Monthly Archives: June 2008


change basel.jpg
It has come to this: I am paying for my San Pelligrino six-packs with 20-rappen coins (that’s 36 coins for those of you playing the game at home). Why you might ask? Because they are there. In fact, they are everywhere. Under the sofa cushion, in a coat pocket, by the bowlful on the bookshelf – I even found one in my boot the other day.

Soon, however, my days of plastic coin baggies at the local Migros will be over. Because I just confirmed that Basler Kantonalbank has an automatic coin counting machine available free of charge (up to 1,000 CHF) to its customers.* Just bring your coins, dump them in the machine and take your receipt to a bank teller to get the money deposited into your account. If you don’t have an account there, no worries, just find a friend who does – it’ll take two of you to carry all those coins anyway.

*UBS  accepts coins from its customers but they charge a fee and will credit your account after they verify the amount.


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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the Manor Super Markt (in Klein Basel) really is super. It is home to several of my favorite 5 CHF lunches.

The best of the bunch, in my opinion is the focaccia. They look and taste like a lighter version of Sicilian pizza. Offered with rotating toppings including mozzarella and tomato, olive, bell pepper, ham, mushrooms and more, a six-in hunk of these tasty and satisfying morsels will run you approximately 3.70. Add in a bottle of San Pelligrino for 1 CHF and you’ve got a great lunch with change to spare. (To find out what to do with that change, read this.)

Get a larger piece of focaccia (they cut to order from giant 3-foot long pie, see below) to serve at your next apero for a yummy and inexpensive treat.

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Mandir Madness


From the moment I entered the Basel expat community, I found there were a few things that were sacred: football, beer and the search for the Perfect Curry. There are special Curry nights and even a Curry Club, but this Monty Python-esque quest reaches its peak in the hotly debated curry threads on the expat online boards.

For me the quest stops at Mandir Restaurant. With great flavors including fresh-tasting raitas, juicy Tandoori, tasty fish dishes and the spicy goodness of their Chicken Tikka Masala (my standard), Mandir is like “naan” other (sorry – pun editor). Add in its nice atmosphere and its reasonable prices and you’ve got one of the best bites in Basel.

Others apparently agree because Mandir books up early (that translates as “call for reservations”). Can’t get in for a table? No worries. You can get delivery from Mandir through Cuisine Express (which is sadly closed through July 1 – what up with that?). Or browse Mandir’s online recipes and whip up some curry madness of your own.

Mandir Restaurant
Spalenvorstadt 9
4051 Basel
Tel.: +41 (0)61 261 99 93

Who’s Your Daddy?

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Let’s face it. No matter who your Daddy is, Switzerland is a Father’s Day dream come true.

The Swiss may be out of the running in the EUFA Euro Cup 2008 (insert sobbing noises here), but you can still give your favorite sports fanatic a great football gift from the FC Basel Fanshop (St. Jakob-Strasse, tel: 061 272 9250). Or how about a weekend at the Hotel Caprice in Wengen to explore the great outdoors (and take his mind off the matches)?

If your Dad likes things on the cutting edge – literally – head to Messerschmiede (Glockengasse 4) in Basel for all things knife-like. He’ll be thrilled with a Swiss army knife, complete with computer flash drive, German-made steak knives, or a full set of wood carving tools. Any father will cut a fine figure with a gift from Emporio Armani (Aeschenvorstadt 55) or Herren Globus (Freie Strasse 50) or Lacoste.

If Pop’s a hop-head, why not get him a Meter of Beer from Paul Ullrich or perhaps a bottle from their wide selection of single-malts and locally made kirsch. Meat-loving dads will enjoy a man-sized steak at El Gaucho Restaurant in Lörrach, Germany.

A Swiss railway clock or watch is a timely gift for Dads on the run. Head over to the SBB and get one straight from the source. Or splurge on one of Basel’s own Zeno Watches. With its exposed watch mechanism, its sure to please the gear-head in your life. Don’t forget Swatch for fun-loving Dads. Of course, if he’s a cheese-head, like mine, you’ve almost no choice but to take your mister for the multi-course cheese meal at Monsieur Antony’s.

Finally, for a truly Swiss treat, head over to the Heimatwerk Shop in Basel ( Schneidergasse 2 61-261-9178) and pick up something every Dad truly needs: cowbells and lederhosen.