Evan Rail is a food and travel writer, specializing in Prague, Central Europe, and the region’s great beer and wine trails. Photo: Ian Willoughby
What was the food highlight of your year?
Lunch at Nagaya in Düsseldorf. Düsseldorf is a cool city with a great arts and music scene — die Toten Hosen are from there — but it’s also home to one of the largest Japanese communities in Europe. Yoshizumi Nagaya’s place is the only Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant in Germany, and his food mixes straight-up Japanese with European techniques and ingredients. Plus I got introduced to high-end sake, which I know absolutely nothing about.
What was the music highlight of your year?
After many years off, I bought a little Vox amp and started playing guitar again. My kids love it.
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
Several, but the biggest was a Sunday-morning visit to In de Verzekering tegen de Grote Dorst, (“In the Insurance against Great Thirst”) a small village pub in Eizeringen, Belgium, with one of the largest gueuze and kriek selections in the world: decades-old bottles, rarities, stuff from breweries that no longer exist, flat lambic, everything. People from the village head there after church, and after a pint they’ll start singing songs about their region, the Pajottenland. You’re sitting there, drinking one of the world’s oldest beers, listening to these old, ballad-style songs, and it feels like it could be a hundred years ago, two hundred years ago, three hundred years back, no problem.