Michelin Star Lunch at Onyx

IMG_3879Onyx Restaurant in Budapest is the only fancy restaurant I ate at this trip. You may remember I posted this video from their site before I left.  One of the first and few Michelin starred restaurants in Budapest it offers a very different dining experience to what is on offer all over the streets of Budapest.  At $30 for a 3 course ++ lunch it was to much of  a deal to turn down.

This is not a review by any means – one person going to a restaurant once is just an impression.  I was greeted at the doorway by a friendly young who, even though I was early said my table was waiting and actually gave me a choice of where to sit. I picked a secluded corner where I could snap pictures, hopefully unnoticed.  IMG_3871The pace of service is very deliberate.  The servers all wear white gloves.  It seemed to take a while before I got my menu, as a solo diner I like to have something to hold onto and contemplate given I didn’t have a dining companion.  When the menu was presented I was asked what I wanted to drink. I had chosen to be a good boy and just had sparkling water.   There was an extensive list of wines by the glass suggested for each dish on the tasting menu. Continue reading

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Accordion Playing Unicorn and Other European Silliness

Traveling is exhausting!  Yesterday I flew Air Berlin from Budapest back to Berlin, an hour flight that took 8 hours to complete door to door.

It’s great to be back in Berlin, by far my favorite city of the ones I visited this trip and just one of my favorite cities in general (which regular readers already know).  I’m running out to a Thai food festival in a park somewhere in Charlottenburg and have tons to write about, however, for right now I have some Sunday silliness most of it not food related that I hope will cheer your day up.

The above video is kind of awkward because I didn’t want to video him without making a donation and trying to do both proved challenging.IMG_3450 Somehow funnier in German.IMG_3530This is sold like soda here and I totally approve of the idea! Anyone seen it in North America?IMG_3585Kind of mean looking for a big pink bunny.IMG_3592Lots of political graffiti an, street art and stickers all over (well except in Budapest which…is another story). I just think Putin looks really great with lashes.IMG_3350WTF?


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Kiado Kocsma to the Rescue in Budapest

IMG_3675Coming to Budapest gave me some anxiety.

It was mostly free floating and mostly was just a vague worry of what could go wrong in a struggling former eastern block country trying to be a successful independent democracy so everyone is gonna be on the take, feeling ;-)

Things started badly.

In Vienna I got to the train station an hour early. I watched the departures screen carefully. I went to the track early.  A train pulled up and I saw Budapest so I got on.  25 minutes into the ride the conductor came by to check tickets.

This train was coming from Budapest and going to Munich.  All was not lost.  No problem, he said, just get off at the next station and cross to track 3 and there will be a Budapest bound train in 10 minutes.  Which I did and this time it worked. Continue reading

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The Sacher Torte Experience

IMG_3558No doubt the Sacher Hotel is one grand old hotel. With a storied past and a famous cake that people come from all over the world to indulge in.  The Sacher hotel and their namesake cake have become an institution. IMG_3543I was a little bit self-conscious doing something so touristy.  In truth I was half expecting a bus tour to pull up any moment whose theme was: the original Sacher Torte experience!  Thankfully, that didn’t happen. The staff at the Sacher kept everything very classy, not showing any disdain or approaching any table and saying: Let me guess, you want 4 Sacher Tortes, right?

As I waited to be seated I contemplated the very old world, kind of prissy, cafe.   Which is nonetheless a perfect, period, piece much as it was when it opened.  Classy and classic, yet all those oil paintings and chandeliers are really not my thing, so I asked if I could sit outside and enjoy the terrace and the first cool night since arriving.IMG_3545The menu is actually in the format of a mini newspaper which is for sale in the gift shop.IMG_3546It also contains the food , drink and most importantly the dessert menu. IMG_3548They sell over 360,000 cakes a year for both domestic and international consumption. They come in a variety of sizes and come in their very own wooden box.IMG_3571The prices range from $27.65-$58.68 a slice in the cafe is very reasonable $7.15. Continue reading

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Gardening in the Townships Outside of Cape Town

Empowerment and food on the table.  Very inspiring.  For more check out www.soilforlife.co.za


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A Mexican Feast at a Cottage in Berlin

IMG_3400Wednesday night I flew to Berlin to begin a 2 week European jaunt.  My favorite thing about Berlin is getting to hang out with my friends. In addition to Keith, Harald and Malka who live in Berlin my friend Jim (a former New Yorker) flew in from London.  Ever notice how much more glamorous things sound in Europe? Somehow saying: He flew in from Buffalo doesn’t have the same impact. Anyway… as you can probably gather from my silence over the last coupe of days things have been pretty busy add in jet lag and Berliners crazy night life which doesn’t really get going until 2 and well, you get the picture.

However, not all my time was spent at Ficken 3000.   I spent a great amount of time in the country.  Now for those of you who know me you know I am not a fan of the country.   But this is different.

All over Berlin there are these cottage communities, each substantial plot of land has a tiny cottage on it.  Last year Keith and Harald’s name come up on the waiting list for one of these cottages in a community a 25 minutes subway/bus ride away from their home in super trendy Neukölln.

Outside their apartment are organic grocery stores, local cheese shops, Hipster Bavarian Bars, a new Korean take away place that rocks, some of the best Thai Food outside Thailand, tons of bars of every persuasion and if that weren’t enough hipsters now forgo drinking at bars choosing instead to take over a Spätkauf (bodega) where they buy their beer and just party outside on the street.

25 minutes away from all that is this:IMG_3412IMG_3408The boys have been working their asses off as you can see.   Continue reading

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Kara E. Walker’s: A Subtlety

IMG_3245 IMG_3241Nothing can really prepare you for the experience you have walking in the molasses soaked air of the soon to be demolished Domino sugar factory where Kara E. Walker has installed her monumental, Marvelous Sugar Baby, part Sphinx, part Aunt Jemima and like no other confection you have ever encountered.

The boys carrying baskets are made from resin, the oil like stains on the floor and in their baskets are the melted remains of sculptures that were made from sugar and molasses and over the period of the show melted.  Ms. Walker would scoop up the remains and put them in the boy’s baskets.IMG_3251Presented by Creative Time an arts organization that specializes in public art projects Continue reading

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