Friday, October 27, 2017

Most Delicious Restaurants Stumbled Upon in my Travels

To my fellow food fanatics and adventurers,

While this certainly isn't an exhaustive list, thought it might be fun to offer up a smattering of the most enticing, awesome and delicious places at which I have eaten over the years.  I am sure more will come to mind right after posting this, at which point I will probably begin writing a follow up Part Two ;-)

Happy eating (and exploring)!

Roamers, Berlin, Germany.  Still safely secured at the top of my list for the spot where brunching dreams are fulfilled.  From the taste of the food, to the naturesque fantasy presented atop each plate, to the California dreamin, greenhouse, country shack style atmosphere.  I. Love. This. Place.

Café Marlette, Paris.  Another brunching destination worthy of going out of ones way for.  Both for the inviting, homey, charming atmosphere and for the mouthwatering spread of foods offered up, oh man.  Heaven.

Hungry Mother, Boston.  One of the best meals I've ever eaten in a restaurant in my life thus far.  Eating their signature biscuits with marmalade and ham on the side, gnocchi cooked in a herbal, savory sauce with vegetables, and finishing off the meal with a melt-in-your-mouth brown sugar pound cake, of which I still occasionally reminisce back on.  That cake, swooning.  The meal was worth every penny.

La Carretta, Manchester, NH.  Ok, so this place isn't exactly gourmet eats.  On the contrary, while its super tasty, its not especially high quality.  But I LOVE their bean and cheese nachos.  To me, these are college.  They are cozy nights.  Homey and delicious.  Essentially, they are awesomeness.  Cheesy, so yummy, comfort food at its best.  Their enchiladas aren't half bad either.  For some satisfying and inexpensive tex-mex, La Carreta is the place to go.

Jackson Dubois, AmsterdamThis place is way cool.  Situated in a picturesque, charming part of the city, their concept is a fun one.  Street foods from around the world, served tapa style in the form of small plates for sharing.  A group of four of us split several, all moaning over how yummy everything was.  Falafel, red beet croquettes, some kind of middle eastern wrap, a white pizza, and then a super sweet American dessert spread, served up in an eye-catching array.

Sugar Mama Café, Frankfurt.  Probably my favorite café in the city.  I went here roughly once a week.  The cakes and brownies, so yummy.  Moist, sweet, delicious.  The grilled sandwiches were also excellent.  The cookies cakey and luscious.  I loved this place.  Yearning for and missing it regularly.

My routine spot to sit on writing days (usually Sundays), the window seat on the far right, just next to the door.

Iimori, Frankfurt.  The green tea cake with the red bean paste over shortbread crust was to die for.  An ex close friend of mine and I used to come here weekly for this very cake, both in love with it.  The creamy, sweet, slightly bitter bite to the cake coupled with the saccerine red bean and the cakey crust.  Mmmmmm.  Drooling just thinking about it.  Their macarons were pretty delish too.  And don't even get me started on their green tea cinnamon rolls, an explosion of awesomeness in your mouth, wowza.

For a list of the other most outstanding cafes in Frankfurt (at least, in my mind), here you go :-D

The Voodoo Room, Edinburgh.  Oh man, was this place opulent, sexy, swanky, happening, ornate and just such fun.  Known for not only the high quality of their drinks but the entertaining, jazzy way they mix and shake them up, Judith and I decided on venturing here one evening with two dudes whom we had picked up along the way ;-).  One from our hostel who was warm, soft spoken and friendly, and a talkative, somewhat over the top but entertaining guy who approached us that afternoon when out and about in the city.

The night ended up being a blast.  Lots of hilarious travel stories exchanged, unique drink concoctions consumed, loads of giggling and knowing looks exchanged between Judith and myself.

Greenfoody, Frankfurt.  Sadly I discovered this place mere weeks before my departing Frankfurt back to the states, but the concept of their food is everything raw.  Including this pizza, made with a buckwheat crust, piled high with varying raw veggies and smothered in some kind of pesto sauce.  So delicious, though a tad pricey, I loved this place.  Their menu includes raw lasagnas, cakes, raw pastas, fresh nut milks, and more.

Sonamu, Frankfurt.  While I was only able to eat here once, it was phenomenal.  I would have loved to have gone again.  The atmosphere is unique.  Organic, sparse, bright and warm.  The food, some of the best Korean food I have ever eaten.  A huge, expansive menu, and all just excellent, top notch quality.

Ginkgo, Frankfurt.  One of my favorites in Frankfurt.  From their bomb brunch, to their vegetarian burger which is awesome, to their risottos and appetizers, and the expansive spread of enticing cakes ever on display.  Every single thing I ever sampled here has been nothing short of delicious.  All high quality, the prices more than fair, the atmosphere cozy and charming.  I love Ginkgo.

Restaurant du Pont, Zermatt, Switzerland.  Where my mom and I ventured for some of the quintessential cheese fondue after our day spent skiing the awe inspiring Swiss Alps.  One of my life dreams, one I doubted ever actualizing but thanks to my mom, it did.  I will never forget this.  Still one of the dreamiest, romantic, incredible places I have ever been.  And the cheese fondue?  To die for.

A Padaria Portuguesa, Lisbon, Portugal.  While this bakery itself isn't anything special, something of a chain, this bread?  Hands down one of the best desserts I have ever sampled in my life.  Easily makes the top ten cut and hasn't wavered from that spot on the list since my tasting it. 

While it looks humble and unimpressive, this eggy yeast roll, pillowy, soft and lightly sweet, is topped with a coconut paste of sorts.  Not a huge coconut fan but agreeing to try it as this is apparently a quintessential Portuguese dessert, my taste buds were blown upon biting into it.  Several blocks away by then, I turned around and made my way back to get a second for the road.  Something I cannot recall ever having done previously in trying desserts elsewhere throughout my travels.

Flax & Kale, Barcelona, Spain.  My mom and I were recommended this spot by our personable Airbnb hosts on our first night in Barcelona.  While not actually Spanish food, they said its awesome eats anyway.  A vegan restaurant with some of the best food they have tried in the city, so we took their advice and high tailed it over.  We were not disappointed.

Tartine Bakery, Lisbon, Portugal.  A highly recommended bakery in Lisbon, I ventured here on the last afternoon of my solo week spent in Portugal.  Unable to decide between sweets, I snagged three haha.  One of the sweet coconut rolls from heaven, which I described just a few eateries above, as well as a cheese Danish type of deal and finally, a bittersweet chocolate tart which was probably the best of the three.

Barraca, Barcelona, Spain.  The food we had here was phenomenal.  Tapas and incredible seafood.  Highly recommend.  Not much more to be said.

Picnicking on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.  I've done this a few times now.  Once with my mom, then with my sister, and with a past love.  All times were excellent.  The atmosphere, obviously the view, a quintessential and not overrated Paris activity that one must do when here, assuming the weather cooperates.

PS. I made the croissants below myself, with my own hands ;-).  A croissant making course taken earlier that afternoon as it was my birthday and was one of the many things on my bucket list.  They came out pretty delicious if I do say so myself.  A fantastic gift from my dad- the taking of this course.

Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy.  This square = magic.  As the sun sets, gold sprays across the buildings, giving the square a lit-from-within, romantic glow.  Fountains bubbling.  Couples walking hand in hand.  Artists congregate in the middle, setting up easels showcasing their work for sale.  Street musicians play.  And the smells of food lingering in the air. 

Each time I have been to Rome with someone, we eat in this square not just one night but several, as there are loads of cafes to choose from.  But really, you aren't coming for the food.  You are coming for the atmosphere.

13 Gobbi, Florence, Italy.  Their signature pasta dish here is stellar.  Thick rigatoni noodles doused in a perfectly seasoned tomato sauce, atop melted buffalo mozzarella.  Homey comfort food at its best.  The atmosphere in here is also eye catching and loads of fun.

I sampled this on my first solo trip ever, heading off to Italy on my own for a week.  Details/photos can be found here, including of this establishment.

Hostaria il Desco, Florence, Italy.  The gorgonzola and pear gnocchi here, perfection.  Where previously I hadn't imagined such a pairing, I have come here three times to enjoy this dish yet again.  The sweetness of their pears an awesome coupling with the zest of the gorgonzola.

The Central Market, Florence, Italy.  This is the place to come for wandering if one is a true food fanatic.  Here, they've got it all.  A plethora of pastas for sale, both fresh and already made.  Sauces and herbs.  Desserts.  Fresh fruits and vegetables.  Seasonings.  Food you can buy to eat right then, which shockingly (at least the few things I sampled) were all excellent.  A great place for picnic essentials.  Then take said picnic haul and head up to Piazza Michelangelo for sweeping views of the city- especially breathtaking at sunset.

This pesto pasta was The. Bomb. 

The view from Piazza Michelangelo.

Foodies Pizza, Concord, NH.  I worked here for a couple of years during high school and had a ball.  However the all-you-can-eat weekly brunch was the main draw.  For just $7, all you can eat pizza and salad till your hearts delight.  And the pizza was SO good. 

The crust, buttery, with the slightest crunch.  Not deep dish but not thin crust, straddling the line right in between.  The Mexican pizza, smothered in baked beans and onions, my favorite one.  The taco pizza with beef, tomatoes, lettuce, onions also amazing.  The garlic pizza with capers and garlic, or the pesto pizza, oh man.  I miss this place so much.

England, England, Dresden, Germany.  The second Judith stumbled on this cute little café, she beckoned me over to check it out, knowing I would love it.  She was so right.  Charming, inviting, like a cozy living room. Filled with cushy chairs, overflowing bookshelves, a mock fireplace, old wooden tables, the cake display enticing and mouthwatering.  Naturally we had to sit for tea and cake, which led to returning for their supposedly awesome brunch the next day.  Confirmation achieved, the brunch is in fact delicious.

Hermans, Stockholm, Sweden.  In Googling delectable places to eat at in Stockholm, this one came up on several lists.  A supposedly succulent vegetarian place, I took the train out to god knows where to sample their offerings.  I was not disappointed. 

The buffet station is expansive, with several eye catching, unique dishes with fun flavor pairings.  The desserts, many of which are raw and free of refined sugar, were excellent.  I tried their chocolate cake and nabbed a mint chocolate raw dessert to go.  With the expense of Sweden, all but halting me in my tracks, I had taken to eating one meal per day in an attempt to save some money and not break the bank entirely.  My thinking in going to this buffet, in addition to how yummy it was supposed to be, was to stuff myself silly so I would be set for the day. 

Oh yeah.  Essentially I rolled out of the restaurant a few hours later, after lots of going back and forth between eating, reading and having tea with an awesome view.  Highly recommend this place for a meal.

Snickarbacken 7, Stockholm, SwedenOne of the coolest cafes I have ever been to.  Almost with a converted factory feel, laced with hipster, artsy and a slightly romantic vibe.  Loved this place.  The lighting subdued, a candle flickering atop each table, the décor rustic and stark, organic and light.

Café Ruszwurm, Budapest.  One of the oldest traditional cafes in Budapest.  Though its tough to get a seat here, its worthwhile.  Both for the cheap prices, the sweet atmosphere and the yummy desserts.  When here with my friend, we split two slices of cake and had three hot drinks, the total ringing in at just 12 euro!!  In Frankfurt, this same haul would have cost around 20 euro.  Dirt cheap in Budapest but no compromise on taste.  The location is also fabulous, down a quiet, quaint street and close to several picturesque sights.

Paprika, Budapest.  This place is a hard one to get into.  Definitely requiring advanced reservations.  The inside looking like something of an old Hungarian hut, way cool.  The food is also tasty, though I think more what one goes here for is the atmosphere which is noteworthy.

Cannot recall names of either of these places, but could likely walk to them in Budapest from memory if pressed.  Some of the best entrees I have ever had.  Both a spin on the traditional Hungarian stew.  One with goats milk and red onion, the other prepared the usual way in a tomato-pepper sauce with cooked chicken, a sour cream type sauce on top, all perfectly seasoned and cooked.  Mind blowing.  Who knew such a humble meal could be so insanely delicious, and for mere euros.