Lunch at Wichtel Hausbrauerei in Böblingen

Tonight is the last night we will spend at our soon to be former house in Unterjettingen.  Tomorrow, the packers will come and we’ll spend a night at the Hotel Adler in Nagold.  Tuesday, we’ll load up our stuff and be on our way to Wiesbaden.  It will be my last day in the house.  Our new house has no carpets (hallelujah) and is a bit larger than the house we’re leaving.  I love not having carpeting to worry about, but I do worry about the beautiful new floors that are in our new home.  We decided to visit the Turkish rug guys at Panzer and load up on some floor coverings.

Now… this was not my first time buying carpets at Panzer.  A couple of years ago, we bought a couple of rugs for our living room.  I have to admit, they kind of look like hell now, mainly because they’re stationed right by the doors to the outside.  I don’t expect the new rugs we bought today will hold up much better.  They are better, and more expensive, than the shitty rug sets often sold in the PX, and I like the way they look more than the German rugs I’ve seen.  For many reasons, IKEA really doesn’t do it for me.

But before we bought rugs, we went into AAFES to buy new toothbrushes and some face cream. We ran into Bill’s soon to be former boss and Bill chatted with him.  Then we happened to check out behind a guy who had a rather complicated order that took some time to process, so I took the opportunity to crack inappropriate jokes.  Bill later told me the guy is a high ranker on post.  I wasn’t surprised.  He definitely had the air of a general.

Then I was waiting for Bill to use the men’s room.  While I was waiting, a vendor offered me free chocolate.  I thought about taking it, but a pre-teenaged girl swooped in front of me and grabbed it before I could act.  I kind of laughed about it, and the vendor said he had more chocolate, but I plan to be pounding beer throughout the rest of the moving process… except when we’re driving to Wiesbaden.  I have to be totally sober for that.

Anyway, after we bought our AAFES stuff, we went to see the Turkish rug guys, who were only too happy to help us.  I walked out of there with three large rugs, a runner, and a smaller rug for my office.  They threw in the hall runner for free.  Nice of them, and I’m sure we’ll use it.  I’m also sure I’ll be visiting the rug guys in Wiesbaden, if they have them there.  I’m not sure why they wouldn’t, since I’ve seen those guys at every European base I’ve been to… perhaps with the exception of Lajes Field in the Azores.

After we dropped 1200 euros on rugs, we decided to have lunch.  I think Bill was originally planning to visit Patch to return some electronic Swiffer products we bought without realizing they won’t work without massive transformers.  But after our large purchase, I think Bill was ready for a drink.  We decided to try the Brauhaus in Böblingen, but as usual on a Sunday afternoon, it was packed.  So we moved on to the Flugfeld, where I knew there were a couple of restaurants besides Check Inn Foodport we hadn’t tried.

Actually, that complex has at least three restaurants.  There’s Check Inn Food Port, which is very nice for a dinner date.  Tower 66 Steakhouse is open for lunch until 3:00pm on Sundays, then takes a pause until 5:30pm.  And then there’s Wichtel Hausbrauerei.  I noticed Wichtel got some pretty mediocre reviews on Google, but they didn’t have a pause.  Sold!

We walked around the restaurant’s generous terrace, which still had some tables out, though they weren’t set up for outdoor dining.  To enter the restaurant, you must walk into the Motor World building.  Then you go in and find a seat.  Unlike at the Schoenbuch Brauhaus, there were plenty of spots open at Wichtel Hausbrauerei.  We chose one near the taps.  I needed a slight boost to get up on the tall seat.  I actually like high chairs because I’m short, but I’m also getting old, which makes getting up and down on them harder than it used to be.

The outdoor area.  You have to walk around this to get inside the restaurant.

Welcome!  I really should have stopped to look at the specials for today.

An adorable young man stopped to ask for our drink orders.  Seriously, he was super cute.  I bet his mom is proud of him.  Not only was he good looking, he was also very charming and congenial.

I asked for a weizen and he rattled something off in German, which took me by surprise.  Actually, I know he was asking me which size I wanted.  At Wichtal, you can get a beer in three sizes– .33 liter, .5 liter, or a liter Krug.  Bill started answering in German, but then the guy switched to perfect English and offered me a menu in my native tongue.  I actually do pretty well reading German menus.  It’s just speaking German that kills me.  I can only sing in German.

Bill decides on lunch.  The choices are somewhat limited if you don’t want pizza.

So Wichtel has what appears to be a hybrid of regular pizza and Flammkuechen.  I asked the waiter what it was like and he said it was like both pizza and Flammkuechen.  He said the rest of it was “marketing”.  Our winsome waiter was not only friendly and adorable, he also had a sense of humor.  What a cutie pie!  Too bad I’m happily married, fat, and old enough to be his mother.  I noticed his name was Valentin.  He’s aptly named.  Hubba hubba!

I ascertained that the “pizza” would be too big for me to eat by myself and I am not trying to bring home more food as we’re trying to clear out of here.  I ended up ordering what was described as “roast beef”.  I had a choice of spaetzle, potato salad, or fries as a side.  I decided to be extra healthy and went for fries.  Bill ordered a schnitzel.

If I had paid more attention, I could have ordered today’s special, which was half a duck.  I believe they had another type of braten on special today.  Besides pizza, schnitzel, and “roast beef”, they also had salads, sausages, and other drunk food.  They also had a kids’ menu.

I liked their coasters.  They reminded me of myself.  Bill said they reminded him of Starbucks.

Someone was doing shots of some sort… You can see the barkeep pouring them.

So this was my lunch.  It turned out the “roast beef” was actually a strip steak.  Bill reminded me that sometimes what we think of roast beef is not really roast beef to Germans.  It’s steak.  This was German beef, which was okay.  It was smothered in a brown gravy and dried onions.  Not the way I usually eat steak, but it wasn’t bad.  I’m probably done eating for the day.

Bill’s Schnitzel was your standard Schnitzel.  It came in two pieces with a side of potato salad and gravy.  While I don’t know that we necessarily really wanted to eat German food today, it wasn’t a bad thing that we did.


Prices at Wichtel are very reasonable.  It’s a very family and kid friendly place.  And although Google reviewers gave it mediocre reviews, we thought the service was quite good.  I was smitten with Valentin.  I wonder if he’d be my Valentine…  LOL… I’m kidding.  I only have eyes for my Bill.  Anyway, our tab came to 41 euros, which gave Bill significantly fewer heart palpitations than our purchase of five rugs did.  But I figure I could spend that much on one really nice rug from the Middle East.  And as long as I have dogs, I won’t be doing that.

So ends today’s review… perhaps the last one I write of a restaurant in this area for the time being.  Or maybe we’ll go somewhere in Nagold tomorrow night, our last down here on the edge of the Black Forest.  I’m seriously going to miss it…  Especially the views from our house.  But as the Brady Bunch sing, when it’s time to change, it’s time to change.

One more picture for the road.  My view is about to change substantially.


City Imbiss Döner Kebab and shopping at Nagold’s Mix-Markt…

It’s a cloudy Saturday here in Unterjettingen, so we decided to take a brief trip to Nagold for lunch, then drop by Nagold’s Mix-Markt.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, you might remember that Bill and I discovered this specialty European grocery store chain several weeks ago, when we visited the one in Böblingen.  Mix-Markt carries products from the former Soviet Union and many eastern European countries.  Today, we decided to check out Nagold’s Mix-Markt outlet.  But first, we decided to have lunch.

City Imbiss in Nagold… mmmmm!

Several of the places we usually love to visit are currently closed until next month, so we stopped by City Imbiss, a place that always smells wonderful and offers pizzas and döner kebabs.  I don’t often eat döner– that very Turkish sandwich in a pita that has taken Germany by storm.  Every once in awhile, though, I enjoy this beefy sandwich with vegetables and yogurt sauce.  Today was the first time we visited City Imbiss, though I have passed it several times and smelled the delicious aromas that come from its kitchen.  Although I was kind of in the mood for something more formal, we decided a pita sandwich was just what we needed.

At City Imbiss, if you’re not taking food to go, you can sit down at a table and a server will wait on you.  We were told this as we were staring at the big sign over the service counter.  I was a bit overwhelmed by all the choices and briefly considered having pizza, but German pizzas don’t really do it for me.  Finally, Bill ordered döners for two, with little sauce and no tomatoes for me, and no onions for him…

Lunch was ready in a flash.  It was so fast I didn’t have a chance to get a better picture of Bill.  I made a joke about City Wok, where everybody on South Park hangs out for Chinese food.

This was a great sandwich.  It had thin shavings of beef and lots of kraut, as well as a little yogurt sauce and another sauce that was a bit spicy.  We washed them down with beer.  City Imbiss only has beers in bottles and they’re all .33 cl.  They do have wine, too, as well as lots of non-alcoholic beverages, including Turkish Ayran (a yogurt drink).

I also got a portion of pommes that was huge– definitely enough to share.  We finished half of the pommes and, much to my surprise, I was able to eat that whole sandwich.  It’s not as big as it looks.  I might not have to eat for the rest of the night, though.  Total bill for this was about seventeen euros.

We probably should have gone to the Mix-Markt first.  There’s a guy there who has a Shashlik stand.  Shashlik is delicious Russian/Central Asian barbecue– namely shish kebabs.

And the weather wasn’t so bad… we might have even been able to park there today.  


Maybe we’ll get there before we have to move to Wiesbaden.  At this writing, we plan to move on November 28th, and Bill starts his new job on December 3rd.  I think this is going to be a very busy month.  Next week, my dogs will get their dentals and we’ll be filling up the oil tanks in the house we’re about to leave.  Then, the week after that is Veteran’s Day and our wedding anniversary.  I booked us four nights at Brenners Park Hotel in Baden-Baden.  Then, we’ll be cleaning up, packing up, and driving to our new house in Wiesbaden-Breckenheim, where hopefully, I won’t piss off anyone.

The Nagold version of Mix-Markt is much smaller than the one in Böblingen.  It’s also not quite as hectic or crowded, although the parking situation is potentially worse.

Need pickles?  Here’s a whole wall of them.

As well as a whole lot of sunflower seeds, a very popular snack in eastern European countries and the former Soviet Union.

This is an Armenian version of frozen baklava.

And napoleans, too!

They have Russian beer, which personally isn’t very impressive to my tastebuds.  I go to the Russians for vodka.

Pick your mix.

Ditto regarding Russian chocolates, but obviously someone loves it.

This is where we spent our time…  although this Mix-Markt doesn’t have a great selection of wines.  The ones in this picture are from Moldova.

They have Dracula wine, Armenian brandy, and lots of vodka from Russian and Belarus.  We did find a few Georgian wines, too.

Overall, I was a little disappointed in the Nagold Mix-Markt, although it’s good to know that it’s there.  We also found a Mix-Markt in Wiesbaden, so we’ll be able to stay stocked up with our favorite libations from the east.

I’m really going to miss Nagold.  It’s such a nice city.

Cool jack o’lanterns set outside a bar in Nagold.


We stopped by Nagold’s awesome Edeka to pick up some green beans for the homemade dog food Bill makes for Zane and Arran.  While we were there, I indulged my sweet tooth and bought a small bottle of Pepsi, a can of 7 Up and ice cream.  I shouldn’t have watched all those ads from the 70s and 80s on YouTube this morning.  Too much junk food!

This cool mural is near the Edeka in Nagold.  Next time we go there, I will have to get a better picture.  I hope we can find another version of Nagold in the Wiesbaden area.  I am going to miss this little town the most.  Last time we lived here, Tübingen was my favorite town.  


Maybe tomorrow, we’ll do something a little more exciting than shopping for wine and ice cream.


Wiesbaden, take two… the dog friendly housing quest continues. Part six

Sunday morning, we got up, had breakfast, and started loading up the car.  Bill was sidelined for about twenty minutes because he misplaced his car keys.  I had to laugh at that, because one Christmas, he got me “Tiles”, which are little things you can put on your stuff that make them easier to find when you misplace them.  They beep when you clap your hands or something.  However, I notice that I’m a lot less likely to misplace things than Bill is.  I don’t think I’ve ever bothered putting the Tiles on my stuff because my stuff is always in my gargantuan sized purse.  Bill, on the other hand, is constantly losing shit.  Incidentally, I found the keys under a dish towel by the sink.  Bill had put them there while he was washing the dishes.

I kind of shooed Bill to the car and he complained that we were going to be early for our 11:30 appointment.  I told him I didn’t care and we could drive around the area if we were too early.  Off we went to a town called Breckenheim, which is a borough of Wiesbaden.  Sounds fancy, right?  Well, it appeared to be kind of fancy, although it was very congested, just like most of the other towns we looked at.  Even the ultra modern house was on a busy corner with a lot of traffic, although at least the street wasn’t packed with cars.

We found the little private drive where the house was located.  It was crowded with parked cars.  It appeared that there were a bunch of people at the little school on the road, so this might not be a constant condition of the street.  On the other hand, it probably is always that crowded.  It seems to be a familiar state in the areas near Wiesbaden.

We were about twenty minutes early, so Bill parked the car.  We were just going to wait, but the prospective landlord spotted us and welcomed us to tour the house.  We left the dogs in the car and they were very good, for once.  They didn’t make a peep.  I almost went to the landlords’ house, which is located next door.  Ordinarily, having the landlords next door would be a huge red flag, but we were running out of time and options.  Neither of us has any desire to go back up to Wiesbaden for more house hunting.

We walked inside and I noticed that the layout was very normal.  The house was clean and has no carpeting or nightmarish tiles on the floors or walls.  It has a really cute kitchen that is at least twice as big as the tiny one we’ve been enduring for four years.  There is no dorm sized refrigerator in the kitchen that doubles for counter space.  Instead, there’s a normal sized fridge with a small freezer.  We already have a standing freezer and a small fridge, so that’s no problem.  I’ll probably finally get my “fridge of sin” back for beer and wine.

There’s a living room with a charming fireplace.  The bottom floor appears to be a mother-in-law apartment/hobby room.  The house has a nice laundry room with a vent for my dryer.  Most of the other places we saw would require condensation dryers, which I’ve heard are a real pain in the ass and take forever to get the job done.

The floors were just redone and look nice and, most importantly, the house can accommodate our furniture.  There’s a dining room for my Eckbank Gruppe and the two bedrooms on the second floor have a shared balcony and sloped ceilings, but they’re big enough to take the king sized beds, or we can put one bed in the downstairs area, where there’s another shower, and use one of the bedrooms for office space.  There’s also another room that has a balcony and can be used as an office.  I noticed the house has curtain rods, so I can easily hang my drapes.

The bathroom has a rainfall shower and a tub… and most importantly to me, the toilet was recently replaced with a modern version that will probably be able to handle any toilet paper I throw at it.

The backyard is small, but it has a high, secure fence.  Finally, we can sit outside with the dogs and not have to worry about them escaping.  Also… there was no awning to be found or broken.  Instead, it appears that the terrace has a roof.  There’s a garage and small parking spot for my Mini and another parking spot right in front of the house.  Tanja, the real estate lady showed up on time, just as we were finishing our walk through of the house.

When I asked the real estate lady about the landlords living next door, she immediately realized my angst.  But she said they’re laid back… and I did notice that not only did they allow the previous tenant to put up a fence and remove some of the doors from downstairs, but the previous person lived there for seven years.  That tells me he or she must have been relatively happy there.  I don’t love the idea of living next to the landlords, but who knows?  They might turn out to be people who can appreciate or at least tolerate my odd sense of humor and lack of cleaning related OCD.  I did notice that the husband has a sense of humor, which is always a good thing.  Like our very first German landlord, the owner of this house also worked at IBM in Böblingen at one time.  He understood why Bill and I are being forced to move, because the same thing had happened to him.

Bill was fretting about the price of the house, which is by far more than we’ve ever paid for housing anywhere.  It’s 3100 euros plus “other costs”.  It comes out to over $4000 a month.  But… Bill is going to get a small bump in his housing allowance, and we’re mostly debt free now.  Bill heard a rumor that pretty soon, the company he works for will only offer the money for actual rent instead of a lump sum, which would defeat the purpose of finding a house that costs less than what he’s paid.  And while I would have liked to have found something less expensive in a less busy neighborhood, Bill will get to enjoy a very short commute of less than ten minutes.  That has never happened in our sixteen years of marriage.  He’s always had to sit in traffic.  Maybe he’ll save money on gas.

Speaking of traffic, there was slightly less of it as we made our way home.  We did encounter one traffic accident, so we detoured through some cute towns near Pforzheim and Karlsruhe.  I was thinking about how much I am going to miss BW.  As pretty as Mainz and Wiesbaden are, I enjoy Baden-Württemberg’s country charm.  I won’t be surprised if we wind up living here again at some point.

Anyway, after a few hours of hemming, hawing, adding and subtracting, Bill finally realized that we can afford the house.  He didn’t need to tell me that, since I knew we could.  He just didn’t want to spend so much, for which I really can’t blame him.  He sent a note to Tanja, the real estate agent, who immediately got back to the owners.  They said they’d love to have us, so now we have a home right next to theirs.  Wish us luck.

The simple fact is, free standing houses are apparently in short supply in Wiesbaden.  Most people are paying a lot for apartments and duplexes.  I saw more than one apartment offered at over 3000 euros a month and plenty of duplexes were going for at least 2500 euros or more.  The house we toured yesterday had almost everything we needed and a lot of what we wanted.  Although I will definitely miss living in dog heaven and the beautiful views we’ve enjoyed in Unterjettingen, I think this house in Breckenheim will be alright.  I don’t know how long we’ll live in Wiesbaden, but it’s good to know we’ve found a place to hang our hats.  And a bonus is that the new house is within walking distance of a grocery store, bar, bus stop, and bakery.  So if I get depressed, it’ll be easy to drown my sorrows.

But I will admit, I’m going to miss the best part of living in Unterjettingen, pictured below…

Sigh…  I will truly miss this.


I will also add that in spite of all my bitching about this house in Unterjettingen, this process of looking for a new house in Germany has taught me that we were lucky to find our current place.  Not only was it very reasonably priced, it also accommodated our bulky American furniture without too much trouble.  Although we were also lucky during our first Germany tour, I am now realizing that finding German houses that work with American tastes can be difficult.  And finding really affordable houses that also work with American furniture can be almost impossible.  So thanks very much to our current landlords for that.

We should be getting the contract sometime today.  If everything checks out, we’ll officially have our new home and will probably already be in residence as soon as a month from today.


Mixing it up at Mix-Markt– your source for products from the former Soviet Union and eastern Europe!

Recently, one of my husband’s colleagues told him about a grocery chain called Mix-Markt.  Mix Markt specializes in foods, wines, beers, and spirits from the former Soviet Union and eastern European countries like Poland and Romania.  Bill’s co-worker knows how much we like Georgian wines and Armenian brandies, so he hooked up Bill with a link and an idea for today’s excursion.

There are 297 stores all over Europe, though the chain was founded in 1997 in Örlinghausen, district Lippe in North-Rhine Westphalia.  Locally, Mix-Markt has outlets in Böblingen, Stuttgart, Tamm, Reutlingen, and Nagold.  We live very close to Nagold, but decided to visit the Böblingen store because we figured it would be more convenient to most of my regular readers in the Stuttgart area.  We were also hoping to try a new restaurant for lunch.  Below are some pictures from our little field trip.

The Mix Markt is in a rather busy area of town.  Right next to it is a Turkish market that we didn’t explore.  The Mix Markt has a lot of Turkish products, anyway.  Parking is a bit scarce in the area and the store is in what looks like a weird German incarnation of a strip mall, only instead of it being a strip, it’s more like a doughnut… shops in a circle with a small courtyard in the middle.

Impressive selection of beers from Russia, Poland, Ukraine, and Pilsner Urquell from the Czech Republic.  Sadly, I didn’t see any Kotayk, which is an Armenian beer.  But we came for wine and wine we found!

Mix Markt has a lot of Georgian wines, which are uniformly excellent!

And they also have Armenian brandies, although none by Ararat, which is probably the most popular Armenian brandy.

They even had Polish bison grass vodka, although I don’t think this is the stuff you can get in Poland, which actually has a blade of grass in it.  Many places, including the United States, don’t allow authentic bison grass vodka because the grass contains trace amounts of warfarin, which is a blood thinner.  This vodka was probably artificially flavored.

Armenian brandy can be purchased in fancy bottles.  You’d see these in Armenia, too.  They make interesting gifts.

Ukrainian Sekt.  I haven’t tried this, but I do remember Russian bubbly to be very sweet and cloying.  I doubt I’d enjoy this… but I might try it sometime.

Russian candy!  You can mix your own!  I never got into Russian chocolate when I lived in Armenia because I preferred the occasionally smuggled German chocolate.  But there must be Russians in Germany who miss it very much.  It smelled delicious.

Want some fish?  Mix Markt has you covered with lots of salmon and smoked fish.  You can also buy meats and sausages there.

And there’s even Uzbek canned meat called Plow.

Sausages galore, from all over…  Next to this case is one full of pretty cakes.

And there’s also Russian pop music for your collection.

There’s an entire aisle devoted to sunflower seeds, which are a very popular snack in former Soviet countries.

You can even get glass AK-47s full of booze– Polish vodka or Armenian brandy!  This might make a fun white elephant gift for your next Christmas party.

I found this candy bizarre…  It appears to be a gummy type confection, but it’s supposed to look like burgers.  Weird concept.  Who wants to eat a gummy candy that tastes like a cheeseburger?  I’m sure these are actually fruity… but maybe burgers are more fun than fruits are.  Reminded me of Bubble Burgers from the late 70s.


This wasn’t in the Mix Markt– I just remember these from when I was a kid.  Bubble Burgers were bubble gum “burgers” that came in little plastic cases.  I don’t think I ever tried one, but they probably didn’t taste like burgers, either.

They even had melons from Uzbekistan…

And brochures about trips to Russia.

This is just across the breezeway, if you’re wanting more Turkish choices.


After we picked up our haul, we headed to downtown Böblingen, parked at the Marktplatz, and had lunch at the Seegärtle Restaurant-Cafe-Bar.  This eatery overlooks the manmade lake in Böblingen.  It has a nice Biergarten, which was open today, but we decided to eat inside because it was a little chilly outside.

Bill looks at the menu, which mostly consists of burgers and sandwiches.  They also have soup, salad, and a few Swabian specialties.

There’s a bar and they played VH1 Classic videos, which I really enjoyed.  I’d rather see that than football.

I had a pastrami sandwich.  It was pretty good, with its pastrami, cheese, kraut, lettuce and “special sauce”.  I was full after half, though, since this also came with some excellent fries.

Bill had a cheeseburger.  It was supposed to be made with 100% beef, but he said it was “gemischtes”, meaning it was beef mixed with pork.  I was glad I didn’t order the burger, although he said it tasted fine.

The fries were the bomb, though.  Service was fast and friendly, too.  Total bill was 32 euros.


If it had been slightly warmer, we would have enjoyed outside dining.  I was liking the 80s era videos, though… at least until Kiss played.  Gene Simmons and his flickering tongue aren’t exactly appetizing.

As we were headed back to the car, we passed this Croatian “Feinkost”.  It’s maybe two doors from the restaurant.

We went inside and bought three more bottles of wine, this time from Croatia.  They had some interesting liqueurs, too.

This is the rest of the store.  There’s not much to it, but the lady who rang us up was super friendly.  I was glad to give her business.  They also had Croatian football fan gear.

This was today’s haul.  Lots of wine, some brandy, juice, and some mustard from Russia…

I can’t wait to see Bill try this.  I have a feeling it’s going to blow his brains out.  I once gave my Armenian neighbors quite a laugh when I tried Russian mustard for the first time.  It’s extremely hot stuff that will clear out your sinuses.


I’m looking forward to seeing the Nagold Mix Markt.  There’s also one located in our new location of Wiesbaden, so we should be well set with Georgian wine when we move north.  If you live in Europe and want a little something different, you should drop by Mix Markt for a visit.  You might find some new treats!



The 2018 Böblingen Afrika fest… and back to Sindelfingen’s street fiesta!

I posted yesterday about how Bill and I visited Sindelfingen’s Street Fiesta.  This weekend event was a first for us, and we had a great time.  Last year, I remember very well visiting Böblingen’s Afrika Fest, which is one of several local Afrika fests held in the summer.  In the four years we’ve lived in the Stuttgart area for the second time, we have also attended Afrika fests in Stuttgart and Tübingen.  By now, I know it’s a great place to enjoy African products– clothes, food, music, furniture, dishes, and art.

Today, we decided to visit Böblingen’s 2018 Afrika fest.  Afterwards, we went back to Sindelfingen, because if I’m honest, there was more food, more entetainment, and more beer.  But if your aim is to shop, I will admit that Böblingen is a good place to be during the last weekend in August.  Below are pictures from both events, along with my usual comments.  I have been drinking… 90% of which was done in Sindelfingen.  I’m sure it won’t be hard to determine which fest I liked better.

This guy was on stilts, entertaining everyone….  I got a lot of shots of him.


 I bought one of the plates in this photo…  The salesman was Tunisian, which meant something to me. I visited there over New Year’s 1977-78.

More Tunisian wares!  I want one of those birdcages!

Another salesman.  We didn’t stop in.

You had to buy a coupon to get beer or wine.  It was a pain in the butt.  We did it anyway.  I had a glass of wine from South Africa. 

Lots of people were enjoying African cuisine, German beer, and Cuban cocktails, along with a mashup of Cuban and African music.  

Set up for the afternoon’s performance by an orchestra from Senegal.  We didn’t stick around for it, but I bet it was lovely.

Another shot of the guy on stilts.  He was very engaging.  Bill says this is an West African thing.  Wikipedia tells me this is called “Moko jumbie“.  “Moko” means healer and “jumbie” means ghost or spirit.  He watches over his village and guards it from evil spirits!

Lots of clothes to be had.  I’m not a fan of the deep crotched look.

Bill got a turkey shwarma, which was full of turkey, grilled onions, and a “light sauce” with a kick.

He brought me a plate of stuff… this was West African and had chicken, lamb, and possibly pork or beef.  I couldn’t tell.  It also had cous cous, rice, and peanut sauce, which I loved.  And there were two fried dough rolls that were kind of like hushpuppies.


Longer lines for food at the Afrika Fest.

He was everywhere and wanted to be photographed!


 Böblingen is quite nice, if you know where to go.  This is the Marktplatz, which, in six total years of living in this area, I will admit I have spent very little time.

We left Böblingen at about 2:00 and decided to go back to Sindelfingen.  I wanted to try some of the craft beers we missed yesterday.  Once we found a place to park, it proved to be more our speed.  There’s was more live music, played by the band pictured below…

They were playing good songs and their arrangements were great, but the lead singer was lacking vocal range.  Sorry, I really am a snob when it comes to music.  But they played stuff by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Golden Earring, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath.  Not bad.

Good beer.

Plenty of stuff for the kids to do.

Plenty of food, too… everything from fish n’ chips to burgers, along with some vegetarian selections, sweets, and beers.

We spent a good portion of the afternoon talking to an American guy named Zach who came here from America to get his master’s degree and is now helping to launch Germany’s craft beer scene.  I asked him to join my wine and food group, mainly because even though there is a local beer group, I am not in it and I like my beer.  Anyway… if you also like your craft beers, you are invited to check out Cast-Brauerei, which has operated since 2010 and has a Web site.  You can visit, buy beer, and talk to Zach, who is friendly and knows about Saved By The Bell.  Zach’s colleagues recognized us from yesterday, when we were accosted by the drunk guy who was having a very good time trying everything.  See my previous post for the story on that.

These fests are now over, but the good news is, they run every year.  So if you missed them this year, you can probably catch them next year, if you’re around.  And if you come back every year, chances are good you’ll see a lot of the same people.  Talk to them.  They don’t bite, and will teach you a little something about what is here in Germany.  And who knows?  You might even make new friends.


Friday night at Check Inn Foodport in Böblingen

Right around New Year’s 2018, Bill and I were invited to a murder mystery party in Böblingen.  The couple who was hosting the party live at Flugfeld, which is a new apartment complex built on Böblingen’s old air field.  I admired our new friends’ beautiful, modern apartment and the hostess, named Donna, told me about Check Inn Foodport, a hot restaurant on the Flugfeld grounds.  Donna said the food there was excellent, some of the best she’s had in the area.

I’m always interested in finding great restaurants to review, so I made a note of Donna’s suggestion.  Bill and I kept trying to visit Check Inn Foodport, but situations always came up that prevented us from visiting.  We finally got our chance to try the restaurant last night.  Bill got home from work slightly early and we had beautiful weather.  Neither of us felt like cooking and we have something planned for today.  Check Inn Foodport also isn’t open on Sundays, although they do offer lunch on weekdays (but not on Saturdays).  Off we went back up A81 so we could finally try what appears to be a very popular restaurant in Böblingen.  You can very easily reach the Foodport by train, too.  It’s right next to the train station.

A few pictures of the area at Flugfeld.  There’s a very large parking lot there, as well as paved pathways for people who wish to visit Motorworld or try one of the restaurants.

The Flugfeld area itself has a very interesting history.  During the first World War, German pilots were trained at the site.  By 1925, the Flugfeld boasted one of the most modern airports of its time.  In 1929, the airship Graf Zeppelin made its first visit to Böblingen’s airport and was a great draw for visitors who enjoyed watching the airship.  Then, in 1938, it was time for World War II and the airfield was once again used for military purposes.

After World War II, the U.S. Army took over the air field, but it was given back to the federal government in 1992.  In 2002, the cities of Sindelfingen and Böblingen bought the land and by 2006, plans were made to turn the area into a place where people could live, work, and be entertained.  In 2008, Sensapolis became the very first business to open on the property.  Bill and I were living in this area from 2007-09, so we saw the start of the construction going on there.  Today, in 2018, the site hosts Motorworld, as well as several restaurants, a health center, a school, and a day care center.

When you visit Check Inn Foodport, you will see many references to the Flugfeld’s history in aviation.  There are photographs of people from a bygone era, excited about the future of aviation in Germany.  The restaurant itself has an aviation theme, referring to guests as “passengers”, at least in the menu and on its official Web site.  Personally, I’m not a fan of these cutesy concepts coined by corporate cronies, but I understand that some business minded people think these kinds of themes are fun for visitors.  I’m probably just being crotchety in my old age.

The front door to Check Inn Foodport.

We arrived a the restaurant at about quarter to seven.  A friendly lady was at the hostess stand.  She asked if we had reservations.  We said we didn’t.  I noticed a slight look of what appeared to be disapproval on her face, but it was still early and plenty of tables were open.  She seated us and asked if we wanted English or German menus.  Bill said it didn’t matter, but I piped up and said “English is fine.”  She brought us the menus, along with a list of specials which she apologetically explained were only available in German.  That turned out to be no problem.

I caught Bill at the wrong moment.

But I have to include an obligatory shot of him for all his fans.  He usually gets noticed by local blog readers before I do.

An interior shot of the bar area from where we were sitting.  It’s pretty nice in there, although you have to be careful not to sit at the wrong table as the sun is going down.  I noticed the tables near the front door were getting hit with extreme sunlight.


The inside of Check Inn Foodport is really attractive.  The chairs are very comfortable and stylish and the bar area is inviting.  I noticed dance music playing at a low volume and it looked like they were going for a younger crowd.  It reminded me of some of the restaurants I’ve seen in the United States in urban areas that have been rezoned similarly to the Flugfeld concept.  It’s very mod– long on style and shorter on quaint character.

Bill decided on a nice spicy Rhone wine to go with our dinner.  This was a very pleasant selection that went well with my duck and Bill’s beef.  We also had our usual sparkling water, which was brought out to us with a small bag of fresh bread.  The table has olive oil on it for dipping the bread.


Last night, Check Inn Foodport was offering specials that included tuna steak, duck, and raviolini made with black truffles.  The regular menu had salads and German fare including schnitzels and Maultaschen, as well as Pinsa Romana, which appeared to be kind of a like a crispy styled pizza– lighter than the usual pizza, but not really like a Flammkuechen, either.  The people sitting at the table next to us ordered it.  A children’s menu is also available at the Foodport.

This was my duck, which came with red cabbage, and a side of gnocchi stuffed with ham and asparagus.  The duck was a little overdone, but it tasted good.  I liked the orange sauce that came with it and the sweet red cabbage.

Bill had the chuck shoulder, which was U.S. prime beef served with mushrooms, bacon, and sauce.  His dish came with a side of sweet potato fries.  The beef was cooked perfectly. 

My gnocchi side.  These were surprisingly good.  I don’t usually like gnocchi much because it’s a little too heavy.  These tasted pretty good, though they were an interesting choice to go with duck.

Bill enjoyed the sweet potato fries.  I don’t care much for sweet potatoes, so I will take his word for how good they were.

As we were finishing up our meals, a bunch of other people started showing up.  Very soon, the dining area was jumping.  I only saw two women waiting tables, a bartender, and a manager type who appeared to be talking business at a nearby table.  The ladies were working very hard and I was suddenly reminded of my own days as a server.  I give them a lot of kudos for not freaking out, because it looked like they were taking care of a lot of people.

When our waitress cleared our table, she asked if we wanted dessert.  I was actually thinking about it, since they had a tempting chocolate creation on the specials menu.  But then she got really busy and never got back to us, and Bill and I were enjoying the last of the wine.  By the time she came back to our table, we had decided to just head home.  Bill paid the check, which came to 89 euros.

Before we left the Foodport, we visited the restrooms.  You have to go down a flight of stairs to get to them and pass a flight simulator called simINN.  When we got home, Bill looked up the flight simulator online and it appears to be a really cool activity, albeit somewhat pricey.  Tickets start at 199 euros for one person, but they have some fun looking packages that allow you to try “flying” a 737 and/or a Cessna 172.  I never thought I’d want to try flying a plane, even with a simulator, but I could see us giving this activity a whirl at some point.  I know I’d enjoy writing about the experience.  Anyway, I know our area is chock full of Air Force folks who might get a kick out of the flight simulator, so I’m including what very little I know about it in this post.  If anyone does get the chance to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes.

A photo of the old airport, which has now been repurposed.


All in all, I liked Check Inn Foodport and would visit again.  Next time, I think we’ll make a reservation and show up a little bit earlier.  We’re getting a little too old for the nightlife.


Afrika Fest in Böblingen, 2017

Once again, Bill and I were confronted with a weekend and no plans.  After checking out the Stuttgart Area Events and Celebrations Facebook group, Bill and I decided we should check out the Afrika Fest in Böblingen.  It started yesterday and continues through tomorrow.  There’s a bouncy house for kids, lots of exotic things to eat, live music, and shopping galore.  Bill and I usually don’t buy a lot at these fests, but we made an exception today.  We came home with a few things for the house, coffee, and products for my skin.  Here are some photos and anecdotes…

After parking in a garage near the Hendl Haus (the bibliotek), we had a short walk to the fest.  The first thing we encountered was the bouncy house.

Next, we came across the first of many places to buy African clothes…  I am always afraid of humiliation, so I rarely stop to look at the clothes.  

I did end up buying some olive wood here… after we did some other shopping.  


The food at the fest was excellent.  There were several stands selling food from Ghana, West Africa, and East Africa.  It all looked and smelled wonderful and was a nice change of pace.  Bill and I shared a plate for two that included chicken, turkey, shrimp, rice, and coconut sauce.  There was also a really delicious slaw included (which I usually don’t like).  It was delicious.

If you want mixed drinks…

or smoothies…

Before too long, we found ourselves at a stall where cosmetics featuring argan oil were being sold.  We came away from there with soap, oil, and a lovely smelling face cream.  The salesman was very astute and managed to get us to part with plenty of euros.

Bill says this is a much prized oil in Morocco.  We’ll see what it does for me.

Plenty of seating for eating and enjoying the festivities, which includes live music and impromptu dancing from kids and adults.

We made a stop at this table with beautiful silver and pottery from Morocco.

My sister was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, so I recognized a lot of the stuff and liked it…

I was tempted by the shiny silver and then realized I’d have to clean it.  

Very cool toys for kids.  Made me wish I had one so I could buy stuff…

We sat next to the fake lake for lunch.

Our yummy shared lunch.  We didn’t wash this down with African beer.  Instead we had our ever present suds made by the Schonaich Brau.  That chicken was so tender it fell right off the bone, but I was most surprised by the slaw.  

The band was coming…

After lunch, we headed for the bank for more cash and went on a shopping spree.  It was handily located right across the street.

Lots of pretty things to see.

After a few passes through the market, we decided to walk around the lake.  It was our first time doing so, despite living in the area for a total of five years, off and on.

I got a kick out of this sign, especially since a little girl was feeding the ducks.

Those ducks are well fed, despite the signs prohibiting feeding them.

A pretty view from afar.

I did not know that the fair city of Böblingen has a rose garden dedicated to the Scottish poet, Robert Burns.  I know this verse from a choral piece I learned in college.  That was before I realized how much Scottish heritage I have… or how much German heritage, for that matter.

The rose garden dedicated to Robert Burns.

Something strange happened at about this time.  I was standing at a table, waiting for Bill to bring us some beer.  It was pretty loud because there were drummers on stage beating their skins.  A woman came up to me and said in halting German, “Ist hier frei?”  I was so taken aback that I took a moment to respond and shook my head.  She moved to the empty table next to ours.  I felt kind of bad about it, but then again, no American has ever spoken German to me.  I must be fitting in.  If that lady happens to read this, I sincerely apologize.  I was genuinely shocked.

Here’s the loot… We got two bars of heavenly smelling soap, some skin cream, and lotion from Morocco.

A new stool for my kitchen because I’m short and the dog looks like Arran.  It was only 25 euros.  I hope I don’t break it.

The elephant plant stand and the beautiful Moroccan bowl on top of it…  The plant stand is from Thailand and is nice and heavy.

Coffee and a little olive wood container for nuts and such.

Because I have a foul mouth and a raunchy sense of humor, I was really tempted to buy a baseball hat with the word “Fuck” written on it in ghoulish florescent green letters.  I didn’t do it, because I knew I’d feel too self conscious to actually wear it in public.  But even as I was considering buying it, I saw a guy with three young kids wearing a wife beater shirt that said “Fuck, tomorrow is Monday.”  It made me realize that language really is a relative thing.  Germans don’t seem to care that much about the word “fuck”.  Still, as an American, I do have some shame.  Besides, I almost never wear baseball caps.  It was kind of funny, though.  I saw several Germans wearing shirts with German swear words on them.  Made me wish I’d worn this shirt…

Maybe next time.


Jerking around with friends at Patrick’s Stop: Jamaican Eat In and Take Away

This afternoon, I took a rare trip to a restaurant without Bill.  The local Vents Facebook group decided to meet for lunch at Patrick’s Stop Jamaican Eat In and Take Away.  I had heard about Patrick’s Stop a few times and everyone universally said they had great food.  Moreover, they just moved to a new location in Böblingen.  I don’t know if the new location is an improvement, but I will say that they have a nice big parking lot, which is definitely a plus.

There’s a nice biergarten area outside for when the weather is warmer, too.

I still had to be cajoled into braving the trip up A81, but was finally talked into it.  Those of you who were happy to see me today have Bill to thank.  He set me up for success by giving me plenty of Euros, hooking up the GPS, and reminding me that I could write a new restaurant review!  Yes, I know I sound ridiculous and I didn’t used to have this problem of not wanting to go out and about in my car.  Driving in heavy traffic makes me a little mental, though.

I got to Patrick’s Stop about fifteen minutes early.  There was an “open” sign on the door, but the door was locked.  A gentleman who arrived at the same time I did said they opened at noon.  It was 11:45, so I just hung around and checked Facebook.  Patrick, I presume, finally poked his head out the door and told me to just come on in out of the cold.  I appreciated that, since it’s a bit chilly today.  I chose a big table in the corner and ended up moving to the “Stammtisch” table, since we were anticipating a fairly big group.  Sadly, a few weren’t able to make it.

A shot of the dining room before anyone else arrived.

The first thing I noticed besides the very generous parking lot is the way the place smelled.  There was a delightful aroma of smoked, grilled meat.  From what I gather, Patrick has one daily special available, as well as a few dishes that are available every day.  Today’s special was curried goat.  I had been planning to have fried chicken, which they offer everyday.  However, because there were a bunch of us coming, they also had Jamaican Jerk chicken.

Since the chef had made it available especially for us, Jamaican Jerk chicken is what I decided to order.  Let me just say, if you’ve been missing spicy food since coming to Germany, you may want to pay Patrick’s Stop a visit.  A few of us had our sinuses cleared with this dish!  I need to bring Bill there because I know he’d love it.  I am less of a spice fan, so next time, I might try the fried chicken.  All meals come with coconut rice and beans, plantains, and Caribbean style vegetables.  They also offer small portions, a children’s menu, and a dish for vegetarians.  Click here to see a photo of the menu.  If you like Red Stripe beer, you are in luck.  It’s available in bottles, as I would expect it to be in a Jamaican restaurant.

It was our waitress’s second day, which explained a bit why she seemed confused by the menu.  We also learned that she’s not originally from Germany, so she no doubt hasn’t yet tried the Jamaican Jerk chicken.

Although I asked for dark meat, I was given white… It was very good.  I tend to like dark meat because white meat can be a little dry for my taste, but this wasn’t too dry at all.  And it was plenty spicy!  I paired this with sparkling water, but later ended up getting a beer to help flush away the spice!


Most everyone else had the Jamaican Jerk chicken, with the exception of one Venter who shall remain nameless.  I appreciated that I got to see what the fried chicken looked like, thanks to him.  One Venter also tried a dessert that had a special name that escapes me right now.   My bill came to 19,80.  That included two large glasses of mineral water with gas, one beer, and Jerk chicken.

A good time was had by all.  I probably ought to break out of the house more often during the week, hang out with people,  and try new things.  In any case, I will definitely be going back for more of Patrick’s Jamaican cuisine.  It was a refreshing change of pace, even if I did have to brave scary traffic through Böblingen to experience it!  Five stars from me!


knotty’s big trip to the mall…

I usually like to do new things on Saturdays.  That’s the one day of the week when my husband is home and things are open.  Bill is trying to write a paper for one of his cybersecurity classes, so he wasn’t all that keen to go on a long outing today.  Since it was getting a bit late when I finally convinced him we needed to get out for a bit, this afternoon we visited the Mercaden Mall in Böblingen for the very first time.

The Mercaden is a new mall.  It didn’t exist the last time we lived here.  Last time we were here, the only decent mall was Breunigerland in Sindelfingen (There is also Schwaben Galerie in Vaihingen, but that mall doesn’t thrill me much).  Breunigerland is terminally crowded and offers a lot of European shops and eateries.  We were last there at Christmas, when we rejoined ADAC (the German auto club).

ADAC, by the way, is well worth joining.  We were members last time we lived here and our membership paid for itself when our car’s battery died on us while parked long term in a garage.  We called ADAC and some guy came out, tested the car, found out what was wrong, and sold us a battery on the spot.  That German battery lasted a good five years before it needed replacing.  Aside from ADAC, Breunigerland also has upscale shopping.  It kind of reminds me of Tyson’s II in the Washington, DC area.

By contrast, Mercaden doesn’t seem quite as upscale, even though it’s a lot newer and more pristine.  The stores and eateries are more American.  For instance, there’s a McDonald’s in the Mercaden Mall, while Breunigerland only has a freestanding McDonald’s in the parking lot.  The Mercaden also has a nice Edeka grocery store and a Dunkin’ Donuts, which I know really gets Americans excited.  We did stop by there today and picked up some donut holes.  I am here to tell you that they aren’t really the same, though they aren’t bad, either.

Not quite like home, but satisfying enough…  They aren’t as sweet as American ones.  There is also a Dunkin’ Donuts in Tuebingen.

The Mercaden has plenty of parking in a garage, which you have to pay for.  Breunigerland’s parking is free.  Mercaden is right next to the Bahnhof in Böblingen, so you don’t have to fool with parking if you don’t want to.  The first hour of parking at Mercaden is free, anyway.

I think– but am not positive– that the toilets at Breunigerland are also free, while they cost 70 cents at Mercaden.  The price to pee has gone up.  It used to be universally pretty much 50 cents everywhere, but now they have a fancy machine that takes the money that has to be paid for.  On the plus side, the Mercaden’s toilets are very clean and modern.  Someone was actually attending them, so I didn’t mind paying.

We ended up buying food today.  First, we had lunch at an Italian pizza and pasta place situated right in the middle of the corridor.  It made for good people watching.  I got to watch a guy walk his well-behaved labrador retriever around as Bill and I ate pasta washed down with beer.

Bill tells it like it is…

The menu.  On the other side, there was a pizza menu.  I probably should have gone for the pizza instead of pasta.

Sushi?  It also looked good.  And so did the doner kebab place next to it.

But I had spaghetti with tomato sauce and bacon…

And Bill had spaghetti with a light cream sauce and basil pesto…

And local suds…  I love that a restaurant can be in the middle of a mall corridor and have a full bar.

After lunch, we bought some cheese, wine, deer salami, and Italian butter at an Italian deli.  Then we bought a loaf of bread and a pretzel at a bakery.  Finally, we got our Dunkin’ Donuts… or donut holes, as it turned out.  I actually wanted donuts, but then when I saw them, I decided the holes would be better for my ass.  Since they are European Dunkin’ Donuts, they aren’t as sweet anyway.  Winning.

One other thing I noticed about Mercaden is that it was not really crowded today.  In fact, it seems to be a very pleasant place to shop.  Enclosed malls are disappearing in the United States, but they are still pretty popular in Europe, probably because the weather can really suck much of the time.  But since today was relatively nice after the rain stopped, there weren’t so many people in the mall.  If I’d wanted to, I could have spent a few hours there, but we were home within a couple of hours.  After we picked up our stuff, it didn’t seem necessary to stay longer.  There was a time in my life when I would have made up a reason to hang out at the mall.  I guess I have evolved.

I could go back there again, though I really like shopping online now.  The Italian deli might be enough of a reason to go back… and the bakeries, which were very impressive indeed and offered some enticing looking cakes.  There were also a lot of ice cream stops… more than I would have expected, really.

Getting out of the garage was an adventure.  Bill made a wrong turn and had to circle back around the way he came in so we could leave.  But once we were out of the garage, it was very easy to get back on the autobahn and go home.  In fact, even though Breunigerland has free parking, Mercaden is an easier mall to navigate into and out of.  I give it a thumbs up.


Lo and behold, we DID go to a different restaurant…

I’m ashamed to admit this, but for the first time ever today, Bill and I visited the Waldheim Restaurant near Panzer Kaserne.  I remember seeing the signs for it when we lived in the Stuttgart area from 2007-09.  I think I even remember trying to go there once.  We never made it, though, for whatever reason.

I had heard that this locally famous restaurant in Böblingen was going to close.  Then Bill said they weren’t closing; they were just going to be moving somewhere else.  I see on their homepage that it does look like they will relocate within the next few months.  I hope they find a good spot, since they have been in their current place for 35 years as of March and it is a very nice area in the woods.  Meanwhile, I’m really happy Bill and I finally got to eat there.

We had a little snow.

Mucho vino!

When we drove up, the parking area was hosting plenty of vehicles.  It was pretty obvious the place was open for business.  We walked in and were greeted by a handsome young man who invited us to sit at a six top near the bar area.  I was charmed by the placemats they had, which offered Schwabish translations of high German words.  Of course, if you don’t speak high German, you may not know what the words mean.  I got some of them and the placemat was a welcome distraction; almost as welcome as the couple sitting behind us with the adorable Golden Retriever.  We had run into them at The Auld Rogue, too, so it was a pleasure to see all three of them again!  I love that dogs are so welcome in Germany and only wish my two were well-behaved enough to join us during our lunch outings.

Learn Schwabish while you wait!

Bill checks out the menu.

Bill and I had beer.  I had a hefeweizen and he had a hells.  We both had schnitzel  His was of the Vienna variety, while mine was the “Waldheim” type– that is, it came unbreaded and with Hollandaise sauce.  Yes, we were going for extra calories today.

I sat next to these two…

After the couple with the Golden Retriever left, a German lady brought another Golden in… He appeared to be in training of some sort.  He was very pretty, friendly, and well-behaved and I noticed him getting a much adored belly rub from another guest.  Like I said… dogs are fine with me in a restaurant.  I’d rather hang around dogs than many people.

The food was filling and tasty and I was enjoying watching everyone come and go.  I decided to have a dunkelweizen and Bill had a cup of coffee while we chatted.  We had a nice view of what looked like a rappelling tower/zipline apparatus, though we didn’t get close enough to have a look.  The weather was especially weird, snowing and sleeting one minute, then sunny and breezy the next.

My “Waldheim” Schnitzel…  I think the Hollandaise had curry in it.  It was good and not as filling as Bill’s Wiener Schnitzel.

Bill almost finished this…  All told, our bill was 38,90.  What a bargain!  😉

We didn’t have dessert, but I did notice the boy behind us enjoying a very fancy dish of ice cream.  Maybe next time.

I can see why so many Americans enjoy the Waldheim Restaurant so much.  The food is very good and reasonably priced.  There’s plenty of wine, beer, and liquor.  The atmosphere is friendly and hospitable.  The surroundings are pleasant and attractive.  It’s within walking distance of Panzer, too.  I hope we’ll get to go back again before the restaurant closes and/or moves to a new location.

We stopped by the Shoppette on the way home.  I couldn’t resist taking a picture of a box of dreadful American beers…

So we finally broke out of our rut.  Next weekend, I hope to write about Hamburger restaurants…  if you know what I mean.