Germany, restaurant reviews

A late winter lunch date at Restaurant L’Opera in Hofheim…

The weather has gotten markedly nicer over the past few days. Once we got rid of the Saharan dust cloud that affected much of Europe last week, the temperatures went up and the sun came out. It’s been a little windy, and that has brought a chill, but overall, the weather is definitely improving. Bill decided he wanted to go out, and I agreed. I suggested going to Hofheim, because someone in the local Facebook group posted that there was going to be a cake sale to help refugees in Ukraine. Other options included visiting a new Hofladen (farm) near us, and going to an open house hosted by a guy who sells wine and wine barrel furniture.

We never did find the cake sale in Hofheim, but we did stop by a little Italian place called Restaurant L’Opera. I remember we dined there early in the pandemic. It was probably in 2020. I also remember we sat outside that time. I think the same guy who waited on us that day, took care of us today.

I decided i wanted to go to Restaurant L’Opera because someone else in the Hofheim Facebook group had written a post gushing about the food. I remember liking it the first time we went, but what I had that time wasn’t particularly high end fare. Today, we sat inside and enjoyed two excellent dishes.

Before we visited the restaurant, we stopped by the restroom at the nearby mall, where it costs 50 euro cents to pee. That’s no big deal, since I have a whole, huge bag of euro cents that need to be spent. It would have been nice if the door on the stall I used would have locked. Some lady almost barged in on me.

I took a few photos around the town, where a lively market was happening. They were shutting down a couple of hours later, as we were heading back to the car to go home…

Bill and I spent about 80 euros on our lunches– two glasses of really excellent red wine, a large bottle of San Pellegrino, Tagliata for me, and Spaghettini with salmon and zucchini for him. Then, a creme brûlée for dessert for Bill, and a dreaded lava cake for me. I’m kidding about the “dreaded” part. The cake was very good, but everybody does lava cakes. It’s gotten to the point at which a regular layer cake is a novelty!

It was so nice to get out today. Pretty soon, some of the COVID rules will be going away. The waiter reminded us that as of tomorrow, the 2G rules will expire. I suspect the masks will go at some point. I hate the FFP2 masks so much. They are uncomfortable and suffocating… like a quilt over the face. I hope to do away with them soon. Especially since people are still spreading COVID. But I can stand them for a minute or two as I go to a table. It’s harder going up and down stairs with them.

Germany, restaurant reviews

The last summer Saturday of 2021… lunch in Hofheim…

I am shocked to see that September 2021 is now more than halfway finished. The time is flying by… and we still haven’t done our usual long vacation this year. At this rate, I’m not sure if we will, although fall is a nice time to travel, especially as global warming makes Germany more pleasant during the “ber’ months. I distinctly remember being here in 2007 and 2008, and thinking September was COLD. Not so much anymore…

We had nice, sunny, and somewhat warm weather today, so I wore shorts on our brief outing. Originally, we planned to go to Mainz, and we even drove my MINI, since I managed to find a lightening cable hookup for my car to replace the one I used for my iPod. I bought an iPod touch a few months ago, and when my iPod classic croaked, I figured it was time to enjoy a more modern setup. But really, I think it might be time for a new car. At the very least, a new car will have a built in GPS system, so Bill can quit fucking with the portable one he uses in my car, which constantly unsticks itself from the windshield. Personally, I never use GPS. I get around by my wits and cracker jack sense of direction.

Anyway… we got to Mainz, and it was super crowded. Then we ended up in this godawful parking garage. The first level was full, but if you went all the way around to the other side, you couldn’t access the next level and had to exit the garage. You could only access the next level when you first entered the garage– searching for parking on the first level meant you were locked in to staying on that level. It was a mess. I don’t know who designed that garage, but I give him (or her) an F.

I was feeling cranky after that experience, so we decided to head back towards Wiesbaden. I was thinking maybe we could hit that Biergarten in Mainz-Kastel we visited a few weeks ago, but Bill misunderstood and thought I wanted to go to Wiesbaden, which I didn’t want to do. I like Wiesbaden fine, but I’m a little tired of it. I compromised and suggested Hofheim. We got there at about 2:00, which wasn’t good, since that’s when a lot of restaurants take their pauses. I did notice that Hofheim was decorated with lots of colorful umbrellas…

I like Hofheim. It reminds me of some of our favorite small towns in Baden-Württemberg. Hofheim was also busy, but not nearly so much as Mainz was. I was definitely not in the mood for a lot of people or confusion.

After walking around for awhile, we finally found a place to have lunch that wouldn’t be closing at 2:30pm. Zum Turmchen was a new place for us, but it’s definitely not new for the town. The building dates from the 14th century. The premises were once used as a Büttelturm and, from 1788 to 1938, as a synagogue. It became a wine bar in the 80s, and at this point, it’s a German restaurant with lots of Schnitzels, potatoes, and Pfannkuchen.

We sat at a table with a view of a pleasant fountain. A friendly waitress took our orders as we watched two adorable little girls who looked like twins, as they played with a bright, blue balloon. Actually, I don’t know if the girls were twins. One was a little bit taller than the other. But they both had long, brown hair that covered their butts; they both wore glasses; and both moved non-stop. I was a little jealous, watching how much energy they had, and how easily entertained and happy they were, just playing with their balloon and chasing each other. I was glad we came to Hofheim, where it was safe enough for them to be playing in such a carefree manner.

Then the food arrived…

We both enjoyed our lunches, although I’m not overly fond of tons of sauces or condiments. A little dab will do me just fine. I also have a bit of a hangup with it comes to white stuff. It probably comes from my traumatic childhood, when I couldn’t digest dairy products. To this day, I don’t eat a lot of dairy. I like cheese, but only mild ones that are melted. I don’t drink plain milk or eat yogurt. I do like butter and ice cream, and cream in my coffee, though. In any case, the potatoes were good. So was the salad. I just could have done with about a third of the sauce. Edited to add: my German friend says I missed the point and was supposed to mash the potatoes and herbed quark together. That thought did occur to me…. But I like my mashed potatoes pre-mashed.

Bill liked his stuffed pancake. Actually, if we go there again, I might have that. Or maybe a Schnitzel will suffice… I thought of getting one of those. I appreciated that they had small ones. I can never eat a whole Schnitzel.

While we were finishing up, a tall man with a mustache that had curly ends approached. He had an interesting look going on. He wore denim shorts, a vest with a short sleeved shirt under it, open-toed, navy blue knee socks pulled all the way up, and Birkenstock sandals. We spent a minute wondering if he had hot toes or needed compression socks or something. Everything matched, though, so he was stylin’. He was very confident, too.

The dogs were a bit sad that we left them, so after lunch, we decided to hit the Edeka and pick up some wine and buttermilk. The buttermilk is for tomorrow’s breakfast. I like shopping at Edeka. I think it’s my favorite German supermarket chain. I wish we had one in Breckenheim.

Anyway, lunch was enjoyable. It came to 33 euros. Afterwards, we came home, driving with the top down on the MINI (maybe for the last time this year, as it’s getting cooler)… tomorrow, Bill may brew beer, depending on the weather. If that happens, I’ll probably do laundry. Maybe we’ll stay in. Or maybe we’ll go somewhere for lunch. It’s tempting to stay in, but going out is good for the blog, and my disposition. I must admit, though, my enthusiasm is waning a little. But then I see two cute little kids playing with a balloon, having a blast, and realize that going out is good for the soul.

Germany, Hofheim, Wiesbaden, wine

Gay pride in Wiesbaden… wine in Hofheim…

I had heard a couple of wine events were going to be happening in Wiesbaden and Hofheim this weekend. Bill and I decided to check them both out. I must have gotten confused about the Wiesbaden event, because we never did find it. Instead, we ran into a gay pride parade, and had lunch at a Greek restaurant called Kavos. Below are a few photos I took of what we could see of the parade. I was sorry we hadn’t gotten there a little bit sooner, but we did see many dressed up people walking around the city with gay pride rainbow flags.

Yesterday was the second time we visited Kavos. I was in the mood for Greek food, and they had a nice lunch special going. I had pork “Spiess” (skewer) and Bill had a lamb skewer. They came with kraut and potato medallions. We also had t’zaziki, garlic pitas, and beer. In retrospect, I probably should have had water, given the wine market we attended in Hofheim.

I’m actually glad we never found the Wiesbaden wine event, since I ended up trying wine from five different vintners yesterday in Hofheim. I’m surprised I can still remember it.

Edited to add: My German friend says the chicken display is a warning to use sunscreen. One chicken says to the other to use sunscreen so she won’t look like a rotisserie chicken. Glad to have that confusion cleared up.

Below are some photos from the wine market in Hofheim. We stayed pretty socially distanced, although some people were having a great time! I must admit, I’ve missed going to these kinds of events, although my liver is probably scarred as hell now.

I think the wine event in Wiesbaden is going on today, too. I had the wrong location yesterday. I’m not sure if we’ll go. Unfortunately, I just went outside to clean up Noyzi’s business and it grossed me out so much that I puked. I love that dog, but he really takes humongous craps and I no longer have the strong stomach I once had. In any case… I’m glad we got out yesterday. It was really fun. Nice to have some normalcy for however long it lasts.

Germany, restaurant reviews

Hofheim is alive and well, too…

Because today was a nice day weather wise, and we were still feeling good after yesterday’s outing, we decided to go to Hofheim today. Hofheim is a super cute town near where we live. When we lived in Jettingen, we used to hang out in Nagold a lot. Now, you might say Hofheim has kind of taken Nagold’s place as the cute neighbor town, although thanks to COVID, we haven’t yet explored it as much as we should have after going on three years of living up here in Wiesbaden.

We mainly wanted to walk around and have some lunch, and we decided to drive my Mini, as it needs to be driven more often. I was also hoping to put the top down. Unfortunately, the roof malfunctioned and we could only get the sunroof to open. I’m sure there’s an easy fix, but it’s about time for the car to be inspected and serviced anyway… I’ll let the mechanics deal with it. And then, maybe I’ll go car shopping… 12 years is a long time to drive the same car.

As we passed through the parking lot where we parked my Mini for free, I took note of how quiet and peaceful the town was. It’s a Sunday, of course, but I think Hofheim is just a more sedate town. We need to spend more time there. They have some nice restaurants and shops… and we found a nice restaurant today.

The new eatery, called Schmiede, is Italian, specializes in wines, and is in the same building that used to house an awesome Latin flavored health food restaurant called Blanca Bistro until COVID-19 struck. Blanca Bistro, like some other beloved eateries, did not survive the disease. We LOVED Blanca Bistro and were very sad when it closed. We only got to try it once! But Schmiede is a nice replacement. Below are some photos from our glorious Italian lunch!

We really enjoyed Schmiede, which is German for “smithy”. I guess the building was once a blacksmith’s forge. Our waiter was friendly and attentive, and the food was excellent. But really, we just enjoyed the laid back and quiet atmosphere, elegant food, and being outside of the backyard again. Lunch was 81 euros, but for that we got a nice bottle of white wine, a bottle of sparkling water, two filling dishes, and dessert. Both dishes were beautifully prepared and presented, and such a pleasure to taste. We will be back for sure. They also served wonderful, fresh, black olive bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which got things off to a good start. I think we could become regulars. It looked like the waiter had already made friends with some of the locals. They were waving and stopping by to say hi.

Below are a few more photos from our outing. It was definitely a different mood and atmosphere than Wiesbaden was yesterday.

We didn’t spend a lot of time walking around. I had to pee. Hofheim has a public restroom, but I wanted to get home to the dogs. I was sure they missed us, since they have had us at home so much lately. Still, it was so nice to be able to get out and see something new. I love taking new photos and having different food. I hope this downward disease trend continues. There are so many places we want to explore, and we are both ready for long weekend trips again. Bring it on! I’m ready to write about travel and food again!

Schmiede was a real success. We will go back… and try some of the other restaurants in town, too.

cute towns, Germany, restaurant reviews

Lunch in lovely Hofheim!

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.