Dinner @ The Balcony Restaurant of the Bella Sky in Copenhagen

On Tuesday I’ve had a very fatiguing day and I’ve decided to have the dinner with a colleague of mine in the restaurant of the hotel where we were for work.

I sat down at 9pm and after a few minutes a very kind waiter came to pickup the orders.
I selected one of the two available menu (starter+main course+dessert) and my colleague got a starter and a main course with a side dish.

My salmon tartare had almost no salmon taste left after the preparation and was in the range of the 35 grams. Given the taste the small quantity was a benefit.
The salad with roasted goat cheese was good and a fair amount.

Main courses:
I had a beef steak and my colleague a tuna steak; when asked we both said we wanted our grilled food made rare.
Unfortunately it looks like the concept of rare is not shared across the globe as we had only a light hint on pink in che very center of the steak.
The grilled vegetables were ok albeit nothing to write home about and the same is true for the fried potatoes.

The dessert (Crème brûlée with pear sorbet) tasted good, but to arrive to the dessert it took over 90 minutes and the time was split into 75 minutes of waiting and 15 of eating: really too much!

Cost of the dinner: 128 euro with water and without any wine.

Do yourself a favor if you happen to stay in the Bella Sky hotel: take the metro and go to eat somewhere else.

Dinner @ Bar SU-shin in Hannover

First of all the key message: you can safely skip this place.

I picked up the place based on the review on Tripadvisor and it turned out to be a bad decision.

The selection of sushi is fairly narrow and non everything in the menu was available.
The food tasted ok (better than oriental pseudo-sushi fast food), but nothing to write home about or to warrant another visit.

Getting the bill split correctly was a challenging task: I surrendered after the third failed attempt at getting the right amounts.

Visciolata del cardinale

Yesterday I’ve opened a bottle that was waiting for me for a while.

Visciolata del cardinale is an alcoholic beverage of medium strength (14% vol.) made out of wine, visciole (Prunus cerasus) and sugar.
The scent recalls the german kirschwasser with a clear mark of cherry.
The taste is fruity and astringent.
The sourness of the visciole is strong yet balanced by the sugar.
It’s a great conclusion for a good dinner.

I discovered the visciolata during the summer holiday when I visited the grotte di Frasassi and the surroundings.
While the visit to the caves is great in itself I find always nice to have something good to bring home.

Tagliatelle al burro @ Mangiari di strada

Sometimes it makes sense to blog about a food that is supposedly very mundane like pasta with butter.
In this specific case because it was not a common mass-produced pasta and it was not an industrial butter.

The tagliatelle were hand made in front of the guests.
This makes all the difference in the world: the freshness and the process ensure a very special texture that commercial products can’t match.
If you never tried the fresh pasta I feel sorry for you because you can’t appreciate the difference and are missing a great experience.

I’ve already commented a couple of weeks ago about a great butter: it was great with the anchovies back then and it was great on tagliatelle today.

Guest of Giuseppe Zen @ Mangiari di strada

Yesterday it was quite late for lunch (3pm) but I did an attempt to check if I could eat at Mangiari di strada in Milan.
They were already taking away the food so I was ready to turn back and skip the lunch altogether when Giuseppe noticed my presence and invited me to join him and his friends for a late lunch.
I felt a bit of discomfort as it was about being a guest instead of a customer and I never had met the other people before.

Well it was good to resist the temptation to leave.

Giuseppe prepared for us his interpretation of the spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino (detail of preparation later in the post) and black bread with butter and salted anchovies.

Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino is a common last-minute disk in Italy and for a reason: the everyday version is about getting garlic and chili pepper to fry in olive oil and then use the oil to dress the spaghetti.
Giuseppe could not go for something that easy and did his interpretation of this classic:
1) instead of getting the garlic in boiling oil he had the oil in the oven at 70 celsius during the night with the garlic inside to get the flavor without altering the natural taste of the oil with the high temperature.
2) he added a second layer of garlic by making a cream with garlic and milk (with a different garlic than the one used for the oil)
3) the chili pepper was added as a paprika-like powder made with his own peppers
All the rest is the chef secret.

Giuseppe’s version tasted better and more complex than the classical one and I had no garlic taste in my mouth in the afternoon.
Sure it’s not a last-minute preparation anymore but I’ll take his interpretation over the traditional any time if I’m offered the option.

The butter and the anchovies were not the average run of the mill either:
the butter had a clear taste of the grass like in the best cheeses and the anchovies maintained the taste of the fresh fish that usually is completely missing in the salted version that are commonly available.

How good a “five star” food is really?

A few days ago I’ve posted about a very nice crème caramel I had at Mangiari di strada and I defined it “delicious”.

I started to think how to put in perspective the pleasure I had from it.
It was for sure one of the best, if not the best, crème caramel I ever had, but was it worth driving 30 miles for the sole purpose of eating it?

My answer is no and it’s a relatively easy one ’cause I’m more into appetizers and main courses than into desserts.

My reasoning did not stop there and I continued to think of foods and places evaluations based on the distance I would be happy to travel to taste them.
It’s really the complete package of distance plus direct cost that I take into account.

A few examples:
Once or twice a year Lo Dzerby is worth a 200 miles trip.
Mangiari di strada for me is worth a 30 miles trip (even on a weekly basis, given the great number of different great dishes they offer) as a complete eating experience but the single crème caramel is not. Even if it’s five stars without any doubt.

Crème Caramel @ Mangiari di strada

Only one word: delicious!
The texture is very nice: it melts smoothly in the mouth.
The caramel is providing mainly an olfactory clue and keeps you able to taste the milk used.

Mangiari di strada is one of my preferred restaurants in Milan.
Is at the end of Via Lorenteggio in a very convenient position for anyone having to do business with Vodafone in Italy.
Lunch time only. Monday to Saturday

They are not updating on a regular base the official site, but have a Facebook page that is more up-to-date.
But what is more important than the online presence is that the food is simply great and never boring.

Just go and test yourself!