Mother’s Day at Rocco’s Italian Grill & Bar in Bad Soden am Taunus…

I’m not sure Bill was remembering what today is, when he decided he wanted to go out for lunch. It’s Mother’s Day in Germany, just as it is in the USA. Having been a waitress in a prior life, I knew what that could mean for those who wanted to go out to eat. But Bill was gone for eight nights, and we were hankering for a date somewhere, so he decided to book us lunch at Rocco’s Italian Grill & Bar in Bad Soden.

We’ve been to this restaurant a few times, having discovered it, and the wonderful spa town it’s in, a few years ago on OpenTable.de. We love the bar in this restaurant, and when it’s nice outside, it’s pleasant to sit outdoors and people watch. Today, because of the clouds, I determined that I wanted to sit inside. I figured it would be packed… and it was very busy, but not fully booked.

Parking in Bad Soden is generally difficult. We made a few passes before Bill finally let me out so he could find a spot. He remembered where the relatively hidden parkdeck was. That was a blessing, as there were several spots open there. Lots of other people were trying to park at the same time we were and having no success. Bill said he saw a sign indicating that the parkdeck would be closed starting tomorrow through July. Guess we won’t be back to Bad Soden for awhile! ūüėČ We made today count, anyway…

We decided to eat indoors, mainly because I didn’t want it to rain on my new wool dress. Bill got dressed up, which meant I had to dress up, too. He wanted to see how his injured foot would do in dress shoes, since he’s going back to the office tomorrow. He seemed to do fine in his business casual attire.

As I mentioned up post, the restaurant was busy, but not totally full. Lots of families were out with their kids. A table near us was loaded with kids and a dog who protested a few times from under the table. At another table near us, I watched the young girl go to the bathroom about a half dozen times within the span of an hour. A couple of times, she took her mom with her. I won’t lie. That made me a little nervous, but it turns out there was no need. As usual, the food was top notch.

I had a 300 gram U.S. Prime Rib-Eye steak with a side of mashed potatoes. It was cooked to a perfect medium, and topped with rosemary. Bill went with veal spare ribs, which came with barbecue sauce and fries. We had a lovely Malbec and a bottle of sparkling water to help wash things down. Before we got out main courses, we had wonderful, hot, fresh olive bread with aioli and huge green olives with peppers.

If we’d wanted to, we could have had pizza or pasta, fish, burgers, or something vegan or vegetarian. But Rocco’s really seems to specialize in steaks and ribs. On prior visits, we’ve had other choices of ribs and steaks. They’re always outstanding.

I got some photos of our lunch, which culminated in delightful desserts. I had a red velvet lava cake with cream cheese frosting. Bill had an almond and cherry ice cream parfait. I normally don’t like lava cakes, but this one was different, as it wasn’t the usual chocolate.

I’d like to spend more time in Bad Soden. It’s a beautiful town, with nice restaurants and a lovely park. Parking can be quite a pain there, though, as we were reminded of again today.

I think lunch ran about 200 euros or so. We paid with a card. It was pretty noisy, mainly because of the young children who were dining. When the families near us left, the decibel level went down by about half. But everybody seemed to be having a very nice time. As usual, I can only recommend Rocco’s, although there are some other restaurants in Bad Soden I’m hoping to try.

Maybe we’ll get our chance soon…


Mother’s Day 2017 “rocked” for me!

Over the past couple of years in Germany, Bill and I have learned to plan Mother’s Day carefully. ¬†Back in 2015, we made the mistake of showing up at a local restaurant with no reservation. ¬†Although we were eventually fed, we spent some time watching the very stressed wait staff running around like chickens without heads. ¬†Last year, we went to Bad Urach with our dogs, Zane and Arran. ¬†We enjoyed a nice walk with many, many other people and their dogs. ¬†It was a bit of a madhouse.

Dietingen… ¬†there’s plenty of free parking at the museum!

We weren’t the only ones looking at rocks, either.

And there are cool sculptures on the grounds, too…

This year, I decided Bill and I should visit Welt der Kristalle, a small museum in the cute little town of Dietingen. ¬†I had heard about this museum of gems, fossils, and petrified wood from a German friend and kept meaning to go there. ¬†I even saw one of their vans in Vaihingen once and was reminded we were due to visit. ¬†Today’s stormy skies and the fact that they are open from 11:00 until 5:00 on Sundays made simple work out of the choice to make today the day. ¬†I am especially glad we visited the museum, since yesterday’s best laid plans were blown to Hell¬†and I ended up eating at McDonald’s.

Anyway, Welt der Kristalle opened in March 2011 after two years of planning and construction. ¬†Although it’s not a very large museum, it does have some very impressive gems, fossils, petrified wood, and crystals from around the world. ¬†Feast your eyes…

The first of many amethysts. ¬†Lots of people were taking pictures and I am including most of mine in this post. ¬†But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see this museum for yourself.

Petrified wood from Arizona.

Gigantic quartz!

A little something for paleontology fans.

You can also see the underside of this crystal.

In the smaller upper level of the museum, you’ll find different rocks from around the world. ¬†They have curios full of things like lapis lazuli, sodalite, turquoise, malachite, and amber, to mention a few. ¬†The biggest crystals were overwhelmingly represented by amethysts.

If you want, you can pay to split open a crystal yourself. ¬†I was very tempted to do this, but I didn’t get the sense that the staff spoke a lot of English. ¬†The museum includes films, all of which are in German, as well as signage in German. ¬†Fortunately, I understood a lot of the signs.


Before we toured the museum, which didn’t take very long because we didn’t watch any of the films, the cashier explained that if we made a purchase in the shop of 20 euros, they’d give us a rebate of two euros off the cost of admission. ¬†If we made a 50 euro purchase, the cost of admission to the museum would be completely refunded. ¬†I did, in fact, purchase over 50 euros worth of stuff in their shop, which consisted of all sorts of crystal related items. ¬†They had everything from works of art to jewelry. ¬†They even had a special water pitcher you could buy and put crystals in it for healing purposes. ¬†I didn’t go for that. ¬†You can see what I bought at the end of this post.

Although you can purchase coffee at the museum, there is no restaurant there. ¬†However, the enterprising Adler family runs a nearby Greek restaurant and gasthaus and provided us with a lovely lunch today. ¬†I got the feeling this place might have once been a church or something. ¬†That’s just the sense I got when we walked inside and saw all the stained glass windows. ¬†I’m probably wrong, though. ¬†It may be that the owners just love stained glass.

Plenty of parking is available and they have a nice biergarten.

We ate outside despite the rain.

We enjoyed the local brew…


I think the young lad who waited on us was a little confused when Bill spoke German. ¬†I thought I heard him say “Are you speaking English?” ¬†Bill missed that comment and spoke German, which seemed to catch the guy off guard. ¬†The people sitting behind us had something that smelled delicious. ¬†I don’t know what they were eating– we didn’t end up getting it ourselves– but what we did have was very good. ¬†I went with the gyros and calamari and Bill had baked gyros in Metaxa sauce.

Both dishes came with a very simple salad.

This was really good.  It totally hit the spot.  The tzatziki was delicious and the tomato rice married well with the pork and calamari.

Bill loved the baked gyros, too. ¬†I didn’t try it, but he said it was kind of rich with its cheesy topping. ¬†It was nice on such a cool, rainy afternoon.


A house shot of ouzo was included.

The weather got worse, so Bill went in to pay the proprietor.  He ended up scaring the shit out of her as she was focused on cleaning behind the bar.  It was pretty funny!  Total damage was about 35 euros.


I noticed that just down the street from the Greek place was a cafe that appeared to be very popular. ¬†A lot of people were sitting outside there, although I don’t know what was on their menu. ¬† There are also a couple of other gasthaus restaurants on the way back toward the autobahn. ¬†The drive from where I live, down in Unterjettingen, is very pleasant.

I would say Welt der Kristalle would be appropriate for elementary aged kids. ¬†It doesn’t take a long time to see the whole place, but it might be a good activity paired with other things to do nearby. ¬†We were gone less than four hours today, which made our dogs happy.

I bought a beautiful amethyst and a shiny iridescent blue rock at the gift shop. ¬†The blue rock goes especially well with my Borowski eggs. ¬†ūüėȬ†


Mother’s Day at Bad Urach with Zane and Arran…

This morning, the weather was so beautiful that I decided we needed to go out and do something fun. But I also had memories of last year on Mother’s Day, when we made the mistake of showing up at a local Greek restaurant without reservations.  I had a feeling today would be no different.  I proposed going to T√ľbingen with the dogs and maybe stopping at our favorite biergarten.  I’ve been wanting to acclimatize the dogs to venturing out with us so I don’t feel so guilty leaving them home alone.

We got to T√ľbingen and it was pretty clear that parking was going to be a challenge.  So then I suggested Bad Urach, even though I knew it would be packed.  Bad Urach has a beautiful waterfall Bill and I visited last year and I knew it was dog friendly.

We saw lots of dogs today.  My two were not all that tempted by the running stream on the way to the waterfall, but we saw several dogs that took a dip.

For some reason, when we visit Bad Urach, I am reminded of Little House On the Prairie.

When we got to Bad Urach, it was totally teeming with people.  Lots of folks were searching for parking.  We ended up inventing a space, then walked the dogs around the large loop in front of the waterfall.  I decided this year to skip walking to the top, since we did that last fall and I wasn’t really feeling up to it with the dogs in tow.  The walk around the huge meadow was good enough and we passed through a fest on the way back.  They were having food, beer, wine, and music and I was tempted to hang out there.  We would have had there not been ponies in attendance.  Our dogs are afraid of horses and make quite a racket when they see them.  That’s exactly what happened today.  Too bad.

A quick peek at the falls.  I was in no mood to climb up there today.

Such pretty meadows… and ruins in the distance.

We did manage to visit a biergarten near where we parked.  This was our dogs’ first visit to a German biergarten and I’m proud to report that they did great.  There was another dog there barking its head off and my two didn’t make a peep.  That would not have been the case even two years ago when we were in Texas and took them to the Flying Saucer.  Living in Germany has really helped them socialize.  Maybe someday they’ll learn to love horses like I do.

A lively fest.  I wanted to stay and listen to the music.  Bill wanted to use the WC.  Sadly, the ponies made our dogs go ape.

Sitting at the biergarten, waiting a long time in the sun for sausage and bread.  The boys were pretty good. 

So was the beer.

We shared this with the boys.  They are the closest thing I’ll ever have to kids.


One thing to note about the biergarten is that they charge you to use the toilet.  Actually, men can pee for free in urinals.  Ladies have to pay 30 cents.  Doesn’t seem fair to me.

Some lady came in while I was fishing for change and didn’t seem to grasp that it was a pay toilet.  When she came out, she held the door open for me so I got to pee for free.  I’m sure they have to deal with people peeing without eating, but I think this is pretty tacky.  The food and beer were good, though.

That kid in the stroller was in need of a nap.


It was even more of a madhouse as we were trying to leave Bad Urach.  Lots more cars were searching for parking.  Our invented spot was grabbed up in seconds.  On the way out, we passed our all day parking voucher to some guy in what looked like a brand new BMW convertible.  I’m sure he didn’t miss the two euro parking fee, but he was happy that we gave him our voucher anyway and rewarded us with a “Super!”

Now we’re home, the boys are worn out, and I’m going to drink more beer.  Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!


Mother’s Day pro-tip…

It should go without saying, but if you are going to go out to eat on Mother’s Day, make a reservation.  Bill and I were reminded of this axiom today when we decided at the last minute to have lunch at Taverne beim Griechen, a local Greek restaurant we’ve visited a few times since moving to Unterjettingen.

The reason we decided to go out for lunch is because after we took a walk with Zane and Arran, I was feeling really hungry.  Unfortunately, when were at the Real yesterday, we neglected to get stuff for our midday repast.  We are planning to have a light vegetarian meal for dinner, so I wanted a substantial lunch.  We lacked the goods to make that happen.  We figured the Greek place was close and the other times we’ve been, it hasn’t been super busy.  I had a handful of cashews before we left; that turned out to be a blessing.

We got to the restaurant at just before 1:00.  As we walked in, we could see the dining room was almost full of people who looked like they’d come from church.  A huge family group was there along with several other smaller parties.  One of the waitresses, who looked slightly panicked, asked if we had a reservation.  We said we didn’t.  They directed us to a two top, which they very quickly cleared of another diner’s leftovers.  We were brought menus and they said they’d be back for a drink order.  There we sat for the next forty-five minutes, sans drinks.

We finally get beer after a thirsty wait…

I have a lot of patience for wait staff in the weeds.  I have been there before and it’s not a nice feeling.  One of the waitresses seemed to be handling the demands rather well while the other one looked like she was very stressed.  Bill and I sat quietly and talked.  While it was annoying to be sitting there for so long with no service, it occurred to me that this was a first world problem.  It was just food, after all, and neither of us (nor anyone else in that place) are in any danger of dying from lack of nourishment.  Thanks to the cashews, I wasn’t even really “hangry”.  At one point, we thought about leaving, but realized that most any restaurant today is probably crowded.  So we stayed patient and waited as I watched the clock.

It would have been good if one of the waitresses had thought to get our drink order, but I know that when you’re that weeded, you don’t think about such things.  Besides, they might have been silently hoping we’d just get up and leave.  I know when I used to wait tables I used to feel that way sometimes.  Bonus: I actually understood and translated when the waitress said the food was slow.  It was very obvious why.  They really had their hands full.

Despite the wait, this was absolutely yummy!

The less stressed of the wait staff finally got our drink order roughly forty-five minutes after we sat down.  We kept it simple with beer because I don’t think she spoke English and our German sucks.  She brought us our drinks after a few minutes, then we waited a bit longer for her to come back for a food order– maybe twenty minutes or so.  Bill had gyros and I had a Korfu platter, which was gyros and souvlaki.  Fortunately, it was well worth waiting for.  The food was hot and delicious and after the large tables began to finish up and disperse, the two waitresses and the owner himself came over and apologized.  He even gave us the beer for free, bringing our check down to 20 euros.  He didn’t have to do that; we weren’t really upset.  It was a nice gesture, though.  Yet another bargain!

I felt so sorry for the poor waitresses.  I actually had a bit of a flashback watching them and remembering that panicked feeling one gets when behind on waiting tables.  Timing and efficiency is important and if you screw it up while working as a server, things can get bad very quickly.  I’m not sure if making a reservation would have made our lunch get to us more efficiently, but it does seem like it would have been wise.  Of course, if we’d simply bought more food yesterday, we wouldn’t have needed to go out for lunch in the first place.  I usually avoid going out on big restaurant holidays for just this reason.  After waiting tables myself, I know that the experience may not be so good on a hyped restaurant holiday like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.

On the way back home, we ran into our landlords who brought the family over for a hike.  After Bill finishes his homework for school, it’ll definitely be cocktail time.  Hope everyone is enjoying Mother’s Day!  Prost!