Lunch at Pizzeria Permesso in Ludwigsburg…

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We had yet another beautiful day here in Germany.  I was somewhat tempted to take a hike to a waterfall.  But then I remembered the large collection of empty beer bottles sitting in our pantry and how they’ve been collecting dust for months now.  It had been ages since our last trip to Heinrich 3000, a drink market in Kornwestheim, which is a town near the city of Ludwigsburg.

Since we had all of those bottles and I was jonesing for some kind of beer other than German, Bill and I decided to have lunch in Ludwigsburg and then visit the drink market.  We walked to the main square in Ludwigsburg’s center and noticed an Italian restaurant called Pizzeria Permesso.  As we approached its outdoor seating area, a very pleasant gentleman kindly welcomed us to sit down.  We happily obliged.

We were seated under a large canopy, shaded from the perfect May weather.

Pizzeria Permesso has a wood fired oven for making pizza.  I saw a couple of pizzas going by that looked very good.  Their calzones also looked pretty excellent.

Bill ordered a glass of Primitivo for himself an a glass of Montepulciano for me, along with our usual sparkling water.  I was pretty impressed with the water came with slices of lemon and an ice cube!  I don’t think I’ve ever had ice in a drink in Germany unless I was at a fast food place on post.  It was a nice surprise!

Ice in the water! 

For lunch, Bill ordered Spaghetti Bolognese– spaghetti with meat sauce– and I had Tagliatelle Salmone.  We were both very happy with our dishes.  I especially enjoyed mine.  Not only was the dish made with a cherry tomato sauce instead of a cream sauce; it also had the most perfectly cooked pieces of salmon I’ve had in a very long time.  It was absolutely delicious!

While we were waiting for our lunch, we noticed some really cute children playing nearby.  They didn’t have a care in the world!

Bill’s Spaghetti Bolognese was a hit!  It came sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

But my Tagliatelle Salmone was even better.  Not only was I impressed by how this dish tasted, I also thought it was beautifully presented, complete with a couple of mint leaves.  I saw several other dishes going by, mainly salads, that were also beautifully plated.  And again, the salmon was cooked perfectly.  It practically melted in my mouth because it wasn’t too dry or overcooked.  Next time, I’m going to have to try a Lachs (salmon) filet.

 

We took our time finishing lunch and our wine.  The wait staff was professional and unhurried, which was nice to see.

I took this picture right after two adorable little girls, both wearing ponytails and maybe about five or six years old, who were holding hands and playing in the square, came over to talk to Bill.  He patiently explained to them that he doesn’t speak much German.  I’m not sure if they got the message, but they did eventually say “Tschuss!”

Bill asked for a double espresso, but they brought him a single.

I had a hefeweizen because the guy sitting near me had one and it looked refreshing.  I probably should have had one of the very beautiful desserts they had on display instead.  Maybe next time.

A cannon went off and sparkly stuff sprayed into the air as a newly married couple emerged from the church…

The Saturday market was also freshly cleaned up.

Pizzeria Permesso is conveniently located in the Marktplatz.  I’m surprised this was our first time visiting.  I’m sure we’ll be back, because I liked their food more than what I’ve had at La Signora Moro, another Italian place on the square.

After Bill paid the check, we headed back to the car by way of the Sparkasse that sports a large metal Sparschwein out front.  The first time we saw that piggy bank, Bill made an inappropriate comment.  Actually, it was an unintentionally inappropriate comment.  The pig reminded him of a metal bull that was once used as a torture/killing device.  On some days, the bank opens the pig so people can see inside.  Bill said he didn’t want to go in there because he was afraid someone would close the door and turn on the gas.

The Sparschwein, whose name is “Louise”, is the largest piggy bank in the world.  The above video offers a risk free look inside.

He clearly forgot he was in Germany…  We laugh about it now, but I’m pretty sure I gave him one of my patented horrified looks.  Talk about black humor!  But I know my husband, and it was definitely an honest faux pas.

We passed a book store that was advertising games, including “Klug Scheisser”.  Klug Scheisser is a game Bill often hears on German radio.  It literally translates to “smart shit”, but colloquially means “smart aleck”, “smart ass”, or “big mouth”.  I see it’s also usually spelled as just one word.

 

We enjoyed a brief shopping expedition at Heinrich’s and came home with lots of Belgian and Icelandic beers to try until our next trip to Ludwigsburg.  It’s a very pleasant town.  We should definitely visit more often.

Sunday lunch at Eiscafe La Piazza in Herrenberg…

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Eiscafe La Piazza is a very popular place in Herrenberg, especially on Sundays!

 

The first time Bill and I lived in Germany, we lived in a little town in Ammerbuch County called Pfäffingen.  It’s about ten miles south from Herrenberg and ten miles west of Tübingen.  In those less adventurous days, we used to visit either bigger town frequently.  We went to Herrenberg less often because it’s smaller and less interesting than Tübingen is.  Usually, we’d go there when we needed a change of scenery.

One place we often visited in Herrenberg during our 2007-09 stint was Eiscafe La Piazza.  La Piazza is a very nice Italian ice cream cafe.  They serve beautiful ice cream creations, but they also have gorgeous cakes, coffee drinks, and cocktails.  You can also find pizza and pasta there.

When we lived in Germany the first time, we’d often visit this cafe and have lunch.  I think we mainly went there because it has non-stop service.  A lot of times, we don’t get going until it’s too late for lunch.  That’s not a problem at La Piazza.

Since we’ve been back in Germany, now going on four years, we’ve only visited La Piazza twice.  The first time was back in April 2016.  We went in there for ice cream after walking around Herrenberg and ran into our original next door neighbors from our first tour here!  It was very strange, since they immediately recognized us.  I recognized them, too, but it seemed like my mind was playing tricks on me.  We proceeded to have kind of an awkward conversation, since they don’t speak English and my German is very rudimentary.  I used to talk to their daughter and son-in-law all the time, though.

The second time was today.  We went in there and I was half expecting to see our old neighbors again, but lightening didn’t strike twice.  A friendly English speaking guy invited us to pick a table.  We did, and ordered some San Pellegrino and a couple of glasses of Primitivo that he didn’t have on the menu.

 

Bill laughs at my jokes… that’s why we get along so well.

 

As we were waiting for our dishes, I took note of the music playing, which was pretty good Motown and jazz.  It was better than the German pop we heard yesterday.  More people filed in and pretty soon, the cafe was almost full.

Originally, we had given some thought to visiting a small fest going on near our house.  A local metal smith, who, according to our landlady, made our carport, was serving goulash made with wild boar and hosting a choir that would be singing German folk songs.  However, the weather, while much warmer than it has been recently, was kind of wet and depressing.  Also, our landlady said that she thought he was a better metal worker than cook.

 

Tagliatelle con salmone…  This was pretty good and very reasonably priced at under eight euros.  It was a simple creamy sauce with salmon.  I appreciated that we had plenty of Parmesan cheese.

 

Bill had the “pasta of the house”…  This came with olives, tomatoes, and plenty of garlic, with pieces of fresh Parmesan.  Bill really enjoyed it.  The garlic was especially welcome!

 

Every time we’ve been to La Piazza in Herrenberg, I’ve been tempted by dessert.  Their cakes always look so good!  They had several beautiful ones today.  I am usually too full to consider having dessert.  Today, I didn’t finish the pasta and saved room for a piece of the cake posted below.  Bill split it with me.

This was kind of like a Sacher torte, only with cherry instead of apricot.  It was moist and sweeter than a lot of German cakes I’ve had.  I’m glad we shared it.  I liked this fine, although next time, I think I’ll go for the Tiramisu.  It looked amazing.

And an espresso!

The total bill came to 37 euros.  I noticed a lot of the people coming in were there for just cake or ice cream.  In the spring and summer, when the weather is fine, this cafe will set up a large outdoor area. I expect that in less than a month, a lot of people will be enjoying its prime location, right in Herrenberg’s attractive main square.  Herrenberg was pretty quiet today, though.

If you live near Herrenberg and are looking for a “go to” Sunday spot, La Piazza is not a bad choice.  It’s not fancy, but it’s got lots of simple pizzas and pastas, as well as tempting desserts.  You will find English speaking servers there and not break the bank.  And it doesn’t matter what time you arrive, because they serve food until 10:00pm.  I also noticed that they have a lot of breakfast choices, which are available until 11:00am.  Maybe someday, we’ll go there for the first meal of the day, then climb up to Herrenberg’s castle ruins.  I will probably need to be fortified for that!

Our third Hello Fresh meal

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Last night, we finally got around to trying our third Hello Fresh meal.  All of the fresh ingredients that were sent to us were still in good condition, with the exception of the fresh basil, which was a bit dried out.  It was supposed to be used as a garnish for last night’s meal of pasta with mascarpone cheese, tomatoes, and mozzarella.  It’s not Hello Fresh’s fault that the basil was dried.  We just didn’t prepare the meal promptly enough after our tasting box was delivered.

I am happy to report that last night’s dish was my favorite of the three and we ended up deciding to subscribe.  Unfortunately, we had a problem with the Web site’s payment system.  I tried to pay three or four times before the payment finally went through… and then when I checked USAA, I saw that we have pending charges for those seemingly failed payments.  I sent Hello Fresh an email last night and will report when they respond.

Since I had a 20 euro coupon, we also ordered a small fruit box (regularly 14.99 euros for 12 pieces of fruit).  I doubt we’ll be doing that regularly, but I am curious to see what the fruit boxes are like.  The total charge with the 20 euro coupon for our next delivery (provided we’re only charged once) was about 35 euros.  Without the coupon, we would have paid about 55 euros for the classic box (3 meals for 2 people) and the fruit box.  Regular price for the small classic box subscription is 39.99 euros per box.  I only have to purchase two boxes for the subscription; then I can cancel whenever I want.

I also got a phone call from a Hello Fresh representative yesterday.  She wanted to know how we liked the product and tried to get me to subscribe.  I told her we wanted to try the third meal before committing.  She asked if she could call back and I said she could.  When she does call back, I will talk to her about our issues with payment and make sure we only get and pay for one classic box and fruit box next week.   I also told her that there are a lot of Americans in the Stuttgart area who, if they subscribed to Hello Fresh, would likely appreciate it if they could get the recipes in English.  Maybe she’ll pass that info along to someone who can help with that.  I did tell her I was working hard on my German and trying to decipher recipes is a good way to do that.  But one of Hello Fresh’s major selling points is being able to save time.  If I have to translate recipes, I am not saving time.

Anyway, on with last night’s meal…

Bill lays out the ingredients: spiral pasta, three tomatoes, an onion, mascarpone cheese, fresh mozzarella, garlic, and fresh basil (which was a little dry last night, but got to us fresh).

Bill starts chopping tomatoes.

Bill consults the recipe.  This one was simple enough that he didn’t need to translate it.

Onions being chopped, along with some garlic…

Sautéing the onions and garlic in a little olive oil…  We supplied the oil.

Fresh tomatoes are added to the onions and garlic.  Bill also added some ground oregano, which was also supplied.

Bill slices the fresh mozzarella into small pieces.

Cooked pasta is added to the tomatoes.  We only used half of a 500 gram bag, so there’s pasta leftover for another dish.  In the pot next to the skillet, Bill stirs mascarpone cheese.  He only used 50 grams of a 250 gram container.

Cheese is added to pasta and tomatoes.

Next, the mixture is placed in a baking dish and a layer of mozzarella is added.

Second layer of mozzarella cheese and pasta.

Our dried out fresh basil.  Will have to use it quicker next time.

Bill cleans while the pasta bakes.  By this point, our house was smelling awesome.

Table is set…

The finished product, fresh out of the oven!

It turned out great!

Guten Appetit!

 

We were really happy with this simple dish.  Naturally, it was the most fattening of the three, coming in at about 750 calories.  We still had enough leftover for my lunch today.  Believe me, I’m looking forward to it!  And, while I’m at it, I want to praise my sweet husband Bill for being such an awesome cook and cleaning up after himself!

Dinner at Pizzeria da Vito in Tübingen, Germany

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Bill and I decided we wanted to go out to dinner.  Unfortunately, we weren’t all that sure where we wanted to go.  We thought about staying local and going to a place here in Unterjettingen, but changed our minds when parking turned out to be complicated.  So then we decided to go to Herrenberg, where we know of some good places to eat.  But we ended up driving around for awhile, because we couldn’t decide where we wanted to go.  The Greek restaurant we usually love to go to looked like it was very full… and then there was the parking issue again.

I had told Bill I wanted to go to Tübingen, but he said he didn’t want to drive that far.  But it turned out we had driven so much around Herrenberg and its environs that he might as well have just driven straight to Tübingen.  It would have saved us some time.  I finally reminded him that in Tübingen, there’s lots of parking… and plenty of restaurants, too.  Finally, Bill relented and we went to Tübingen, which always makes me feel kind of bittersweet, since we used to live very close to there and miss it.

We were going to go to Die Kelter, but it was packed and there weren’t any tables available.  So we went a little further and ended up at Pizzeria da Vito, which is a little Italian place we used to frequent five years ago when we lived here last time.  It’s a small, family owned restaurant and obviously popular with locals, since there were only a couple of tables free when we sat down.  When the weather is nice, they usually offer a lot of tables outside, too.

Bill waits for meat.

Bill ordered a carafe of Primativo and a bottle of San Pellegrino from the black sequins wearing waitress/hostess who was helping us.  I knew from experience that the pasta at this restaurant is excellent, but I had ziti for lunch.  So even though the pizza and pasta smelled wonderful, I opted for a dorade which was cooked in foil and garnished with tomatoes and cucumbers.  Bill had a steak with gorganzola cheese sauce and a side of fried potatoes.  The meal was served with a basket of bread.

My fish all wrapped in foil.  Bill’s steak in the background.

To be perfectly honest, I have had better dorade elsewhere.  But the price for this fish was right.  It was 12 euros and cooked competently, even though I think I prefer it grilled rather than baked in foil .  Fresh basil was stuffed in the fish, which gave it a zesty essence.  It was also served with a couple of slices of lemon, which made a positive difference in how it tasted.

Bill pronounced his steak “satisfying” and finished the whole thing.  His steak was priced at 13.50 euros.  Next time we visit Pizzeria Da Vito, I’ll probably go back to pasta, since I know it’s very good there.  The pizzas are good too, and they are very reasonably priced.

Not the best photos because it’s nighttime.  This restaurant is basically on the main drag into Tübingen as you’re walking away from the Altstadt Konig garage.

We would have had dessert, but they didn’t have anything available tonight.  Our bill was 39.50 euros.  Service was competent and basically friendly, though our server seemed kind of tired and ready to go home.  Having done that work myself, I couldn’t really blame her.

I do recommend Pizzeria da Vito.  I’m not sure I will get dorade there again, at least not prepared in foil as it was tonight.  That’s not because the fish was badly prepared; I just like it grilled and they don’t offer it that way.

On another note, next time I get a hankering to go to Die Kelter for dinner, I will make sure to reserve a table!