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Trip 2011 Part 1: Eating and drinking June 5, 2011

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Drinks, Duck, Innards, Pork.
Tags: , ,

As you may know if you’ve read some of my previous entries, I’ve recently been travelling through parts of America and Europe, returning home about 3 weeks ago. Much of the holiday was taken up with eating and drinking, and many places we visited were because of recommendations on twitter, or from blogs that we read. And I must say, using the collective power of twitter results in some very fine eating! A few people have asked for photos and chronicles of our adventures, so I present to you some of the food we ate and drank…

A note about the photos: we didn’t take any cameras so had to rely on our phones for photos of food. This means that the photos are not great, but hopefully they at least communicate a sense of what we ate and drank.

In San Francisco, we met up with some friends (including a vegetarian – eek!) at Incanto (possibly the worst place to take a vegetarian), Chris Cosentino’s restaurant devoted to weird and unusual cuts of meat that others avoid, including offal (of course). The things we ate included…

Venison pate…

Foie gras, trotters and red & green strawberries (the green strawberries gave a wonderful tartness to the dish)…

Duck confit with giblet salad and green peas

Pork cheek, pork belly, slow roasted onions, and mash.

We also got the opportunity to visit the farmers’ market at the San Francisco Ferry Building, and as well as looking at all the fabulous produce, we sampled a wonderful, magnificent porchetta sandwich from the Roti Roti truck:

This was ridiculously good – porchetta with crispy skin, with rolls wiped with the juices from the porchetta, caremelised onions and rocket and extra pork skin! We got it with a side of potatoes cooked in the fat of the pork, with rosemary and salt.  It was a great balance of flavours and textures.

We were also lucky enough to meet up with Shirley from the Modern Mourner in the Haight-Ashbury area, where, after shopping for vintage clothes, we adjourned to the Alembic bar, where we had duck’s hearts and cocktails, including this one with gin, chartreuse, orange flower water and gold leaf on top:

Other highlights in San Francisco included lunch at Absinthe, cocktails at the Walnut Creek Yacht Club, and charcuterie at the Fatted Calf.

On to New York! Again, thanks to advice received on twitter, we ventured to The Breslin, where we started with this magnificent charcuterie plate:

This included chicken liver parfait, headcheese, duck pate, and of course lots and lots of pork! We had other fabulous food at The Breslin, including a cookie platter which was a meal all in itself.

We also went to Prune, where all my good resolutions about eating more vegetables went out the window when I saw the tongue salad on the menu…

It was wonderful – but I must admit I was a tad jealous of H, who had what he described as “the best hamburger ever”.

I also had the wonderful Ghost of Mary cocktail, made from their homemade Bloody Mary mix, which is distilled a number of times before vodka and olives (and other things too?) are added. It reminded me of drinking pickle juice (what? doesn’t everyone drink pickle juice?!) with other flavourings added.

Other highlights of New York included New York-style pizza at Vinny Vincenz (particularly welcome on a cold and rainy day) and an entire pork shoulder at a place near our hotel. We also visited Momofuku Ssam Bar, which I’d very much been looking forward to, but found that the hype didn’t quite live up to the food. We tried a number of the dishes there, and while they were very nice, I didn’t find the combination of ingredients or flavours particularly new or mind-blowing. In retrospect, I think I have been spoiled by the great food we can get in Melbourne (including Korean, which David Chang borrows from quite a lot), and therefore didn’t find Momofuku Ssam Bar as wonderful as I was expecting.

In London and Berlin, we rented apartments and for the majority of the time, did our own cooking. So there’s not many photos of meals from those places. Highlights in London were St John Restaurant, and the Fat Duck (which will get its own post). In Berlin, we again ate in most of the time, after buying food at the local market, except for sampling some of the Berlin street food (currywurst, donor kebab, etc). However, in Berlin we did manage to visit a number of cocktail bars, the highlight of which was Lebensstern, above the Einstein Cafe on Kurfürstenstrasse. We had wonderfully inventive and unique cocktails, and the surroundings were very pleasant too:

I was impressed that they had their own herb garden so they had fresh herbs for the cocktails. Other cocktail bar highlights included Victoria Bar (nice bar food here too), and Stagger Lee, where it looked like we were in a 19th century saloon.

After Berlin, we moved onto Singapore, where we did eat our way through four days before getting on a plane back to Melbourne; however, I must admit that the food-eating took over the photo-taking, and I don’t have any photos of our food in Singapore. Highlights included the crispy skin duck at the (aptly named) Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant, and hawker food at the Maxwell Food Centre.

Thanks again to all who provided recommendations, directions and advice! We ate and drank very well thanks to all the recommendations we received, and since one of the aims of the holiday was to experience wonderful food and drink, we certainly succeeded in that aim.

Stay tuned for part 2, where I look at what we ate at the Fat Duck…


1. athenaoz - June 5, 2011

yum yummmmmmmmmmmm
Very memorable journey.

2. East Bay Laura - August 17, 2011

I glad you got some good eats during your visit to the San Francisco Bay Area!
Re the bar in Berlin called Stagger Lee — you may be aware of this history, but Stagger Lee Shelton was the shooter in a famous murder in St. Louis in 1895. Stagger Lee shot Billy Lyons in a drunken dispute over a hat. The only reason the murder became famous was the song “Stagger Lee” based on this event. Actually the song is more famous now than the murder case, and versions of it have been recorded (sometimes under different titles) by many people from the 1920’s on, including Duke Ellington, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, and the Clash. Thus I assume the “19th century saloon” decor was intentional.

inspiredbywolfe - August 17, 2011

Hi Laura,

I’d forgotten about the history of Stagger Lee but it clicked when we walked into the bar 🙂 So yes, the 19th century saloon decor included some pistols, hats, lamps and so on – definitely intentional. And the menu included some images from the Nick Cave cover of the song. The decor was really a bonus since the cocktails were great too!

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