Tag: Bjorn Koch (Page 1 of 7)

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.

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.  

Why Your New Years Resolution Should be Food-Based

Bjorn koch food new years

 

Saturday evening, people across the world gathered to celebrate the ringing in of a new year, allowing 2017 into their lives in warm embrace. With a new year, of course, comes a long list of resolutions that you may or may not have already given up on–eating healthier, going to the gym, spending less, saving more–the list goes on.

But there’s one resolution that is Bjorn Koch approved that I highly recommend that you and everyone else takes under their wing for 2017.

Diversify your cuisine this year.

 

Cooking at Home

If you, like most households around the country, cook most of your meals at home, this resolution can be easily fulfilled. If you have kids it might become a bit more difficult, but also presents a wonderful opportunity to open their eyes (and mouths) to tastes of other cultures.

In lieu of cooking pasta with sauce from a jar twice a week in the name of a quick and relatively cheap meal, opt to attempt to make an international dish a few times a week. Not every dish has to be expensive–eating oysters, lobster and truffles every night would be bad for both your digestive tract and your wallet. But exploring the cuisine of new cultures and cooking up some classic international dishes is an effective means of both broadening your cultural horizons and learning to cook up some fantastically delicious meals from across the world!

 

Dining Out

 

Admittedly, cooking meals at home 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year is difficult. Sometimes you have to let someone else take over and order out.

Dining out is often viewed as an expensive, unhealthy endeavor, due largely to the preconceived notion that eating out is automatically a trip to McDonalds, Burger King or Chick-Fil-A. But it doesn’t have to be, nor should it be.

This year, try expanding your dining horizons by visiting a different location every week (or every other, if that’s how often you eat out). Use something like Google Maps or Trip Advisor to find a restaurant that you’ve never been to, or that serves food from a culture you’ve never tried before. More often than not even picky eaters will be able to find something on the menu that they find they enjoy–and the more adventurous among us can point to a dish and try something new.

Examining The Meteoric Rise of Avocados

bjorn koch avocados

We spend quite a bit of our lives crowded around a table shoveling (or gracefully forking) food into our mouths. This time we spend–about 70 minutes a day according to Tempo really adds up over time, consuming about 3.66 years of our life.

Understandably, then, we often put a good bit of time determining what exactly it is that we’ll be eating on a daily basis. One of the most popular places to see recipes is, of course, Pinterest. I myself am guilty of browsing the site for images of appetizing food, then heading to the kitchen to whip it up.

When you use online guides like Pinterest to help dictate what you’ll be eating, you begin to notice trends emerge. If a food becomes “in,” you begin to see it in more and more recipes, while foods that have fallen out of favor–often for health reasons–tend to show up less and less.

One food, however, has seemingly exploded, going from few and far between to a staple in a healthy number of Pinterest recipes.

That ingredient is the avocado.

 

Where do They Come From?

Avocados are often grown in Mexico and imported to the United States. The necessity for a Mediterranean climate void of frost and with little wind makes the cultivation of avocados elsewhere somewhat difficult. Despite some being grown in America (Florida, Arizona, California, etc), about 45% of the world’s supply comes from Mexico.

Unfortunately, due to California’s drought issues, the US-based avocado market struggled recently, driving up prices across the country. Apparently, eating those Pinterest recipes isn’t as cheap as you might have thought.

 

Why Are They So Popular?

In the last five or so years, the popularity of avocados has skyrocketed. In fact, the market for the healthy snack has gone up fourfold in recent years. That’s four times as many avocados being consumed across the country, thanks in part to lifted restrictions.

One reason is simply due to availability. Before the 1990s, the US was unable to import fruit from Mexico. As I mentioned above, Mexico is the world’s largest avocado producer. The ban forced consumers to get most of their avocados from California, which can’t grow year-round. When the ban was lifted, avocado imports, naturally, went up.

Perhaps the biggest reason that avocados have jumped in popularity recently is due to the benefits to those who work it into their recipes. Studies have shown that people have recently become more conscious of what they’re eating, striving to eat healthier now than they have before. The health benefits of avocados can’t be understated–they’re nutritious, offering good doses of various vitamins and healthy fats.

 

What You Can Make With Them

 

Avocados, having their roots in Mexico, are used in a number of Mexican dishes. The obvious one being guacamole. However since their explosion, the tasty fruit has been worked into a number of recipes both simple and extravagant from deviled eggs and soups to main dishes and meals composed around them. To explore a few visit AllRecipes.com or peruse some of the suggestions here.  

Putting the Fine in Fine Dining

bjorn koch fine dining header

I’ve written a lot on this site about upscale dining and culture to the point that it almost seems as though I’ve covered just about everything. From the dos and don’ts of fine dining to the recipes you can make at home, BjornKoch.org has played home to many a fine dining blog post.

Many times on this site I’ve detailed the intricacies of fine dining. Diving into the topic allows for exploration on a micro scale, looking at where to eat, what to eat and what to do in different countries. But still BjornKoch.org is missing something–something on the macro level.

What is it, exactly, that makes a fine dining experience a fine dining experience? What makes upscale upscale? Is it just the price? Is it the atmosphere? The service? The variety (or lack of) food?

In essence, a little of everything goes into this, so here’s a bit about each.

Atmosphere

What’s the first thing you’ll undoubtedly notice when you set foot in any restaurant? Think about your senses: there’s the smell of the food, the sounds that are swirling around you and the appearance of the restaurant.

These are the factors that make up the overall atmosphere of an upscale dining experience. The patrons will more than likely be dressed nicely and be speaking in relatively hushed tones–fine dining restaurants are not places for the loud, raucous conversations you’d have in a TGI Friday’s or something of the sort. It’s difficult to put into words, but the overall demeanor of the restaurant staff, your fellow diners and their actions help to create an upscale atmosphere.

The Price

The eye popping prices of most upscale dining entrees are what many people first consider when they’re thinking about giving fine dining a shot. And while huge prices for entrees are expected at most establishments, it’s important to note that the price is a reflection of everything else on this list: the service provided, the atmosphere, the food and the upscale dining experience as a whole. Charging $45 for a burrito at the food truck outside of your office wouldn’t turn it into an upscale restaurant.

The Service

Most restaurants make it clear that your waiter or waitress is there to serve you. They’ll introduce themselves by name, pop in every 20-25 minutes to ensure you’re enjoying the meal and let you know that they’re there for refills of your Pepsi.

At an upscale restaurant, the servers do their best to remain unnoticed. They swap out your silverware or refill your glasses of wine without you even noticing. Providing everything you need to ensure that you’re fully serviced while remaining in the background is one of the most alluring aspects to fine dining.

The Food

Finally. This is the bullet point you’ve undoubtedly been waiting for. When you’re eating out, you’re probably not doing it for the atmosphere, the service or the prices. Those are additions; pieces of the puzzle that make up the fine dining experience. But the overall picture–the reason you’re dining out in the first place is for the food. And upscale restaurants know how to deliver if you’re hungry.

Upscale dining food separates itself in both selection and quality. The foods featured on the menu are often locally sourced and unique offerings that aren’t found elsewhere. They’re chef specialities and dishes that are original, often changing and most importantly, delicious.  

Cocktails & Mixed Drinks for Upscale Dining

bjorn koch drinks

A lot of pressure is put into crafting the perfect meal when you’re out at an upscale establishment. Of course the cooking and preparation is handled by an experienced and well-versed chef or team of chefs, but you’re the one that has to place the order after all. Looking over the long list of options available, each promising to hit your tastebuds in such a way that it will instantly become a meal you’ll never forget.

But once you’ve made your decision the hard part is over…or is it?

Far too often is the offer of what to drink with your meal forgotten. Wines are the obvious go-to, but sometimes you’re not in the mood for a glass of red or white; sometimes you’re feeling like a cocktail will better hit the spot.

Here are seven must-have cocktails that epitomize class and are great additions to your next meal out.

Manhattan

A classy drink named after a fantastic borough of New York and garnished with a cherry traditionally, if there’s one drink to try at least once make it a Manhattan. Mix together whiskey, sweet red vermouth, and a dash of bitters.

Margarita

A great option if you’re dining at a nice Mexican restaurant, margaritas should be your go-to option. Fresh lime juice, triple sec and tequila make a surprisingly smooth cocktail that you can enjoy with your favorite Mexican dish. And don’t forget the salt!

Whiskey Sour

Many people see whiskey as the drink of a man’s man. I say it should be everyone’s drink (in moderation, of course). Don’t quit on whiskey if you’re not much of a sipper–try a whiskey sour. Skip the prepackaged mixes, instead combine lemon or lime juice, sugar, and some nice whiskey.

Gin and Tonic

Quick and easy with two ingredients (not counting ice). Toss a few cubes into a glass, pour some gin, pour some tonic (the ratio is up to you, 1:1: or 1:3 seems to be the general consensus). Garnish with a wedge of lemon or lime for a nice touch, and you’re set.

Martini

Gin, dry vermouth and orange bitters combine to form a classic that is worthy of James Bond’s attention. There’s a reason that a martini is the drink of choice for those like 007–shaken or stirred it’s sure to ooze class.

Bloody Mary

The choice of brunch-eaters everywhere, the strong, bordering on overpowering ingredients of a Bloody Mary mix and match well enough that, somehow, they complement one another perfectly. Tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, Tabasco sauce, salt and some lemon are the main players in this classic.

Old Fashioned

With a name like Old Fashioned this drink was destined to become a long lasting classic. Put a sugar cube into an old fashioned glass and douse it with some bitters and a bit of water or club soda, muddle it, stir it, add an ice cube and some whiskey and you’re set.

Five Mistakes to Avoid When Dining Upscale

 

For most people, high-class dining is not something they do on a regular basis. It may happen once every so often, or you may be thrown into a professional situation that entails fine dining and you’re nervous about what the exact etiquette is. Maybe you’re meeting a significant other’s family for the first time at a high-class restaurant and you want to make sure you don’t make a serious mistake. In this post, I’ll list some of the most common mistakes to avoid when dining at a high-end restaurant.

Misplacing and misusing your napkin and utensils

 

It’s common to have various plates, glassware, and utensils when dining at a high-class restaurant. You can look up diagrams that show where different wine glasses or plates will be located at your place setting. A simple tip is to work from the outside in when using utensils. When you’re done eating, place your utensils on your plate, which you should also do if you pause eating; don’t set them back down on the table. The same goes with your napkin; keep it placed on your lap and when you’re done with your meal, set it to the left side of your plate. Also remember to dab, not wipe, your mouth.

 

Dressing inappropriately

 

While the normal view is that anything goes as far as attire is concerned, this concept does not apply to business or formal dinners. Most, if not all, high class restaurants have a specific dress code, which usually requires suits, or at least dress shirts, for men and a dress or suit for women. A good rule to follow for what to wear to a high class restaurant is to not wear anything you wouldn’t wear for a job interview.

 

Placing items on the table

 

Again, with the current culture, people always carry cell phones and various other items that they’re connected to constantly. In a more casual restaurant, this behavior may be acceptable (though it’s generally a good rule to not use your phone at all when you’re eating with other people), it’s definitely not acceptable at a high class restaurant. Keep your purse, wallet, keys, phone, glasses, and whatever else off of the table. It’s distracting and looks untidy.

 

Not planning payment

 

This mistake is especially important to be aware of if you’re the hostess. Usually, etiquette dictates that the person who invited everyone else pays for the meal, though you may choose to split the checks. At particularly high class restaurants, you’ll be expected to provide your credit card beforehand, so be aware of this detail, especially if you’re paying for the entire meal. It helps to avoid any post-dinner awkwardness.

 

Food mistakes

 

Common etiquette rules to remember are: chew with your mouth closed, eat slowly, and don’t put too much food in your mouth. It’s also important to wait to begin eating until everyone else is served and to know how to eat the food in front of you. It’s a good idea to plan ahead what you’d like to order and make sure you’re comfortable with the food, such as having to crack a crab’s shell or a meal with different garnishes. It’s also completely acceptable to send back food if it isn’t cooked properly, but remember not to be gracious toward the waiter and not make a scene.

Dining Etiquette Around the World

Fine Dining Bjorn Koch

Eating out at a restaurant in the United States is a fairly straightforward affair. Assuming you’ve been to a restaurant before, you likely know the etiquette that surrounds an evening of being waited on at a nice restaurant. And while the rules do change slightly when you’re dining at an upscale establishment rather than your local Ruby Tuesday, the fact of the matter remains that, in America, dining out has a set of rules that you’re expected to follow.

The problem is, those rules aren’t the same when you leave the United States. In fact, they differ pretty strongly country to country. Here are a few different areas of the world that don’t abide by the USA dining laws, and some suggestions on how you should act should you find yourself dining out there.

Japan

Dining Etiquette:

You’ve likely heard this before, but forget the rules that your parents taught you about slurping your food should you find yourself in Japan. Slurping your noodles into your mouth shows your appreciation for the meal.

When you’ve eaten all the noodles or solid foods from a bowl with your chopsticks (which you should never leave crossed or lick during the meal), drink the broth straight from the bowl.

Paying and Tipping:

Do not feel compelled to split the bill–the one who organized the meal often pays, and doesn’t leave a tip.

China

Dining Etiquette:

The same general rules for chopsticks in Japan as seen above also hold true for China. In addition, do not waive the chopsticks around or move them erratically. Control and poise are keys, particularly in business settings, which are a common task to hold over meals.

Additionally, don’t refill your own glass, instead refill your neighbor’s and don’t hold back on your belches (unless in a business setting)

Paying and Tipping:

As in Japan, tips should not be left, and many restaurants have no tipping policies and will reject any offers.

Germany

Dining Etiquette:

If you want the glass of water that Americans have become accustomed to receiving at every meal, you’ll have to ask and it more than likely won’t be free. And if you show up at an even marginally crowded restaurant, don’t expect to get a table by yourself. Sitting with strangers and sharing a table is considered the norm in Germany.

Paying and Tipping:

You should be expected to tip your server somewhere in the realm of 5-15%. Five is on the low end of what’s acceptable. However, very much unlike what is often done in America, don’t leave your money on the table–give it directly to your server.

Nine Foods To Try Once in your Life

Mouthwatering food exists all over the world, but there are also certain foods that you have to try at least once in your life. While many of them can be found in various locations, some are specific to the area of the world they originated in, because that place just does them the best. So get ready to plan your next trip around the fantastic food you’ll be able to find somewhere!

Escargot in France

Many people might be grossed out by the thought of eating snails, but these are truly a delicacy. The snails are killed, removed from their shells, and then prepared with butter, garlic, and other seasonings, before being placed back into the shell and served. The texture and flavor is incredible and the snail is incredibly tender.

Macarons in France

Macarons can be found all over the world now, but nothing beats real French macarons. These sweet treats come in various flavors and are the perfect size for a quick snack. They’re light and delicious, with an amazing ganache or buttercream filling.

Lobster Roll

Lobster rolls are truly masterpieces, which few people realize. The sandwich is filled with lobster meat and usually soaked in butter. Find a place that uses lots of lobster and great bread and you’ll be sure to enjoy this dish.

Shrimp and Grits

People in the North may turn their nose up at grits, but those in the South know what they’re doing when it comes to this food. This dish is normally had at breakfast time and can be sweet or savory. It’s rich in butter, but worth it.

Gelato in Italy

No place can do gelato like Italy (France comes a close second). Gelato is an amazing combination of milk, sugar, and cream, often flavored with various fruits or nuts. Italian gelato shops are known for serving their gelato in fancy shapes, such as a flower, and it immediately melts in your mouth.

Steak Tartare

Even though this dish is raw meat, which might not appeal to some people, it’s definitely worth overcoming your squeamishness. The meat is prepared with onions and seasonings for a delicious flavor. When stored and prepared properly, it’s unlikely that any bacteria is present, so you can enjoy this dish with peace of mind.

Sushi in Japan

It’s possible to find great sushi in lots of places, but none of it can compare to the sushi of Japan. If raw fish is completely repulsive to you, try some cooked sushi. Sashimi is also a great type of sushi to try, where the fish is laid over a serving of rice and can easily be eaten in one or two bites.

Real Ramen

Ramen is frequently associated with college students who need to make food quickly and on a budget, but ramen cuisine is much more impressive than this image. Real ramen is fresh noodles with either chicken or beef in a warm broth. It’s very much like a kind of soup and is a great dish to warm you up.

Tamales

Tamales are a Mesoamerican dish that originated sometime between 8000 and 5000 BC, which is incredible. This delicious food is masa dough mixed with various foods and then wrapped in a cornhusk. You unwrap the dough before eating and then can dig into this scrumptious delight.

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