Lunch at Mangia, Mangia in Kronberg…

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Although we had wonderful weather again yesterday, Bill and I never managed to venture out anywhere. Instead, we stayed home and enjoyed our usual backyard wine and music. Bill also made a “savory cheesecake”, which was something I used to serve when I worked lunch shifts at The Trellis in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Trellis was started in 1980 and run by Marcel Desaulniers, John Curtis, and for some years, the late Tom Powers. Mr. Powers eventually divested himself of his share of the restaurant and opened a competitor, The Fat Canary, which is still running and very popular. When I worked at The Trellis, Mr. Powers was already out of the partnership.

Anyway, a savory cheesecake is a cheese based pastry… but it’s “savory”. It’s a cheesecake made with cream cheese and some other kind of cheese. In our case, we used Monterrey Jack and Cheddar cheese, but in Marcel’s cookbook, it calls for Dry Jack and Gruyeres cheeses and at the restaurant, they made it with cream cheese and Swiss.

Bill tries his hand at cheesecake. Yes, it looks like a sweet cheesecake, but it’s not… and it’s not a quiche, either. It’s cheese based, not egg based.

While we were enjoying the cheesecake, Bill asked me if I would like to go out to lunch today. I said that would be fine, so we made reservations at Mangia, Mangia, an Italian eatery in Kronberg im Taunus, which is just on the outskirts of Frankfurt. Kronberg is right next to Koenigstein, which is where I had my birthday lunch in June, and not at all far from Bad Soden, a spa town that also has an Italian steak house and rib joint called Rocco’s Italian Grill.

Our reservation was at 1:00pm. We live about twenty-five minutes or so from Kronberg, so I had to hastily wrap up my guitar practice so we could get there on time. We needn’t have been so concerned. Although the terrace was bustling when we arrived, there were many tables available indoors. We decided to sit outside and enjoy the last days of summer before the weather turns to shit. There’s a parking garage very close to the restaurant, as well as an outdoor lot right by the restaurant itself.

Here are some photos from our visit.

Lunch was very good, although I probably wouldn’t get the Smokey Avo Burger again. I’m pretty picky about my burgers. Bill loved it, though, and ate what I didn’t want, as well as his own pasta dish. I think next time, I’ll go for a pasta dish or maybe grilled dorade or salmon. The pizzas also looked great, but they’re always too big for me. Despite appearances to the contrary, I don’t generally eat that much. I just drink too much. 😉

Service was a little slow, but basically friendly. I enjoyed watching and listening to the people around us. I noticed a lot of people who were there were Italians, which is always a good sign in an Italian restaurant. On Sundays, they offer non-stop service, though they take a pause on other days of the week. The inside of the restaurant is very modern and kind of glam. It looked a little like it was influenced somewhat by American tastes. The pizza bread burger buns are unique.

I noticed a young couple who appeared to be on a first or early date. They looked like they might be teenagers. It reminded Bill and me of when we had our first date, although we were well beyond the teen years when that happened. It’s hard to believe that this year, we’re going to celebrate our 18th anniversary.

After we ate, we decided to take a walk through the very quaint town, which reminded me a little of Ribeauville in Alsace, France. There are many beautiful half-timbered buildings and interesting architecture. I guess Kronberg was not too badly decimated during World War II. Here are some photos…

On the way back to the car, I noticed the garage had a pay toilet. Since I drank water and wine at lunch, I decided to spring for a pee before hitting the road. The WC wasn’t too dirty, but there was a lot of graffiti. Since I know I have at least one German reader who enjoys reading the public’s thoughts on things, here’s what was written on the walls. Who says Germans can’t be crass?

Kronberg begs for a return visit and further exploration. As nice as Hofheim was last weekend, I think I might like Kronberg even more. It’s a very ritzy town. Too bad we couldn’t take the Mini. It needs gas and air in the tires, which Bill will take care of tomorrow. Then, he’s off to Stuttgart to attend to business for a few days. Whoopee. Guess I’ll play Sims 4 and watch more Call the Midwife.

Five Guys in Wiesbaden!

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It’s raining cats and dogs today, and I needed to go to AAFES to pick up a few things. Bill has to go to Stuttgart tomorrow, so we decided to head into Wiesbaden for lunch and a little ‘Murican shopping on post. I kind of didn’t want to go into town because of the steady rain and unseasonably warm temperatures, but Bill was curious to see how our brand new Five Guys location was doing.

If you read last week’s post, you might know that we overheard an employee at Wiesbaden’s latest burger restaurant telling people that they would be opening their store on Thursday, January 30th. Bill and I have been to the one in Frankfurt a couple of times, as well as ones in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland. And, since I am a Virginian and we used to live in Northern Virginia, we have also tried one of the original Five Guys’ restaurants (the chain was founded in Arlington, Virginia in 1986), as well as the Five Guys outlets that have been springing up like kudzu all over the United States. The funny thing is, I distinctly remember reading back in 2002 or so that the Murrell family would never allow anyone to franchise their restaurants. Now, every time I turn around, a new one is opening. They’re probably rolling in money now.

Anyway, we noticed that today, there wasn’t that much of a line. The first time we went to the one in Frankfurt, there was a line out the door. I actually saw tables open, even though it was prime time for lunch. So, just because I do like a good burger and I wanted to visit this location before it turns into a total zoo, we decided to try it. Here are some pictures.

I was pleased to discover that the burgers we had today were just like the ones we’ve had in the States. In fact, even the pickles were right. Last time we ate at Five Guys, I didn’t like the pickles because they were sweet. Today, they used “spicy” ones, which aren’t actually spicy as much as they are sour.

I enjoyed the music playing– lots of decent rock from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, although it was turned up a bit loud. I told Bill that I wouldn’t enjoy working at Five Guys due to the noise, fast paced environment, and the extremely bright lighting. In fact, as much as I do like a good burger, I don’t even really enjoy sitting in their dining rooms because they’re so loud and bright. But I was pretty happy with the hot, juicy burger. The cheese was melted well and they got the order right.

Besides burgers, you can get hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, BLTs (bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches), and veggie sandwiches. They also have “freestyle Coca-Cola” with free refills, Evian water, and milkshakes. I saw a lot of people with shakes today. I might try one myself someday, although I would probably have to go there only for the shake. There’s no way I could have a burger and a milkshake in one sitting. I’d probably throw up from the excess. As it was, we didn’t even finish half of our one order of regular fries!

Some people complain about the prices at Five Guys. Our burgers were priced at 9,50 euros, which is admittedly higher than what you might find at, say, Burger King. But the burgers at Five Guys are all beef, never frozen, and aren’t loaded with way too much mayo. I don’t think we’ll go to Five Guys regularly, especially since I have a feeling it’s going to be super busy as it catches on in Wiesbaden, However, for the occasional burger, I don’t mind if I do… I hear Stuttgart’s location opens on Monday, so there’s no longer any need for anyone to make a road trip from down there to Frankfurt just so they can get their American style burger fix.

This is more my style.

After we ate, we dropped by AAFES, where I wasn’t able to find exactly what I was looking for. I got what I could find, then got in line. While we were standing there, ready to pay, I looked over to the entrance of the store and spotted a young man wearing a t-shirt that read “Fucking Slayer” as he held on to a handle of a baby carriage. Then, as the cashier was ringing us up, she talked to the customers ahead of us, who were waiting on a price check. The man said the cashier was good at multi-tasking, and the cashier said, “Yes, I am surprisingly good at multi-tasking. When it’s slow, I drop shit.” I guess nowadays, people don’t even try to stifle what are traditionally known as “swear words”.

At least I didn’t see any curlers today…

I am certainly not a prude when it comes to off-color language. I just thought it was kind of funny that she said “shit” out loud without batting an eye. That, and the guy’s profane t-shirt, reminded me of a time when a person could be kicked off an installation for wearing something like that in public. When I was a kid, certain clothes weren’t allowed to be worn… like, if a woman wore curlers or spandex in a shopping area on post, she might be asked to leave.

In my mom’s day, women weren’t even allowed to wear pants or shorts in the commissary or the officer’s club. Nowadays, when I go to AAFES, it’s like a live rendition of the People of Walmart. There’s nothing like a visit to AAFES to remind one of his or her ‘Murican roots. Ah well… I don’t really care too much about that issue. I just thought it was funny and interesting. As much as I curse, I would probably blush if I accidentally swore in front of customers. But I guess it’s not a big deal nowadays.

Big business in Poland, part seven

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Tuesday morning, Bill had to get up much earlier to meet his bus, which departed at 7:30am. Because I am a dutiful wife and am used to waking up in the pre-dawn hours, I got up with Bill. We enjoyed another chaotic breakfast in the Sofitel restaurant. I’ll just say that every day last week, it was pretty much the same thing. Up early and waiting at the locked restaurant door at 6:30am, much like I did at Longwood College in the early 90s. The experience was eerily reminiscent of those days. The only things missing were the grits and biscuits and gravy, and a big, friendly, maternal black lady named Tina who called everyone “baby” and asked for their IDs. Instead, we had pretty young Polish women asking for our room numbers.

After breakfast, I came back to the room, did some writing, did some reading, and went back to sleep. I did this most days. Again, not so different from my college days, although back then, if I was up early, it was because I had an 8:30am class. It’s hard to believe I used to think that was super early. Now, I can sleep whenever I want to, but I’m usually up by 6:00am, despite having neither children nor a job.

Anyway, on Tuesday, I ventured to the Doctors’ Bar for lunch. It is just across the street from the Sofitel, and boasts some really excellent Polish craft beers. I am a beer lover, but when we were in Poland in 2008, I was not at all impressed with their regular suds. I tried beers like Lech, Zywiec, and Tyskie, mainstream brands that are probably akin to American brands like Budweiser or Miller. I concluded that I don’t go to the Poles for beer. Instead, I go to them for their vodka.

Well… I am here to tell you that in 2019, Poland has a rather exciting craft beer trend going on. On Monday night, Bill and I hung out in the hotel bar and tried a couple of the local craft beers made by Profesja, a Wroclaw craft brewery. I wasn’t hugely impressed by the Profesja beers, although they were better than the beers I tried in 2008. The one thing I did like was the cool label on the super strong dark beer I tried. Check out the picture below.

The Doctors’ Bar was pretty empty when I arrived at 12:00pm, and the pretty young server who looked after me invited me to sit anywhere I liked. They were playing upbeat jazzy piano music that I quite liked. I perused the menu, as the waitress said they had a bone in pork chop available. I ended up ordering a cheeseburger, although I noticed the pork chop was very popular. It was probably delicious. I should have ordered that instead. When the cheeseburger arrived, it was so huge I had to eat it with a knife and fork. Seriously… it was gargantuan! However, it was also probably one of the better burgers I’ve had in Europe. The patty was handmade, 100% beef, and very juicy, covered in mildly sharp Cheddar cheese and adorned with lettuce, onions, habanero mayonnaise, tomatoes, cucumbers, and guacamole. It also came with fries with the skins on.

On the day of my visit, Doctors’ Bar had eight draft beers available, again made by a Polish brewery. I ordered a Maryensztadt Klasycznie Porter Baltycki. Maryensztadt Brewery is located in Zwoleń, Poland, well east and a bit north of Wroclaw. I liked the two Maryensztadt beers I tried more than the Profesja beers I had at the hotel. I also tried the Maryensztadt Rye Oat Orange Stout, and enjoyed that one even more than the porter. Doctors’ Bar also has a full service bar and a large array of bottled beers available.

I had to walk off the lunch, so I wandered more around the city and found more potential venues for eating, drinking, and making merry. Wroclaw has a lot of interesting museums, a water park. an escape room, art galleries, shopping, and even a few activities for kids.

At about six o’clock, Bill came back to the hotel and we went out for dinner. Because I had such a huge lunch, we opted to share a rather plain buffalo mozzarella pizza at a restaurant called Bistro 8 1/2. Tucked into an alcove in the cluster of buildings in the middle of the market square, this tiny “hole in the wall” Italian place featured a very friendly waitress who sold us on a Venetian red wine that tasted of cherries.

Looking up this restaurant, I see that it has two locations. The one we went to appeared to be kind of a satellite location. The menu was small and, if I’m honest, I have had better pizza. I liked the crust, but the cheese was barely melted. This is kind of an issue for me, because I don’t like cold cheese. It’s a texture thing. But the waitress was so nice and the interior was so charming that I overlooked it. I wasn’t that hungry anyway. We did have dessert, too. Cannoli for me and panna cotta for Bill.

Ah well… we did stop by the hotel bar again, because there were some guys in there that Bill and I talked to the night before. They were also at the conference and commiserated with Bill about the ways of the Army. One of the guys is going to retire in about two years, so Bill was sharing his experiences. I got to say goodnight to a couple of cute dogs who were staying at the hotel. They made me miss Arran.

Next post!

Damned good burgers at Fletcher’s Better Burger in Frankfurt…

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We had absolutely perfect weather today. It was so perfect that we were seriously considering going to an apple festival in Mainz. We decided to go to Frankfurt instead, since Bill discovered a new burger restaurant we had to try. A friend at a conference he just attended at Ramstein Air Base told him about Fletcher’s Better Burger, a chain in Frankfurt that was started by an American. At this writing, there are four locations, all of which are in Frankfurt. I have a feeling this restaurant will take off and there will soon be more places to enjoy one of Fletcher Davis’s juicy burgers.

We tried the location at Katherinenpforte, which is right next to Frankfurt’s big main square and just around the corner from Five Guys. There’s a huge parking garage located right next to the square. It was a bit of a mad house getting in and out of it, and we had to park on the top floor because so many people did a shitty job parking. However, Fletcher’s burger was so good, I didn’t mind it so much. Here are some photos from today’s visit.

It’s a pretty low key affair. They just have burgers (beef and veggie– made with peas), fries, soft drinks, and beer. The meat is fresh daily, and they make their own buns. Burgers come with tomatoes, onions, ketchup, mayo, honey mustard, lettuce, and pickles. You can also get jalapenos, fried onions, BBQ sauce, hot sauce, mustard, and grilled mushrooms free of charge. Irish cheddar cheese and bacon is extra.

Unlike Five Guys, Fletcher’s Better Burger only gives you one patty with a standard burger. Of course, if you want more meat, you can add it for 1,60 euros or 1,90 euros for an extra patty with cheese. You can also order your burger wrapped in lettuce if you’re watching your carbs.

I have to say, we were really impressed with our burgers. They were juicy, fresh, flavorful, and a good size. I also liked the cross cut fries, which were robust with potato flavor and cooked to perfection. I definitely think Fletcher’s Better Burger could give Five Guys some competition. I noticed they weren’t nearly as busy, either.

The only thing I didn’t like about our experience was the music. They were playing godawful dance versions of classic 80s songs, including “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman and a cover of “With or Without You”, which was originally a U2 song. I found the music very annoying. But we could have eaten outside, as they did have plenty of tables available. Also, the bathrooms, which are at the bottom of a flight of stairs (bad news for wheelchair users), could have used some attention today. We would still go back, though. It’s nice to see the humble hamburger getting better treatment in Germany.

After we ate, we walked around a small fest that was going on. We didn’t stay long because there were a lot of people crowded into a small space. But I did take some pictures.

People were selling gifts, crafts, and lots of food. I was disturbed by the number of stalls specializing in mushrooms… the one food I will not eat under any circumstances. Some guy was also selling mushroom lawn ornaments. Creepy!

I’m sure we could have found more to do, but Frankfurt was even more of a zoo than usual today, so we decided to head home so I could write this post. Tomorrow, we’ll hit the apple fest… or, at least that’s the plan.

Big burgers…

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I’m writing a quick post today because my husband is about to leave town for 18 days.  We just had sort of a “last supper”.  I sent him to see John at Spirit of New Orleans to get some takeout.  As much as I love John’s fried chicken, shrimp, and ribs, I really wanted to see if his burgers are up to snuff.  Pictured below are the two we ordered today.

This is a Giant Burger and it is, indeed, giant.  It comes with bacon, cheese, lettuce jalapenos, tomatoes, onions, and barbecue sauce, as well as a small side of delicious homestyle fries.

And this is the Cajun burger, which is almost as big.  It comes with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and barbecue sauce.  I’m not sure if it’s spice Cajun style or not.  I didn’t taste it.  Bill says it was very mild.

 

Both of these burgers were juicy and tasty, made with beef.  We had to cut them in half and will finish them later, because they were just too huge to eat in one sitting.  I, for one, was hungry when we started.  When we find German restaurants that have good burgers, I like to point them out.  I know how rare finding really good burgers can be in these parts.

Bill got me some ribs for after he leaves, too, sort of a consolation prize before I get back on the booze free wagon and eat whatever’s quick and easy and doesn’t make a mess.

These burgers are definitely not Whoppers, that’s for damn sure!  John says pretty soon, he’ll be grilling outside and they’ll have live music events.  He’s having a jazz breakfast on Sunday this week, but unfortunately, I won’t be making it to that.  Ah well.  Maybe next time.  Fattening soul food and good live music is a winning combination in my opinion.  What a treat it is to have him so close to us.  It’s almost like having another Tommi’s Bistro.

Wining and dining at Ratskeller in Tübingen

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We had beautiful sunny weather today, although it was cold and kind of windy.  I got the idea to go to Tübingen to pick up some wine at Vinum Weine & Feines, one of my favorite wine stores in the area.  I wanted to see if they had any Georgian Saperavi.  It’s the only wine shop I’ve found yet in Germany that carries Georgian wines.

Before we hit Vinum, though, we needed to have lunch.  We decided on Ratskeller on a whim.  We’ve passed this place a bunch of times, but never noticed it had a restaurant.  Apparently, it’s a club that hosts bands in the evenings.  I was actually lured there by the sign below…

The sign above the bowl reads :”Bitte, hier trinken anstatt zu pinkeln.”  Translation: Please drink here instead of peeing.  I’d love to know what prompted the management to post that sign…

 

Today’s specials.

 
 

The front facade.  

 

Bill stares in wonder at the locally produced IPA he found.  It was actually very good.  He was impressed.

 

Nice to see the Germans getting in on making craft beers.

 

I had a glass of wine (grenache and syrah blend), which came with a small glass of sparkling water.  Notice under the tulip is an ad for a Jam Session.  The Ratskeller hosts bands.  I think our table was actually on the small stage.

Ratskeller seems to specialize in burgers.  They had everything from a plain ol’ cheeseburger to veggie burgers.  They even had choices for vegans.  I noticed they had a few other items for those who didn’t want sandwiches, as well as soups, salads, and specials.  Bill and I decided to have burgers, although neither of us went for the usual American beef variety.  I had a chicken burger and Bill had a vegetarian apple and cheese burger.  He said the cheese was somewhat mild and it came with a dressing and tomatoes.

Bill’s apple and cheese burger.  This was one of the weekend specials.  He didn’t realize it was a meat free sandwich, but enjoyed it just the same.  The fries were ordered a la carte and came with a “dip”.  They had ketchup and mayo, as well as a number of more exotic dips.  We both had ketchup.

 
 

My chicken burger had thin breaded chicken breast filets, sliced tomatoes, a curry dressing, lettuce, cheese, roasted onions, and pineapples.  It wasn’t bad at all, although the burger was pretty large and got kind of messy.  I couldn’t eat the whole thing.

 

The interior of the restaurant is pretty nice.  There’s an attractive bar area, as well as a cavernous dining room that looks like it was the old cellar.  I noticed they had lots of board games there for people to play.

The “cavern” dining room… on the way to the ladies room.

 

Board games for the bored.

And the bar.

 

I noticed there were signs posted warning clients of the patrons of date rape and sexual harassment.  Apparently, Ratskeller and other local night spots are committed to preventing their guests from being harassed.  It was translated into several languages.  I was glad to see it.

“No means no.”

In French and Arabic.

In English…

Our bill came to about 33 euros.  All in all, we enjoyed our lunch and would eat at Ratskeller again.  It has a nice atmosphere, reasonable prices, and pretty good food.  Maybe next time, one of us will brave one of the more conventional beef burgers.  After Bill paid, we headed to Vinum for wine shopping.  I snapped a few more photos on the way.

Someone has a weakness for Gremlins, Garfield, and Odie.  Guess they must be about my age.

 

The city square is looking fine, as usual.

 

I especially love visiting here when the sun is out.  Lots of people were enjoying the sun, drinking coffee and beer outside.  It was still a little too chilly for me.  I guess you can take a girl out of the South, but not the South out of the girl.

The entrance to my favorite bottle shop in these parts.  

 

They have whisky and other tastings, too.  We didn’t partake of any whisky today.

 

But if you want to try some of their wines, you can help yourself to the ones they set out.

 

Just grab a glass and go to town!  I only tasted two today.  I’m usually pretty shameless when it comes to tasting wines at Vinum, but restrained myself.

 

We did manage to score two bottles of Georgian Saperavi.  In fact, we cleaned them out of what they had on display.  I want to encourage them to stock more.  For those who are curious…

This is what we’ve picked up on our last few visits.  If you like leathery, full bodied reds with a lot of character, you may want to give it a try.

 

This was the total haul.  We were conservative because Bill forgot his wine bag and we are already pretty flush with vino right now.  I just got a bunch of Armenian wines from Armenian Brandy and Wines out of Belgium.

 

Right next to Vinum is an optical shop.  I liked the eye charts they had for men and women.

Apparently, women prefer shoes…

 

And men prefer beer.  Actually, I’d rather take the beer test.

On the way to the parking garage, I noticed someone was using a US mailbox.  I haven’t seen one of these in over three years.

Tübingen is always lovely, but especially when the sun is shining!  Bring on spring!

 

Tomorrow, it looks like we’re going to head to a place we’ve not yet been… provided the weather is decent and we get up and going in time.  We probably should have spent more time out and about today and probably would have, if not for the gusty wind!  I am so ready for better weather!

Mauerwerk in Herrenberg, take two!

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I must confess that the dreary weather we’ve been experiencing lately in Germany has not made me want to venture out and try new restaurants.  However, this morning, I realized that I had spent entirely too many days in my nightgown, just waiting for the sun to shine.  So I decided to adopt the German way of thinking, which is there is no such thing as bad weather… only bad clothing.  Although I usually try to experience new restaurants on the weekends, today we decided to pay another visit to Mauerwerk in Herrenberg, a place we visited for the first and only time in October 2015.

I see by my first review that we enjoyed our first visit to this restaurant on Herrenberg’s main drag.  When we lived here the first time, from 2007-09, the building Mauerwerk is currently in was a protestant church.  It’s now a place where one can enjoy a good meal or a good show.  Mauerwerk regularly offers movies, concerts, and theater productions.  Why we haven’t availed ourselves of this place more often I don’t really know.

The front door…  

 

And a different perspective of Herrenberg…

In any case, we made a reservation for 1:00pm, but we didn’t have to do that.  When we arrived a little before our reservation time, we found the restaurant had only a few tables full.  There was a birthday party for kids going on in the upper level and a couple of family gatherings on the main level.  Bill and I were offered a four top next to the bar, which offered a different perspective than where were seated during our visit in 2015.  The menu, however, had changed little.  On our first visit, I had salmon, which I saw offered again today.  Bill had a burger on that visit and I saw a similar version of what he on that visit had offered today.

Obligatory shot of Bill looking at the menu…  besides the offerings on the menu, there was a special burger being offered called the Maui burger.  Neither of us went for it.

Very nice bar area, complete with 15 year old El Dorado rum… one of my favorites.

And a view of the artwork… I liked the pipe organ themed sculpture.  I love pipe organs.

Last time we visited Mauerwerk, we had three courses, which was too much food.  This time, we were more sensible.  I went with the Mauerwerk Burger, which kind of crushed Bill, since he wanted it, too.  He decided to have a vegetarian dish instead, a curry made with coconut milk, mango, red and yellow peppers, onions, snowpeas, coriander, and cumin.  I raised my eyebrows when he decided not to have it with turkey strips, which made our waiter laugh.

This was the Mauerwerk Burger.  It was 180 grams of fresh ground beef, cheddar cheese, bacon, homemade chili ketchup, lime pepper mayonnaise, arugula, onions, and homemade pickles.  It came with a side of herbed fried potatoes and ketchup.  I’m pretty sure the bun was homemade.  It was delicious.

 

Seriously, I was impressed by the Mauerwerk Burger.  The beef was very fresh and juicy and tasted really good, which I’ve found isn’t always a given when it comes to German beef.  I liked that the cheese wasn’t too strong, as it was when Bill had a burger there the first time we visited.  I only wish they offered an option that allowed patrons to choose their own toppings.  I prefer my burgers a little less fancy.  As it was, this sandwich was almost too big to eat with my hands.

Bill’s vegetarian curry.

I asked for my burger to be done medium, which it was.  I managed half before I had the rest packed up.  I wanted dessert.

We paired our lunches with wine.  I had a Spanish Rioja and Bill enjoyed a delicious Syrah from South Africa.  We also had our usual fizzy water.  I was a little tempted by Mauerwerk’s Wall Dwarf, which is a beer that is brewed exclusively for them.  I’m glad I went with wine, though.  After I finished the first one, I had another Rioja that was offered as a daily special.

One thing I noticed while we were dining is that the dining area is a bit noisy.  The kids on the second floor were pretty loud, as kids tend to be.  I said to Bill, “It’s too bad they don’t turn on some music.  I see they have speakers.”  Just as the kids were about to leave, the bartender answered my prayers and turned on some great classic rock.  Suddenly, the atmosphere was way better… Queen, Foreigner, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pink Floyd, Bonnie Tyler, and Leonard Cohen…  yeah.  Much better than the sound of little urchins chattering.  Much as I love urchins, that is…

Speaking of little kids, at the table next to us was a young couple and their little baby, along with a couple of friends.  I was enjoying watching them.  The father, in particular, was very attentive to the baby and, I can only assume, his wife.  He helped his wife when she left the dining room to breastfeed.  He held the baby when she got fussy and, when Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” came on, danced with her around the room.  It was very heartwarming… especially since I have my doubts that guy was even born when “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was popular.  I was a little kid myself in those days.

Anyway, the music made me want dessert and more wine.  The wait staff seemed to enjoy my attempts at German, too, although at least one of the staff members spoke native like English.

I had the “Toblerone” mousse… two clumps of semi sweet chocolate mousse, kumquats, pomegranate seeds, red currants and blueberries, and a little chocolate cookie…

Bill went with the mango pancakes, which I’m sure he thought would be smaller.  The pancakes were not very sweet, but had a little dusting of powdered sugar.  They arrived warm with a side of vanilla ice cream and more berry compote.  It was way more than he could eat; we should have shared it.  However, it was delicious.  

Our total bill was just over 60 euros.  We paid in cash, though they do take cards.  Our servers were very appreciative when Bill gave them a generous “Trinkgeld” (tip).

I’d been wanting to go back to Mauerwerk since our first visit in 2015. It’s a shame it’s taken so long to visit again. I really enjoyed today’s lunch, if not because of the good food and cheerful service, because of the pleasant atmosphere. In fact, as I was sitting there enjoying lunch over my beloved classic rock, I felt the need to post on Facebook… “I love (heart emoji) Germany soooo much!” And I do, even if the winters do make me want to hibernate.

Mauerwerk is a real gem in Herrenberg. Not only is the food good, but it’s also a much appreciated source of entertainment. It’s time we took in a show there. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled, since we live so close.  Mauerwerk is open daily for dinner from 5:00pm and from 9:30am until midnight on Sundays.  They do a breakfast on Sundays until 3:00pm.
If we don’t do anything special for dinner on Valentine’s Day, I suspect my next post will be about our next road trip, which will be to the Czech Republic… another place we are long overdue to visit! Stay tuned!

Burgers at Corners in Sindelfingen… my kingdom for paper products…

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I thought we were going to be homebound this weekend because of my dog Zane’s surgery and subsequent stitches.  Fortunately, he’s turned out to be a good patient who is healing nicely.  Bill and I had cabin fever after spending all day yesterday holed up in our house drinking beer.  I remembered the last time we visited Sindelfingen and passed an attractive looking burger restaurant called Corners.  Although I tend to be pretty skeptical when it comes to trying burgers in Germany, I have found a few places that do alright with our American favorite.  Corners looked like it had potential, so we decided to try it today.

Bill found a large public parking lot not far from the restaurant.  We ended up walking further than we should have and passed a Turkish place that looked and smelled wonderful.  As Bill consulted his iPhone for directions, I made a mental note to make another visit to Sindelfingen soon.  Then I started heading down the hill.  It turned out my sense of direction is quicker and more accurate than Bill’s iPhone is.

The front of Corners…

Corners is located on a corner, very close to the ever popular Funzel Restaurant, which is where we ate the last time we visited Sindelfingen.  A few people were sitting outside under the generous awning Corners supplies.  We decided to eat inside and took up residence at a table in a corner near the front window.  After a quick look at the menu, which was in English, we told our English speaking waiter that we wanted two beers, a Hefeweizen for me and a Kellerbier for Bill.

Although Corners offers steaks and salads, as well as some interesting looking lunch specials, we had come to try the burgers.  I chose the Jack Daniels burger, which, along with 200 grams of beef, came with bacon, cheddar cheese, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and Jack Daniels barbecue sauce.  It was also supposed to come with a shot of Jack Daniels Honey, which I presume is some kind of booze.  I never got the shot, but that was okay with me.  Bill had the U.S. beef burger, which came with 200 grams of U.S. beef, onions, tomatoes, grilled peppers, pickles, house made burger sauce and lettuce.  We both had curly fries, which was a nice change from the usual pommes.

Bill checks out the menu.  The sound system in the restaurant was playing loud hip hop music that was slightly annoying because it was hard to hear the waiter.  Plus, I’m an old fart who doesn’t like that kind of music.

This was my Jack Daniels burger.  Bill’s burger was pretty much identical to mine, except it had a yellow burger sauce on it that he said tasted a little like it was mustard based.  This burger was pretty big, although it was more bun than meat.  I liked that there were packets of ketchup and mayo on the table for the fries.

 

We both ended up having to cut these sandwiches.  My burger had a bit more sauce on it than I would have preferred.  You see, I like to eat my sandwiches without a knife and fork.  That’s the whole point of a sandwich, right?  But I find here in Deutschland, people tend to load up on condiments, which makes eating burgers with one’s hands a bit messy.  Fortunately, I grabbed an envelope of silverware that had a napkin tucked in with it.  Bill was not as lucky as I was.  His envelope was napkinless.  The missing napkin turned out to be a recurring theme in absent paper products.

I liked the burger itself.  The beef was good, albeit cooked well-done.  It was fairly juicy and had a good flavor.  I even liked all of the toppings on the burger, including the tomatoes, which I usually remove.  But, as I mentioned in my caption, the buns (which did not appear to be house made) were larger than the burgers within them.  I was reminded of an 80s era Wendy’s ad…

“Where’s the beef?”

After I finished eating, I went to the upstairs level to use the restroom and wash my hands.  The first stall I tried was out of toilet paper.  The second one was adequately supplied.  Then I washed my hands, only to find the paper towel dispenser empty.  The restaurant appeared to be staffed with only men today.  I guess they weren’t thinking of the ladies’ room.  The upstairs toilets are something those with mobility issues may want to consider.  You have to climb steps to get to the bathroom.

The bar area is nice looking and there are a number of cocktails available.  Both the upstairs and downstairs dining areas are nicely decorated and inviting, although the music was a little loud.

 

We decided to stop at one beer and come home to check on Zane.  Our bill came to just under 26 euros, which I thought was pretty reasonable.  Corners appears to be pretty popular with the American crowd and obviously caters to us.  I enjoyed my burger, although I hope next time we visit, someone will have stocked the ladies’ room and silverware with paper products.  Overall, I’d say it’s a decent place to get a burger, though.  Just be sure to ask for extra napkins!

Birthday boy!

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Yesterday was Bill’s birthday.  We decided to go to Buffalo Grill and Bar in Gärtringen.  This was our first time back since April.  I am pleased to note that it looks like business is picking up a bit.  (Edited to add: Buffalo Grill and Bar is now closed.)

When we arrived, the sun was out, but there were some heavy clouds in the distance.  We sat outside anyway.

We ordered another combi-platter, which comes with chicken tenders, chicken wings (not spicy), onion rings, cheese sticks, poppers, and a jalapeno pepper.  It also comes with a nice chive dip and barbecue sauce.  This starter is great for sharing.  My only complaint was that the poppers were lukewarm, like maybe they needed another minute on the heat.

We also ordered small (150 grams) burgers.  I had a bacon cheeseburger and Bill had a spicy burger, which came with jalapeno peppers.  There were plenty of fries, too, and they came with ketchup!  

Just as we were about to tuck in, the sky got decidedly stormy.  The wind picked up and warned us that it was about to rain.  We decided to follow other diners’ lead and moved to the inside dining room.

 

Bill is happy after finishing his burger.  At this point, the sky was about to open.

The burgers were almost as good as I remembered them from April  I ended up having to eat mine with a knife and fork because it was really messy and the bun was a bit crumbly.  Our waitress spoke German to us the whole time, except for toward the end of our meal, when she spoke perfect English.  We thought that was kind of funny.  Our bill came to less than 40 euros.

We also thought it was funny that a couple of people actually ordered the double cheeseburger.  The large burgers at Buffalo Grill are 300 grams each and a double consists of two large burgers stacked on top of each other.  I really wanted to take a picture of the creation that came out.  Those things were enormous!  Luckily, the two guys who ordered them were rather large fellas who could probably handle such monumental sandwiches.  One guy did look a little sheepish as he tried to figure out how he was going to eat his burger.  Click here for a picture that kind of looks like what I saw last night.  The ones we saw last night looked even bigger than that!

On the way home, I broke out my new camera and took some photos of the amazing sky.

None of these are edited.  The sky in these parts is just amazing.

All in all, we had a nice time last night.  I don’t know if I enjoyed last night’s burger as much as I did the first time I had one at Buffalo Grill, but I do know that their burgers are better than most of the ones I’ve had in Germany so far.  If you’re missing American style burgers, you might want to pay a visit… but keep your expectations in check.

Lunch at Triple B’s… Great burgers in Zuffenhausen…

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Today’s review is brought to you by my friend Rick, who suggested Triple B Burgers in Zuffenhausen as a potential lunch spot a couple of weeks ago.  Rick said Triple B’s burgers (Triple B stands for Beef Burger Brothers) were among the best in the area.  I have come to appreciate Rick’s taste, since he recommended Christophorus at the Porsche Museum to me a few months ago and Bill and I had a great meal there.  After that, I figured the man knows his food, and Bill and I are always looking for good places to eat.

We needed to go to Ludwigsburg to drop off empty bottles at Heinrich’s, so I suggested that we stop in Zuffenhausen for lunch.   Bill was game, despite the crappy weather today.  We loaded up the ol’ SUV and headed north, arriving in Zuffenhausen at about 2:30pm.  As we passed Triple B’s, I could see there were many people in there.  Generally speaking, if a place is booming, especially when it’s not during prime meal hours, the food is going to be good.  On the other hand, I’m not really a big fan of crowds.  I glanced nervously at the busy looking restaurant as Bill circled around looking for parking.  There are spaces available on the street near the restaurant, but it was kind of tricky to find one.  We finally lucked into a spot right across from the U-Bahn, which is located just steps away from the restaurant.  If you are coming just for the burgers at Triple B’s, I would recommend taking the U-Bahn rather than trying to park.

When we entered Triple B’s, it was positively bustling with business.  There were no tables to be had.  I told Bill that maybe we should get our order to go and eat in the car.  He agreed, but while he was in line, a table near the Coke cooler opened up.  I grabbed the spot while Bill waited for his turn.  He ordered me a 200 gram cheeseburger and himself a 200 gram chiliburger and a portion of fries to share.  If 200 grams is too much food, you can order 100 gram burgers.  They also have veggie burgers.

We also got two bottled Cokes.  Besides Coke, Triple B’s offers Sprite, Fanta, beer, and a variety of other non alcoholic drinks.

We waited about twenty minutes or so for our sandwiches, watching in awe as more and more people came in.  I noticed there was a nice mix of Americans and Germans in the restaurant.  Bill tried to order in German, but the guy behind the counter immediately switched to English as soon as he heard Bill’s accent.  A friendly waitress brought us our order packed up in styrofoam containers and stacked into a plastic bag.  Since we had a table, Bill told her we would eat in house.  She kindly brought us a couple of paper lined trays.

Obligatory shot of Bill.

My cheeseburger came with tomatoes, lettuce, red onions, cheddar cheese, ketchup, mayonnaise, and German pickles (more like cucumber slices).  This burger was juicy and delicious, but it was a bit of a challenge to eat it at the tiny bistro table.  I was awkwardly balanced on a stool and people were kind of standing over our table as they waited in line.  It made me feel self-conscious because other diners were clearly checking out my burger.   Maybe it’s a girl thing, but I don’t like feeling like people are watching me stuff my face.   

 

These pommes were like steak fries, which I really like.  I also liked that the table had ketchup and mayo (pommes sauce) on it.  It’s such a treat to have ketchup with fries in Germany.  One portion was enough for both of us and we had leftovers.

 

I tried this to see if it tasted different than mayo.  It didn’t to me.  I still prefer ketchup.

 

Bill’s very messy chiliburger.  Just so you know, the chiliburger doesn’t have chili on it (and I can’t imagine German chili would be that exciting).  This burger has jalapeno peppers and chili sauce.  It also had onions, tomatoes, German pickles, ketchup, and romaine lettuce.  The buns on both burgers were housemade.  The chiliburger is available with or without cheese.  Bill liked it very much, even though he went through several napkins.

 
 

You can also get a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

The crowd at 2:30pm.

I managed to get this shot for the couple of minutes those stools were open.

Big line.

 

As we were finishing up, the crowd began to disperse.  By the time we were ready to leave, there were a couple of tables open.  I think if we’d gotten there at 3:00pm or later, we would have had a more relaxed experience.  In the dining room, there are a few larger tables that don’t require sitting on a stool.  I noticed there were several reservation signs on the wall for this evening.  That tells me that if you want to go for dinner, you should probably book ahead.  Either that, or get your burgers to go.

A shot of the front of the restaurant.

Triple B’s menu.

 

Triple B’s has excellent burgers for a reasonable price.  Our order came to about 25 euros and we left feeling very satisfied.  We genuinely liked the food there and, when it’s not really crowded, it’s probably a great place to have lunch.  The huge crowds and lack of seating was a bit of a turn off for me.  However, I will admit that the place has a great reputation for good reason.  The burgers are delicious and probably as close as you’ll get to an American style burger in this area unless you make one at home.  I almost felt like I’d stumbled into the Krusty Krab with the way people were enjoying their patties.

After lunch, Bill and I went to Heinrich’s and loaded up on more beer.  I have already blogged plenty about Heinrich’s, but wanted to mention that they’ve reorganized the store.  And for the first time in over a year of shopping there, Bill and I ran across this mixed crate of beers.  I’m sure they’ve been doing it all along, but I was glad to find it today.  I love trying new suds as opposed to getting crates of 20 of the same kind of beer.  Aside from that, it takes forever to scan individual beers.  I know other Heinrich’s customers hate being behind us in the check out line because it takes us forever.  I like the way Heinrich’s has been reorganized.  I think it looks great and it’s much easier to find stuff without being overwhelmed.

Mixed beers!  Weee!

A shot of the sign.  The weather was too crappy to roll down the window.