An American style lunch in Frankfurt…

We are still enjoying excellent weather here in south central Germany, so Bill and I decided to take the Mini out for a spin with the top down. We found a restaurant on OpenTable.de called Chicago Meatpackers where we’d never been before… Actually, it’s been ages since our last trip to Frankfurt, anyway. It looked like a fun place with an American vibe, although it also has outlets in Hamburg and Dubai. The menu is heavy on steaks, burgers, and sandwiches, although there are also a few other dishes offered, including several that are vegan.

We found a parking garage right next to the restaurant. It was kind of a new fangled place. We didn’t have to take a ticket when we entered, because the garage took a picture of our license plate. When we were finished with the garage, which charges one euro per hour on Sundays, we entered the license plate into the machine, paid, and the system recognized our plate as we were on our way out.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we found it almost empty. There was just one couple sitting on the terrace. We had our pick of where we wanted to sit, and unlike yesterday, we had no worries about Jaguars going in and out of parking garages. Chicago Meatpackers has a side terrace, where we sat, and another outdoor seating area in front of the restaurant. The interior is really nice, with lots of America bric-a-brac and a functioning train that runs at the ceiling. There’s also a great looking bar, but it’s closed thanks to COVID-19.

The restaurant has a full bar, as well as a lot of non-alcoholic drinks. They also brew two types of their own craft beers– a red and a blond. Bill and I each had one of each– large sized– to go with our sandwiches. Bill had a steak sandwich, which was served with slice ribeye, mushrooms, and cheese, as well as a side of fries. I had a Meatpackers’ Burger, which was your basic cheeseburger. It also came with a choice of sides, which ran the gamut from Caesar salad, truffled mashed potatoes, and several kinds of fries. I liked the burger, because not only did it taste good, but it also wasn’t huge. They do serve other kinds of burgers, too, including Beyond Burgers, and chicken burgers.

Service was basically friendly and very laid back, although there was no need for our server to be stressed. He had a light lunch crowd that only picked up about ninety minutes later, as we were about to leave. We mostly had the place to ourselves, and the food got out very quickly. It was hot and fresh, and of good quality. I was particularly pleased by the quality of the beef. Those with a large appetite may want to spring for an extra patty. The burger wasn’t huge. It was big enough for me, and easy to finish. I’m not stuffed, but I’m quite satisfied.

While we enjoyed our beverages, I noticed some of the signage near us. It seems like more and more signs in Germany are either half done or entirely done in English! I also noticed two Porsches today– both later model. One was red, and the other was bright yellow. Both were kind of obnoxious.

Business was slow enough that I was a little worried that maybe this place has a pause in the afternoon. It doesn’t, though, and we didn’t really need a reservation. Total damage was about fifty euros. I would go back and try one of the other dishes. I almost went for their spare ribs, but they were veal and I try to avoid veal when possible. The grilled salmon looked enticing. I might have had that, if not for the fact that we eat a lot of salmon at home. They also had some interesting looking chicken dishes and appetizers. Like I said, it’s a very “American” style place, even though it appears to be owned and staffed by people from the Middle East.

Today’s outing wasn’t particularly exciting in terms of things we saw or did, but it was nice to visit Frankfurt again. It’s been a long while since we were last there, and it was a nice trip for the Mini Cooper, which really needs to be driven much more often.

I don’t know when we’ll be back in Frankfurt, but I would certainly recommend Chicago Meatpackers. I hope the COVID-19 numbers go down enough so people can enjoy its indoor dining room, which is pretty nice to look at. The electric train alone is worth staring at.


Think Real is huge? Globus is gargantuan! And, Louisiana style food in Wiesbaden!

Wow!  I have had quite an exciting day today!  First off, Bill took me to our local Globus, which is an enormous hypermarket in Wiesbaden.  It makes the Real in Jettingen look puny by comparison.  And then, after we went to Globus, we found an authentic Louisiana kitchen located two kilometers from our house!  I may have to take some time to come down from the Cajun food high we have!  We even came home with gumbo for dinner!

But first, let me write up the Globus.  I noticed it when we first arrived in Wiesbaden almost two months ago.  The hotel where we stayed our first night in town is just across the street from it.  Bill went in there once around Christmas time.  He said it was a madhouse.  I generally hate madhouses, but I was curious and I do write a lot about food… So, below are some photos and some light commentary by yours truly.

The first thing to know about Globus is that it’s absolutely humongous.  I mean, it’s probably twice as big as the Real is, although it has nicer lighting.  The building has an apotheke, a few restaurants, including an Asian and Doner shop, dry cleaning, a travel bureau, and a deli.  The only thing I didn’t see was a Coin Star.  I’m sure it’s on the way.  Globus was founded in St. Wendel, Germany back in 1828 by Franz Bruch, who passed the business to his son, who, in turn, passed it to his son.  The store eventually became a chain with locations all over Germany and in the Czech Republic and Russia.

I had a sense of foreboding as I approached this sign.

It’s a really large store, so I recommend eating before you go there.  Or, if you need to, get an electric buggy.

There’s an ATM, but I didn’t see a CoinStar.  Our Jettingen based Real had one of those.


Dropping off the bottles, and away we went…

It’s a “hypermarket”, so they have stuff other than food.  You can buy lawn ornaments there, for instance.  I kind of liked these peacocks.

You can also buy costumes for your kids!

We were happy to stop by the liquor and wine area, which was pretty well appointed.

I kind of wonder about obviously gimmicky wines like this one… but I rarely take the bait.

They had some interesting liqueurs, though.

This is just one shot of the vastness of this store… I could have turned the other way and taken another picture to show just how huge it is.  I really don’t like enormous stores like this one, but I have to admit, it has a lot of what you’d want.  On the other hand, finding things can be a challenge.

This is the “American” section.  Notice it’s all Fuego brand “Mexican” food.  Pretty lame!  Fuego is not really American by any stretch, nor is it Mexican.

The Eastern European selection was more credible.

As was the Moroccan…

And Asian.

About halfway through your shopping, you can stop for a cup of coffee or water.  If you could see how large this store is, you’d see why this is a good thing.

Vast meat section.

Coffee, though the logo made me laugh.  It looks like a gorilla taking a dump.

Every kind of cheese you could ever want… (except ricotta)…

Tons of shrimp and “sea asparagus”.

Sushi!  It looked pretty good, too.

And lots of dairy.  We spent some time combing this area looking for ricotta cheese because we feed it to our dogs.  They eat it mixed with fish oil to stave of mast cell tumors.  It took forever to find the last container of ricotta, but they had plenty of everything else you could ever want.

More cheese!

Fresh herbs.  We should bring a few of these plants home.

Mix your own M&Ms in every color…

And Jelly Bellies, too!

We had a light haul of stuff.

And once again, I was shocked by the graphic warnings on the cigarette packages.  Bill laughed when I actually winced at a couple of the pictures.  People still smoke in Germany, though.  A lot!

There’s the drug store.

And the restaurant…


To be honest, Globus was exhausting.  I’m sure some people find it an exciting place to shop.  I actually found it more pleasant than the Real, mainly because the lighting was softer and it wasn’t quite as crowded.  However, I probably won’t make a habit of visiting there.  It’s just huge and tiring and I often leave places like that with a lot of stuff I never wanted to buy.

Anyway, after we shopped, it was time to find lunch.  Unfortunately, we were looking during the dreaded time period before the “pause”.  It was almost 2:30pm and that’s when a lot of places close.  I went on Google to see what was open and I noticed an ad for a place called Spirit of New Orleans.  The very first review I read was from an American who wrote, “Damn good food!”  I also noticed that it closed at 5:00pm, but didn’t take a pause.  Bill loves Cajun cuisine and the restaurant happens to be located about 2 kilometers from our house.  So we stopped by to see if it was, in fact, open.

We walked in and noticed how tiny the place is.  A kind looking German lady invited us to pick a table.  We did.  I noticed the awesome funky music– a nice mix of New Orleans jazz and R&B.  We ordered beers…


It looked promising.  And there was also plenty of parking!  Bonus!

I immediately took note of the sign, which made me think the proprietor, a man by the name of John, was a military veteran.  Sure enough, he is… and damn, he can cook!

Bill was excited by the menu, even though we were snacking on Fuego tortilla chips.

Bill had jambalaya.  I really should have taken a picture of his face when he tasted it.  It’s the same face he makes during an orgasm.  It’s been too long since I last saw that look on his face.

I went with spare ribs, which were absolutely awesome.  The meat was cooked to perfection and generously sauced.  You get a choice of mild or spicy sauce.  I think I might have had spicy sauce, though I didn’t ask.  I loved the fries that came with it.  They were roasted to perfection and had a really rich, hearty flavor.  

It also came with excellent slaw.  I had a little of it, then passed it to Bill, who likes cabbage more than I do.  John also serves American beers like Budweiser and Miller Genuine Draft.  I don’t think they’re worth 4 euros, but if you miss American suds, you can get them there.

It’s a tiny little place, although we heard John say he has a “hall” for catered events.  He also has an outdoor area for better weather.  His restaurant is in an industrial business complex that is short on charm.  However, I think our new vet is located there (once we pay them a visit and claim them, that is).  I also noticed a number of other restaurants and other businesses.  Parking is plentiful, which is a huge positive in these parts.

After we raved about lunch, John brought us each a chicken wing.  It was freakin’ delicious.  I’m serious.  It definitely wasn’t KFC.  Next time we visit, I’m going to try the shrimp.  He also has burgers, which I am sure are done the right way.


John came out and chatted us up, telling us he’s been in Wiesbaden for about thirty years.  He’s not the first person I’ve run into who’s come here from America and stayed for decades, and he had a rather colorful commentary about our current “leader” Mr. Trump.  I was very impressed by his restaurant, which is unique and offers genuine Louisiana flavors delivered with great music and sassy commentary.  John told us he’s worked in German hotels and, before he opened his own restaurants, he was in the Army where he was a chef.  I got a huge kick out of him.  He told us he’d had two other restaurants in Wiesbaden, but he closed them due to a lack of qualified personnel.  This is an epidemic in Germany.  There’s a shortage of qualified restaurant workers.  Our favorite place in Nagold, down near our old neighborhood near Stuttgart, closed for the same reason.

We got talked into dessert, so I had cheesecake, which was excellent and not too huge.

And Bill had bread pudding with Jack Daniels’ sauce.

While I had another beer, John and Bill did shots of moonshine.  I didn’t sample it myself, but Bill said it was impressively smooth.

John hosts a number of events at his place, including a Mardi Gras breakfast, complete with live music (February 10th).  He also does New Orleans breakfasts at other times during the year.  He’ll be open on Valentine’s Day evening for dinner, for which reservations are required, as well as Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, and even an early Christmas dinner (on the 14th instead of the 25th of December).  I have a feeling we’ll be regulars there, because the food was just insane.  We really enjoyed ourselves.

I can’t even believe this place is not five minutes from where we live.

If I’ve piqued your interest, have a look at their Facebook page.  And if you’re down in Stuttgart, you might want to take a field trip to Wiesbaden for this restaurant.  Just keep in mind that this place is only open for breakfast and lunch.  It’s in an office park, so there’s less call for it to be open for dinner.  Plan accordingly and come hungry!  And if you’re bringing more than four people, call and make a reservation.

We came home with gumbo for dinner tonight.  I think John is the kind of guy who likes to feed people.  While it wasn’t the cheapest lunch we’ve ever had (thanks to all we ate), we are definitely not hungry.  I think we’ll be back again and again!


Our first foray to Frankfurt, lunch at Conrad’s, and Five Guys to go…

From 2002 until 2007, I lived in Northern Virginia, birthplace of Five Guys, the burger franchise that’s been taking the rest of the United States and parts of the world by storm.  When I tried my first Five Guys burger, they were strictly a Northern Virginia/Washington, DC enterprise, having been founded there in 1986 by Jerry and Janie Murrell and their then four sons (a fifth was later born and is involved in the business, too).  I remember being flabbergasted by how good and how messy they were.  We became fans.

The things we’ll go through for good burgers…

I was born and raised in Virginia, and lived in Northern Virginia for two years after my dad retired from the Air Force.  My parents lived in NoVA long before Five Guys existed, so I never got to try it when it was still brand new.  In 2002, I married my husband, Bill, and the following year, we moved to Fort Belvoir, Virginia.  We had several Five Guys locations near us.  I remember quite clearly at that time, the Murrells swore they would never franchise.  They wanted to maintain strict control of their product, which was always selling like gangbusters in their no frills locations scattered around the D.C. area.

In 2007, we moved to Germany the first time, and while we were gone, somehow the decision not to franchise was overturned.  By the time we came back in 2009, there were locations all over the place.  Back in 2016, Germany got its very first Five Guys location in the heart of Frankfurt.

I remember being excited to hear about the new Five Guys in Germany, especially since they announced plans to expand throughout the country.  As many of my fellow Americans may have discovered, despite giving the hamburger its name, Germans can’t seem to get them quite right.  I have noticed that some places are doing better, though.  I mean, having moved back to Germany in 2014, I notice that more places are offering better burgers made with real beef.  Still, I have been missing American style cheeseburgers.  Yes, we can make them at home, but there’s something special about a really juicy, messy burger that’s been squashed into a foil wrapper.

Until the end of last month, we were living near Stuttgart.  A road trip to Frankfurt from Stuttgart certainly isn’t out of the question.  On a good day, the drive is about three hours on the Autobahn.  Nevertheless, we never managed to get to the Five Guys when we were living in the Stuttgart area.  We did go to one in Glasgow, Scotland, and it was a little disappointing.  The burger tasted fine, but the cheese wasn’t melted.  That was a huge turnoff.  I can’t abide unmelted cheese on a burger!

Anyway, now that we live in Wiesbaden, we’re within striking distance of Frankfurt and its many restaurants and varied cuisines.  Today, since I’ve been cooped up in the house entirely too much this month, we decided to go to Frankfurt and hunt down some Five Guys burgers.

Originally, we planned to take my car, a 2009 Mini Cooper that we bought in Stuttgart as we were leaving the first time.  In nine years, I’ve managed to rack up a pitiful 35,000 miles on the odometer, so we try to drive it as much as we can on the weekends and trips that don’t involve bringing our dogs.  Unfortunately, the engine refused to turn over.  In nine years, we’ve also never changed the battery.  Guess fixing that’s on the agenda this week.

We took the other car, our 2006 Toyota RAV 4, which we hope to soon retire.  This was our very first trip within Frankfurt itself.  Prior to today, we’d been to the train station and the airport.  That’s it.

A fine landmark.  Just after we passed it, Bill tried to turn right into traffic going the opposite direction.  Fortunately, they were stopped at a light and he managed to correct his error before we got creamed.  Then we found a parking garage, where we were in good company with lots of others seeking parking today.  
The air was heavy with the aroma of curry wurst and the sounds of people rushing around, shopping at high end retail stores.  The weather was kind of grim and depressing, which didn’t really make me want to explore.  Frankfurt is the land of big business, banks, and people with lots of money.  I haven’t seen much of it, but it doesn’t appear to be a particularly picturesque town.
It definitely has a different feel than Stuttgart has.  I was reminded a little of Washington, D.C.

We spotted the big church located right next to the Five Guys, but still had to wander around a bit before we finally saw the magic sign.  It was about 1:30pm…
But it was packed, and there was nowhere to sit.  Actually, this was a lot less busy than it was a couple of hours later, when we decided to come back.

The Five Guys was full of people at 1:30pm.  I started inwardly berating myself for wanting to stand in line for burgers I’ve had a bunch of times.  I told Bill we should go look for another place to have lunch.  Bill had to pee like a racehorse, so he was eager to find a place quickly.
We walked out of the big Walkplatz where Five Guys in Frankfurt is.  This looked interesting, but we needed to find a place for Bill…
This mural was right next to an enticing place called Conrad’s Restaurant.

I wasn’t really wanting German food, but Bill was eager to relieve himself.  A friendly waiter beckoned us, so we went in.  The inside of Conrad’s is very small and rather poorly laid out.  There are several very large booths and the tables are close together.  There’s not much of an aisle for people to walk through, either.  At one point, Bill and another man had to get out of their seats to allow a woman and her stroller to pass.  
Conrad seems to specialize in Schnitzels, though they offer other stuff like steaks, sausages, and breakfast.  The restaurant has a full bar, video gambling, and flatscreen TVs tuned to sports.  There’s also really shitty pop music on blast.  Seriously, the music really got on my nerves.  
Bill looks at the menu…
He decided on a Paprika Schnitzel, which was a pork schnitzel with a pepper, tomato, and onion sauce.  It was served with fries, but you could also substitute country style or mashed potatoes.  You could also have veal or turkey schnitzel for a small upcharge.
I went with the Mozzarella Schnitzel.  It was a pork schnitzel with fresh tomatoes covered with mozzarella cheese and baked.  I don’t actually like schnitzels that much.  They’re usually too much for me to eat.  Today’s was no exception, although it tasted fine.  I only finished half of this one and its accompanying fries.  However, I did appreciate that Conrad’s offered several different kinds of schnitzel, which puts them ahead of any other place where I’ve seen them offered.

Conrad’s doesn’t exactly get the best reviews on Google or Trip Advisor.  I wouldn’t be as harsh as some other reviewers have been.  The schnitzels were hot, fresh, and served with a smile.  The fries weren’t that great, but they weren’t terrible.  I thought of Conrad’s as a perfectly average restaurant until it came time to use the restroom.  There, stationed on a little stool in the tiny area near the toilets was a woman with a plate.  She was collecting change from people wanting to use the bathroom.
At first, I thought maybe this was just for people coming in off the street.  I’ve seen some places put out plates for people who really need to use the bathroom but don’t want to eat.  That might have been the case at Conrad’s, too.  But I didn’t see a sign or anything indicating that the Klofrau was only charging people who weren’t eating or drinking.  I find being asked to pay a Klofrau very tacky in a restaurant.  I mind it only slightly less at truck stops.  On the other hand, I’m sure the Klofrau discourages people from taking advantage of the restaurant’s prime location.
Anyway… I don’t think we’ll go back to Conrad’s… but it wasn’t a disastrous meal.  The food wasn’t terrible or overpriced.  It was just profoundly mediocre.  You can make reservations on OpenTable, too.
The outside of Conrad’s.

While we were eating our schnitzels, it occurred to me that Five Guys will probably always be packed.  And I didn’t really want to come back to Frankfurt to do this again… at least not while the weather is so cold, damp, and depressing.  Maybe we’ll brave it again when the sun stays out longer than six or seven hours a day.  So, although we ate schnitzels and I wasn’t even able to finish mine, we decided to pick up a couple of burgers to go.

This was what it was looking like at about 3:00pm.  The second photo was taken about twenty minutes later.  People were actually standing outside the automated doors.  Good thing they don’t take a pause and are open every day.

Bill went in to get a couple of burgers, sans our usual fries.  I waited outside and played Evil Apples. About thirty minutes later, he came out with our burgers.  He said the music at Five Guys was a lot better than it was at Conrad’s.  They were playing awesome classic rock by Rush, the Outfield, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.  They also have free peanuts, just like the Five Guys restaurants in the States.
You can fill your bike tires with air while you eat burgers.

We made our way back to the car.  I took note of the energy in Frankfurt.
Teens were dancing in the square.
I notice there are even more signs in English in Frankfurt than there are in Stuttgart.  It’s a very international city.  Even our trash bins have directions in English on them.
And big ass buildings, too!  I’m sure Frankfurt has a charming area somewhere.  We’ll find it eventually.  As we passed through this intersection, we found ourselves on the gambling and sex street, very close to the train station.
They look like the American style Five Guys burgers.
Right down to being smashed into foil.

I did taste my burger before wrapping it up for later, when my schnitzel has been digested and I have more room to enjoy it.  I’m happy to report that it tastes almost just like it does in the States.  It’s juicy, and the beef is very flavorful.  The only difference I noticed are the pickles, which are a little bit sweeter than what we get in the U.S.  But then, Germans seem to like their pickles sweeter.  It would have been nice to eat it while it was piping hot, but I think it’ll be fine in awhile.  It wouldn’t be the first time we saved a Five Guys burger for later.

I’d go back, although not anytime soon.  I definitely don’t need a Five Guys location near me, but it’s nice to have one.  Do you need to drive here from another German city like Stuttgart?  I’d say it depends on how much you like Five Guys burgers.  Stuttgart has a few places that are getting pretty good at making decent burgers.  Your mileage may vary, of course.

Next stop…  Hooters?  Maybe not.