Restaurant review: Rogacki in Berlin Charlottenburg

June 30, 2011

A place I love to get lost in is “Rogacki” in Berlin-Charlottenburg. Rogacki is a kind of gourmet super market cum wine shop and eatery where you can order all kinds of delicacies, all freshly made for you. The only drawback: you have to devour it standing up.

However, the standing at tables and the counter is a very sociable undertaking. Almost immediately one gets into contact with the neigbhours and before you can count to three one is immersed in a discussion with a complete stranger.

That’s just wonderful because otherwise it is not so easy to get into a conversation with a stranger in Germany.

Rogacki offers all kinds of foods: fresh vegetables, processes meats, meats, cheese, bread, wine and all kind of complementary goods. I could spend days just studying their wares.

I ordered the above dish. The Germans call is “Crevetten Spiess”, it’s grilled prawns with some veggies. When I asked for a glass of wine, guess what wine was on offer, a Riesling from my beloved Mosel.

The ‘2010 “Gutsriesling” Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt’ is simple but solid wine for easy drinking. Rogacki serves it exactly for that purpose and I was happy to reconect to my home at the Moel river here in Berlin only about 70-80 kilometers from the Polish border.

How I miss my native Mosel valley.

PS: When I visited Rogacki last year, I was asked by the staff not to take photos. It was forbidden. Therefore I decided not to write about Rogacki and its most delicious food. This time no such rule was imposed on me.

The place is a “must see” if you are in Berlin and want to experience the flair of the city and “real food”.

Wilmersdorfer Straße 145
10585 Berlin-Charlottenburg, Germany
Tel.: +49-30 343825-0
Open Mon-Sat 9am-6pm
Subway: Bismarckstraße

Domaines Schlumberger: Pinot Blanc Les Princes Abbés 2006

June 26, 2011

Our super market in Bangkok, the Villa Market in Thonglor, offered for a couple of weeks the ‘2006 Pinot Blanc Les Princes Abbés’ by Domaines Schlumberger, Alsace, France.

Pinot Blanc is not one of my favourite grape varieties but I like the wines from Domaines Schlumberger including its Pinot Blanc.. The 2006 vintage, though, needs to be drunk fast. This is why the super market offered the last batch of its remaining stock of Pinot Blanc Les Princes Abbés at a discount.

Instead of charging about 1,500 Bath (about 34 EURO) per bottle, the price dropped to 999 bath (about 22 EURO) which is pretty cheap for Bangkok, although wine prices are terribly high in this Asian metropolis.

If you get some of these bottles in Bangkok you must drink it fast though. Recently we had a bottle just at the edge.

I like the wine which is a a blend of 30% Pinot Blanc and 70% Auxerrois. Citrus fruit and lemon peel is what you can taste in your mouth. The wine is dry (residual sugar 5.6 gr./l) has fine acidity (3.46 gr./l), a good balance and a spritzy kind of feeling.

It can be combined with many foods but especially with Asian cuisine and seafood. In the tropics one has to make sure that the wine is appropriately cooled.

Domaines Schlumberger
100 rue Théodore Deck
68501 Guebwiller Cedex

Tel.: +33 3 89 74 27 00
Fax : +33 3 89 74 85 75

Warung Daun in Jakarta

June 19, 2011

Warung Daun in Menteng

When in Jakarta I love to eat Sundanese cuisine. A place to enjoy this type of foof is “Warung Daun”. There are several outlets, one in Menteng and one in Kebayoran Baru. The food is just beautiful, absolute delicious.

The entrance of Warung Daun in Menteng

The menu

The interior

According to tripadvisor Warung Daun in Kebayoran Baru is rated 81 and the one in Cikini (Menteng) 172 of the 518 restaurants in Jakarta.

The food I

The food II

Nothing better than good friends

My favourite single malt – Laphroaig

June 13, 2011

Today we take a break from fermented grape juice. It’s single malt time. My favourite single malt whisky comes from Islay, it’s Laphroaig!

I would never have thought that I could be converted to whisky. My friend Rainer Heufers did the trick. He also gave me the Michael Jackson “Malt Whisky Companion”, and from there on I was on my own to explore the wondderful world of single malt whisky. It’s worth it. The rich flavour come from the islands peat, and, of cause, it’s pure water. I just love the earthiness, the barley and peat aromas. Beats many other drinks for sure.

A loud cheers on Pentecostal Monday. And thanks again Rainer.

上朋 Japanese Restaurant in Taoyuan, Taiwan

June 12, 2011

Tucked away in a side street 上朋 Japanese restaurant has a great façade

Since quite some time I wanted to post this little story of two old friends going on a stroll to celebrate life at a Japanese restaurant.

上朋 (Shang peng) Japanese restaurant, not far from the International Centre for Land Policy Studies and Training in Taoyuan where we were teaching, was our choice.

上朋 restaurant curtain

The diners

We ordered Sake. Jim preferred the cold one which came in a carafe with a whole in it in which ice cubes were placed to keep the Sake cold. Fancy stuff. I choose the warm Sake which was a delightful drink.

The cooled down Sake

Simple and easy: warm Sake

We booth choose one of set-menu type meals, also for the sake of convenience. As it turned out we should not be disappointed. The cold dishes set before was were very tasty. More appetizers should follow.

上朋 cold dishes

More cold appetizers were to follow

Japanese food is art

Also the fish is tastefully presented

The Sushi platter was divine

Then came the ingredients for the soup

The soup was boiled on a table stove. The liquid was not held in a clay pot but in parched paper. Then
we dropped the ingredients above into the broth and let it cook for a while.

Isn’t the soup beautiful?

A sauce was presented to dip the fish and vegetables in

A selection of fruit ended our meal

This was a wonderful meal in a very peaceful atmosphere. The service at 上朋 is excellent. The food is reasobaly priced, and as customer you have the feeling that you are king. I highly recommend the place.

Barbecue at Ekkamai 10 – soft opening

June 11, 2011

Some of you might wonder when I would put the first pictures of our new place up. Well, here they are. In fact they are pictures of our first trial barbecue on our terrace for some trusted friends. The trial run was quite successful and calls for a repeat. Here are some pictures of the event.

First came the prawns

But I also did beef

I also roasted a big piece of pork but it went so fast that I had no chance to take a picture of it.

The chefs

I always drink a ot of beer while behind the grill. Charlotte does not drink (yet).

The little carnivores need to be fed first

Then came the adults

A very modest portion

The vegetables I prepared in a wok which I put on top of my Weber.

The girls had baked a cake: Frankfurter Kranz

As usual, nobody wanted to go home

Beautiful message to us by Giuseppe and Lucjia

As always when I do barbecues I have no time to take care of the pictures. I fact I did not take any of the many side dishes, the salads, the vegetables and the carbohydrates. But we had a jolly good time, that’s confirmed.

I could also not keep track of the wines consumed during the event. Everybody brought some bottles. I restrict myself to one white and one red (I found the empty bottles after everybody had left).

The ‘2009 Taylor’s Sauvignon Blanc’ from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia is a beautiful refreshing wine at a hot summers day. Since we have always “hot summers days” in the tropics it can be enjoyed year round in Bangkok. Hurrah.

The ‘2009 Rosso Conero’ by Fazi Battaglia is an inexpensive mass-produced red from Marche, Italy. It is a blend of Montepulciano (85%) and Sangiovese (15%) for easy drinking.

The wine company is already more than 60 years old and has about 280 ha under vines in the Marche wine region of Italy. In the meantime Fazi Battaglia has bought up smaller vineyards and wineries in Toscana, one is Fassati with 80 ha and the other Greto delle Fate with 11 ha under vines.

Restaurant Review: Capital M, Beijing, China

June 7, 2011

I am reading “Justice for hedgehogs” by Ronald Dworkin at the moment. The book makes the point that one of our cardinal interests, ambitions and responsibilities is to make our lives good lives.

“We must find the value of living – the meaning of life – in living well”, says Dworking. He also states that dignity and self-respect are “indispensable conditions of living well”.

So what does that mean if you are sitting in Beijing, China at a beautiful Sunday morning with time on your hands? Well get up early and go to the National Museum to see the German sponsored exhibition “The enlightenment”, a unique show of a selection of art pieces from that era of our history which mattered so much for the freedom of the individual and rationality.

After that it’s downhill all the way. More of Dworking’s good life is to come. After fine art, one needs fine food and drink.

I suggest you stroll down to the South end of the Tian-an-men Square and have lunch at Capital M, one of my favourite restaurants in Beijing.

Capital M in Beijing, view from the terrace

One has a wonderful view from the restaurant. It is located at the third floor of a newly reconstructed building, a kind of replica so to speak, of an older house. Capital M has a wonderful terrace with a grand view of the square.

I got there much too early; the kitchen was still closed. The kind waiter offered me a table at the window, and I ordered a glass of house white, a Sauvignon Blanc by the South Australian family winery Angoves. Newspapers were brought to me and I indulged in the pleasure of reading in quiet. I was the only customer at that early hour.

Tasteful crockery for morning tea

I was still full from breakfast and unsure if I should lunch at Capital M. Then I though of Dworkin and my responsibility towards the good life in dignity and decided to move to the table the kind waiter had reserved for me. in the meantime the first guests had arrived, casually dressed most of them. In this relaxing atmosphere, I felt at ease.

I read through the menu and decided on a two course meal. My choice of entrée was white asparagus which is just in season in Beijing. What a good choice that was. The asparagus was firm and succulent, it melted in my mouth.

I also had another glass of the house wine, the SB by the Angove Family winery.

Asparagus with a poached egg on top and olive oil

For my main course, a white snapper on a bed of vegetables, I selected a ‘2008 Dry Riesling’ by Dr. Buerklin-Wolf, in Wachenheim, Palatinate in South-West Germany. Riesling is one of my favourite white. Although just one of their starting wines, this Riesling was exactly what I needed, a beautiful accomplishment with my meal.

2008 Dr. Buerklin-Wolf dry Riesling shows an intense colour

The main course was so jummy, I could not believe it. I took it bite by bite, slowly exposing my taste buds to the food. I wanted it to last as long as possible. The veggie selection interspersed with flower petals and a nut mix, was just amazing, awesome stuff.

The main course

Unfortunately, the battery of my camera did not last and gave up her service right in the middle of my meal so that I cannot show you more pictures from the restaurant, the view and the people.

The service at Capital M is exceptional, hard to find in China this kind of concern for the customer. Prices are also decent. I paid for three glasses of wine and a two course meal 42 EURO, which is not bad.

Apart from the Forbidden City and the Great Wall lunch or dinner at Capital M in Beijing is a must if you visit China.

Capital M Beijing
3/F, No.2 Qianmen Pedestrian Street
(just south of Tian’anmen Square)
Beijing 100051 China
邮编 100051
Tel: +86-10- 6702-2727
Fax: +86-10- 6702-3737