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Piazza, Idaplatz, Zurich

Grosser Brunch

Pancake

The Piazza at the Idaplatz has great outdoor seating and makes you feel like somewhere else than Zurich. The place is obviously packed on a Sunday morning, so showing up before 10:30 gives you a competitive advantage. The big brunch includes bread, jams, orange juice, a coffee, scrambled eggs with bacon, birchermuesli, cheese and a bit of mystery meat (probably turkey ham or comparable). The birchermuesli stood out while the scrambled eggs were average, but then again that doesn’t really matter in this location. Not bad was the pancake, to give it the real american touch, more maple syrup would have been necessary. A large brunch costs 24 CHF, the pancake 8 CHF.

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The Berkeley, Hyde Park, London

Full english breakfast

As a man of simple taste, I opted for a plain and unpretentious hotel in London. Located south of Hyde Park, The Berkeley was my temporary domicile. After a long evening of work and a short night, I didn’t feel like going to the dining room and ordered breakfast to my room. Porridge, toast, marmelade, honey, tomatoes, double espresso, sausages, scrambled eggs and other small tibits were served. The espresso was surprisingly good, but I’ll never get to like the sausages. I’ve no idea what is actually in there, but it’s certainly preprocessed and probably worse than your average Chicken Nugget. Dining in your room sets you back 29 GBP. But hey, just swiping the little glass containers of honey, mustard, ketchup and marmelade will make a great gift for your significant other and is well worth it.

Bincho Yakitori, Soho, London

Japanese Pickles and Daikon salad

Asparagus, Enoki, Quail eggs and tomatoes wrapped in bacon

The inclined reader will have noticed my increasing interest in Japanese food. After holding a talk, I unfortunately had to excuse myself from the corporate standup lunch and headed out to a very important meeting. I had a date with myself at the Bincho Yakitori to taste the Yakitori. The place is quiet large, and I selected a small table near the entrance. The sake selection was large and Ihad an interesting experience after talking with the (not quite fluent in english) waitress. The masu (wooden box for serving sake), does change the taste of the sake, making it a bit more mellow. After trying that out, I can confirm this. The food was okay, I liked the pickles, wasn’t a big fan of the daikon salad and thought that the bacon was too thin on the different sticks. Finances:

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Hubertus Temporary, Hubertus, Zurich

Zmorge

Screw fancy brunch places Hubertus Temporary just moved up to my number one spot. The food is simple and plain (Omlette at Nordbrücke is still the best) but the place with its atmosphere and ambiente is unbeatable. The event is called Tiffany’s & Hubertus and essentially is eat while a trendy looking lady spins the turntables. Reading the newspaper, sitting in old, days-gone-by sofas, listening to Motown, Johnny Cash and other long and tried classics – is there a better way to start a Sunday ? Pay 20 CHF to become a member, since this is a “private” venue and 10 CHF for the breakfast.

Delmonico, Hopfenstrasse, Zurich

Terrine

Ossobucco an Safranrisottosauce und Kartoffelstock

Tiramisu

I wasn’t too happy about my first visit at the Delmonico. Knowing the guy can cook, I headed down there for lunch with a couple of colleagues. Terrine and Ossobucco were my dishes and this time the food really shined. High quality, nice presentation, flawless execution and much less complex then the other 3 dishes to a plate concept. I believe that the chef is a bit stubborn and is unwilling to let his multiple dish concept go out of the door (except for lunch). The most interesting thing was the risotto sauce (just a sauce) on the Ossobucco, followed by the terrific Tiramisu. Personally I think this is currently the most interesting restaurant in town, albeit maybe it needs some time getting accustomed to. It’s not cheap, but you’ve got to treat yourself every now and then:

Rechnung

Zic Zac, Letzigrund, Zurich

Big Zic Burger

Quick Lunch near the Letzigrund at the Zic Zac. American food ranging from mozzarella sticks to burgers is on the menu. But looking at the specials, the daily one was Riz Casimir and the weekly one Wienerschnitzel, this sends a bit of a conflicting message. Looking over the burger menu I opted for a Big Zic, which sounded like it was the signature burger on the menu. To make it short, for a place priding itself on hamburgers, the Big Zic didn’t rock my boat. The meat was oversalted, dry and most likely not pure beef. No matter what toppings you add, the core component of a burger is the beef patty and if that isn’t up to par, no amount of topping will rescue it. Even if the opposite were true, the special sauce in this burger is just not interesting enough. Another odd thing is that the middle bun was actually a top bun upside down. The cole slaw (even though nicely seasoned) was on the watery side, probably someone in the kitchen, didn’t wait long enough. Still I’m not worried about the place, since everyone featured in the Hoogan or Gamma databases will spend their time here during the football games. Prices:

Rechnung

Fleur de Lys, Sutter Street, San Francisco

Asparagus with pate and truffle

Brioche toast with portobello mushrooms on a basil sauce, paired with halibut and pine nuts on a tomato reduction

Cheese

Meringue et al (check out the swan on the right....)

The number one restaurant in San Francisco is the Fleur de Lys run by Hubert Keller. Leveraging a not quiet truthfully filled out OpenTable.com account a table was secured. The place was packed on a Tuesday night and had a very weird vibe. With stuffy interiors, heavy rugs and aged seats it looked more like a victorian wet dream than a fine dining establishment. This is what french restaurants on the tv show Columbo used to look like. Being a bit weary as what to expect, the first course blew me away, Asparagus with pate and truffle served in a cream sauce. The truffle took away from the asparagus and maybe one could argue that the not so elegant interior was mirrored in this dish, it was perfectly executed and set the pace for the evening. The second course was near perfection, simple in it’s concept yet thrilling in taste and beautifully plated. A brioche toast with portobello mushrooms on a basil sauce, paired with halibut and pine nuts on a tomato reduction. The flavours were strong and vibrant, the two separate elements paired beautifully and played nicely off each other. Some cheeses followed, funny enough there was a Tete de Moines among the selection, originating from Switzerland, it almost felt as if I’ve been followed by cheese halfway across the globe. Dessert had some lovely bits of Meringue on top of a chocolate mousse on it, the presentation reminded me a bit of what you get at a chinese restaurant, but focussing on the extreme delicate made up for it. I liked Fleur de Lys (do not be put off by the stuffy interior) it certainly was the best classic restaurant I was in San Francisco (do try the exciting asian restaurants) but there are two downsides. Service is rushed with a staccato like precision, it probably pays to order one course after the other, because there was almost no time between courses. Also since I prefer the savoury to the sweet dishes, I would have like to see a menu incorporating more of the savour dishes, instead of just two. Fleur de Lys is a place which is worth the visit if you’re in the area, do not forget to get some extra cash ahead of time US ATMs sometimes only dispense a 100 USD at a time…