Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bürli of Zürich

No, it's not all gloom and doom, there are things that cheer me up. Of course, my deriously beloved Toño tops the list. He and the nasty weather made it possible to have a double pleasure of a special kind in one day. Yesterday, I enjoyed both a Bürli by Buchmann for lunch and a Bürli by Gold for dinner.

The ones not living in the vicinity of the center of the known and unknown universe (exactly, it's Zürich) might think What is this weirdo talking about?. Let me explain: There are duopoly constellations in this world, e.g. think Pepsi vs Coca-Cola in soft drink market or Airbus vs Boeing in commercial jet aircraft market. Here in Zürich we have Buchmann and Gold in the Bürli market. Actually since 1910, when Gold joined the market one year after Buchmann.

A Bürli is a bread roll with a very hard crust. If you eat a good Bürli, your jaw hurts and there are bread crumbs all over the place. It also helps if they are made in a wood-fired oven. The higher temperature gives the extraordinary taste.

On the left, you can see a Bürli by Buchmann, which my caring employer sells in our canteen. I'm a late luncher and there is always the danger that they are sold out. Due to the nasty weather, less people take a salad for lunch, which increases my changes for a lunch with Bürli.

On the right, you can see a Bürli by Gold. Toño suggested to drop by at the Sternen Grill* for some sausages with Bürli. We went for both Cervelat and Bratwurst, which gave me three Bürli in one day!

Which one is better? For me, it's the Gold, it's texture is unbeatable and the jaw hurts a tiny bit bit more. Would I select the right one in a Pepsi Challenge? I think so.

* Paris has the Eiffel Tower, London the Queen, San Franzisco the Golden Gate Bridge and Zürich the Sternen Grill. It's a place where you can come in swimming attire or directly from the opera, nobody raises an eyebrow. However, the legend is that if you asked for knife and fork, the sausage chef points over the river and says the Baur au Lac is over there.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Taking a Bath in Self-Pity

This week I'm somehow trading water when trying to keep up my unflappable self in the face of adversity. Everything starts with taking a shower early in the morning.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Retail Therapy - Monday Edition

What do you do on a Monday, when
  • it's raining like only in Vancouver;
  • your staff is ignoring your commands;
  • both of your feet hurt like hell;
  • and you have to mop up the floor because you did not notice that your foot is bleading and hence you were dragging a trail of blood behind you?
Exactly, buying some flowery pictures:

Sunday, June 24, 2007


This week we had major discussions about monder. According to Alicia (Toño's fabulously charming boss), you can't say that your are blanching and peeling a tomato. It's called monder a tomato.

Obviously, monder is French, the Lingua Franca of cooking. And being a graduate of the famous École Hôtelière de Lausanne, Alicia has to know this.

So how does one monder? It's quite easy. You even may do this at home. Just keep your kiddos away from the boiling water and the sharp knife.

Step 1: Get rid off the stalk of the tomato.

Step 2: Cut a small cross with the point of a knife

Step 3: Plunge the tomato in ebullient water and leave it there for about 30 seconds (which is the time it takes until you can observe that the skin is detaching from the flesh).

Step 4
: Put the tomato in ice water.

Step 5
: Now peeling is easy like taking candy from a baby.

Why all this effort? Well, I just wanted to make some Roulade Estiva.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Light & Easy - School Nights Edition

We've extended our Light & Easy meal theme to the entire week. These were the highlights:

Tomatoes and Mozzarella Salad with a Slice of Salmon

For the salad, Toño used Mozzarella di Bufala Campana and blanched and filleted tomatoes. You get the best results, if you use tomatoes of the kind Cuore di Bue, aka Bulls Heart oder Giant Ox Heart. Instead of basil, you can also use coriander (cilantro). Don't forget to season with Balsamic vinegar, pepper and salt. The salad goes also quite well with a slice of slightly fried tuna.

Refreshing Chicken Soup

Lemon, mint and sprouts make this the most refreshing soup I happen to know. Heat a bit of salted butter with lemon rind, lemon juice and the mint in a pan. Slice a big chicken breast and add it to the pan. Stir until the chicken turns white. Add stock and soup pasta and let it boil on low heat for 10 minutes. Decorate with sprouts of your choice.

Today we will deviate from our Light & Easy theme. We are invited to a Midsummer Night Dinner party. Life is about finding the right balance. Isn't it?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ready to Flaunt

Toño's wonderjock has arrived. However, there is no reason to flock at Oerlikon tonight. Sorry, but he will not wear it during regular training sessions. We usually have to do some lanes of backstroke and we don't want to cause any shark alert.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Light & Easy

Maybe having his wonderjocks in mind, Toño asked for light and easy meals this weekend, when I went shopping on Saturday. Well this was my interpretation of his command:

Cannelloni ai zucchini

Paillard de boeuf avec ratatouille

Cherry Pie

Mediterranean Potato Salad

The Moscato d'Asti Project

Self indulgence is essential. Why? Because we all have deserved it so much and we're getting far to little gratitude anyway. Having this in mind and feeling the vibes of the times, we had to come to the conclusion that both this summer's indulgence and wine must be the Moscato d'Asti.

Moscato d'Asti is a very special effervescent wine from Italy's Piedmont region. Moscato d'Asti is aromatic semi-sparkling wine (about half the carbonation of a typical sparkler) with a mild level of sweetness balanced by vibrant acidity. Moscato d'Asti also serves well as a dessert wine, but possesses enough versatility to be enjoyed as a refreshing aperitif.

This summer we plan to taste a wide variety of Moscato d'Asti. Stay tuned and indulge yourself with us. But first we (i.e. Toño) have to carry the goods home.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Car

Some weeks ago, Toño brought up a very itchy subject: The Car, like in We should get a car.

No, we haven't got one. Not because I'm a hopeless tree hugger. I have three other arguments for not having one:
  1. Cars are just a big nuisance (maintenance, insurance, you can't drink and drive)
  2. We live in a city. Parking space is rare and expensive and traffic jams rather frequent. Public transport in Switzerland is convenient, rather dense and on time most of the time.
  3. We have Mobility. This is the most convenient car sharing scheme in the world. I can get a car within 15 minutes, if I needed one.
You see, I'vew prepared my case well. However, the good old Boy Scout rule goes be prepared!. If I can't say No! any more, I had to look that we get the right car - that is, a car with the right brand image. There is nothing more important that this.

E.g. it is absolutely impossible for me to drive an Audi. An Audi speaks to me like: My driver is in the middle management and can afford to pay far too much for a Volkswagen. Whether true or not, that is not what I want others to think of me.

Aston Martin would be a nice choice. However, I'm still a wage slave and somehow Aston Martin's brand image tells me that this just does not match.

I'm in quite a dilemma. But there is always the press. Hence, I spent some time on these sordid car sections of the papers. Car journalists are not for no reason the lowest of the lowest of this not quite well regarded trade. Back on track. I actually found some brand spanking new cars I might like. Here are the top two:

Fiat 500

Back in the eighties, when I was working in the construction business, I was driving an older model (company car). It's the perfect town car, agile and so unpretentious that it's fashionable.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

Closer to a sailing boat than a car (teak deck!), unmatched by anything called car, but what really got me were the thoughtful details. Such as the two big umbrellas that reside inside the hull. If you put them back wet, a fan dries them. Simply fantastic!

Limón y sal

Next Monday, Zurich's doctors will be busy setting peoples hips. This weekend, the town is in Latinos' hands. We are celebrating CALIENTE!.

Sharing my life with a Mexican, I could hardly stand outside. Thus we went to see Julieta Venegas.

I liked her music before the concert. But now she's burnt herself into my heart. Not only is she wearing frocks (always a plus with women), she is also extremely charming. And then there is this wonderful music. If there is any woman that could keep up with Prince's talent, it's Julieta Venega.

Right now, Julieta Venegas is on heavier rotation than Mika.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reading Snack

I know, being a country cousin and living in Switzerland shields me from quite some terrible things out there in the world. However, sometimes I leave this Garden of Eden where milk and honey flows and I have to face the world.

This morning, I almost let drop my coffee and muffin when I spotted this on Glasgow airport:

Yes, it's a book vending machine. Those things might be common at your sort of place. And you might think that this must be serendipity for somebody with an addiction to all printed matter. Nevertheless, for me, it was quite a dystopian experience.

Until the end of June, Switzerland's book shops were bound by a book price trust. That means that until the federal court broke the trust, competition via price was prohibited. Of course, we were paying far too much for the books, but we still have a wide variety of book shops were the staff actually knows what they are selling and can give competent recommendations.

But now I've seen Switerland's future. Thank you federal court. Will we soon can buy justice too like books, chips and soda at a vending machine?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Complete Indulgence

Roman poet Juvenal is supposed to have said that rare indulgence creates greater pleasure. Knowing what rare food Cervelat would soon be, we went this lunch for a Sausage Cheese and Avocado salad.

We accompanied the salad with a Cidre Bouché from renowned calvados and cider producer Etienne Dupont from the Normandie. A splendid choice with amber colour and a refreshing balance between bitterness and acidity. This was what Juvenal must have had in mind.

Swiss Banger Crisis

This morning I fell almost out of bed when I was reading today's newspaper. Cervelat, the most popular Swiss sausage may run out of production because Brazil does not care enough about BSE *take deep breath*.

Almost a quarter of all sausages made in Switzerland are Cervelats. A key element of a sausage is the casing. In the case of Cervelat this is especially critical, because they can be roasted, fried, boiled or eaten raw. Only cows of Brazil and Paraguay are equipped with the high quality intestines which fulfil the though requirements.

Right now the European borders are closed for Brazilian beef products and the remaining stock in the Swiss warehouses can hardly supply this year's barbecue season. To make matters worse, Paraguay is reorganising its administration and hence no intestines can be sent to Switzerland. Hello gauchos, sort that mess out quickly!

Talking about intestines needed for Swiss sausages: Wieners are filled in Persian sheep intestines. For the Bratwursts, the ones of Chinese pigs are used. Those are ripped out of the body and not cut out with an air knife like in Switzerland. Ripping makes the texture smother. Both China and Iran are not the most stable places in the world. I fear we will face a lot more trouble with our sausages.


Toño wants to be louder and prouder this summer. He covets aussieBum's new WONDERJOCK pouch technology swimmwear. It's supposed to enhance his natural assets, flaunt his stuff, make him feel proud and have fun on the beach this summer.

I have no idea what there is still to be enhanced and I loath sandy beaches. Nevertheless, feel free to send him a pair (Size S). Unfortunately for Toño, they are not available in orange. However, he would humbly accept a pair in black.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Avow Yourself!

This Saturday, Zürich was celebrating the Christopher Street Day. The turnout was excellent, despite the nasty weather. Never came so many people. This is good. We had to show that we can't condone the behaviour of the police in recent months (read more).

This was Toño's first demonstration ever and he seemed to have enjoyed it. We first planed only to listen to the speeches before the march, but it just grabbed us.

Other stuff what we've been up to this weekend is singing Karaoke with our swim buddies, joining a country festival to please a colleague of Toño and dining under the cherry trees at the birthday brunch of a dear friend of ours, besides of listening to Mika, of course.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

"Everybody's Gonna Love Today"

I tried to resist, but I failed completely. I just love Mika's brand spanking new record. Today, it's already on its fifth rotation. I can't explain it but it seems all right to be flamboyant right here and right now. Have a flabbergastingly flamboyant weekend, you're gonna love it!