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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travel: so flirtable….

•February 18, 2016 • 1 Comment

Westminster at dusk.

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I’ve been playing tag with London all of my adult life: always flirting, but never letting myself get caught in what would surely be a financially devastating love affair.

So, perhaps purposefully, I have always kept my visits to the city brief.

My recent trip in January was no exception.

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best of 2015: the restaurant edition…

•February 9, 2016 • 4 Comments

Kong Hans Kælder

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In 2015, quite a few tracks upon which I had been running slowly began to converge.  While my destination remains unclear, my direction has become much more so.  Rapidly disappearing is my desire to keep apace with the restaurant industry, as I watch food media disintegrating into a pile of clickbait and shallow memes, the overwhelming weight of which makes it almost pointless to dig out the few, worthy nuggets therein.  And social media has so sucked the “cult” out of “culture” that so much of what I loved about dining and restaurants has become repugnant to me, having devolved into a great, churning mass of groupies circling the few, the glorious who have managed to charm their way into the eye of the storm, and who relish their haloed seat amidst the calm.

While I’ve always moved at my own pace here, in the past year, I’ve untethered myself even more, enjoying a greater range of motion to explore, and to invest my time and attention where I think it matters most.

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best desserts of 2015…

•February 4, 2016 • 1 Comment

Riz au lait.

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I started issuing a list of my favorite desserts in 2011 because I noticed something exciting happening in pastryland, and I wanted a record of it.

At the time, many pastry chefs were branching out and exploring new territory, while others hunkered down to improve upon what was already there.  And in just a few, short years, together, they have widened the borders of their domain, and have made it a considerably better place in which to treat ourselves today.  Once relegated to the corner of the kitchen as an afterthought, desserts have moved up on the restaurant menu to be an integral part of the dining experience.  Pastry chefs too, once nameless and faceless, have moved into the spotlight, making a way for themselves apart from the restaurant line behind which they’ve traditionally been hidden.

While I’ve celebrated this sweet progress for the past four years, I noticed its growth stunting in 2015.  And I’d like to take a moment to talk it through.

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best dishes of 2015…

•January 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Naples Long Pumpkin

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There was no runaway hit in 2015.  There were quite a few of them.

However, whereas in past years, canvassing through hundreds of dishes for my 25 favorite was a particularly difficult task – one that I was often unable to carry out successfully, forcing me to append a spillover list that often included just as many “runners up” – this year’s top dishes separated themselves rather easily from the pack, especially, the top ten, which cluster tightly on a shelf that sits considerably higher than the rest.*

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