Lunch in lovely Hofheim!

Advertisements

We have pretty weather today, so Bill asked me if I wanted to go out. I did want to go out, as I have a bad habit of being reclusive when I should be out enjoying Germany. Unfortunately, Aunt Flow showed up this morning… about a week delayed. I was hoping for a reprieve but– NOPE– no such luck. It always happens on a Saturday, too.

Anyway, I mention Aunt Flow only because we were on our way to Hofheim in my Mini Cooper convertible (which really needs to be driven more), when I realized I had forgotten to arm myself with the necessary feminine hygiene supplies. Fortunately, Hofheim has a very nice Edeka located in a shopping mall that has a nice parking garage with low rates. We parked there, stopped by the store, visited the restrooms (50 cents), then took a stroll through Hofheim, which is one of the nicest towns near where we live.

A few months ago, when we tried and failed to adopt a dog from a German pet rescue, I joined the Wir in Hofheim Facebook group. It was one of many groups I joined in an attempt to try to locate the dog we hoped to adopt who escaped from his pet taxi as he was being unloaded. Unfortunately, the dog met an untimely end on the Autobahn, but I stayed in the groups, anyway. The Wir in Hofheim group is one of my favorites. I regularly follow it, because there’s a lot of helpful information in it and the people are very nice. It was from that group that I got the idea to go to Hofheim.

It’s not that we hadn’t been there before. Bill and I visited the outskirts when we first moved up to the Wiesbaden area and ate in a now defunct Italian place. Bill also visited the town to get take out for us when the COVID-19 restrictions were very strict. Unfortunately, one of the places we discovered in the spring, Blanca Bistro, is now closed. We passed by there today on our way into the old town. I was sad to see it sort of abandoned… there’s still liquor and glassware in there, and signage is still up, but the restaurant stopped serving food a couple of months ago. Several places have had to close due to COVID-19, including the excellent German place near our house. We only ate there one time because it was always packed! But it couldn’t keep going during the pandemic.

We did manage to find lunch, though. We ate at Ristorante L’Opera, an attractive establishment in a little alcove on the main drag. No one else was there when we arrived at about 12:30pm, but we were soon joined by a German couple who enjoyed smoking.

Bill filled out the contact tracing paperwork and the waiter handed us the laminated menus, obviously much abbreviated compared to normal. There were still a few dishes that were attractive, as well as some specials that were advertised on a sandwich board by the passage. Unfortunately, the uncomfortably narrow chairs, which are the kind often found at gelaterias, reminded me that I probably ought to cut back on my groceries.

I don’t usually get pizza in Germany, mainly because it’s always more than I can finish and I don’t always like the kinds of pizzas that are available. I will say that today’s pizza was excellent. I especially enjoyed the crust, which was absolutely perfect! I’m sure they have a pizza oven to get such perfection. Light, yet chewy with a slightly crisp crust, delicious mozzarella cheese, and a light layer of tomato sauce made that very simple pizza creation a delight! And I even skipped the meat.

Bill enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich, which had a housemade bun. He especially liked the slaw, though. Bill likes cabbage very much. I noticed he cleaned his plate, while I had leftovers, which our attentive server was happy to wrap up for later.

The bill for lunch came to about 41 euros. Bill gave the guy 45, and we took a walk around the town. Hofheim is maybe nine kilometers from where we live, but it’s very charming. We probably ought to visit more often, if only because we like the Edeka better than Rewe.

Anyway… it wasn’t long before we needed to head home and rescue Arran from his loneliness. Although Hofheim isn’t a substitute for some of our favorite little towns in Baden-Württemberg, like Nagold, Esslingen, Ludwigsburg, and Tübingen, it’s not a bad place to spend a couple of hours. There are several nice restaurants there, charming ambiance, places to shop, and enjoy the last days of summer. I’m glad we took the time to go there today… and for any readers who are looking to move to Wiesbaden, this is one town I would recommend seeking a home nearby. It’s a very pleasant little hamlet.

Lunch at La Meo in Nagold…

Advertisements

I was needing a couple of hours out of the house this afternoon.  Originally, we were considering going  further afield than Nagold, but then I took a look at the time and the fact that one place we were considering trying for lunch was only open for dinner.  Since it was almost 1:00pm, we decided to go to Nagold, which is one of my favorite cute towns and super convenient to us.  I had a restaurant in mind, La Meo, which is an Italian bar/cafe/bistro right next to Nagold’s big Edeka store and convenient to the nearby Ibis hotel.  It’s open every day and does not take a pause in service.

As we approached the restaurant, I had a funny thought about the sign.  The restaurant is called La Meo, but the sign says “Lameo”.  That made me wonder how to pronounce it.  Was it La-Meh-O?  Or Lame-oh?  But I see when I look it up on Google, it’s actually two words– La Meo.  And Google Translate doesn’t tell me what La Meo means.  Oh well.

Lame-o?  

The first thing I noticed about this restaurant, besides its very contemporary ambiance, is that it smelled great.  The air was permeated with the aromas of fresh bread and garlic.  Indeed, since this is an Italian restaurant, you will find pizza, pasta, and other dishes that smell of garlic.  We had a seat at a comfortable table on the lower level, affording us a good view of the open kitchen where a very good natured chef was at work.  There’s also an upstairs dining area, should you want to take in Nagold’s fabulous views.  I also noticed loud dance/pop music, which was a little annoying, but not surprising.  The staff appeared to be young and hip.

Bill takes a look at the menu, which was sitting on the table.  

 

This inexpensive eatery offers lots of pizzas, pastas, salads, and a full range of beverages.  It appeared to be very kid friendly and casual.  Naturally, since it’s next to the supermarket, plenty of people were stopping there before hitting the Edeka for their Saturday shopping chores.  Service was okay, although the servers weren’t as attentive as they could have been.  They were chatting with the bartender and not noticing when we were ready to order.  Also, we ordered a bottle of sparkling water and they brought us one big glass instead.  However, it was served with lemon and Bill was fine with forgoing water.  We both had nice glasses of red wine.

Here’s a view of the window where food is picked up.  The chef appeared to be very pleasant.  He’d ring his bell and if one of the two servers didn’t answer, he’d deliver the dish himself with a smile on his face.  When I dropped my napkin, he kindly brought me a clean one and disposed of the one that fell.

Bill decided to have Romana Pizza, which was made with ham and cheese.  The crust on this pizza was really good.  It was probably among the best I’ve had in this area.  I don’t like German pizza as a rule, but this wasn’t bad at all.

I had Penne alla Vodka.  To be honest, this wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.  Vodka sauce, to me, is kind of like a creamy tomato concoction.  This tasted more like plain old tomato sauce that was a little heavy on the onion.  It had little bits of bacon in it.  I would have appreciated some Parmesan cheese and noticed they had some in the fridge by the chef’s window.  The waitress never asked, though, and I decided not to trouble her.  

 

Bill was hungry and ate most of his pizza.  Unfortunately, I feel like I might be coming down with something and only managed about a third of my dish.  They gladly packed up our leftovers for us.  Total damage was about 28 euros before the tip.  I probably wouldn’t order the pasta dish again, but I would get a pizza there or try one of the other pasta dishes.  Overall, it was a good experience.  When the weather warms up, they’ll offer seating outdoors, which will make for good people watching.  We’ll go back and try it again another time.

After we ate, we decided to go to Edeka.  Bill wanted to find some barley because he wants to try to replicate that insane garlic soup we had in the Czech Republic a couple of weeks ago.  We didn’t know the word for barley, so I consulted Google and learned that the German word for barley is “Gerste”.  We went looking for Gerste, but never did manage to find it.  However, I did find something else…

Oh why did I have to find chocolate sandwich spreads?  Talk about a present for my ass!

 

This stuff was a thing twenty years ago.  Deadly!  It needs a warning on its label!

Before anyone asks, yes, I know all about Nutella.  In fact, I know about those deadly chocolate candy bar spreads, too.  When I lived in Armenia in the 90s, I used to be able to find both Snickers Bar and PB Max spreads.  I’m pretty sure PB Max has been discontinued.  Snickers bars are still made, of course, but their devilish spread is no longer.  That’s good thing, because that stuff was the devil!  It contained about 50 grams of fat per serving!  However, nothing was better for slaying the onset of PMS.  As it was, today I did pick up a jar of the Twix spread, which I haven’t tried yet.  We also got some other fattening treats, just in case I am coming down with whatever crud is going around.

When Bill spotted these bottles in the line to pay for our stuff, he thought it was motor oil.  Upon closer inspection, it became clear that these plastic bottles are full of some kind of liqueur.  Marketing is a funny thing! 

 

When we go to Edeka, I usually get a kick taking pictures of the cigarette packages.  Here in Germany, the warnings include pictures and cover the whole package.  I didn’t take any pictures today, but did notice one funny warning that showed a crestfallen shirtless man looking down, along with a stern warning that smoking causes impotency.  Leave it to the Germans to pull no punches!  I think they should put warnings on candy bar spreads, too, because eating that stuff will make your posterior spread in short order!

Anyway, I hope to get to a more mainstream restaurant soon.  Hopefully, tomorrow I won’t be laid out with an illness and there will be a fresh review.

Lunch at Il Due and I finally signed up for a cell phone contract!

Advertisements

When Bill and I first moved back to Germany in 2014, we resisted signing up for a cell phone contract.  It was mainly because we didn’t know how long we’d be living here and we knew cancelling contracts in Germany can be a pain in the ass.  For three years, Bill has been buying me Vodaphone pay as you go top ups.  They run 25 euros each and I usually need at least one a month.  I get one GB before the speed is throttled… or, at least that was the way it was at first.

I got a new phone for Christmas.  In honor of the occasion, Bill decided to take me out today to sign up for a contract.  He chose O2 because they have a deal where you can get 10 GB of data a month for about 20 euros.  He later said it was closer to 30 euros, probably because they add a VAT or something.  I don’t know.  I am not the one paying the bill.

Before we went to the shop, located in Nagold’s fabulous Edeka supermarket, we stopped at Il Due for lunch.  I decided on the duck special.  Bill ordered swordfish.  He had a Pinot Grigio and I had a Barbera red.  Sadly, the duck came with hated mushrooms all over it, so we ended up trading plates. These are photos from my new iPhone 8+.

 

The swordfish was originally Bill’s choice, but I ended up eating it.  It came with a nice healthy side of vegetables and was covered with a tapenade with onions, capers, and black olives.  I was good today. I even ate the Brussel’s sprout.

Bill had the duck breast with its mushroom infested gravy.  It came with a side of cheesy potatoes, which Bill said were nice, and a side of vegetables.  I actually enjoyed the vegetables, which were cooked al dente and were very flavorful.  If I ate more vegetables, I might be less hulking than I am.

 

This was our third trip to Il Due.  Our first visit was a couple of months ago, even though we had been wanting to try the place for most of the time we’ve been here.  So far, we have not been disappointed by the food.  It’s always been excellent.  Service can be a little slow, but it’s always friendly and competent.  It’s a nice place to stop for lunch when we’re in Nagold.  Today’s lunch before the tip was about 60 euros.

We went to the O2 store after we ate and had to wait about fifteen minutes or so, since the young man who was working there was helping someone else.  When it was our turn, Bill asked if the guy spoke English.  He said a little.  Bill said he speaks a little German.  Then he proceeded to speak German for about 90 percent of their collaboration.

I was waiting for Bill to find the IBAN (account number), since he did not take my advice and get a German bank account and an EC credit card.  He says he’s going to rectify that mistake pronto.  I hope we’ll be here long enough to make it worthwhile.

Bill brought his passport and a utility bill, but neglected to write down the IBAN.  Fortunately, he found it on our water bill.

 

The guy the O2 employee had been helping before he helped us offered to translate if we needed it.  It turned out he spoke perfect English.  We have found that fewer people in Nagold speak English.  In a way, it’s kind of refreshing.  They don’t automatically slip into English when they hear Bill speak German and he gets in his practice.  I am myself learning more of the language, but can’t really speak it.  I understand a lot more now, though.  It’s good to watch the German ads on YouTube and the odd video my German friend, Susanne, shares with me.

We stopped by Edeka to pick up some Champagne for tomorrow night.  We left with several bottles of wine and a box of chocolates.

I was amused by the sweet, well-behaved dogs sitting outside the store.  I wish mine were like that.

We were checking out… and once again, I noticed the warnings on the boxes of tobacco.  I snapped this picture to remind myself to look them up online.  In one warning, there was a shirtless man pictured looking down.  I couldn’t help but wonder what he was looking at.  My guess is that the warning is that cigarettes cause impotence due to heart disease.  I love how blunt the warnings are.  They aren’t simple text like they are in America.  No… here, you get photographic evidence of how nasty cigarettes are.

 

Below are a few photos from Nagold today.  It’s still decorated for Christmas.  I always enjoy visiting Nagold.  It’s hard to believe we live only a few miles away and the landscape is so totally different.  I definitely think we should shop at Edeka in Nagold over the Real in Jettingen.  It’s a lot more pleasant.

Herrenberg… and lunch at Cafe Atelier…

Advertisements

The weather is a bit gloomy again today, so Bill and I decided to keep today’s outing low key.  We went to Herrenberg for lunch and tried a place new to us, but not to the city.

The morning market was just finishing up when we arrived.

Herrenberg is such a cute little city.

 

We came upon Cafe Atelier, a cute little place I’d noticed a few times over the years but had never tried.  They had a bunch of chalk boards and a menu outside that made the place look inviting.  I could also see a large display case full of desserts.  Desserts will lure me every time, so we ventured inside.

A little cafe with lots of yummy looking baked goods out front.

 

When we walked in, we noticed a man standing behind the counter reading the paper.  There were two tables with ladies sitting at them, conversing animatedly.  I get the sense this cafe is very popular with ladies who lunch.  The inside is very feminine looking and cute.  Bill wondered if maybe the front room was only for people having coffee and pastries.  He walked toward the back room and the guy behind the counter stopped him and told him we could sit in the front room.

The encounter was a little bit awkward… but we had a seat.  I knew what I wanted immediately, a glass of Greek cabernet and the gyrosteller.  Bill ordered a different red.  The guy took our menus before we had a chance to order food.  Below is Bill’s expression at that…

Actually, he had a funnier one, but I was too slow on the draw to capture it.

Lots of good looking desserts!  We didn’t try any, though, because lunch filled us up.

 

The guy came back over after pouring my wine and told Bill that his choice was not available.  So Bill had a glass of the same cabernet I ordered.  We both settled on the gyrosteller.  I guess I must speak my limited German with a terrible accent, because I had to repeat myself a couple of times.  I should get someone to teach me to say “gyros” at the very least.  Happily, I no longer pronounce it “guy-rohs” like I did many years ago.

The little salad that came with the gyrosteller.  It had a rather strong mustard vinaigrette that was oddly sweet.  It wasn’t bad, but the flavor was more intense than I would have expected.  I appreciated that the salad wasn’t really big.  I prefer little salads.

 

While we were waiting for our gyros, I noticed the man behind the counter, who seemed to be a little bit over it.  He sneezed.  I was relieved when I saw him go to the sink.  But then I watched him rinse his hands without soap.  The public health educated side of me cringed a little.  A few minutes later, he blew his nose.  Then he went back to the sink and rinsed his hands again.  I guess I should be that grateful that he did that much.  Some people don’t.

Behold… the gyros with pommes and tzatziki.  These weren’t too bad.  They were well seasoned, at least, and I didn’t get the sense that the pork was really intended to be a schnitzel.  However, I don’t think the gyros were prepared the way they are at my favorite taverna, on a spiese.

 

We had a leisurely lunch and when it was all said and done, it cost just 29 euros before the tip.  Hopefully, we won’t be catching a cold.  Bill visited the restroom and noticed that the proprietors are okay with non customers using their toilet if you give them fifty cents.  I figure that’s fair, as long as the toilet is clean and stocked, which it evidently was.  I didn’t visit it myself.  We walked around the corner and passed a fruit and vegetable market, where there was some excellent looking fresh produce was offered.

I should have gotten one of these.

Produce worth getting excited over.

If we hadn’t purchased over two pounds of cheese in Alsace last weekend, maybe we would have stopped in…

Unique gifts for Christmas!

We decided to walk back to our car via Edeka.  Herrenberg has a large, impressive one that sells all manner of food, drinks, bras, and underwear.  They also have beer Advent calendars.  I already have a calendar full of liquor that I ordered from Master of Malt.  I like beer calendars, I guess, but German beers mostly taste the same to me in each of the few styles available.  But I can see why people get excited about them.

We bought ice cream instead.

 

A very considerate lady noticed we only had one item, so she let Bill go ahead of her.  It always makes me feel good when people are unexpectedly kind like that.  On the way home, I noticed the very dramatic skies…  Winter is on its way.

Looks like a spaceship is about to land.

I love it when sunlight streams through the clouds like this.