Shofuso, Philadelphia’s Hidden Gem

shofuso roof

It was only about six months ago that people flocked to Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park for the city’s annual cherry blossom festival. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t seem to have gotten the invitation. There was only one tree that was in bloom and the line to take photos in front of it was lengthy. But it was its location, just outside the white washed walls that surround the Shofuso that seemed apropos.

A Japanese home surrounded by a Japanese style garden, Shofuso was built in 1953. It was a gift from the Japanese people to the American people. Today, you can visit the site and walk through the garden, feed the koi fish that live in the pond or take a self-guided tour of the home.
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Homemade Gluten-Free Cannelés

gluten-free cannelés

There is nothing worse than baking for a party or a group and not being able to please everyone. While it is difficult — or near impossible — to meet everyone’s preferences it is another thing altogether for dietary restrictions. It is why I tried for so long to figure out the “secret” of baking Zimtsterne for my lactose-intolerant mother. It is also why I started wondering if a simple ingredient replacement to the canneles recipe I made earlier this year could make a gluten-free cannelés and thus edible for my coworker.

Oh, and the Zimtsterne? It is all about keeping the dough drier rather than wetter.
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German Film: Nina Hoss

Nina Hoss

Stuttgart born actress Nina Hoss could easily be filed under German actors you didn’t know you already know. Fans of the hit political television drama Homeland may recognize her from several episodes in season 4 and 5 as Astrid, a German embassy worker and Peter Quinn’s former flame. Or perhaps you may know her from the big screen in last year’s A Most Wanted Man where she worked alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright and fellow German Daniel Brühl. But her talents are not merely limited to acting. Hoss collaborated in 2014 with the Manic Street Preachers on their track “Europa geht durch mich” off their album Futurology.
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Homemade Sacher Torte

homemade sacher torte

When we visited Munich over this past summer I had a list of places I wanted to see and foods I wanted to eat. Near the top of that list was a trip to Salzburg, Austria. Although I didn’t get to spend as much time in the city as I would have liked, I had priorities: do a little music shopping at Musikladen-Salzburg (traveling to Salzburg to buy Vienna-based Bilderbuch’s Schick Shock and Wanda’s Amore makes perfect sense to me…) and get Sacher Torte. And let me just say: mission accomplished. So naturally the first thing I wanted to bake when I returned home was that deliciously chocolate cake. And my dad’s birthday — he’s a good sport — made the perfect excuse.
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German Music: Donots


While in recent months I’ve been highlighting newer, younger bands there are plenty of more established bands and artists worth noting. One of those bands is Donots. The pop punk band is originally from Ibbenbüren in North Rhine-Westphalia and were founded over two decades ago. But what do I find, from a German learner’s perspective to be the most notable fact about Donots? After roughly 22 years together they have released ten full-length studio albums. All of those albums are in English — except one. The band’s most recent album, Karacho, was released in February 2015 and is completely in German.
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