Chancellor Angela Merkel recently declared that Germany’s experiment with multiculturalism had “utterly failed.” Perhaps, but in our recent experience in Berlin, the city’s multicultural landscape made eating there a treasure.
During our time in Berlin we lived near Kottbusser Tor in the Kreuzberg neighborhood, smack in middle of what our visiting friends deemed “little Turkey.” Food was fresh, accessible, brimming with flavor and typically served by folks who took pride in their cuisine, interest in us as human beings, and great pleasure in serving up an experience.
So here’s our top ten cheap eats in Berlin. Many Turkish, some German, one Asian. Mind you, this list reflects not only what is inexpensive, but more importantly what is high-quality.
1. Gel Gör Inegöl Köfteci
Continue Reading »
When travelers think “Honduras” they probably don’t think “big, weekly indigenous markets.” So when we were in Honduras and caught wind of a weekly market in a little town called La Esperanza in country’s western hills along a path of historically indigenous villages called the Ruta Lenca, we hopped a series of chicken buses in the wee hours of the morning to see what it was all about.
One part windblown, another part oasis and a whole lotta’ cowtown, La Esperanza appears a concatenation of dusty street corners. If you open up the panorama and take a spin around, you can see for yourself what it’s like to stand amidst it all and watch market life go by. Continue Reading »
As we opened the door to the back patio, there they were: a love-insatiable dog, a just-loving-enough cat, and a setting on the edge of the vineyard with a view to the surrounding farms and hills. The picnic tables — one outside, another inside — spoke to the perfect place for the all-night rolling snackfeasts of local Tuscan produce we had envisioned. Continue Reading »
As autumn advances, the sunflowers fall, the golden soil is turned for the winter. Grapes, too, are ready for harvest. People celebrate.
Tuscany’s poetry is packed in the fields, the hills, the history, the food, and the people who make it all possible.
Earlier this month, we returned to Italy’s Tuscany region ten years after we were married there in September 2000. Time can do funny things to one’s perceptions; we wondered if our memories had been unfairly overcome with nostalgia.
When we were married in Tuscany, it couldn’t have been that beautiful, could it?
So we returned to investigate. And this is what we found. Continue Reading »
We’ve heard that if Bavaria were sliced off from the rest of Germany, the region would exhibit the highest per capita beer consumption in the world. There’s good reason for this: the beer is pretty phenomenal. (Don’t worry my dear Czech friends, your beer is also phenomenal.)
Although we didn’t dive too deeply into the details of Bavarian beer and we don’t consider ourselves as fluent in the subject as we’d like, we did discover a great Bavarian beer while tooling around the region: a smokebeer (rauchbier) from Schlenkerla Tavern in the old town of Bamberg. Continue Reading »
How do you like our wild pig?
–- A cook in Tuscany’s Maremma region pauses to ask us one of life’s burning questions.
When we think of Italy, we think of vineyard orchards populated by wild boars, happy cows and people who talk with their hands and sound like they’re yelling at each other all the time even though they are really just talking about how great the tagliatelle is.
Continue Reading »
Berlin, cut clouds moving quickly. Crisp autumn air. Wide streets. Unfathomable history.
We set out on borrowed bicycles. They give me pause: Audrey’s back tire has a leak and my handlebars wobble like something out of the Wizard of Oz.
I begin to move. My apprehension fades, those handlebars steadier than I imagined.
“It’s like riding a bicycle,” I laugh to myself.
Continue Reading »
Have you ever read about or quaffed a famous wine and wondered how it was made? The terrain where the grapes were grown, the hands of the winemaker, or the transformation the wine has undergone from harvest to dinner table?
These were just a few of the questions piquing our curiosity about the great wines of Tuscany during our recent visit there. So we paid a visit to several wineries to get a feel for the land, the people, and the craft behind the great wine traditions of this region. Open the panorama below for a clue on how Brunello di Montalcino, one of Italy’s most prestigious wines, is made. You’ll find two important components: a charismatic winemaker, and large Slavonian oak barrels.
Panorama: Learning about Brunello di Montalcino at Capanna Winery
For best panorama viewing results, press fullscreen (four arrows) and navigate around with your mouse.
Continue Reading »
Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.
–- Carl Sandburg
“Are you visiting Tuscany for your honeymoon?” Lorenza, our wine tasting hostess at Avignonesi winery, asked over a swirl of 2007 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
“No,” I laughed. “We’re actually here for our 10th anniversary. We were married just down the road in Pienza in 2000.”
Even as the words came out, I thought: Ten years? Really? Continue Reading »
We begin a week of reflection and a reaffirmation of our love affair with Italy. Why now? Because we are revisiting the scene of the crime: our wedding, ten years ago, in the UNESCO World Heritage Tuscan hilltown of Pienza. Continue Reading »