Sunday, May 29, 2011

Les Halles - Funky and French on Zürich's west side

Though I'm a longtime Germanophile, I've become increasingly fond of France in recent years. So, it was nice getting a little dose of France here and there in Zürich. Les Halles is a funky French flavored restaurant in a former warehouse on the west side. In some ways it feels like sort of an anti-Zürich.

As it turns out the food is excellent. They're known for their "Moules et Frites", so most of us tried the mussels in white wine sauce at lunch. A very good choice. A little disappointed that, despite having branded umbrellas at the tables, they did not in fact serve Kronenbourg beer. I'll give them props for all the organic goodness, but the "bio" beer they felt was a good substitute fell a little short. 

Pfingstweidstr. 28a
8005 Zürich

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Kohlmanns Feuerkuchen

In Basel, where the French, German and Swiss cuisines collide, is the very trendy and tasty Kohlmanns. Their specialty is the Feuerkuchen (literally "Fire Cake"), also known as Flammekuche,a sort of regional flat bread with a sour cream base. After trying several versions, I found the "Classic" (wheat dough topped with a spiced bacon and onion) to be just that. 

If you took away the lasagna's tomato base and drowned it in cheese, you'd have something similar to the Kohlmanns Nudelauflauf. Good, but nowhere close to the Feuerkuchen.

Steinenberg 14
4001 Basel

Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein

Though it's claimed by Basel, the Vitra Design Museum is actually across the border in Weil am Rhein in Germany. It is focused on furniture and interior design, though perhaps most noted as Frank O. Gehry's first building in Europe. I preferred Tadao Ando's conference pavilion and Zaha Hadid's rather quirky fire station, built on site after realizing a little too late that the nearest village fire department couldn't respond fast enough.

Conference pavilion by Japanese architect Tadao Ando

Charles-Eames-Str 1
79576 Weil am Rhein

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Acqua Osteria - Basel, Switzerland

What Basel may seem to lack in actual sights, it more than makes up for in great museums and restaurants. Today's lunch was at Acqua Osteria, a former pumping station turned restaurant. It has an interesting blend of modern and rustic design and a quaint little garden. Very nice roast beef, good wine, and a little ice cream and espresso to top it off.

Binningerstraße 14
4051 Basel

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tasting Swiss cheese in Bern

Cheese is a family affair for Mike Glauser, a 5th generation traditional cheese maker based in the Emmental area near Bern. It doesn't take long to see that he and his partners are passionate about what they do, and it's easy to taste why when you sample his varieties of cheese, including the outstanding "Belperknolle", coated in garlic and black pepper. Seriously, best cheese ever. (German Only) 

Yep, cutting some cheese. 

How can you not smile with cheese this good?

Well, it's cheese. Lots of delicious cheese. 

Welcome to rainy Zurich ...

Zurich’s old town has no shortage of shops, good when it's rainy. In addition to the chocolate, (which is enough, really) there is a good selection of clothing, antiques and even a nice shop for kids. The water is quite possibly the cleanest I’ve ever tasted. Even the river has this clear, clean, teal color that makes you just want to jump in. (Ok, maybe that’s just my warm nature talking.)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Morning along Lake Zurich

Spent some time relaxing along Lake Zurich this morning, a relatively shallow and clean body of water. The lake's most famous residents were also out.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Chocolate, Cheese .... must be Switzerland

Heading to Switzerland next week ... Bern, Basel, Zurich .. followed by
a couple days in southern Germany.