Eating African style at Jambo in Ludwigsburg…

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I’d like to dedicate this post to fellow Stuttgart area resident and new Facebook friend Jennifer, who recommended Jambo African Restaurant to me.  She told me about this great place in Ludwigsburg months ago.  Bill and I kept meaning to go, but we were never in Ludwigsburg at the right time of day.  Except on Sundays, Jambo is only open for dinner.  We go to Ludwigsburg every couple of months or so, but we’re usually there closer to lunchtime because we mostly go there specifically to buy beer at Heinrich’s drink market.  Since Jambo typically opens at five o’clock for dinner, we’re usually long gone by the time they start dinner service.  And we don’t usually go to Ludwigsburg on Sundays because the drink market isn’t open that day.

The sign is easy to spot on this main drag.

We had big plans to go to a local market yesterday, but the weather was kind of cloudy and we got up later than usual.  By the time we were finished with breakfast and our Saturday chores, it was kind of too late to hit the market.  I always like to do stuff on Saturdays, because that’s the one day of the week most things are open and Bill is not working.  But by two o’clock, I was starting to think our Saturday might be a bust.  Then I remembered Jambo and Jennifer’s suggestion that we try it.  I suggested it to Bill, who was definitely game.

We made a reservation online for six o’clock, but that turned out to be unnecessary last night.  When we arrived at Jambo near six o’clock, no one else was there yet.  We had our pick of generously sized two top tables.  We selected one in the back of the dining room, right by a window where I could see Jambo’s small outdoor area.

Bill checks out the menu.  It was entirely in German, but I had already checked it out online using Google Chrome.  There are also many pictures, which makes it easier to choose.

 

A quick shot of the biergarten.  I noticed the proprietor putting up a large umbrella for a few folks who sat out there.

I was really getting into the festive African music playing over the sound system as I decided what I wanted to order.  The restaurant’s decor is also very authentic.  There are carvings, paintings, and photos all over the walls.  I enjoyed the lighting, which was somewhat dim and kind of romantic, though the music made it seem more like we were at a party.

We ordered a lovely bottle of South African shiraz.  This one was priced at 18 euros.  It was very fruity and jammy and it went great with our meals.  Had we wanted to, we could have also tried some African (or German) beers.  There were three advertised at our table– mango, pineapple, or banana. If I had seen that before we ordered the wine, I might have given one a try… probably the mango one.

Originally, Bill asked for springbok, which he had once tried and loved on a trip to London.  Jambo did not have any springbok last night.  There was a note in the menu that Bill missed.  What they did have was ostrich!  Bill’s first taste of ostrich (Strauß) was at the Schwartzbach Sportsplatz near Vaihingen when we lived here last time.  The ostrich at the Schwartzbach wasn’t that great.  The next time he tried it was at 10 Degrees South, an African restaurant in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.  That time, it didn’t disappoint!  Bill decided to try it again in Germany, this time prepared by people whose kitchen was putting out aromas that told us they could cook.  The ostrich was 17,50 euros.  I took a look at 10 Degrees South’s menu and they’re selling ostrich medallions for $40.  I think you get a better deal in Deutschland!

I opted for the Sierra Leone Teller, which could be prepared with chicken or beef.  I ordered it with chicken.  It was priced at 12,50 euros.

Bill’s delicious ostrich!  At first, he didn’t know how to eat it.  The proprietor came over and explained that the rather spongey rolled up bread is meant to be torn.  Then you pick up pieces of ostrich with the bread.  

My Sierra Leone plate.  The chicken was prepared with peanut sauce and lots of peppers.  It came with sides of rice, spinach, beets, and fried bananas.  The menu said they were bananas, anyway… to me, they tasted more like plantains… bland and a bit starchy.  They went well with the peanut sauce, though.

Bill finally eating the ostrich correctly.  It was delicious!

I had to take a photo of the back of the bottle of wine.  It was imported through Great Britain, which is famous for its nannyish signs…  

 

We finished our meals with a round of single espressos.  We wanted to try the African coffee on the menu, but it wasn’t available last night.  I also didn’t see any desserts offered, though that was no big deal.  I didn’t have room for dessert anyway!

I had to take a picture of the vehicle parked across the street.   It looked like a speed boat on three wheels.

 

Although we were the first to arrive at Jambo last night, the place filled up quickly.  Service was leisurely, but professional.  Everyone appeared to be having a good time and I could tell the place is very popular with locals, including several kids.  We were the only Americans there last night.  If you plan to go on a weekend, I recommend making a reservation, though again, it wasn’t totally necessary for us last night.  There is a lot of street parking near the restaurant.

Our bill came to 55,10 euros.  It was worth every euro cent.  As we were about to leave, the kindly proprietor asked us how we liked his restaurant.  In a very typically enthusiastic American way, I said we loved it and we’d definitely be back!  Thanks again to Jennifer for the recommendation!  I am very happy to spread the word about this great place for eastern African food in southern Germany!

Turkish food in Ludwigsburg!

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Bill and I went to Ludwigsburg yesterday to ditch some empty beer bottles at Heinrich’s.  We were headed to a beer tasting last night and wanted to pick up a couple of bottles for our host.  Last time we were in Ludwigsburg, I got really hangry.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t get that way yesterday, so we fortified ourselves with a nice breakfast before the trip.

Ludwigsburg happened to be teeming with people yesterday, since there was a big flea market going on.  Parking was a bit scarce.  Nevertheless, we found a spot at the big parking garage at the Solitude Car Park.  We headed into town the usual way, through the big mall near the city center.  It’s our habit to go to the main square when we visit Ludwigsburg, but yesterday we were distracted by a large sign offering grilled food.

The sign belonged to Reina Grillhaus.

 

I was actually thinking the restaurant looked a little “American” from the outside.  That was a mistake, as this place was very authentic and offered more than the usual doner kebab one finds at Turkish restaurants in Germany.  They had pizza, soups, salads, kebabs, and pita, as well as other Turkish temptations.  The place was busy too, packed with locals, which is a sign of a good restaurant.

 

We squeezed into a two top, which wasn’t an easy feat.  Reina has tables that are very close together and almost all of them were taken yesterday afternoon when we sat down.

 

Bill manages a smirk as we wait for menus.

Then gives me a “meme-worthy” look.

I settled on a doner pita and a hefeweizen.  My dish came with either rice or fries.  I went with fries because I love my potatoes.  Bill had a grilled lamb dish and a beer.  I don’t really like most lamb, but I will admit what they had at Reina Grillhaus was very tender and not gamey at all.  It came with a really nice and vaguely spicy red pepper spread that Bill loved.  I enjoyed my more pedestrian doner, especially the yogurt dressing that came with it.

Germany has introduced me to the wonders of yogurt sauce, a delicacy I used to forsake.  After yesterday’s lunch, I might have to start enjoying lamb, too.  I think a bad experience with it in Armenia unfairly turned me off of the wonders of lamb flesh.

Bill’s salad and my pita bread.  Both were fresh and tasty.

I managed about half of this.  It was delicious.

But next time, I might try one of the fancier meals.  They had chicken, ground beef, and lamb dishes.

 

Though we could have finished with raki served as a shot or tall, we opted for coffee instead.  They didn’t have Turkish coffee yesterday, but the regular was good.  It was served without sugar, which turned out to be okay for me.  I get enough sugar as it is.  Service was a little slow yesterday, but I think it was because they were very busy at lunchtime.  We didn’t mind waiting.

From 9:00-12:00, they offer Gozleme with Turkish tea.  I first tried it in Istanbul back in 1996 with my friend, Elaine.  We were there vacationing from Armenia.  I noticed a lot of people were enjoying soup at Reina Grillhaus, too.  I would have tried it, but the doner was already too much food!

 

Me and Elaine in Istanbul circa 1996.  We were eating Gozleme with tea…  It’s a flatbread filled with savories such as beef, lamb, cheese, potatoes.  It’s delicious, especially when freshly made.

 

A shot of the menu, complete with pictures.

 

The total for our lunches was 31 euros.  We thought the food was well worth the price of admission.  We will have to go back for more next time we go beer shopping in Ludwigsburg, though I’m still wanting to try the African restaurant I’ve heard so much about.

This ad was on a bank… I was looking at this while reading about Britain’s brand new princess.

A photo I took on the way between Jettingen and Herrenberg.  So pretty!

Hangry in Ludwigsburg…

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My niece Elise stayed with us for most of this past week.  Today, we had to take her to the train station.  After dropping her off, we decided to go to Ludwigsburg to drop off a bunch of beer bottles that have been empty since December.  Though we had a nice breakfast this morning, we were out and about at around lunchtime.  By the time we got to Heinrich’s Drink Market 3000, I was starting to feel moderately peckish.  I knew my blood sugar was starting to dip when I was barely interested in perusing the international beers.

I happened to mention to Bill that I needed to eat something.  He agreed, so we headed toward our usual haunts in Ludwigsburg’s main square.  Bill usually knows when I’m getting hungry.  I start getting flushed and irritable.  Then I get pale, shaky, and have a resting bitch face.  Finally, I get snappish and start looking confused, nervous, and even frightened.  If I let it go too long, I start to feel very emotional.

Bill wanted to shop around for a place we’d never been before, but I was feeling more and more bitchy until I was in full on hangry mode.  After rejecting one place that looked like it had good food but was very crowded, we finally ended up at an Italian restaurant where we’ve dined before.  It was kind of busy in there and a charming waiter showed us to a table very close to two ladies who were finishing up.  I sat down, buried my face in my hands, and tried not to be too noticeably pissy.

I must have looked seriously irritated, especially since the waiter didn’t give us menus when he seated us.  I just wanted something to get my blood sugar up and was immediately frustrated by how busy the restaurant was.  After a few minutes of us watching him bustle around, tending to a large party of friendly looking Germans, he finally gave us menus.

I quickly decided on a pepper and potato soup, a glass of Montepulciano, San Pellegrino, and basil risotto.  The guy came over to take our order and as soon as I opened my mouth to order the wine and got out two syllables of a six syllable word, he said, “English!”  Before I could say anything else, he dashed away to get us English menus that we didn’t need.

“No! No, that’s not necessary!” I said as he scurried off, further pissing me off, causing more frustration, and making me even more hangry.  I actually felt like crying as he walked away without our order.  He came back a few minutes later and we finally ordered lunch.

While we were waiting for lunch, I went to the ladies room, where I was confounded by the toilets.  In my anxiety-ridden, nervous, flustered, hangry state, I forgot how to tell when one was occupied.  Some very tall lady who was in there with me said in German that the middle stall was free, but that was all I understood in my haste to pee.

I didn’t need to go that badly, actually… just thought it was a good idea…  until I realized there was no toilet paper.  So there I sat, dripping dry.  I stood up and realized that besides being hungry, I was also very dehydrated.  Then when I went to use the sink, I couldn’t get the water to turn off.  It was one of those automatic jobs that make me miss plain old faucets that are easy to figure out when I’m hungry and angsty.

Fortunately, when I got back to the table, the wine, water, and my soup were there.  Bill watched intently as I tried the soup, which was a little bland, but otherwise had just what I needed.  He smiled as the color returned to my cheeks and I very soon stopped looking so tense and upset.

“It never fails.” he said, amused as I perked up.  “It’s like that Snickers commercial was written for you.  It doesn’t take much… just a little bit and you’re back to normal again.”

I turn into a monster when I’m really hangry.

I finished the soup and felt so much better once I was fortified.  As a younger waiter carried the bowl away, I noticed him flash a thumbs up and a smile to the older guy who had seated us.  I kind of wondered if he thought I was a raving bitch or just realized how badly I needed some food.

The second course of risotto for me and ravioli for Bill was equally tasty.  After lunch, we had a round of espresso, and I left the restaurant smiling and feeling a whole lot better.  We detoured through the mall and stopped at the drug store to get some dental floss, which was in and of itself an adventure.

We parked in a different parking garage this trip to Ludwigsburg and, to get to it, we had to pass through a little park that was once the site of a synagogue.  It was destroyed on Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938.  The outline of the building is marked and there’s a commemorative stone tablet there explaining what happened.  People have left flowers and pebbles and in the center of the outline, there are suitcases bearing the names and lifespans of Jews who died in the Holocaust.  I think it’s a very poignant memorial.  For more reading about this synagogue, click here.

Suitcases…

Memorial…

We’re home again and I’m enjoying wine, comforting music, and watching the melting snow.

Ludwigsburg… beer run and Christmas market!

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Yesterday, Bill and I decided to drive to Ludwigsburg to unload the many bottles we collected after finishing the beer we purchased on our last trip there.  For those not in the know, Ludwigsburg has an awesome drink market called Heinrich’s Getranke Markt.  This super sized drink market has beverages of all sorts, but really specializes in beer.  If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know Bill and I are beer lovers.

Aside from drinks, Heinrich’s also has some basic grocery items.  I didn’t buy any “Corny” bars, but I did manage to get some laundry soap and fabric softener.

We visited Heinrich’s and picked up some new suds.  I was actually hoping to find some alcoholic ginger beer like I did last time.  Heinrich’s has a pretty good international section.  I only found one beer that sort of fit the bill– it has an essence of ginger.  I saw another that was non-alcoholic, which would be okay I guess… but it wasn’t really what I wanted.  But I did find some interesting brews from the Republic of Georgia and Estonia.  We also managed to pick up a rack of Ettal double bock beer.  The Ettal Monastery is in Bavaria, not far from Garmisch-Partenkirchen.  I took a tour there a few years ago and became acquainted with the beers made by local monks.

A picture of the Ettal basilica.  I took this last time we lived here when I took a tour of the Ettal Monastery through the Edelweiss Lodge.  That was a surprisingly fun excursion!

I don’t have high hopes for the Georgian beers, since I lived in its southern neighbor, Armenia, and Armenia’s beers weren’t very good.  I would have liked to have found some Georgian wines because wine is what both Georgia and Armenia do best…  along with brandy.  I think the Estonian beer will probably be good.  I have had beer from Estonia before and liked it.  I always enjoy visiting Heinrich’s, because you never know what they’ll have… especially in the international section.  I was impressed by all the African and South American beers being offered, as well as a few from places like Lithuania, Finland, and even Hong Kong.

This might make a good gift for the beer lover in your life…

After we visited Heinrich’s, we went into town.  Parking was a bit of a bear in Ludwigsburg because their Christmas market is still going on.  Both Bill and I needed a WC, though, and we hadn’t been to any markets this season.  I must say, Ludwigsburg’s Christmas market was very good.  They had a carousel, lots of little stands with handmade gifts, and gluhwein aplenty!  We were a bit hungry, so we stopped at a stand that was selling homemade soups.  I had potato soup with wurst and Bill had the soup of the day, which was some kind of heavenly cheese concoction.  We washed it down with three gluhweins.  Bill had ordered two– a merlot based one and an apple one– but the lady must have misheard drei instead of zwei.   So we each had an apple gluhwein and split the merlot one.

Germans love their Christmas markets!

Lots of kids were out shilling for euros, playing whatever instrument they are learning.  One little girl was blowing a mean “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” on a recorder.

That soup was delicious!  And it was cold and windy yesterday, so it was perfect for the occasion!  They had several other soups as well.

Loading up on gluhwein!

The guy on the stage was doing a great job entertaining some kids… I wish I could have seen more, but I’m vertically challenged, especially in this country, where tall people abound!

On the way out of Ludwigsburg, we stopped in the mall for one last pit stop.  The mall was packed with people and the restrooms were very busy.  As I was standing in line, a young German lass said something to me.  My brain froze, even though I’ve been trying to pick up some more German.  I said very apologetically that I don’t speak German.  She laughed and said in perfect English, “You are waiting?”  It really puts us to shame that we Americans aren’t so proficient in languages.  But then, in America, there’s less of a need…  unless you count Spanish.  I studied Spanish for years and understand it, but when I speak it, it comes out Eastern Armenian.  Armenia is the only place I’ve lived where speaking the local language was essential.

Our next stop was Breuningerland in Sindelfingen.  I dreaded going there because that place is a madhouse on Saturdays and especially the Saturday right before Christmas.  But Bill wanted to rejoin ADAC, which is basically the auto club in Europe.  Last time we were here, the membership paid for itself when we came back to our car after a week in Scandinavia to find it with a completely dead battery.  An ADAC guy came out, diagnosed the problem, and replaced our battery on the spot.  We opted for the ADACPlus whole Europe family plan, which I think was 109 euros for the year.  Well worth it.  We also stopped by WMF to pick up a new salt and pepper grinder since our salt grinder bit the dust last week.

Our landlady said Americans love Breuningerland, but from what I saw yesterday, that mall is equally loved by Germans and Turks.  The parking lots were jam packed and we saw lots of creative parking done by desperate shoppers.  I’m proud to report that we managed to get out of Sindelfingen unscathed.  Today, we’ll probably end up doing what we usually do on Sundays… shopping on base and drinking beer at the Irish pub.  But maybe we’ll go Greek today.  Who knows?

Lovely Ludwigsburg…

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I told Bill I really needed an outing.  We were thinking of hitting the Mineraltherme in Boblingen, a very nice spa near the Panzer Kaserne, but decided instead to head for Ludwigsburg, a pretty town about 15 miles from Stuttgart and maybe an hour’s drive from our house.  We had been there before.  When we lived in Germany last time, we bought wine from a small French vintner that sold his wines in Tubingen and Ludwigsburg.  Bill signed up for emails and would order the wine, which sometimes meant he’d have to get it in Ludwigsburg.

This time, we were going there to go on a beer run at Heinrich’s Getranke Markt 3000, an enormous beer and wine store that also sells water and juice.  In preparation for this booze run, we got some cash and headed north.  On the way up there, someone passed us in a salmon pink colored Mini convertible.  They honked at us.  We’ve found that people who drive Mini Coopers act like they’re in a fraternity or something.  They often wave and honk when we take my car.  I think it’s funny.

Big drink market!

Those carts require two coins to operate.  It’s to get people to put them back where they belong.  They’re hard to steer, though.    

A Penthouse keg?  Sex sells…

Big haul!

I posted this photo on Facebook and asked what it was.  The guesses were interesting.  It turns out it’s plum liquor made with vodka.  I’ve seen pictures of it and it comes with a condom on it.  I guess you shoot it before you have sex.  That’s one way to take the edge off.  I think it would be funny to serve it with whipped cream on the end.  I tasted it.  It reminds me of strawberry Kool-Aid.

Anyway, we spent awhile shopping at the drink market and got lots of great beers, including one from Ghana that I’m dying to try.  We also got some beer glasses.  The place isn’t as well laid out as, say, Spec’s, but it has an impressive selection of suds.  We left with lots of stuff to test and blog about, along with some old favorites.

German graffiti.

After our trip to the  drink market, we went to downtown Ludwigsburg.  Bill had to pee and I needed lunch.  We took a shortcut through a mall and hit the restroom.  As we approached, I pulled out the obligatory 50 euro cents and quipped, “You have to paaaaay.”  That’s an inside joke.  In 2009, I took several tours out of Edelweiss Lodge in Garmisch and the guide was a very annoying German woman who chain smoked and made quips about the need to pay to pee in Germany (and elsewhere in Europe).

After our potty break, we had a nice lunch on the square at an Italian restaurant.  There was a lot going on today.  Someone got married, so there were a lot of people around the church.  A classic getaway car was parked there, adorned with flowers.  Lots of people were having lunch and drinks on the square, listening to a small band of musicians playing.

It was a little chilly, but otherwise very pleasant.  We really enjoyed ourselves…  Since we have been reminded of the way, we’ll be back… if only to turn in the bottles.

 

Basil risotto with balsamic vinegar and cherry tomatoes.

Spaghetti al proscuitto.

The new fridge of sin is about to be restocked.