Stuttgart, Germany… it’s as lovely as ever in the springtime… part five

Finally, it was Monday, the day we’d kind of been dreading. It was the reason we’d come to Stuttgart in the first place. At 3:00pm, we would be visiting our dentist, Dr. Blair, in downtown Stuttgart, for repairs and cleanings. After breakfast, we went back to the hotel room for a chat, and finally decided to go downtown at a little after 11:00am.

There was another reason to be a little worried about the day. Monday was the day transportation workers were on strike, protesting for more pay and better working conditions. That meant a lot of trains and planes would either not be going or were delayed. Since we were just going downtown, this issue didn’t affect us too terribly, but we did hear a lot of warnings about it.

We parked in the public garage close to Dr. Blair’s office and went searching for lunch. Stuttgart has a number of good restaurants, but not all of them are open for lunch, and quite a few of them take Mondays as their “Ruhetag” (quiet day off). I was wanting to try a different restaurant, too. We often end up eating in places near Dr. Blair’s office. I wanted to go somewhere else for a change, if only so I could report about it in my Facebook food and wine group. I like to be useful whenever possible.

After some time walking around downtown, we finally ended up at the Nesenbach Brauhaus, not far from the Stuttgart Markthalle. Although Bill and I have visited the Markthalle many times, we had never before dined at the Nesenbach Brauhaus. I wasn’t really wanting German food again, but time was getting short before our appointments and we needed to have lunch. Below are a few shots of beautiful downtown Stuttgart, including the festive Stuttgarter Markthalle…

The Nesenbach Brauhaus has a decent sized menu, which did include a lot of local Swabian inspired dishes. Naturally, there was beer, too, and other libations. We sat down at a corner table by a window, near a large group of ladies who were lunching. For lunch, I chose the “filled avocado”, which promised chicken and vegetables in avocado halves, drizzled with nuts and sweet chili sauce. I was a little hesitant about ordering the avocado, since sometimes “mixed vegetables” include mushrooms. But then, I reasoned, who puts mushrooms in avocados?

Bill ordered a “salad from the land and sea”, which included a small piece of salmon, a small piece of beef, Parma ham with melon, white asparagus, and greens. We were reasonably assured that his choice would be fungus free.

Well, the food came, and wouldn’t you know it? The avocado had mushrooms in it… We had to switch plates, because I can’t eat mushrooms. Fortunately, I liked the salad Bill ordered, even though it was quite an array of different things. I wouldn’t have necessarily thought to put melon and Parma ham with salmon and beef, for instance. Bill didn’t mind the avocado, although he said the mushrooms didn’t really go well, and the chili sauce was a little too cloying. Seems to me they should have paired the avocado with bacon or citrus, or something more like that. Oh well, at least it was an attractive presentation.

When we were finished eating, the waiter asked if we wanted anything else, like sweets or coffee. I just sort of smiled at him and, reading my mind, he said “Another beer?”

“Yes!” I enthused. “We have to see our dentist in an hour, and I want to be relaxed!”

The waiter laughed and brought me my suds, which I happily drank, then we paid the bill and walked to Dr. Blair’s office.

When we arrived, there was still a sign on the door requesting that everyone wear a face mask. However, most of the staff didn’t wear masks, and I noticed a number of patients weren’t wearing them, either. I suspect that by the time we see Dr. Blair again in the fall, the masks will be long forgotten. I know not everyone feels this way, but frankly, I hope that is what comes to pass.

After a short wait, I was invited to the treatment room. The assistant left me alone, and I decided I’d better go to the restroom before things got started. That was a good decision, even though she was waiting for me when I got back. I apologized, and Dr. Blair came in and commented, in German, that my filling was “kaput”.

“That doesn’t sound good.” I said.

He laughed and reminded me that the “kaput” filling was why I was there. Then, somehow, we ended up talking about our ancestries. When I told him I grew up near Williamsburg, Virginia, he said he had many relatives buried near there. I asked him if he was related to James Blair, who was a rector at Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg, and whose name is on a number of public buildings there. He said he didn’t know, but his grandmother– last name of Warren– was from there. And then I realized that he was named for his grandmother, as his first name is Warren.

So then, they put a dental dam in my mouth, which is kind of a foreign experience for me, as most dentists don’t seem to bother with it unless the work is extensive. I mentioned that I knew about dental dams, since I used to study public health, which naturally led to a brief discussion about how gay men used to use them during the height of the AIDS era to protect themselves when they engaged in oral sex. 😀 I swear, I’ve never had this kind of talk with any of my American dentists! But Dr. Blair is not constrained by American conventions! He did mention that back in the late 80s, he worked in San Francisco and knew a lot of gay men who had lost people to AIDS. It was definitely a challenging time for his career.

As I tried to hang in there during the repair of my baby tooth, it occured to me that I am lucky to have such a skilled dentist. And I’m lucky that we can afford to see him on a regular basis, even though using a dental dam was vaguely kinky. It was a big relief when he was finished. Then, after another short wait, I was invited to get my cleaning done by the hygienist. She did an especially thorough job. I left the office with a noticeable brighter smile, although half of my mouth was very numb.

Bill’s cleaning went similarly well. Then he went in to get his filling repaired, as it had a tiny sliver missing. Dr. Blair said, “I don’t even need to numb you for this. It won’t take twenty minutes to fix this.”

Bill thought to himself, “Sez you…” but really, he didn’t require any novocaine. Dr. Blair worked his magic, and we were soon on our way back to the Wald Hotel’s bar. We’ll be back to see. Dr. Blair in early October. I will have to find a fun place to visit in the fall! We don’t need to stay in Stuttgart for that visit, since there’s no work planned.

While we were sitting in the bar, the lady from Vermont and her son came back. She said they’d buried her father that morning. They had a taxi coming, as she had plans that evening. During the day, they went to Ludwigsburg and visited the palace (a place I still haven’t seen), and her son, who is an arborist, found a reflective jacket that isn’t available in the United States. He said he managed not to buy the matching pants! The duo said they’d be flying back home on Wednesday, after a day trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a place we last visited in January 2018.

We decided to have a light dinner, so we wouldn’t be starving on Tuesday morning. I had a burger and fries, and Bill had soup. In retrospect, I probably should have had the soup, too. The burger came huge, on a pretzel hamburger roll. I liked the roll and the fries, but the burger patty was “machine molded and compressed”, which seems to be what Germans prefer, as opposed to hand formed. Hand formed patties are not so tightly packed, so they are juicier and lighter.

The patty was also seasoned, so that it kind of reminded me more of sausage. I like my ground beef “natur”, as the locals would put it. And finally, there were tons of condiments on the burger! Like– a really thick smear of mayo, a bunch of onions and tomatoes, and lettuce. My mouth was still pretty numb, but even if I hadn’t been, I couldn’t open it wide enough to bite into the burger, which was dripping mayo all over the place. I ended up having to eat it with a knife and fork, and finally gave up about halfway through.

Ah well… it wasn’t the worst burger I’ve ever had. And it did the trick of preventing me from getting hungry before breakfast.

We went back to the room and watched some German TV. We landed on a show called First Dates, which was about Germans who went to a hotel near Amalfi, Italy, where they had dates with strangers. There were several contestants, but it looked like the gay couple was the only one that found love. They were sent to Mallorca for water sports, too. I’m guessing the specific water sports they enjoyed didn’t just involve Waveriders and surfboards. 😉 I do like how German shows are less about violence, and more about love. 😀

On Tuesday morning, we got up, packed our bags, hauled them to the car, and had breakfast. Bill had to park in the “Tiefgarage” (which costs money), because the free outside lot was full of expensive cars for the businessmen who had converged on the hotel Monday afternoon. I was admiring my new white smile as Bill settled the bill, which was about 2500 euros. Yes, that’s a lot of money, but consider that we were staying in the suite, and we ate and drank a lot at the hotel. It’s still less than what we spent at Bareiss last fall, too.

Now that we’ve stayed in the suite, I can also say that I don’t really think I’ll need to book it again. I might go for the junior suite, which I think is a better room for us. Or, I might just go back to the superior room, which is a lot cheaper and has a really fabulous shower with mood lighting. 😀

Our drive home was kind of frustrating. There was an accident, so of course there was a lengthy Stau. But we managed to get home by the early afternoon, even after enjoying lunch at a NordSee in a rest stop. I resisted the urge to buy one of those obnoxious signs I noticed on the way down to Stuttgart on Friday. But maybe I’ll see if I can find one on, which would spare me some embarrassment. One other byproduct of our trip is a nasty cold sore, which I think was caused by stress. Either that, or Aunt Flow is about to visit for the first time in months.

As for Noyzi… he came through our short break just fine. Bill said he had to wait a bit before the clients ahead of him were finished getting their dog. When Noyzi finally came out of the pension, he almost knocked Bill over with a literal hug. I almost wish I’d been there to see that!

Anyway, so ends my latest series… Now it’s time to plan a real vacation in a country other than Germany! We might have to bring out the champagne bucket to help us make our choice. I look forward to making the decision soon!


Lunch at Primo Ristorante X Vineria and fine food shopping in downtown Stuttgart…

This weekend, we decided to spend our Saturday afternoon in downtown Stuttgart.  There were several reasons why we opted for the city.  One was an annoying monthly visitor that necessitated proximity to a ladies room.  One was the high chance of thunderstorms that clearly struck while we were gone.  And one was the fact that my car needs new tires and one tire has a slow leak.  Bill’s car has squeaky brakes that need to be fixed.  We didn’t want to chance the Black Forest today.

I’m glad we went to Stuttgart, even though it’s a crowded, busy city.  I’ve kind of been wanting to go downtown for awhile.  Actually, I need a date night at a really nice restaurant, but that’s what my upcoming birthday is for… hint hint (not that I need to hint to Bill).  We parked the car in a big garage near our dentist’s downtown office and went searching for lunch.

On the way there, we passed these buskers.  One was playing accordion and the other was passionately playing violin with so much emotion that I got very verklempt.  I have a weakness for street musicians, especially when they’re good.  These two went straight to my heart.  Unfortunately, they weren’t selling any CDs.  Bill wasn’t the only one to slip them some euros.

This guy was also a skillful busker who was selling CDs, but panpipes don’t do it for me…  We passed another guy playing acoustic guitar and another playing flute.  I really enjoy talented musicians playing in city squares.


We headed off the main drag in Stuttgart and suddenly I noticed a heavenly aroma.  I have mentioned in this blog before that I typically trust my nose when I stop at a restaurant.  It smelled of garlic, grilled, fresh bread, and exotic spices.  That aroma, along with a lovely smile from a striking young woman led me to pick Primo Ristorante X Vineria.  We took a two top under the outdoor canopy and checked out the menu, which was helpfully offered in Italian, German, and English.

Bill poses for the camera after ordering glasses of white wine and our usual big bottle of Spruedel.  Our wine and water came with fresh bread, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  I had a glass of Lugana Ottella, while Bill had Pinot Bianco Moritz DOC.


I was sitting in a good spot for people watching.  I thought it was fun hanging out in the food court at AAFES and watching the people walk by.  This place was even more fascinating, as people from all walks of life and different countries passed, sometimes with a significant other or a child and sometimes with a four legged friend.  I was especially enjoying the fashion show.  I saw quite an array of fashion statements, including one woman who was wearing a t-shirt with pictures of hamburgers over her breasts.  I saw another well muscled man wearing a tank top bearing the 7Eleven logo and a pair of cut off jeans shorts.

Bill decided to have the Panzirotti, which was basically ravioli stuffed with cheese and porcini mushrooms.  I went with Tagliolini with scallops and a turmeric lime sauce.

Bill’s dish was extremely pungent.  Some might say it was fragrant.  If you like the smell of mushrooms, it probably smelled heavenly.  I don’t like the smell of mushrooms, but Bill loves everything about the cursed things.  He said this dish was delicious… just the right size and delightfully earthy.  I took his word for it. 

I much preferred my day glow colored scallops and pasta.  The scallops were slightly bitter, but the lime and turmeric sauce kind of set off the bitterness.  And again, this was just the right size.


Our waitress asked us where we’re from.  We explained that we’re Americans who live locally.  She seemed impressed by that news and wondered why we’d want to live in Germany.  She was genuinely surprised when we told her how long we’ve been here and that it was our second time.  She might have wondered why our German is so bad, too.  I noticed she spoke German and English like an expert.

Next, she told us she’s from Iraq and was waiting to get her German passport so she’ll be allowed to visit the United States.  She told us she hopes to visit within the next year.  I was very impressed by how warm, friendly, and genuine our server was.  It was her warm, welcoming smile that made me want to sit down in the first place.

The weather was still nice after we finished lunch and an entertaining Spanish family sat down.  We could tell they knew the owner, just based on the affectionate way they greeted him.  Then I heard them switch from rapid fire Spanish to perfect German.  I really need to get back to my language lessons.

I decided to have a glass of primitivo, while Bill had an espresso.  I didn’t look at the wine list before I ordered this, but I was so impressed by it, that Bill went in to find out the brand.  Our waitress told us that everyone loves that primitivo.  It was just slightly effervescent.  Looking at the menu now, I see it was Primitivo di Manduria


When we left, our waitress bid us a very fond farewell and even taught us a new phrase in Arabic.  Perhaps we’ll see her again.  I would visit Primo another time.  We enjoyed lunch there.


Our waitress gave us truly excellent service and it was a real pleasure to sit in her section.  I thought she was Italian when we sat down, but then when I looked at her face, I could tell she was Middle Eastern.  She had beautiful, thick black hair and topaz colored eyes that matched her bronze skin tone.  Aside from being a very attractive young woman, she was also extremely kind and hospitable.  I hope she can visit the United States and she’s treated well there… at least as well as she treated us today.  We really enjoyed talking to her.

After a couple of hours at Primo, we decided to head toward Feinkost Böhm, which is a very expensive and fancy grocery store in downtown Stuttgart that offers everything from fresh sushi to housemade desserts.  But before we made it to the Feinkost, we stopped by the Markthalle.  I always love going into the Markthalle because it has such a festive atmosphere and one can find all kinds of foods there.

Fresh meats, fresh breads, fresh fruits and vegetables…

Lots of wines…

Beautiful produce!

Sausages and cheeses…

We bought Italian cherries, although they had them from Germany and Spain, too.  And we bought limes, in case I get in the mood for a margarita.


We also bought a couple of large, dry-aged, rib-eye steaks, which Bill will be cooking sous vide style and then grilling later.

Fresh fish in the Feinkost.  It smelled delicious.


We picked up a couple of bottles of wine at the Feinkost and a little dessert.  We may not be at the Army Ball tonight, but I think we’ll still have a nice evening.  If we’d wanted to, we could have eaten at the Feinkost, which has a lovely restaurant now offering outdoor seating, as well as a sushi bar.  No, it’s not exactly cheap to shop there, but sometimes it’s great for a morale boosting treat.

The Feinkost even has an outdoor champagne bar…  God, I love living in Europe!

All in all, we had a really nice afternoon downtown.  We need to visit Stuttgart more often, if only so I can burst into tears when I hear a particularly talented street musician play.  On our way back to the garage, an acoustic guitar player had taken over the corner where the violinist and accordion player had been.  He was doing a mean version of “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel.


Another afternoon in Stuttgart…

Today, Bill and I took advantage of the holiday and went to Stuttgart to get my dental impressions done for my implant.  The lady who helped Dr. Blair pull my baby tooth was there to do the job.  I think she recognized me from three weeks ago, when I had my crying jag, because she asked me if I was nervous.  I said I wasn’t nervous, but I was pretty hungry.  I was grateful she took us early, since I was about to starve.  I neglected to eat lunch before we set out on our journey.  After four minutes with my teeth stuck in dental putty, we were all finished.  Seems to me when I had full mouth impressions in the 80s, the dentist used nasty Plaster of Paris.  Now they use this gummy stuff, today colored hot pink, which is only marginally less nasty.  At least it doesn’t take long to have impressions done.

After my very quick appointment, during which my dental implant surgery was scheduled and Valium ordered, we had a late lunch and did some shopping.  First, we stopped by Ridmueller, a beer store recommended by the Stuttgart Beer Club.  It’s not a big store yet, but there are some interesting selections available there, including Icelandic beers.  We picked up a selection of stuff we haven’t seen elsewhere, then rounded the corner and looked for lunch.

One of the four beer fridges.  It’s not a big store yet, but the selection is interesting.  With a little love and support, Ridmueller could turn into something special.


I was famished and my blood sugar was dropping fast, so we ended up at Weber, a nice sit down restaurant that seems to offer a little something for everyone, yet seems to specialize in Thai food.

Bill enjoys a brief break…  Plenty of comfortable seating at Weber and a great menu.  We sipped some wine and tasted the bread, which had an essence of honey.

I started with this delicious bowl of green peanut curry soup garnished with lemongrass.  It was a bit rich, but I was so hungry I found it instantly restorative.  This soup is creamy with a hearty peanut flavor and plenty of spicy zing.  I was sorry we didn’t order mineral water, but my red wine soothed the burn until I got used to it.  I would definitely get this soup again; it was really good.  I bet it would be especially good for someone who needs their sinuses cleared.

I followed the soup with coconut shrimp.  This was cooked in a wok with rice noodles and a tasty assortment of vegetables including carrots, eggplant, spinach, peppercorns, peppers, zucchini, sprouts and what I think may have been plantains.  The whole thing was drenched with lime coconut sauce.  I liked this, but…

I liked Bill’s choice better.  He had the Monkey-Nut-Chili-Chicken Pasta.  It was basically rice noodles with tender strips of chicken, the same array of vegetables that was in my dish, plus a delicious, hearty peanut sauce.  Bill’s dish needed no seasoning, while mine needed a dash of salt because it was a little bland.


I wasn’t able to finish my lunch, owing to the yummy soup I ate first.  I brought about half of my shrimp and rice noodles home with me.  Lunch tomorrow should be delightful!

Weber is located in Stuttgart Mitte, again very close to Dr. Blair’s dentist office.  For those who don’t like Thai style food, there were also a few local selections, as well as several daily specials.  I almost went for the dorade special, but I can get dorade most anywhere.  Ditto for the tempting salmon filet served with lime coconut sauce, basmati rice, and sugar snap peas…  Maybe next time.  They also had Argentinian roast beef that looked good. 


After lunch, we went on a brief shopping spree at the Markthalle.  Though we were there last week, this time, we were prepared to shop.  And shop we did…

I got a kick out of this six euro bag of Old El Paso tortillas in the Asian market.


Bill checks out Spanish cheeses.  He bought some, as well as slivers of Serrano and Iberian hams and Spanish Sauvignon Blanc…

The Spanish market got lots of our euros today.  In the background, you can see the Balkan market, where we picked up some Croatian and Montenegrin wines, as well as a little bottle of Unicum.

I got some truffles… I love that most of them are full of alcohol.

We also picked up some Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses.  I wish I liked cheese more than I do, since Bill ends up eating most of what we buy.  Still, it was a lot of fun to shop at the Markthalle in Stuttgart.  I think a person could seriously lose control in that place and go a little hog wild.  Next time, I want to bring some lined bags and get some really good beef and fish.

The musician who was playing rapid fire Beethoven on an electric keyboard last week was back today.  This time, I didn’t catch the title of the music he was playing on his keyboard.  I think he had a handler, though.  Bet he sells CDs.

Our next trip to Stuttgart will probably be December 1.  That is when I will have dental surgery.  I doubt I’ll be in the mood to shop afterwards.  I may want to drink, though.


An afternoon in Stuttgart…

Bill and I both had appointments this afternoon to see Dr. Blair in Stuttgart, so he took off work early and picked me up.  We both got dental cleanings and a quick once over by the dentist.  I was supposed to have impressions done for my implant, but the lady who does them has a stomach virus.  Needless to say, I’m glad she called in sick.

Because I didn’t leave Dr. Blair’s office with a bleeding hole in my mouth or in tears, it was a great opportunity for us to wander around the city center.  For some reason, last time we lived near Stuttgart, we didn’t explore the city very much.  I think we had one dinner at a nice restaurant and a visit each to the zoo and the Mercedes Museum.  That was pretty much it.  Dr. Blair’s office is right in the middle of downtown and we had beautiful weather, so Bill and I took a walk around.

We visited a church…

I love how churches in Europe are open so people can just walk in and look around.  We went into the foyer, but I was really hungry, so we didn’t stay long…


We finally ended up at the Markthalle, which my friend Susanne had recommended for food shopping.  She’s right.  It’s a great place to go for fancy foods.  Reminded me slightly of the Dallmayr gourmet market in Munich, only it was less crowded and not quite as hoity toity.

Bill poses by dry aged beef…

We need to come back when it’s time to shop. 

They have everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to meats, candies, liquors, and cheeses.

The area around the Markthalle is very pleasant…

Lots of cafes and trees; plenty of places to sit down and have a drink or a nice meal…

We’ll be back… as soon as next Monday, actually.  I have to go back and get my impressions done.


We made our way back to the area near Dr. Blair’s office, passing a guy playing a super fast rendition of the second movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on an electronic piano.  It was impressively played, but I wondered what his hurry was.  The weather was so perfect and the mood around him was almost languid as people passed.


We ended up having dinner at the Paulaner bar in the old post office.  We were lucky because today is the first Monday of the month, which meant they had spare ribs…  It was just what we were in the mood for.

I catch Bill looking naughty.  He said he was smiling like this because some guy belched loudly as he walked into the restaurant.  For once, I didn’t notice.

This beer really went down easy.  Sometimes I get bored with hefeweizens, but when they are fresh from the tap and I’m thirsty, they are just what the doctor ordered.

Bill checks out the “once a month special” spare ribs.  It came with cole slaw and fries…  He brought some home.  They brought him a finger bowl with the funny warning not to drink the lemon water.  I guess someone must have done that, hence the warning.

I had grilled chicken, which is what I’ve been craving for ages…  Mine came with a salad and fries.  the salad included potato salad, which was delicious but seemed almost like overkill.  The chicken was moist, succulent, and absolutely delicious.  We are going to have to go back for sure, especially since it’s so close to the dentist.


Cute little Jack Russell Terrier.  She startled me a couple of times with a loud bark, but was otherwise adorable and well behaved.  She was with a large group of guys who seemed like they’d been buddies for a long time.

Smoking is allowed in the restaurant.  There’s also a very nice outdoor seating area.  Don’t know how much longer they’ll keep it open as winter approaches, but a lot of people were enjoying the nice weather today.  Maybe we should have, too, though the inside of the restaurant is very charming.  Service was quick, friendly, and professional; the wait staff was all dressed in traditional garb.  Our final bill was about 39 euros.  Worth every euro cent!  We’ll be back for more!

Maybe we should have sat outside…

All in all, it was a great afternoon in Stuttgart.  We need to go there more often and enjoy what the city has to offer.  We’ll be back twice more in the next week, though, so there will be more photos for sure.