Ooooh, Paris! I have not spend enough time in Paris, a day here, a day there, mostly just as a stop-over when going some other place, really. This time, we were staying for almost 4 days, we were going to eat all the things at all the right places so we had all our eating opportunities planned, from breakfast to lunch to dinner, we even had a day where we had breakfast, two lunches, one of them a menu, and a dinner with five courses planned for later in the evening. We were doing this thing right, we were prepared, we were ready.
Lucky me, I was invited to join the annual Terroir symposium in Toronto, Canada, to speak on behalf of my side-hustle, the Feminist Food Club. I joined Soleil Ho, a gifted food writer (and the current restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle), chef and activist who I have admired from afar for a very, very long time, Petra Mutch, a passionate food entrepreneur and activist, and moderator Marie-Claude Lortie, a Montreal based food journalist and restaurant critic, to talk about how to achieve gender balance in the industry. I arrived a couple days earlier to take in the city, meet some people and get accustomed (thank you, cannabis dispensaries). During these days, I mostly just walked the city, watched a show at Second City, read books and fought jet lag by buying loads of ice cream. I haven’t had enough time to explore all worthy parts of Toronto, especially not the less central parts where I have heard is where the best food is to be had (I read about an awesome Egyptian brunch at Maha’s in the east; and a white rabbit candy soft serve in Markham!) So this list is referring to central, mostly downtown Toronto only and is by no way including everything you should eat when there, but it’s a good start.
It was my very first time in Shanghai, China and it couldn’t have been better: we did a ton of walks through the districts, marvelled at the many pink and white magnolia flowers that had just bloomed, and planned our days around where we would eat for lunch and dinner. We ate so much and we ate so well! Mostly at places serving various Chinese cuisines, so we could enjoy the many very seasonal vegetables and dishes only available in the weeks of early spring. We’ve also visited the Jing’An temple, the Yayoi Kusama exhibition, the Arts & Crafts museum (where I should’ve bought that glass statuette of my Chinese zodiac sign), wandered through gardens and roamed many, many, many malls. Mainly to walk off the last meal and create space for the next…
So I went to Beirut, finally! Why did I want to go for so long? (I got this question a lot): because of the food, the people, the weather, the history, and also the food. My friend Florian and I spent 10 days in Lebanon, mostly in Beirut, some of it in the countryside, – and it’s been a delight! The people are incredibly friendly and welcoming, there’s so much to see and to experience, yes the traffic is literally insane, but oh well. There’s the food – the glorious, glorious food. Based on fresh and local ingredients Lebanese cooking is an amazing blend of acidity and earthiness, freshness and spices, all bound together with fragrant olive oil and fresh yoghurt. Obviously the locally grown ingredients are in their prime, all citrus fruits are perfection (especially that bitter orange), you can even get local bananas here. Delicious treats wait for you wherever you go, there’s an abundance of foods to try and most shops specialise in one dish and strive for perfection of it. Our daily schedule was determined by where we wanted to eat, from breakfast to dinner. It’s a tried-and-tested travel-method of mine that I can recommend a lot, especially when walking to these places to a) digest all the food you ate, and b) get an impression of the city. Beirut’s not that big, so you’ll pass most interesting sights and places on your way to the restaurants.
It’s more than a little embarrassing that the actual first time I ever went to Amsterdam was only ten days ago. I never intentionally avoided it, but I never really went for it either, however, finally everything fell into place and I had the most wonderful weekend in this unbelievably pretty city: the weather was perfect, the city was bright and clean and awaking from winter, the crowds were big and annoying, but there are ways to deal with that in NL. Food seems to be as big a topic over there as it is here in Berlin, and while I really did enjoy getting that 2,- kaassoufflé at Febo’s wall of food (you just have to try it once, or thrice), there was plenty of more elaborate stuff to munch on.