Category: Bjorn Koch (Page 1 of 7)

Bjorn Koch - 5 of the Best Restaurants in California

5 of the Best Restaurants in California

Dining out in California is always a wonderful experience as the state is well known for both its gourmet and informal cuisine. If you are looking to try out some delicious food in this state anytime soon, then there are a number of dining options that you can keep in mind, to go and have a good meal at.

The Bazaar

The Bazaar in Los Angeles is a wonderful place to go to if Spanish food is what you are fond of eating. This is an Iberian restaurant, and it is often perceived as one culinary theme park as well.

There are many different areas that you can choose from when you enter the restaurant in order to be able to sit and dine at. SAAM is quite famous and refers to a semi-hidden part of this restaurant which is popular for its multi-course menu.

The Bazaar also features a section known as the Bar Centro where you can get to try out some delicious Turkish food as well as steamed buns with avocado and sea urchins.

La Taqueria

La Taqueria is a popular dining destination in San Francisco which you can visit if you are fond of typical Mexican fare like tacos. While its food is more highly priced than most other taco bars in the city, it is well known for its rice free burritos that can be enjoyed with grilled carne asada.

Bar Tartine

Bar Tartine is a good restaurant to visit in San Francisco as well. It is situated in the heart of the city and is known to offer special foods like blood sausages, avocado, and beet salad. It also features bread that is manufactured at the Tartine Bakery, a sister company to the restaurant.

Mission Chinese Food

If you are fond of eating Chinese food, then Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco is worth a visit. It is owned by a Korean native and is known for cumin lamb breast and Kung Pao Pastrami among other tasty dishes.

The Bouchon Bistro

The Bouchon Bistro in Yountville is a lovely French bistro where you can expect to dig into some perfect traditional French fare. It is situated in the Napa Valley and serves some delicious food like steamed mussels, profiteroles, steak frites, salt cod beignets, and shellfish platters.

There are indeed quite a few excellent gourmet dining destinations that you can dine at while exploring sunny California.

LSI Keywords – Steamed Mussels, Shellfish Platters, Steamed Bun with Avocados, Tartine Bakery

 

Best German Restaurants in the US

Bjorn Koch: Best German Restaurants in the US (1)

You don’t have to visit Germany in order to enjoy a delicious German meal. In the United States, you’ll find many German restaurants that celebrate German cuisine. Even if you don’t have German ancestors, you should make a point to visit one of the below restaurants. You won’t regret it!

Old Europe – Washington, DC

Old Europe has been serving delectable German food since 1948. Inside the restaurant, servers dress in traditional German attire to transport you in time to old Europe. The Schnitzel Old Europe is a popular choice for first-time diners. Throughout the year the restaurant features special menus for different holidays. For example, there’s a sausage week, and, of course, Oktoberfest. Take a look at these pictures to get an idea of the restaurant’s ambiance.

Bavarian Grill – Plano, TX

Bavarian Grill has been voted the best German restaurant in America on multiple occasions. It has also received numerous other awards since its opening in 1993. The restaurant features an extensive beer and wine menu in addition to its German cuisine. Although German food has a reputation for being meat heavy, at Bavarian Grill you’ll find a vegetarian menu as well as a gluten-free menu.

Prime Meats – Brooklyn, NY

Prime Meats opened in 2009. The restaurant focuses on serving farm to table alpine inspired fare. While the menu doesn’t feature an extensive beer list like most other German restaurants, it does feature a lot of wine. One of the best items on the menu is the house-made sausage. If you have trouble picking a sausage you can make things easier by ordering the sausage tasting board. Visit the Prime Meats website to learn more about this cozy restaurant.

Suppenküche – San Francisco, CA

Suppenküche is located in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood, not far from the Civic Center. If you visit with a party that’s less than six, you won’t be able to make a reservation. The restaurant opens at 5:00 every day. Arrive at 5:00 if you don’t want to wait—the restaurant fills up quickly, and there aren’t many seats at the bar where you can wait until your table is ready. On the menu, you’ll find imported beers from Germany, Belgium, and Austria. If you really want a challenge, order one of the beers that are served in a glass boot! The dinner menu changes often, yet you’ll find tasty traditional German fare including pretzels and sauerkraut.

Where to Eat in Boston in 2017

Bjorn Koch: Where to Eat in Boston in 2017

If you’re looking for a new restaurant to try, then you’ve come to the right blog. Below are some of Boston’s most popular and trendy new restaurants.

Manoa Poke Shop

Winter is on its way out. If you want to help speed up its exit, consider visiting Manoa Poke Shop. At Manoa Poke you can get a taste of delicious Hawaiian cuisine. Poke is a type of fish salad traditionally served as an appetizer in Hawaii, but it can be served as an entree as well. Over the past year poke restaurants have popped up all over America’s major cities. At Manoa Poke you’ll find many delicious poke options as well as some other meal options. The restaurant also serves a tofu poke, so vegetarians won’t feel left out. Take a look at the full menu here.

The Automatic

Chris Schlesinger, the founder of East Coast Grill, and Dave Cagle of B-Side Lounge teamed up to open The Automatic. The restaurant is a great spot to satisfy your late night cravings—especially since the menu features a Late Night Bites menu. One of the most popular late night offerings is the Mudslide cocktail that comes with a cup of French fries. The menu has a lot to offer besides late night treats, though. You’ll also find some tasty sandwiches, wings, and grilled skewers. Visit the restaurant’s website to learn more.

Ruka

From the minds behind Yvonne’s and Lolita comes Ruka. The menu highlights Peruvian, Japanese, and Chinese cuisine. In addition to the noodle and skewer dishes, you will also find sushi on the menu. When you visit make sure you don’t skip out on the Peruvian desert options! To learn more about what Ruka has to offer, check out this overview of the restaurant’s menu.

By Chloe

By Chloe is Boston’s latest vegan restaurant. The restaurant has five locations in New York City and one location in Los Angeles, and it plans to open a second Boston restaurant at Fenway. By Chloe’s current Seaport location features some exclusive dishes that reflect Boston’s culinary history—like vegan lobster rolls. To learn more about By Chloe’s read the story behind the restaurant.

Buttermilk & Bourbon

Buttermilk & Bourbon offers diners a taste of New Orleans cuisine right in the Back Bay. The menu includes fried chicken, oysters, and beignets. Inside the restaurant the walls are covered with murals inspired by the Big Easy. Jason Santos is the chef and owner behind Buttermilk & Bourbon. In 2010 he appeared on Hell’s Kitchen and finished as the runner-up.

The Best German Food in Boston

bjorn koch german food

This isn’t the only blog out there featuring the best German food in Boston–not even close. There have been plenty of other guides written about where to get a giant bratwurst and sauerkraut or spätzle–some push hard for one place over another. All of these online guides are noteworthy and at least warrant a quick browse. But what makes this guide different isn’t what restaurants are included, but who is the one writing it.

 

Bjorn Koch grew up in Germany, he moved multiple times during his youth around the country, learning to love everything the country had to offer. When he moved to the United States, Bjorn chose Boston, Massachusetts. Now you can see where this is going–why Bjorn’s take on this issue might lend a bit more credibility–Koch spent his youth in Germany and his adult life in Boston.

 

Bjorn Koch knows a thing or two about food and dining, a thing or two about Germany, and a thing or two about Boston. So now he’ll tell you a thing or two about where to find the best German food in Boston proper.

 

Audubon Boston

If you’re looking for a more laid-back dining experience (not everything has to be upscale) with some quality German food, look no further than Audubon Boston. Located just a short distance from Fenway Park, Audubon Boston features a wonderful variety of German foods at reasonable prices. Also known for their extensive cocktail list, Audubon is a great place to go for a pork schnitzel sandwich and cocktail or two.

 

Jacob Wirth

A mainstay on most “best of Boston” lists, and for good reason–Jacob Wirth is a premier German restaurant that can tout some incredible food and a rich history. The restaurant first came to be in 1868 and remains to this day, serving a mouth-watering array of both German favorites as well as American dishes. Can’t decide what to get? I don’t blame you, but I will suggest the sampler platter that gives you a taste of Germany from a comfortable, old-school dining experience.

 

Bronwyn

Though this list is in no particular order, nor is it numbered, there is a reason that Bronwyn is listed last here. Despite being one of the newer establishments in the area, Bronwyn is doing everything right: it features some of the most authentic and best tasting German cuisine in Boston. With a friend or feeling particularly hungry? Order the Königsteller and undo your belt while you try to consume over two pounds of pork shank, frankfurter and sauerkraut.  

 

Tech Is Improving Our Dining Experience

We live in the epicenter of the information age. With cellphones in all of our pockets, tablets and laptops in our bags and a bluetooth headset in our ears, virtually unlimited levels of information and communication are at our fingertips no matter where we are. With the seemingly ubiquitous nature of technological innovation, it’s only natural that the tech space has found its way to our dinner tables.

While the cliche of telemarketers only calling you when you’re sitting around the dinner table with your family may be on its way out due in part to technology, the reaches of new tech have extended past your dinner table and into communal ones.

 

Improving Speed and Accuracy

You’ve placed your order with the waiter, made some specific–though not egregious or cumbersome–requests and adjustments to your order, and now you’re waiting. As you grow hungrier and hungrier, you notice your waiter bringing out your food on a silver platter. Finally.

Swirling some of the linguini onto your fork, you notice something.

It’s a mushroom.

You requested no mushrooms.

Mistakes like these have become issues in restaurants–accuracy for orders is paramount to the success of a restaurant and the experience of its patrons. Technology, though, is helping to improve this first step as much as possible.

In stark contrast to hand-written tickets, no longer can an order become missed, a “no mushrooms” note be misread, or an added note ignored. With kitchen-facing tablets and computer screens, placing orders and ensuring accuracy has never been as fast or as easy as it is now.

 

Tracking Made Easy

Utilizing platforms like OpenTable, restaurants are more easily able to track what’s going on in the restaurant before them. Reservations are easier to manage and schedule, open tables are quickly and efficiently tracked and the experience for potential diners is improved tenfold.

Past just tracking tables and orders, tech has made it easier for restaurants to track their own inventory of items–now you’ll know ahead of time what is and what is not available for ordering.

 

Convenience

Though you probably won’t be paying with your phone at an upscale establishment just yet, many eateries do allow services like Android Pay or Apple Pay to be utilized for speed and convenience when placing orders. Similarly, small businesses have turned to hardware like Square to accommodate the ever-changing landscape of paying for your meals.  

Five States and Their Defining Foods

Traveling and food are an intertwined, intersecting pair of interests of mine that I often find myself experiencing at the same time. When I travel, I sample the local cuisine regardless of how exotic it is or is not. There’s nothing like visiting the heart and birthplace of a dish and tasting an authentic version yourself. It always–always–blows imitations out of the water.

Regardless of where I’m headed–across the ocean, across the state or across the country, food will continue to be a huge part of traveling for me. And it should be the same way for you.

Within the United States are, of course, 50 states. Most everyone knows that, but what not everyone knows is that within each state is a signature dish, sandwich or local delicacy that you’re best off trying on your next visit. Here are five states with the most recognizable and most delicious foods that you should indulge in on your next visit.

Louisiana–Gumbo

If you’ve been to Louisianna before, you know that the state is known for its cajun creole inspired seafood dishes. In New Orleans you’ll likely find a good bit of jambalaya, but statewide, gumbo is a must-try. The base vegetables of celery, onions and peppers with stock, a meat or seafood and a variety of seasonings, spices and other ingredients combine to form a fantastic southern dish.

Maryland–Crabs/Crab cakes

The popularity of Maryland crabs comes from the method in which they’re cooked. Instead of simply boiling blue crabs with little to no spice, Maryland has made famous the method of utilizing Old Bay and a variety of spices to bring out the flavor of the crabs. If cracking is too much work for you, Maryland crab cakes are a fantastic substitute in Maryland.

Illinois–Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

You’ve probably tried deep dish pizza before, but unless you’ve been to Chicago, you haven’t really tried deep dish pizza. The chunky tomato sauce, the heaps of cheese and the perfectly cooked crust makes eating authentic Chicago-style deep dish an experience that every human on earth should try at least once in their life.

Pennsylvania–Philly Cheesesteak

A classic example of something that you can get just about anywhere in the world, but probably shouldn’t. Visiting just about any pizza place in America, you’ll find a menu item that will likely read “Philadelphia cheesesteak.” If you want a real Philly cheesesteak, avoid this. Philly cheesesteaks should be eaten in Philly. Avoid tourist-based spots like Pats and Genos, and opt instead for Dalessandros or Steve’s. My final recommendation: cheese whiz and onions. Not exactly upscale, but certainly delicious.

Massachusetts/New England– Clam Chowder

You had to have seen this coming. As a Boston resident, filling up with a bowl of clam chowder, particularly on a chilly evening, is hard to beat. Thicker than most other chowders because of its creamy base, New England clam chowder is a must-try when you’re in the area. And, by the way, to the locals it’s chowda’.

 

Tasting Table: Cooking Perfect Porkchops

Our friends at Tasting Table have turned out a great video for cooking the perfect pork chop every time. I’ve already reviewed in the past how to cook the perfect steak and how to order it at a restaurant (if you want a good steak, that is). But pork chops are a whole other ballgame, so to speak.

Cooking pork isn’t an incredibly easy task, but it’s well worth the payoff in the end; few things can beat a perfectly cooked, juicy cut of pork. Similar to what you’d expect cooking steak, cooking a piece of pork for just a bit too long can result in a dry piece of meat–the enemy of what we expect when we indulge in pork chops.

Tasting Table recommends four key aspects to cooking a good pork chop:

  • choose one with about a one inch thickness for optimum flavor and juice.
  • Get a cast iron skillet, if you don’t already own one.
  • Use oil before you use the butter. The oil is great for searing the chops to begin with, while adding the butter later helps add to the flavor.
  • Shoot for a medium finish on the chop.

The Most Expensive Restaurants in the US

When you dine upscale, you should expect to pay upscale prices.

Compared to a local eatery that may cater more towards family audiences, or mid-pricing levels, upscale dining is a whole new world. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend you indulge at least once or twice in your life, whether it’s a date, an anniversary or just because.

Choosing an upscale establishment means that you’re not only paying for exemplary service, you’re paying for an exquisite meal, the atmosphere surrounding the meal, and the experience as a whole.

Here are some of the most expensive meals in America according to Eater and MSN. Note that these may not be the most expensive meals in America, but checking the prices won’t be doing you or your wallet any favors nonetheless.

 

  1. Daniel–New York City

An absolute classic and very well-known establishment from one of my favorite cities in the United States. I have actually mentioned Daniel in this blog before; Daniel was the featured restaurant in the “What Happens When Kids Try Fine Dining” blog entry and accompanying video. Clearly, the children in that video ate quite well that afternoon, despite not appreciating every food served.

Tastings are often incredibly expensive, understandably so. An eight-course tasting at Daniel will run you $220 per person.

 

  1. Empire Steakhouse–New York City

You can see a trend developing–with New York City’s wide array of restaurants and upscale atmosphere, you’re bound to find an accompanying wealth of high-priced foods. A 10-ounce Kobe sirloin at the Empire Steakhouse will run you $345. While this seems like an obscenely high price for a steak, consider the fact that Empire is one of just two restaurants in New York that serves real Kobe beef.

 

  1.  Masa–New York City

Back to New York for number two, Masa serves up some of the most expensive, and certainly the tastiest Japanese food you’ll find in the US. Masa screams exclusivity, and has the menu to back it up. Chef Masayoshi Takayama has worked since his youth to perfect the art of cooking, and you won’t hear that many complaining. The $450 price point for a meal–not including drinks–makes Masa one of the most expensive eateries in the US.

 

  1. Serendipity 3–NYC/Las Vegas

The perfect after-meal sundae treat, Serendipity 3’s Golden Opulence Sundae contains Tahitian vanilla ice cream, Madagascar vanilla and, of course, a golf leaf. Caviar and Venezuelan chocolate are just two more of the incredibly lavish “toppings” on this sundae that will run you $1,000.

 

  1. Fleur–Las Vegas

If you like a good burger–maybe the best burger in America–Fleur is your restaurant. Having some disposable income also helps, as the most expensive item featured on the menu is the Fleur burger. Wagyu beef, foie gras, truffles and a bottle of Chateau Petrus brings the price of this entree at Fleur to $5,000.

The New Face of Fast Food

In recent years, the fast food market has changed dramatically. Today, there’s a focus on healthier options, better quality of products, and an effort to serve food in environmentally friendly ways.

While the fast food industry may appear to be making positive changes, the negative aspects of still outweigh the good. For example, a standard fast-food restaurant delivers on average more than 1,500 calories per meal. It’s no wonder that obesity is now considered a national health crisis.

 

Could affordable salads be the secret to America’s health?

An easier solution must exist. How can we make fast food healthy and affordable? The secret may have already have been discovered. Drive-thru salad chains.

The genius behind this solution is that it delivers what the market wants (healthy food) yet remains efficient and affordable. The unfortunate lure of fast-food is not the quality but the convenience. If we build healthy meccas that offer nutritious options, we could solve one of the leading health challenges in America today.

 

Leading the way

The future may have already arrived–and chances are–you’ve heard of them: Chipotle, SaladWorks, Panera. While not all of these chains exclusively offer salads, they do impress a healthier image to their consumers. At Panera, a customer can choose from a wide range of nutritious meals, including meat that’s free of antibiotics.

And there’s one chain that’s making a big impression. Salad and Go. This newer model hopes to break into the big leagues by offering fresh and affordable salads and meals, exclusively. With 8 locations across the midwest, the menu at Salad and Go offers salads, burritos, and smoothies made with whole, natural, and organic ingredients. The company’s goal? According to their website, living life in the fast lane doesn’t require sacrificing flavor or nutrition.  

The question remains whether these new chains have the potential to attract the consumers. We know that the market exists and thrives today. According to a Gallup study, 1 in 3 children eat fast food at least once a day.

It’s far easier to consider exchanging the type of food in this American diet staple than trying to reinvent a way for Americans to consume food affordably and on-the-go.

 

Bjorn Koch fast food placePerhaps the biggest obstacle facing these chains is the cultural association we keep with the industry. For 50+ years, the phrase fast food has conjured a very specific type of experience. Today, we have the opportunity to change that. But to achieve that goal, we first must shift our mindset: there’s no rule that the items at a fast-food restaurant have to be fried.

 

 

Want to Cook at Home? Read This First.

Bjorn Koch home cooking

Going out for dinner takes a lot of pressure off of you, the consumer of the meal. Weighed against cooking at home, going out to dinner means no cooking, no cleanup, no time spent cooking and table service. When it’s put this way, it seems like dining out should be the unquestionably better choice here.

But sometimes cooking a nice dinner at home is just a better option. Maybe you don’t feel like spending money on dinner one night, or maybe you just want to hone in your cooking craft. After all, anyone can pay for a meal cooked for them, but not everyone can actually put in the work and cook one themselves. Plating a beautiful and delicious dinner yourself is a sense of pride and accomplishment second only to the satisfaction you get from devouring it.

But not everyone can cook a dinner or prepare a dish as well as what you’d get from a restaurant. If you’re one of the people who falls into this category, consider these four tips.

 

Read the recipe All the Way Before You Start

There is nothing quite as disheartening than getting two thirds of the way through a recipe and then realizing that you lack a fundamental ingredient, or come up a little short in quantity. Rather than forcing yourself to rush to the grocery store for another stick of butter or onion, jeopardizing the entire meal, sit down the night before and read through the recipe.

Why the night before? It’s simple: some recipes require that you let something sit overnight before cooking. While this may seem to be an entirely skippable step, it’s not. If a recipe calls for something to marinate overnight, you’ll want to let it marinate overnight. This is particularly true of tougher cuts of meat, as marinating overnight facilitates the breakdown of muscle fibers and allows for a juicier steak the next day.  

 

Buy Nice Cutlery

The difference between a good knife and a bad knife could be the difference between having two thumbs and having one. The better the cutlery you own, the sharper your knives are, the safer you’ll be when using them. Theoretically, this sounds counter intuitive; a sharper knife however ensures that you’ll have to apply less pressure to cut your food than a you would have to with a duller knife. A sharper knife makes for easier cuts and less slipping and fumbling with your foods.

 

Cast Iron is Your Friend

Cast Iron skillets can be a lifesaver and make cooking much easier and much higher quality. Cast iron skillets are fairly cheap and last almost forever. They’re durable and can withstand higher levels of heat than standard glass or cookware. They’re also fantastic for heat distribution, and the “seasoning” aspect of cast iron means they don’t need to be washed with soap. They’re also non-stick by nature and incredibly versatile, you can cook anything from scrambled eggs to biscuits and gravy, all the way to baking a cake!

 

Practice, then Tweak

While you’re still homing in your cooking skills, follow recipes. It may seem too “standard” or “unoriginal” to simply follow a recipe you found online or in your cookbook, but following advice of the professionals to a T will guarantee good results at first. Then, when you’ve mastered the recipes you should begin experimenting with tweaking them to meet your specific taste.  

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