Germany

Another Nagold restaurant I’m really going to miss…

I am truly going to miss this place.

Last night, Bill and I decided to go back to Nagold for dinner.  We had visited Nagold last weekend, hoping to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, Luz Bistro at the Alte Post, but they were hosting an event.  Last night, they were open.  In fact, when we approached the menu posted on the front door, Marina Hentsch, the proprietor came out and enthusiastically greeted us!  There was a couple sitting on the terrace having drinks, so she invited us to sit inside or out.  We opted for outside, knowing that soon it will be way too cold to eat al fresco.  This is also kind of the sweet time of year when you can enjoy the last of the good weather without battling the bugs!

Obligatory shot of Bill looking at the menu.

We really enjoyed this lovely primitivo from Italy…

Bill got a kick out of the “math problem” on the back of the bottle.

 

We may have to have this again!

 

Before we move to Wiesbaden, I wish we could dine once again at the Alte Post’s more formal restaurant, which is on the second floor.  We had the privilege of eating there twice and we dropped a whole lot of euros, but of all of the places I’ve had fine meals in Germany, I think I might have enjoyed the Alte post best.  Unfortunately, last I heard, Alte Post was suffering from the same problem a lot of local restaurants are… lack of qualified help.  I know of at least one other decent eatery that had to close because there wasn’t enough wait staff.  The upshot is that the Alte Post is now open for events only and isn’t offering the more formal multi-course menus on the weekends.

Fortunately, the more casual Luz Bistro is still very nice.  There’s a server who speaks English and has been working there for as long as we’ve been patrons.  She recognized us last night and delivered great service with an excellent attitude, even though everyone else decided to eat inside.  It was a pleasant evening, at least until the sun dropped and it started to get chilly.

I went with braised beef and spatzle.  The beef was topped with sauteed onions and the spatzle was very fresh and delicious.  I don’t usually like spatzle a lot, but I really liked the Luz Bistro’s version, with its creamy, cheesy sauce.  It really complemented the tender beef, served with a very savory gravy.

Bill had the “cordon bleu”, with was a breaded pork filet stuffed with feta cheese and ham and served with t’zatzki and loads of pommes.  This was also a nice choice, although I try to avoid schnitzel if I can.  It’s not that I don’t like it– it’s more that it’s easy to get it when I don’t want to be adventurous.

We decided to have dessert.  I had to Google “Affogato”, which is the Italian word for drowned.  It consists of a scoop of vanilla ice cream “drowned” in hot espresso.

We got to watch a bunch of local kids playing in the square while we enjoyed the fall evening.  

I love Nagold so much.  It’s such a nice little town.

Our waitress lit candles for us.

Bill had the Affogato, which was just the right size.

I went with the parfait.  It was light and creamy, with bits of rich chocolate ganache and meringues.  It was a nice way to end the evening.  I hope we can squeeze in one more visit before we move.

 

Total bill for last night’s dinner was about 98 euros.  We really enjoyed ourselves, as usual, and I will probably pine for Luz Bistro when we can no longer access it so easily.  Ah well… I’m sure we’ll find good places near the Rhein, too.

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Germany

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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Big Greek dinner in Jettingen and lovely lunch in Nagold… Luz Bistro strikes again!

Last night, Bill and I decided to have Greek food at Taverne beim Griechen, which is a restaurant in a local Sportsplatz.  We both had fish and I didn’t quite finish mine, which seemed to piss off the proprietor.  He was concerned that I didn’t enjoy my dorade.  I did enjoy it; I just couldn’t finish it.  I probably should have had him wrap it for me.  Next time, I’ll do better.  I only got through about half of it, though, which seemed to really upset our Greek friend.

Bill had grilled Wolfbarsch (branzino), which was just the right size.  He managed to finish his fish.  

I had a grilled dorade.  This was delicious, but so much fish!  And the rice was a lot, too!  I need to remember to be hungry when I order dorade.  This fish had lots of bones in it, but came with a very nice garlic sauce.  The tomato rice was tasty, but filling.
 
It seems like German restaurants are more willing to wrap leftovers than they were last time we were here.  It makes sense, since Germans, especially in Swabia, tend to be very frugal folks.  I found myself apologizing to the proprietor of Taverne beim Griechen for not having a hollow leg!
By lunchtime today, I was hungry again, so we decided to go to Nagold for lunch.  We stopped by Luz Bistro, because it’s one of my favorite local restaurants and because they have a dessert there that I was dying to have today.  We got there at 1:30pm, which was about 30 minutes before they stop serving and have their pause before dinner.
Bill’s customary pose before dining.
 
Because I wanted dessert, I decided to go light.  I had a salad.  You see it pictured below.  It was quite enjoyable, with watercress, pinenuts, bacon, light dressing, and roasted duck breast.
I don’t usually love salads, but I did love this salad.  It was delicious.  Bacon makes anything better, though.  Actually, my favorite part was the duck, which was cooked to medium rare perfection.  I also loved that there wasn’t a huge load of dressing on my salad.  I like my salads lightly dressed… same way I like my men.  I washed this down with a lovely primitivo.

Bill went a schnitzel with cognac cream sauce and potatoes that were kind of like latkes.  Again, the dish was well sized.  It wasn’t too much and he was able to enjoy the whole thing.  We had fresh bread, too.

 

It was just after 2:00 when we finished.  I asked the waitress/bartender if I could have dessert.  She said she had to check with the kitchen.  Fortunately, they were agreeable and made me the dessert pictured below.  Truth be told, I went to Luz Bistro expressly for that dessert, which is a true cure for PMS.  My mother in law had it when she visited in December and I’ve been wanting to visit again ever since so I could get it.

Rich chocolate tart with vanilla sauce, and the most sinful salted caramel ice cream I’ve ever had.  That was the best part of the whole thing… and I’m usually a sucker for anything chocolate.  Bill had an espresso.

 

Our bill came to about 74 euros.  It was worth it, just for that tart and ice cream.  It was so good!  After lunch we went to the Wein-Laden store and picked up a couple of wines for later.  I took note of the ad for energy.

I like it when bucks are used to advertise energy.

If you’re ever in Nagold and need wine, this shop is a great place to stop.  

 

I’m not sure what tomorrow has in store for us.  As the days get longer, I start thinking it’s time to break out of hibernation and get back to enjoying life in Germany.  We won’t be here forever.

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Germany, restaurant reviews

Luz Bistro for dinner!

Last night, Bill and I decided to take his mom, Parker, to Luz Bar & Bistro in Nagold.  I have written about Luz Bistro at the Alte Post in Nagold several times.  We usually go there for lunch on the weekends, but last night we decided to have dinner there.  I chose Luz because I knew the food and service would be excellent.  I also had a feeling we wouldn’t need reservations.

We arrived at the restaurant at about 7:00pm.  The bar area was pretty busy, as was the small dining room to the right.  I had never seen that dining room full.  Fortunately, there were still a few empty tables in the dining room to the left, which is where we usually sit if we aren’t outside enjoying Nagold’s city scenes while we drink wine.  Bill, Parker, and I took a seat at a four top and Bill ordered a bottle of Rioja and our usual sparkling water.

I was intrigued by a couple of the choices on Luz’s dinner menu last night, but I needed Google translate for a few things.  For instance, I had forgotten the word “Topinambur”, which is Jerusalem artichoke.  I also didn’t know the word “Saibling”, which is German for “char (a type of trout)”.  Parker chose a trout dish that was served with a citrusy pickle cream sauce.  I don’t know how I stood being in Germany without Google Translate.  It’s saved me a few times.  Anyway, below are the dishes we enjoyed last night.

I was originally intrigued by a dish that featured shrimps, onions, bacon, and mashed potatoes.  Since I was really hungry, I opted for a rib eye.  Luz has several steaks, a couple of which come in a “lady’s cut”.  The rib eye is one size only, 230 grams.  I ordered a side of fries, although I probably should have had a salad.  The fries at Luz are nothing special, although they arrived hot.  The steak, on the other hand, was juicy and delicious and beautifully complimented by a chilled garlic spread that was delicious.  It really married well with the beef.  

Parker’s dish was trout with a pickle and cream sauce.  I didn’t taste it, but she said the sauce was citrusy.  This dish came with a simple preparation of potatoes and greens.  I probably would have enjoyed it.  Maybe next time.

Bill had a very hearty plate of goulash made with venison and served with cranberry sauce and spaetzle.  I could tell he enjoyed this dish, based on how clean his plate was.  It was very satisfying.  I don’t routinely eat venison, but I might have liked this dish, too.

After our sumptuous main courses, Parker and I decided to have dessert.  I think our waitress might have been a little “weeded”, handling the rest of the crowd in the bar area and the other dining room.  She brought our desserts before she brought drinks.  I could see the ice cream was melted, which makes me think it sat for a few minutes.  But anyway, it still tasted good… especially Parker’s dessert.  I must have it next time I go to Luz Bistro.  It was a real hit!

My creme brulee came with red wine ice cream, blackberries and blueberries, and a crisp cookie.  It was a pretty standard incarnation of creme brulee, which I would have liked more had the ice cream not been so soft.  But… having waited tables myself, I am willing to cut the waitress a break.  She was working hard.  About halfway through the dessert, I had the prosecco I ordered.

Parker’s dessert was my favorite culinary treat of the evening.  She had a dark chocolate tart with sea salt ice cream, berries, whipped cream, and a vanilla sauce.  I swear… next time I have PMS, I hope I can get my hands on that dessert.  It was absolutely delicious.

 

Last night’s dinner came to about 159 euros before the tip.  I think had it not been a little busy last night, we would have had an almost flawless meal.  The good news everything tasted great and we were together, enjoying each other’s company.  Luz and the Alte Post remain another of my favorite local restaurants and it’s always a good bet for a weekend lunch of when company is around.

We are headed to Berlin later today, which excites me because it’s the first time any of us has been there.  It’s a blind booking on Eurowings, which we haven’t done in the past five years.  It should be fun.  I look forward to seeing some sights and writing more travel articles.  Berlin has been on my “must visit” list for a long time, especially since I’ve been to so many other European capitals in countries where I don’t actually live.

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Germany, restaurant reviews

Insane 15th anniversary celebration at the Alte Post in Nagold!

Edited to add: Alte Post has sadly closed.

Yesterday, Bill and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary.  Although last year, we went on vacation to Ireland for about ten days, this year we needed to stay in town because Bill is still earning time off from his new job.  At the very least, it’s always been our habit to go out to dinner on our anniversary.  We’ve enjoyed some wonderful anniversary meals over the last fifteen years.  However, last night’s glorious repast will definitely be a tough act to follow!

Initially, we considered finding a really nice restaurant in Stuttgart, like we did two years ago.  In 2015, we tried the “surprise menu” at Five.  As cool as that restaurant is, I think Bill and I have determined that we don’t always like surprise menu concepts, mainly because there are a few things I can’t abide, like truffles and mushrooms.  Also, the prospect of driving all the way from the edge of the Black Forest to Stuttgart was unappealing to both of us, since Bill is working today.  After trying and failing to find the right place to eat, I finally said, “Why don’t we go to the Alte Post’s gourmet restaurant again?”

I have written about Nagold’s Alte Post a few times.  This beautiful former hotel is now split into two restaurants.  There’s the more casual and less expensive Luz Bistro & Bar, which is on the first floor and open daily (except Sundays and Mondays) for lunch and dinner, and then there’s the more formal and expensive Alte Post Restaurant on the second floor.

Bill and I eat at Luz Bistro somewhat regularly, and you’ll find many posts about those experiences in this blog.  Last night was only our second time in the gourmet restaurant, Alte Post, which takes eating to a whole new level.  The Alte Post gourmet restaurant is only open Wednesday through Saturday nights from 6:30pm until 11:00pm.  The “deadline” for coming in for dinner is at 8:30pm, although I recommend making a reservation rather than just walking in.

We tried Alte Post’s gourmet restaurant for the first time in March of 2017 and had some very interesting and expensive new food experiences.  I really broke some boundaries on that visit and was eager to try it again.  I am so glad I did.  Although we dropped a large load of euros on our anniversary dinner, it was money well spent.  Every course was positively orgasmic and I say that as someone who can be picky and isn’t necessarily impressed by culinary gimmicks.

We only live about four miles from Nagold, so getting there is usually easy.  However, last night there was a very bad accident on B28, which is the road that usually takes us to Nagold.  We were met by the police, who directed us to detour.  We drove back through our town and went via Mötzingen, a little village adjacent to Jettingen that we usually only see when we’re being forced to detour.  Even after the detour, we arrived about fifteen minutes ahead of our reservation time of 7:00.

Although there was a function going on in another private dining room in the restaurant, we were the first of two couples to arrive for last night’s multi-course extravaganza!  Yes, that’s right… one of the lovely things about Alte Post’s gourmet restaurant is that your table will be relatively private.  There’s one dining room with a large table in it and the smaller room with four tables set for two.  Only two of the four were used last night, so you get plenty of room to spread out and enjoy.

We were personally attended to by Marina Hentsch, who along with star Chef Stefan Beiter, runs the whole operation.  Every time we’ve visited the restaurant, we’ve seen her waiting tables or otherwise attending to guests.  Besides providing stellar front of the house service, she is also a wine expert (sommelier).  Thankfully, Hentsch does speak some English (and French, apparently), though she claims her English isn’t good.  We found her very charming as she seated us and offered us an aperitif.  Since it was our anniversary, we started with a round of champagne.  And she brought us a little snack, pictured below…

This is tuna rolled in a little “cone” and topped with radish slices and caviar.  Although I was a little timid at first, this set the tone for a perfect evening of fine dining.

Bill looking sharp as we decide how we’re going to do things…

 

The first thing to know about Alte Post’s gourmet experience is that a set menu is offered.  You can have up to seven courses, but you can’t simply pick the courses you want.  Last night, there were courses featuring tuna, lobster, quail, salmon, beef, duck, and dessert.  We opted to have five of the seven courses because the quail included truffles, which I knew I wouldn’t like.  The other couple who came in later (and spoke French the whole time) apparently had the full seven courses.

We also had the wine pairing, which I highly recommend if you like tasting different wines with foods.  Marina Hentsch does a great job choosing wines and explaining them, although it helps to know a little German in that case.  I surprised myself by understanding a fair amount of what she said.

The menu is offered in both German and English.  You can also check it out online and outside the restaurant’s front door.  If you have any food idiosyncrasies, I recommend checking the menu before you book your table.  Otherwise, you may find yourself trying and enjoying calves’ brains, as I did the first time we tried the gourmet restaurant!  The menu does change regularly.

Not the best lighting, but this is an example of one of the tables.  

Last night’s menu in English.  Bill took a German menu.

 

Once we ordered our five course feast, Marina Hentsch went back to the kitchen and returned with the amuse, pictured below…  It was actually in two pieces.

These little bites were mindblowing.  There was a tomato and tuna bite, sushi with goat cheese and shrimp, and a tempura fried shrimp on a rice cake.

They were followed by hollowed out eggshells, painted black, and filled with a warm curry spiced soup.  It had a bit of a kick to it, which Bill especially loved.  Our hostess also brought us delicious potato bread with salted butter.  It was so good!

Our first course– fresh tuna with beetroot and green apple.  The beetroot reminded me of a very dry Fruit Roll Up.  It crackled and was very sweet, almost like candy.  I don’t normally like beets much, due to their earthy flavor.  I have to admit this was kind of a treat.  Under the beetroot curl, there was a little dollop of what tasted like apple flavored ice cream.  You wouldn’t think this would go with tuna, but it all worked surprisingly well.  It was paired with a steel aged chardonnay that was crisper than I was expecting and delightful.

Bill’s reaction thus far…

Next, we had Norway lobster served on top of mashed potatoes with bouillabaisse (fish stew) and beautifully decorated with a flower petal.  This was served with another chardonnay which was aged in oak and imparted buttery notes.  Sorry this photo is a little blurry.  I took two shots and they both turned out this way.  🙁

It was followed by my favorite of all of the courses, the salmon.  Salmon is one of those dishes that I tend to love or can take or leave.  A perfectly cooked piece of salmon is a delight to me, but when it’s dried out or dull, it leaves me underwhelmed.  This particular presentation was very exciting.  The chef paired it with sweet potato curry, avocado, and mangos.  I don’t usually like sweet potatoes much, but paired with the curry and Asian spices, this course practically exploded in my mouth.  I loved it!  This was served with a locally produced Riesling, that had a lovely essence of peaches that married beautifully with the curry.

Next, we had the duck, which was Bill’s favorite course.  It was served medium rare in pepper sauce with Preiselbeeren (cranberries).  I told Bill that I think I’d love a Thanksgiving dish of duck with cranberries and he immediately started talked about getting out his Anova precision cooker.  Again, beautifully done, though the duck had the misfortune of following the spectacular salmon.   

Finally, we enjoyed dessert… a panoply of chocolate.  There was a truffle that was full of warm chocolate “lava”.  I don’t really go for lava cakes much, but this was nicely done.  There was a little cloud of foam on top, along with a smidge of chocolate ice cream topped with mousse and garnished with walnuts, grapes, and something that reminded me of very high end Cracker Jacks minus the peanuts.

 

Once we finished dessert, we were offered a digestive.  Bill declined, since he was driving, but I tried a locally produced Mirabelle (made in Nagold for the restaurant).  I had a Mirabelle last week in France, so it was interesting to try it here in Germany.  It was not served chilled, as it was in France, which I think made it easier to detect the subtle flavors of plums.

Then we had a round of espresso, which was served with yet another two part treat, pictured below…

Four little candies– a marshmallow, a peanut chew wrapped in edible “plastic” (which I still peeled off, but didn’t have to), a very intense spiced jelly gumdrop, and a little chocolate cookie.

And this amazingly exquisite half lemon filled with light cream and topped with crispy, curry flavored flakes that reminded me a little of shredded wheat.  It was surprisingly delicious.

 

So, by now, you may be wondering how much this dinner set us back.  Well, folks, I will confess that hospitality at Alte Post doesn’t come cheap.  Our bill came to 346 euros before the tip.  However, I think it’s important to bear in mind that we were two of only four people in the dining room and both the service and the food were impeccable.  We were both raving about how excellent everything was as we walked back to the car, still bowled over by some of the exotic flavors we encountered last night.  It all worked so amazingly well!

As I mentioned, this was only our second time in the gourmet restaurant.  It really should be reserved for special occasions or nights when you just want to sit for a few hours and enjoy very fresh food creatively prepared.  Yes, it’s very expensive, but I think of it as one of life’s little experiences… ones that make putting up with all the bullshit worthwhile.  I can see why Chef Beiter is a “star”.  If you like gourmet food, I highly recommend visiting Nagold and trying Alte Post.  Bring a credit card and an open mind, and be prepared to spend a couple of hours.

A bonus was that last night, I managed to wear my contact lenses without pain, although you can see my eyes are pretty irritated…  By the way, we did dress up because we like to, but there is no need to do that if you don’t want to.  The other couple who joined us were wearing jeans. 

Next week, we will be visiting Delice in Stuttgart.  I understand that will also be a culinary adventure.  I look forward to returning and reporting!

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Shrimp salad and brats at Luz Bistro in Nagold…

Apologies for the fact that today’s review is of a place Bill and I have enjoyed several times since we’ve been living near Nagold.  We had really beautiful weather today and Bill decided he needed to drag me away from the computer for lunch.  It was late in the afternoon and we knew Luz Bistro in Nagold would offer food for those of us who don’t eat lunch at noon.  We have eaten at Luz enough times to know that the food and service would be good.  With the unseasonably warm and sunny weather, we knew we couldn’t go wrong today.  Bill is also leaving for a business trip tomorrow and will be gone a few days, so we knew we had to do something this afternoon.

We decided to enjoy the terrace, which was open and unshaded.  Personally, I would have liked it if a couple of umbrellas had been open for those of us who are light skinned, light haired, and light eyed. I am generally rather sensitive to the sun, but I’m particularly sensitive right now.  For some reason, my eyes have been giving me a lot of trouble.  I think it’s due to allergies.  My dog, Zane, has the same problem and actually went to the vet today because one of his eyes is all puffy and bloodshot.  I have the same problem, but I haven’t been to an eye doctor yet.  We’re still looking for one, if anyone has suggestions  😉

It was about 2:30pm when we got to the restaurant.  That’s when they have their short menu, which basically consists of lighter or simpler fare.  They have Wiener Schnitzel, a couple of salads, bratwurst, and flammkuchen, as well as desserts.  I was a little hungry, but not ravenous.  For the second week in a row, I went with a salad.  What an interesting trend for me!

We ordered a bottle of gray burgundy (a pinot gris) from the restaurant’s proprietor.  It was nice enjoying white wine in the sun, even if there was a guy smoking a stogie near us.

I think Bill had been planning on having beer, but I talked him into the wine, which he enjoyed.  It was 26 euros for the bottle.

 

There was a lady sitting behind me who was speaking rapid fire German with an Irish accent, which Bill immediately picked up on.  I was reminded of earlier this week, as I watched old ER episodes on iTunes and a guy was on there speaking Armenian with an American accent.  I don’t pretend to be fluent in Armenian by any stretch, but I did live there for over two years and had to use the language. It’s funny to hear it spoken with an American accent, although the actor speaks better than I ever will!  He was clearly born and raised in California, though, where there are many Americans who are ethnic Armenians and learn the language.  I ran into quite a few of them twenty years ago when I lived in Armenia.  They were coming there to go to dental or medical school.  “Western” Armenian is different than “Eastern” Armenian, though, and I was kind of proud to be able to tell the difference.  Especially since I have both a former Armenian teacher and one of my former Armenian students as Facebook friends.

Enough about my time in Armenia… on to the food.  I didn’t take a lot of pictures today because I was updating my phone during lunch and I prefer to use the phone for restaurant reviews because it’s somewhat less conspicuous.  Maybe it’s because I was born in the 1970s, but I feel weird taking pictures of food in restaurants.  But I also know they are an essential part of my reviews.  So feast your eyes…

This was my huge shrimp salad, which came with garlic bread (which wasn’t all that garlicky).  The salad was really nice, though.  It included four perfectly clean, generously sized, grilled shrimp.  I couldn’t finish this.  It was a lot of roughage covered with a very pleasing creamy dressing.  It reminded me a little of Ranch… perhaps slightly more delicately flavored.  I had lettuce, cucumbers, and corn to go with the shrimp.  I don’t usually go for a lot of dressing on my salads, but this was pretty perfect.  Not too much and not too little.  It was priced at just under 16 euros.

Bill had bratwurst with potato salad.  I tasted his sausage, which was grilled to perfection and came with mustard and bread.  It was very good, although perhaps a little heavy for such a pretty day.  This would be great in colder weather.  Bill said he wished he’d had the salad, although the sausage and salad were tasty.

All told, our bill came to about 61 euros before the tip.  The ladies who took care of us have waited on us before and were very professional, as usual.  It’s always a pleasure dining at Luz Bistro/Alte Post in Nagold.  We’re going to have to go back soon for an evening in their full scale restaurant like we had last spring.

If you live near Nagold, Luz Bistro is a nice place to have a “grown up” lunch at any time of the afternoon.  It’s really nice that they’re so close to where we live.

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A beautiful day in the neighborhood…

We have beautiful weather in southwestern Germany today.  Since the sun was shining, Bill and I decided to head to Nagold for lunch.  Today we ate at Luz Bistro, which has become one of our favorite local restaurants over the past few years.  We sat outside and were immediately presented with the latest specials.  Right now on the weekends, Luz Bistro is offering a grill menu and an asparagus menu.  Although I wasn’t thinking of having steak when we sat down, I noticed the grill set up outside by the terrace.  We’ve always had good experiences with grilled dishes at Luz Bistro, so Bill and I decided to go for it.  I had the rib eye and Bill had a filet.  They also had roast beef and wurst.

 

Bill enjoys the sunshine and a hefeweizen.

Both steaks came with green salads, complete with potato salad underneath.  The dressing was light, creamy, and garlicky.

Bill’s filet was 180 grams and cooked to a perfect medium temperature.  The steak came with baked potato covered with sour cream and herb butter.

My 250 gram rib eye was absolutely delicious.  In fact, I think it may have been the best steak I’ve had in Germany yet, even better than at Christophorus.  I don’t like sour cream, so they kindly put it on the side for me.  I think that steak was cooked over charcoal.  It was outstanding.

My dish was priced at 40 euros while Bill’s was 37 euros.  However, for that money, we got a lot of food that we weren’t able to finish!  Total bill for our lunches and beers was about 85 euros before the tip.  While we were eating, we got to watch a lot of kids and dogs playing in one of Nagold’s many fountains.

The fountain in this picture is where lots of kids and dogs play.

Whenever someone in the Pups of Stuttgart Facebook group asks about where to take their water loving dogs, I always suggest Nagold.  Not only do dogs get to play in the fountains, they also play in the river pictured below.  At the end of this post, I will include a short movie I took last summer of a guy who brought his three dogs to play there.

Today, I didn’t see dogs in the river, but I did see lots of people soaking their feet in the water.

 

More dogs in fountains!

After you’re finished letting your dog swim, you can stop by the Longwy bar for a drink… or maybe take a hookah break.

This was the line to get into Nagold’s awesome pool.  It was packed!

 

No hookahs allowed.

I’m dying to try that slide, but on a day when it’s not so busy!

 

I have really come to love Nagold since we’ve lived in Jettingen.  If we end up moving to Italy this summer, I am sure I’m going to miss Nagold and the rest of Germany.  The thought of moving fills me with dread, even though I do love the idea of living in Italy.  We’ll see what happens.  For now, I think we’ll just enjoy what we have here.

If your dog is a swimmer, you might want to visit Nagold.

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Graduate level eating (and spending) at the Alte Post in Nagold…

Bill and I currently live just five kilometers from an adorable town called Nagold.  These days, we spend a fair amount of time there, the same way we used to spend a lot of time in Tübingen when we lived in Germany the first time.  I used to think Tübingen was the bomb!  I still do, but in some ways, I like Nagold better.  It’s smaller, less crowded, less expensive to visit on weekends (on account of cheap or free parking), and there are some wonderful restaurants there.

Last weekend, we visited Luz Bistro, which is a casual but very nice restaurant in the old Alte Post hotel in the middle of town.  There is also a more formal restaurant called the Alte Post in the building.  The Luz Bistro and Bar is open every day for lunch and dinner, while the Alte Post restaurant is only open from Wednesday to Saturday from 6:30pm.  Edited to add: The Alte Post is now closed.

Although we’ve been eating at the Luz Bistro for a couple of years now, I hadn’t actually noticed the more formal restaurant until I started reading the Web site for Nagold’s charming hotel landmark (which, I gather, is no longer a hotel).  When I read about the more formal dining option, I decided Bill and I needed to pay a visit.  Last night, we went… and we had a glorious five course meal!  And we also spent lots of euros!  Fortunately, credit cards are allowed at the Alte Post.  Otherwise, we might have had to wash dishes!

Bill approaches the impressive front door.  Last night’s menu was posted outside, but it’s also posted online.  The Alte Post restaurant offers tasting menus, which means that diners are all offered the same thing.  For that reason, I recommend checking out the menu before you book a reservation to make sure you’ll like what is being offered on a given night.

I love this old building and its ornate decorations.

We reserved a table for 7:00pm, but we were about twenty minutes early.  It was not a problem.  The proprietor, who is ever present whenever we’ve visited, led us to a large table set for two.  Looking around the dining room, I could see that there were only a few tables set up for five different parties.  Besides us, there were two other couples.  There was also a group of three and another, larger group in the next room.  This is the kind of restaurant where you really should book ahead to avoid disappointment.  I would go as far as saying that reservations are a must.

A first glance at the dining room.  The vibe is different upstairs than it is in the downstairs bistro.

Last night’s menu…  They do have menus in English, for which I was grateful.  I still ate calf’s brains, though.  

Patrons can choose between three and seven courses and portions are sized accordingly.  A three course menu was 68 euros per person.  The whole seven course menu was 128 euros.  We also opted for the wine pairing, which added another 40 euros per person, but was well worth doing.  If you opt for only a few courses, you don’t get to choose which ones you get.  At the bottom of the menu, there is an explanation of which courses come with the 3, 4, 5, or 6 course meals.  Bill and I went for five courses because we thought it would be enough… and also, there were a couple of courses that I had a feeling I wouldn’t enjoy.

We started with glasses of locally produced sekt and some very interesting Spanish almonds that appeared to have been fried in some type of Parmesan.  I had to restrain myself from eating too many of those, especially when I saw the amuse.

This was the very elaborate amuse.  I admit to simply nibbling the foie gras to say I’d tried it.  It was surprisingly tasty, but I have a bit of an aversion to foie gras.  

 

We had a small panoply of little treats.  A lime rind was stuffed with ricotta cheese and tuna and topped with roe.  There was a spoon full of foie gras, which tasted curiously like chocolate pudding and cherry ice cream and was topped with a piece of popcorn.  A shrimp chip, the same kind you might find in a bar, was topped with a shrimp.  There was also a piece of  sushi and an eggshell full of red carrot soup.  The bread you see pictured above was absolutely heavenly.  It was a potato bread, lightly salted on top and served hot with butter.  Oh, it was sooo good.  In fact, I think the bread might have been my favorite part of the meal, but I love bread.

Our first course was raw lamb marinated in tomatoes, garlic, and basil.  Bill loved it and I thought it tasted really good.  The meat was very fresh.  Bill is more adventurous than I am, so he enjoyed this course very much.  I appreciated it, but like my meats more well done.  We drank a locally produced white wine with this course.

 

Had we ordered all seven courses, the next selection would have been lobster with ox tail and truffle. Bill loves truffles, but I don’t care for them at all.  And judging by the fact that I could smell them all the way across the room, it was probably a good thing we skipped the lobster.  Had Bill been dining with a truffle fan, it would have been a big hit.

Next came turbot with Jerusalem artichoke, onion, and kalbskopf…  Kalbskopf is calf’s brain.  Believe it or not, it was actually very good.  I was temporarily entertained by the sperm like decorations on the plate.  A chardonnay, heavy on the butter and sour apples, paired quite nicely with the turbot.

Next came salmon with chickpeas, eggplant, and miso.  I loved this course for its simplicity and the crispy little wasabi flavored bits on top of the fish.  This course came with an impressive Riesling made exclusively for the Alte Post.

Course number four was veal, which was served with broccoli, delicious smoked fish, and barley.  The barley reminded me a bit of polenta.  It was very good.  I don’t usually eat veal, but I will say the little bit we had last night was beautifully prepared and could have been cut with a spoon.  This was paired with a delightful rioja, heavy on the cherries.

 

We skipped the next course, which was dove served with olive, cranberry, and vegetable sauce.  I might have been open to trying dove.  Maybe some other time I’ll get the chance, now that I’ve tasted calf’s brains.

Ahhh… dessert!  My favorite course!  This was chocolate and passionfruit with a bit of banana sorbet and topped with little crunchy cookies.  Delicious!  And there was nothing too foreign about it, either.  This was paired with a lovely sweet sauternes.  

And finally, another little amuse… this one full of sweets!  There was a lemon rind full of cardamom and curry scented cream (which is a lot better than it might sound), apricot with cream, and Turkish delight.  We also had espresso.

Just before the bill came, the proprietor offered us a digestive of locally produced Mirabelle, which is a brandy from Alsace made of plums.  It was delightfully smooth.  I think she told us it was also made specifically for her restaurant.

The wines went beautifully with each course, although the pairing did add a significant amount to the final bill, which totaled over 300 euros before the tip.  We also had sekt and two bottles of water, which added to the bill.  Needless to say, partly due to the cost, this is not an experience we will enjoy often, but I do think the Alte Post restaurant would make for an excellent splurge or special occasion place.  The Alte Post also has special dinners regularly that feature wines or are in celebration of certain holidays.  I could certainly see us coming back again for any of those! I am especially intrigued by their wine dinners, which are usually advertised on their Web site.

Overall, we had a lovely dinner and we both ventured a bit outside our culinary comfort zones.  Everything I tasted, even the stuff I wouldn’t normally choose on a menu, I enjoyed to some extent.  I generally hate the taste of foie gras, but last night, I would not have known I was eating foie gras if no one had told me.  Ditto for the calf’s brains!  I may have to add the Alte Post to my list of great date night restaurants, although I also really enjoy the Luz Bistro downstairs, which offers less expensive and somewhat less exotic choices.

This was us before we left.  No one makes me smile the way Bill does.  

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Germany, restaurant reviews

Another lunch at Luz Bistro and a trip to Media Markt…

Our microwave gave up the ghost a few days ago.  We have no idea how old it is; we bought it from the people who lived in our house before us.  It was a basic model though, probably readily accessible at AAFES.  I use the microwave a lot during the week when I heat up leftovers for lunch, so it was a real bummer that the thing died on us.

Fortunately, we recently discovered that the nearby town of Nagold has a Media Markt.  Media Markt is basically like a European version of Best Buy.  Rather than trying to fix our used microwave, we decided to buy a new one.  An added bonus is that Nagold is one of our favorite little towns and boasts some nice restaurants, including Luz Bistro at the Alte Post.

I have blogged about Luz Bistro several times.  We’ve been there probably half a dozen times and we’ve never been disappointed with the food or the service.  I also like it because it’s rarely crowded, probably because the food isn’t cheap.  Although Luz Bistro doesn’t offer cheap eats, I have never felt we paid more than we should have.

Nagold was busy today because the market was going on.  I was a little sorry we didn’t make time to pick up some fresh goodies.  Maybe next weekend we’ll go.

We arrived at Luz at a little bit past noon.  A very charming and delightful waitress greeted us and invited us to sit where we wanted.  We selected a two top near the window, which seems to be where we always end up sitting when we’re not outside on the terrace.  When the waitress discovered we were English speakers, she offered us menus in English.  We told her German menus were fine.  The truth is, I probably ought to take the English menus more often!  However, I did manage to pick a great lunch today, despite having to clarify that I was ordering fish and not something I wouldn’t like.

Bill and I decided to have beer today instead of our usual wine…  

My lunch was delicious!  It was skrei, which is a lovely mild white fish from Norway.  It reminds me a bit of turbot or flounder.  The chef paired it with sinfully buttery mashed potatoes, foam, and topped with greens and scallions.  I really enjoyed it, although I had to cry uncle on the mashed potatoes.  They were so good, but a bit rich. 

Bill went with bratwurst and potato salad, accompanied by mustard.  He liked his lunch, too.  He said it reminded him of the wurst he enjoyed in Bavaria during his first Germany tour in the 1980s (before my time, obviously).  He couldn’t finish the potato salad.

For dessert, Bill had espresso.

I had “a bowl full of chocolate”.  Seriously, that’s what it was called in the menu.  It was basically very cold chocolate mousse and whipped cream served in what looked like a mixing bowl.  The whipped cream dollops had little madeleines on them.  The dessert was very light, which I appreciated.

 

After we finished lunch, we made reservations to eat at the Alte Post’s formal restaurant for next weekend.  As nice as Luz Bistro is, the Alte Post also has a more formal eatery which offers up to seven courses.  I look forward to returning and reporting after we try it.  It will be our first time.

Then, after we made reservations for next week’s Saturday dinner, we went to the Bauhaus/Media Markt in Nagold.  We lived here for over a year before we knew it existed!  But this shopping area actually has a lot of stores, including an Aldi, Deichmann’s, and a Kaufland, as well as a McDonald’s.

After searching briefly, we found the microwaves and ended up coming home with one that is a combination convection oven and grill.  I’m hoping I like it.  It’s bound to be a step up from our basic microwave that just bit the dust.  Bill is also going to try out his new toy, the Anova Precision Cooker.  I got it for him for Christmas, but it only just arrived.  And tomorrow, he will be brewing beer for the first time since we left Texas.  Should be a happy time!

This place was a madhouse today!

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German products, Germany, restaurant reviews

A Schlachtfest! And lunch in Nagold at Luz Bistro Bar…

A flyer about our local Schachtfest.  It was held at Willy-Dieterle Halle, here in Jettingen.

Here in Jettingen, we get a weekly newspaper that tells us what’s going on.  I have only recently started paying attention to it.  I noticed a few days ago that the local evangelical church was having a Schlachtfest today after church services.  I was curious about it, but when I mentioned the prospect of going to the festival to Bill, he was a bit skeptical.  Bill has had a rather distressing history with organized religion and was worried about being proselytized.

I asked my local German friend, Susanne, what I could expect if we went to the Schlachtfest.  She posted a link to a newspaper article about last year’s fest.  She said it was strictly to raise money and there wouldn’t be any pressure to get religious.  She said the cakes would be made by the Landfrauenverein (country women’s club) and would probably be amazing.

A Schlachtfest, for those who don’t know, is basically a festival dedicated to meat.  Historically, it involves the ceremonial slaughter of a pig.  The meat from the pig is then used to make schnitzel, sausages, and other meaty dishes.  At the one hosted in our town, there was a two hour lunch followed by coffee and cake and a concert put on by the local music club.

I pressured Bill about going to the fest, but we were a little slow on the draw.  We didn’t get to the Schlachtfest until it was well underway.  The parking lot was very full and things were in heavy swing.  I took a few photos, but was a little overwhelmed by the crowds.

Check out those cakes!  They looked awesome!  I probably should have gotten a piece to go.  We noticed they had a waffle station, too.

Most of the seats were taken.  There were a couple of tables with religious literature on them, but other than that, it looked like a regular fest, complete with wine and beer and a couple of crosses on the stage.  No one tried to help us find Jesus.

The menu on the wall.  It looked like you’d pay, get a ticket, and then present the ticket to the ladies who were dishing out the food.  It smelled really good in there and I was tempted to partake, but it was after 1:00pm and the scene was a bit chaotic.  There were hundreds of people there having a good lunch.  I felt a little like I was in a school cafeteria.  So I told Bill I wanted to go to Nagold.

The parking lot was loaded.  Next time, we’ll come earlier.  They had games for kids in the lobby as well as a big coat rack.  I love how civilized things are in Germany.

 

We went to Nagold and had lunch at Luz Bistro Bar/Alte Post.  We’ve eaten at this restaurant a few times and have never been disappointed.  Today’s lunch was especially lovely.

Bill checks out the flyer on the table about Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations, as well as wine dinners regularly hosted in Alte Post’s classy upstairs dining room.

We split a nice bottle of Barbera from the Piedmont region of Italy.

I had the Metzgerspiesse– basically pieces of pork on a skewer with barbecue sauce, lots of bacon, and sauteed onions.  A potato with sour cream completed the dish.

Bill had Schweinebackchen– basically braised pork with pureed potatoes and corn served in a copper pot.  I really liked my dish, but Bill’s was even better.  That pork was so tender and flavorful!  Bill was hesitant to order it at first, but he really enjoyed it.  Next time, I’ll probably go for this dish myself if they still have it!

We finished with a round of espresso.

And I had to take note of the unisex bathroom.  Don’t worry.  There are two rooms with stalls, but everyone washes their hands in the same place.  

 

Our bill for today’s sumptuous lunch was almost 80 euros.  It was well worth the price.  We definitely need to get to the Alte Post for a formal dinner.  I’ve enjoyed every meal I’ve had there and the service is always welcoming and professional.  If you are ever in Nagold, I highly recommend stopping in for a meal.

A nice shot of a Nagold church…

On the way back to the car, we passed Osteria da Gino’s, which is probably our favorite Nagold restaurant.  We always end up getting the degustation menu, so we never know what he has or the prices.  I took a picture of the menu posted outside (we are usually there after dark).  We haven’t been to see Gino since my birthday in June and are long overdue for a visit.

 

All in all, we had a nice afternoon.  Now we’re enjoying quiet time with another nice red.  Hope your Sunday is just as peaceful.  On another note, isn’t Schlachtfest a great word?  It ranks right up there with Stau and Schmutz in descriptiveness!

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