschti

Jaegerburg is right next to Andy’s Fischerhüüsli in the Bermuda Triangle next to Langstrasse. Seldomly does a restaurant state that on Friday and Saturday closing time is Open End. The Jaegerburg is a classic beiz and this led me to order Zuercher Geschnetzeltes. A nice portion was served and I got what I expected. A rich sauce, with a full and velvety creaminess accompanied by an average roeschti. The old Aargauerhof used to come up with better ones. We didn’t know what todo after dinner until the place closes so we asked for the bill and left:

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Bederhof, Bederstrasse, Zurich

Beefsteak Tatare

Beefsteak Tatare

I headed to the Bederhof for lunch. We decided to go for the Beefsteak Tatare. It echoed what I had heard from other people it was okay at best. We ordered the meat at a medium level of spiciness, it wasn’t spicy at all. This is something which is acceptable. How many times have you asked for hot, and the cook was one of those Scorville junkies and you got scorching ? I added some spiciness but it didn’t turn the tatare into something which wowed me. A really bad decision was that instead of toast, it was accompanied by pommes allumettes. These were oily and lacking crunch, especially and it wasn’t a good choice in pairing it with the tatare.

BTW – this food writer sees things a bit differently. But he is one of the worst kind, his face is always featured prominently on the same page (sometimes even the same photograph) as the owners and he is always positive in his reviews.

Bären, Bözen, Aargau

Öpfelschnitz und Buurebrot

Öpfelschnitz und Buurebrot

Buurekotelette, Leber-, Blut-, Rauch- und Bratwust

Buurekotelette, Leber-, Blut-, Rauch- und Bratwust

Röschti

Röschti

Saturday lunch I called a good friend and we wanted to go for a Metzgete. Metzgete literally means Butchery and implies that all kind of different pork preparations are served. Some research led me to believe that the Bären in Bözen seems like a good address for Metzgete. It takes you only 50 minutes from Zurich mainstation to get there (train to Brugg, Postauto to Bözen Mitteldorf). We sit down at the table and decide on a local wine. The waitress approaches us with a small list of all the things which are offered at the Metzgete, we decide to go with one of each. She looks surprised but shrugs it off and puts in our order. We ordered pork chops, liver-, blood- (boudin), smoke- and bratwurscht, apple slices, bread, roeschti and sauerkraut. A perfect light lunch on a nice sunny autumn day. The friend I brought along has a background in butchery and as such was highly qualified to judge the sausages. We both agreed that it was a great metzgete. Only the smoked sausage didn’t have much appeal. Everything else was great. Take the liver sausage as an example. Real porc intestines on the outside, liver with onions and even some raisins on the inside, nicely seasoned just a perfect example of what a “Leberwurscht” should be (and it was only charged at 11 CHF). We did feel a bit full, so a couple of local juniper berry (Wacholder) schnaps helped out (no it wasn’t as strong as gin). A great and fantastic meal at a great price. If you like 100% vegan free places, this is where you’ll never meet one:

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Hello Charter Flight, Romanian Airspace

Airline Food made in Moldova

My favorite subject – airplane food. The Hello charter flight from Chisinau to Zurich served a meal, which was catered in Moldova. The cheese was horrible, it did remind me of Emmentaler but the stale type. The dessert was a horrible contraption, sweet and artifical, even the salad bits were bland. Surprisingly lathering the limpy bread with butter made it edible. The best thing on the flight to Zurich ? The free beer !

Grill House Club, 31 August 1989 Street, Chisinau (Moldova)

Chicken liver and quail eggs on toast

Chicken liver and quail eggs on toast

Grilled Bull's Ballls

Grilled Bull's Ballls

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled Vegetables

Ribs with sesame

Ribs with sesame

Grill House Club is difficult to actually enter. The door is locked and until you figure out that you need to ring the tiny bell to get someone to open the door takes a bit of ingenouity. My appetizer were quail eggs with liver on toast, surprisingly quite a nice dish, only the toast was off. The next menu was a real howler, the menu had it listed as Grilled Bull’s Balls and I just couldn’t resist. I decided on giving my already naturally high testosterone level an even higher boost. Tyler Hamilton should have used this argument to explain his hormone levels which led him to lose his Tour de France win. The taste was interesting a sort of creamy chicken taste and the texture comparable to kidney. Surprisingly the potato strings which went along with the balls were excellent. Actually a hint of french fine dining in Chisinau. My rib with sesame and grilled vegetable wasn’t good, it was lacking taste and was overcooked, I should have gone for the steaks. My colleagures were ecstatic about theirs. Prices were off the hook for Chisinau, absolutely comparable to Switzerland. Coming back to high testosterone levels, not sure if that’s the case with every professional football player who just happens to be lounging in the Leo Grand hotel bar…

Green Hills Cafe, Bd Stefan cel Mare, Chisinau (Moldova)

Zama (Chicken Soup)

Zama (Chicken Soup)

Beef Noyal with Brinza

Beef Noyal with Brinza

After a hard night of clubbing in Chisinau behind us we needed some breakfast and even though it’s hard to believe clubbing in Chisinau is great. Club Drive is a must visit, seldomly have I seen a cooler place. The other attractions are left to the readers mind… Anyway we sat down in this streetside cafe and decided that Zema, the classic Moldovan chicken soup with noodles was a good idea. Nice broth, the noodles a bit overdone but this national staple is great to cure a hangover and please you palate. My main was Beef Noyal . Beef Noyal are beef roulades filled with the national cheese called brinza. The accompaning corn is a national side dish which is typically found in every restaurant in the nation. I wasn’t a big of the cheese but this surely is a dish I could recommend to anyone. Prices were roughly 25 CHF for lunch with two drinks and an espresso per person, which is over the top for Chisina.

Vila Vechi, Str Mihai Eminescu, Chisina (Moldava)

Salted Sturgeon with lemon and olive oil

Salted Sturgeon with lemon and olive oil

Fresh vegetables

Fresh vegetables

Rabbit Vila Vechi

Rabbit Vila Vechi

Mystery meat served on potatoes

Mystery meat served on potatoes

Chisinau is the capital of Moldova and as such an interesting place to dine. Being the poorest country in Europe, the amount of Bentleys and AMG tuned Mercedes, which roam the streets is surprising. We tried to get a table at La Taifa and a steakhouse but they were all full on a Friday night. We landed at Vila Vechi, the interior look like a cross between a high school gym and a dining room at a nursing room. Judging from the equipment it probably is very popular for marriages and other functions. Looking at the menu, the bottle of Moldovian Cricova sparkling wine, sells for 9 CHF so we decided we needed one to help us make up our mind. The menu was absolutely huge, about 20 pages full of food. The quality of the food was horrible, even if you lower your standards the food just doesn’t deliver against any basic cooking skills. There’s no balance of flavours, the signature dish Rabbit Vile Vechi, was completely overcooked and the bread was just as bad as in the United States. The positive thing here is that Moldova is well known for its wines which is one of their biggest exports. Having no clue we took the simple approach of going for the most expensive bottle on the menu and were surprised by the wine, it was above drinkable, strongly towards good and at 34 CHF of great value. Moldova right now doesn’t need an international aid package it needs a cooking skill transfer.

Bellerive au Lac (Steigenberger), Bellerivestrasse, Zurich

Kurkuma Krevette

Kurkuma Krevette

Poulet, Hagebuttenrisotto, Brokkoli

Poulet, Hagebuttenrisotto, Brokkoli

Dessert

Dessert

Some demon within led me to attend a networking event at the Bellerive au Lac. The event was set around the Bellerive presenting their cusisine naturelle paired with organic wines from the Landolt wine company. The definition of their cuisine naturelle says that it tastes good and is healthy, as well as the ingredients are purchased from small, regional producers. Funny to see that the first course was a Kurkuma Shrimp, this probably means that regional includes the local Asia market in Zurich. The dish was good, perfectly cooked and it played nicely of the Avocado mousse, which was a bit too plentiful for the sake of balance. Main course was chicken breast served with broccoli and rosemary hip risotto. What a disaster, chicken was overcooked. Broccoli was limp and cold, this is typically happens when the kitchen plates the vegetables to early and is then left sitting out for too long. The risotto was just strange with the hip rosemary, I don’t think this will become a major success. Dessert was a winner, the mint leaves with olive oil played nicely with the chocolate mousse and the strawberry compot. The three course dinner with 5 glasses of wine for 99 CHF presented good value, the food needs some tuning. I’ve also noticed that dinner isn’t as relaxing with the hyperactive business card distributor sitting next to me, pitching his oral hygiene business idea. I’ll guess I’ll hit myself in the head if electric toothpicks ever become big business.

Entenhuus, Alfred Escher Strasse, Zurich

Crispy duck skin

Crispy duck skin

Pancakes

Pancakes

Sauce and Leek

Sauce and Leek

Duck soup

Duck soup

Duck sweet and sour

Duck sweet and sour

Fried rice

Fried rice

Entenhuus is difficult to find, it is located on Alfred Escher Strasse. From the outside it always looks like it has closed up for good, the lack of a website doesn’t help to make that impression go away. Calling ahead to make a reservation showed me otherwise. We decided on Peking duck, which needs to be ordered a least two hours in advance. After sitting down, the duck’s crispy skin gets served together with the pancakes, plum sauce and thinly sliced leeks. I think this is a great dish, also because it is rather simple for an asian dish. The duck skin was excellent but the distinguishing feature was that the pancakes were homemade. The soup with mushrooms was nice and had a special taste which I couldn’t distinguish. The duck was then served in two dishes, one with sprouts the other of the sweet and sour accompanied with fried rice. Rather average chinese fare, nothing really exciting. However I thought the price was fair. 120 CHF for Peking duck for two is a fair price. Compare this to a chinese dinner at Suan Long and you’ll know why.

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