TRAVEL - Switzerland Highlights
The final piece of this (much delayed) European travel highlight series includes some of the awesome regional food I got to sample in a trip to see Graham's grandparents at their chalet in the picturesque Lotschental valley, followed by a quick one night stay in Zurich, from where we were sadly flying out of to return to the States. After days of eating delicious but rich food all over France, I was looking forward to simpler, perhaps more rustic cuisine (except for the, uh, cheese everywhere but more about that later.)
Getting to the Lotschental itself from Lyon required three train journeys (with some tight changes!), a bus and a cable car trip up the side of a mountain. Once the hectic, six hour extragavanza was over, however, we were treated to absolutely pristine views, crisp mountain air and a delicious home cooked meal involving raclette cheese, more raclette, wine, more raclette, more wine and so on.
A quick round up of foodie snaps from our time in Switzerland:
A regional specialty called käseschnitte which is kind of like a Swiss version of a croque monsieur, except the bread is soaked in wine - yeah, it's getting serious - before being covered in cheese and broiled. You can get different fillings, like this particular version which has ham and wild leeks (and a fried egg, obviously)
Be sure to check out some of these spots and let me know if you have any other recommendations for the area!
3918 Wiler, Switzerland
It's kind of an apres-ski cafe bar at the top of the cable car you'll take to get up to the mountain. Absolutely heaving during the winter ski season but the view is spectacular and you can get a refreshing, if not overpriced (like everything in Switzerland), cold beer.
3917 Kippel, Switzerland
Incredibly charming inn-type restaurant in the UNESCO-protected village of Kippel, which was about an hour's hike down the mountain from where were staying (not as scary as that might sound - everything is pretty well paved though the Euro signage can be confusing). Main thing you need to know is that they serve the wine soaked käseschnitte extravaganza which was a really good reward post-hike.
8001 Zurich, Switzerland
If you need a respite from the onslaught of Swiss bread, cheese and beer by having the Italian version of those things, this place is exactly what you need. There are other Cantinetta restaurants in Florence, Moscow and Vienna too.
Editor's note: One of my fellow Californian refugee friends here in DC, Sarah, hosted a clothing swap party a few weeks ago at her apartment. In addition to getting to take home lots of fashion-related treats, Sarah also served up a loaf of this amazing chocolate chip pumpkin bread. She was kind enough to share the recipe below. For those interested in a real-time demonstration, I've also included the video Sarah made for her friend's (rather amazing) YouTube show, Colin's Time to Bake.
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Yes, I understand it's October, and that this will join thousands of other pumpkin spiced/pumpkin-flavored sweets circulating around the Internet -- some delicious and absolutely necessary, some kind of pushing it (looking at you, pumpkin spice M&Ms). But this one perfect union of pumpkin and chocolate (that actually involves real pumpkin) is all the fall you'll ever need.
This dessert bread is pumpkin pie meets coffee cake, with dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips. Consume responsibly or trade for favors.
What you'll need:
Interrupting the regularly scheduled programming of wistful European recaps because I had to make sure that the best Thai curry I've had in DC (yes, really) went down on record in this blog. So without further delay:
Today's NSOL features:
Tsunami Sushi & Lounge
1326 14th St NW, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20005
For one reason or another, the Jenkins-Chan household has been patronizing (read: getting delivery from) Tsunami Sushi in Logan Circle for over a year now. Despite the fact that the sushi itself is pretty mediocre, it's been our go-to for dependable, predictable maki because sometimes a girl just needs some Spider/DC/Lava/Jade/Pearl/Dragon rolls in her life.
Fortunately, I started hearing whispers down the grape vine that Tsunami had apparently added an authentic (A-word alert) northern Thai menu and after reading Jessica Sidman's surprisingly positive write-up, I decided to check it out for lunch.
I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I would go so far as to describe my feelings about the beef curry noodles (or
guuai dtiiao kehk núua, as pretty mindblowing for a casual Wednesday lunch.
If you'll excuse the terrible office "flatware", the messy picture above highlights almost all the disparate elements that made the curry ridiculously tasty: super tender cuts of beef, thin rice noodles, lots of crunchy bean sprouts which soaked up the sauce, chopped up bits of slightly chewy bean curd, FRIED ONIONS and of course, a hard boiled egg.
The curry sauce itself clearly comes from some incredibly fragrant (and legit) curry paste and is made creamy from (I'm guessing) no nonsense full fat coconut milk of some kind. The entire thing is packed with tons of umami and flavor, without being too salty.
Another plus (or minus, depending on how you talk to), is that the smell of the curry has now permeated the entire office, leading to lots of questions about what I'm eating - and of course, I was happy to point them to Tsunami just down the street.
I can't wait to try the rest of the menu, which I will also do when I'm not wearing white. In summary:
What's the deal: Mediocre Japanese joint "spices" things up (haha) with a new Thai menu
Wallet damage: It's more expensive than your average lunch joint but worth it. Apps are between $5 and $7, entrees like the beef curry will go between $14 and $16.
What to get: The beef curry noodles, obviously, and I suspect most everything else. The khao soi gai seems to be another resounding favorite - wonder whether it'll be as good as Doi Moi's up the street. Don't get anything off the Japanese menu; why would you, when they've added all this good stuff?
One woman's journey to eat all the food. Or at least, most of it.
Other sites and blogs (foodie and not) that I reference and enjoy on a regular basis.