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Big burgers…

I’m writing a quick post today because my husband is about to leave town for 18 days.  We just had sort of a “last supper”.  I sent him to see John at Spirit of New Orleans to get some takeout.  As much as I love John’s fried chicken, shrimp, and ribs, I really wanted to see if his burgers are up to snuff.  Pictured below are the two we ordered today.

This is a Giant Burger and it is, indeed, giant.  It comes with bacon, cheese, lettuce jalapenos, tomatoes, onions, and barbecue sauce, as well as a small side of delicious homestyle fries.

And this is the Cajun burger, which is almost as big.  It comes with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and barbecue sauce.  I’m not sure if it’s spice Cajun style or not.  I didn’t taste it.  Bill says it was very mild.

 

Both of these burgers were juicy and tasty, made with beef.  We had to cut them in half and will finish them later, because they were just too huge to eat in one sitting.  I, for one, was hungry when we started.  When we find German restaurants that have good burgers, I like to point them out.  I know how rare finding really good burgers can be in these parts.

Bill got me some ribs for after he leaves, too, sort of a consolation prize before I get back on the booze free wagon and eat whatever’s quick and easy and doesn’t make a mess.

These burgers are definitely not Whoppers, that’s for damn sure!  John says pretty soon, he’ll be grilling outside and they’ll have live music events.  He’s having a jazz breakfast on Sunday this week, but unfortunately, I won’t be making it to that.  Ah well.  Maybe next time.  Fattening soul food and good live music is a winning combination in my opinion.  What a treat it is to have him so close to us.  It’s almost like having another Tommi’s Bistro.

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Fischmarkt festing, wine tasting, and steak…

Yesterday, Bill and I were sitting around talking about how we wanted to spend our Saturday.  Although I’m almost totally over the sickness that sidelined me a couple of weeks ago, I still have an annoying lingering cough.  We were looking at visiting a mine near us that is recommended for people with asthma, which I supposedly have.  It turns out the mine isn’t open in July.

Then I realized that the Hamburger Fischmarkt will be over as of tonight.  I do love my fish, even if I don’t always love crowds.  The Hamburger Fischmarkt, which is held every year in cities all over Germany, is always pretty crowded, but there’s good food, music, and plenty of booze.  We headed to the Herrenberg train station, since we knew parking could be a challenge.  Stuttgart is also hosting the Jazz Open festival right now and there’s also a culture fest going on.

We parked at the Herrenberg station and I was immediately confronted by some very charming political statements painted on the walls.  Sometimes graffiti is interesting because it can be a commentary by the people.  Suffice to say, there are people out there who were not impressed by the G20 and let it be known all over the walls.  In the interest of keeping my blog post rated PG, I will not post the pictures here.  Maybe I’ll put them on my regular blog.

There was a large “hen party” that arrived at about the same time we did.  The large group of women had matching t-shirts and whistles, which they proceeded to blow several times before and during the ride to Stuttgart.  We were sitting near the front of the train and could hear them all the way in the back of the car.  They sounded like they were having a lot of fun, although maybe not as much fun as the hen party we ran into in Luxembourg back in 2012.  That party featured a woman wearing a rubber phallus on her nose, adult diapers, and an old lady’s dress.  There was also a guy wearing women’s lingerie and a sign that read “I love penis.” on his back.  That was funny, but what was funnier were the nuns who were in the same car and the Asian tourists who wanted a picture.  And the hen party revelers happily obliged.

Stuttgart was busy yesterday!

 

The Fischmarkt was also very busy.  As soon as we entered the market, we were almost swept away by a current of people walking around, checking out the food booths.  There were all kinds of fishy delights available, everything from smoked salmon to fried shrimp.

 

As you might expect, the focus is on eating and drinking.  We took a seat at a table and a waiter soon appeared to take our drink order.  We asked for a couple of Jever Pils.  Jever clearly invests a lot in this market.  If you want food, you have to get it yourself.  I sent Bill to find us something fried.

 

Meanwhile, I focused on the beer.  These .3 liter glasses were four euros each– actually three euros with a one euro “pfand”.  For those who don’t know, the “pfand” is money you pay to ensure that you bring back the dishes and glasses.  You get the euro back when you bring back the glass or plate.

 

I had to include at least one shot of my disinterested husband…  ūüėČ  

 

And he’s always a provider!  He found us some fish croquettes and shrimp.  Both came with super fresh bread and a delicious garlic sauce.  The shrimp were a hit with me.  I liked the fish too, although they brought back memories of eating fish sticks in the late 70s.

 

Bill enjoys the fish… and we listen to the hawkers selling fruit, wurst, and cheese…

 

I was tempted by the crepes.  They smelled delicious!

 

Pickles!

On the way out, we stopped by a stand selling wine.  We had a couple of glasses of champagne.  Then I realized we could walk a ways away from the market and taste some other wines.  We headed to the markthalle, where there is a wine bar called Der Weinhandlung Kreis.  

 

The wine bar is actually a tiny place, but they always have good music played on vinyl and tasty wines.  If you want, you can have a small snack.  We didn’t want.

 

He had red.  I had white.  And I also tried another glass of champagne, one I had not heard of before.

 

I got a kick out of the Guns n’ Roses t-shirts I saw yesterday… and the acid washed jeans!
 

After we stopped for wine, we needed a bathroom.  We had to walk through the culture fest to find one.


I love big signs that advertise WCs.

This festival actually looked pretty interesting.  They had food from different countries, live music, and lots of things to buy.  I think I might have enjoyed that more than the fish market.  With the Jazz Open also going on, Stuttgart was teeming with people!

On the way to the WC, we spotted a wine bar we had not seen before.  We briefly considered tasting more wine, but then looked at the time and realized our dogs were waiting for their dinner and a pee break.

But next time we’re in downtown Stuttgart, we will have to drop by.

More scenes from the summer culture festival, which ends today.  They had some really nice food booths there, including one with Cuban delicacies.

 

We got home from our festing at about 6:00pm, realizing we didn’t have much in the way of dinner fixings.  I got the bright idea to go to Tommi’s Bistro, since it had been awhile since our last visit.  We were the only ones there at about 7:00pm.  The sous chef was hanging out at the bar, playing on his computer.  Nevertheless, we both enjoyed our steaks and, by the time we left, there were two other couples dining.

I had my usual rib eye and wild potatoes.

Bill had a rump steak and pommes.  These were both the smaller cut at 200 grams.  Our waitress last night was awesome, as usual.  She did her best to upsell, although we were both a little too full.  It occurs to me I could use more roughage in my diet.

On the walk home, I noticed someone with a brand new American style two car garage.  I took a photo for posterity.

Tommi’s is going to be closing for the month of August, but is open for the rest of July and after September 1st.  All in all, we had a great time yesterday.  I do enjoy the fish market, although one visit a year is probably plenty for me.  Last year, we didn’t go to the fish market, but we did see Van Morrison during the Jazz Open.  Maybe next year, we’ll catch another show instead of eating fried shrimp (although they were delicious!).  It’s a real treat to live near a city where so much is going on and we don’t have to drive to get there.

Today, we’re hoping to visit a silver mine.  Stay tuned for the write up.

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Germany, restaurant reviews

Under new ownership… an old neighborhood favorite goes bust…

For the past couple of years, Bill and I have taken advantage of having a good Greek restaurant within walking distance of our house.  Taverne Bei Dimi was a great standby when we weren’t in the mood to cook.  Granted, we hadn’t visited in the past few months, although we did try recently, only to find the place closed.  We thought maybe Dimi had gone to Greece for Christmas or something.

Last night, we decided we’d try to go to Dimi’s for dinner.  We made the familiar short walk from our house.  As we approached, I noticed that the vibe of the place seemed off.  I could see there were lights on in what looked like a downstairs dining room.  Dimi never had those lights on.  The small parking lot was full of cars.  I could see a few people in the back area of the dining room, where Dimi had video gambling.  That part of the restaurant allowed smoking and Dimi usually had it closed off from the rest.

I noticed the front door wasn’t open the way it usually was and I could see a strange looking bald man in the kitchen.  Then, when we opened the door to the dining room, we were almost bowled over by heavy cigarette smoke, a TV, and bright lights.  I looked around and saw that there were different tables, a drink fridge, and all of Dimi’s art was gone.  I did notice that Dimi’s signs were still up.

The proprietor welcomed us to sit down, although he said there was no food available.  The proprietor was polite, but had the air of a eastern European Mafioso or something.  It was creepy.  They were only serving drinks.  I’m not sure, but it sounded like they were working on hiring someone to cook.  I won’t be back, though.  That place was just full of acrid smoke and appeared to be taken over by a bunch of compulsive, chain smoking gamblers.  I remembered they used to annoy Dimi, because they didn’t want to GTFO in a timely manner.

I don’t know what happened.  My guess is that Dimi wasn’t getting enough business in his location.  I also think it’s possible that he might have had some health problems.  I do remember many times seeing him looking flushed and diaphoretic as he cooked and served his customers.  Ah well.  After a week of exhausting political dramas, I was looking forward to ouzo.  Guess we’ll have to go somewhere else.

Bill and I ended up going to Tommi’s Bistro last night.  It had been awhile since our last visit there, too.  Unlike Dimi, it looked like Tommi might be thriving.  He changed his plates and it looked like maybe he had someone else cooking.  Most of the tables were reserved last night, too.  We ended up sitting at a very large table and were later joined by several Germans.  I was glad to see business booming for the best steak house in the area.

Bill is ready for beef.

I had a two hundred gram entrecote with wild potatoes and dip.  I don’t really like sour cream, but I have to admit the dip on those potatoes is awesome.  It’s got a little garlic in it.

Bill had a two hundred gram rump steak with pommes.

I noticed Tommi has personalized some of his tableware, too.  

 

Tommi’s Bistro is right next to a music club.  I love visiting Tommi’s when the club is rehearsing, like last night.

I snapped a photo as we were walking out.

 

It’s too bad Dimi’s appears to have gone the way of Burger Chef.  I hope he’s alright, but I take heart in knowing that sometimes these unexpected closures turn out okay.  Case in point.  When we lived here last time, the restaurant we now all know and love as The Auld Rogue was a Greek restaurant called Taverna Faros.  I had my very first dorade there.  Bill and I went several times when we were stuck living in the Vaihinger Hof for six weeks as we waited for our housing to be ready.

Sometime after we moved into our house, Taverna Faros went under.  One day, we decided we wanted to eat at Taverna Faros and discovered it had become City Club.  We were very sad about that, especially since City Club looked rather sleazy.

Now, of course, City Club is no longer and we have the wonderful Auld Rogue to go to for good food, fine whisky, Irish suds, sports, and live music!  Although I doubt my neighborhood haunt will turn into anything as awesome as The Auld Rogue, hope springs eternal.  And, if we don’t end up being thrown out of Europe due to our new president’s antics, maybe someday we’ll get to enjoy it.

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Good beef! Seven places to get good steaks in and around Stuttgart!

Now that we’ve finally been to a Block House location, it’s time to write about my favorite steak joints in and around Stuttgart.  I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time.  Bill and I are fans of good beef, even though we’d probably be better off avoiding it!  Unfortunately, good beef is not something Germany is well known for having in abundance.  When we lived here the first time, from 07-09, we pretty much gave up on beef.  This time, we’ve sought out good steaks, mainly because our town happens to have a really good, and very reasonably priced, steakhouse.

Here’s my list of favorites, so far.  This post will also include a quick and dirty rundown of my overall impressions.  I know there are probably more places to get good steak in Stuttgart and its environs, but in the interest of keeping the length of this post reasonable, I’m starting with this list of seven.

Abacco Steakhouse

Abacco Steakhouse is an interesting restaurant located in downtown Stuttgart.  The concept basically involves having customers cook their own steaks.  They bring out the steak cooked to rare on a hot stone.  Then you continue to cook it to your desired level of doneness.  We had a good experience at this restaurant, although I’m not too hot on the idea of having to cook for myself when I’ve gone out to eat.  They do bring out several sauces to go with the steak, which I like.  Service was also good and the concept is unique.

Steak at Abacco Steakhouse.  

 

Ampulle

A very cool gin bar that specializes in steak.  We enjoyed a nice meal there in July of this year.  My only complaint about Ampulle is that people smoke cigars in their bar area and it can get rather smokey for non smokers.  Also, keep in mind that first courses at Ampulle are very ample!  If you want more than one course, I recommend pacing yourself.  I also recommend taking the train and walking to the restaurant because parking could be a challenge.

Ampulle is a great place for those who like beef and gin.

Maredo

Very reasonably priced chain restaurant with two locations in Stuttgart.  Has a little something for everyone, as well as surprisingly good steaks.  Besides having something for everyone, this restaurant runs all day.  It’s a good bet for when you don’t want to spend a whole lot of money.

Bill and I were able to enjoy a nice lunch at Maredo for about 44 euros.

Block House

Another chain restaurant with two locations in Stuttgart.  The Block House specializes in beef and, unlike Maredo, seems to focus only on meat dishes.  It was a bit more expensive than Maredo, but the food quality and service were very good.  I think it would appeal a lot to Americans, too.  It kind of has that American vibe to it!  There’s a wide variety of cuts to choose from and you get salad and sides included.  Fair warning to mushroom haters like me.  The salad that comes with the steaks has them included.  Next time, I’m telling them “Ohne Pilze!”

Steak at Block House.

[M]eatery

[M]eatery is another popular steak place in downtown Stuttgart.  It’s a little more upscale than the restaurants I’ve listed so far, although it, too, is a chain location.  You can drop a lot of cash at [M]eatery and, frankly, I was a little puzzled by the service we got there.  The food quality is good, though, and I hear their burgers are fantastic.  Be prepared to pay for everything pretty much a la carte, although I see that I did really enjoy the sides (that we paid extra for).

[M]eatery’s rib eye.

Christophorus

I debated whether or not to make Christophorus number one on this list.  I think this restaurant at the Porsche museum in Zuffenhausen probably offers the best steak in the area.  However, I put it in second place because reservations are a must and you will spend a whole lot of money there.  If you have a need to impress someone or want to celebrate, Christophorus is a very good bet for outstanding beef.  All meat at Christophorus is USDA prime– that is, from the United States.  The service is impeccable, too.  But bring lots of cash and be prepared to book well ahead.  We spent well over 200 euros for our dinner for two.  Fortunately, the steak was well worth it.  Other options are available for those who don’t want steak.

Fantastic steak at Christophorus.  Excellent service, too.

Tommi’s Bistro (now closed, but the owner has opened a new place in Nagold called Bahnhof 1872)

So far, my favorite steak joint in the Stuttgart area is Tommi’s Bistro.  It’s located in my town of Unterjettingen, which makes it inconvenient for a lot of people.  I still like it because the food is very good and extremely reasonably priced.  An added bonus to Tommi’s Bistro, besides the fact that we can walk to it, is that they offer a lot of live music events.  On the second Thursday of every month, they host a live jam featuring a band from Calw and anyone who wants to join them.  I have been known to jam with them myself a few times.  We went to Tommi’s last night for the jam.  I didn’t join them on stage, but we did have a couple of great steaks and enjoyed some fabulous music.  And… for all of that fun, we got out of Tommi’s for a mere 50 euros (including a generous tip, which really excited our waitress)!

The one drawback to Tommi’s is that the restaurant is pretty much only open on the weekends now and sometimes closes for private events.  If you do plan a visit to Jettingen to try Tommi’s Bistro, be sure to consult the official Web site to make sure it’s open.  As of right now, the restaurant is closed Monday through Wednesday, but that sometimes changes.  It’s also only open for dinner– lunch is not served there.  Some Saturday nights, they host concerts that cost extra.  If you choose to come out for one of the shows, I recommend making a reservation.

My rib eye last night.  Looks like Tommi has changed up his style a bit.  Side dishes cost extra, but they are also reasonably priced.  Service is good and they give you a house shot of sherry, too.

Bill had a rump steak.  You can get either Irish or Argentinian beef.  One mark against Tommi’s is that they don’t offer a whole lot of choices that don’t involve beef.  Also, there are no burgers at Tommi’s.  But if you like a good steak at a reasonable price, it’s a good bet.  They also have a children’s menu.

A photo of the jammers…

And a sample of last night’s music.  Good stuff!  This, by the way, is a free event, though tipping is encouraged.  Reservations are also a good idea if you’re coming to one of the musical events.

 

So there you have it.  These are my picks so far for great steaks in and around Stuttgart.  May your next steak dinner in or around Stuttgart be stellar!

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A quiet weekend…

Well, actually, it wasn’t that quiet. ¬†Instead of doing our usual restaurant exploration, we had a couple of people over last night. ¬†Then we went to Tommi’s Bistro for dinner.

Since we basically ate what we always do when we go to Tommi’s, I decided not to take any photos. ¬†But I did get a hug from Danni, our favorite waitress, who wondered why we didn’t come to the jam session last week. ¬†Maybe next month we’ll make an appearance.

Today, I sat on my can and watched Army Wives all day. ¬†It’s pretty bad TV, but I got hooked on it when it first aired. ¬†Bill was deployed at the time and it kind of helped me get through those last months. ¬†Army Wives eventually got to be unwatchable, but I will say the last episode was pretty decent. ¬†I was almost sorry that the show ended.

Anyway, next weekend, we’re leaving town. ¬†I will be bringing my computer, so there will be blogging. ¬†Should be a fun read because we’re hitting Austria, Italy, and Slovenia. ¬†This will be our first trip to Slovenia. ¬†I’m really looking forward to it.

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Last week I sampled vegan food…

Last night, we went to Tommi’s Bistro for dinner.  After eating vegan delights at Reiskorn last week, I guess we decided it was time for red meat.  Because I also had lunch with a friend yesterday and used up some cash, we also had to stop by the ATM.  While we were there, I noticed a big sign on the wall…

Check out that guy’s teeth!

 

The teeth were the first thing I noticed when I saw that sign.  There was a TV monitor that was flashing announcements and I saw another photo of a different guy with jacked up teeth.  Now, I know it’s not uncommon for people to have crooked teeth and maybe Germans aren’t as into orthodontia as Americans are.  I just thought it was funny this guy’s photo was left au naturale.  In the United States, I’m sure Photoshop would be used to fix those choppers.

We basically had our usual Tommi’s repast last night, except Bill decided to order the 300 gram Irish dry-aged Hereford beef they were selling last night.

A very nice entrecote steak.  Irish beef is a little different than Argentinian beef.  They even gave Bill ketchup for his pommes last night.  That was a first.

My ordinary 200 gram entrecote.   I had my usual wild potatoes that I couldn’t finish…  And we had lots of red wine.

A party brought in their adorable little dog, who was peeking out from behind her owner’s jacket.  I couldn’t resist taking a photo.  I wish my dogs were as well behaved in public places.

We had a nice time.  Today, we’re going to a BBQ hosted by our fellow Americans.  I may or may not have anything interesting to post about it.  But I am bringing a Guinness cake to share with my friends.  It should be fun.

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Food, fun, and fascism in Germany…

Last night, Bill and I decided to have dinner at Tommi’s Bistro. ¬†As usual, the food did not disappoint. ¬†Bill and I had our usual lecker entrecote steaks from Argentina, lots of wine, and potatoes. ¬†Here’s a photo.

I paired this with my usual favorite Wildekartoffeln… ¬†Next Thursday is the next live jam!

 

After a very leisurely morning, we decided to go to¬†T√ľbingen. ¬†I wanted to visit Vinum¬†for some wine. ¬†Vinum closes at 4:00 on Saturdays, so we needed to hurry. ¬†But we did have enough time for a quick lunch at Die Kelter, which is a favorite restaurant on the way into town. ¬†We got there a little bit after 2:00, so we were limited to their “small” menu.

Bill checks out the menu.

We both had Baisinger hefeweizens…

 

I flipped a coin because I couldn’t decide between wurst or cheese spatzle. ¬†The wurst won…

Nice beer snack.

Bill had the Kelter Burger, which is basically a pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw and wild potatoes with sour cream and chive dip.  Those potatoes are the bomb!  Bill had had the burger last time we visited and it was just as good this time as it was last time.  I probably should have gone with the spatzle, though the wurst and pretzel were good, too.

 

We stopped into Vinum, tried a few wines that were being highlighted, and ended up coming home with five bottles and a refill of our syrah, which we get from a tap at the back of the store. ¬†I was glad to get there well before 4:00. ¬†Afterwards, we headed to the Neckarmueller, where Bill had one beer and I had two…

A nice Fischer Kellerbier…

Bill had another hefeweizen.

Impressive brewing equipment.

Then I tried a Saphir Fest beer.  This only came in a small size, which was fine with me.  It had notes of orange and cardamom.

A few photos of the Neckar River while I waited for Bill to make a pit stop.

We decided to walk back to the garage via the wooded park area opposite the Neckarmueller. ¬†As we approached the steps to get to the tunnel that leads back to the garage, we ran into what appeared to be three Muslim females. ¬†They heard me speak English to Bill and the two older ones seemed to look at us with hostile disdain. ¬†I simply stared back at them as we made our way to the tunnel, which makes for a convenient shortcut back to the parking garage. ¬†We were talking about the unspoken exchange as we walked through. ¬†Then I noticed some of the graffiti and stickers on the walls…

I must say, my German is starting to come along a bit…

Then I noticed this business, which I would guess is run by Armenians. ¬†The clue? ¬†The last name. ¬†Most Armenian names end with ian or yan. ¬†Also, note the colors under the name Takesian. ¬†They are the same as the Armenian flag. ¬†I could be wrong, though. ¬†I didn’t see any other clues but those.

 

We gave some thought to going to eat tonight, but I decided I’d rather get into my nightgown and watch The Brady Bunch on DVD. ¬†I’m thinking about booking us a table in Stuttgart after our dental appointment on Monday. ¬†Stay tuned for another restaurant review soon.

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Marching into spring at Tommi’s Bistro!

Last night Bill and I went to Tommi’s Bistro for their monthly live jam.  We hadn’t been planning to go until we visited them last Friday and caught the concert they hosted.  Our favorite waitress, Dani, was there and encouraged us to come see her last night.  We made a late reservation and showed up at about 7:00pm, once again crashing a table with a couple of Germans.   They turned out to be colleagues.  One of them brought a bass guitar with him.

As we were getting acquainted, more people showed up.  Last night’s jam session was very well attended.  By 8:00, the place was packed.  I had my usual steak, though they brought me a bigger one than I ordered.  It was delicious, though it took effort to finish it.  Bill had one of their humongous salads with bits of steak in it.  The uniform jacket he’s been trying to fit into now fits again, but he’s trying to maintain it until our Scottish cruise is over.

Bill’s huge steak salad.  It was very good, though one of our German companions made a sarcastic crack about how “healthy” it was.

 

The usual band leader, Vitek Spacek, was there, as well as his usual bandmates.  They got things started with a couple of tunes, then invited a band called Bullshit to the stage.  They played four numbers I didn’t necessarily recognize.  They reminded me a bit of AC/DC and were pretty impressive.  I liked them just for their name!

The band starts to warm up.

Bullshit takes the stage.

More jamming.

This guy did a fine rendition of “Dust In The Wind”.

The guy playing bass guitar was sitting with us last night.  He was pretty good!

 

I caught a very short clip of their performance…  Next time, I’ll get more.

Despite Bill’s exhaustion, we stayed until the bitter end.  I even took the stage myself!  I sang “Summertime”, a song I used to sing all the time, but quit doing because the words are forever burned on my brain.  I was reminded to do it again the other day when a former colleague from my days as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia reminded me that I used to sing “Summertime” a lot back then.  Since so many of us are sick of German winter weather, I figured I’d do a “rain dance”.  It went off without a hitch!  We have sun this morning, so maybe it worked and we’ll be done with the snow until next year.  Edited to add…  I wrote too soon.  The clouds are back!

http://www.singsnap.com/karaoke/e/b87a1ef77

This isn’t “Summertime”, but it’s kind of the sound we went for last night.

On March 19th, Tommi’s is hosting a Scottish folk band called Tweed.  If we weren’t going to be in Scotland that day, we would definitely be attending.   All of the music we’ve heard at Tommi’s has been pretty good and I’m sure Tweed will put on a great show!

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Unexpected fun!

The best kind of fun is the fun you never expected to have.  Last night, Bill and I decided to go to Tommi’s Bistro for dinner.  Although I usually keep track of events there by checking their Web site, I failed to do that last night.  They usually have events on Thursdays and Saturdays, so I was expecting our usual quiet dinner.  When we arrived, our favorite waitress, Dani, was there.  She smiled in delight when she saw us and gave me a big hug!  I wasn’t expecting such a warm reception, but I definitely appreciated it.  She made us feel very welcome.

I looked around and noticed all the reserved signs on the tables.  On the stage were Vitek Spacek, the guy who leads the jam sessions every second Thursday of the month, and his brilliant keyboard player, whose name escapes me right now.  There was also a bald guy I’d never seen before.  Turns out, he was the headliner, David Hanselmann.  At first, I thought he was American.  I heard him speaking English like a native.  Edited to add, I have just learned that David Hanselmann is German-American, hence his very native grasp of both German and English.  I have also heard that Mr. Hanselmann has been suffering from cancer and wasn’t able to perform last year.  I never would have guessed after seeing him perform last night.  He put on a great show and we really enjoyed it.

We asked Dani if there was room for us, even though we hadn’t reserved.  She said there was.  She put us at a four top that had been reserved for two people.  I felt a little bad about it, even though I know it’s not uncommon for Germans to share tables even if they aren’t actually together.

Anyway, Bill and I had our usual delicious entrcote steaks, though he had his with a small side salad.  He’s trying to watch his weight so he can get into his dress blues when we go on our cruise.  I had my usual addictive wild potatoes.  We shared a bottle of wine and were pretty much done eating before the show started.  Although we could have left, we decided to stick around and were soon joined by the Germans who had thought to reserve.  We paid 15 euros per person and though we didn’t stay until the very end of the show, it was well worth the price of admission.

The couple we sat with came from Calw to see the show.  The male half spoke very good English.  His wife seemed somewhat less fluent.  Both of them were friendly and welcoming and we enjoyed an interesting conversation with them as we listened to David Hanselmann’s musical stylings.  He sang a lot of great songs from the 70s and 80s as he played an electronic drum.  The crowd really got into it when he sang “Easy” by the Commodores.  Toward the end of the evening, a couple of intrepid ladies got up and danced!

I didn’t have the best view of the stage…

The music still sounded great!

 

We’re going to have to make a habit of attending more of the shows at Tommi’s.  It’s such a treat to live in a town with a venue that offers great steak, friendly service, and fabulous music.  Dani reminded us that there’s a live jam session on Thursday.  She will be working and said she hopes we can make it.  Even Bill, who is chronically tired during the work week, says he’s game!  That might be just the thing to get us in the mood before our next trip begins on March 14th.

I see they are having Scottish folk music on the 19th.  I think we’d attend if we weren’t already going to be in Scotland!

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Christophorus… when you have a need to impress or celebrate…

Tonight’s sunset…  It was a stunner.

When we lived in Stuttgart the first time, I kept thinking we’d visit the Porsche Museum, but we never did.  We made it to the Mercedes Museum, but ran out of time before we could venture in the opposite direction and check out the fancy sportscars.  Some time ago, a member of the Facebook group Stuttgart Vents told me that I needed to try Christophorus, the restaurant at the Porsche Museum.  Since I’m more into good food than fancy cars, I decided to make a reservation.  I did so on OpenTable.de… several weeks in advance.  I reserved in early November and tonight was the first available date.

Well… now Bill and I have experienced Christophorus.  We have heard that it has the best steak in the area.  I must agree, the steaks there are fabulous.  In fact, I think my tastebuds all experienced simultaneous orgasms as I enjoyed my first taste.  It is quite a lovely place for dinner, especially if you’re in the mood to commemorate a special occasion.

As it turns out, Bill and I do have cause to celebrate.  Tomorrow morning, he will send off his last assignment for his second master’s degree.  Very soon, he will be as “educated” as I am… though since he will actually use his education, I would not call him “overeducated”.  For the past several weeks, we have both endured him having to get up in the middle of the night for conference calls with his classmates in Colorado.  For the past three years, his coursework, while mostly very flexible and portable, has occasionally cramped our style.

I am the one who convinced Bill to go ahead and get that second master’s degree, since it meant just a year in school and someone should be using the Post 9/11 Bill (and I sure as hell don’t want to go back to school).  It’s been a challenging year for both of us.  Now he’s done… and he’s coming very close to graduating with honors in a program that definitely wasn’t easy.  So we splurged tonight at Christophorus and it was worth every euro cent.  Special thanks to Rick, who has mercilessly teased me about being “overeducated”, but tipped me off to this very nice restaurant.  It was truly a first class experience, from the minute we drove into the parking garage until we said goodbye to our servers a couple of hours later.

We parked our car in the garage, in a special area for restaurant guests.  Bring your parking ticket with you.  It will be validated so you don’t have to pay.  Several Porsches are in the garage, available for a test drive.

The door opens for you as you walk to the elevator, which takes you to the restaurant and the conference facility.

We were warmly greeted by a server, who took our coats and led us to a very spacious and comfortable table near the impressive wine collection.  Within minutes of being seated, a very pleasant server came by with a cart loaded with all manner of apertifs.  I had a glass of pink champagne, while Bill had a glass of white champagne.  We sipped our bubbly as we perused the menu, entirely printed in English.  The servers also spoke flawless English and were extremely attentive.

Prost…

I thought the Porsche model car was a nice touch.

A cart full of liqueurs and other delights… and the very impressive wine collection.  On the other side of the dining room, one can watch the chefs at work.  Personally, I liked sitting near the wine, but I’m not known for my sobriety.

After we made our selection of courses, we sat back and looked around.  Having once waited tables myself, I could really appreciate how unhurried and professional the staff was.  They had plenty of people working and nobody looked bitter or weeded.  In fact, it appeared to be a very nice place to work.  The servers were genuinely nice to us, which I found very refreshing (though not that uncommon in Europe, where no one has to hustle for tips in order to make a living).

Lovely fresh bread.  We had salted butter, an olive tapenade, and a cottage cheese and tomato spread. I didn’t try the cheese and tomato spread.  Bill did and liked it.  The breads were mostly good, though the flatbread was a little burned on the bottom.  No big deal, really.  Who needs to fill up on bread?

An amuse.  I must confess, I didn’t really eat this.  I did taste it… but as it was goose liver pate served on red cabbage, I couldn’t quite stomach it.  I will say that as much as I dislike the taste of liver, this had a very interesting flavor.  In fact, in many ways, it reminded me of a chocolate truffle with a little cinnamon kick.  It didn’t really taste like goose liver… Bill ate his and enjoyed it.

Brave man.

 

Tonight, they were offering a pasta dish with a generous topping of truffles.  I don’t do truffles or anything else akin to mushrooms.  Bill loves truffles, but at 39 euros a pop, it was a bit much for a starter.  We were told it could also be a main course.  Perhaps if we hadn’t heard so much about the steak, Bill would have ordered it.  The people at the table next to us had one order of it and we could smell it easily from several feet away.  Bill was intoxicated by the aroma.  I wish I liked truffles.  On the other hand, the fact that I don’t is probably better for our budget.

I had the Essence of Parsley with Shrimp Dumplings…   I paired this with a suggested glass of white wine from Baden that smelled of pears and tasted of butter.  I asked the name of the wine and was told what it was, but I couldn’t spell it to save my life.  It went very well with the shrimp dumplings. 

And Bill had a beautiful Caesar Salad.  Really, it looked like art and was very delicious.  I liked my starter, too.

Before we ordered our steaks, our server brought out a display that showed the sizes and cuts of each piece of meat.  Christophorus offers an “original size” and a “lady’s cut”.  I decided to get the lady’s cut, which was 250 grams.  Bill had the original cut…  He had a strip and I had a rib eye.  The beef at Christophorus is USDA Prime beef.  It’s from the United States.

My rib eye… it was fantastic.  It was cooked perfectly and was beautifully seasoned.  Rick was right.  It was a marvelous steak.

I ordered a side of hash browns for an extra five euros.  The steaks also came with baked onion rings and homemade steak sauces.

Onion rings and sauces.  Bill’s strip was 350 grams.  It was cooked perfectly to medium and tasted amazing.  Bill ordered a reserve bottle of rioja that was just delightful with its essence of leather and fragrant nose.

 

Throughout dinner, our servers took impeccable care of us and kept our table spotless.  They were unfailingly polite and we never had to pour our own wine or water.

Dessert.  I went with the martini cocktail of passion fruit and saffron.  I don’t think this had booze in it… It was basically sorbet with passion fruit juice and a chocolate garnish served in a martini glass.

Bill had Mandarin and chocolate cake with hazelnut gratinee.  The hazelnut tasted like it was infused in a snow cone.  He loved it.  

 

Finally, about two hours after we first sat down, it came time for the check.  They brought out some candies/cookies to soften the blow.  And we had a round of espresso…

The damage.  About 233 euros before the tip.  By comparison, last night at Tommi’s Bistro, we spent 77 euros for two steaks, two sides, two shots of sherry, two bottles of wine, and two bottles of water… along with live music.

A fabulous bottle of Spanish wine from 2005.

More Porsche pics.

Maybe we’ll test drive one someday.

 

As we were getting our coats, the lady who took care of us the most asked if we lived here.  I guess she was impressed by Bill’s German and the fact that we had a clue about how to eat out in Germany and not look completely American.  Bill was modestly telling her his German isn’t so good… but I piped up that it’s still way better than mine!  I’m working on it, though.  Thank you, Duolingo.

The Porsche complex is very impressive… even at night!

Rick wanted to know how I would compare Tommi’s Bistro and Christophorus.  Here’s what I have to say about it.  If you’re looking for a special place, want to impress someone, and don’t mind dropping a load of euros, Christophorus is tough to beat.  The food and service are truly outstanding and, I thought the prices weren’t that out of line for what we got.  It’s not the most expensive meal we’ve ever had, but it probably ranks among one of the best.  Moreover, it’s more my kind of food than Five is– Five is a little too artsy for me, though Bill loved it.  By the way… if you don’t like steak, other options are available.  Christophorus also has Mediterranean dishes and tasting menus.

If you’re looking for a family friendly place to eat that has good live music and doesn’t cost a bundle, Tommi’s Bistro is a good bet.  It is, of course, in Jettingen and right now the hours are limited.  Tommi’s is very casual and reasonably priced.  The service is good, but it’s not impeccable like it is at Christophorus.

So yeah… both places are excellent in different ways.  Christophorus is where you go to celebrate or impress someone.  Tommi’s is where you go when you feel carnivorous, especially if you want to hear live music (when it’s being offered).  And I would rank both over [M]eatery, which is good, but not that good… and not that much less expensive than Christophorus, either.

We really had a wonderful time at Christophorus.  We left feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.  It was an expensive meal, but we felt it was worth what we paid.  I think we will be back, but maybe not for a few months.

We will soon leave for Austria, with a final destination of Vicenza, Italy.  I plan to be blogging up a storm during our trip.  I’m proud to say, my travel blog will be about travel again, at least temporarily.

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