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The World’s Most Interesting Restaurants!

Here are the most interesting restaurants all over the world! Haohai (Ho-hi) Robot Restaurant, China Sometimes a moody waiter can ruin your big night. How about a waiter with no emotions at all? At the Haohai Robot Restaurant in Harbin, China, a delicious assortment of dumplings and noodles are served up by a staff of courteous droids. No emotion, just a friendly greeting from an usher robot saying, “Earth person hello. Welcome to the Robot Restaurant.” According to Liu Ha-sheng, the restaurant’s chief engineer, they spent about 600,000 dollars creating the restaurant. Each robot costs 25,000 dollars, and the whole 20 robot staff is managed from a central computer room. Yes, robots have bosses too, but this staff never complains. On a two-hour charge, the robots work a five hour shift with no breaks and no chit-chat. A whiny droid like C3PO would never make it there. 10. Alcatraz Prison Restaurant, Hong Kong Prison food doesn’t have the best reputation, but this restaurant in Hong Kong has brought prison chow to a whole new level. Alcatraz Prison restaurant looks and feels like a jail. Bars slam behind you as you enter this ominous eatery. A frighteningly realistic guard fingerprints and photographs you before leading you to your cell in handcuffs. Once there, convict waiters in black in white stripes bring you fried, coffin shaped bread. Wow, this place just sounds so……..delightful. The restaurant owners got the idea from the 1996 film, “The Rock,” starring Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage, which was about Alcatraz prison. These entrepreneurs were so impressed by Nicholas Cage’s acting ability that they decided to create a restaurant to match the Alcatraz decor, right down to the rusting prison bars and dismal atmosphere. The idea paid off and the restaurant is surprisingly popular. But don’t worry if you can’t afford the Alcatraz Restaurant. Just smash a window in Hong Kong, and you can eat in a real prison for free. I hear the food’s not as good, though. 9. Modern Toilet Restaurant, Taiwan What could be better than eating on the toilet? Apparently, eating out of a toilet. In the Modern Toilet Restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan you can do both. This restaurant looks like a giant bathroom, with shower heads on the walls and plungers hanging from the ceilings. The chairs are real toilets, and dishes come served up in miniature toilet bowls. The drinks come in small urinals, of course, which you can take home as souvenirs. The owner of the restaurant an ex-banker who got the idea for the bathroom theme from a robot character in the Japanese cartoon Dr. Slump who loved to "play with poop and swirl it on a stick." He first started by selling swirled chocolate ice cream on top of paper squat toilets in a shop. The shop was so popular he started the restaurant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Surprisingly popular, Modern Toilet has become a chain, with 12 restaurants in Taiwan and more planned in Malaysia. The food is supposed to be good

Austria in 6 (or More) Cakes: The Pistachio Problem

For reasons that are hard to track down, the Mozart Kugel – Austria’s famous Mozart Ball chocolate – is filled with pistachio marzipan. Theory: Mozart made several journeys to Italy as a young man and while there, he became fond of pistachios which were commonly used in Italian desserts. But. The pistachio has been in trade since biblical times; it was a highly valued crop. So it’s also possible that pistachio is more random choice that relies on the nut’s identity as a luxury item – we’ll use pistachio because it’s fancy! Mozart is fancy! So, Mozart equals pistachio! Maybe. Maybe not. It’s not just about chocolates, it’s also about cake. There are two front runners in the Mozart-something cakes race, the Mozarttorte and the Mozartbombe. Both include that recognizable pistachio green marzipan. “Aida Vienna” by KF via Wikimedia (Creative Commons) The Mozarttorte at Café Aida doesn’t go overboard with the pistachio marzipan, it’s used as a layering element between two slabs of rich chocolate cake, and the whole thing is wrapped in a mocha ganache-like icing. Aida is a chain but an old one: It’s been in business since 1913. They have 30 locations in Vienna, easily spotted by their pink neon signs. It’s tempting to dismiss them for their prevalence, but that does an injustice to their baking. Aida’s coffee isn’t the best in Austria, but their cake is quality, franchise or no. At the Café Schwarzenberg, the specialty is the Mozartbombe. The Mozartbombe is on a chocolate base, similar to that of a Sachertorte, and it’s got chocolate cake between layers of pistachio whipped cream. The cake is dome shaped and covered in bright green marzipan. It’s gorgeous until you get your fork into it and then, it’s a delicious mess. Cafe Schwarzenberg by Andreas Poeschek, via Wikimedia (Creative Commons) The Café Schwarzenberg opened in 1861 and there’s just one. The room has lofty ceilings and dark wood furniture and a pastry case right by the front door that features not just the Mozartbombe, but a variety of other fancy cakes too. The cafe is popular with tourists, but that doesn’t seem to keep the locals away. As a result, there’s a real international vibe, what with all the different languages floating around. Mozart himself you can find three blocks away – the Vienna Opera House is just up the road – and while it is possible to hear his work, he remains silent on the issue of pistachios. Top image: Mozart torte at Cafe Aida by Pam Mandel The post Austria in 6 (or More) Cakes: The Pistachio Problem appeared first on Gadling. Source link

Austria in 6 Cakes: Gingerbread Translated, Twice

“Lebkuchen” gets translated from German as “gingerbread,” but that’s not quite right. The word “gingerbread” sets expectations for it being the kind of stuff you’d build a house out of, though that variety does get used in edible architecture. There are also those ubiquitous gingerbread hearts, decorated in icing sugar with your sweetheart’s name and a swooping script that says “Ich liebe dich” — I love you —  or maybe just “Greetings from this twee Germanic town.” The stuff used to deliver messages or act as culinary sheetrock is all fine and well. But more interesting is a cakey sort of cookie packed with honey and spices and baked on top of what’s essentially a communion wafer — in much earlier days, baking gingerbread was the provenance of nuns and they found that a communion wafer kept the cookies from sticking to the pan. This style of “lebkuchen” is translated more literally as “honey cake.” A similar batter is baked into little brick shapes, layered with jam, iced with chocolate, and topped with candied fruit. That configuration comes layered with nougat, too — ground nuts and chocolate and butter in an icing-like paste — or it might be layered with marzipan. The round cookie is a more traditional, it’s typically got an icing sugar glaze, though they do come coated in chocolate with colored sprinkles on top. They may or may not have raisins in them, but they’re always very sweet. Bad Aussee is a pretty riverside town, very traditional, surrounded by glacier capped mountains. On the main highway, there’s a barn of a place with a giant sign that says “Ausseer Lebzelterei.” (Aussee is the region, and a lebzelterei is a gingerbread factory.) This place makes gingerbread right on site. Some days, you can look through he picture window just inside the front door and see bakers hard at work. Gingerbread Apartment by Pam Mandel This particular gingerbread factory was founded in 1892 by the Hungarian trained pastry chef Gustav Lewandovsky. Lewandovsky stocked the baked goods at the spa in town. Victorian and Edwardian era European spa culture must have been considerably more indulgent than the yoga and juice fast situations those seeking revitalization put themselves through today. The salon that still bears Lewandowsky’s name is lovely but it’s more fun to see the old gingerbread molds and  vintage packaging on display at the roadside stop. It’s also cool to see the machinery that was used as mass production methods came into place, the giant enamel mixers, the stacked baking ovens, and to have so many kinds of gingerbread to choose from. It’s a roadside attraction kind of place, but the snacks are thousands of times better than anything you’d get at the World’s Largest Frying Pan or The Second Biggest Head of Abraham Lincoln. The only downside is that you may eat all of your souvenirs before you get them back home. Top image: Bad Aussee Townscape 6/52 by Johannes Ornter via Flickr (Creative Commons) The post Austria in 6 Cakes: Gingerbread Translated, Twice appeared first on Gadling. Source

Austria in 6 Cakes: The Kaiser’s Favorite Guglhupf

The Austrian town of Bad Ischl hit the spa scene in the early 19th century, but it became the Next Big Destination when Kaiser Franz Josef started using the location as his summer retreat. When Vienna’s weather became too oppressive in the summer time, the Kaiser and all his hangers on would pull up stakes for the cooler alpine climes of Austria’s Salzkammergut. The Kaiser’s entourage included his companion, the actress Katharina Schratt. It’s said there was a secret path between the Kaiser’s summer place and Villa Schratt, the country home the Kaiser purchased for his lady friend. It can’t have been so secret if morning Kaiser sightings made the phrase, “Oh, the Kaiser’s had his guglhupf!” part of the vernacular. It was also common knowledge that Ms. Schratt greeted the Kaiser’s regular visits with a freshly baked guglhupf, or bundt cake. Classic Guglhupf  via Wikimedia If, heaven forbid, Ms. Schratt’s guglhupf failed to rise, she would order one from the Konditorei-Kaffee Zauner. The bakery claims to still use the original recipe — it includes four eggs yolks and fresh yeast. None of that dried quick rise stuff for the Kaiser, no sir. The guglhupf has a few variations — there’s yellow cake marbled with chocolate, or chocolate only, or sometimes, there are additions like berries or raisins. Typically, the finished cake is dusted with powdered sugar, but it might be glazed with a chocolate ganache. Until the Kaiser made the guglhupf popular with the 1%, the cake was considered a bit low rent since it requires no spendy ingredients. Compare it with the snobbier Sachertorte which needs fancy chocolate, double cream, and apricot jam. The humble guglhupf is yeast, butter, flour, eggs, and milk. You can fancy it up, but you don’t have to. The Pastry Case at the Zauner by Pam Mandel The Zauner’s Pfarrgasse salon is a fine place to enjoy a slice of guglhupf if you don’t happen to have a paramour doing your baking. The cafe has been in Bad Ischl since 1832, before the Kaiser made it cool. The setting reflects the formal style of the Kaiser’s time — there are chandeliers and potted palms and portraits of royalty on the walls and the staff wear immaculate white shirts, but it’s not a stuffy place. People in their hiking gear (or ski clothes in winter) mix with ladies in furs and older gents wearing traditional Austrian attire. Zauner has a second location on the river esplanade — that one’s been restored to the original 1940s decor. Regardless of where you get yours and in what style, it’s not just a slice of cake. It’s part of a royal tradition involving a Kaiser, a confidante, and cake for breakfast. You know, simple country pleasures, Austrian style. Top image: Kaiservilla at Bad Ischl via Wikimedia The post Austria in 6 Cakes: The Kaiser’s Favorite Guglhupf appeared first on Gadling. Source link

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