Nagold’s Fall Fest and another lunch at Osteria da Gino’s!

Advertisements

Today was one of those days when I am really very thankful to live in Europe, and Germany in particular.  Most days are like that for me, but some days I’m even more grateful than others.  Today was one of those days.  It was just glorious.  I’m writing this post, not just for myself and for those who already live here, but also for those who are planning to move to the Stuttgart area or even somewhere in Europe.  I hope it will excite a few readers, especially those who have never lived in Europe.

It started with an enchanting sunrise…  One thing I will miss about where we live.  I hope our next house has such a view.

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the Mix-Markt chain, which is a European grocery store that specializes in goods from countries in the former Eastern Bloc and Soviet Union.  We visited the one in Böblingen, mainly because I figured that location was most convenient for a lot of my local readers.  Today, we tried to visit the one in Nagold, but unfortunately, the parking lot behind the store was absolutely jammed, as was our usual parking lot that is close to the store.  We ended up parking on the other side of town, which would have made hauling a large booty of groceries an exercise in difficulty.  So, instead of visiting the Mix-Markt and picking up some more eastern European wines, we decided to check out Nagold’s Fall Fest which is happening today and tomorrow.  Tomorrow is a shopping day in Nagold, so not only will this fest be going on with lots of food and music, there will also be shopping.

Lots of pretty fashions were on sale.

Damn.  I knew I forgot something.  Should have gotten some quarkinis for tomorrow!  They smelled heavenly!

Alsatian pizza anyone?

Fun for kids.  I would have liked this when I was a youngster.  Looks like it’s akin to bungie jumping.

Before we went shopping, we stopped by another one of our favorite local restaurants, Osteria da Gino, and had a sumptuous lunch.  Gino was there today, just as jovial and hilarious as always.  He shook Bill’s hand and delivered his trademark warm and friendly service.

We started with a lovely Primitivo, chosen by Gino’s second banana… who also happens to speak English.  That’s handy, because Gino isn’t an English speaker, but he still manages to be very entertaining.

 

We split this absolutely heavenly Vitello Tonnato– veal with tuna-caper sauce.  I usually try to stay away from veal, but I made a rare exception today.  This is truly delicious.  It sounds like it wouldn’t be, but it is…  

A pause before the pasta arrived.

We both had homemade pasta and tomato sauce with meatballs and Parmesan cheese.  I saved half of mine for later, because I wanted dessert…

Yet another piece of Gino’s wonderful tiramisu, which we shared.

 

I know I gush a lot about the restaurants in Nagold, but they truly are delightful.  I’m going to miss this town for all it offers.  I hope we find a similarly lovely town near Wiesbaden.  Total for lunch, which lasted about two hours, was just under 90 euros.

After we ate, we visited the bustling market.  I took some photos.  As you can see, the produce was well loved by other shoppers.

Chestnuts are a big hit.  There are several trees near where I live and I often see people picking up the ones that are on the ground.

I was attracted to this beautiful display of heirloom tomatoes.  I love all the colors.

Bill laughs as I swoon to the musical stylings of an accordion player…

He was really helping the mood.

At this point, I noticed a woman selling chocolate.  She spoke Spanish, German, and English.  It turned out she’s from Ecuador and lives in Calw and she operates her own chocolatier that uses less sugar.  We ended up talking to her for a few minutes and bought some of her truffles and chocolate shavings.  I found myself getting a little sad, realizing that we’re going to be leaving this town and the area around it.  It’s really been a pleasure to live out here in BFE.

After we bought the chocolate, I spotted a “Nette Toilette” sign.  I have written about this program before.  It basically allows people to use the restrooms in public facilities, free of charge.  Gino’s is a designated Nette Toilette, as is the municipal building I found on the way back to the car.  If you spot a red sign that says “Nette Toilette”, it means the business is getting money from the city to allow people to use its restrooms.  That’s pretty handy to know.  It definitely came in handy today.

Next, we stopped at a stand where a man was very animatedly telling a couple about his olive oil.  He was also selling wine, so we stopped in…  I ended up tasting two wines.  He gave me a piece of very strong cheese to try with the wine, which I passed to Bill, who is much more of a cheese person than I am.  I told the guy that Bill eats cheese and I drink.  All of the English speakers cracked up.  Then the guy gave me ham and sausage to try with the wine.  I don’t think I’ll need dinner tonight.

German gin.  We didn’t buy any… but I was tempted.

 

A moose passed while the guy was telling us about his 1000 year old olive tree in Italy.  It just occurs to me that the women who are passing look a little pissed…  Wonder if they were giving me the stink eye.

Bill makes a decision about the oil while I look on…

The overall mood of this fest was very “festive” and convivial.  Everyone was enjoying themselves… lots of people were eating, drinking, being friendly, and loving their community.  I will really miss Nagold.  I have come to love it.

  
If you’re looking for something to do tomorrow, I recommend visiting Nagold and checking out this festival.  Gino’s will not be open tomorrow because Sunday is his Ruhetag, but there will still be food, shopping, live music, and kids’ activities.  As for Bill and me, I think we we finally visit the Cannstatter Fest so I can get some use out of my dirndl and he can try out his new kilt.  Hopefully, no one will throw up.  Just kidding.  I intend to do more observing than drinking.

Big news on a little move… old favorite restaurants for old time’s sake…

Advertisements

Our very first lunch at Osteria da Gino in Nagold…  and another visit to see “The Mad Scientist”.

It’s been a big week here in Unterjettingen.  The biggest thing that has happened is that my husband was unofficially offered a new position in Wiesbaden.  That means that unless something really crazy happens, we will be packing up and moving about 100 miles north in a couple of months.

I have mixed feelings about the move.  First off, I HATE moving with a fiery passion.  We’ve done it many times over our sixteen years of marriage and, now that Bill is retired, it’s been nice to stay in one place for awhile.  As of this month, we’ve lived in our current house for four years, and the Stuttgart area for a total of six years.  That is the longest we have ever lived in one place.  I like the area where we live.  It’s far from the drama of the city and being close to the military posts, yet close to a lot of great places in the Black Forest.  We’re also near several really cute towns.  Nagold happens to be my favorite of all of them and it’s the closest to Unterjettingen.

On the other hand, I look forward to new experiences, new scenery, and a newer toilet that doesn’t take multiple flushes to empty.  I look forward to a much larger kitchen with a real refrigerator instead of a dorm sized one.  I can’t wait for my husband not to have to take marathon flights to Africa for business trips.  There’s even the attractive prospect of my getting to join him on some of his journeys.

Most of all, I am grateful that Bill is going to remain employed in a country I’ve come to love.  I have a feeling we will enjoy the Wiesbaden area as much as we’ve loved having lived in Stuttgart for two stints.  I also think there’s a good possibility that we’ll come back to Stuttgart, mainly because of what Bill does.  It could be as soon as two years from now.  On the other hand, there’s no telling what might happen in two years.

Anyway… since we know we’re probably going to be out of here by December, we decided to visit a couple of our favorite restaurants.  Hopefully, we haven’t visited them for the last time, but I did want to make sure we got at least one more visit in with each.  Both Agais in Entringen and Osteria da Gino in Nagold are special haunts for us, mainly because we’ve always managed to have a great time there.  The proprietors of both restaurants are excellent hosts and have given us a lot of great memories.  I thought today, I’d write up our latest experiences at both places, even though I’ve written about them several times already.  Here goes…

Agais on a Friday night

Agais in Entringen has the distinction of being the one restaurant still in business where Bill and I used to dine frequently during our first tour.  From 2007-09, we lived in a little town called Pfäffingen, which is in Ammerbuch.  Two kilometers from our old town is a little hamlet called Entringen.  We used to pass through Entringen to get to and from A81.  On the main drag is a Greek restaurant called Agais.

When we lived in Germany the first time, we used to eat at Agais all the time.  The owner is a very friendly Greek man who worked in Canada for many years as an engineer.  When we were here the first time, he spoke perfect English.  I think while we were gone, he must have had a stroke, because his ability to speak English diminished significantly.  Nevertheless, when we visited him again in 2014 after having been gone for five years, he still remembered us.  His English has come back somewhat over the past few years.

Last night, we decided to pay him a visit, mainly because neither of us felt like cooking.  Agais is now probably about a twenty minute drive from where we live, but the weather was nice…

I got a kick out of this sign reminding people to use condoms.  Such a quaint old building for such an important PSA…  I see there are several versions of this, including one for gay men.

 

When we walked into the familiar eatery, the couple who own it were waiting for customers to arrive.  I think we were their first.  The wife, who is German, does the cooking and her husband, whom we’ve nicknamed “The Mad Scientist”, waits tables.  They lit up when we walked in and welcomed us.  Bill ordered our usual Nemea dry Greek red, which has the essence of sour cherries, and we had our usual sparkling water.

 

We also ordered the flatbread, which comes piping hot and drizzled with olive oil and garlic salt.  I love this, even if it’s very simple.

We both had the gyros platter, which comes with either fries or oven baked potatoes.  Bill had the baked potatoes and I had pommes.  I also had a green salad instead of the kraut salad that usually comes with this dish.

I cracked a filthy joke to make Bill smile… and our old friend smiled, too.  

 

While we were eating, a couple came in with their son and the family dog.  They asked the proprietor if it was okay to bring the dog in.  I remember from our first tour that the proprietor isn’t a big dog fan, but I think he needed the business.  So he granted permission and they brought in their very sweet border collie who behaved like a perfect lady.  After a lovely dinner, which cost 51 euros, and a couple of glasses of wine for me, we enjoyed a house shot of ouzo and were on our way.  I hope we can stop in again before we move.  Last time we were here, we didn’t get to say goodbye when the time came.

Lunch at Osteria da Gino for the first (and possibly the last) time…

 

This morning, we were rewarded with wonderful late summer weather.  Although Nagold is having a Street Food Fiesta right now, we decided to have lunch at Osteria da Gino.  We have eaten there several times, but until today, we have always gone for dinner.  Osteria da Gino is kind of a special place for us.  Gino is kind of an Italian version of The Mad Scientist, with more upscale food.  Also, Gino doesn’t speak English and neither does his adorable wife, who waits tables.  The wife helped us today when we showed up at around noon, sans reservations for once.  We had a fantastic meal.

Goofy Bill as we wait for white wine.  We just told them dry white and that’s what they brought us…  good stuff.

Antipasti!  Grilled vegetables, orange and fennel salad, prosciutto with cheese, bread, and octopus…  You’d think this would be enough…

But we also decided on the pasta dish, too.  I had spaghetti with clams.  These were very fresh and lightly seasoned with cilantro, red pepper, and onions.  As the waitress put it down, she said, “Hier, keine Käse!”  (No cheese here!)  I guess it’s not kosher to use Parmesan cheese on your clams!  I saw another couple enjoying mussels.  Gino does have a menu, but we have never once used it.  We just take what they recommend.  

Bill had fettuccini with Steinpilze and a fresh tomato sauce.  I hate mushrooms, so I didn’t try his, but he said the pasta tasted homemade.

When we come for dinner, we often have a main course, which is usually either fish or meat.  Since the pasta and antipasti filled us up, we decided to take a brief pause and then have dessert.

Which today, was delicious tiramisu and cups of espresso…

 

I’d say we spent about two hours enjoying the food and each other’s company, as well as the other diners who love Gino’s brand of hospitality.  This is one place where your four legged friends are also welcome.  A well behaved Golden Retriever was lying under a nearby table with a bowl of water.  I didn’t see Gino today, but I know he loves dogs.  He also likes children, although I wouldn’t necessarily call his restaurant “kid friendly”, per se.  Kids are definitely welcome there, but in the cold months, everybody eats in the tiny dining room and sometimes you have to share a table.  If you have young ones, it might be best to go when the weather is good so you can have more room outside.  Total cost for today’s meal was about 95 euros, which isn’t cheap, but I’ve never once been disappointed at Osteria da Gino.  I will truly miss it when we go.  A bonus is that you can buy a bottle of wine to take home with you if you want to.

After lunch, we took a walk around Nagold, which is a really lovely little town.  It’s been such a pleasure living so close to it for the past four years.  I will miss it.

 

Osteria da Gino is not open on Sundays, so if this review has tempted you, make plans to visit on a different day.  If you’re coming at dinner time, you may want to make reservations.

Tomorrow, Nagold’s  Street Food Fiesta continues, which we will probably attend.  There will also be a Grill Off, where you can enjoy steaks by self proclaimed grillmeisters.  And… if you have a dog who loves to swim, you may wish to bring them to Nagold for the last day the pool will be open.  They are going to let dogs swim tomorrow.  There’s also the river, where dogs are always allowed to swim.

I don’t look forward to the painful process of moving, but I do think my blog will get more love, since I will be exploring a brand new area (to me) right in the middle of wine country!  If I have to move, it’s not a bad thing to move from the Black Forest to the Rhein River!  Last time we moved from Germany, it was to Atlanta, which started off a string of moves to three states before Bill retired.  At least this time, we can drive to where we’re going and we can always come back to visit our old stomping grounds down here…

And again, I think we could be be back at some point.  We’ll see…

Celebrating 46 years circling the planet at Osteria da Gino’s in Nagold and drinking “crispy” wine!

Advertisements

Yesterday was my birthday.  It was a great day, even though I’m now officially even closer to turning 50.  Bill and I usually try to do fun things on birthdays, although last year, when I turned 45, we spent a rather hellish day driving home from Belgium and got caught in multiple traffic jams.  The upside is that we came home with a lot of great beer, chocolate, and fantastic memories.

This year, Bill went to work, and I enjoyed a rare imported CD on which I spent lots of cash.  I also listened to my landlords cut the grass and the road workers repairing the street that runs in front of our house.  The duplicate tickets I ordered for Paul Simon’s concert in Dublin next month also arrived, so I can breathe easy that we won’t be going to Dublin simply for the Guinness.

When Bill’s work day was over, he came home, presented me with a new iPad, and took me out to dinner at my FAVORITE restaurant in the entire Stuttgart area.  I’m writing, once again, about Osteria da Gino in Nagold– not to be confused with the Osteria da Gino in Herrenberg, which is also a great place to eat.

If you check this blog, you will see that I’ve written about Gino’s awesome restaurant in Nagold many times.  We discovered it in the spring of 2015, when I read glowing reviews on Trip Advisor.  Nagold is very close to where we live and it’s a super cute town, so it’s always a pleasure to go there in any event.  Dinner at Gino’s is always a treat, and not just because the food is amazing.  Gino and his wife are simply awesome people, richly endowed with the gift of hospitality.  I never feel like I’m a customer when I eat at their restaurant.  I always feel like family… albeit family that pays a check at the end of the meal!

Below are some pictures from last night’s glorious birthday dinner!

Obligatory shot of Bill, reacting to one of my crude jokes.  He’s always good for a laugh!

He gives me this look when I’m on the hot tamale train, which doesn’t happen very often these days.  I did decide to get “dolled up”, though, since it was my birthday and my former English professor, who is now a Facebook friend, wanted me to post a new profile picture.  I was happy to oblige.

We did not make Gino or his wife aware that it was my birthday when we made the very necessary reservations.  It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, because they always treat us like family.  But I did tell the chef that I was “older”…

So Gino’s wife brought me a flower!  

 

It’s not a good idea to visit Gino’s without making a reservation.  In the colder months, people dine in his very small dining room, where it’s very likely that you’ll be sharing a table with another couple.  In fact, two years ago, Bill and I celebrated my 44th birthday at Gino’s and we shared a table with a French and German couple.  The wife was from the Nagold area and they had come to town to visit her family.  It was their first time at Gino’s and, since it was raining, we ate indoors.  I remember how much fun we had getting acquainted with the couple, who were raving about the food.

Last night, we had beautiful weather and a perfect temperature, so we ate outside at a two top.  When outside tables are available, it’s more likely that you’ll have a table to yourself, although that’s not a given.  We saw at least three couples sharing a four top in the course of our dinner.  I have yet to be presented with a menu at Gino’s.  He usually just offers us what he has, although I know he does have a menu.  I kind of like to let Gino take the wheel.  I have never once been disappointed.

Antipast!  The usual orange and fennel salad and a new offering– a mixture of sausage, cheese, carrots, and red peppers…

Fresh bread…

And the rest… beautifully grilled peppers, zucchini, and eggplant, as well as burrata with fresh tomatoes, salami, prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe, cheese, and dried ham.  

 

We washed this down with prosecco, then Gino’s wife asked us what kind of wine we’d like.  Neither Gino nor his wife speak English and though we’re doing better than ever with German, we still have a long way to go.  So when Bill was describing the kind of white wines we like, I said I enjoy “crisp” wines. Dutifully, Bill described it in German–  knusprig– which does mean “crispy”.  But really, it’s more of a word for “crunchy”– kind of akin to the cracklins on a Schweinshaxe or maybe a bowl of Rice Krispies.  Who drinks crunchy wine?  Well, I might try it once!  Anyway, although there is really no such thing as “crispy wine”, our order of “knusprig wine” got a big laugh!  The wine Gino’s wife brought us was less “crisp” and more “toast”, but it went very well with our fruits of the sea inspired dinner.

Followed by warm, lemony octopus…  I do like a little octopus, but I can’t eat too much of it because it’s very dense and protein rich.  But this was a nice prelude to what came next.

 

Normally, after we have the long antipasti phase, Gino brings out a simple pasta dish, then we have either a meat or fish main dish.  Last night, Gino had fresh lobsters.  He brought one out to us before he turned it into our dinner.  It was still alive!  I was so shocked, I didn’t get a picture of the poor, doomed soul.  Nevertheless, I can’t deny that I love lobster and I am not a vegetarian.  And if I hadn’t had him for dinner, someone else would have.

This was the main event… lobster with pasta and a pleasantly spicy tomato essence.  While my Texas husband could stand more heat, this was just perfect for me.  It was just a notch hotter than the preferred German level of spiciness, to remind us we were eating at an Italian restaurant.

 

Not everyone had lobster last night.  We noticed some people were served clams.  Some people had pasta with black truffles and perhaps a main course of osso bucco or a steak.  I noticed one couple enjoying pasta with Seeteufel (a type of fish).  You just never know what Gino will surprise you with… although the antipasti is pretty standard and you will never get pizza because Gino doesn’t do pizza.

I couldn’t finish all of the pasta because I knew I wanted dessert.  When Gino chided me for not finishing the pasta, I said “Dolci!  Dolci!”, which made him laugh.  One of the ladies who works in the kitchen brought out what is pictured below…

Fresh strawberries, panna cotta, hazelnut chocolate cake, blueberry ice cream, and something very coffee flavored…  Again, you never know what’s coming!  We were also treated to many happy football fans, driving around Nagold blasting their horns when their teams won.  The atmosphere was truly joyful.

As you can see, lots of people were enjoying Gino’s magic last night!  We had such a wonderful time!

 

Total damage for last night’s dinner was 147 euros.  We always pay cash, although Gino does take credit cards.  I should mention that you don’t have to have as many courses as we did.  One couple brought their tiny baby with them and only had a main course and wine.  When they left the unfinished bottle on the table, the chef chased them down and corked it for them.  They seemed very appreciative.  One other thing I noticed was that most of the people dining last night either seemed to know each other or knew Gino well.  But then, I don’t think Gino has ever met a stranger.  He is really a very gregarious guy who was born to throw parties.

It’s safe to say that this is my favorite restaurant in the area and I’ve tried a lot of them.  No one else offers quite the experience Gino does.  We need to visit him more often.

Well… here’s my new selfie.  I’m sure my English prof and everyone else who didn’t like my WTF face is happy now.

Last night’s dinner was definitely a rip roaring success.  If you’re looking for a very different kind of Italian meal, I would highly recommend Osteria da Gino’s in Nagold (not Herrenberg– though again, that’s also a nice place.)  Just call first, come with an open mind, and don’t be intimidated by the language.  I promise, Gino will take good care of you!

Another wonderful evening at Osteria da Gino’s in Nagold…

Advertisements

My husband’s mother, Parker, just flew from San Antonio, Texas to Germany to see us for the first time since we moved back here in 2014.  Parker is a wonderful person and I’ve missed having easy access to her.  We came to Stuttgart from San Antonio and she used to come to our house all the time to spend the night or have dinner.

We spent yesterday morning driving to and from Frankfurt to collect her at the big airport.  Then, having arrived home at about 3:15pm, Bill picked up our stylin’ new glasses from the optical shop in Nagold.  I’m pretty pleased with our badly needed new spectacles, although I don’t like wearing glasses as a rule.

Last night, we went to see Gino at Osteria da Gino in Nagold (not to be confused with the one in Herrenberg).  As many places as we’ve dined since we came back to Germany, I think Gino’s is probably my favorite.  He and his wife greet us like family.  In fact, when Bill called for a much needed reservation a few days ago, Gino’s wife immediately recognized the name and gave him a very warm greeting.  They are truly wonderful hosts.

I have reviewed Gino’s restaurant plenty of times in this blog.  I have never been disappointed on any visits there, even though Gino’s style is different than most anywhere else we’ve been.  For one thing, I have never once been offered a menu at Gino’s place.  He or his chef just comes over and asks you if you want each course.  The antipasti is usually pretty much the same thing.  An orange and fennel salad, grilled vegetables, sliced cheeses and sausages, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, and bread.  But then he’ll bring out pasta and that course often varies.  Then we’ll have fish or meat and we never know what that will turn out to be.  We’ve had everything from filet mignon to osso bucco.  Finally, dinner is capped off with dessert, which is usually a platter of different things… or maybe tiramisu.  You just never know.  One thing you will never be served is pizza.

Anyway, here are some photos from last night’s food extravaganza.  Gino had a full house last night– 26 people in his tiny dining room.  It had the ambiance of a good party, with everyone sharing a table and a good time.

I took a few photos of Nagold, which is now beautifully decorated for the holidays.  If you haven’t visited this cute little town, you should come by and see it.  It’s super quaint and adorable and there are a lot of nice restaurants there.  

 

We had to keep our tour of Nagold brief, since Parker didn’t bring a heavy coat with her.  She said it’s about 80 degrees in San Antonio right now.  I would be surprised if she owns a heavy coat.  As soon as we walked into Gino’s restaurant, he turned around and tried to place us in his mind.  It’s been too long since our last visit.  His adorable wife remembered us immediately.  Gino doesn’t speak English, but that doesn’t matter.  He has such a big personality that it’s easy to be friends with him.

We were seated with a party of five at a long table.  Lots of people were enjoying Gino’s hospitality last night.  I don’t think I have ever seen his dining room when it wasn’t full.

Obligatory shot of Bill…

and his lovely mom, Parker.  Now both of our mothers have visited Gino!

We started with a lovely bottle of Primitivo.  We actually had a bottle, which was kind of a switch.  Usually, Gino brings us little carafes and I don’t know what I’m drinking.  I enjoyed this wine enough to look for it next time I’m shopping.  It was very pleasing.  Incidentally, we didn’t specifically order this.  They suggested a Primitivo and we said that was good.  This is what they brought us.

The four above shots are of the antipasto.  We had the orange and fennel salad with olives, fresh sausages and cheese, mozzarella and tomatoes, and grilled vegetables.  I am always pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy the way Gino’s chef grills the veggies.  They are delicious.

Next, we had a pasta course.  Bill and Parker had their spaghetti Parmesan with truffles.  I had mine plain, sprinkled with just a little ground pepper.  Although his restaurant is too small to witness this in the dining room, Gino’s hardworking culinary crew makes this dish in a big wheel of cheese.  Bill watched them preparing it as he passed the kitchen.

Next, the main course.  We all had filet mignon, cooked medium rare and topped with rosemary, with roasted potatoes and sauteed spinach.  I noticed a couple of ladies having zander filet, which was the fish option last night.  One man had what appeared to be shrimp.  If Gino offers you something that doesn’t appeal, chances are excellent that he’ll have something you’ll love.  We enjoy letting him take the wheel, though.  He has never disappointed us.

And finally, dessert.  This was just enough because we were a bit full.  Parker and I were going to have espresso, but I think they forgot to bring it.  By the time we were finished with dinner, it was time to go home and sleep.  

The bill for this lovely meal was just under 300 euros.  We usually spend in the neighborhood of 160 to 175 euros when it’s just Bill and me.  But then, we also always get four courses, which you certainly don’t have to do.  We saw at least one couple having two courses.  They were the first and only ones to leave for a couple of hours.  Most people who dine at Gino’s seem to go for the whole program.  Fortunately, you can pay by credit card.

As I mentioned before, Gino’s food is usually fantastic.  But what I love the most about his restaurant is that it’s unlike any of the others in the area.  Every time we go there, it feels like we’ve been invited to a great party.  More than once, we’ve met new people there and even made new friends.  And Gino and his wife are just wonderful, warm hosts who make us feel at home.  I love bringing friends and family to this place.  As usual, I warmly recommend Osteria da Gino in Nagold if you ever have the chance to visit.  Just don’t go on Sunday and don’t go there looking for pizza.

Food orgy at Osteria da Gino in Nagold…

Advertisements

A week ago, I wrote a review of Alte Post, a very nice restaurant in Nagold.  Our evening at Alte Post was sublime… and also very expensive.  Last night, while dining at Nagold’s Osteria da Gino, I couldn’t help but compare our two Saturday night culinary experiences.  The five course meal we had at Alte Post was clearly prepared by a classically trained chef and presented with much fanfare.  The mood at Alte Post was almost reverent, with people speaking in low voices and taking pains not to disturb others.

By contrast, last night’s meal at Osteria da Gino’s was more like a very enthusiastic culinary orgy.  The noise level in the dining room was positively boisterous.  And while what we were eating was definitely amazing, I had more of a sense that it was prepared by a very talented family member who really knows how to cook.  It felt more like a very happy dinner party than a religious experience.

We’ve been to Gino’s restaurant several times now, so it almost does feel like we’re visiting family when we stop in for a meal.  Our decision to eat there last night was spur of the moment; and indeed, it was a very good thing Bill called for 7:00 reservations.  The whole place was booked.  But then, Gino has a very small dining room and, more often than not, when we eat inside, we share a table with another couple.  Such was the case last night when after our appetizers, a very pleasant German couple sat down with us and shared in the culinary orgasms.  Pretty soon, the weather will be better and Gino will set up outdoor seating.  The food will be just as good, but the mood will be somewhat different and slightly more private.

Bill prepares for a wonderful meal.

In other reviews I’ve written about Gino’s restaurant, I have mentioned that eating there is a different kind of experience.  Although he has a menu posted on the wall, it’s kind of illegible.  Not once has Gino ever brought us a printed menu.  Instead, he sort of takes the wheel and just starts bringing out food.  It was a little scary the first time we experienced Gino’s hospitality, but now that we’ve grown accustomed to it, we’ve found that it’s really best to let Gino handle everything.  If there’s something you absolutely don’t like, don’t be afraid to tell Gino ahead of time.  For example, he knows I don’t do fungus.  Bill, on the other hand, loves mushrooms and truffles.  So Bill might get something with mushrooms or truffles, while I’ll have something else.

A lovely primitivo we drank last night.  This was the first time we’ve ever gotten a bottle of wine at Gino’s.  Usually, he brings us wines by the glass or in small carafes, which adds to the mystery.  I liked knowing what we were drinking last night, because this was a very nice wine and I’d buy it again.

 

Gino is usually at the door to greet us when we go to his restaurant, but last night, we didn’t see him until we were well into our meals.  I was glad to see him because he has a way of lighting up a room. He’s a very friendly and affectionate guy…  speaks no English, but is so gregarious that it’s easy to talk to him despite the language barrier.  Even though we didn’t see Gino right away, we were well taken care of by the usual staff.  They started us off with four delightful antipasti dishes.

Chilled veal with creamy caper and tuna sauce.  I always smile when I see this, because it’s always delicious!

Caprese…  chilled mozzarella with fresh tomatoes, peppers, salami, and blood oranges.  I usually don’t eat cold cheese, but this was delightful.

Octopus, served warm with super fresh lemon…

Grilled vegetables…  eggplant, zucchini, artichoke hearts, peppers, and tomatoes…

 

You’d think so many starters would be filling, but these dishes were simply prepared and not too much.  I still had plenty of room for the next course… pasta!

This was the first time I’d had this particular dish, which consisted of delicious rigatoni with basil pesto and a very generous dollop of creamy cheese.  This dish was also very liberally seasoned with roasted garlic, which was absolutely insane.  The German couple sitting next to us were obviously enjoying my facial reaction, which must of been one of pure joy.  I can’t be certain it was, but that pasta tasted homemade.  The lady sitting next to me had the same pasta, but with a very light tomato sauce.

 

Next came the meat course.  I happened to notice Gino’s expeditor bringing out the fish for a large table.  He caught my eye and very flirtatiously kissed his fingers, as if to promise me the fish was outstanding.  I love fish, and when I eat with Gino, I usually order the fish over the meat.  So that’s what Bill and I both did…

We both enjoyed the Skrei– a mild white fish from Norway.  Gino paired it with a creamy sauce and plenty of roasted garlic…

And the expeditor also brought out mashed potatoes and broccoli.  I could barely sample the sides and we did not come close to finishing them.  The fish was outstanding, though.  It was very fresh.  We noticed the couple sitting behind Bill shared what looked like an enormous t-bone steak.  The lady sitting next to me had what appeared to be veal.  She clearly enjoyed it, although again, it’s not like you really ask for specific items at Gino’s Osteria.  He just kind of brings stuff out to you.

 

By the time we finished the fish, it was about ten o’clock.  The noise level in the dining room was very high, but not a single person looked like they were sorry they came.  Everyone was having a good time.  I watched Gino and his wife, along with other staff, hugging and kissing guests who obviously visit him more often than we do.  Everybody– and I mean everyone— was having a fun evening, even though the hours were passing and it was getting late.

Bill takes a break as we wait for dessert.

We decided to split the sweets.  This is a plate of assorted Italian goodies.  There was panna cotta, incredible tiramisu, ginger vanilla gelato, roasted plums, and a berry flavored gelato.  We decided not to have coffee, since it was getting past our bedtime.

 

Total damage for this food extravaganza was about 140 euros, before the tip.  At almost eleven o’clock, we said goodbye to Gino’s wife and the lovely German couple who had shared the culinary orgy with us.  Bill marveled at how last night’s sumptuous dinner cost less than half of what we spent at Alte Post and was quite a lot more exciting.  Which isn’t to mean that I didn’t think last week’s dinner was also amazing.  It was.  It’s just that Gino’s place has a very special vibe.  It’s not just about excellent food.  It’s about warmth and hospitality paired with food so fresh, plentiful, and healthy that you feel great as you walk out the door, basking in the afterglow.

As always, I recommend calling ahead for a table, especially if you plan to visit on a Saturday night.  In the colder months, Gino doesn’t have as much seating.  Unless you come in a group, you will likely share your table with another couple.  My advice is to embrace it.  At least three times, when we’ve shared a table at Gino’s, we’ve enjoyed the company of the other couple sitting with us.  In one case, we actually made new friends.  Don’t be afraid to share the experience and mingle.

Don’t go to Gino’s expecting pizza.  He does not serve pizza.  Don’t go to Gino’s looking for a quiet, romantic ambience.  It’s unlikely you’ll get it.  Do go there hungry and ready to try new things.  Above all, relax, have fun, and let Gino do what he does best.  I don’t think you’ll be sorry!

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

Advertisements

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!

A gorgeous fall Saturday in Herrenberg!

Advertisements

We had absolutely beautiful weather today.  I told Bill I wanted to go out and do something.  We gave some thought to driving to Stuttgart, but I noticed the time.  It was about 1:00pm and I knew we wanted lunch.  Given that a lot of places stop serving lunch at 2:00pm, I suggested to Bill that we stop in Herrenberg.  We did… and we never made it out of Herrenberg today!  Read on to find out why…

We parked in a leafy parking area… 2 euros for 48 hours!

 

Both of our times in Germany, Bill and I have lived close to Herrenberg, a small city south of Stuttgart.  During our first time here, we lived near Tuebingen and spent more time there than in Herrenberg.  This time, we live near Nagold, and go there more often.  But Herrenberg has a whole lot going for it, as we found out today.  There are great restaurants and places to shop, as well as friendly people.

They were just finishing up the market when we arrived.  We decided to have lunch at Osteria da Gino’s.  We have also been to a restaurant with the same name in Nagold several times– this one in Herrenberg is different, but equally excellent.  Both times we’ve been in there, it’s been very well attended.

 

Today was actually the first time Bill and I have ever eaten at the Osteria da Gino’s in Herrenberg.  The first time we tried to, it was absolutely packed and we were turned away.  It was pretty busy today, too.  For that reason, it may be a good idea to make reservations if this review tempts you.

Obligatory shot of Bill.

 

The inside of Osteria da Gino’s in Herrenberg is very quaint and smells delicious!  They have an impressive array of wines available.  We ordered a small carafe of primitivo and our usual sparkling water.

Right now, Osteria da Gino is offering a number of dishes with black truffles from the Piedmont area of Italy, as well as fresh mussels.  I like mussels, but it’s one of those dishes I only want maybe once a year.  We had them a few weeks ago in Belgium.  I opted for duck breast in a raspberry balsamic sauce with noodles and fresh vegetables.  I was glad I asked our waiter, who spoke English, what kind of vegetables came with this dish.  It turned out they were serving it with mushrooms!  But they kindly left them off for me.

My duck breast was delicious!  I think that pasta was homemade, too.

Beautiful fresh vegetables, delicately seasoned and still bright with color…  I wouldn’t be surprised if they were very recently plucked from the garden.

Bill prepares to enjoy a very nice pasta dish with vegetables and black truffles.  Those truffles were very fragrant.

Lovely, quaint interior.  I noticed many people enjoying pizzas, which Gino in Nagold does not offer. The pizzas looked excellent.  Maybe next time we’ll try them.

 

Bill and both loved our meals at Osteria da Gino’s in Herrenberg.  No, it’s not like the one in Nagold, which is a favorite place of ours, but it’s probably just as good and offers different food.  We will definitely have to go back.  Today’s lunch came to 52 euros before the tip.

Excellent location right by the main square in Herrenberg.  You can’t miss it.

Cute little market on a corner.

 

After lunch, we decided we might try the little Irish pub in Herrenberg.  I had been curious about it for a long time.  But first, we stopped by a whisky store… and that turned out to be a VERY successful stop on many levels.  Alte Brennerei in Herrenberg sells wines, spirits, and a small selection of gourmet foods.  It reminds me a little bit of Vinum in Tuebingen, though it’s a bit smaller.   I had seen it a few times on recent trips to Herrenberg, but we never seemed to get there when it was open.  Today, we were in luck.

The doors were open wide!

Unfortunately, we were too late to visit the cheese shop across from it, which also sells wine.

The cheese shop closed at 2:00…  The Alte Brennerei is open until 4:00.

 

We walked in and immediately heard a very tall German looking woman speaking perfect American accented English.  Then she switched to equally perfect German.  She was with a man and a child.  The man was clearly NOT American, but also spoke excellent English, as did the store’s proprietor.  The English speaking German customers said the store had a great selection of scotch whiskys.  Bill and I concurred, having recently been on a whisky cruise.

I was impressed by the selection of wines, too.

It’s not a big shop, but there are lots of interesting wines available from all over…

After we chose a few bottles, we went back to the whisky area.  Bill chose one to take home and we talked more with the English speaking Germans.  It turns out they live very close to us, in the town of Jettingen.  I asked the lady if she was American or German, because her English was so perfect I honestly couldn’t tell.  It turned out she’s German, but was raised in the United States.  And she lives right across the street from Tommi’s Bistro, which is one of our favorite restaurants.  She gave me a card and told me to give her a call sometime.  She said she was happy to meet us because there aren’t a lot of Americans where we are.  And she has a cute little daughter who needs to practice speaking English!  I don’t mind, especially since she and her husband have good taste in booze!

After they left, we tried a Viognier and added it to our collection of bottles.  We chatted up the proprietor, who turned out to be an excellent business woman.  She really knew her whiskys and had also spent some time in Scotland.  She’d even visited a lot of the distilleries we’ve been to, including Kilchoman in Islay, which is a fairly new one.  She smiled when I told her the Scots are my people.

I mentioned to her that I have a wine group on Facebook and she said that they would be very happy to arrange a wine or whisky tasting for groups of ten or more.  Alte Brennerei also hosts a number of events.  I picked up a calendar and hope we can make it to a few of them.  I have a feeling we could learn a lot there!  And, just so you know, they accept credit cards.  We used our USAA card with no issues.

They even have Scottish cider.

 

After we dropped off our booze at the car, we headed for Shannon Irish Pub in Herrenberg.  And, let me just say, it’s no Auld Rogue.  We arrived right after it opened at 3:00.  Not many people were there and German and American pop music blared from the speakers.  The bartender was German and spoke no English.  And there was no Guinness to be found.  What they did have was Murphy’s Irish Stout, so that’s what we had.

A couple of shots of the bar area.

Peanut butter “Flips”… definitely a German snack.  Though I can’t complain because I like them.

Another part of the bar…

 

Service was friendly enough, and I noticed that the prices for the whiskys and whiskeys were reasonable.  It just didn’t seem much like an Irish pub as much as it was a German bar trying to be Irish.  It’s definitely not as charming or authentic as The Auld Rogue is.  And I was shocked that there was no Guinness!  That’s crazy!  But, as bars go, it wasn’t that bad…  Just don’t expect authenticity.

The backside of the bar.

 

All in all, we had a great day.  We were reminded that we need to visit Herrenberg more often.  We usually just go there to take the dogs to the vet or pass through to get to Stuttgart.  It’s a great town, though, with a lot to offer.  And Alte Brennerei is definitely a great find for those who like their booze.  Right next door to Alte Brennerei is the Gasthof Lamm, which is a great little restaurant where we had Thanksgiving last year.  Granted, it was German food, but it was cozy and cute and the food was good.

Herrenberg is a great little town.  It also seems to be the place to see and be seen.  Last time we were there, we ran into our neighbors from our first time in Germany (07-09) and they knew us right away.  This time, we ran into people who live in our town now!

Maybe tomorrow, we’ll make it to Stuttgart.

A four hour birthday meal and new friends at Osteria da Gino in Nagold…

Advertisements

Yesterday was my birthday.  As is our custom on my birthday, Bill and I went out to eat.  Originally, we planned to dine in Stuttgart because I had to go to the dental lab.  I’m in the process of getting a dental implant and we’re now in the end stages.  We went to the dental lab so they could determine what color the new tooth should be and get photos of my mouth.  I thought maybe when we were done, we could find a place in Stuttgart to celebrate birthday #44.

I took a photo of the female form on display at the dental lab…  I guess they don’t just do teeth there.  😉

Bill decided against the Stuttgart plan and booked us a table at Osteria da Gino in Nagold.  I have written about this restaurant several times and continue to write about it because every time we go, we have a great experience.  Gino is a wonderful host who is very friendly and engaging.  He serves fantastic food.  Bill knew he wouldn’t disappoint me on my birthday.  Besides that, the restaurant is very close to where we live and getting to and from there lacks the logistical hassles that can come from dining in Stuttgart.

One of my favorite beers, Prairie Bomb!  This is an American craft beer from Oklahoma that I ordered from Saveur Biere.  I enjoyed this before we went to Nagold for dinner. 

So off we went last night, arriving just in time for our 7:00pm reservation.  We were warmly greeted by Gino, who was sporting a conspicuous bandage on his right hand and thumb.  He somehow managed to cut it.  I was relieved to see that he still had all his digits!  Last night, Gino was offering seating inside and outside.  It was the first time we’d ever been to his restaurant and had a choice of venues.  We ate inside because it looked like it was going to rain.  He and his wife showed us to our table, a six top that we knew we’d end up sharing.

A blurry obligatory shot of Bill.  I must have taken this in a hurry!

The concept of table sharing at a restaurant can be strange for Americans.  We’re used to having our own space.  Here in Europe, where space can be a premium, it can be awkward to share a table with strangers.  Fortunately, last night, we were seated with people who ended up making my birthday more special and memorable.

A few minutes after we sat down, another couple were seated at our table.  I was confused at first, since they started speaking German with Gino, then switched to French.  Then, once they realized we were Americans, they spoke English.  It turned out the husband was French and the wife was German and hails from the Black Forest.  She and her husband had come from Paris to visit her family and were staying in Nagold.  Last night was their first visit to Gino’s after having found it favorably reviewed on Trip Advisor.  I think after last night’s meal, they’ll be back.

Birthday bubbly!

After bringing us a round of prosecco, Gino brought out the usual antipasti, which immediately impressed our new friends from France.  We got to talking after Gino scolded me for not knowing any languages except English.  I corrected him by telling him I speak Armenian (which isn’t so useful outside of the country or areas where Armenians are concentrated).  I also speak some Spanish, though lately when I try to speak it, it comes out Armenian.  It turned out the male half of the couple dining with us had been to Armenia and we were talking about how well the French and Armenians get along.  That segued into an evening of stimulating conversation!

Huge antipasti… Grilled vegetables, cheese, salami, orange and fennel salad, olives… and bread, of course!

I had to take a special photo of the tuna carpaccio…  This stuff is absolutely sinful.

We explained to the other couple that we’d been to Gino’s restaurant several times.  He’s never once brought us a menu, although I have seen one posted on the wall outside and in the dining room itself.  We are always content to let Gino bring us whatever’s available.  Although you can order as many or few courses as you want, we always end up eating four courses when we visit Gino because it’s that good!  Don’t go there looking for pizza.  Gino doesn’t make pizza, but he does have a small deli where you can purchase food to go or a bottle of wine.

Bill enjoyed truffles and angel hair pasta…  He loved it, though I lead a truffle free lifestyle.

I had spaghetti.  This was delicious!  The sauce was so fresh and perfectly seasoned that it almost defies description.  

This is the second time Bill and I have gone to Gino’s and wound up making new friends.  Because his indoor dining room has limited seating, it’s very common to have to share a table if you’re dining inside.  The last time we were there, we ended up dining with fellow Americans who had read my blog and decided to try Gino’s hospitality.  Last night, Gino had many French people in attendance.  Another large group of French speakers joined us about an hour after we sat down.  Gino handled it all with his usual aplomb.  I really don’t know if he speaks French, but he was charming everyone equally.  In fact, because he was so friendly and charming, there was a very long pause between the pasta course and the second course.

Our new friends skipped the pasta.  I enjoyed watching them enjoy the second course.  He had osso bucco and she had the fish, John Dory filet.  It was really fun to see them reacting the same way our American friends Sarah and Mike did when they ate with us at Gino’s back in December.  It was a good thing that we were getting along so well with the other couple at our table.  The conversation made waiting for the main course a lot more enjoyable.  We talked about everything from travel in Africa to American politics.  Amazing, considering we had only known each other a couple of hours!

Bill and I both had the fish last night, served with very fresh white asparagus and a shrimp.

 

It was getting close to 11:00pm when Bill and I finally shared dessert…

A panoply of Italian sweets!  Strawberries, panna cotta, chocolate cake, and ice cream!  The total damage for four courses for two was about 179 euros.  Gino will take credit cards, though we paid in cash.

 

It was finally time to call it a night and we exchanged cards with our newfound friends.  If we ever make it to Versailles, they have promised to show us the sights!  I love living in Europe.  You never know what will happen or who you’ll meet.  That being said, I have a tendency to get carried away sometimes.  I hope our new friends didn’t think I was too much of a chatterbox!

On Thursday of this week, Bill and I will venture to Talblick, a hotel and restaurant in Wildberg.  We have been trying to get reservations at their gourmet restaurant for months, so I am excited to finally get to try it out.  Stay tuned for a review!

Dining with new friends at Osteria da Gino’s in Nagold

Advertisements
We wanted to have a really great meal this weekend.  Since the weather was nasty and the Schoenbuch Tunnel was closed, we decided to stay close and not try to use 81.  Osteria da Gino is in Nagold, which is about five kilometers from our little town.  Since our first time in March of this year, it’s become one of our favorite restaurants in the area.  We were long overdue for a visit, since our last one was in July while my mom was visiting.
Bill sent an email on Friday requesting a reservation on Friday or Saturday night.  Friday night was totally booked, so we were set for last night at 7:00.  I was really looking forward to it.  Then yesterday morning, I got a message on Facebook from my new friend Sarah, who asked if I could remind her of the name of “that awesome Italian place I wrote about.”  I told her about Gino’s place and that if she went last night, she’d see us there… and probably even at the same table!  Sure enough, that’s what happened!
It was great to see Gino, who was in the front part of his restaurant/store when we arrived.  We were immediately and enthusiastically greeted.  In fact, he even gave me a big hug and asked us in German why it had been so long since our last visit.  He asked about my mom, too.  Given that she was here over four months ago, I thought that was very impressive!  He led us to his tiny dining room, the few tables of which were almost all decorated with “reserviert” signs.
Sarah and her husband, Mike, were already seated and working on their first courses.  Although this was our first meeting in person, I had exchanged Facebook messages with Sarah a few times.  Mike and Sarah live in Sulz am Neckar, which is not that far from Nagold.  Gino could tell we were going to be fast friends, so he invited us to sit at their table.  As much fun as it is to dine with Gino as a couple, it’s even more fun when you’re with friends and can share the unique experience as well as the fantastic flavors!
I have mentioned before that Gino doesn’t really offer menus to his guests.  He also speaks very little English.  Although I don’t speak much German or Italian, I have always managed to communicate with Gino, who by now knows full well about my hatred of mushrooms.  With a bottle of San Pellegrino and a couple of glasses of red wine on the table, we were ready to have dinner.
We started with the usual orange, salami, and fennel salad.  This time, it came with a little cheese.   It tasted like Parmesan, but I’m not absolutely sure that’s what it was.  There was also a fresh breadstick.
Next came a trio of antipasti.  Pictured above is vitello tonnato and topped with capers.  Although I was a little leery at first, I have to admit that this was absolutely delicious.  It was one of my favorite of the dishes offered last night.
The usual medley of grilled vegetables included peppers, zucchini, and eggplant…
And everybody loved the Burrata, which was a sinfully smooth creamy cheese that reminded me a bit of mozzarella, only it was smoother, milder, and much creamier.  I don’t usually go for cheeses, but I have to admit I really enjoyed the Burrata with its garnish of sweet tomatoes and basil.  Wikipedia tells us that this cheese is made with cow’s milk mozzarella and cream… the word Burrata means butter in Italian.  
The pasta course for us consisted of spaghetti with crushed tomatoes, fish, shrimp, and mussels…  Sarah and Mike had what looked like homemade stuffed shells with cheese.  Sarah said there was a spice that tasted a little like nutmeg.  I’m pretty sure I had the same pasta course they had on our first visit.  I enjoyed watching her facial expressions as she tasted it!  Likewise, Bill and I enjoyed our pasta course, though maybe it was a little bigger than we needed.  I didn’t eat much of the actual pasta because I knew the main course was coming!  But I eagerly tucked in to the fruits of the sea, which were expertly prepared and delicious. 
Bill had osso bucco (veal) for his main dish.  So did Sarah.  Once again, I watched their facial expressions and they could only be described as orgasmic.  I like the taste of veal, but seldom eat it.  I did try a little of Bill’s dish, though, and could see why it was such a hit.  The meat was like butter and could have been cut with a spoon…  It was served with spinach and potatoes.
Mike and I both went for the fish option.  Stacked on a bed of spinach and potatoes was what I think may have been John Dory filet and a large grilled shrimp.  It, too, was a winning dish!
Sarah and Mike were too full for dessert.  Bill and I decided to go all the way and this was what the chef brought us…  a medley of panna cotta with currant sauce, a sliver of coffee flavored ice cream, a small piece of cake, and what tasted like a tiramisu inspired sweet.  We also had a round of espresso.
By the time we were finished eating, it was about 9:30.  The dining room had filled up.  One table included English speakers who sounded like they may have been Europeans speaking a common language.  They were having a fabulous time, too!  And Gino and his staff were joining in the merriment.
Sarah and Mike spent 119 euros on their dinner, while ours was 160 euros (we had dessert and the pasta with fish and shrimp).  On the way out, Gino’s wife and the chef invited us to enjoy some grappa and Gino’s wife asked me about my mom!  She does speak a little English, as does the chef, who was wearing a shirt that read “Make food, not war.”
On the way home, Bill and I were talking about how amazing our night was, not just because of the food and Gino’s warm hospitality, but because we left his place having made two new friends.  It goes without saying that I highly recommend Osteria da Gino in Nagold.  Just make sure you make reservations, can spend a few hours, and aren’t looking for pizza.  Also, go with an open mind and a willingness to try something new and exciting!  As we found out last night, it’s also a great place for friends.  Sarah and Mike were raving about the experience as we said goodnight!

Mmm… Friday night Greek food!

Advertisements
Yesterday, we tried and failed to get a table at Talblick, a gourmet and apparently very good restaurant in Wildberg…   As a matter of fact, when Bill called and tried to set us up with a reservation, he was told they are booked solid for the next three months!  He was advised to try again in January, since the entire month of December is booked with holiday parties.  Now we have to go!  We’ll keep trying!  Someday, I will write about the very nice Michelin starred restaurant eleven miles from our house in Jettingen.

Anyway, because it was dark and cold outside and we heard about the Schoenbuch Tunnel being closed all weekend, we decided to stay local for dinner.  It had been awhile since our last trip to Taverne Beim Griechen, so we decided to go there last night.

I wasn’t super hungry, since I had a big breakfast and a late lunch yesterday.

Mmm… cheese souffles, sausage, and biscuits! Bill made a wonderful breakfast!

I opted for gyros, while Bill had souvlaki.

As usual, the gyros were great!
So was the souvlaki!

Our waitress was the same lady who helped us last time we visited.  She doesn’t speak English.  In fact, she doesn’t speak German that well, either.  We had some misunderstandings about our beverages.  I asked for water with gas and Bill ordered wine.  He asked for two glasses, but she brought out a small pitcher and one glass for him and just the water for me, along with ouzo.  After he clarified, she brought out another water glass and wine glass.  We enjoyed dinner… then we decided to have another glass of wine.  This time, she brought out two small pitchers of wine and another round of ouzo…  I gave the “cowardly ouzo” to Bill.   
It was no big deal, really.  If we had to, we could have walked home.  But once we were done, Bill asked for the check.  I think she either didn’t hear him or misunderstood, since we sat for another twenty or thirty minutes before I finally asked the owner for the check.  I’m pretty sure his wife is Korean and she came over with the bill.  Bill thanked her in Korean and was rewarded with a huge smile.  
It’s always a pleasure to have Greek food on a Friday night.  It’s sort of becoming our ritual lately.  Tonight, we have reservations at Osteria da Gino’s in Nagold.  I have a feeling we will be joined by at least one other American couple…  😉  I look forward to writing tomorrow’s blog post.