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Tuesday, February 16, 2010


This is a significant milepost for me, being my 600th posting. How appropriate, for I had my best lunch, ever, today.

I woke up to a shining sun. Mind you, people in Munich have not seen the Sun for weeks. The city is now sparkling. I decided to have two extraordinary lunches. Today, at the Hotel Konigshof, said to be the #2 restaurant in Munich, and tomorrow, at #1 Tantris. However, I learned that Tantris is closed until later this week, so Konigshof will have to do with my Munich experience. And what a meal if was, indeed!!!

But first, Munich with sunlight. On the left, that same Angel of Peace from yesterday. Below, children just sledding.

Then the highlight of my trip so far. Remember, I was not overwhelmed with Angkor Wat, nor the Taj Mahal. I was blown away by a combination of Carneval, Fasching, Mardi Gras and Halloween, for I found myself at Viktualienmarkt next to Marienplatz, and walked into a mid-day celebration never seen before in my life. A few photos:

I don't think this is how people from Munich dress on a normal day. Most had costumes of some sort, and many, outrageously so. The police and security were standing in corners talking to themselves and not bothering anyone. Drinking on the streets was encouraged, and I saw a clown (Howdy Doody, actually) with a Jeroboam of champagne, and a few with only a Magnum, drinking out of the bottle. This was totally unexpected, and entirely memorable.

Well, the highlight was yet to come, for I had my best 4 hour fact, most outstanding lunch ever, at the Hotel Konigshof. Considering that my second best luncheon was on Lufthansa, I would never have imagined that two German lunches would ever be at the top. I walked in not all that well dressed, for men were in suits and ties and women were fashionable...but the staff warmly welcomed my presence.

Pardon me for these details, but I must. It would be too, too gauche to mention how much this cost, but, I was seated at the their signature table and it all started with two chef's appetizers, which I had with a Markelsheimer Probstberg Wurttemberg Reisling Spatlase Trocken. The first was a sushi with amberjack, but on top of a curry couscous; the second, I don't even remember now. Then came a grilled scallops with avocado, mango and chili vinaigrette, accompanied by a Petit Bourgeouis Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley. The first paid course was a lukewarm char (certainly looked like salmon) with endive salad and caviar.

All, so far, excellent, and tiny...good. Next, saffron-fennel red mullet with dried tuna flakes came with a Clos Habert Montlouis sur Loir Francois Childaine Chenin Blanc.

The breast and leg of pigeon and artichokes came with a Savignola Paolina Chianti Classico Reserva from Ludovovica Fabbri. So far, one from Italy, one from Germany and the rest from France. At this point, my main expert advisors (to be shown later) suggested a recess, so I went to the restroom, walked around, and waited 15 minutes for the next course, so that I could digest the meal.

It's coming to an end, for the braised beef shoulder was oozing with melted Goose Liver (most foie gras, almost anywhere these days, is from a duck...not this one) and Perigord truffles totally covering the beef. You can get these truffles for $1600/pound in America. The meat itself was nothing compared to the Chiang Mai Four Seasons Wagyu Beef, but, who cares with the topping. Oh, there was a wine, a Domaine Roger Perrin Chatenneuf du Pape, heavy bodied and perfect.

I had two blue cheeses and a couple more suggested by maitre fromager Bernard Antony, with a Chateau Beaulon Pineu des Charentes (18% ethanol), a sweetish wine, but ideal for this plate.

Then came a Valrhona Chocolate, a crunchy Manjari with Cassis and Carripoule (no, they were just on the dessert), plus an Opitz One (yes, sounds like Opus One) Schilfwein-Stohwein, loved, they said, by Bill Clinton, when he dined here. It had the essence of ling hing mui, somewhat portish, but with a delicacy absent from Portuguese varieties.

Chef Martin Fauster came by to say hi, and we chatted on what he was serving. Apparently, the cuisine is an international fusion with Bavarian fundamentals. That's Karlsplatz in the background.

I was guided by Stephane Thuriot, Chef Sommelier, and Manfred Friedel, the Maitre d' Hotel, who has been here since I was a freshman at Stanford. We are the same age.

Not quite over yet. Finally, with citrus fruits, sherbert and a Pina Colada Foam, came a Mandelsheimer Schwarz-reisling Trestor Edalbrang (a grappa at 43% alcohol), and, because I asked what might be the best counterpart from Italy, I was served a Berta Roccenilno (trust me, the spelling might be off), a much lighter (and lot more expensive) grappa.

I staggered out of the hotel, skipped the rest of my city tour and found my way to the U-Bahn and back home.

I'm going to bed, but halfway through the stock market day, the Dow Jones is booming, up 127 and now 200 points higher than the Nikkei. See right box. World markets are also mostly up. President Obama compromised and allowed funding for nuclear power. Okay, if he needs to head in this direction, what about thorium? In fact, why not provide all the thorium Iran needs and eliminate that thermonuclear fear? Crude oil is up to $77/barrel and gold surged $25/toz to $1119.

Tropical Cyclone Rene struck Tonga, which appears to have survived well. In the Indian Ocean, Tropical Cyclone Sixteen formed north of Mauritius, and is heading south. It is now at 50 MPH, but will strengthen:

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