Friday, January 30, 2009


Zürich is embarking on an amazing art project. In two years, a dock crane will be mounted in the city centre. It will remain there for a year.

In addition to the cran, big bollards will be mounted and a horn will announce ships that never will arrive.

Seaside town have theirs special atmosphere. I hope we will get some of it for the period of this art project. A swimmer town Zürich is by now. There might be even more.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Viva México

I'd just booked our flights to México. Business class on miles of course.

We will leave Europe on April 4 and will not return until May 3. You'll have to try to deal without us.

My Tasting & Writing Toño

Robert Parker's reign is petering out. This week, the first tasting notes written by my deriously beloved Toño had been published in Vinum.

What Will You Cook For Dinner?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Republic Day

Today is not only Chinese New Year and Austraaaaylya Day, but also Republic Day of India.

When I left the factory at Bengaluru last Saturday, I was handed a pack of Peda for the occasion:

Peda is a sweet delicacy unique to the state of Karnataka. It is made of milk which is heated and stirred continuously, with added flavour and sugar. Of course, I saved my Peda for today.

Debugging Pasta

Toño perfectly new what I needed when he served me some steaming pasta after my return.

This is kind of spaghetti bolognese al'arrabiata. It's loaded with chilli. You might be full of bugs after such a long time in India. We have to get them out. As if I'd had not eaten plenty of chilli. The Indians add even heaps of green chilli to the breading of an alla milanese.

The Pile

I'm a news junkie. When I come into a hotel room CNN or BBC News is on before I even put done my bag or take off the shoes. And the first hour of the day is devoted to newspaper reading in bed. So every time I come home from a business trip, I soon start to work on the pile that Toño carefully built for me.

What I got out of the pile? Not much, to be honest:
  • The next major of Zürich could either be a lesbian or a woman that looks younger by the day *yawn*.
  • The Lumix G1 might be my next camera *yeah*.
  • A reviewer dared to say that Antony and the Johnsons' new album The Crying Light is not as good as everyone thinks it is *bastard*.
  • I found the perfect book for the desperately needed holidays in April *longing*.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

May you have a bullish year!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Masala Dosa

Today's food experience was Masala Dosa, a South Indian crêpe made from rice and lentils stuffed with a lightly cooked filling of potatoes, fried onions and spices, and served with a thick coconut chutney.

The Masala Dose was wrapped in an old newspaper. I could not read it, since it was printed in Kanada, the local language of Bengaluru. However, I reckon it was printed on November 3, 2008. It showed a picture of local cricket-hero Anil Kumble, a fabulous right-arm leg spin bowler* on his day of retirement.

Indians have usually three questions:
  1. Are you married?**
  2. How many children do you have?
  3. Do you like Indian food?
Although the food question comes third, food seems to play a major part in Indian life. You can not be for a few hours without eating something or having sweet tea or coffee with loads of milk.

So as today, when we were still working at 5 pm and a chap came and brought two dozens of Masala Dosa. The snack*** is quite nourishing and so I had an excuse not go for dinner with my colleagues from Switzerland at the boring hotel restaurant, which is drenched in dreadful lift-music.

This is something I really hate about business trips. You spend the entire day together, have lunch together, commute together. Only to spend the evening together, eating, boozing, moaning about work and colleagues, and spreading office gossip. And for politeness sake, you have to wait until the last has finished his last beer.**** While at home, you could be looking into the most beautiful eyes in the world, and enjoy a sensational wine, carefully selected by the man with those amazing eyes.

* as I was told.
** I usually answer this one a bit evasive since I'm here on business and the infamous Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code reads Unnatural Offences: Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

*** Some Indians pronounce this like snake
**** Mr. Mac, you're an exception to this rule. We could have dinner together for years and I were not bored.

Postponed Romance

It's all ready more than we could have hoped for. Who had thought that the Obama Inauguration brings romance back into politics?

I would like to join in singing At Last... but most likely, I'll be stuck in India for another week.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Having The Blues

Yes I also listened wept to The Speech. However, soon after it was over the blues kicked in. What is the point of listen to this alone in a hotel room with a box of tissues (I tend to be carried away lightly), when there is a man in your life you want to grow old with gracefully. Call me greedy, but I want more. I want his hands on me. All over me. Now. Subito!

Sinéad O’Connor - I Want Your (Hands On Me)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Flight 9W 417

When I'd booked the Indian domestic leg for this trip, our travel agent warned me of flying with Indian airlines. Well, I'm not in a position to assess flight safety, but I've accumulated some experience when it comes to service quality. My personal ranking is:
  1. South East Asian airlines
  2. Indian airlines
  3. European airlines
  4. U.S.of A. airlines

Have you ever seen such a tray on a domestic flight with a European or U.S. airline?

And they don't hand you the cutlery in a plastic bag. How aim I supposed to dine with propriety when I'm surrounded by wrapping? You don't face this on India's Jet Airways.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kalimiri Fish Shashlik

So far I maintain an even keel. I chose again something from the Tandoor. This time not chicken but fish with black pepper (Kali Miri).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Chicken Tikka Pita

Call me boring, but just could not resist this chicken tikka pita.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Chicken Tikka

Yes, I've got my chicken tikka.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Insufficient Substitutes

Today, I will again embark to India. In the next two and a half weeks I will be again parted from Toño. First, we will do some firings off Mumbai and then there will be a sales pitch at Bengaluru. A frugal consolation will be that I will have plenty of opportunities to indulgence in my love for tandoori food. Truly a insufficient substitute.

Coincidentally, today opens the Bollywood inspired Swiss film Tandoori Love. But I reckon that I don't miss much. The reviews are far from exuberant. Again seeing Tandoori Love is an insufficient substitute for indulging in tandoori love.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Wedding Banquet #1

Do you remember this? There was also a first wedding banquet on June 7, 2008 - exactly half a year ago in the courtyard of my clan's residence. My then almost 85 year old father even cleaned the 395 year old house with the hose to impress our friends and relatives.

Toño's & mine job was to bring the location, a tent with tables and last but not least the guests.

We made a Wine & Dine (& maybe Dance) and all parts in that were organised by our friends Alicia and Thomas...

... such a brilliant chef, loads of wine and music.

We hopped that they could engage Chris Trewer as our chef - and they actually did. We were once at a wine and dine to the theme black & white. It took place in an atelier of a painter who made huge paintings in black & white only and Chris Trewer served a stupendous menu in black & white. Chris Trewer was Gault Millau's Swiss discovery of the year 2000, he then cooked Zurich's restaurant mesa into Gault Millau points, before he opened his own place.

Chris Trewer prepared a six course menu in the tractor den, during which his oven broke. This did not knock him out of his stride, he just did everything on the barbecue. His menu was combination of Thurgau cuisine (my heritage) and Méxican cuisine (Toño's heritage). The same concept was applied by Alicia and Thomas for the selection of the wines. Only the champagne came from France.


Thurgau bread roll with herb dipp
Tortillas con salsa de frijoles negros picantes
Thurgau sauseages on a skewer
Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, Champagne Bonnaire


Ensalada de camarones con nopales
Sequana 2006, Weisse Assemblange, Wolfer, Weinfelden, Thurgau


Sopa de huitlacoche
Chardonnay 2005, Bodega Santo Tomas, Ensenada, Baja California

First Main Course

Thurgau style dumplings with sauerkraut, pears and apples
Burgherrewy Blauburgunder Auslese 2006, Wolfer, Weinfelden, Thurgau
Tempranillo & Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Bodega Santo Tomas, Ensenada, Baja California

Second Main Course

Mole poblano de guajolote con tortillas
Burgherrewy Blauburgunder Grand Vin 2006, Wolfer, Weinfelden, Thurgau
Terra Don Luis Selección 2003, Vinicola La Cetto, Ensenada, Baja California


Plums Thurgau style in a glas
Müller-Thurgau edelsüss, Wolfer, Weinfelden, Thurgau

Photos by Thomas, Beat, Tigresa &

Sunday, January 04, 2009

With Moderate Enthusiasm

Tomorrow, I'll have to go back to the coal face. I'm not very enthusiastic about this. No, it's not just the usual end of of holiday affective disorder. I've made the mistake to read three work-related and really inspiring books:

Try to imaging to work for a company that creates products and services, which your clients are eager to use on a daily basis and which create value in their lives or for their organisation. Products, which are easy and intuitively to use. Products, which hardly fail and if they do, it doesn't matter because they are fixed in no time even by somebody who's fingers are all thumbs. Imaging that for your clients, it actually matters that your company exists.

Well, I don't think I will see this. Starting tomorrow, I will have to deal again with a organisation that is only concerned with his own interests and does not waste a single thought on how our products or processes could be improved to actually serve our clients.

I haven't worked a minute this year and I'm already dead ripe for a new job. Any ideas, where I should move to?

Added Later
Status Check for 2009: Is Your Job Safe?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Flashback to 2008

Passing through the gates of a new year, it seems appropriate to pause for a moment and to look back on the year called 2008.

Best Film

I definitely lacked visiting the screening room in 2008. So far I haven't seen 'Son of Rambow', 'Happy Go Lucky', 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona', 'Milk', 'WALL-E', 'The Wrestler' and 'Slumdog Millionaire'... Thus, some might be better than my selection. But unfortunately, I did not miss 'Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild', a concoction I only remember with sovereign contempt.
Nevertheless, there were some I saw and loved, non of which was clearly outstanding. Thus, I go for three: Burn After Reading made me laugh most, The Bank Job was the most entertaining, and The Dark Knight was the most thrilling.

Best TV Moments

Also here, I can't decide. The Wire had been running for a while, however I discovered it only in 2008 (thanks to Mr.Mac), but so, I could watch it all in one go. I loved it, not only because of Omar ;). The other strong piece of entertainment was the Glenn Close show a.k.a. Damages. Both series have in common that there are neither good nor bad guys. Everybody has some skeletons in its closet. I'm watching Mad Men right now - a hot candidate for 2009.

Best Sound

Hot Chip's One Pure Thought came close, however, Blind by Hercules and Love Affair remained the hottest track on high rotation in 2008. The best album was Jim released by electronic music maverick and turntablist Jamie Lidell.

Best Book

I did not read much fiction in 2008. One has those phases. Thus, an autobiography made it on top: Things The Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett (the mastermind who's Eels). It's about things not only grandchildren should know. Stick to yourself against all odds and you might prevail in this adventure called life.

Best Drink

Pepsi-Cola Retro was release in México in February 2008. It is made of natural ingredients. Such as the colour is created by caramel and coffee, and the taste comes from cola nut extract. However, my favourite is that it does not contain any artificial sweetener.

Best Slogan

Yes, we can! There are no excuses no more.

Best Poster Boy

Australian diver Matthew Mitcham, who won the gold for Australia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 10m Platform Dive. Yes, he's gay and Australia announced him as the 2008 Sports Performer of the Year.

Best Holidays

Of course this was our premature spring-break honeymoon at Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo in México. We did thing in the complete wrong order: honeymoon, reception, registration.

Best Dinner

This was served by Chris Trewer on June 7 in the court yard of my clan's residence to friends and family. It was our reception disguised as Wine & Dine (& maybe Dance). Chris Trewer, who happened to be Gault Millau's Swiss dicovery of the year 2000, served six courses influenced by the cuisine of Thurgau and México, which were accompanied by eight wines from Thurgau and México. He even had the chutzpah to make mole!

Man of the Year

Toño, who said Yes, I do on October 17.