Thursday, December 13, 2007

Susi on Berlin

My good friend, Susanne Koch is a co-writer here on Enjoy Food & Travel. She is an Internet professional who works as an e-learning and web communication adviser at the University of Oslo. Susanne loves to travel and blogs about her journeys at Susi's Souvenirs. You may also want to have a look at Susanne Koch's homepage.

She visited Berlin just a week after me.
She attended a conference, but had time to do some sightseeing as well. She has left here impressions from the German capital on her blog.

See her Best Berlin Photos here

See even more Berlin photos here

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mezza Luna - under a crescent moon

October 8th 2007 - arriving in Johannesburg, and another encounter with the teddy bears and soft beds of Melville House. Being back in Melville in Johannesburg felt reassuring, but it also meant that our departure back to Europe was only three days away. Close to the end of our trip, we had maybe the second best meal of our voyage. Magic at Mezza Luna - under the crescent moon.

Location: BBBBB

The Mezza Luna is located in 7th street, the main street of Melville. Very easy to find, when you are there, a little more complicated if you live else where, but definitely worth it.

Mezza Luna is located in a small a small passage, and in a few small rooms, with even tables inside and even outside under lush, climbing vegetation

Mezza Luna is the place to take someone you love for a great meal. Romantic indeed!!

Interior and atmosphere: BBBB

Tables with white table cloths, but not much more. No glasses, forks, knives, napkins or wine glasses.

The theme of the interior is Franco-Italian, white walls, oak coloured chairs, tables - rustic and very tasteful. As we sat down outside, under the climbing lushness, I got this Mediterranean feeling.

Reasonably well seated, but the ground surface was uneven, meaning that the tables outside were moving, not stable, a problem when you have tall wine glasses standing.

Price: BBBBB

I did not keep the bill, but it was not significantly more expensive than the 75- 100 ZAR we paid for a good meal in South Africa. For a two course meal and wine it is definitely a full score.

Service: BBBBB

Very good service. We were guided and adviced concerning wine and food, and we did not wait long for the food. Top score.

Food: BBBBB-

I ordered an entree and a main course. The profile of Mezza Luna was a fusion between Italian cooking and a distinct eastern influence, and it was. The food was spectacular, with multiple tastes, one for each taste bud. A fine balance between sweet, salty, and spicy - with nuts, honey and crispy pastry as well as savoury ingredients.

My first taste of Mezza Luna was parcels of filo pastry filled with figs and blue cheese, a great combination and a sweet honey and nut mixture. Reminiscent of Moroccan or Turkish kitchen, the sweetness of the figs slightly overpowered the strong aromas of the blue cheese. But the crisp filo pastry and sweet nuts and honey made this closer to a a dessert, a baklava, than a main course.

Then I ordered chicken with dried figs, rice and sauteed vegetables. Once again a fine balance between salt, sweetness, and spices.

This dish worked great, as the sauce was sweet, the vegetables salty, the chicken deliciously tender. You could just close your eyes and sense the spices of North Africa, and the areas along the silk road to China. A box of precious spices brought to a Europe hungry for new tastes to explore.

When I omit telling you about the wonderful wine, it is because I forgot to write down its name, but it tasted heaven under the South African African sky.

Overall score: BBBBB- (4,75 points)

Highly recommendable. Eating at the Mezza Luna is a magic, mysterious union between the bazaars of Marrakech and Istanbul.

Mezza Luna
9a, 7th street
Melville, Johannesburg
South Africa
Phone: 011-4822477

More restaurants?

See other restaurants in Johannesburg and around the world here on Enjoy Food & Travel!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Schnitzel Cordon Bleu in Berlin

Veal Schnitzel Cordon Bleu is delicious, and terrific when served at Antica Roma at Kurfürstendamm in Berlin, and the best thing - it is nearly for free, at least according to our wallet.

We were hungry, and heading for a decent place for a good lunch. Antica Roma seemed to be a good idea, probably for pasta, but when seeing they had Veal schnitzel Cordon Bleu on the menu, a schnitzel with ham and cheese, it was definitely something to go for!

The schnitzel at Antica Roma was served with a creamed chantelerelle sauce and crunchy crispy french fries. Delicious!!

And what to drink? We decided to go for the Lambrusco, 1/2 liter served in a jug, but found that it was far too sweet for our taste, and ordered another jug of Chianti - ah!! 2 jugs of wine, 1 bottle of Italian mineral water, our meals, and one espresso - all for €40. A ridiculous sum, and we were even a little tipsy.

Great place, so if you would like to try it yourself, here is the address:

Ristorante Antica Roma
Wittenbergplatz 5-6
10789 Berlin
Phone: 211 49 64
Fax: 213 85 54
See location on map here

More restaurants?

See other restaurants in Berlin and around the world here on Enjoy Food & Travel!

See all restaurants reviewed here on Enjoy Food & Travel

Air traveler - know your rights!!

We all know the feeling - you have packed your suitcase, traveled to the airport and found that, on arrival, the flight to your destination has been delayed or even worse - been canceled. Have no fear - the European Consumer has rights most have not heard of, but will make it so much better. Alternative flights, food as you wait, hotel, or even refund are given to those who know. So - air traveler, know your rights!!

If your flight is delayed:

You are entitled to the following compensation:

Meal and refreshments proportioned to the waiting time when:

a) your flight is up to 1500 kilometers and delayed two hours or more
b) your flight is more than three hours delayed and within the EU/EEA area and over 1500 kilometers, and for all flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometers
c) your flight is more than 4 hours delayed and is not covered by point a and b

If your flight leaves the following day you are entitled to accommodation and transport to and from the hotel.

If you are more than 5 hours delayed, you may demand a full refund even for a used ticket if the flight is not suited to fit your original schedule.

According to the Montreal Convention of 1999 you may even seek financial compensation from the air carrier if you have documentation showing financial loss. The air carrier may, however, not be responsible if they tried to avoid the delay or if it was impossible to avoid.

If your flight is cancelled:

If your flight is canceled the airline must either refund your ticket or offer alternative flight to the destination. You are also entitled to food and accommodation.

Unless the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances, bad weather or force majeure, you are entitled to compensation according to the following tariffs:

- € 250 for flights under 1500 km
- € 400 for flights within EU/EEA area over 1500 kilometers or for other flights within 1500 and 3500 kilometers.
- € 600 for all other flights

This compensation may be reduced by 50% if you are offered alternative flight and if arrival time do not exceed the original flight with more than:

- 2 hours for flights up to 1500 kilometers
- 3 hours for flights within the EU/EEA area exceeding 1500 kilometers and all flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometers.
- 4 timer for all other flights.

All passengers are entitled to this compensation and it must be paid by the airline to the passenger without delay.

You are not entitled to a refund:

If the airline or travel agent has informed you on the cancellation

- Earlier than 14 days before departure date
- From 7 to 14 days before departure date, and if you are offered an alternative flight less than 2 hours before the original departure and arrive at your destination less than 4 hours after schedule.
- Less than 7 days before departure date, and if you are offered an alternative flight less than 1 hour before the original departure and arrive at your destination less than 2 hours after schedule.

So airline traveler - arm yourself with your new found rights and have a safe trip!!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Delicacies in the wilderness

We left the KwaZulu-Natal heading north to Johannesburg. The route took us from Durban over Hammerstein to Pietermaritzburg, where we spent the night at the Aintree Lodge. The morning of October 8th, we left the humid and warm climate close to the coast and drove back to Jo'burg. As my friend Jan had heard of a very good place to eat close to Harrismith, we decided to try it.

We drove past Harrismith, and found ourselves in the great outback, far removed from the densely populated KwaZulu-Natal province. In the Free State, we drove along long and completely isolated areas, with no places to eat in sight. As we had not eaten properly, we grew more and more desperate to find a place to eat, and finally we found it, and it was so different from what we expected.

As we saw a sign marking a restaurant, we found a large yellow zulu-shaped restaurant and shop selling local produce.

And what was on the menu? Home made meat pies, crunchy, flaky pastry on the outside and succulent ground meat on the inside. I ordered one pie with a good glass of red wine.

It was great to tuck into a decent piece of food, and it tasted delicious. It was not packed with people, on the contrary. There were a few guests as we arrived, and they left during our meal. We did, however immediately get in touch with the two guys running the place and they had some surprises in store.

These two guys had left Johannesburg, where they had worked in the catering business and settled in the outback, selling a wide range of local products as cured meats, jams, cheese, and much, much more.

The funniest thing, however, was that they knew people in Oslo, among others the proprietor of Fenaknoken, the best place to purchase the most exquisite Norwegian food products.

They asked me to get in touch with him, and I will, after I have finished this story. They wanted to get recipes for Norwegian specialties to produce where they lived. I got their card, but it has mysteriously disappeared. So if any one of you know what this place is called, write to tell me.

So after a good meal, and an interesting talk we left them and would arrive in Johannesburg early evening of October 8th, for another night at Melville House.