Creamy Goat Cheese Tomato Pasta

I am a total sucker for a creamy tomato sauce. Unfortunately, they tend to be a little disappointing. This is the exception.

The goat cheese flavor is pretty pronounced, so if you’re not a fan, this one isn’t for you. The original is here, but I made lots of changes (chief among them: cutting out the bacon – sundrieds really fill that meaty, umami slot for me). That said, the technique is the same and I might employ it in the future. As a plus, this comes together very quickly.

2 shallots, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
100 g (roughly) oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained and sliced thin, oil reserved
2 T white wine
1 14.5 oz/400 g can stewed tomatoes
1 small pinch salt
1 small pinch sugar
1/4 t dried oregano
1 large pinch dried red pepper flakes
1 lb/500 g short pasta (1/4 c pasta water reserved before draining)
3-4 oz/100-125 g spreadable goat cheese (Ziegenfrischkäse)
lots of torn basil leaves

Heat a deep skillet over medium low heat and warm 1-2 T reserved sundried tomato oil. When oil shimmers, add shallots, garlic and sundried tomatoes and stir frequently until shallots and garlic are tender (3 minutes). Add wine and cook until 3/4 reduced (and the boozy smell is gone). Add canned tomatoes, salt, sugar, oregano and red pepper flakes and reduce heat to low. Stir to combine, crushing tomatoes with spoon. Allow sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, then remove from heat and set aside.

Cook and drain pasta, returning it quickly to the pot off the heat. Add goat cheese to pasta and stir well to coat. When goat cheese is well distributed, pour in tomato sauce, again stirring very well. If sauce seems too thick, add a little pasta water to loosen it to your desired texture. Add torn basil and stir until just distributed. Serve immediately.

Ca’ de Memi

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Agriturismo Ca’ de Memi de Scquizzato Ottorino
via Roma 4/B
35017 Piombino Dese PD

Tel.: +39 049 93 66 516
Mobile: +39 349 69 87 953
Email: info@cadememi.it
Web: http://www.cadememi.it

For our last minute trip to the Veneto, we stayed at Ca’ de Memi, which I found in a rather roundabout way. I knew we wanted to stay near Roncade in order to pick up wine from Castello di Roncade. But I didn’t want to stay there; we stayed there last time and, while we enjoyed it, I wanted to sample some other offerings of the region. Continue reading Ca’ de Memi

Mesopotamia

The Joint
Mesopotamia Homus
Happily, nothing remains of the homus appetizer. So just take our word for it.

Restaurant Mesopotamia
Inhaber: Sinan Coskun

Fröhliche Türkenstraße 12
93047 Regensburg

Telefon: 0941 / 5839513
http://www.restaurant-mesopotamia.de/

Cliff

ZOMG! After the big let-down that was Exil about a year ago, we’d kind of given up hope on our once-awesome Kurdish food hookup in Regensburg. But while walking through the city on our way to Kaufland at the Arcaden on Friday, we spotted a new (to us) Middle-Eastern restaurant and walked closer. Sarah let out a shriek as she recognized echoes from our culinary past in the names of the main dishes and we both remarked that the font on the menu was like an old friend — yes, our old friend Exil.

SDC10317Practically holding our breath, we strolled in, sat down, and ordered a Homus appetizer. Imagine our delight when it turned out to be the reddish homus variety we’ve never seen anywhere else (not even Dearborn!). This was a really good sign. I ordered the Pir Kebab — my default Exil dish (back when Exil was good) to really give this new incarnation of our favorite restaurant a proper control group. Then, as now, it came with grilled seasoned lamb chunks on skewers, lightly-fried potatoes faintly spiced with paprika (or some other magic red stuff), the standard salad, zatziki, and the one true spinach/feta side dish (our attempt at recreation pales in comparison…gotta work on that some more now that the source material is available for reverse engineering purposes again). The result: as good as it ever was.

Sarah

It’s back, baby!
SDC10318
This was our JOINT, our fall-back, our favorite place to go and enjoy good food with friends. When Exil changed owners and overhauled the menu, they didn’t start serving bad food, they started serving indifferent food, which might be even worse. So imagine our delight, after going without for over a year and a half, at walking into Mesopotamia and recognizing the cook! The plates were the same, the way food was arranged was the same, the bread was the same and (most important!) the flavor was the same. Cliff had his old standby and I had mine – the Beritan (formerly Aras): thinly-pounded chicken breasts, marinated and grilled, turkey rolls stuffed with the divine spinach and walnuts with a white-wine/turmeric sauce, salad, potatoes, tzaziki and bulgur. It was everything I remembered! Incredibly flavorful and delicious.

When it was time to settle up, the waitress asked if we lived in Regensburg, we replied that, yes, we did and we used to go to the old place all the time. She delightedly told us that her father was the chef and he recognized us, as she set down complimentary shots of ouzo. She also filled us in that the first Saturday of every month is a buffet night with entertainment. We will be going back. And we will probably ask you to join us.

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Restaurant Colosseum

The Joint

Restaurant Colosseum
Inh. Teixeira Pinto
StadtamHof 5
93059 Regensburg
Tel. +49 941 28 00 74 65

Cliff

Restaurant Colosseum
Restaurant Colosseum
This seems like one of those locations that has a hard time staying in business. Maybe it’s cursed (not a big surprise, owing to its history), or just had a string of unlucky proprietors since we’ve been here in Regensburg observing it. But I really hope this iteration sticks around, despite the odds facing it. The location is ideal for us and food quality was, by our estimations, very high. I like that the owner comes around to check on his guests while they are eating. But I’m troubled by what seem big threats to his livelihood.

  • Trattoria Marina is just a few meters away and has a much flashier location, setup, and is well established as the Italian restaurant on this part of the island.
  • They seem to have much more capacity for seating than necessary. Of course, they just opened this spring.
  • It’s hard to know what the place is actually called . The building is labelled “Colosseum”. Is that the name of the restaurant? Cursory google searches about the restaurant yielded nothing useful. What about carry-out business? Phone number on the door? All of that was missing or not obvious. Seems like the owner is relying on walk-in/by business. Hope that’s enough.

Here’s what it does have going for it: homemade pastas (excellent!), decent pizzas, a great bruschetta, and a Buy 10 Get 2 Free deal on carry-out pizza. I just hope they can stick it out against the odds.

Sarah

Locals already know this, but for those just visiting, Regensburg suffers from a glut of Italian restaurants. Most of them are fair-to-middling with a few standouts. Colosseum is on track to be counted among the standouts. Service is friendly and attentive. The food is fresh and well-priced. They don’t seem to have the flair that Marina has, but they’re far more pleasant to deal with – just try ordering a pizza from both places and see which experience is better.

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Mirabelle

The Joint

Mirabelle
Drei-Mohren-Str. 11
93047 Regensburg

Tel: +49 941 5956550

Cliff

Mais oui, c’est tres charmant!

We didn’t do our annual (?) Frenchy (road) trip this year. I have been missing something all Spring and unable to put my finger on it. I’d been trying to fill that hole void with imported cheese (ask Sarah, she’ll vouch): in casseroles, appetizers, even straight. It was all very tasty, but none of it was hitting my Gallic spot. Last night, I think I got a little closer to it. Mirabelle did the trick.

This place was hard to get into on our first attempt — we called one afternoon and asked for a reservation later that evening and were regretfully and politely, yet resolutely, turned down. On our next attempt we booked about a week in advance. The maitre d’ who took our reservation considerately asked whether there was a particular occasion we were celebrating. “No no, just four friends having dinner” was my answer. “Na, prima. Bis Dienstag, 19:00 Uhr dann. Vielen Dank!” Even the reservation-making was pleasant (to be fair, she was quite nice when turning us down, too).

I didn’t sample the wines, but did appreciate Alte Liebe — my favorite brand of dark wheat beer which is a little hard to find around here, even though it’s brewed in a nearby town. It’s in no way French, but I know what I like, and none of the non-German beers on my list are French. I thumbed through the menu and oohed and ahhed at the beef and lamb offerings…but in the end I opted for the menu: smoked salmon salad, pork tips with a side of ratatouille, and some kind of carrot/potato mash thing followed up by Bayerisch Créme* in a fresh berry sauce. All very good — even the carrot/potato mash thing.

My only suggestion for improvement (and I freely admit this is really picky of me): the waitress seemed a little less…fitting to the atmosphere. In contrast to the setting, the telephone experience and the food itself, she seemed just a little off in terms of timing: finding the opportune moment to clear the table or the pause in our conversation to offer drinks, etc. Or even reaching across the table to grab empty dishes where I would have expected her to walk around and retrieve from the proper side.

I am glad our friends were pleased with the place, especially since it was new to them too. It’s nice when “locals” (to the extent that we don’t yet qualify) thank us for our local gastronomic joie de vivre.

Sarah

Très charmant, indeed. I was impressed from the moment we set foot in the joint. Honestly, the décor struck me as a little dark for summer dining, but we were led out to a lovely little terrasse – which Cliff didn’t specifically ask for in the reservation, so that was encouraging. I had a glass of Riesling (yeah, I know it’s not French – don’t you judge me) which could have been a little colder, but was light and really fresh tasting without being overly dry. Kerstin, one of our dining companions, had an equally lovely Grüner Veltliner.

The food was the impetus for our visit, though, and it was enough to help stave off regrets of not making it to France this year. I had the rolls of goat-cheese-stuffed roasted eggplant, dressed with vinaigrette, marinated tomatoes (think bruschetta topping) and pesto. These are all ingredients that I love, so I was pretty much in heaven. Plus, this was a cold, antpasti-type of thing and it’s been pretty hot and miserable here, so it was a great seasonal offering. The main course was a stuffed red pepper, filled with ground lamb, ratatouille, roasted cauliflower and the same mashed potato/carrot thing that Cliff had. It was all very good and prettily presented, but it wasn’t particularly innovative or surprising, like some of the meals that we’ve had in France. Dessert was a mixed-berry crème brulée – small, but creamy and potent.

I was, like Cliff, a little puzzled by our server. This place was so unfailingly professional and polished on all other fronts that her bad timing and chilliness (polite, but seemingly on the edge of irritability) was almost jarring. Maybe she was having a bad day. But we didn’t! We were so looking forward to our dinner at Mirabelle – it’s nice when things live up to your expectations.

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Osteria Siciliana

The Joint

Osteria Siciliana
Schopperplatz 3
93059 Regensburg
Telefon: +49 (0) 941 8500 2990
Telefax: +49 (0) 941 8309 151
E-Mail: info@osteriasiciliana.de

http://www.osteriasiciliana.de

Cliff

Nice place, from the looks of it. The presentation of the daily specials by our waiter to our large group of mostly Americans made for great expectations. And the service was quite charming and attentive. But the food — the most important part of the experience! — just didn’t hold up as well as we’d hoped after all that buildup. I had a ham, parmesan cheese, and arugula pizza which would have been great if not for the lackluster sauce (did someone forget to add basil or oregano or something to the pureed tomatoes?). In the end, it was fine. Maybe even quite good as compared to other regions. But we’ve got a ton of Italian restaurants around here and it’ll take more than that to stand out.

Sarah

I concur with Cliff, to the letter. The location is great and they have a nice, large outdoor dining area. The prices looked pretty mid-range for such a diverse menu. The service was really great, especially considering our large party. But the food itself was a little meh. And in a place with so many good Italian restaurants, it just has to be better than that to compete.

But we might go back, if only for a beer in the gazebo.

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Alte Linde

alte_linde_fronleichnam

late summer view of the Regensburger dom

Beer Night 1

The Joint

Müllerstraße 1
93059 Regensburg
Germany
Tel./Fax: 0941 – 8 80 80

http://www.altelinde-regensburg.de

Cliff

We found this place pretty quickly when we first moved here. It’s great, in my opinion, for a drop-in shady outdoor meal or snack. Don’t take it personally if you get the crabby old lady waitress who’s seemingly always there (perhaps whence the attitude?). If you’re lucky you’ll get the middle-aged guy with the butch haircut and the earring — he’s a good sport, if a bit more jokey than I’d like initially, and outwardly kind of gruff at first, but there’s a twinkle in there. The view from the Biergarten is quite nice, and even in the winter it’s not too shabby on the inside. And Tammy and Matthias did their wedding reception there — also lovely. They have beer varieties I like, food selections I like, pretty good schnitzel, and some of the best potato salad around — all good reasons to stop in. But our luck with larger (≥ 6 persons) parties has not been good. Read Sarah’s opinion for the details.

Sarah

I like Alte Linde a lot. I like it when it’s warm and breezy and you can sit outside and look at the river and the Dom. I like it for an impromtu schnitzel-and-potato-salad craving. What I don’t like is the attitude we seems to get when we try and plan ahead for a large party – which always seems to take place during soccer tournaments.

The first time I tried to snag a reservation there for about 8 people was during the 2006 World Cup and I went over there personally with a friend (to avoid language-related misunderstandings) about 3 days before we actually wanted the reservation. I was very clearly told that they were not accepting reservations for the night we wanted (the night of the Germany-England game), but to get there early and it shouldn’t be an issue. So Cliff and I went over about 3 hours prior to gametime only to see a sea of ‘Reserviert’ tent cards on a variety of tables. Maybe it was due to my language skills. Maybe he said ‘We’re not taking any more reservations for that night.’ I just know that we were less than pleased.

This most recent time, I was feeling braver and decided to reserve over the phone. A very nice man spoke slowly and clearly with me and confirmed everything that I outlined. Outside? Check. 10-14 people? Check. 8pm on the 20th? Check and check. Great! That was painless. Until we got there anyway. We saw 3.5 members of our party wandering around saying, ‘Um, there’s no reservation.’ Cliff went over to the guy with the big book and asked about the reservation under my name. And he responded with ‘Oh, you mean the one that you called about and postponed until Monday?’ Um, wie $%#¢&§@ bitte?! I reserved it under ‘Sarah’ and I think that there’s a good chance that there’s more than one of those in Regensburg, so I can understand the confusion. I just don’t get the crappy attitude. Especially, as local expert Rainer pointed out, since the confrontation wasn’t necessary: they had a table of adequate size available. It wasn’t reserved, but it worked out just fine. Why annoy the source of of their income by trying to convince us that we had cancelled our reservation if there was ample room for our party?

That potato salad isn’t going to make up for the nasty attitude forever.


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Fürstliches Brauhaus

Waffnergasse 6 – 8
93047 Regensburg

Telefon +49 (0)941 / 28 04 33 – 0
http://www.fuerstlichesbrauhaus.de

Cliff

We’ve been eating here for years (see here, here, here and here) and yet have never posted a review of the place, oddly enough. It ranks up there in my opinion, though some say it was better back in the day, under the previous ownership. The Schnitzel Büffet days are a real trip. Fortunately, they don’t do those too often anymore. Their Strawberry-Mascarpone-Dampfnudel-Lasagne dessert was the motivation for me write this review. It’s awesome, but I’m not sure it really qualifies as a Dampfnudel, but hairsplitter though I may be, I’m willing to forgive the terminology for the sake of recommending the dessert. Maybe it’s one of those things that is better eaten without a meal beforehand — perhaps you’d make the trip extra for a cup of coffee (go fancy, get a cappuccino or something) and this dessert. It’s certainly lovely enough.

The venue is nice (see below), if a bit loud when crowded. It serves well for large gatherings and the veranda out back when the weather permits it is also a nice touch. Service is kind of hit-or-miss, but our Kellnerin today was quite good and friendly to boot.

Sarah

I like this place, but I’m not very hard to please and am often (too) willing to overlook lackluster service when the food is really good. That said, they’ve stopped doing the Schnitzel Büffet every Monday as in the past – it happens intermittently with an e-mail notification beforehand – and my favorite item, the Münchner Schnitzel, is no longer reliably on the menu. So my patience is getting a bit thin with them. But the beer here is always very tasty, the prices are low-to-middling and the surroundings are very attractive. It’s kind of a crapshoot, but when it’s good, it’s very, very good.

30032008(001)

Fürstliches Brauhaus

Sächsisches-Böhmisches Bierhaus Altmarktkeller

The Joint

Altmarkt 4
01067 Dresden

Phone: +49 351 – 4818130
Fax: +49 351 – 4818132

http://www.altmarktkeller-dresden.de

Cliff

I am pretty much a sucker for baby sheep. I can’t turn ’em down. And when they’re not done by capable Mediterranean or Middle Eastern hands, I forget that there are other ways to prepare lamb. I ordered from the Easter week menu, so that explains the lamb, I guess. It was fine — hot and properly cooked and stuff…just…not…exciting.

East Bloc Drinkin' Buddies I had better luck with my Krušovice black beer and the beer/onion soup that was recommended to accompany it. Both were quite good. The beer tasted like a nice cool slice of liquid pumpernickel and the onion soup was flavorful without being overly salty (not an easy feat with onion soup!). The fresh chopped parsely strewn on top made for a nice flavor contrast to the onion/beer. Biggest surprise of the meal for me: the lovely broccoli florets with almond slivers. Nice!

Like Sarah, I was pleased with the promptness of the service, but when we were done eating, I was ready to get the heck outta there — it was starting to get loud.

Sarah

Socialist Beer Ad?This was another suggestion compliments of our travel guide. I think it was quite a bit better than the last recommendation. It’s unfortunately set up right in front of a giant construction project, but that probably only matters when the weather is appropriate for eating al fresco, as the main restaurant lies beneath street level. The long dining room has a slightly upscale-beerhall look (which was encouraging – I was afraid we might be underdressed, but we fit in pretty well) and at least a couple of smaller rooms off to the side. There’s lots of peach-painted arches and dark wood floors and bar fixtures. Generally, a very inviting, comfortable looking place.

I had a glass of uninspired and too-warm Gewürtztraminer and started with the Terrine Böhmische Wurstsuppe (terrine of bohemian sausage soup) which was great! It was a tangy, tomato broth with a little paprika with bits of chopped green and red pepper and lots of chopped beef roast. The large bowl was topped off with a dollop of sour cream. I was extremely pleased with this – considering that I didn’t really know what to expect given the vague description in the menu. My entrée was the Braumeisterschnitzel, which was a cordon bleu treatment for a regular pork schnitzel (ham and cheese inside the breading) with lightly steamed carrots and fried potatoes. It was good, but I’ve gotten extra picky regarding schnitzel, and for my tastes, the breading wasn’t seasoned enough and the ham-cheese-schnitzel flavor combination didn’t pack enough contrast into a bite. That’s not to say there wasn’t enough (there was more than enough!), just that they might have been using ham and cheese that weren’t particularly good on their own, so they couldn’t stand up to everything else going on in the dish. The carrots, conversely, were excellent – steamed enough to get rid of the rawness, but retaining some crunch. The potatoes were very good, too, with long strips of carmelized onions.

The service was very prompt and polite, given the size of the venue and how full it was. And the prices are pretty reasonable for how much you get – we got out for under 50€. I would go back.