Our busy Saturday… good food, Irish whiskey, and clear vision!

Yesterday was an unusually busy Saturday for us. First, we needed to visit Apollo Optik in downtown Wiesbaden to pick up my sample contact lenses and Bill’s new bifocal lenses. The weekly market was going on, and there was a huge circus tent erected for a youth circus that is currently appearing. I would have liked to have strolled around a bit, but we had evening plans to go to a whiskey tasting about 100 meters from our house in Breckenheim. So we focused on getting our eyes straightened out… I still couldn’t resist walked through the market and smelling the street food.

After a somewhat chaotic time at the eyewear shop, we went to Little Italy, one of our favorite local restaurants, for lunch and a potty break. Little Italy is a tiny place, with a lot of tables close together. However, they have really good food– specials that change, and pizza and pasta dishes, as well as a full bar and the best Zabaione in town. I had a wonderful salmon filet with orange sauce, rosemary potatoes, and a vegetable medley of ratatouille. Bill had shrimp with risotto and a similarly composed vegetable medley. As usual, the food was delicious!

After we ate, the wait staff promptly went “into the weeds”, and we had to wait a bit before they took our dessert order. Then, after dessert, we had to wait even longer for them to swing by so Bill could request the check. But overall, it was a really lovely lunch. I had zabaione with ice cream for dessert, and it was heavenly! It’s basically a warm custard made with marsala wine and a dusting of nutmeg. A scoop of vanilla ice cream really made it a treat– one that I probably shouldn’t be eating, but life is short. Bill had a lemon tartufo– basically an ice cream “truffle” that was also very good. Lunch came to just under 100 euros.

We came home to be with the dogs, as Arran is starting to be affected more by lymphoma. We are trying to arrange for chemotherapy for him, but Bill and the vet were unable to connect the other day. We’re hoping to get him in soon for treatment, and that it will keep him going a little bit longer. Unfortunately, Bill has to be away for most of this coming week and the next, but he does plan to come home next weekend. I hate this stage of having animals in my life… but the bright side is, maybe we can eventually bring another dog out of a bad situation and into the sweet life. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

Last night’s Irish whiskey tasting was a lot of fun, even though it was mostly in German. Our soon to be neighbor sat with us with his friend; the neighbor’s wife stayed home with their kids. In a few weeks, they’ll be moving in to our next door neighbor’s apartment. I like them so far. They’re very outgoing and friendly.

We had German style Irish stew last night at the tasting. I say German style, because it was made with beef instead of lamb. I was glad for that, because I don’t like lamb. My first time eating meat from a sheep happened in Armenia. I probably ate mutton, rather than lamb, but the gameyness of it made me feel very sick to my stomach and I almost puked at my host mom’s dinner table. Ever since then, I can’t abide eating lamb or mutton. I don’t mind, since I’d rather not be attracted to more types of meat, anyway… especially that which comes from a baby animal.

The live music at the tasting was supplied by a Breckenheim based Irish folk band called DreyKant. They were pretty good! I also learned last night that one can even purchase gin made in Breckenheim. Wow! This little village has it all!

Bwahahaha! Who says Germans have no sense of humor?

What was especially funny is that this whiskey tasting event took place at the local evangelical church Gemeindehaus– basically the fellowship hall for the big local church! I had never been in there before. I know there are some liberal churches in the United States, but I can’t imagine the church I grew up in allowing such an event. This is one more reason why I really like living in Europe.

The dogs were glad to see us when we got home at about 10:00pm. Arran was even doing a happy dance. Of course, he also left us a present on the rug. 🙁 Oh well… I guess I should try to cherish these moments, because they are slipping away. But maybe soon, we can do something for him that will make him feel better for awhile.


Back to Little Italy for a Sunday lunch…

Before COVID times, Bill and I loved to visit Little Italy in Wiesbaden. It was one of the first restaurants we discovered when we moved to Wiesabaden in 2018. We love going there on Sundays and having long, elegant lunches. The pandemic put our habit to an end. I think the last time we managed to visit was in summer 2020. Today, Bill asked if I wanted to go out to lunch, and I was happy to agree. And when we parked in Wiesbaden, we found our way to Little Italy, where we were quickly welcomed and seated indoors. We mentioned our vaccinations, but the waiter didn’t seem to care. He simply pointed out the Luca app for contract tracing purposes.

Today’s lunch was as wonderful as always, coupled with fine service and good wine. Below are some photos.

I really enjoyed my risotto, which was perfect and full of shrimp– four grilled on top, and several mixed in the creamy, lime scented risotto. It was pure comfort food. For once, it wasn’t topped with a bread stick. Bill loved his sliced filet, which was cooked to medium rare perfection. I was surprised to see black olives mixed with the potatoes, but Bill said it was really excellent. And, of course, we paired everything with sparkling water and a glass of Primitivo for him and Montepulciano for me.

While we were dining, I got a private message from a Peace Corps friend of mine. He was was a Volunteer in Russia in the early 1990s, then came to Armenia to work. I met him when he was working for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. I was teaching business English there. I had lost touch with him about a year ago, so I was glad to get his message, especially since just last night, we had a memorial for an Armenia Volunteer who suddenly died a couple of months ago. My old friend is the same age as the guy we memorialized last night.

Other than that, it was another wonderful lunch at a neighborhood favorite. We spent about 89 euros before the tip, and it was money well spent. I doubt we’ll need much of a dinner… but I’ll probably indulge in some wine… to process last night a bit. On the way out of Wiesabaden, I got a few photos…

It’s so nice to see things a bit more normal… I don’t know how long it will last, but we’re going to enjoy it.

In other travel news, I have finally booked us a trip to Zurich. Yes, this will be our first visit there, even though we’ve lived pretty close for years. When we were in Stuttgart, we could have been there in about two hours. I got us four nights, starting July 22. I think we’ll do some specialized touring, to include visits to Carl Jung’s museum, which I know will fascinate Bill. Maybe a stop at the Lindt Chocolate Factory for me… I can’t wait. We’re ready for a change of scenery.


Another lazy lunch at Little Italy…

I’ve been having some issues with my lower back this weekend.  I think it’s due to the sudden cold snap we’re experiencing.  I have a feeling I’m a little arthritic down there and, when the weather gets chilly, I have more pain.

Anyway, although I really wanted to visit the Kaiser-Friedrich Therme, which is a historic (and nude) Irish-Roman spa here in Wiesbaden, Bill had some more to do with his latest batch of home brew.  So I took a nap with Arran and then we went into town to have a late lunch at Little Italy.  I’ve come to really enjoy this Italian eatery downtown; since October, we’ve been there four times.  Each time, we’ve been really impressed by how good the food is and the professional level of service.

I know I’ve reviewed Little Italy three times already, but I also know I have a few readers who come just to look at pictures of food.  So, to oblige those readers, here’s a look at today’s wonderful meal.

It’s asparagus season in Germany, so I decided to start with an asparagus cream soup with basil oil and a sea scallop.  I love soups, especially when the weather is chilly.  It’s unusually chilly today, so this was a nice way to start the meal.  It was also delicious, with its mild flavor and creamy texture.  I’d love to make this at home.


Bill had the carpaccio, with beef and Parmesan cheese.  I did have a chance to taste this.  It was very fresh and tasty, if you’re into that sort of thing.  I don’t really love carpaccio, though, because raw meat, even if it’s thinly sliced, kind of weirds me out.  He liked it, though, and finished the whole thing.


See how happy he is?  I cracked another joke to get this smile.


Next came our main courses.  I went with the paccheri, which is a type of pasta that is supposed to be shaped like a very large tube.  It tasted homemade and was served with a creamy asparagus and pancetta flavored sauce.  This was very satisfying, reasonably priced, and not too much.


Bill had veal with a side of white asparagus and Hollandaise sauce.  I try not to eat veal, although I like how it tastes.  He said this was excellent.  I did try the asparagus and Hollandaise sauce, which was, of course, excellent.  He especially appreciated that the sauce came on the side.


We took a few minutes to finish our Montepulciano and San Pellegrino, then decided to finish off lunch with dessert.

I had the divine tiramisu, which the owner has told me is the “best in the city”.  Of course he’d say that, although I believe him when he makes that claim.  This was sinfully creamy and light, served with a side of mangoes and pears and some blackberry compote.

Bill had panna cotta.  We both learned to like panna cotta during our first Germany tour together in Stuttgart, from 2007-09.  We love the way they do it at Little Italy, because it’s very creamy, instead of firm and gelatinous.  His dessert was similarly decked out with blackberry compote and mangoes and pears.  It was not too much, either.


The total bill for today’s marvelous lunch was about 125 euros, which is a lot, even for us.  However, it was another leisurely and sumptuous meal, which we kind of live for when we can’t travel.  I’m definitely itching for a real trip somewhere soon, although we will be visiting Stuttgart next weekend.  Stuttgart, of course, feels like home by now.   Hopefully, we won’t have any veterinary surprises this week, so we can enjoy Elton John’s final tour.


He’s back in town!

Last night, as I was about to go to bed, I found Bill’s flight on Dulles Airport’s Web site.  When I discovered his flight, he was somewhere over Kansas City.  I watched the flight until it landed at Dulles, then went to sleep.  When I woke up this morning, I found his departing flight to Frankfurt.  At about 5:00am local time, he was just off the coast of Ireland.  His plane was scheduled to land by 8:05am, but he got in about a half hour early.

He was at home by 8:30am, which was a nice improvement over our Stuttgart days.  When we were living near Stuttgart, it took about an hour to get to and from the airport.  We now live about 20 minutes from the Frankfurt Airport.  Not only did his bags not get lost, but he was able to get off the plane and come home, rather than connect in Frankfurt and fly to Stuttgart.

Needless to say, the dogs were delighted to see Bill!

Zane was actually the first to meet Bill at the door, but when we sat down to coffee, Arran had to get some snuggle time.  He came over and nudged his head under Bill’s arm for a hug.  I definitely wasn’t the only one missing Bill this week.


There wasn’t a lot of food left in the house, so we decided to have lunch at Little Italy.  It was our third visit there and I booked the reservation through OpenTable.de.  Our reservation was for 12:30pm, but we were a little early.  The friendly proprietor didn’t mind.  We were the first ones in the restaurant, but it was only a few minutes before the place started to fill up.  We proceeded to have a sumptuous 120 euro lunch that lasted about 90 minutes…

I started with a glass of prosecco… first alcohol in over a week.  I probably should have stuck with the bubbly, as this was very nice.


Then, the friendly proprietor sold me on the special appetizer he was selling.  He said it was the last one.  Basically, it was fresh ravioli stuffed with cheese, pistachio nuts, and lime.  It was delicious!

Bill went with the burrata, which is a northern Italian speciality.  Cherry tomatoes, sweet onions, balsamic vinegar, and very fresh, mild, “buttery” cheese…  I don’t even like cold cheese, but I will definitely eat burrata, which is the Italian word for butter.  That’s pretty much what it’s like.


I had a salmon filet with a side of pureed celery and a ginger butter slathered on top…  I paired it with a peachy white wine.  My guess is that it was pinot grigio, although I’m not certain.  

And Bill had the “Wolfbarsch”, aka sea bass.  The sea bass in Germany isn’t like the sea bass I’ve had in the States.  It’s not quite as decadent.  But his fish went beautifully with pureed aubergines and fresh peppers.


Finally, we had dessert.  I had a “colonel”, which was lime sorbet served with a bit of Absolut Vodka infused with lemons.  If I’d wanted to, I could have have mango or cassis sorbet.  The proprietor brought out the chilled bottle of vodka and poured it over the scoop of refreshing sorbet.  It was a bit cold outside for this, but I wanted to try a dessert I hadn’t yet had at Little Italy.  Bill had the best panna cotta ever.  The first time I had panna cotta, it was rich and creamy.  Every other time, it was like milky jello… firm and not creamy.  At Little Italy, the panna cotta was like it was the first time I ever had it… rich, creamy, buttery, and delicious.  Next time, if there isn’t an enticing special, I’m having that.  It came with Johannesbeer (red currant) puree and mangoes.

I finished up with a double espresso.


After lunch, we went to the commissary to get something for dinner tonight.  We were in and out of there quickly.

I usually like to try different places whenever I can, but Bill is understandably tired from his long journey and we have yet to be disappointed at Little Italy.  I think it’s going to become one of our go to local restaurants.  The food and service are always excellent, and like we did the first time we went there, we even chatted with a single lady sitting by herself.  She was intrigued by the burrata.


Hopefully, that will be the end of Bill’s TDY trips for awhile… or, at least I hope I can go with him on the next one.  I hate sitting at home alone all week.  I will admit, he was a sight for sore eyes.  And now that he’s back, he’ll probably want to rest his…