Recital

The Joint

Sos. Bucium (langa statia Petrom)
Phone: +40 232 21.87.01

http://www.inoras.ro/?section=local&instit=326&dom=3&or=1

NeluBar none, this was my favorite dining experience in Iasi. Nelu kindly took me on a night-time driving tour of the town, which ended here. I’d been looking for an authentic Romanian restaurant to try ever since I arrived on my first trip to Iasi back in November 2006. I am so glad he showed me this restaurant.

Nelu told me that Romanians like their food sour, and he was not kidding. We had crusty, crunchy bread on which we spread olive paste and red pepper paste, and an appetizer of dill pickles dusted with paprika. I tried a Romanian beer brewed in Iasi that is quickly getting famous. It was very good.

Mutton with polenta and sheep's cheeseFor the main course, I had mutton with polenta and sheep’s cheese. It was excellent. The sheep’s cheese adds a great tangy flavor to the polenta and also compliments the flavors of the mutton.

I recommend this place to anyone visiting Iasi looking for authentic Romanian cuisine. It’s so hard to find traditional places like these among all the pizza/Italian restaurants!

San Daniele

The Joint

Prüfeninger Schloß Str. 2
93051 Regensburg
Germany
phone: +49 941 / 30 75 999 fax: +49 941 / 30 75 997

http://www.sandaniele.de

Cliff

We’d gotten food (carry-out) from here once before, since good friends of ours live in this part of town. I was surprised at the quality of the food in comparison to the prices — it was a good ratio. I had the carbonara (same as when I’d had carry-out, back in the day) because I just can’t turn it out. I like to say it’s for consistent evaluation, but I’d be full of it. And I really was yesterday, because I didn’t realize that the Insalata Piccante I ordered was big enough to be a meal in and of itself. Oh yes. This was a nice evening…with the possible exception of the sommelier, who seemed like he had an attitude problem. Everything else was great.San Daniele

Sarah

Fabulous! Thanks for the rec, Matthias! In a town overcrowded with Italian restaurants, this place is a stand-out. I had the Mushroom Risotto and a glass of Lambrusco. It was wonderful – high praise, because risotto dishes are easy to mess up if the cook isn’t paying attention. After the meal, on Matthias suggestions, Cliff and I shared an order of profiteroles (chocolatey cream puffs). Again, Matthias knows best. YUM!

Part of the reason I think San Daniele can offer such great food at reasonable prices is that they are located a little ways outside of the Altstadt – about a 7 minute drive from our apartment. Therefore, they don’t have to pay the high rent for location. I don’t mind the trip to eat like this.

Schnitzelwirt Schmidt

The Joint
STA70087.JPG STA70085.JPG STA70084.JPG
Neubaugasse 52
1070 Wien
+43 1/5233771

http://www.frommers.com/destinations/vienna/N8195.html

Cliff

Alter Schwede! This place was by far, the best value in terms of cost per gram of food served.

The place itself was kind of attractively gritty, in that upon entering, you knew immediately (apart from the name of the joint) that it was not in competition with Café Central. I went with the Garlic Schnitzel, Carolyn had the traditional Schnitzel Wiener Art, and Max went haute couture with his Pariser Schnitzel. Sarah’s was another order of magnitude cooler though, and she’ll tell you about it herself below. Alas, we have only our full-bellied memories of hers; we somehow neglected to photograph it for posterity.

Sarah

Ok, Cliff covered everything above perfectly. Which allows me all kind of room to wax rhapsodic about my metric buttload of Schnitzel.

It was a Schnitzel Cordon Bleu – with ham and cheese. First off, the thing was hanging off both sides of the plate! and it was heavy, to boot. I know this because we ended up taking three quarters of it home and it turned into breakfast for me the following morning and lunch for both Cliff and I that afternoon!! A Schnitzel (for those who don’t know already) is a pounded cutlet of veal or pork (generally) that is then washed in egg and breaded and pan-fried. Because of this, it’s usually pretty thin – say half an inch cooked. This creature that I ordered was easily a little over an inch thick. Why? Because of the stack of ham – equal in thickness to the schnitzel itself – adorning it! The most important part, of course, is not its size or weight, but that it was delicious. So much so that I was able to keep eating it for the next two meals!

Here’s the most unbelievable part. Three of us had beers, we all ordered a full-size meal, we all took home leftovers and we spent less than 10€ per person!! In a city where everything seems a little expensive, if not blatantly overpriced, this place is a fantastic value.

Gulaschmuseum

The Joint

Schulerstraße 20
1010 Wien
Austria

Cliff

We had some great gulash! We ordered off the upper end of the menu and still got away for less than €14. I got the pork gulash labeled “spicy” — and they weren’t kidding. It was a pleasant burn, with plenty of paprika. The Bratkartoffeln were just “Ore Ida,” if you know what I mean.

Sarah

Weird place, but again, Frommer’s comes through. Honestly, due to my lackluster German skills (or ignorance of Viennese vocabulary), I don’t even know what meat I had, but I think it was either Elk or Venison. Either way, what a fun way to taste the Hungarian influence of the old Austro-Hungarian empire! I had a traditional gulash with a dark rich sauce, packed with paprika – although I think mine was sweet paprika as opposed to Cliff’s hot stuff. It came with more of my beloved Semmelknödel and a small tossed salad. Service was a little indifferent, but everything came out in a timely manner and the price was really reasonable. It’s kind of tucked away in a small side street just down the way from the cathedral, but it’s very much worth seeking out.

Café Central

The Joint

Herrengasse 14
Wien

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caf%C3%A9_Central

Cliff

Thanks, Wikipedia.

What a swell place! I felt way underdressed here, but in any outfit lacking an umbrella with a duck’s head on the handle and an overcoat and a bowler, I suppose that feeling is natural. We tried to take some pictures of the interior, but Wikipedia’s done a better job (and their images are licensed for distribution…love that).

Aside from the decor, and the history, which you can read about at Wikipedia, we ordered (on our first visit) einen Verlängerten and einen Mohren im Hemd (shown at right, click for details).

Sarah

Welcome to our all-Frommer’s vacation! I swear, the Vienna section of the Frommer’s Austria is impeccable! Although they’ve rarely led us astray, they were unbelievably on the mark for every recommendation in this section.

Vienna is famous for its cafés and confections, and this place is like a textbook example of what Viennese café culture was all about at the end of the nineteenth century. The decor is incredibly elegant, but I only felt underdressed until our wonderfully formal, kind and patient waiter attended to us. We both had the same thing (Mohr im Hemd and a Verlängerten) on our first visit and we were so impressed that we got Carolyn and Max to pop in here for a coffee on our last day in Vienna. On the second visit, Cliff had a Marzipan ‘Potato’ (yellow cake inside a marzipan shell, dusted with cocoa powder to simulate ‘dirt’) and I took a chance on a slice of Altenberg cake (chocolatey, creamy, cakey love). It’s a little pricey, but isn’t a slice of sweet creamy history worth it?

Sternbräu

The Joint

Griesgasse 23
5020 Salzburg
Austria

Cliff

Started off this trip through Austria correctly; that is, with a nice Schnitzel. This place had great big portions of traditional Austrian cuisine in what looked to me like traditional Austrian decor. Nothing fancy or high-falootin. And we were all happy with our stuff. I’d come back here again. The neon sign, nearly visible across the river, gave me doubts as we approached, but they were unfounded. Our waitress was friendlier than most, so that was nice too.

Sarah

This place was outstanding! We found it in the Frommer’s Austria that Carolyn brought us and we were not disappointed. It’s in the old city area, about a three-minute walk from the house in which Mozart was born. There might be more than one dining room, as the one we were in looked sort of small. The place was decorated with lots of murals depicting the history of the area and old dark wood and brass around the booths. The service was wonderful and the beer was worth writing home about.

But the best part was the food! Big portions for small prices and the quality of the ingredients and preparation was outstanding. I had the Schweinebraten (pork roast) with Semmelknödel (bread dumpling), a dish I’ve had several times since moving to Germany and I can easily say this is the best permutation I’ve had yet. Don’t miss the Sternbräu if you’re ever in Salzburg!

Grapeleaves

The Joint

2850 W Maple Rd.
Troy, MI 48084-7001
Phone: +1 248 816 2000

We took Carolyn and Max here on advice from an Iranian colleague of mine in Regensburg (she’s from Troy). She said it would blow La Shish outta the water. I have to disagree. It was good, but it couldn’t topple La Shish down off of the pedestal upon which I have placed it.

We got the Falafel platter for starters and had high hopes after that — it was great. They weren’t shy about the garlic in the dipping sauce, and the pickled beets were a little more…I don’t know “real” looking and tasting than the typical “hi-liters” you get at La Shish. I liked ’em. The bread that came with the meal was good; there were chewy pitas and crispy…um, also pitas, I think, to choose from. I guess I would have preferred the still-warm freshly-baked rolls typical of La Shish, but these were still fine. Even better would have been a creamy garlic paste in which to dunk the bread, but no such luck.

Max (also a connoisseur of Middle Eastern fare) and I thought it fair and balanced to throw Grape Leaves a slow pitch for their first at-bat with us. We both ordered Shawarma with Hummous (he got the chicken, I got the lamb), so there could be an even basis for comparison with La Shish (my fave) and other Middle Eastern restaurants he’s familiar with. I can’t speak for his chicken (imagine though, if I could!), but I thought my lamb was a little on the dry side.

Judgement: pretty good, but La Shish (at least the one in Troy, whose ambience factors in) has got nothing to worry about. Grape Leaves is good (thanks for the recommendation, Mariam), but if I’m in Troy, I’ll go to La Shish next time.

I’m still looking for a contender; Carolyn says she and Max know places in Dearborn even better than La Shish. I say, “show me!”

Gasthof Humler Hof

The Joint

Fam. Kirchmair
Nößlach 483
A – 6156 Gries am Brenner
Phone: +43 – (0)5274 / 87 500 Fax: +43 – (0)5274 / 87 500-22

http://www.humlerhof.com/

Cliff

Austria Alps I thought it was really nice of them to serve us lunch at an obviously weird hour — we were the only ones making use of the restaurant (must have been smack in the middle of the big break between normal lunch and dinner hours). The Schnitzel with mushroom cream sauce was nice, and though I would have preferred fresh mushrooms to the canned ones, it was still pretty good. And the home-made Spätzle was excellent. We discovered some very nice views of the area on our little stroll after lunch:

Austria Alps rainstorm on the way Alps
Sarah

We stopped here for lunch on the way home from Italy. It was close to two o’clock and most restaurants in these parts (especially in small towns like this one) close between lunch hours and dinner hours. So we were pretty surprised that this place was open. They had a salad bar set-up, which is really unusual. Unfortunately, many of the offerings were kind of wet – drippy lettuce, asparagus swimming in marinade, etc. Cliff and I had the same thing and as he mentioned above, the homemade Spätzle was really good, Schnitzel and sauce were nice, too bad about the canned mushrooms. I personally think the most impressive thing about this place was the view!

Lokanta

The Joint

Haaggasse 15
93047 Regensburg

phone: +49 941 200 7151

Cliff

Trying it out tonight for the first time with Steve and Doreen — should be comparable to Exil (we’ll just see about that).

Sarah

If by ‘comparable’ to Exil, Cliff means ‘shares the exact same menu items with slightly different seasoning,’ then he was exactly right. It was ok, but if I want Kurdish cuisine, I’ll stay loyal and go to Exil.

Exil

The Joint

Weißgerbergraben 14
93047 Regensburg
Germany
Phone: +49 941 5 86 58 16

Cliff

I think this is my #1 absolute favorite restaurant in Regensburg. Since we live in Regensburg, that’s saying an awful lot. This place is worth it.

We originally came to Exil in April or May 2004 to looking for the kind of Middle Eastern food we could get from La Shish. La Shish tends toward the Lebanese cuisine, whereas Exil is definitely Kurdish. Strong, rich flavors in interesting combinations make it a trip to remember for eaters of lamb (yum!), poultry (chicken and turkey), and fish and vegetarians too. Whenever we go, I try to get something with a side of their spinach, whether I’m craving tender skewers of lamb or not.

I still haven’t found my La Shish replacement, but now I get Exil cravings as well. Oh, by the way, if you go often enough, the staff notices and you might get the occasional surprise espresso or coffee after the meal. At least, we do.

Sarah

Cliff and I are in agreement – this place is our hands-down favorite restaurant in Regensburg. We take all of our visitors here and, to a man (and woman), they’ve all given it the thumbs up. We’ve each tried several different dishes and have yet to be disappointed.

The offerings are mostly variations on theme. They all have several of the same components, but they’re all prepared to varying effect. All entrées are served with salad, tzatziki and bulgur as accompaniments to the main event. I’ve tried to recreate the heavenly spinach and ended up with underwhelming results. Now that it’s summer and fresh veggies are abundant and inexpensive, it’s time to try again.

The atmosphere is relaxed and hip. Every month, there’s new art on the walls available for purchase by patrons. The music is usually interesting, often R&B, soul or unusual remakes of old favorites. And the service is outstanding.

And, yes, I would have said that without the free coffee drinks. But they sure don’t hurt!