Nagold’s Fall Fest and another lunch at Osteria da Gino’s!

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Today was one of those days when I am really very thankful to live in Europe, and Germany in particular.  Most days are like that for me, but some days I’m even more grateful than others.  Today was one of those days.  It was just glorious.  I’m writing this post, not just for myself and for those who already live here, but also for those who are planning to move to the Stuttgart area or even somewhere in Europe.  I hope it will excite a few readers, especially those who have never lived in Europe.

It started with an enchanting sunrise…  One thing I will miss about where we live.  I hope our next house has such a view.

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the Mix-Markt chain, which is a European grocery store that specializes in goods from countries in the former Eastern Bloc and Soviet Union.  We visited the one in Böblingen, mainly because I figured that location was most convenient for a lot of my local readers.  Today, we tried to visit the one in Nagold, but unfortunately, the parking lot behind the store was absolutely jammed, as was our usual parking lot that is close to the store.  We ended up parking on the other side of town, which would have made hauling a large booty of groceries an exercise in difficulty.  So, instead of visiting the Mix-Markt and picking up some more eastern European wines, we decided to check out Nagold’s Fall Fest which is happening today and tomorrow.  Tomorrow is a shopping day in Nagold, so not only will this fest be going on with lots of food and music, there will also be shopping.

Lots of pretty fashions were on sale.

Damn.  I knew I forgot something.  Should have gotten some quarkinis for tomorrow!  They smelled heavenly!

Alsatian pizza anyone?

Fun for kids.  I would have liked this when I was a youngster.  Looks like it’s akin to bungie jumping.

Before we went shopping, we stopped by another one of our favorite local restaurants, Osteria da Gino, and had a sumptuous lunch.  Gino was there today, just as jovial and hilarious as always.  He shook Bill’s hand and delivered his trademark warm and friendly service.

We started with a lovely Primitivo, chosen by Gino’s second banana… who also happens to speak English.  That’s handy, because Gino isn’t an English speaker, but he still manages to be very entertaining.

 

We split this absolutely heavenly Vitello Tonnato– veal with tuna-caper sauce.  I usually try to stay away from veal, but I made a rare exception today.  This is truly delicious.  It sounds like it wouldn’t be, but it is…  

A pause before the pasta arrived.

We both had homemade pasta and tomato sauce with meatballs and Parmesan cheese.  I saved half of mine for later, because I wanted dessert…

Yet another piece of Gino’s wonderful tiramisu, which we shared.

 

I know I gush a lot about the restaurants in Nagold, but they truly are delightful.  I’m going to miss this town for all it offers.  I hope we find a similarly lovely town near Wiesbaden.  Total for lunch, which lasted about two hours, was just under 90 euros.

After we ate, we visited the bustling market.  I took some photos.  As you can see, the produce was well loved by other shoppers.

Chestnuts are a big hit.  There are several trees near where I live and I often see people picking up the ones that are on the ground.

I was attracted to this beautiful display of heirloom tomatoes.  I love all the colors.

Bill laughs as I swoon to the musical stylings of an accordion player…

He was really helping the mood.

At this point, I noticed a woman selling chocolate.  She spoke Spanish, German, and English.  It turned out she’s from Ecuador and lives in Calw and she operates her own chocolatier that uses less sugar.  We ended up talking to her for a few minutes and bought some of her truffles and chocolate shavings.  I found myself getting a little sad, realizing that we’re going to be leaving this town and the area around it.  It’s really been a pleasure to live out here in BFE.

After we bought the chocolate, I spotted a “Nette Toilette” sign.  I have written about this program before.  It basically allows people to use the restrooms in public facilities, free of charge.  Gino’s is a designated Nette Toilette, as is the municipal building I found on the way back to the car.  If you spot a red sign that says “Nette Toilette”, it means the business is getting money from the city to allow people to use its restrooms.  That’s pretty handy to know.  It definitely came in handy today.

Next, we stopped at a stand where a man was very animatedly telling a couple about his olive oil.  He was also selling wine, so we stopped in…  I ended up tasting two wines.  He gave me a piece of very strong cheese to try with the wine, which I passed to Bill, who is much more of a cheese person than I am.  I told the guy that Bill eats cheese and I drink.  All of the English speakers cracked up.  Then the guy gave me ham and sausage to try with the wine.  I don’t think I’ll need dinner tonight.

German gin.  We didn’t buy any… but I was tempted.

 

A moose passed while the guy was telling us about his 1000 year old olive tree in Italy.  It just occurs to me that the women who are passing look a little pissed…  Wonder if they were giving me the stink eye.

Bill makes a decision about the oil while I look on…

The overall mood of this fest was very “festive” and convivial.  Everyone was enjoying themselves… lots of people were eating, drinking, being friendly, and loving their community.  I will really miss Nagold.  I have come to love it.

  
If you’re looking for something to do tomorrow, I recommend visiting Nagold and checking out this festival.  Gino’s will not be open tomorrow because Sunday is his Ruhetag, but there will still be food, shopping, live music, and kids’ activities.  As for Bill and me, I think we we finally visit the Cannstatter Fest so I can get some use out of my dirndl and he can try out his new kilt.  Hopefully, no one will throw up.  Just kidding.  I intend to do more observing than drinking.

Another Nagold restaurant I’m really going to miss…

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I am truly going to miss this place.

Last night, Bill and I decided to go back to Nagold for dinner.  We had visited Nagold last weekend, hoping to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, Luz Bistro at the Alte Post, but they were hosting an event.  Last night, they were open.  In fact, when we approached the menu posted on the front door, Marina Hentsch, the proprietor came out and enthusiastically greeted us!  There was a couple sitting on the terrace having drinks, so she invited us to sit inside or out.  We opted for outside, knowing that soon it will be way too cold to eat al fresco.  This is also kind of the sweet time of year when you can enjoy the last of the good weather without battling the bugs!

Obligatory shot of Bill looking at the menu.

We really enjoyed this lovely primitivo from Italy…

Bill got a kick out of the “math problem” on the back of the bottle.

 

We may have to have this again!

 

Before we move to Wiesbaden, I wish we could dine once again at the Alte Post’s more formal restaurant, which is on the second floor.  We had the privilege of eating there twice and we dropped a whole lot of euros, but of all of the places I’ve had fine meals in Germany, I think I might have enjoyed the Alte post best.  Unfortunately, last I heard, Alte Post was suffering from the same problem a lot of local restaurants are… lack of qualified help.  I know of at least one other decent eatery that had to close because there wasn’t enough wait staff.  The upshot is that the Alte Post is now open for events only and isn’t offering the more formal multi-course menus on the weekends.

Fortunately, the more casual Luz Bistro is still very nice.  There’s a server who speaks English and has been working there for as long as we’ve been patrons.  She recognized us last night and delivered great service with an excellent attitude, even though everyone else decided to eat inside.  It was a pleasant evening, at least until the sun dropped and it started to get chilly.

I went with braised beef and spatzle.  The beef was topped with sauteed onions and the spatzle was very fresh and delicious.  I don’t usually like spatzle a lot, but I really liked the Luz Bistro’s version, with its creamy, cheesy sauce.  It really complemented the tender beef, served with a very savory gravy.

Bill had the “cordon bleu”, with was a breaded pork filet stuffed with feta cheese and ham and served with t’zatzki and loads of pommes.  This was also a nice choice, although I try to avoid schnitzel if I can.  It’s not that I don’t like it– it’s more that it’s easy to get it when I don’t want to be adventurous.

We decided to have dessert.  I had to Google “Affogato”, which is the Italian word for drowned.  It consists of a scoop of vanilla ice cream “drowned” in hot espresso.

We got to watch a bunch of local kids playing in the square while we enjoyed the fall evening.  

I love Nagold so much.  It’s such a nice little town.

Our waitress lit candles for us.

Bill had the Affogato, which was just the right size.

I went with the parfait.  It was light and creamy, with bits of rich chocolate ganache and meringues.  It was a nice way to end the evening.  I hope we can squeeze in one more visit before we move.

 

Total bill for last night’s dinner was about 98 euros.  We really enjoyed ourselves, as usual, and I will probably pine for Luz Bistro when we can no longer access it so easily.  Ah well… I’m sure we’ll find good places near the Rhein, too.

Big news on a little move… old favorite restaurants for old time’s sake…

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Our very first lunch at Osteria da Gino in Nagold…  and another visit to see “The Mad Scientist”.

It’s been a big week here in Unterjettingen.  The biggest thing that has happened is that my husband was unofficially offered a new position in Wiesbaden.  That means that unless something really crazy happens, we will be packing up and moving about 100 miles north in a couple of months.

I have mixed feelings about the move.  First off, I HATE moving with a fiery passion.  We’ve done it many times over our sixteen years of marriage and, now that Bill is retired, it’s been nice to stay in one place for awhile.  As of this month, we’ve lived in our current house for four years, and the Stuttgart area for a total of six years.  That is the longest we have ever lived in one place.  I like the area where we live.  It’s far from the drama of the city and being close to the military posts, yet close to a lot of great places in the Black Forest.  We’re also near several really cute towns.  Nagold happens to be my favorite of all of them and it’s the closest to Unterjettingen.

On the other hand, I look forward to new experiences, new scenery, and a newer toilet that doesn’t take multiple flushes to empty.  I look forward to a much larger kitchen with a real refrigerator instead of a dorm sized one.  I can’t wait for my husband not to have to take marathon flights to Africa for business trips.  There’s even the attractive prospect of my getting to join him on some of his journeys.

Most of all, I am grateful that Bill is going to remain employed in a country I’ve come to love.  I have a feeling we will enjoy the Wiesbaden area as much as we’ve loved having lived in Stuttgart for two stints.  I also think there’s a good possibility that we’ll come back to Stuttgart, mainly because of what Bill does.  It could be as soon as two years from now.  On the other hand, there’s no telling what might happen in two years.

Anyway… since we know we’re probably going to be out of here by December, we decided to visit a couple of our favorite restaurants.  Hopefully, we haven’t visited them for the last time, but I did want to make sure we got at least one more visit in with each.  Both Agais in Entringen and Osteria da Gino in Nagold are special haunts for us, mainly because we’ve always managed to have a great time there.  The proprietors of both restaurants are excellent hosts and have given us a lot of great memories.  I thought today, I’d write up our latest experiences at both places, even though I’ve written about them several times already.  Here goes…

Agais on a Friday night

Agais in Entringen has the distinction of being the one restaurant still in business where Bill and I used to dine frequently during our first tour.  From 2007-09, we lived in a little town called Pfäffingen, which is in Ammerbuch.  Two kilometers from our old town is a little hamlet called Entringen.  We used to pass through Entringen to get to and from A81.  On the main drag is a Greek restaurant called Agais.

When we lived in Germany the first time, we used to eat at Agais all the time.  The owner is a very friendly Greek man who worked in Canada for many years as an engineer.  When we were here the first time, he spoke perfect English.  I think while we were gone, he must have had a stroke, because his ability to speak English diminished significantly.  Nevertheless, when we visited him again in 2014 after having been gone for five years, he still remembered us.  His English has come back somewhat over the past few years.

Last night, we decided to pay him a visit, mainly because neither of us felt like cooking.  Agais is now probably about a twenty minute drive from where we live, but the weather was nice…

I got a kick out of this sign reminding people to use condoms.  Such a quaint old building for such an important PSA…  I see there are several versions of this, including one for gay men.

 

When we walked into the familiar eatery, the couple who own it were waiting for customers to arrive.  I think we were their first.  The wife, who is German, does the cooking and her husband, whom we’ve nicknamed “The Mad Scientist”, waits tables.  They lit up when we walked in and welcomed us.  Bill ordered our usual Nemea dry Greek red, which has the essence of sour cherries, and we had our usual sparkling water.

 

We also ordered the flatbread, which comes piping hot and drizzled with olive oil and garlic salt.  I love this, even if it’s very simple.

We both had the gyros platter, which comes with either fries or oven baked potatoes.  Bill had the baked potatoes and I had pommes.  I also had a green salad instead of the kraut salad that usually comes with this dish.

I cracked a filthy joke to make Bill smile… and our old friend smiled, too.  

 

While we were eating, a couple came in with their son and the family dog.  They asked the proprietor if it was okay to bring the dog in.  I remember from our first tour that the proprietor isn’t a big dog fan, but I think he needed the business.  So he granted permission and they brought in their very sweet border collie who behaved like a perfect lady.  After a lovely dinner, which cost 51 euros, and a couple of glasses of wine for me, we enjoyed a house shot of ouzo and were on our way.  I hope we can stop in again before we move.  Last time we were here, we didn’t get to say goodbye when the time came.

Lunch at Osteria da Gino for the first (and possibly the last) time…

 

This morning, we were rewarded with wonderful late summer weather.  Although Nagold is having a Street Food Fiesta right now, we decided to have lunch at Osteria da Gino.  We have eaten there several times, but until today, we have always gone for dinner.  Osteria da Gino is kind of a special place for us.  Gino is kind of an Italian version of The Mad Scientist, with more upscale food.  Also, Gino doesn’t speak English and neither does his adorable wife, who waits tables.  The wife helped us today when we showed up at around noon, sans reservations for once.  We had a fantastic meal.

Goofy Bill as we wait for white wine.  We just told them dry white and that’s what they brought us…  good stuff.

Antipasti!  Grilled vegetables, orange and fennel salad, prosciutto with cheese, bread, and octopus…  You’d think this would be enough…

But we also decided on the pasta dish, too.  I had spaghetti with clams.  These were very fresh and lightly seasoned with cilantro, red pepper, and onions.  As the waitress put it down, she said, “Hier, keine Käse!”  (No cheese here!)  I guess it’s not kosher to use Parmesan cheese on your clams!  I saw another couple enjoying mussels.  Gino does have a menu, but we have never once used it.  We just take what they recommend.  

Bill had fettuccini with Steinpilze and a fresh tomato sauce.  I hate mushrooms, so I didn’t try his, but he said the pasta tasted homemade.

When we come for dinner, we often have a main course, which is usually either fish or meat.  Since the pasta and antipasti filled us up, we decided to take a brief pause and then have dessert.

Which today, was delicious tiramisu and cups of espresso…

 

I’d say we spent about two hours enjoying the food and each other’s company, as well as the other diners who love Gino’s brand of hospitality.  This is one place where your four legged friends are also welcome.  A well behaved Golden Retriever was lying under a nearby table with a bowl of water.  I didn’t see Gino today, but I know he loves dogs.  He also likes children, although I wouldn’t necessarily call his restaurant “kid friendly”, per se.  Kids are definitely welcome there, but in the cold months, everybody eats in the tiny dining room and sometimes you have to share a table.  If you have young ones, it might be best to go when the weather is good so you can have more room outside.  Total cost for today’s meal was about 95 euros, which isn’t cheap, but I’ve never once been disappointed at Osteria da Gino.  I will truly miss it when we go.  A bonus is that you can buy a bottle of wine to take home with you if you want to.

After lunch, we took a walk around Nagold, which is a really lovely little town.  It’s been such a pleasure living so close to it for the past four years.  I will miss it.

 

Osteria da Gino is not open on Sundays, so if this review has tempted you, make plans to visit on a different day.  If you’re coming at dinner time, you may want to make reservations.

Tomorrow, Nagold’s  Street Food Fiesta continues, which we will probably attend.  There will also be a Grill Off, where you can enjoy steaks by self proclaimed grillmeisters.  And… if you have a dog who loves to swim, you may wish to bring them to Nagold for the last day the pool will be open.  They are going to let dogs swim tomorrow.  There’s also the river, where dogs are always allowed to swim.

I don’t look forward to the painful process of moving, but I do think my blog will get more love, since I will be exploring a brand new area (to me) right in the middle of wine country!  If I have to move, it’s not a bad thing to move from the Black Forest to the Rhein River!  Last time we moved from Germany, it was to Atlanta, which started off a string of moves to three states before Bill retired.  At least this time, we can drive to where we’re going and we can always come back to visit our old stomping grounds down here…

And again, I think we could be be back at some point.  We’ll see…