favorite desserts of 2016…

•January 17, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Breakfast.

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What is happening in pastryland?

In 2015, I described a slow-down and a top-off, as the energy and excitement that I first noticed propelling dessert-making into a new era half a decade ago began to level.  And as that unbridled sprint into the unknown, which had charted new and exciting territory, suddenly slowed, the language and form of pastry in this new era seemed to start codifying.  In 2016, pastryland reevaluated and realigned itself, and for the first time, started dividing into a new set of tracks, packs, and camps.

At least, that is my observation.

Let me explain.

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favorite dishes of 2016…

•January 14, 2017 • 1 Comment

11th Course: Egg Yolk

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In 2015, I yawned.

So, in 2016 I did something about it.

I took my foot off the culinary gas pedal, tuned out the lists and rankings, and returned to the basics. I’ve never been a conformist, but, more than previous years, I focused on eating where I had found joy before.  And, when exploring afield, I relied on those I personally knew and trusted, and followed their lead.

As a result, I ate better in 2016 than any year before.

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travel: hemispheres and horizons…

•January 11, 2017 • 3 Comments

Water Fools

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The calendar has turned for the twelfth time on this blog, and once again, I find myself nearly immobilized by the daunting task of gathering the previous year in one post.  What has proven perennially to be one of my most challenging exercises, pausing to regroup, reflect, and record at year-end has turned out to be one of the most rewarding ones as well.  So, I continue it here.*

If 2015 was a fairytale, 2016 was an odyssey. Beyond its epic scale and scope, which words and pictures could not possibly capture or contain, as with any true odyssey, much of my journey was internal, intangible, and invisible.  2016 included much soul-searching, as I continued to evaluate my trajectory, my purpose, my destination.  Unpacking it here will take some time.

As in previous years, I write this post mostly for my own file.  So, if you’re not interested in reading about my year and only interested in seeing the list of restaurants that I visited in 2016 – a log that I include annually with this year-end round-up – skip to the bottom of this post.

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travel: quiet corners…

•December 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Sortebro Kro

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My friend Mark was digging into a salad he had packed.  The late-autumn sun was dropping quickly toward the tree line, and with it, the temperature.  It began to rain, lightly.

The two of us were sitting up in a blind barely large enough for one of us. Packed in like canned sardines, standing practically chest-to-chest, I was scouting over his shoulder, and he over mine.  With a sudden nudge, he pushed the salad toward me, as if asking me to take it. Confused, I chose the wrong instinct: instead of following his prompt, I whipped my head around to catch two hares scurrying across the field behind me. By the time I turned back around to free Mark of the salad, it was too late. He quickly brought his shotgun up to aim, just as the hares disappeared into the tree line.

This was my first time hunting with Mark in over a year, and it was the first time we walked away empty-handed.

I’ve spent some early mornings and beautiful sunsets amidst field and stream with Mark Lundgaard Nielsen.  He’s the head chef of Kong Hans Kælder, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Copenhagen about which I’ve written before.  He’s also a skilled hunter.  And I’ve had the pleasure of accompanying him on a few hunting trips, during which he’s landed fowl, deer, stag, and almost two hares.  It has been these road trips, and others I’ve taken through Denmark, on my own or with other friends, that have not only  revealed some of the lovelier, quieter corners of Denmark, but have also taught me an incredible amount about Danish history, culture, and tradition.

In my last post, I surveyed the dining scene of Copenhagen.  In this post, I take you afield to a few of my favorite places to eat outside the capital city.

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travel: københavn…

•November 29, 2016 • 2 Comments

Nyhavn

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If you stitch together all of the days and weeks of my last eight trips to Copenhagen, the ledger will show that I’ve spent over two of the last 22 months in Denmark.  And I’ll be spending another week there on my upcoming trip to Europe, which will mark my twelfth trip to the Danish capital.

Although I’ve left a trail of Danish crumbs strewn across this blog recently, it’s been a regrettably disorganized one: here’s one post, for example, and here’s another, among many others in which I’ve dropped references and thoughts about eating in Denmark.  Sadly, I haven’t had enough time to gather these travel and dining experiences together in a comprehensive report.  And, it’s unlikely that I ever will.

However, it has become increasingly apparent that I need to contribute some of what I’ve learned from my time in Denmark to cyberspace, less for my own record, and more to relieve the growing number of requests I’ve been receiving for advice on Danish dining.  Coming from strangers and friends alike, they’ve been arriving at an overwhelming rate recently.

As I’ve written before, I’m averse to issuing shorthand recommendations or declarations about restaurants in the form of lists, rankings, and the like. That sort of laziness makes caricatures of chefs and restaurants, creates undeserved hype, and degrades the consumer base.  I won’t do it.

At the same time, I recognize that blogs like this one are sources of information and opinion. And, to the extent that I am able, I eagerly share both.  So, given the unusual density of contact that I’ve had with the Danish restaurant scene and culture recently, I submit, here, some of my favorite places to eat and drink in Copenhagen, many of which I have visited repeatedly and appreciate for the quality and consistency of the cooking.  To be clear, the following is not merely a laundry list of all of the places I’ve eaten in Denmark, thoughtlessly vomited out more for my sake than yours – you’ll find that relatively irrelevant accounting on my restaurant log, which is, perhaps, only useful as a reference for the number of times I’ve been to a restaurant, and the recency of my visits.

Rather, this post will highlight the restaurants, coffee shops, and eateries where I choose to spend my time and money, and where I feel confident sending you to do the same.  I hope it helps.

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rumination 32: extraterroirial…

•September 29, 2016 • 2 Comments

Recently, I’ve been increasingly engaged in dialogue about food sustainability – whether it be in panel discussions, seminars, or casual conversations with friends. The food cognoscenti – media, consumers, and chefs alike – are turning the spotlight to this subject.  And that’s a great thing.

Yet, I have great unease as I listen and learn.  In quickly realizing that I am in the sliver demographic that is able to eat primarily at restaurants with the smallest carbon footprint, it has become concurrently apparent to me that there is an increasingly inverse correlation between the carbon footprint of a restaurant and the carbon footprint of its clients.

Looking at it from that angle, I am very much a part of the problem.

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travel: an agnatic shadow…

•April 18, 2016 • 6 Comments

Fontevraud l'Abbaye Royale

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Not surprisingly, the traffic leaving Paris was horrible, so we had fallen behind schedule. Despite that, I insisted that we stop at the Château Chambord on our dip southward to Anjou. It had been over two decades since I last saw it.

Although we arrived too late to enter the castle grounds, we paused to marvel at the massive, Renaissance structure, blushing with the pastels of dusk. It’s hard to believe that this, the largest châteaux in the Loire Valley, had been intended merely as a hunting lodge, a boastful show of wealth and power by its builder Francis I.

My friends Colby and Megan Garrelts and I soaked in the silence of that sprawling estate – which we had to ourselves – before hopping back in our rental and speeding off towards Fontevraud.

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