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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Volkshaus (People’s House) is a kind of conference space and stage that is available for rental by the general public. Located on Stauffacherstrasse and facing Helvetiaplatz, it opened about 100 years ago and has a bookshop, sauna and restaurant.  We went there for dinner on our last evening in Zurich.  Food was solidly good.  The somewhat traditional dining room has high ceiling and big windows which faces the square.  A network of neon lights mimics and traces the pipes on the ceiling livening up the otherwise blend bar and dining room.  Reflections of the neon lights on the window against the dusk and night skys made interesting pictures.  There must have been a rock concert that night since lots of people were lining up to enter the building on one side.

While we were wandering around the center of Zürich near the main train station, Sue saw the sign of a takeout/grocery store.   YumiHana is located on Schützengasse 7 just off Bahnhofstrasse.  What a surprising discovery !

We have not had a korean meal for several months and were really elated to find this place.   It was quite busy at lunch time on a Saturaday, full of shoppers and hungry families.  We ordered yukgaejang, paejeun, and kimchi jigae, and it was authentic. Sitting at the counter, you can see how they prepared the food using ingredients which they sell in the other half of the store.   The price is almost double that of NYC but it does not matter.  I believe most of the asian restaurants here tend to serve a watered down version of the real thing.  So far, we did not have a chance to try the korean restaurants we saw in Lausanne and Geneva, because they were either closed or fully booked.

We overheard: several of the patrons were korean students studying music in Germany and came here just to get a fix on korean food.  Sue spoke to the lady owner who told us she emigrated here more than 40 years ago !   They sold fresh kimchi (not those packed in tins) from a refrigerator but we could not buy any on that day, because we have two more days in Zurich.  We will be going back soon and regularly to stock up on supplies.

LaSalle Restaurant is located inside Schiffbau and enclosed in a glass cube.  In the center of the restaurant is a low hanging whitish murano glass chandelier the style of which matches the period of the industrial shell but its pristine quality matches the glass sides.  On one side of the restaurant is a bar, the other sides are the main entrance and waiting areas for the jazz club and theatres of the complex.  Food was pretty good, the maitre’ d was a bit snooty unlike the waitstaff who was attentive and friendly.  None of the food we had was noteworthy except my starter – a seafood terrine (mostly bits of octopus) topped with pinenuts and salad greens (see last picture).

We spent a couple of afternoons exploring the industrial Zürich West and the neighboring Kreis 5 area.  We visited Freitag’s flagship store in a stack of shipping containers (the subject of a future blogpost) and checked out the area’s shops and restaurants. A remarkable string of about 50 shops and studios were created under the arches of a railway viaduct that stretches across the area. See Im Viaduct’s site here and the plan below (click map to enlarge).  A high-tech recycling plant is located next to it.  One cannot help but compare this with NYC’s High Line which I blogged about a few months ago.

Schiffbau hall is at the heart of a complex (Schauspielhaus).  It is a massive converted factory/warehouse which now houses a couple of  bars (Nitturm bar at the top with 360° view), a jazz club (Moods), two stages (Schiffbauhalle and Box), and a restaurant (LaSalle).  Schiffbau literally means ship building –  apparently the ships built in these factories sailed the lakes of Switzerland.  This is really a great place to socialize and enjoy live music.  We ate dinner at the restaurant but did not have time to see the club or theatre. More about the restaurant tomorrow.

Im Viaduct

moods – the jazz club

matchbox – the theatre

On the subject of chocolate, I blogged about Neuchâtel’s local hero Phillipe Suchard a few months ago.  The Suchard brand is now owned by Kraft and does not have their own outlets.  We checked out two top chocolatiers while visiting Zürich.  Teuscher has more than 12 shops in the US and Canada, and several in Asia, including Hong Kong and Tokyo.  But it has only a few shops in Berlin, Geneva, and Zurich (2 locations that we walked by).  We had their truffles before in NYC which were very good.

Sprüngli, related to Lindt, does not have any shop outside Switzerland.  Instead, they have at least 10 outlets in Zürich.  Their most popular line of product is a kind of macaroon, Luxemburgerli, which come in many different flavors of fillings and outer shells, some available only for a day.  We bought 16 from their Paradeplatz cafe/shop and ate them by the park, since their cafe was packed.  Champagne flavor was my favorite, and strawberry-rhubarb was Sue’s favorite.  On that day, the Luxemburgerli won.

Teuscher’s stores were so stuffed with plastic flowers that it was in my opinion a bit distracting.

The center of Zürich is quaint and elegant with designer shops, restaurants, churches, and museums –  a classical European city.  But Zürich also has a funky, post-industrial side, generally known as Zürich West.  It is the Zürich equivalent of NYC’s meatpacking district, except that the warehouses here are much bigger.  We spent a couple of afternoons and an evening exploring these re-purposed factories and warehouses.  Puls 5 is a massive building which houses a variety of services, a fitness park, international restaurants representing the major cuisines, hairdressers, and offices.  Apparently, it used to be a foundry.  When we entered the building, there was hardly anyone on the main floor.  Being alone in an immense, enclosed space was an interesting new sensation. Just imagine turning this place into a dance club.

In the center of Zurich are two landmark churches situated on either side of the Limmat river.  We climbed many steps to the top of one of the two towers of Grossmünster which dates back to 1200 !  From there you get the best views of Zurich – Lake Zurich, the Limmat river, Fraumünster (the other landmark church), Rathaus (the town hall, situated on the river), and the old town. Lake Zürich Fraumünster and Alstadt Back of Grossmünster Rathaus Limmat-quai Looking down Oberdorfstrasse