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.

Idyllic Idstein… a place to get your architectural fix!

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I mentioned in my last post that there’s a lot going on in Wiesbaden this weekend.  Even so, we decided today to visit Idstein, an adorable little town just about ten miles north of where we live.  With 25,000 residents and a history that dates from 1102, this is a very charming little town with a past and a future.

I got the idea to visit Idstein from seeing an ad for it on Facebook.  Someone posted photos of the colorful buildings and the inside of the protestant church that stands near the center.  I’ve been missing half timbered buildings since our move north and Idstein has them, along with the Hexenturm (witch’s tower).  This weekend, they’re having a jazz festival that costs 15 euros a head to attend.  Prior to the festival’s beginning, there were numerous musical groups playing for free on small stages around the city.

Bill and I wandered around a bit, had some Greek food for lunch, and visited the beautiful church.  Here are a few photos.

A view showing the steeple of the protestant church, as well as some of the beautiful half timbered buildings.

 
 

Such charming architecture!  I especially loved the colors and intricate designs on the buildings.

 

The blue house next to the Rathaus is the Schiefes Haus– the crooked house.  It’s not a museum or anything; you have to admire it from the outside.  But it really is unique and cute.  

 

The Rathaus, complete with drummers on stage.

We saw a lot of residential areas that looked like this.  People were living in or running businesses out of these classic homes on cobbled streets.  I could learn to love Idstein.  It could be our “new Nagold”.  All it needs is a river, although the two does have two brooks that run on either side of it– the Wolfsbach on the east, and the Wörsbach on the west.

 

Witches’ Towers are not unusual.  They were often part of dungeons, particularly for women accused of practicing witchcraft.  Sometimes they were simply used as regular prisons.

The Hexenturm (Witches’ Tower)… we didn’t climb it because you have to pick up the key from the tourist office.  This tower is part of Idstein Castle and consists of 160 steps.  I needed fortification for that kind of punishment.

 

The back of the castle, just past the tower.  A band was playing “Zoot Suit Riot” by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.  I was reminded of Thursday night karaoke at The Library in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I used to be a regular.

 

A photo of the castle, which is very striking.  It seemed especially fitting there was a toy store just under it.

 
 

In the tunnel passing under the castle.  

 
 

Need a midwife?  Idstein has you covered.

 

Picture postcard perfect!  There isn’t a lot to Idstein, but it has some nice shops, a weekend market, and a lot of events.  I could see us coming back again and again… at least until our next move.

After about forty-five minutes of walking around, I was pretty hungry.  We stopped at Greek and German eatery called Deustches Haus.  Today, they only offered outdoor seating.  That was fine, since the weather was so good.

It was a nice place to people watch.

I had the Grillteller, which was souvlaki, gyros, and bifteki with tzatziki and steak fries.  This was good, although I’ve had better Greek food.  I loved the frites, which were better than the standard skinny ones one finds here a lot.  It looked like they were offering a scaled down menu, with just a few choices.  If I had wanted German food, I could have had a schnitzel or a salmon filet.

 

Bill had souvlaki, which was curiously priced higher than my dish was.  I couldn’t finish mine, so Bill helped.  Total bill was 34 euros and there was no ouzo… but we enjoyed lunch very much.  It’s been too long since my last Greek food fix.

Nice view from near the restaurant.

After lunch, we went into the Unionskirche, which dates from the 17th century, but was very recently refurbished. 

The inside of this church is astonishing, with its many paintings of Christ.

It kind of puts the Frankfurt Cathedral to shame, even though it’s much smaller.

The beautiful ceiling above the altar.  

I think if I went to church here, I’d spend the whole time looking at all of the art.  It really is beautiful and the pictures don’t do it justice.  The paintings are an unusual feature in a protestant church.  

A Klofrau was sitting near the WC truck.  Idstein also has a public toilet that is prominently and permanently stationed.  Very civilized indeed!

Right after an ice cream break.

Another big event coming up in Idstein this summer.

 

I definitely see us coming back to Idstein.  There are other things to do there that we missed today because we were distracted by the live music and other things going on.  It’s hard to believe this pretty little town is so close to us.  It reminded me a little of Esslingen, near Stuttgart, only it’s a lot smaller and there’s no river.

I would have liked to have stayed for some of the jazz concert, but we had to get back home for the dogs.  Next time, we’ll have to plan better so we can enjoy more of the live music.  Idstein is definitely going on my next “ten cute towns” of Germany list.  Stay tuned for the next rainy or cold day, which probably won’t be too far in the future.