The 2018 Böblingen Afrika fest… and back to Sindelfingen’s street fiesta!

I posted yesterday about how Bill and I visited Sindelfingen’s Street Fiesta.  This weekend event was a first for us, and we had a great time.  Last year, I remember very well visiting Böblingen’s Afrika Fest, which is one of several local Afrika fests held in the summer.  In the four years we’ve lived in the Stuttgart area for the second time, we have also attended Afrika fests in Stuttgart and Tübingen.  By now, I know it’s a great place to enjoy African products– clothes, food, music, furniture, dishes, and art.

Today, we decided to visit Böblingen’s 2018 Afrika fest.  Afterwards, we went back to Sindelfingen, because if I’m honest, there was more food, more entetainment, and more beer.  But if your aim is to shop, I will admit that Böblingen is a good place to be during the last weekend in August.  Below are pictures from both events, along with my usual comments.  I have been drinking… 90% of which was done in Sindelfingen.  I’m sure it won’t be hard to determine which fest I liked better.

This guy was on stilts, entertaining everyone….  I got a lot of shots of him.


 I bought one of the plates in this photo…  The salesman was Tunisian, which meant something to me. I visited there over New Year’s 1977-78.

More Tunisian wares!  I want one of those birdcages!

Another salesman.  We didn’t stop in.

You had to buy a coupon to get beer or wine.  It was a pain in the butt.  We did it anyway.  I had a glass of wine from South Africa. 

Lots of people were enjoying African cuisine, German beer, and Cuban cocktails, along with a mashup of Cuban and African music.  

Set up for the afternoon’s performance by an orchestra from Senegal.  We didn’t stick around for it, but I bet it was lovely.

Another shot of the guy on stilts.  He was very engaging.  Bill says this is an West African thing.  Wikipedia tells me this is called “Moko jumbie“.  “Moko” means healer and “jumbie” means ghost or spirit.  He watches over his village and guards it from evil spirits!

Lots of clothes to be had.  I’m not a fan of the deep crotched look.

Bill got a turkey shwarma, which was full of turkey, grilled onions, and a “light sauce” with a kick.

He brought me a plate of stuff… this was West African and had chicken, lamb, and possibly pork or beef.  I couldn’t tell.  It also had cous cous, rice, and peanut sauce, which I loved.  And there were two fried dough rolls that were kind of like hushpuppies.


Longer lines for food at the Afrika Fest.

He was everywhere and wanted to be photographed!


 Böblingen is quite nice, if you know where to go.  This is the Marktplatz, which, in six total years of living in this area, I will admit I have spent very little time.

We left Böblingen at about 2:00 and decided to go back to Sindelfingen.  I wanted to try some of the craft beers we missed yesterday.  Once we found a place to park, it proved to be more our speed.  There’s was more live music, played by the band pictured below…

They were playing good songs and their arrangements were great, but the lead singer was lacking vocal range.  Sorry, I really am a snob when it comes to music.  But they played stuff by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Golden Earring, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath.  Not bad.

Good beer.

Plenty of stuff for the kids to do.

Plenty of food, too… everything from fish n’ chips to burgers, along with some vegetarian selections, sweets, and beers.

We spent a good portion of the afternoon talking to an American guy named Zach who came here from America to get his master’s degree and is now helping to launch Germany’s craft beer scene.  I asked him to join my wine and food group, mainly because even though there is a local beer group, I am not in it and I like my beer.  Anyway… if you also like your craft beers, you are invited to check out Cast-Brauerei, which has operated since 2010 and has a Web site.  You can visit, buy beer, and talk to Zach, who is friendly and knows about Saved By The Bell.  Zach’s colleagues recognized us from yesterday, when we were accosted by the drunk guy who was having a very good time trying everything.  See my previous post for the story on that.

These fests are now over, but the good news is, they run every year.  So if you missed them this year, you can probably catch them next year, if you’re around.  And if you come back every year, chances are good you’ll see a lot of the same people.  Talk to them.  They don’t bite, and will teach you a little something about what is here in Germany.  And who knows?  You might even make new friends.


The Sindelfingen Streetfood Fiesta meets Music! And Bill and I meet new friends!

You’d think a person like me would me chomping at the bit to attend a “streetfood fiesta” coupled with music.  I am a food lover, and it shows.  And I also both love and create music.  This should have seemed like an event of my dreams.

Well, I’ll be honest.  I wasn’t that excited about it.  It was in my Facebook alerts and, because Bill is my husband, he noticed it on my Facebook feed.  He asked me if I wanted to go.  To be truthful, I was kind of thinking I might like to stay in and enjoy the day.  Yes, it’s been hot in Unterjettingen lately, but the forecast was calling for rain.  I don’t like getting caught in the rain.

The Afrika Fest was also going on in Böblingen and will also be tomorrow.  We went to it last year and enjoyed ourselves.  I was thinking it would be good to see the Sindelfingen Streetfood Fiesta, if only because it would be different.  This event, by the way, will also be happening tomorrow in  downtown Sindelfingen.  You can enjoy food from food trucks, lots of craft beers, and plenty of live music.  To be honest, as much as I enjoyed last year’s Afrika Fest in Böblingen, given a choice between the two events, I’d pick Sindelfingen’s event.  But then, I really like food, beer, and music.  I also know that there will be an Afrika Fest in Tübingen.  We attended in 2016 and had a great time.  Pretty soon, the 2018 fest will be on, affording us to enjoy African cuisine and buy African products.

So we went to Sindelfingen, parked at the Stern Center, and started walking into the familiar downtown area.  The first thing I noticed was a lovely German lady singing a song I translated to “Dance with Me” in German.  I was pretty proud of that, not that it was that hard.  She had a great voice and I kind of wanted to get a table at a restaurant and listen to her and her acoustic guitar playing friend some more.  But we kept walking and eventually ended up at a craft beer tent where there were a couple of Americans.

We heard the telltale accents and it wasn’t long before the wife and I were realizing we have a whole lot in common, even though I am way older than she is.  She’s 30 and I’m 46, but we both lived in Northern Virginia for awhile.  We were born in the same Hampton, Virginia hospital.  She went to William & Mary for grad school and my sister got her undergrad there.  I also did a lot of temp work there after I finished my degree at Longwood.  And our husbands both work on Kelley Barracks…  As we talked longer, we learned that we had even more in common.  It was freaky!

Bill enjoys a new craft beer.

Then, I noticed she and her husband were updating their beers on Untappd, an app Bill and I both use.  In fact, Bill had his Untappd baseball hat with him and was able to show it off.  This was a beer loving couple, which Bill and I both are.  I showed them some of our more interesting beer vacations and we had another round.  We kept chatting and eventually moved on to a food truck…

These guys make some great craft beers.


More craft beers.

Bill got me a “crunchy box”, which included a couple of dumplings and what appeared to be homemade potato chips.


He was very pleased with himself.

But there was actually a lot to choose from.  There were burgers, Polish goodies, Korean goodies, and barbecue interspersed with different musicians stationed throughout the route.  Sadly, we didn’t get to see the whole thing… or maybe it’s not so sad, since we truly did make new friends.

There was even a truck that used a Camden, New Jersey schoolbus for dispensing its burgers.

This guy met us when we were tasting craft beers.  He followed us and was very keen to share the moment, German style.


The whole time we were enjoying beers and food, we were getting acquainted with new people in our community.  And, besides meeting new people, we also got to pee for free.  This event has a public restroom truck that doesn’t cost anything to use and is surprisingly clean.

Homemade potato chips!

And craft beer…

And if you hit the Sindelfingen fest, you should hit this truck.  There are good eats there.

Our drunk German friend again, who was very nice and harmless, although we didn’t understand everything he said.  I did do some nonverbal bonding with the craft beer sales people, who were enjoying watching us communicate with him.  He wasn’t a bad dancer, either.


They have stuff for kids to do, too.  Even a “bull” for those who think they can hack it.

I probably should have been more conscientious about recording the scenes, but we were having too much fun getting to know our new acquaintances and soaking up the atmosphere.

I don’t know what we’re going to do tomorrow, but I wouldn’t be averse to visiting this fiesta again… or maybe hitting the Afrika Fest.  Having been to both, I can say that both are worth the stop, depending on what you want to do with your time.  The lovely thing about Germany in the summer is that you are spoiled for choices when it comes to things to do.  Someone is always having a fest if you haven’t already planned to see a park or another attraction.

If you didn’t get out today, I highly recommend making the attempt tomorrow.  You never know.  You might make new friends, too!


“Meat night” at Göktas in Sindelfingen… my second buffet experience in Germany!

I’ve been wanting to try Göktas, a Turkish restaurant in Sindelfingen, for at least a year now.  Ever since someone in one of the local Facebook groups recommended it, I’ve been intrigued by the place. On Christmas Day, the folks at Göktas offered a “meat night”.  Basically, it was a big buffet offered for the low price of 14,90 euros.  I had wanted to go on Christmas; their Facebook photos of the food looked so good!  But then I decided I’d rather enjoy the holiday at home in my nightie.

Well, the meat night went so well on Christmas that Göktas offered another one tonight.  I don’t know if they did it because of Epiphany or just because their other buffet was so successful.  But now that I’ve finally tried the place and enjoyed the food, I can see why so many people– mostly Turkish– flock there.

Bill made reservations for 6:30pm.  The buffet started at 5:00.  By the time we got there, it was pretty packed and all of the tables were reserved.  I can’t say the interior of the restaurant is anything fancy.  When we walked in, it was obvious that Göktas is the kind of place where people come in for a casual lunch.  Turkish pop played over the sound system and there was a very extensive buffet set up with chicken, beef, rice, and plenty of salads.  No alcoholic beverages were available, but there were plenty of non alcoholic beverages including ayran (a yogurt drink), hot tea, sodas, water, and juice.  This restaurant also offers breakfast and there’s a bakery in the back dining room.

A table was quickly cleared for us and we simply helped ourselves to the colorful feast before us.  Not only was the food delicious, it was also a very nice change of pace.  I made a mental note to try different restaurants in 2018… something other than Italian, Greek, and German.

Things were swinging tonight!

Bill tries to figure out what to do.

Very fresh bread, grilled chicken breast, chicken wings, rice, grilled peppers, and salad…  The chicken was especially good.  It had that “cooked over the fire” taste.  My only complaint is that the food wasn’t very hot.  I always get nervous when I eat chicken that isn’t either chilled or hot. 

And beef, pommes, and tabbouleh (buckwheat with mint)…  We only managed one plate each, though there were plenty of choices, many of which were meatless.  We washed our dinner down with Coca-Cola…

After dinner, we had tea and a couple of rolls.  One was basically like unsweetened fried bread and the other had some kind of soft, mild cheese in it.  The tea was pretty strong and unsweetened.  Bill later figured out that he was supposed to dilute it with hot water to taste.

Many tables were full like this one… with many people enjoying friends, family, and lots of food.  Most everyone there was Turkish and some were dressed elaborately.  It was definitely interesting from a cultural standpoint.


I would recommend Göktas if you’re looking for something different… inexpensive food that is very well-prepared.  I might not recommend this restaurant if you are looking for quiet, intimacy, or high frills dining.  It’s strictly a casual place for family and friends and it’s somewhat chaotic when a buffet is offered.  It’s also very kid friendly; lots of young children were there enjoying the extravaganza.

I got the sense that on a normal night, you’d order what you want at the counter and pay before you sit down.  Tonight, we ate and paid after we were finished.  The whole experience took less than an hour, too.

I think the buffet at Göktas is much less chaotic and obnoxious than the “American buffet” at Restaurant Waldachtal was.  It’s also slightly less expensive.  I would highly recommend making reservations, especially if there’s another “meat night”.  It’s obvious word has gotten out about this special event, so if you want a table, you should prepare in advance.  We parked in the lot behind the restaurant, but there is also some street parking available.


Sausages at the Sindelfinger Paulaner Bar…

Today, Bill and I decided to take an exciting trip to Panzer to pick up a few things.  I bought some new makeup, a couple of dog toys, a couple of picture frames to replace two that broke, and a new Bose SoundTouch 20.  I am now fruitlessly trying to entertain myself getting the new SoundTouch working and wishing things were as simple as they were when I was a kid.  Back then, we pleased ourselves with cassettes and CDs.

After we did our shopping, we decided to go into Sindelgfingen and try the Paulaner Bar.  It’s right across the street from the big Stern Center and close to the Turkish supermarket on the main drag into town.  I had spotted the Paulaner Bar on an earlier visit to Sindelfingen and thought it looked interesting.  The restaurant doesn’t have much of a Web site, but we did notice that it’s open from 11:00am until midnight every day.  It also has some dedicated parking spots in a garage around the corner.  The spots also appear to be free of charge, although you must use your Parkschein.

There’s a pleasant looking outdoor area that I suspect will be history as the weather gets colder.

So, anyway, we showed up at about 1:00pm.  We opened the door and noticed a few tables were occupied.  A cheerful looking young woman sporting a dirndl greeted us as we took a seat.  We were invited to choose whichever table we wanted.  I noticed there was a cozy looking bar, but since the place wasn’t very busy, we took one of the smaller tables.  It appeared to seat about six people.

The vantage point of the bar from our table.


The inside of the Paulaner bar is kind of dimly lit and, if I’m honest, a little depressing.  It could be because it was so quiet today.  A lot of people are probably enjoying the last day of the of Canstatter Volksfest and, let’s face it, there are plenty of places where one can enjoy a German repast in these parts.  Nevertheless, although the ambiance was a little depressing today, the inside of the restaurant is kind of quaint, if not a bit grungy.

Bill and I enjoyed a couple of weizens while we decided on what to eat…

Naturally, this restaurant has the kind of food you’d expect at a German beer bar.  There are sausages, salads, schnitzels, schweinsaxen, sauerbraten, soups…  yeah, it’s pretty much a plethora of German specialties beginning with the letter S.  Bill was thinking about having a Hawaii Toast when I told him I wasn’t feeling like having a big lunch.  But then the waitress told him they couldn’t make Hawaii Toast today.  We both settled for sausages.

Bill had brats with brot. pictured below.  He said the brats were actually pretty nice.  They were well seasoned and fresh and there was plenty to satisfy him.  

I went with the Weiss Wurst.  These two little white sausages were served in broth with a pretzel (pictured below).  The only thing missing was mustard.  Likewise, this was plenty, and cheap, to boot.  I think my selection was under five euros.

I noticed the Paulaner Bar participates in the Nette Toilette program.  Basically, what that means is that they don’t mind if you come into the restaurant to pee if you’re walking around town.  Some towns in Germany have adopted this program.  Restaurants get paid by the city to let people use their toilets.  That way, the taxpayers don’t have to pay to build and maintain public toilets, restaurants get more people coming in and possibly ordering something, and fewer people pee outside.  I think it’s a great program.  The only other local area I’ve seen the Nette Toilette signs is Calw, though I know this is something that is done around Germany.

This sign is from Calw, but the ones in other areas look the same.

After our round of beer and sausages, we decided to head home.  On the way out of Sindelfingen, we ran into a large crowd of motorcycle riders.  Below are a couple of pictures I snapped of the action.  Unfortunately, I missed getting one of the guys dressed in pink bunny suits.  You just never know what you’re going to see when you drive in this area.

Anyway, our lunch today was pretty low key.  The food was fine and the service was cheerful and pleasant.  The mood in the Paulaner Bar was pretty downcast, but that could have to do with extenuating circumstances.  It’s probably a lot livelier on a Friday or Saturday night.  I’d say it’s not a bad place to go for cheap eats in Sindelfingen, although Funzel probably has more selection and better quality food.  If I were taking someone to a German place in Sindelfingen, I’d probably pick Funzel over the Paulaner bar in Sindelfingen; the Paulaner Bar in downtown Stuttgart is a bit better.


Turkish food, tears, and tanned backsides…

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I recently asked members of the local food and wine Facebook group for suggestions of places to go out to eat.  One of the suggestions was 3 Mohren, a Turkish restaurant in Sindelfingen.  I was delighted to try this place today, since we walked past it last week on our way to Corners Burger Restaurant and I noticed how well attended it was and how good it smelled.  We made reservations for 1:00pm via the restaurant’s Web site.  When we arrived a few minutes early, the place was jumping with business.  It turns out 3 Mohren has a popular Sunday brunch buffet and lots of people were taking advantage of it.

The sleek, modern sign outside the restaurant…  On nice days, there’s a large terrace available, as well as a good sized indoor dining room.

Bill and I weren’t there for the buffet.  We wanted to try some Turkish food and a bottle of Turkish wine.  We were very successful in that endeavor today.

Our server seated us at a four top table near the buffet table and had a good look at the menu, which offers all kinds of Turkish specialties with lamb, chicken, beef, and fish.  There are also vegetarian selections.  Do not go there looking for pork; naturally, you won’t find it on the menu.

We decided to start with an order of hummus, a bottle of mineral water with gas, and a bottle of Turkish wine.  Both the waitress and the owner of the restaurant spoke excellent English once they realized we aren’t German.

Bill checks out the menu… lots of great Turkish choices, as well as grilled salmon, shrimp, and dorade.  The menu is also vegetarian and kid friendly.

This was a very nice dry red wine from Eastern Anatolia.  Several bottles were available, as were wines by the glass and a range of cocktails.  3 Mohren has a full bar.

A shot of the buffet during a couple of minutes when it wasn’t being visited by patrons.  This table stretched another ninety degrees into the next dining room.  I didn’t get a close look at what was on the table, but people seemed to be enjoying the food

The hummus was absolutely delicious.  The bread was dressed with a zesty oil that gave the chickpea dip a kick.  This was a nice start to lunch.

Bill and I both went with kebabs.  He had a lamb kebab and I had chicken.  Both dishes came with salads, rice, and vegetables, as well as a basket of bread.

This salad was not too big, which I appreciated.  It consisted of lettuce, corn, carrots, radishes, and a zingy dressing that tasted of mild mustard with just a dash of mint.  I really liked the dressing.

My chicken kebab.  The chicken was white meat and just a little dry for my taste, but well seasoned.  The vegetables were cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, and a green pepper.  There was also a small scoop of delicious rice that had a buttery essence.  I might have liked this better if it had come with a sauce or something on the side.  

I don’t usually go for lamb, but I have to admit Bill’s lamb was excellent.  Next time, I might have to have a mixed grill or even order the lamb myself.  It was very tender, juicy, and not gamey at all.  

We were offered a basket of bread, which we accepted.  It arrived hot and fresh.  I noticed a couple with twin babies who were just adorable.  They had big, bright blue eyes and one of them kept staring at me.  I think I heard their mom talking to the owner about booking the restaurant for a party of 30 people.

As we were sitting there eating, I was paying attention to the music.  They were playing a lot of jazz– mostly modern stuff.  I think I heard some Diana Krall.  Then I heard a cover version of Stevie Wonder’s classic song, “If It’s Magic”, which is originally from his wonderful 1976 album, Songs in the Key of Life.  Although the cover version wasn’t necessarily moving to me, I was explaining the song to Bill.  It’s always been kind of special to me, because the lyrics are so wise and seem especially poignant, particularly given the mood a lot of us have been in over the past few months.

For those who haven’t heard the song, here’s a video…

This song always moves me.


So anyway, there I was sitting in the Turkish restaurant, explaining to Bill the meaning of this song.  It poses the question why, if love is so special and magical, are we so careless with it?  Why don’t we pay as much attention to preserving the love in our relationships as we do to how we dress, smiling for the camera, and protecting our children from danger?  For some reason, as I was explaining the song, I got very verklempt and started tearing up.  I was sitting at the table wiping tears and talking about the song in a quavery voice.  It was kind of embarrassing.

Bill is used to this reaction from me, especially over music.  We’re both hopeless saps when it comes to some things.  I usually see him get weepy when he enters a beautiful cathedral or looks at amazing artwork.  He sees me tear up when I hear gorgeous music with powerful lyrics.  I have a Stevie Wonder DVD that I’ve only watched once or twice because it makes me cry to watch Stevie Wonder perform.  He is so incredibly talented.  I am myself a singer and have sung “If It’s Magic”.  I have to admit, it’s usually a struggle to get through it without getting really emotional.  It probably doesn’t help that I’m also hormonal as hell right now.

I don’t know about my readers, but Bill and I have had a pretty tumultuous few months.  Although it probably started with the political upheaval that’s been going on since Trump got elected, it really started coming to a head in April when Bill’s former company lost its contract and we spent a couple of scary months wondering if we were going to have to move… and if so, where?  Then, both of Bill’s parents had some rather major health issues.  They’re both mostly fine and we ended up not having to move, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t worried.  And now Bill’s working for a new company and feels the pressure to perform and prove himself to his new employers.  Although 2017 was not nearly as stressful as 2014 was– when we moved here from Texas after Bill retired– it has been a bit crazy.  Add Trump to the mix and the fact that our dog had a cancer scare (that turned out not to be cancer, thank God) and you have a couple of really wound up people.

Anyway, once I finished explaining the song and wiped away the tears, we were finished with lunch.  Bill called for the check, which was about 58 euros.  I think he paid in cash, but I believe they do accept cards there.

Given how tense we both were, we decided to visit the Mineraltherme in Böblingen.  It just reopened after having been closed for renovations for several months.  I had to talk Bill into going, but he admits that every time I talk him into hitting the spa, he feels a lot better afterwards.  I wanted to see the changes they made over the summer.  Looks like brand new lockers, more parking spots (most of which were filled today), and new equipment in the saunagartens.  I read they invested over 13.5 million euros in fixing the place up.

Today, we did something we had never done before… at least not at the Mineraltherme.  Today, for the first time ever, we ventured downstairs to the textile free area and actually stripped down to our birthday suits.  Regular readers may have read about our trip to the Palais Thermal spa in Bad Wildbad a couple of months ago.  That was our first time getting naked in front of strangers.  Well, today was the first time we did it locally and ran the risk of running into people we know.

Honestly, it was kind of awesome.  After a quick dip upstairs in the clothed area, we went down to the classic sauna area, got in the raw, and hit a sauna.  We paid an extra 5,50 euros each to go into the saunagarten, where everyone is buck naked (but with big towels and robes for when they sit down).  We took a longer dip in the warm, relaxing mineral pool, wandered around the gardens, checking out the sandy lounge areas, relaxed in another sauna, had a beer, and then tried out the heated lounge chairs (wrapped in towels, of course).  It was amazingly relaxed and pleasant.  In all seriousness, the nudity thing doesn’t bother me in the slightest anymore.  I have taken to it like the proverbial duck to water.  Yeah, no one wants to see me naked, but I no longer give a shit about that.  It’s a wonderful feeling.

After a couple of hours enjoying some rays, warm water, German suds, and peace and quiet, we headed home.  Bill looked a lot less stressed.  I told him we need to make a priority out of visiting the spa more often… and he needs to get back to the gym and blow off some steam before he has a stroke.  It was a really lovely afternoon.

Needless to say, I recommend 3 Mohren, but make reservations if you’re coming on the weekend.  Both the restaurant and the spa were noticeably less packed later in the afternoon.  We will have to remember that for next time.  Turkish food plus being naked with Germans equals awesomeness…  A good cry over music doesn’t hurt, either.


Burgers at Corners in Sindelfingen… my kingdom for paper products…

I thought we were going to be homebound this weekend because of my dog Zane’s surgery and subsequent stitches.  Fortunately, he’s turned out to be a good patient who is healing nicely.  Bill and I had cabin fever after spending all day yesterday holed up in our house drinking beer.  I remembered the last time we visited Sindelfingen and passed an attractive looking burger restaurant called Corners.  Although I tend to be pretty skeptical when it comes to trying burgers in Germany, I have found a few places that do alright with our American favorite.  Corners looked like it had potential, so we decided to try it today.

Bill found a large public parking lot not far from the restaurant.  We ended up walking further than we should have and passed a Turkish place that looked and smelled wonderful.  As Bill consulted his iPhone for directions, I made a mental note to make another visit to Sindelfingen soon.  Then I started heading down the hill.  It turned out my sense of direction is quicker and more accurate than Bill’s iPhone is.

The front of Corners…

Corners is located on a corner, very close to the ever popular Funzel Restaurant, which is where we ate the last time we visited Sindelfingen.  A few people were sitting outside under the generous awning Corners supplies.  We decided to eat inside and took up residence at a table in a corner near the front window.  After a quick look at the menu, which was in English, we told our English speaking waiter that we wanted two beers, a Hefeweizen for me and a Kellerbier for Bill.

Although Corners offers steaks and salads, as well as some interesting looking lunch specials, we had come to try the burgers.  I chose the Jack Daniels burger, which, along with 200 grams of beef, came with bacon, cheddar cheese, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and Jack Daniels barbecue sauce.  It was also supposed to come with a shot of Jack Daniels Honey, which I presume is some kind of booze.  I never got the shot, but that was okay with me.  Bill had the U.S. beef burger, which came with 200 grams of U.S. beef, onions, tomatoes, grilled peppers, pickles, house made burger sauce and lettuce.  We both had curly fries, which was a nice change from the usual pommes.

Bill checks out the menu.  The sound system in the restaurant was playing loud hip hop music that was slightly annoying because it was hard to hear the waiter.  Plus, I’m an old fart who doesn’t like that kind of music.

This was my Jack Daniels burger.  Bill’s burger was pretty much identical to mine, except it had a yellow burger sauce on it that he said tasted a little like it was mustard based.  This burger was pretty big, although it was more bun than meat.  I liked that there were packets of ketchup and mayo on the table for the fries.


We both ended up having to cut these sandwiches.  My burger had a bit more sauce on it than I would have preferred.  You see, I like to eat my sandwiches without a knife and fork.  That’s the whole point of a sandwich, right?  But I find here in Deutschland, people tend to load up on condiments, which makes eating burgers with one’s hands a bit messy.  Fortunately, I grabbed an envelope of silverware that had a napkin tucked in with it.  Bill was not as lucky as I was.  His envelope was napkinless.  The missing napkin turned out to be a recurring theme in absent paper products.

I liked the burger itself.  The beef was good, albeit cooked well-done.  It was fairly juicy and had a good flavor.  I even liked all of the toppings on the burger, including the tomatoes, which I usually remove.  But, as I mentioned in my caption, the buns (which did not appear to be house made) were larger than the burgers within them.  I was reminded of an 80s era Wendy’s ad…

“Where’s the beef?”

After I finished eating, I went to the upstairs level to use the restroom and wash my hands.  The first stall I tried was out of toilet paper.  The second one was adequately supplied.  Then I washed my hands, only to find the paper towel dispenser empty.  The restaurant appeared to be staffed with only men today.  I guess they weren’t thinking of the ladies’ room.  The upstairs toilets are something those with mobility issues may want to consider.  You have to climb steps to get to the bathroom.

The bar area is nice looking and there are a number of cocktails available.  Both the upstairs and downstairs dining areas are nicely decorated and inviting, although the music was a little loud.


We decided to stop at one beer and come home to check on Zane.  Our bill came to just under 26 euros, which I thought was pretty reasonable.  Corners appears to be pretty popular with the American crowd and obviously caters to us.  I enjoyed my burger, although I hope next time we visit, someone will have stocked the ladies’ room and silverware with paper products.  Overall, I’d say it’s a decent place to get a burger, though.  Just be sure to ask for extra napkins!


Good intentions and the Golden Arches…

I’m not really loving it, but it’s fast, cheap, and easy… 

I had every intention of trying out a new restaurant this afternoon.  Bill and I talked about it last night and he even did the research to see when it would be less crowded.  But then we got hung up with mundane Saturday chores.  First off, my dog repeatedly stealth pissed all over the inside doormat.  I guess he’s been sneaking down at night while we’re asleep and secretly unloading for a long while, because I suddenly smelled a strong essence of ammonia and noticed the thing was warped.  So we had to visit the local Real to get a new doormat and pick up a few other things.

I was actually surprised by a few items I found at the Real.  It’s always fun to see German style marketing at work.  But after visiting there, I felt kind of overwhelmed and tired.  I spend so much time alone that being in a crowded store on a Saturday is exhausting.  At least we found a brand new version of the old mat Arran whizzed all over.

Star Wars fans take note!  There’s a special drink for you!  Forty years after its debut, I still don’t think I’ve yet seen the whole film!


Nor have I tasted Duff beer, Homer Simpson’s favorite brew.


One enterprising German brewery is offering a free Beer Pong set with a rack of brews.  I would wonder about the quality of a beer that needs Beer Pong to help it sell.


Absolutely hideous…  jean style leggings.  Here, they’re called “Treggings” instead of “Jeggings”.  


And finally, here’s your ticket to getting buff.  I don’t think I wanna look like this guy, though.

Then we had to go to the dump to unload boxes and other assorted stuff.  That didn’t take long, but it did push us closer to the dreaded mid afternoon time span when things shut down.

After that was done, we went home and I changed into lighter clothes, since the temperature warmed up.  I put on a little makeup so I didn’t scare anyone.  Then we headed off to Sindelfingen for what I heard was great Turkish food.  Unfortunately, Bill missed the turn for the restaurant and had to do some fancy maneuvering to get to where he needed to go.  And then it was clear that parking was going to be more of a challenge than we wanted to deal with.

So we went to Breuningerland intent on having lunch there after we picked up a couple of vignettes for Switzerland.  There were people ahead of us, so I was looking at what they had for sale in the ADAC store.  Then a young couple reeking heavily of cigarette smoke came over and enthusiastically said something in German I didn’t understand.  Bill told the guy in German that we speak English, so he switched to perfect English and asked us where we were headed.  We told him we were going to Switzerland.  He said they were going to Austria, where they hoped the weather would be better.

We had sun when we walked into Breuningerland, looking for Swiss vignettes.

We looked for something to eat at the mall.  Truthfully, there are plenty of eateries there.  But it was very crowded with people and I was starting to feel overwhelmed.  I was also getting hungry.  When I get hungry, it’s not long before I turn hangry.  So we left the mall and Bill was trying to think of alternative places to go.  He suggested the Schwaben Galerie, which I am assuming would have been just as crowded.

I finally said, “You know what?  Just take me to McDonald’s.”

But the clouds were out as we headed to McDonald’s.  Maybe it was an omen.

Bill balked at first.  He hates McDonald’s.  I will admit, it’s not my favorite place to eat, either.  But I was in no mood to search for lunch.  My blood sugar was rapidly dropping and I was getting really testy.  So we went to McDonald’s, which was also packed.  I went outside and got us a table under one of the umbrellas.  Good thing I did, since it started raining.

I sat forlornly, waiting for Bill as the tables filled up.  I also watched some guy in a station wagon peeling out as if he was driving a Porsche.  He was about as cool as a heating pad.

Grumpily, I waited for Bill to get lunch and gazed at people passing by.  It seemed like the outside area was empty when I sat down, but it quickly filled up.  It seemed like everyone was staring at me, taking up a table, yet without any food in front of me.  After about twenty minutes, Bill appeared with our Royales… and he noticed the same couple we ran into at ADAC were also dining at Mickey D’s.  Actually, I think European McDonald’s are nicer than the ones in the States.  They have those McCafes, complete with real cups as opposed to paper products.

Well, at least at McDonald’s, you know what you’re gonna get.

I haven’t seen this movie, either… but I sure did have a Royale with cheese today.


I didn’t see McC, though.

After we were sufficiently fueled, we headed to Panzer, also totally mobbed with people.  The food court was overflowing with everybody and their brother.  I just wanted to pick up some face cream, but naturally, I ended up with a few more items.  At least Zane and Arran have new toys to play with!

Now I’m at home, digesting food from the Golden Arches and drinking one of Bill’s homebrewed chocolate stouts.  When I was a kid, I loved McDonald’s.  It was my favorite place to eat.  Now I’m not much of a fan, except when I’m desperate for food quickly and don’t want to have to think too much about what I’m eating.  I have a feeling we’ll make up for today’s restaurant fumble when we’re in Italy next weekend.  It’s hard to have a bad meal there, even if you’re eating at a truck stop.

Last night’s sky show.  I doubt we’ll see this tonight.

 Hopefully, tomorrow, we’ll be more successful on our outing.  But then, tomorrow is Mother’s Day and both years prior, we’ve ended up in crowds.  So we’ll see…


Eating like a linebacker at Funzel in Sindelfingen…

Sindelfingen is an area near the Stuttgart military community.  It’s also home to Mercedes Benz, Breuningerland, and Erospark.  In 2007, Bill and I stayed one night at the Sindelfingen Marriott Hotel.  Other than that, we haven’t spent a lot of time in Sindelfingen.  Today, we needed to go to Patch Barracks to run some errands.  Bill said he wanted to go out for lunch.  He also wanted to try someplace new.

I had heard a lot of good things about Funzel, which is a German restaurant in the old part of Sindelfingen.  Since we never go to Sindelfingen, we decided to venture there today and check out things.  It was no problem finding Funzel, which is right in the middle of Sindelfingen’s surprisingly cute old town.  It did take us time to find a parking spot.  We finally settled for parking at the enormous Stern Center, which is just a short walk from the old town.

Pretty soon, those tables outside will be packed with people enjoying spring weather.


When we arrived at Funzel at about 12:45pm, the place was pretty much packed.  I sensed that most of the clientele were Germans, but I also noticed some Americans there.  I liked the way the inside of the restaurant looked, with its cozy tables, rustic decor, and wooded walls.  A guy in lederhosen invited us to sit at a pub table near the bar.  He and a lady in a dirndl appeared to be the only ones taking care of the entire restaurant.  Consequently, it took awhile to get served.  Fortunately, we were in no hurry.

The food at Funzel appears to be very typically German.  Here’s where you can get your schweinebraten, schnitzel, and schweinshaxe.  I noticed they had several kinds of schnitzel and was actually tempted to order that.  But then I remembered that the last time I had schnitzel, it lasted three meals.  I never did finish it, either.  I was also tempted by the schweinshaxe, but again– way too much food!  And when I saw them coming out of the kitchen, I realized I made a good choice when I decided to have zander filet.  Bill went with the “spicy goulash”.

Bill checks out the menu.  I quipped that it looked like someone had taken a bath while reading them.  The pages were a bit water warped.  But I was pleased to see reasonably priced food and a broad variety of local favorites.

I had a lovely hefeweizen.  Bill had a dunkel.  Both beers were excellent, of course.  It’s hard to have a bad beer in this country.

Bill’s goulash came with a nice salad.  This came out well before our main dishes did.  Bill inhaled it and said it was very good.  Then we waited quite a bit longer for the rest of the food.

My zander filet was very tasty.  I enjoyed the light breading on the mild fish, the riesling sauce, and the fact that it wasn’t humongous.  The potatoes were plain, boiled, and parsley covered.  I also got plenty of greens.  I didn’t eat too many greens because I don’t have a problem with constipation.  

We thought it was funny that the goulash was supposed to be “spicy”.  It was as mild as morning milk.  But it tasted good and went well with the spaetzle.  If you’re looking for truly spicy goulash, though, you might be disappointed.

I got a kick out of this sign, which was hanging in the bathroom.  Hand washing is very important for so many reasons.  But, if anything, consider that you have to hand your money to people who are serving food.  In the interest of not spreading germs, you should wash your hands.  In the interest of not being gross, you should remember where your hands tend to be when you use the restroom.  Brought to you by a lady who has an unused master’s degree in public health and still got norovirus last year at this time.  😉


Lunch at Funzel was very low key, despite the number of people enjoying lunch there today.  I didn’t see anyone particularly rushed or stressed, which as a former waitress, I found rather refreshing.  I enjoyed the 70s and 80s music playing and the fact that a well-behaved dog was charming a little boy on his way back from the bathroom.

Because the restaurant was so busy today, service was a bit on the slow side.  But the food tasted good and was reasonably priced.  Today’s lunch was 36 euros before the tip.  I thought that was fair.  It also appeared to be a very kid/family friendly place.  The kitchen stays open all day, with no pause.  That’s a definite plus when you’re coming to Sindelfingen from places south.  Another bonus is that parking at the Stern Center on a Sunday is dirt cheap.  We paid fifty cents to park for two hours.

Looking around old town Sindelfingen, I see we’re going to have to come back and do some more exploring there.  If anything, I need to add to my Good Eats restaurant guide.

After lunch, we visited the commissary and stopped by the Shoppette, where we managed to load up on some nice craft beers we’ve been missing lately.  In the States, I have a spare refrigerator I bought because we rented a house that didn’t have a fridge in it.  I now use it as a beer fridge and call it the “fridge of sin”.  We’re missing the fridge of sin here in Germany…  


Sunday lunching at the SchützenHaus in Sindelfingen…

Bill and I needed to go to the commissary today to pick up a few things.  It’s been ages since I was last at the commissary and we got a somewhat early start.  Although we weren’t very hungry due to having enjoyed our usual Sunday breakfast, we decided to have lunch before we tackled our commissary shopping.  I suggested a visit to the SchützenHaus in Sindelfingen, mainly because we’ve passed the sign for it so many times and, prior to today, have never once stopped there.  Now that we’ve visited, I think we’ll be back for more.  It’s obviously a great place, especially at lunchtime.

A daytime shot of the restaurant…  There’s a very nice terrace for when the weather improves.

Pretty much everybody who is a part of the military community in Stuttgart has been on “Frog” Road (aka Pascalstrasse); therefore, everybody has passed the road where the SchützenHaus is.  You can’t miss the signs.  I’m here to tell you that the SchützenHaus offers very hearty cuisine that will stick to your ribs, but they also have smaller portions and even vegetarian fare.  I noticed it was also a kid friendly place.  The menu is well translated in English and offers everything from salads to steaks, with plenty of local favorites.

Bill listens to the pop music as he checks out the art on the walls.

We arrived at a little after noon.  There were only a few people sitting at the very solid, large tables in the small dining room.  I was immediately impressed by the interesting art on the walls.  The art was very surreal and appeared to be done by the same artist.  Bill checked out the names on the artwork and said it appeared that the artist was Spanish.  Whoever he or she was, I was impressed.

A young lad approached and asked us for a drink order.  I asked for a hefeweizen.  Bill tried to ask for the same in German, but something apparently got lost in translation and he and the waiter switched to English.  When the guy came back for our lunch orders, he was visibly surprised when I asked in English how large the Wiener Schnitzels were.  He said, “Oh!  I didn’t know you were English.  I thought you were German!”  I took that as a huge compliment.

Because I wasn’t that hungry, I wanted to make sure I could take leftovers home if I ordered a schnitzel and it was too big.  I’m pleased to report that it’s no problem to get a “doggie bag”.  In fact, it’s also no problem to bring your doggie.  One family did just that; their very lovable Labrador Retriever was well accommodated with a bowl of water as she situated herself under the table.

A nice, refreshing, local wheat beer.  I had two…

A shot of the bar and the heavy duty tables, along with a couple of paintings on the wall.

I went with a “normal” sized schnitzel.  They have a larger size, but as it was, I didn’t even make it through half of this.  I look forward to finishing it later.  It came with a savory brown gravy and really excellent steak fries.  That was probably the best schnitzel I’ve had in a long time, although I don’t usually get schnitzel anyway.

Bill had Maultaschen Geschmeltz, which is basically German style ravioli with potato salad.  I tried a little and it was very good, although Bill said the potato salad had more onion than he would have liked.

As the afternoon wore on, more people showed up.  I was surprised that most of the folks dining today appeared to be Germans.  One American family came in after we did.  As close as this place is to Patch and Panzer, I would have expected a lot more Americans.  But again, this was our first time and as far as I know, Americans are here all the time.  The menu in English is a big clue, I guess.

Anyway, I think we’ll be back.  I’m sorry it took us so long to stop in… and for anyone who cares, our lunches plus three beers and a coffee came to just under 30 euros before the tip.  And after you finish eating, you can go fire your weapons.


Happy birthday to the US Army!

Last night, Bill and I ventured to Sindelfingen to attend the 241st Army Birthday Ball.  We hadn’t originally planned on attending the event, but got talked into it by a certain low ranking MP.  😉  Since the Army’s birthday is close to my birthday, we figured it would be a fun way to celebrate with friends and fellow party animals.

The last time Bill and I attended an Army Birthday Ball was in 2004.  We lived at Fort Belvoir at the time, so our nearest ball was a fancy one held at a hotel in Washington, DC.  I remember sitting at a large table surrounded by polite but somewhat unfriendly people I didn’t know.  I drank way too much wine that night and ended up spewing in my husband’s car as we drove through old town Alexandria.  My husband later gifted that car to his former stepson, who turned out to be using Bill for money.  But that’s a story for another blog post.  😉

I drank too much wine last night, too, but fortunately no one got hurt and no messes were made!  We only made great memories and a few new friends!  Not for nothing, but I think I prefer the smaller, more intimate Army ball here in Germany than the huge fancy one in DC with big name entertainment.  I’d rather be entertained by fellow revelers.

Bill parked the car at Panzer and we walked across the pedestrian bridge to catch the bus that would take us to the event.  We didn’t really know where we were supposed to be going, but soon spotted several other people dressed like we were.  We got on the bus and I was immediately delighted by the somewhat anatomically correct sticker on the window…

Whose head is on this little guy?


I had been a little bit concerned about my attire.  I ordered a long dress for the ball and it got to me in time, but decided not to wear it because it’s a little too long for me.  It’s also made of fabric that I thought would be too heavy for a June night in a venue with no air conditioning.  It wasn’t actually that hot last night, but I was pretty grateful that I dispensed with the long dress and fancy heels.  I am not very physically coordinated under the best of circumstances.  Add in heels and booze and I can be a menace to other people in proximity to me.  We had to climb up and down a number of stairs.  The last thing I needed to do was trip over a long gown while struggling in uncomfortable shoes.  Maybe I’ll save the long dress for the Marine ball in November, after I get it hemmed.

There really was no need to worry about how I was dressed, though.  Plenty of ladies wore short dresses.  Some wore very high heels and platforms, and some wore flats.  I saw a few people take off their shoes altogether.  One of my lady friends even wore stylish pants and rocked them!  Besides, I really just wanted to see Bill in his blues…

I must admit, I miss seeing Bill in his uniform on a daily basis.

Proud to say he still cleans up fine in his blues!  Be still my heart!  My Marine friend, Paul, is looking sharp, too! 


Bill waits in line at the cash bar.  Not long after I took this photo, a bugle sounded to signal that it was time to get the party started.  

When we booked our table for four, it was empty.  We weren’t sure if there would be another couple joining us.  We did end up having company and they turned out to be a lot of fun, even if they had to cut out early because the male half had to go on duty.  The Army never sleeps!  I’m sure Bill will eventually run into our new acquaintance, since it turns out they work in the same area.  On the way home, I was thinking about how lucky we were to have such friendly and engaging people sitting at our table with us.  Unfortunately, that’s not always a given!  Not only were they friendly and interesting, but they were also funny.  I truly enjoyed meeting them.

A pretty table!

The shindig started off with the usual protocol.  There was a call to mess, an invocation, and several ceremonial toasts.  I was immediately reminded of the first episode of Army Wives, when the characters were toasting the president and one of the characters thought the president was actually attending.  I didn’t see anyone make that mistake last night.

It wouldn’t be one of my travel blog posts if I didn’t write about the food.  If I recall correctly, we had four choices for dinner, which we chose when we bought our tickets.  There was beef, chicken, salmon, and the vegetarian option.

We had salad and some surprisingly good bread.

I had salmon with rice and a cream sauce.  It was pretty good, though not very hot by the time it got to our table.  That’s understandable, though.  The other couple also had salmon.

Bill went with the beef… also smothered in cream sauce.  Also, not bad at all for banquet food.


After dinner, the birthday cake was cut…

I’m sorry this is a crappy picture.  I used a different purse last night and neglected to pack my digital camera that would have allowed me to zoom in.  I did think it was funny that the young soldier helping to cut the cake was born in 1994.  That was the year I graduated college.  I feel old, now.

The cake was delicious!

The colors were retired… and people commenced dancing.

I stayed safely on the tier overlooking the festivities.  I won’t dance, so don’t ask me.


At one point, the other couple at our table asked one of the waiters if we could have more wine.  They said we had to pay for it.  But then as the evening wore on, one of the waiters brought us a fairly full bottle that needed to be finished.  Waste not, want not!  We also witnessed a marriage proposal, which was definitely cool, and we got to take home crystal plates as a memento.  I was actually delighted about that, since a few of our small lunch plates got broken during our move!  Those crystal plates will definitely get used.  So will the pretty centerpiece as I celebrate birthday #44 tomorrow.

I was a little confused about the music.  There was a D.J. playing dance music, but then it seemed to morph into karaoke for a few numbers.  I actually would have enjoyed a karaoke party, since karaoke is one of my favorite pastimes.  I sing much better than I dance.  But I think they were only doing karaoke for a few pre-selected slow numbers.  The few singers were good, which is always a blessing at any party.  When the dance music came back on, a huge conga line formed.  I watched the conga line and briefly thought about joining it… but decided I’d rather watch.  I didn’t want to press my luck and faceplant or something.  Okay, I will admit that I did dance for about thirty seconds…  I didn’t fall down and didn’t throw up on the dance floor, so I call that a success!

As I was enjoying the festivities last night, it occurred to me how much I enjoy attending Army events.  There’s always a lot to see and it’s fun watching people have a good time.  There’s never a shortage of good people at Army balls.  People really let their hair down… well, as much as they can let their hair down, anyway.  I was even introduced to several new line dances (that I didn’t attempt myself), including one for “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle.  I happen to have family roots in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, so that song has a special meaning for me.  😉  There’s usually moonshine at my family’s parties, as well as dancing and live music.

The best part of the evening was getting to meet several people I only know from online.  I am very active on Facebook, so I’ve interacted with a lot of folks in the Stuttgart community via the Internet.  Several of them came up to me last night and asked, “Are you the ‘Overeducated Housewife’?”  That was too cool!  I also got to feel like a celebrity as I talked to several people I’ve never “met” online who read this blog and told me they enjoy it.  To those who do read, I want to offer my sincere thanks!  It really made my night last night to hear people tell me they like the blog.  I was even happier to hear that a few folks had tried and enjoyed some of the restaurants I’ve written about.

I write this blog mainly because it’s fun and gives me something constructive to do.  I don’t do it for fame or money, though that would certainly be an incentive to write more.  So, it’s really a treat when people tell me what I do is useful to them.  Being “overeducated”, childless, and unemployed sometimes makes me feel a little worthless.  Last night, I was reminded that every person has worth and one can never know how many people whose lives they touch every day.  Thanks to everyone who touched my life last night by making the evening so much fun.  And I want to offer a sincere thanks to everyone who reads my blogs.  I really do appreciate it.

Happy birthday, Army!  We really had a marvelous time celebrating with everyone last night!