Germany, restaurant reviews

A marvelous afternoon at Little Italy…

Regular readers of my main blog may notice that I’ve been kind of crabby lately. I was especially irritable yesterday, since I was trying to write the blog post I posted earlier today while listening to kids outside my window shrieking and trying to respond to a private message. I get really cranky when I’m trying to write and can’t concentrate on what I’m doing. I probably should have been on ADD meds when I was a kid because I am very easily distracted. On top of that, I had a tension headache, and Bill was bugging me about going to AAFES. We did need to go to AAFES (military run department store), even though I hate going there, especially now that everyone has to wear face masks.

Military facilities are even more anal retentive about COVID-19 protocol than other places are. Although the guards have stopped giving drivers the third degree every time they enter the gates, there’s still a very strict mask requirement, entry and exit protocol, and handwashing detail. And while it may be necessary for sparing people from getting sick, I also remember that not too long ago, it was not uncommon to find the restrooms at AAFES in pretty disgusting shape. I have pictures of ones I encountered in Stuttgart as well as vivid memories of the remnants of other people’s dumps lingering in the toilets at the food courts. So while enforcing the over-the-top COVID-19 requirements may be a very good idea right now, they seem rather disingenuous to me after a lifetime of patronizing the BX/PX (AAFES).

I finally gave up on the blog post after trying to upload a few photos. I came back to my post, only to find that over half of it was somehow wiped out. After uttering a few choice words at the computer screen, I went downstairs, where Bill was busily “beagle proofing” (although Arran is probably more of a pointer than a beagle). He asked me if I was hungry. I legitimately wasn’t, although I knew that we were about to hit the dreaded “pause” hour of 2:00pm. Bill proposed picking up a pizza from Pizza Hut, because I had mentioned getting a pizza somewhere (I meant at a real restaurant). I used to like Pizza Hut pizzas, but they have really gone downhill over the past ten years or so.

So anyway, we went to AAFES. I dutifully put on the fucking mask and washed my hands, rushing to pick up the few items I needed… expensive Lancome face cream for my middle aged face, ponytail holders for my growing grey hair, and a couple of new dog toys for Arran to replace the ones he’s destroyed. I love that Arran is ten and still loves his toys. I don’t love that he only recently quit using my favorite rug as a Hundetoilet. God help us when the new pooch moves in, sometime soon. Bill picked up some more shit bags for the dog walking, of which we could soon be legally compelled to do twice as much of at some point soon (though I doubt it will be enforced).

As we were waiting in the obnoxious checkout line that stretched down the lotion and skincare aisle, Bill asked me what I wanted to do about lunch. I had no desire to eat in the food court, so initially, I said we should go by Five Guys and get takeout. But then I remembered Little Italy, a great restaurant I’ve blogged about several times since our move to Wiesbaden. There is a Little Italy on post. That’s not the one I’m writing about now. I am referring to a small restaurant in the heart of Wiesbaden, where they serve lovely Italian dishes, nice wines, and luscious desserts. Before the pandemic, we used to go there fairly often. Yesterday was our first time back since February, I think.

Bill made a reservation on OpenTable.de, noting that Little Italy does not take an afternoon pause. We got there at about 2:15pm. The proprietor, a friendly bald guy who speaks English, looked slightly panicked when Bill announced our arrival. Bill then noticed that the entire dining room was set as if there was going to be a large party. But when Bill said we had a reservation, he told us to find a table outside. The weather was glorious, so that was a pleasure to do.

A lovely young woman came over to take our drink order and have us sign the paperwork for contract tracing. Bill got me a glass of white wine from Sicily. He got himself a white wine from Lugano. Then, we both ordered dishes from the specials, presented on a chalk board in front of us. Bill had saltimbocca made of dorade. I had a salmon filet with rucola pesto, mashed sweet potatoes, and ratatouille (pisto).

While we were waiting for our food, a large group of well-dressed people showed up. I soon gathered that this was why the proprietor had looked a little stressed when we arrived. There were bottles of bubbly chilling in ice buckets until umbrellas near us. I had mistakenly thought they had set up a little wine stand, but no, that was for the people partying at Little Italy. Hopefully, none of them were carriers of the COVID-19 virus, since they weren’t wearing masks.

A tiny little blonde girl of about three came over to play with the Champagne bottles pictured in the gallery above. She had huge blue eyes and was sincerely adorable. We smiled at her while she played with the bubbly bottles and the nearby decorative water fountain. A few minutes later, I heard her shrieking as her mom struggled to contain her. Finally, mom put her in the stroller and methodically strapped her down while she wailed. I figured it was probably nap time for her… having been cranky myself a little while ago, I could commiserate, too.

I soon forgot about being cranky as we enjoyed lunch. I mostly enjoyed the bright colors of my dish, even if I’m not the biggest ratatouille or sweet potato fan. I managed to finish most of it, with Bill’s help. Bill really loved the dorade, which was accented with sage and bacon. He said he would definitely order it again if he had the opportunity.

As we were eating, the little blonde girl came outside. I watched her pick her nose while her grandmother smoked a cigarette. It occurred to me that kids are just so unabashed and unashamed about anything. Maybe watching that tiny girl explore the world around her without a mask is why I found this morning’s New York Times article about training kids to wear masks so very depressing. The masks have the effect of making communication and exploration more difficult, especially for the youngest among us. But, with any luck, there will be an effective vaccine or treatment that will make this brave new pandemic world less ominous and irritating. I always wanted to have children, but I am grateful I’m not a parent dealing with this pandemic stuff right now. I think it would drive me crazy.

For dessert, I had limoncello sorbet with mangos and pears, while Bill had tiramisu. Neither of us really needed dessert, but the weather was just so nice, and I was enjoying being out and about, watching people celebrate in a normal way. I used to take doing stuff on the weekends for granted. Now, when we get to have lunch somewhere nice, it’s a real treat. Maybe that’s one of the silver linings to the COVID-19 situation. I’ve often said that every bad situation has its positives. I don’t take a nice meal at a good restaurant for granted as I might have in 2019…

The bill was about 89 euros. Bill gave our lovely waitress a 100 euro note and said “Stimmt”. We really had a nice time. I hope we can do it again sometime soon. Then we came home and I set to work trying to wash the stench out of Arran’s Klo on my blue carpet. It’s now outside drying… and I fear that my efforts may have been for naught. Oh well… at least we had a good meal, and hopefully, we’ll stay healthy.

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Sud Tyrol and beyond… part seven

Close encounter with an Italian bee!

The second toe on my left foot itches a lot. A few days ago, it was quite painful. Why? Because a bee flew into my sandal after we ate lunch in a tiny little town. It got stuck there and stung me.

Prior to the bee sting, Wednesday was a fine day. We decided to drive around some more, in an effort to stay away from other people and see the different areas around the Sud Tyrol. This is also a great opportunity for us to talk about deep subjects and listen to music, not that we don’t do that anyway.

I was thinking we’d go to Bolzano on Wednesday, but instead, we did a big loop in wine country. Unfortunately, we didn’t stop to buy any wine. What were we thinking? We even brought the wine suitcase with us, but we neglected to fill it. Oh well… here are some photos.

As it got closer and closer to lunchtime, we started looking for places to eat. We found a little roadside restaurant called Ristorante Al Molin in a tiny town called Cloz in Trentino. They had an unusual way of luring in guests. Besides the usual signs, there was a table set up on the other side of the road with several bottles of wine and some fruit laid out. Bill saw it and immediately decided to pull over. It was a good place to stop. The food turned out to be excellent. I did have to use Google Translate a bit. What did I ever do without it?

I would have been easily talked into having dessert at this place. The lady who waited on us seemed extremely nice, although she apologized for not speaking much German (that’s okay, we don’t speak much either). A large Italian family showed up as we were finishing, along with four male German bikers (as in bicycles). The German guys were funny. They appeared to be good friends and they were joking around. At one point, the little dog in the pictures above sneezed. One of them said “Gesundheit!” We shared a laugh… and then the bee met its fate with my foot!

I’m pretty sure it was a bee that got me. When I pulled the sandal off of my foot, the stinger was still deeply stuck in my skin. Bill managed to swipe the bee off of me, but the stinger took some doing to remove. It really hurt! And it was also itchy and made me swell up. The little fucker. For some reason, the bees and wasps have been murder this year… although I have not yet encountered any murder hornets.

The bee sting kind of took the wind out of our sails, so we headed back to the hotel and had a couple of drinks at the bar. Then it was time for dinner, which was better than the mushroom fiasco, but not as good as Monday night.

By this point, I was starting to look forward to going home… although I can’t deny that Sud Tyrol is stunningly gorgeous. There was a lot of partying going on Wednesday night, too.

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Bill’s birthday eve at Luz Bistro in Nagold…

Today is Bill’s 54th birthday.  As far as I know, we don’t have any special plans.  We didn’t have special plans last night, either, but we decided to have dinner at Luz Bistro and Bar in Nagold.  Bill and I have eaten there quite a few times over the past few years.  In fact, I think the staff is starting to think of us as regulars.

The weather was very pleasant when we arrived at the restaurant.  Several people were enjoying the terrace.  We decided to join them.  The restaurant was recommending barbecue style steaks, which I guess is different than the American version.  Bill decided that’s what he wanted to have.  I went with a rib eye and pommes.  We paired it with a bottle of house red, which was apparently commissioned by Marina Hentsch, one of the proprietors.

Both sides of the bottle.  This was a very nice blended German wine, created by Marina Hentsch.  Ms. Hentsch came over to see if we’d ordered and I had a chance to show off my developing German skills when I said, “Sie kommt.”  Our waitress beamed because that’s probably the most German she’s ever heard me speak.

Bill looks goofy as we wait for our steaks and smell cigarette and cigar smoke.

Bill’s barbecue style steak came with a baked potato with sour cream and was topped with bacon, corn, and barbecue sauce.  It was cooked to a perfect medium temperature.  He said the sauce actually had a bit of heat to it, which he loved.

I enjoyed my rib eye, which was just the right size.  It came with a krauterbutter and a chilled garlicky butter that I wasn’t sure if it was intended for the frites or the steak.  I tried it on both.  The beef was tender and perfectly cooked.  It was very good, especially for a German steak.

 

While we were eating, a sudden rainstorm developed.  We tried to stick it out, but the rain came down harder and we were finally driven inside.  The smokers simply moved to a corner table, where they could be sheltered from the rain and still ogle the young women passing.  I do enjoy this time of year in Germany, when the weather is nice enough for people watching, even if I don’t generally enjoy the month of July for other reasons.

We grabbed the first table by the door leading outside, mainly just to finish our wine and have dessert.  The rain came down for a steady clip, although it had stopped by the time we were finished with dinner. 

 

I don’t always go for dessert, but since it was Bill’s birthday eve, we decided to splurge.  I had a Schwarzwalderbecher (Black Forest kiss), pictured below…

This was so good!  It was basically a parfait of chocolate mousse and cream flavored with kirschwasser (cherry water) liqueur.  At the bottom was a small piece of chocolate cake and in the middle was a scoop of cherry ice cream.  Although it was kind of pricey at 10,50 euros, it wasn’t too much.

Bill had panna cotta with strawberries.  It, too, was beautifully presented and tasted good.  We are never disappointed at Luz or its more upscale cousin, Alte Post.  

 

The Alte Post, which is a fantastic feature offered at Luz, is currently closed due to a lack of qualified workers.  Apparently, this is a problem across Germany.  There aren’t enough people to wait tables or do other, similar work.  It’s a shame, since the restaurant got a Michelin star in 2016.  Hopefully, the closure is temporary.  They do still offer the upstairs dining for events.

 

The total bill came to about 111 euros before the tip.  That’s more than we usually spend on dinners we didn’t plan in advance.  Good thing my student loans will finally be paid off next month!  I think today, we might head into Tuebingen for a bit.  There is a gastro fest going on this weekend that we don’t want to miss.

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Celebrating 46 years circling the planet at Osteria da Gino’s in Nagold and drinking “crispy” wine!

Yesterday was my birthday.  It was a great day, even though I’m now officially even closer to turning 50.  Bill and I usually try to do fun things on birthdays, although last year, when I turned 45, we spent a rather hellish day driving home from Belgium and got caught in multiple traffic jams.  The upside is that we came home with a lot of great beer, chocolate, and fantastic memories.

This year, Bill went to work, and I enjoyed a rare imported CD on which I spent lots of cash.  I also listened to my landlords cut the grass and the road workers repairing the street that runs in front of our house.  The duplicate tickets I ordered for Paul Simon’s concert in Dublin next month also arrived, so I can breathe easy that we won’t be going to Dublin simply for the Guinness.

When Bill’s work day was over, he came home, presented me with a new iPad, and took me out to dinner at my FAVORITE restaurant in the entire Stuttgart area.  I’m writing, once again, about Osteria da Gino in Nagold– not to be confused with the Osteria da Gino in Herrenberg, which is also a great place to eat.

If you check this blog, you will see that I’ve written about Gino’s awesome restaurant in Nagold many times.  We discovered it in the spring of 2015, when I read glowing reviews on Trip Advisor.  Nagold is very close to where we live and it’s a super cute town, so it’s always a pleasure to go there in any event.  Dinner at Gino’s is always a treat, and not just because the food is amazing.  Gino and his wife are simply awesome people, richly endowed with the gift of hospitality.  I never feel like I’m a customer when I eat at their restaurant.  I always feel like family… albeit family that pays a check at the end of the meal!

Below are some pictures from last night’s glorious birthday dinner!

Obligatory shot of Bill, reacting to one of my crude jokes.  He’s always good for a laugh!

He gives me this look when I’m on the hot tamale train, which doesn’t happen very often these days.  I did decide to get “dolled up”, though, since it was my birthday and my former English professor, who is now a Facebook friend, wanted me to post a new profile picture.  I was happy to oblige.

We did not make Gino or his wife aware that it was my birthday when we made the very necessary reservations.  It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, because they always treat us like family.  But I did tell the chef that I was “older”…

So Gino’s wife brought me a flower!  

 

It’s not a good idea to visit Gino’s without making a reservation.  In the colder months, people dine in his very small dining room, where it’s very likely that you’ll be sharing a table with another couple.  In fact, two years ago, Bill and I celebrated my 44th birthday at Gino’s and we shared a table with a French and German couple.  The wife was from the Nagold area and they had come to town to visit her family.  It was their first time at Gino’s and, since it was raining, we ate indoors.  I remember how much fun we had getting acquainted with the couple, who were raving about the food.

Last night, we had beautiful weather and a perfect temperature, so we ate outside at a two top.  When outside tables are available, it’s more likely that you’ll have a table to yourself, although that’s not a given.  We saw at least three couples sharing a four top in the course of our dinner.  I have yet to be presented with a menu at Gino’s.  He usually just offers us what he has, although I know he does have a menu.  I kind of like to let Gino take the wheel.  I have never once been disappointed.

Antipast!  The usual orange and fennel salad and a new offering– a mixture of sausage, cheese, carrots, and red peppers…

Fresh bread…

And the rest… beautifully grilled peppers, zucchini, and eggplant, as well as burrata with fresh tomatoes, salami, prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe, cheese, and dried ham.  

 

We washed this down with prosecco, then Gino’s wife asked us what kind of wine we’d like.  Neither Gino nor his wife speak English and though we’re doing better than ever with German, we still have a long way to go.  So when Bill was describing the kind of white wines we like, I said I enjoy “crisp” wines. Dutifully, Bill described it in German–  knusprig– which does mean “crispy”.  But really, it’s more of a word for “crunchy”– kind of akin to the cracklins on a Schweinshaxe or maybe a bowl of Rice Krispies.  Who drinks crunchy wine?  Well, I might try it once!  Anyway, although there is really no such thing as “crispy wine”, our order of “knusprig wine” got a big laugh!  The wine Gino’s wife brought us was less “crisp” and more “toast”, but it went very well with our fruits of the sea inspired dinner.

Followed by warm, lemony octopus…  I do like a little octopus, but I can’t eat too much of it because it’s very dense and protein rich.  But this was a nice prelude to what came next.

 

Normally, after we have the long antipasti phase, Gino brings out a simple pasta dish, then we have either a meat or fish main dish.  Last night, Gino had fresh lobsters.  He brought one out to us before he turned it into our dinner.  It was still alive!  I was so shocked, I didn’t get a picture of the poor, doomed soul.  Nevertheless, I can’t deny that I love lobster and I am not a vegetarian.  And if I hadn’t had him for dinner, someone else would have.

This was the main event… lobster with pasta and a pleasantly spicy tomato essence.  While my Texas husband could stand more heat, this was just perfect for me.  It was just a notch hotter than the preferred German level of spiciness, to remind us we were eating at an Italian restaurant.

 

Not everyone had lobster last night.  We noticed some people were served clams.  Some people had pasta with black truffles and perhaps a main course of osso bucco or a steak.  I noticed one couple enjoying pasta with Seeteufel (a type of fish).  You just never know what Gino will surprise you with… although the antipasti is pretty standard and you will never get pizza because Gino doesn’t do pizza.

I couldn’t finish all of the pasta because I knew I wanted dessert.  When Gino chided me for not finishing the pasta, I said “Dolci!  Dolci!”, which made him laugh.  One of the ladies who works in the kitchen brought out what is pictured below…

Fresh strawberries, panna cotta, hazelnut chocolate cake, blueberry ice cream, and something very coffee flavored…  Again, you never know what’s coming!  We were also treated to many happy football fans, driving around Nagold blasting their horns when their teams won.  The atmosphere was truly joyful.

As you can see, lots of people were enjoying Gino’s magic last night!  We had such a wonderful time!

 

Total damage for last night’s dinner was 147 euros.  We always pay cash, although Gino does take credit cards.  I should mention that you don’t have to have as many courses as we did.  One couple brought their tiny baby with them and only had a main course and wine.  When they left the unfinished bottle on the table, the chef chased them down and corked it for them.  They seemed very appreciative.  One other thing I noticed was that most of the people dining last night either seemed to know each other or knew Gino well.  But then, I don’t think Gino has ever met a stranger.  He is really a very gregarious guy who was born to throw parties.

It’s safe to say that this is my favorite restaurant in the area and I’ve tried a lot of them.  No one else offers quite the experience Gino does.  We need to visit him more often.

Well… here’s my new selfie.  I’m sure my English prof and everyone else who didn’t like my WTF face is happy now.

Last night’s dinner was definitely a rip roaring success.  If you’re looking for a very different kind of Italian meal, I would highly recommend Osteria da Gino’s in Nagold (not Herrenberg– though again, that’s also a nice place.)  Just call first, come with an open mind, and don’t be intimidated by the language.  I promise, Gino will take good care of you!

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Hello again to the Holzkrug!

Back in August 2014, around the time Bill and I moved back to the Stuttgart area, we paid a visit to the Holzkrug in Vaihingen.  I had fondly remembered the tiny little eatery from our first tour in Stuttgart, from 2007-09.  For the first six weeks of our stay, we lived at the Vaihninger Hof, a run down hotel within walking distance of Patch Barracks.  Because it was a no frills German hotel, we only had a little dorm sized fridge in our room.  We had to eat out for most of our meals.  As a consequence, I got to know the restaurants circa 2007 in the Vaihingen area very well.

I remember liking the Holzkrug because of its local style charm and the fact that they sometimes serve roasted chicken there that is to die for.  I see by my last Holzkrug post, Bill and I both had chicken the last time we were there.  Today, we stopped in for lunch because we stopped by Patch to gas up my car.  They weren’t serving any chicken today, but we still had a nice lunch.

The door was open and the German pop was playing…

 

Holzkrug offers hot food from 10:30am until 2:00pm on Saturdays.  They also offer lunch with specials from 10:30am until 2:00pm and then dinner from 4:30pm until 8:00pm all during the work week.  On Sundays, they are only open from 10:00am until 2:00pm.  Dinner is not offered on weekend nights.

The Holzkrug is the only restaurant in this area that I’ve been to that sometimes offers roasted chicken.  The only other time I’ve seen it has been at fests or from “chicken men” with food trucks.  If there are other local restaurants that have chicken, I haven’t run into them yet.

Bill checks out today’s limited menu.

 

Today’s offerings.  Bill originally settled on “Forelle” (trout), but they were out of it.  They did, however, have fried fish of some sort.  That’s what he ordered.  I ordered “Cordon Bleu und Krokettes”, basically a fried schntizel stuffed with ham and mild melted cheese.

 

The Holzkrug has a very local vibe, even though it’s close to Patch Barracks.  Although I did see a plaque with an American flag on it, I don’t know that they get a lot of Americans in there.  We had to share a table with a guy who was clearly a regular and kindly made room for us at the “Stammtisch” (a table set aside for regulars).  I think it’s mostly a bar, though we’ve always gone there to eat and have enjoyed every experience.

“Stammtisch”– if you see one of these signs in a German or Austrian restaurant, it means it’s reserved for regulars.  However, I can’t say that I’ve ever seen too many regulars taking advantage of one.  Maybe it’s because I make a habit of trying so many different places that I haven’t really become a “regular” at many restaurants here.  The Stammtisch is different than a table that’s “reserved”.  

 

The view of the bar from where I was sitting.  This is a small place, but it’s very quaint and kind of charming.  I’m pretty sure they have English menus if you ask for them.  Sometimes the servers speak English, though today’s didn’t really.  I like the interior of the Holzkrug.  It’s the kind of place I wish we had in our own little town… you could go there and soak up the atmosphere over a couple of beers.

 

Here’s a picture of our deep fried goodness…  Bill had the fried fish special, which came with potato salad.  He washed it down with a Hefeweizen.  I had the Cordon Bleu and fried potato croquettes.  It was a lot and we brought home leftovers from my dish!

 

The guy sitting next to us was humming off key.  It was driving me nuts.  I happen to be a very musical person with “perfect pitch”, which means that when things are off key, it’s like nails on a chalkboard.  I felt badly about being annoyed, though, because he was nice enough to share his table with us.  The guy sitting behind Bill, also clearly a local and a regular, kept shooting glances at us.  But the wait staff was very kind and attentive.

This is a decidedly dog friendly place.  A large Doberman was enjoying a visit while we were there.  It’s also kid friendly.  I noticed the bartender gave a little boy a little bag of popcorn while he was waiting for his Oma to finish up.  There are also a couple of kid-sized choices on the menu.

After we ate, I noticed the sign on the wall.  It basically translates to “If you’re the type to forget to pay when you drink, pay beforehand.”

 

A Pilsner…

After lunch, I had a Pils.  I don’t usually drink Pils, but every time we visit the Holzkrug, I am reminded of our first time here.  Bill ordered a Pils at this restaurant and thought they had forgotten about his beer when I got served my Hefeweizen first.  He asked the barkeep where his beer was.  The bartender chastised him and told him that a proper Pils can take up to seven minutes to pour.  A quick Googling tells me that she was telling the truth about that, but truth be told, I have yet to ever visit a bar in Germany where it’s taken that long…

At about 2:20pm, it was time for our server to clock out, so she asked us to settle our bill.  It came to about thirty euros before the tip.  I finished my beer and visited the ladies room.  Here’s a handy tip for anyone who happens to be in Vaihingen and needs to pee.  The Holzkrug will allow non-guests to use their restroom if you pay 50 cents.  Yeah, I know paying to pee is the norm here, but at least you know there’s a place to go if the need strikes.

Anyway, we like the Holzkrug.  I like them even better when they have roasted chicken, which they also sell to go.  This is a nice local hole in the wall with typical German food, friendly service, and very reasonable prices.

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Alsace and Burgundy… WTF is Bill eating, part deux! pt. 7

After Thursday’s experience with entrails, Bill and I decided to be cautious on Friday.  We spent a languid afternoon hanging out with the animals and taking in the views.  I finished a book I’d been reading (and just reviewed on my main blog).  When it got to be lunchtime, we decided to try a local restaurant I’d read about on Trip Advisor.

The outside of the restaurant.  It’s very unassuming looking, but the food is outstanding.

L’Etape Charollaise is not even a five minute drive from where we were staying.  It’s a small, family owned restaurant that puts out great food at reasonable prices.  But we were still a little gun shy after Bill’s chitterling experience, so we approached the restaurant with caution.  Our waitress did not speak English, but was good enough to speak French slowly.  Bill went with the menu du jour, which was 13 euros and came with a Lyonnaise salad, a main course, cheese, and a dessert.  I went with the savory menu, which was 18 euros without cheese and, I think, 23 euros with it.  I don’t eat cold cheese, so I went with the sans fromage option.

We were a little sketchy on what Bill’s main course would consist of, as we didn’t have it written down for us (a sign was posted on the door).  My menu offered a choice of beef or fish.  I went with the fish, which was a good choice.

Bill checks out the menu.

While we were eating, a bunch of local folks came in.  There was a couple who looked like they knew the restaurant well.  They sat in the corner near us.  A couple of guys, obviously working class blokes, sat at the table next to us and shared a nice bottle of wine.  A couple of elderly men who appeared to be regulars were scattered around.  All was going normally until the couple heard us speaking English.  The male half turned and stared at us quizzically.  It was as if they wondered what the hell we were doing in rural France!  Again, it was probably not unlike the reaction people in my hometown would have if French people suddenly dropped in to have dinner at one of the local eateries.

Anyway, out came the food and it was all very good…

We enjoyed a bottle of vino and some still water, which the restaurant provided freely and without our having to ask for it.

I’m not totally sure what this was.  It was my amuse and it tasted like sun dried tomatoes with olives and bacon on top of some type of cream.  I am a little weird about creamy stuff, but I did taste it and it was interesting.  Bill liked it better than I did.  

On the other hand, I loved Bill’s Lyonnaise salad, which was greens, a perfectly poached egg, bacon, and croutons.  That’s my kind of salad.  Breakfast in a bowl!

I had a lovely filet of sole on top of pureed lentils and vegetables.  I was delighted by how colorful this dish was and that, for once, it was pretty healthy.

And this was Bill’s mystery dish…

WTF is Bill eating?  It’s rice, mushrooms, and some kind of meat…

Followed up with some very good local cheeses.  I love watching Bill eat cheese, even if I never eat it myself.

The expression on his face is why I like watching him.  He does the same when he drinks a very good wine or interesting beer.

Next came dessert.  Bill’s was basically meringue in creme anglaise and topped with caramel.  It was not too big and he liked it a lot for that reason.

My dessert was excellent!  It was a poached pear on a cookie with little mounds of chocolate mousse, a scoop of pear sorbet, and an almond cookie.  It was a great cap to a fine meal. 

Bill eats his cheese course and tries to figure out what each of the cheeses were.  He says, “This one might be Epoisses.”  Epoisses is a locally produced cheese we discovered on our last trip to Burgundy.  He later did some checking and identified the cheeses.  When I see him later, I’ll get him to tell me what he thinks they were so I can update.

 

We got all of this fine food for about fifty euros.  And, on the way out of the restaurant, I took note of the sign that listed the plate of the day.  Bill was eating “dinge”.  Looking up the word, I see that dinge in French is turkey.  The more you know!  If we go back to Saint Marcelin-de-Cray, we will for sure try to visit L’Etape Charollaise again.

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