August 2021 Global Cuisine: Our Picks of the Month

a pile of fresh greens beans sits on top of a pristine kitchen towel inscribed with All Is Good in German

Welcome to Head Roam’s July 2021 Global Cuisine picks of the month! This month, we’re highlighting the foods of three places we’ve been to and loved, and one more we’d love to get to.

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Read more about our August 2021 Destinations at this post.

Here goes:

Let’s Go!

August 2021 Global Cuisine, #1: Berlin

Our big surprise with food in Germany: It goes SO FAR beyond sausages, beer, and pastry.

For one thing, the country famously welcomes immigrants.

So for an authentically Berlin-esque dinner, get hold of the best Middle Eastern or Vietnamese or Italian food you can find.

a plate of falafel from a middle eastern restaurant in Berlin's kreuzberg neighborhood features felafel patties, hummus, bright orang and yellow sauce, and a fresh bright green salad with a strip of red tomato august 2021 global cuisine
This falafel plate from Maroush Restaurant in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood satisfies and re-energizes for a day of traipsing round the city. Photo December 2014, Nan Bauer

That said, of course there are a few German dishes you’ll want to try. We’ve already mentioned spargel, the springtime obsession throughout Germany, in our July post recommending the Black Forest.

Additionally, keep in mind the following:

  • Potato pancakes with applesauce and sour cream—preferably homemade apple butter with delicious apples, like you’d get in Germany. Although this version, which we got from a German restaurant, featured a Caprese salad on the side. We love this German potato pancake recipe from the Daring Gourmet, an excellent resource.
Golden brown German potato pancakes are served next to a Caprese salad, with a small pot of pesto and a mound of fresh greens. august 2021 global cuisine from head roam
German potato pancakes from a Black Forest restaurant feature a Caprese salad on the side. Photo 2017, Nan Bauer.
a plate of bright green beans, bright orange carrots, and sauteed onions are sprinkled with bacon crumbles august 2021 global cuisine Pin
Sweet and Sour Greens Beans with Carrots, Bacon, and Onions. Vegetarians, swap in coconut bacon! Photo 2021 by Nan Bauer, based on a recipe from The Low Carb Maven.
  • Germans love their ground meats—which they call by the descriptive and terrifying name of hackfleish. These meatballs in a soft lemon and caper sauce are pretty special. Where Is My Spoon has a perfect German Meatball recipe. You could serve them over spätzle, homemade or not, or just get some nice wide fresh pasta. We were feeling like we didn’t need bread this night, and had them alongside the green beans.
a classic German dinner features meatballs in lemon cream sauce and sweet and sour green beans with carrots and bacon august 2021 global cuisine Pin
German meatballs in a soft lemon and caper sauce feature alongside sweet and sour German green beans. Photo 2021 by Nan Bauer; recipe from Where Is My Spoon.
A display in a Berlin pastry shop features cheesecake topped with berries, chocolate Santas, and a bunch of other yummy stuff. august 2021 global cuisine Pin
A display in a Berlin pastry shop features cheesecake topped with berries, chocolate Santas, and a bunch of other yummy stuff. Photo December 2014 Berlin, by Nan Bauer

Do you have your own favorite Berlin or German recipes? Please let us know! Drop an email to [email protected], or leave a comment.

August 2021 Global Cuisine, #2: Iceland

We admit it: We were stumped when it came to Iceland cuisine, despite a propensity for bingeing on Siggi’s Icelandic yogurt, locally referred to as “skyr.” Here, with some oats, fresh strawberries, and…are those chocolate chips? Ah, the decadence.

A bowl of siggi's Icelandic yogurt with fresh strawberries, oats, and chocolate chips added. august 2021 global cuisine Pin
A bowl of siggi’s Icelandic yogurt with fresh strawberries, oats, and chocolate chips added. Photo June 2018, Nan Bauer

Friends, I have done Iceland a terrible disservice, as Claire Volkman proves in her excellent article on Icelandic food for Vogue. In it, she rhapsodizes about Icelandic hot dogs, lamb, rye bread, and, of course, Skyr.

As long as we’re going on about Icelandic yogurt, and if you haven’t yet gotten addicted to Siggi’s, check out Skyr from Icelandic provisions, which, with luck, is at a supermarket near you.

Naturally, you’re on an island. A big one. In very cold seas. So the fish is pretty great.

This homemade gravlax is shockingly easy to make with Billy’s gravlax recipe.

Homemade gravlax on Wasa crispbread is thinly sliced and served over a rich cream cheese, topped with thin crunchy slices of cucumber, radishes, and a sprinkling of sprouts. august 2021 global cuisine
Homemade gravlax is SO much easier than it looks to make. Enjoy with super fresh and crunchy cukes, radishes, and sprouts, with a little cream cheese on a crisp Scandinavian bread like Wasa. Photo Nan Bauer, 2016.

For further inspiration, we like ogling the Food Tour offered by Wake Up, Reykjavik.

Or check out the menu from the beautiful and original Reykjavik restaurant, Forétta Barinn.

For cooking on your own, the Guide to Iceland offers a list of recipes that include carmelized potatoes and Plottfiskur, a simple fish chowder that looks delicious.

Carmelized potatoes are a Scandinavian specialty, and a perfect treat to try when in Iceland. august 2021 global cuisine
Carmelized potatoes, a Scandinavian specialty. For an Icelandic version, try this recipe from Greedy Gourmet. Photo 2016, Nan Bauer

Once you’re done cooking, check out the site’s amazing photos and, if you’re serious, book one of their wonderful and nicely-priced trips. We’ve linked to one that includes accomodations, a car, and full itinerary starting at….$500 US per person. That’s a crazy great deal, folks.

Also, how fun is it to say “plottfiskur”?

FUN.

Do you have your own favorite Icelandic recipes or eating experiences? Please let us know! Drop an email to [email protected], or leave a comment.

August 2021 Global Cuisine, #3: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Think Argentine cuisine and you likely think Cow. A great deal of Cow on your plate.

Which I am not going to show. Because I will get with the hackfleish (German for ground meat) on occasion.

But a steak?

I seriously cannot eat one.

So I was somewhat filled with trepidation when it came to the question of “what the hell will I eat in Argentina?”

I had no need to fear.

First and foremost: Empanadas!!

a plate of empanadas, perfectly browned with crimped edges, makes a great dinner alongside a glass of wine in Buenos Aires august 2021 global cuisine Pin
Steve (his arm visible in background) and I feasted on empanadas at a nameless shop in Palermo, Argentina. Dinner with wine for about 5 bucks a piece. Yum. Photo 2019, Buenos Aires, Nan Bauer

Ecuadorian chef Laylita offers a beautiful and, to my practiced empanada-consuming eyes, authentic recipe for beef empanadas, Mendoza style. She’s got a CRAZY variety of empanada recipes on her site: everything from pumpkin and asparagus to chocolate.

To give pretty much anything from steak to fish to chicken to tofu Argentina flavor, we love chimichurri.

a bowl of chimichurri, the classic bright green herb sauce from Argentina august 2021 global cuisine
A bowl of chimichurri—sort of like Argentine pesto, but oiler—makes any protein taste fresh and Argentina-esque. Photo 2018, Nan Bauer

We love Cafe Delites’ chimichurri recipe plus explanation, as well as her wonderful site dedicated to healthy, fresh original food.

Argentines pride themselves on being “Italians with Spanish Accents.” Again and again, we had terrific Italian food in BA, from these stuffed mushrooms atop polenta at Peron! Peron!…

august 2021 desitinations a plate of polenta and stuff mushrooms is a vegetarian dish available in Buenos Aires
This plate of polenta and stuffed mushrooms hails from Peron! Peron!, a favorite restaurant of ours in Buenos Aires. Photo 2019, Nan Bauer

…to pizza. It is difficult to get a bad pizza in Buenos Aires.

a Buenos Aires pizza features crisp crust, tomato sauce, olives, and a topping of fresh arugula august 2021 global cuisine
Pizza from La Farmacia in Palermo, a favorite restaurant and local hangout. Photo 2019, Buenos Aires, Nan Bauer

And salads. The climate here is similar to California, the produce is gorgeous, and the porteños treat it with love and creativity.

a Buenos Aires salad surrounded by razor-thin pear slices and topped macadamia nuts and bleu cheese august 2021 global cuisine
Wafer thin slices of pear dance around an arugula salad topped with bleu cheese and macadamia nuts. Palermo, Buenos Aires, 2019, Nan Bauer

Over at The Spruce Eats, contributor Marian Blazes—such a great name for a food writer!!—completely gets the porteño Italian cuisine conncection. Her recipe for Milanesa Napolitana is spot-on. Also check her recipe for choripans, the great Argentine sausage sandwich, and her recipe for Torta Pascualina, a delightful spinach torte named for Easter, but popular pretty much all year.

Do you have your own favorite Buenos Aires recipes? Please let us know! Drop an email to [email protected], or leave a comment.

August 2021 Global Cuisine, #4: San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, like so many port cities, is an immigrant hub.

The ethnic diversity of SF staggers.

the shelves at the Chinatown Wok shop in San Francisco are bursting with kitchenware august 2021 global cuisine
The Chinatown Wok Shop always has me lusting after new and thrilling kitchen swag—including plastic, fluorescent green corn!—at bargain prices. Photo 2021, San Francisco, Nan Bauer

I am the first to admit that, despite pretty much annual trips to this, my favorite US city—I’m originally from San Jose and have friends who live here—I still don’t feel like I’ve made a dent.

Fortunately, many, many of my favorite places to eat—Nopalito and Burma Superstar are two must-do SF stops that don’t break the bank—have wonderful cookbooks. I love this list of great San Franciscan cookbooks from SF Eater because it offers links that allow you to support independent bookstores, and often the restaurants themselves, by buying from them rather from….the Other Place.

a vegetarian mole bowl brims with fresh cauliflower, mango, avocado and herbs, and features rice, beans, and a mole saucePin
Our own version of a vegetarian mole bowl, inspired by the beautiful food at Nopalito in SF. Want the recipe? Please leave a comment! Photo 2016, Nan Bauer

Should you visit San Francisco, definitely bookmark the deliriously beautiful blog Cyn Eats (and follow her crazy beautiful insta feed: @cyneats.) Based in SF and LA, Cyn travels the world and has great travel advice, as well as a limited number of terrific recipes.

But the real bang for your buck is in her curated lists of where to eat, thoughtfully broken up into a variety of price points. We naturally love the $0-20 range of CynEats restaurant picks best. Because we’re cheap. Or, put another way, love a bargain.

Seriously, don’t walk the streets of SF hungry without Cyn.

Meanwhile, a boisterous Huzzah! to my endlessly creative San Franciscan bud Callie, who whipped me up this little repast.

Welcome to Head Roam discusses our approach to culture, including absorbing the cuisine of a place like this San Francisco snackPin
Cheese, crackers, apples, tea: a simply satisfying San Francisco snack. Photo July 2021, Nan Bauer

That spirit of having great stuff on hand to feed a hungry friend seems wonderfully San Franciscan to us.

Proving that the city breeds wonderfully creative folks: San Franciscan Kelly’s blog A Side of Sweet. Just check out her beautiful index of Snack recipes and you’ll never hand drop-ins a box of stale crackers again. Not that you would do that.

Here’s the beauty of San Francisco: Like NYC, London, Berlin, and so many other places we love, as long as the food’s creative, fresh, and beautiful, you can eat pretty much anything and feel like you’re in the city. Where clearly, I have left my heart.

Apparently that happens.

Do you have pictures, recipes, and/or stories to share from your own San Francisco experiences? Please let us know! Drop an email to [email protected], or leave a comment.

August 2021 Global Cuisine: Thanks for Reading!

Do you have experiences, stories, photos, videos, and/or recipes from any of the above places? Post them to the Head Roam Facebook group, or let us know on Twitter or Instagram! Or email [email protected]

Any requests for next month? Whether or not we’ve been there, we love your suggestions. And we’d be thrilled if you want to let us run your stories and/or visuals.

Keep Roaming

One Response

  1. Thanks for the mention. It’s always lovely having you visit with any/all of your family. I look forward to the next time.

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Welcome to Head Roam! I’m Nan Bauer. Join me in rethinking travel in the world we live in now. Learn more about how I got here.

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