A German and Italian inspired outing in Mainz-Kastel…

We have beautiful weather in Wiesbaden today. It was so pretty that Bill decided that he wanted to try out a Biergarten in nearby Mainz-Kastel. Mainz-Kastel is not the prettiest or most picturesque place I’ve ever seen, but it does have a nice Italian supermarket. Bill wanted to stop by there, too, and see if we could score some Italian goodies. We fired up the Mini, which badly needs to be driven, and headed off to our first stop, the Brauhaus-Castel Brewery (or Brauhaus, if you prefer). This restaurant offers hearty German (Bavarian) fare and lots of housemade beers. The kitchen stays open all day, so there are no worries about pauses. They have a nice sized parking lot with free parking, which even has a spot for charging your electric vehicle. There’s also a playground for your kids and a children’s menu!

Here are a few photos from our lunch, which was pretty good. I suspect Bill will be regular for the next few days, thanks to his barley covered schnitzel.

Service was friendly and kind. Our server was indulgent at my pitiful attempts to speak German. I know, after seven years, I should be fluent. Shame on me. For those who don’t want to try to speak German, this place does seem to be very American friendly. I think the server spoke English, although he spoke German to us. I know he knew we were Auslanders, though.

All told, we spent 40 euros on food and beer… two half liter beers each for us. Bill had a Dunkel and an alcohol free Weizen. I had two Weizens. They also had other drinks and, of course, there was plenty of wine! It was a good time. We would go back. I’d like to go back just so I can get pictures of the huge sex shop next door. It has a slogan in English that says, “Sex up your life!” That’s something you probably wouldn’t necessarily see in most parts of the USA. On the other hand, I do remember passing Cafe Risque many times on the way through North Carolina as I traveled on I-95 from Virginia to South Carolina, and vice versa.

After lunch, we headed for the Celpro Italian market. That place was a real treat, and it was DEFINITELY very Italian. There’s also plenty of parking there, as well as lots of high quality Italian goodies.

It’s not a big supermarket and we didn’t linger long, because after being at the Biergarten, I really needed to pee. Alas, the supermarket doesn’t have a public restroom and secluded bushes are scarce. I did see a guy cleaning the parking lot, though. Very impressive! I am sure we’ll back for more. It’s not far from where we live. I love all the ethnic markets here in Germany. There’s always a sure bet you’ll find something fun and interesting in them, although maybe they aren’t as fun as the Mix Markts with the Russian and Eastern European products.

It’s nice to get out again, even though COVID cases are on the rise, even here. Mask mandates never went away here, though… Seriously, it’s nice to be in Germany during these weird times.

I don’t know what we’ll do tomorrow, but I would be up for another trip to both of our spots today. Not tomorrow, of course, but maybe sometime soon… before the weather turns back into shit.


Lunch at Wirtshaus Hotel und Garbe…

Last week, after fruitlessly trying to get the pet smells out of our cheap AAFES rugs, I told Bill that I wanted to go to Robinson Barracks to see if we could find new ones to replace them.  We were unsuccessful on our trip to RB.  Since it was after 2:00pm and we were hungry, we needed to find a place for lunch with a kitchen that was open all day.  Bill told me about Wirthaus Garbe, a biergarten very close to Kelley Barracks where he and his colleagues have had lunch.

We parked in a private lot near at a business college near the hotel/restaurant.  I’m not sure if we were technically allowed to park there, but we had no issues.  The sun was trying to peek through the clouds, though it was a bit chilly.  It’s hard to believe I was running our air conditioner yesterday.

The Wirtshaus Garbe has a very nice biergarten with large tables, benches, and plenty of trees.  They offer beer on tap and typical local delights like Schweinebraten, Wiener Schnitzel, Flammkuchen (which are huge), and plenty of salads.  I was definitely ready for something hearty.

Bill checks out the menu.  You order your food from a server and get your drinks from a stand.

Bill got me a mas krug of the Kaiser keller beer.  He had a half liter of Paulaner Dunkelweiss.  You pay for your drinks when you order them and pay the wait staff separately for food.


The proprietors of the biergarten had brought out a large TV so people could watch football over beer and food.  I had my back to the TV, but could hear the game between Ireland and France.  Bill and I decided to split a Wiener Schnitzel and a Schweinebraten.  Both dishes came with cold potato salad and were priced at 12,90 euros.

Bill heads back to our table from the loo.

A picture of the food, which was very good!  We ended up splitting these dishes, so I can say with authority that both were just what I needed after our disappointing shopping excursion.  The menu is simple and includes items for children, too.  

The biergarten even has a fountain.  It’s a nice place to enjoy a beer or two or a good lunch.  

A picture of the front.  Indoor dining is also available, most likely when the weather is bad or during regular lunch and dinner hours.


Bill says this establishment is popular on weekends, though there were plenty of tables open this afternoon.  It made for a good stop on our way to Panzer, where we did end up buying three new rugs from the Turkish guy outside of the PX.  I think we may have been his only sale in days, so he was pretty happy after we left.  And I finally got to remove the stinky cheap rugs from the house.  Hopefully, my dogs will be gentle with our new rugs.

My German friend Susanne says this restaurant is near a park as well as a museum (free entry).


A beautiful day for wandering and drinking beer!

The weather here in Jettingen is finally fine.  This morning, I decided I wanted to visit the Naturpark Schönbuch with Bill and the dogs.  I noticed the park last month, as we were on our way to Waldenbuch for dinner.  The drive to the park from our house is really pretty and I was hoping to get some good photos.  We set out at about 10:00am and enjoyed a lovely walk through a different forest than the one right behind our house.  Thankfully, I remembered to apply sunscreen and insect repellant.  Bill didn’t and I have a feeling he got some sun today.

I always get a little nervous when I take walks in the forests around here.  Although the paths are well marked and I have an excellent sense of direction, I’m always afraid I might get lost.  But there were a lot of folks enjoying the park today with their dogs, on their bikes, or jogging.  I suppose if we’d really gotten hopelessly lost, we could have just asked someone.

We check out the huge map.  When we lived here last time, we lived close to the southern end of this park, but we never visited.  I’m glad this time, we’re making a point of getting out and seeing local sights.  Parking at the nature park is free and plentiful.  

The first of many street signs.  This was near the cemetery, where many people were paying their respects to the dead.  We didn’t visit the graveyard because dogs aren’t allowed.

Teepees in the woods?  Who knows?

Fenced in deer.

They were not bothered by us at all.


The boys were mostly oblivious at first.

As we walked further down the road, I could tell Zane was getting thirsty.  A stream ran to our right and he kept acting like he wanted to go to it.  There was no handy spot for him to reach it, though…

And then we happened upon this…  It’s probably not for drinking, but Zane was able to enjoy a few sips.

Around this point, I was getting nervous.  I just let my instincts do the navigating…

We walked up a long hill that about kicked my ass…

Passed what looked like a lumber yard… and I started to hear cars in the distance.

I was very relieved to see this.  This is the sign for the parking lot where our car was.  Right across the street is a gasthaus.  It wasn’t quite ready for business when we finished our walk at about 11:00am.

We went a short way down another trail heading toward Herrenberg.  I wanted to try to get a photo of the view overlooking the valley.

This was about the best I could do…  I bet it would be a lot better in the winter, though the colors aren’t as pretty then.

After our walk, we took the dogs home.  I changed shirts and shoes and we went to Nagold for lunch.  It was packed there today because there was a garden festival going on.  We finally found parking over near the pool area.

I can’t resist water fowl…

There were lots of people in Nagold… including a fire eater.

And if you wanted to, you could have escargot for lunch.  It actually smelled really good, but snails are not my thing.

A pretty shot of the church in Nagold.  Love this town.  It’s super cute and very close to where we live.


I was starting to get discouraged as we searched for a place to eat lunch.  Nagold was brimming with crowds.  But then we spotted an empty table at the Alte Post.  We sat down and enjoyed a much deserved beer.

This was so refreshing after our long walk…

Alte Post has an asparagus menu right now, but I decided to have salmon with mashed potatoes, chives, and beurre blanc sauce.  This was absolutely delicious and easy to finish!

Bill went vegetarian and had herbed noodles with a salad and a little sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

The salad was loaded with peppers.


We could have spent all afternoon in Nagold, but we needed to get to the Real to exchange a rack of beer and pick up some water and wine.  Also, we have dinner reservations for tonight.

Besides, Nagold was packed…

More water fowl…

I had to take a picture of some tulips growing in our garden.  One of them is half red and half yellow. I hadn’t noticed until Bill pointed it out.


I’m so happy the weather has finally warmed up and the sun is shining.  I am definitely ready to put the top down on my Mini and hang out at some biergartens.  We’ve decided that this year, maybe we’ll even see if we can bring our dogs with us.  After an hour of walking, they may be tired enough not to raise hell.  We will have to go back to Naturpark Schönbuch sometime soon.  There are miles of trails to be explored there.

I will have a new restaurant review up today or tomorrow.  Tonight, we venture to Holzgerlingen for the first time.


A beautiful Sunday afternoon at Gastronomiewelt Glemstal in Leonberg

Last week, as Bill was getting to know Senegal, I was languishing here in Germany.  Then someone posted a link to a biergarten offering barbecue from a smoker.  Just one picture of their delectable delights from the grill made my mouth water.  I tagged Bill in a Facebook post about the place, Gastronomiewelt Glemstal, located in Leonberg.

The sign on the way in…

Bill got back from Africa yesterday and I was itching for an outing.  I told him I wanted to try out the Gastronomiewelt Glemstal today, mainly because the weather was beautiful.  Bill demurred, since he had a big project due for a class he’s taking.  After 12 years of marriage, I’ve learned that it doesn’t take much to convince Bill to give in to my whims.  This time was no exception, even though Leonberg is about a 45 minute to 1 hour drive north from Jettingen.  We’d never been there before, even though we lived in the Stuttgart area for two years before moving back last August.

It didn’t take long before we were in the car, headed for Leonberg.  We got to Gastronomiewelt just in time for a large group of active senior citizens to arrive for a lunch date.  We parked in the ample parking lot, which wasn’t heavily populated.  I think it was because most everyone visiting the restaurant came on foot or bike.  The restaurant is attached to a sportshalle and it looked like it was a post workout stop for those who had been enjoying the beautiful weather today.  I noticed an interesting looking Greek restaurant on the way to the sports complex.  We may have to make another trip back to try out that place, too.

After you park, the first stop you come to as you approach the restaurant is a snack area, where a couple of guys cook meats on the smoker.  If all you want is beer and light food, this is where you want to sit.  It’s self service.  If you want a more substantial meal, keep walking to the “terrace” area or venture inside, where there is a well equipped dining room.  I noticed that was where the elderly guests were headed.

The sign for the snack area.


The smoker…


We kept walking to the terrace, where we were greeted by a friendly young woman and her equally charming male colleague.  He had a happy face tattooed on his leg.  It made me smile.


The menu… I paid close attention to the offerings from the smoker…


Kicking things off with a couple of Weihenstephans, a decent hefeweizen from Munich… These were okay, but we liked the Saison Aktionsbiers better.  They change regularly.  

We opted to take a table overlooking a soccer field.  It wasn’t the most picturesque biergarten I’ve ever seen, but we didn’t go there for the view.  We were there for something from the smoker.  Bill wanted pulled pork and I wanted spareribs.  Sadly, those dishes are not offered every weekend.  Bill started off speaking German, but the waitress soon recognized his telltale American accent and switched to impeccable English.  She asked if we were from the “base” in Stuttgart.  We laughed.  It’s obvious.

I noticed a sign that indicated that spareribs will be available next weekend and the weekend after it.  They didn’t have them today, though.  Bill and I had smoked salmon and a smoked Argentinian filet with a green pepper sauce that reminded me of brisket.  We washed it all down with a couple of excellent beers.  Other dishes are available— everything from typical Schwabish fare to hamburgers and salads.  They also had what appeared to be “fancy” bottled fruit sodas that I noticed quite a few people were ordering.  ETA: My German friend says the sodas are from here

Smoked salmon with roasted potatoes and rosemary…   The salmon was good.


Delicious pickle salad that came with my salmon… obviously fresh.  It was surprisingly good.

Bill’s smoked beef with steak fries…

Obligatory shot of Bill looking amused.


Beer makes everything better.

Nice lunch!


The view from where we were sitting.

We really liked these “Aktion Saison biers”… They were hoppier and more interesting than the Weihenstephaners.  I learned that a Russ is beer mixed with 7-Up.  I prefer my suds unadulterated, thanks!

It’s a great place to watch walkers, bikers, and football players…


We enjoyed a very nice couple of hours on the terrace, enjoying good food, good beers, and friendly service.  The place really filled up as we were eating, too.  I noticed a couple of folks watching football on a television outside.  The restaurant shows games for those who are interested.  I also noticed a couple of folks with well-behaved dogs and a woman wearing bike shorts that had profanity in English printed on them.  The shorts made me laugh.  If I were more athletic and less self-conscious, I might invest in a pair for myself.  They made quite a statement.

As we were settling up our tab with the young man with the smiley faced tattoo, he asked if we were “from the base”.  We said we were.  He said we were the third group of Americans today.  Evidently, I wasn’t the only one enticed by the picture of sizzling pork on Stuttgart Friends last week.  We will definitely go back to try the pork.  I liked the salmon and steak fine, but I have a feeling the pork is really where it’s at at this restaurant and my curiosity won’t be satisfied until I try it.  They also offer smoked trout some weekends.  I recommend checking out their Facebook page for more information as to when each specialty is offered.  That way, you won’t be left hankering for pork when none is available.

On the way home, we put the top down on the Mini.  I started feeling like I needed a trip to the bathroom.  Bill and I stopped by the Sindelfingen truck stop.  They kind of remind me of the travel plazas one finds in northeastern states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  The beer was running through my system and I felt certain I would endure a very uncomfortable ride to Jettingen if we didn’t stop.

Home of the Whopper…

It costs 70 cents to use the toilet at the truck stop if you don’t have a voucher…

But for your 70 cents, you get a self cleaning toilet well stocked with paper…

And the chance to stock up on sexual aids…

All in all, it was a very enjoyable afternoon.  Bill said he was glad I talked him into it.  I think we will venture to Leonberg again soon.


Dining inside at Anno 1897 in Möhringen…

Bill and I needed to wash my car today, so we decided to go to Kelley Barracks.  I had only been there once before today since last time we lived here, Bill worked at Patch.  Before heading to the car wash, we decided to have lunch.  Bill remembered Anno 1897, which is a restaurant and biergarten very close to where we stayed in a hotel when we first got here in August 2014.

We hadn’t been back to Anno 1897 since we moved into our house in September, but I did remember liking the food and atmosphere.  The biergarten isn’t open yet, but if today’s lovely weather is any indication that winter is over, we will be dining outside very soon.

The nice thing about Anno 1897 is that they have a small parking lot.  It was a little tricky parallel parking, especially since the lot is on a hill.  We managed to do it, even though Bill had to climb over the passenger seat to get out of the car.  He was too close to the bushes!

Entering the restaurant, it’s likely you will immediately encounter cigarette smoke.  You have to walk through the bar to get to the dining room, where people don’t smoke and there’s a glass partition to keep the smoke out of the room.  The same friendly guy who waited on us the last two times we visited was there today.  I don’t think he recognized us as he handed us menus with everything from gyros to flammkuchen to Wiener schnitzel on offer.

I decided to have gyros, even though I had them last night for dinner.  Bill had a Greek flammkuchen, which was surprisingly good.  Next time we go, I may opt for that, though the gyros are also outstanding.  We washed our lunch down with excellent beers.  I had a Zwickl Keller Bier and Bill had a Dunkelweizen.  I noticed that Anno 1897 has some interesting German craft beers available, including an enticing looking chocolate bock and what they call “Indian Beer”, which is probably like an IPA.

My lunch came with a tasty salad.  I shared it with Bill because he likes cabbage more than I do.

This is a really nice kellerbier.  I have only seen it at Anno 1897, though I’m sure it’s offered elsewhere.  I love the stone mug.

Excellent gyros.  The t’zatziki is to die for.  And I could only eat half, so I guess I’ll be having this for dinner, too.  Talk about pork overload!

I really enjoyed tasting Bill’s flammkuchen.  I don’t usually like fresh tomatoes that much, but they were great on this dish.  The sweet, mild peppers added a nice touch, as did the feta, gyros pieces, and black olives.

Our Bill came to about 25 euros.  I noticed near the coat rack, there was a small basket of books and toys for kids.  I’m sure a lot of parents and kids appreciate that, especially since Anno 1897 looks like the kind of place where people linger.  Lots of folks were enjoying the bar today.  When the biergarten opens up again, look out!  It was also nice to be back in the neighborhood we were in during our first week back to Germany.

We did manage to wash my car for the first time since we got here.  It looks a lot better.  And we stopped by Panzer for various odds and ends, including a pitch fork so we can turn our compost heap and make some new dirt.


A lovely day at Neckarmüller

Yesterday, while we were visiting Tübingen, we decided it was time for lunch.  One of our favorite places to eat and drink in Tübingen is Neckarmüller, an awesome brewpub, restaurant, and biergarten.  Neckarmüller is blessed with a great location, right next to the Neckar River.  Although we have eaten lunch inside, when Bill and I go there, we usually sit outside in the biergarten, where there is a limited menu, lots of good beer food, and lots of smoking.

This photo doesn’t look too interesting… I was trying to get a closeup of the swan in the background, who was enjoying a snack.

See that guy standing in the middle of the boat?  He’s in drag…

He was putting on quite a show…

He also came very close to falling into the water.


Last time we lived here, we used to love watching the people on the boats.  There was a guy who worked the boats who had a great dog who used to jump into the boat and perch himself on the bow.  We didn’t see him yesterday.  I hope he’s still around.  I loved watching them.

Simple beer food… The potato salad was delicious!  The Bavarian weiss sausage was very fresh and had a delicate flavor.  I was partial to the beer brats.  The pretzel was excellent.  Very fresh and soft and went great with the mustards.  We had sweet and regular.  There’s a more substantial menu inside the restaurant.  You can get a table outside or inside, with views overlooking the river.

The Neckarmüller was very well-attended yesterday.  

I wish we’d had a little more time yesterday.  I would have liked to stroll along the Neckar River.  We had great weather for it!

Line up for beer and food!  I think the Neckarmüller must have undergone some renovations.  Seems like last time we were here, the biergarten vendors were in a separate building that faced the river.  They added on a WC that was much closer and more convenient than the old one was.


All in all, we had a nice time.  As for the beer, it was pretty good.  I have had more interesting beers elsewhere, but Neckarmüller’s offerings are solid and delicious.  We’ll definitely be back again and again.  It’s also one of our favorite places to bring guests.


Biergarten lunch at Anno 1897!

We enjoyed a very nice lunch at the same biergarten where we went to drink beer the other night.  It was attached to the same restaurant where we hoped to eat, but ended up leaving because all the service was outside.  I’m glad we gave them another chance.  The place is called the Anno 1897, I think, because that was the year their restaurant was built.

When we sat down, we were immediately recognized by a young man who helped served us a couple of nights ago.  He remembered that we are Americans and offered us a menu in English.  We said we were okay with a German menu, but he brought an English one anyway.

Fortunately, there was nothing on the menu that confounded me, despite never having studied German.  I easily picked out gyros and a beer, while Bill had a turkey dish inspired by Indian food.  He paired his dish with a Radler, while I had a beer.

Both dishes were delicious and filling!  I finished mine with ouzo.  Bill skipped the ouzo because he has to drive to a couple of places this afternoon.

A shot of the tree-lined biergarten entrance… this is a very nice place to sit and eat… and of course, drink beer.  I notice it’s very busy during the week at lunch time.  

Our bill was about 26 euros and well worth the cost.  I love biergartens, though…  it’s one thing I missed most about living in Germany.  This particular restaurant has a full bar and a broad variety of dishes, everything from Greek food to Italian food, as well as the Indian style dish Bill had.  The wait staff is friendly and charming and they speak excellent English, too… though if you want them to, they’ll speak German.