Best German Restaurants in the US

*This post originally appeared on www.bjornkoch.org.

You don’t have to visit Germany in order to enjoy a delicious German meal. In the United States, you’ll find many German restaurants that celebrate German cuisine. Even if you don’t have German ancestors, you should make a point to visit one of the below restaurants. You won’t regret it!

Old Europe – Washington, DC

Old Europe has been serving delectable German food since 1948. Inside the restaurant, servers dress in traditional German attire to transport you in time to old Europe. The Schnitzel Old Europe is a popular choice for first-time diners. Throughout the year the restaurant features special menus for different holidays. For example, there’s a sausage week, and, of course, Oktoberfest. Take a look at these pictures to get an idea of the restaurant’s ambiance.

Bavarian Grill – Plano, TX

Bavarian Grill has been voted the best German restaurant in America on multiple occasions. It has also received numerous other awards since its opening in 1993. The restaurant features an extensive beer and wine menu in addition to its German cuisine. Although German food has a reputation for being meat heavy, at Bavarian Grill you’ll find a vegetarian menu as well as a gluten-free menu.

Prime Meats – Brooklyn, NY

Prime Meats opened in 2009. The restaurant focuses on serving farm to table alpine inspired fare. While the menu doesn’t feature an extensive beer list like most other German restaurants, it does feature a lot of wine. One of the best items on the menu is the house-made sausage. If you have trouble picking a sausage you can make things easier by ordering the sausage tasting board. Visit the Prime Meats website to learn more about this cozy restaurant.

Suppenküche – San Francisco, CA

Suppenküche is located in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood, not far from the Civic Center. If you visit with a party that’s less than six, you won’t be able to make a reservation. The restaurant opens at 5:00 every day. Arrive at 5:00 if you don’t want to wait—the restaurant fills up quickly, and there aren’t many seats at the bar where you can wait until your table is ready. On the menu, you’ll find imported beers from Germany, Belgium, and Austria. If you really want a challenge, order one of the beers that are served in a glass boot! The dinner menu changes often, yet you’ll find tasty traditional German fare including pretzels and sauerkraut.

No, Instagram Isn’t Ruining Travel

 

Early this morning, a piece entitled “How Instagram is Ruining Travel” was posted to the nationally acclaimed publication Conde Nast Traveller. Reading it did flash me back to numerous experiences I’ve had with fellow travelers; people who were engrossed in their phones, in taking photos and in garnering as many “Likes” or “Favorites” as they could. Essentially, utilizing incredible wonders of Earth as backdrops for social media attention.

 

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

Has social media changed how we travel, absolutely. It’s had a profound impact on not only the experiences that many people have while exploring the world, but how we document it. Photography serves a purpose. We unearth old photos of us or our loved ones, taken by our parents and stored in a shoebox in the basement until we happen upon them one afternoon, and the nostalgia comes rushing back. We want to relive these moments and the best way to do so is via photography. The memory of viewing the Eiffel Tower or the Pyramids of Giza in person fades, as do the sounds and the smells and the experience. But photography doesn’t.

To continue reading, visit BjornKoch.net.

 

 

Simply put, there is no wrong way to travel. There is no wrong way to experience the sights and sounds of the world. Do what you please and recognize that not everyone will share those thoughts. Ultimately, don’t let it affect you, and never, ever, stop traveling.

Madrid Travel Guide

Madrid Travel Guide

 

Madrid is commonly referred to as one of Europe’s most artistic cities. With a wide range of museums like that of the Prado Museum, it’s not difficult to see why. Within this art gallery lies tens of thousands of European paintings, sculptures, and drawings, all ranging from the 12th century to the early 19th century.

 

Another landmark one must see when visiting Madrid is Buen Retiro Park. This 350-acre park houses Madrid’s finest gardens and monuments, along with a shimmering pond that allows kayaking and boating. Throughout the park, you will come across many street performers such as musicians, fortune tellers, dancers, and much more. The bustling social life can resemble that of an entire city within the confines of towering trees and stunning flowers.

 

Running through alleyways and cobblestone streets lies some of Madrid’s greatest restaurants. If you’re not immediately drawn by these dining places’ personal advertisers, the smell alone is enough to stop you in your tracks. With authentic foods like tapas, paella, tortilla espaniola, and jamon, this city’s menu could greatly expand your palate.

 

Once the sun sets, the city becomes more alive than ever. After a large midday meal followed by an afternoon nap, or siesta, Madrid’s rejuvenated nightlife becomes one of the most active in the country. Aside from the hundreds of bars and nightclubs, you can find a wide range of entertainment; one of the most popular being flamenco. This beautiful artform entails graceful yet fierce dancers in long, flowing dresses, accompanied by jaw-droppingly skilled guitarists. The talent and dedication to their craft that these performers possess is truly a sight to see.

 

So, if a trip to Europe is next on your list, Madrid just may be the city for you

Traveling With Pets

Traveling with Your Pets

Homesickness can surely put a damper on any vacation, whether you’re across the country, across the city or across the world. You miss the comfort of your own bed, the smell that only your house has, and of course, your pets.

 

Traveling without your pets can be heartbreaking, and not just for you. Of course you miss giving your furry, four-legged friends all the love and affection that they deserve and have become accustomed to. But the pain can be just as bad for your pets as it is for you. Instead of feeling guilty for leaving them behind and dealing with the thoughts of abandonment, bring them along.

 

Whether or not you pack Fido away will depend largely on where you’re heading, and for how long.

 

A day trip to the beach or an overnight camping trip are ideal for bringing your dog along.

Transportation in these cases is easy–depending on how large or small he or she is, you can let your dog sit in the back seat of your car and stick its head out of the window for the ride. If it’s a smaller dog (or a cat), a crate is an easy, safe and much cleaner way to transport your pet for car rides.

 

However, it’s important to take safety precautions when traveling with your pet in the back (or front) seat. By sticking its head out of the window, your dog is at risk of being pelted with insects or other debris at fairly high speeds. And, while it’s an oft-forgotten risk, dogs can fall (or jump) out of a window left too wide open.

 

Shorter, more outdoorsy trips like the beach, camping or hiking can be enormously fun for you and your pet; they allow you to bring them along but not feel as though they’re an extra chore or a nuisance for the duration.

 

If you’re going on a slightly longer trip somewhere further from home and you’d rather not pay a sitter or put your dog in a cage at the vet for a week or two, bringing him or her on your flight is a fairly simple process. Even though the process is a fairly straightforward one, it’s important to make sure you’re going to cover all the bases when it comes to getting your pet on board a flight.

 

First, try to book a direct flight if at all possible–avoiding layovers means less time your pet spends inside the cage in the cargo area of the plane, and less time that the crate will be moved around, transported and potentially mishandled or dropped during the switch over. The ASPCA also recommends buying a USDA approved carrying crate which, above all else, should be properly labeled. Should your pet wriggle its way out of the cage, the cage get lost or misplaced, ensuring everything is labeled with the pet’s name, your name, and some contact info could be the difference between reunited you and your fuzzy friend quickly and safely.

 

But, once you’ve arrived at your destination with your dog (or cat) in tow, let the fun begin. To find out some pet-friendly attractions and destinations, visitPetTravel.com

America’s Best Concert Venues

There’s something viscerally enjoyable about closing your eyes and listening to music. Music can help drive our emotions, bring out feelings we didn’t know we had, relax us almost to sleep, or amp us up for a night out with our closest friends.

While turning your iPod on or opening Spotify on your phone and putting in your headphones is a great way to drown out the outside world for a little bit, nothing beats hearing your favorite singers or bands play live, in person, in front of your very eyes.

Here are a few of the most beautiful and mind-blowing concert and performance venues around America that all music lovers should try to see during their lifetime.

Carnegie Hall–New York

If you want to see one of the most beautiful, historic and most well-known concert halls in the entire United States, Carnegie Hall may be for you.

The hall, built in 1891 was funded, of course by philanthropist and steel industry magnate Andrew Carnegie. Divided into three performance halls, each more ornate than the last, Carnegie Hall is home to some of the most brilliant performances of the last century plus, which make up a part of the nearly 50,000

performances put on since its opening.

According to its website, Carnegie Hall was designed by William Burnet Tuthill, who clearly put all of his architectural abilities into the New York performance center, as he never designed another building–concert hall or not–again.

 

The Red Rocks Amphitheatre–Colorado

Unlike Carnegie Hall, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre isn’t necessarily world-renowned for its acoustics, its namesake or its hosting of generations of the music world’s greatest talent. But the appeal of Red Rocks isn’t necessarily in the talent it attracts (and it does attract talent, as the Beatles and U2, among others, have performed there), but in its appearance.

Situated about 6,500 feet above sea level, Red Rocks is the only naturally occurringand acoustically flawless amphitheatre in the entire world.

 

Radio City Music Hall–New York

Back to New York for another entry on this list. Known for the performances of the famous Rockettes, RCMH is also often referred to as “The Showplace of the Nation.” Adorned with work from numerous depression era artists, the hall hosts everything from huge rock concerts to the annual Christmas Spectacular, a defining aspect of Radio City Music Hall’s appeal.

While few places on this list can claim the same, Radio City has also left important marks on the sporting world in the past. It formerly hosted the NFL Draft (which will be in Philadelphia this season) and played home to the New York Liberty, a WNBA team for six games while Madison Square Garden was being renovated in 2004.

Great East Coast Restaurants

In the United States, there’s a nearly endless selection of restaurants, from a McDonald’s to restaurants that are considered the best in the world. I’ve decided to compile a list of high-end restaurants throughout the East Coast. They’re also affiliated with hotels or inns and have stunning views. If you live somewhere along the East Coast, most of these restaurants are a simple drive away, so you might want to plan a special trip to one. New York might have some of the world’s best restaurants, but you’ll have to head outside of the city for these country views.

 

Bedford Post Inn – Bedford, New York

The Bedford Post Inn sits on 14 lush acres and offers stunning views of nature. There are two stupendous restaurants, The Barn and Campagna. The Barn is a more casual dining experience with a rustic decor and wood beam interior. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served during the week, with brunch being served on weekends. Campagna is a fine dining restaurant that serves traditional Italian food and handmade pasta, along with some dishes using local ingredients.

Visit their website.

 

Spicer Mansion – Mystic, Connecticut

Spicer Mansion is a luxury boutique hotel located in the heart of Mystic, Connecticut. The mansion was built in 1853 and has traditionally been the summer home of Captain Elihu Spicer. After much restoration, the mansion now houses a luxury restaurant that offers stunning views of downtown Mystic and the Mystic River. The restaurant offers world-class food and is open to guests or by reservation.

Check out their official website here.

 

Castle Hill Inn – Newport, Rhode Island

Castle Hill Inn rests on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic and provides guests with panoramic views of the ocean. This historic building was originally built by in 1875 for a Harvard marine biologist to spend his summers at. Now, it’s an extensive inn that houses various guests, either in the mansion or in cottages near the ocean. The Dining Room at the Inn has been there for over a century and has the distinction of being a Forbes Four Star restaurant, along with Chef Lou Rossi. There are over 800 selections on the wine list, as well as delicious cuisine. Guests can also opt to eat on The Lawn during summer months.

Read more here.

 

Blantyre – Lenox, Massachusetts

This manor is located between Boston and New York City and sits on 46 hectares. It was built in the Tudor style during 1902. The manor has a spa, beautiful guest rooms, and an award-winning restaurant in the Main House. A pianist will serenade guests with live music, while they enjoy mingling in the Music Room, the Covered Terrace, or the Main Hall. Fresh flowers, linens, and fine china adorn the tables for dinner, which promises to be a memorable experience.

Look at their website here.

 

Camden Harbour Inn – Camden, Maine

Camden Harbour Inn is considered one of the world’s best boutique hotels and is located along the coast of Maine. The Inn has been catering to guests since the late 1800’s. Nobility has even stayed here! Natalie’s is the AAA Four Diamond restaurant in the Inn that offers views of Camden Harbor, the mountains, and Penobscot Bay. Cuisine is a mix of European and New England style food.

Learn more about the Inn here.

The World’s Best Dining Experiences

Though it’s hard to conclusively prove that any restaurant is the absolute “best” in the world, I’ve gathered together a few restaurants that are overwhelmingly considered stunning places to dine. They have achieved this distinction from their Michelin stars, various publications that employ experts to review top restaurants, and also general reviews from patrons who dined at the establishments. Take a look at some details about these restaurants that I’ve provided below and then check out their individual websites for more information on their history and menus.

 

Osteria Francescana – Modena, Italy

This restaurant was voted the World’s Best Restaurant in 2016 by a panel of nearly 1,000 international gastronomic experts. It opened in 1995 and has since received three Michelin stars and various awards. Head chef Massimo Battura is considered “a key figure among a new generation of chefs”. Battura offers two menus at Osteria Francescana, “Sensations”, which changes from season to season, and “Tradition in Evolution”, which features favorites from the region around Modena and the chef’s homeland. There are only twelve tables in the restaurant, so reservations must be made quite a bit in advance.

Eleven Madison Park – New York, USA

Eleven Madison Park is considered by many to be New York City’s top restaurant, which is a high honor considering the city is home to some of the best restaurants and chefs in the entire world. In 2006, David Humm took over as the owner and chef, which rocketed Eleven Madison Park into accolade after accolade because of their mouthwatering dishes. The restaurant has been granted three Michelin stars and a four-star review in The New York Times. They offer a menu that utilizes local ingredients and consists of 7-9 courses for guests to enjoy. The restaurant has even published a few cookbooks, so try your hand at some of their recipes in the comfort of your own home!

 

El Celler de Can Roca – Girona, Spain

El Celler de Can Roca is arguably the most successful family restaurant in the entire world. It was founded in 1986 by two brothers, Josep and Joan Roca, next door to their parents’ restaurant. Joan has held the position of head chef for the last three decades, notably developing the sous-vide cooking method. Josep operates as the restaurant’s sommelier, while their younger brother, Jordi, joined the team in the last couple of decades and has brought his phenomenal pastry skills along with him. The restaurant was awarded its third Michelin star in 2009. The restaurant’s online store offers various books from the brothers about cooking and the history of their business. The brothers are inspired by traditional Catalan cuisine, then place their own modern, “avant-garde” twist on it.