Tag: food (Page 1 of 5)

Bjorn Koch - 5 Tips for Cooking Like a Pro

5 Tips for Cooking Like a Pro

Whether you’re cooking for yourself, your family or somebody you want to impress, it’s always nice to feel confident in your culinary abilities — no matter how much experience you have. Here are 5 tips that will help you cook like a pro:

1. Always Prepare Before You Cook

No matter how simple your dish, it’s important to take the time to lay out all of the necessary tools and ingredients before you even flip on the stove. Otherwise, you could run the risk of burning something while you turn away to retrieve that bulb of garlic you forgot to pull out of the fridge.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Your Hands Dirty

It may sound taboo, but using your hands in the kitchen is entirely natural and acceptable — after all, they’re the best tools you have. Use your hands in measuring portions, applying marinades and seasoning to meat, and even toss salads. These methods not only save you time during preparation, but in the clean-up department as well.

3. Don’t Waste Food

…Unless it’s moldy and entirely unsafe for consumption, of course. According to head chef Abra Berens, however, there are several ways you could use to get rid of the older food in your fridge without being wasteful, including: turning your wilting lettuce into a delectable soup, making chicken or another form of stock from your leftover bones, and zesting your oranges before eating them.

4. Shop Smarter

It may be tempting to just go to your local grocery store and pick up your necessary ingredients in one fell swoop, but many chefs recommend you hold out on purchasing your fruits and vegetables until you get to a farmer’s market. More often than not, the produce sold at farmer’s markets are fresher and have been exposed to fewer pesticides and other toxic substances than their supermarket counterparts.

5. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Sometimes, it’s good to branch out from rigid recipes and test out a few ingredients of your own choosing — though this isn’t recommended when you’re cooking for somebody other than yourself.

Or, if you feel comfortable in your ability to choose complementary seasonings and garnishes, try a new cooking technique. Many master chefs recommend testing out methods like sautéing, French frying, and poaching, as these are some of the easiest to learn. Please don’t experiment with methods that incorporate an open flame, like flambéing, as these take a decent amount of professional training to safely perform.

Bjorn Koch - 4 of the Most Famous European Restaurants

4 of the Most Famous European Restaurants

50 different countries make up the European continent, and each country features a rich history and fascinating culture. When it comes to restaurants, critics agree that Europe is home to some of the finest establishments on the planet. Below is a list of some of the best restaurants found in Europe.

Noma

Not only is Noma one of the best restaurants in Europe—it is also one of the most famous restaurants in the world. The restaurant is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Chef René Redzepi runs the two-Michelin-star restaurant. Since its opening in 2003, the restaurant has received numerous awards. On four different occasions, Noma has appeared at the top of the Best Restaurant in the World list. The word Noma is actually a play on two Danish words which mean Nordic food. When most people think of Europe’s best food offerings, Nordic and Scandinavian food usually don’t appear at the top of the list, but Noma has changed that.

The restaurant has appeared in the media many times including on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. As a result of the restaurant’s popularity, securing a reservation is very difficult. At the moment, securing a reservation is actually impossible since the restaurant closed at the end of 2016. Chef Redzepi plans to open Noma at a new location during the summer of 2017. The new location will have a farm next to it that the staff will use to source ingredients. If you want to know when Noma will reopen its doors, visit their website.

Osteria Francescana

In 2016 Osteria Francescana became the first ever Italian restaurant to appear at the top of the Best Restaurant in the World list. The three-Michelin-star restaurant opened its doors in 1995, and over the past 20 years, its dishes have been wowing diner after diner. Massimo Bottura is the man behind Osteria Francescana. Before Massimo Bottura opened Osteria Francescana he was studying law. However, he decided to leave law behind, open a restaurant, and learn to be a chef. Bottura apprenticed under chef Georges Coigny for a time before opening Osteria Francescana.

Lunch and dinner reservations at Osteria Francescana are difficult to come by. If you plan to visit, make sure you book your reservation months in advance. Osteria Francescana offers diners a 9-course or 12-course tasting menu. When you visit make sure you are prepared to spend at least three hours enjoying each course. The experience should definitely not be rushed. In a 2014 interview, Bottura spoke about the idea of closing Osteria Francescana and relocating to another city. So far Bottura is staying put in Modena, Italy. Still, if you want to dine at this fantastic Italian establish, make sure you do it soon.

El Celler de Can Roca

Joan, Josep, and Jordi Roca opened El Celler de Can Roca in 1986 in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Over the years the three brothers have earned three Michelin stars, and in 2013 and 2015 Restaurant magazine named it the best restaurant in the world. The restaurant’s wine cellar holds nearly 60,000 bottles, so come prepared to drink when you visit. El Celler de Can Roca can only hold 45 diners so booking a reservation is required. The Roca brothers focus on serving Catalan cuisine with some creative twists. For example, some of the dishes take inspiration from popular perfumes. Another dish includes a Bonsai tree on the plate.

Each of the brothers has different responsibilities when it comes to running the restaurant. The youngest brother, Jordi, is the pastry chef; the middle brother, Josep, focuses on wine, and the oldest brother, Joan, has head chef duty. Before you are seated you get a glimpse at the restaurant’s 40 cooks at work in the kitchen. Last year FoodBarcelona reviewed El Celler de Can Roca. The reviewer noted that the current wait for a reservation is 11 months (Source). Read the review, look at the pictures of the dishes, and you might decide that 11 months isn’t that long of a wait.

The Ledbury

The Ledbury is the youngest restaurant on this list. It opened its doors in 2005 and has gone on to earn two Michelin stars. While the restaurant hasn’t appeared at the very top of Restaurant’s Best Restaurant in the World list, this year it appears as the highest-ranking UK restaurant on the list. Brett Graham, who is originally from Newcastle, Australia, is the chef behind The Ledbury. He made his way to London in 2000 when he was 21 years old.

Last year the Telegraph reviewed The Ledbury and concluded that its dishes are just as delectable as they were when the restaurant first opened. It concludes the review by saying that even though The Ledbury has a world-class reputation it feels down-to-earth and friendly. There likely won’t be any leftovers when you’re done your meal. Food this delicious tends to be eaten quickly. However, the restaurant does offer guests the opportunity to take compost bags of kitchen scraps when they leave. So not only will you get a good meal, your plants will too.

4 of the Best Mexican Restaurants in the US

Bjorn Koch - 4 of the Best Mexican Restaurantsin the US

This Friday is Cinco de Mayo. In honor of the holiday, this post looks at some of the best Mexican restaurants in the US.

Cosme – New York City, NY

Cosme serves Mexican food, but maybe not the type of Mexican food that most people think of when they picture Mexican food. For example, you won’t find fare like tacos and burritos on Cosme’s menu. What you will find, though, is good food with Mexican flourishes. The restaurant serves brunch, lunch, and dinner. On the dinner menu, you’ll find dishes like octopus and duck carnitas. The restaurant has an extensive mezcal list as well as tequila selection. The mezcals are served in glasses with worm salt around the rims. Plus, you get orange slices on the side.

Topolobampo – Chicago, IL

Since 1989 Topolobampo has been serving delightful Mexican cuisine. Rick Bayless is the man behind Topolobampo. Before opening his first restaurant Bayless published Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico and hosted the PBS series Cooking Mexican. Topolobampo is the upscale sister of Bayless’ first restaurant, Frontera Grill. Topolobampo’s current dinner menu features dishes with names like Betrayal and Euphoria. The “Art Menu,” as it’s called, is designed to evoke feelings in diners similarly to how a piece of art would evoke feelings. Bayless is an expert in Mexican cuisine, so when you eat at Topolobampo you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable dining experience.

Guelaguetza – Los Angeles, CA

Guelaguetza opened in 1994. The restaurant often receives credit for popularizing Oaxacan cuisine in the United States. Since first opening its doors the restaurant has received praise in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and has received a James Beard Award. The restaurant is best-known for its moles—so much so that it sells mole on its online store. Guelaguetza serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The desserts, in particular, should not be skipped. According to Guelaguetza’s website, Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold once said: “Guelaguetza Is The Best Oaxacan Restaurant In The Country” (Source). When it comes to the best Mexican restaurants in the United States, there is no question that Guelaguetza should appear on the list.

La Condesa – Austin, TX

Guacamole, mezcal, tacos—La Condesa has it all and does not disappoint.  According to La Condesa’s website, the restaurants “features the largest selection of 100% blue agave tequila and mezcal in Austin” (Source). The dinner menu features ceviches, small dishes that are perfect for sharing, and food prepared on a wood-fired grill. When you visit make sure that you make a reservation. When planning your visit make sure that you make a reservation. The restaurant tends to fill up quickly and waiting for delicious Mexican cuisine on an empty stomach is never fun.

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.  

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.  

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