Friday, October 30, 2009

Keste - The "It" Pie

All those mourning the loss of the East Village's Una Pizza Napoletana, should really try Keste pizzeria in the West Village. They serve authentic Neapolitan pies adhering to the strict guidelines of the age-old tradition of Neapolitan pizza making. Though the craft is taken very seriously here - as evidenced by the tiled wood-burning oven anchoring the back of pizzeria - the atmosphere is no-fuss casual and friendly. The crust is thin, chewy and just charred enough on the underside of the pie. (Just a friendly note: Walk with caution when passing the oven area on the way to the bathroom, there might be flour on the floor and it can be a little slippery.)

Keste Pizza & Vino
271 Bleecker St
(between Morton St & Jones St)
New York, NY 10014
(212) 243-1500

Saturday, October 17, 2009

You Need Lots of Hygge and Lots of Kroner To Eat In Copenhagen

On the cusp of the frigid cold, S and I were what appeared to be the only tourists in Copenhagen (aside from Obama and Oprah who were lobbying for the Olympics to be held in Chicago). Maybe it was the cold droplets of rain, the gusts of Nordic wind that had a good laugh at our coats and scarves... and the fact that rice costs $4 and a couple of spring rolls from a Vietnamese take out place can cost about $10+ (which we didn't try because we couldn't rationalize it comparing it to $2 in NYC's Chinatown) that S and I had Copenhagen to ourselves. If it wasn't for stretching out S's hearty minestrone soup (with the addition of a fried egg on Soup Day 2, penne on Soup Day 3, etc), I would've probably starved to death. Apparently the Danish know this too, which is why they take so much care in creating the perfect ambiance for relaxing, entertaining and dining at home, the respite from their steely winters and outrageous costs of eating out!

The flat we stayed at reflected this certain ambiance or what the Danish call hygge. Hygge is loosely translated into 'coziness', but seems to be more of a Danish approach or even philosophy on how to live life, giving even the most everyday things or moments attention and care; things that people from other parts of the of the world would commonly overlook. Which is perhaps why Dane's are also so focused on design and why a box of salt or baking chocolate look like they should be sold at MoMA. It's a very difficult word to translate, but trying to grasp it is part of the fun.

Back to food. The following are Danish treats that our kroner could buy as well as some icons of Danish life.

S's Minestrone Soup with Fried Egg

Pølser is delicious! Crisp. Snappy. Well-spiced, but not over-spiced. After my puzzled look at the autonomous bun, the woman in the wagon demonstrated through universal unofficial sign language that I am supposed to alternate bites of bun then pølser, bun then pølser. The wagons are conveniently 'peppered' throughout the city and they offer about 8 different kinds of sausages.

Flødebollers. Marshmallow-like center with a thin wafer base covered in a shell of chocolate. S had to get them, and I'm glad she did. Similar to those cheap marshmallow Santas or bunnies or like a fluffier Mallomar.

Lagkagehuset, Christianshavn. Wonderful bread and pastries!

Danish flaky pastry with poppyseed paste and chocolate. S's favorite!

Frederiksberg Smørrebrød

Smørrebrød. Danish open-faced sandwich on dark rye bread.

Salami onion with a little 'sky' or salty gelatin cube, liver paste and pickles and beet, roast beef with pickles and horseradish pickle and curryish mayo. The liver paste was a fraction too intense for me.

Egg, potato, breaded fried fish the sauce is almost a curry mayo with a slight sweetness- I took most of it off because it was a little too much for each portion.

Hansen's nougat flavored ice cream bar or 'lolly'. Rich and creamy, all natural and apparently one of Denmark's best. Even in the cold, we had to try it. I probably would've enjoyed it more if 1) it was warm and 2) if I could breathe and wasn't sick. I equally enjoyed the packaging.

Carlsberg beer. Only one in 5 days. Shame on me.

Ricco's coffee. The cappuccino gods were listening.

An example of nice Danish packaging. Baking chocolate.


Espressocycle. Why don't they have these everywhere?

One of hundreds, thousands(!), of nice Danish bikes


...and more hygge.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Currywurst Is Best After Drinking

Currywurst is huge in Berlin. SL took me to the best currywurst place in Berlin called Currywurst 36. This would be an amazing 3am post-drinking binge, but it was little difficult to stomach on an average sober evening. The sauce is like ketchup with curry spices and the wurst is nicely salted, warm and cut into slices. Fries are an easy partner. I imagine the fact that beer is like water in Berlin, openly consumed in public on subways, streets, gardens and brewpubs at all hours of the day, is probably a good part of why currywurst remains something like a national dish here.

Currywurst 36
Mehringdamm 36
10961 Berlin, Germany
030 2517368