He’s back in town!

Last night, as I was about to go to bed, I found Bill’s flight on Dulles Airport’s Web site.  When I discovered his flight, he was somewhere over Kansas City.  I watched the flight until it landed at Dulles, then went to sleep.  When I woke up this morning, I found his departing flight to Frankfurt.  At about 5:00am local time, he was just off the coast of Ireland.  His plane was scheduled to land by 8:05am, but he got in about a half hour early.

He was at home by 8:30am, which was a nice improvement over our Stuttgart days.  When we were living near Stuttgart, it took about an hour to get to and from the airport.  We now live about 20 minutes from the Frankfurt Airport.  Not only did his bags not get lost, but he was able to get off the plane and come home, rather than connect in Frankfurt and fly to Stuttgart.

Needless to say, the dogs were delighted to see Bill!

Zane was actually the first to meet Bill at the door, but when we sat down to coffee, Arran had to get some snuggle time.  He came over and nudged his head under Bill’s arm for a hug.  I definitely wasn’t the only one missing Bill this week.


There wasn’t a lot of food left in the house, so we decided to have lunch at Little Italy.  It was our third visit there and I booked the reservation through OpenTable.de.  Our reservation was for 12:30pm, but we were a little early.  The friendly proprietor didn’t mind.  We were the first ones in the restaurant, but it was only a few minutes before the place started to fill up.  We proceeded to have a sumptuous 120 euro lunch that lasted about 90 minutes…

I started with a glass of prosecco… first alcohol in over a week.  I probably should have stuck with the bubbly, as this was very nice.


Then, the friendly proprietor sold me on the special appetizer he was selling.  He said it was the last one.  Basically, it was fresh ravioli stuffed with cheese, pistachio nuts, and lime.  It was delicious!

Bill went with the burrata, which is a northern Italian speciality.  Cherry tomatoes, sweet onions, balsamic vinegar, and very fresh, mild, “buttery” cheese…  I don’t even like cold cheese, but I will definitely eat burrata, which is the Italian word for butter.  That’s pretty much what it’s like.


I had a salmon filet with a side of pureed celery and a ginger butter slathered on top…  I paired it with a peachy white wine.  My guess is that it was pinot grigio, although I’m not certain.  

And Bill had the “Wolfbarsch”, aka sea bass.  The sea bass in Germany isn’t like the sea bass I’ve had in the States.  It’s not quite as decadent.  But his fish went beautifully with pureed aubergines and fresh peppers.


Finally, we had dessert.  I had a “colonel”, which was lime sorbet served with a bit of Absolut Vodka infused with lemons.  If I’d wanted to, I could have have mango or cassis sorbet.  The proprietor brought out the chilled bottle of vodka and poured it over the scoop of refreshing sorbet.  It was a bit cold outside for this, but I wanted to try a dessert I hadn’t yet had at Little Italy.  Bill had the best panna cotta ever.  The first time I had panna cotta, it was rich and creamy.  Every other time, it was like milky jello… firm and not creamy.  At Little Italy, the panna cotta was like it was the first time I ever had it… rich, creamy, buttery, and delicious.  Next time, if there isn’t an enticing special, I’m having that.  It came with Johannesbeer (red currant) puree and mangoes.

I finished up with a double espresso.


After lunch, we went to the commissary to get something for dinner tonight.  We were in and out of there quickly.

I usually like to try different places whenever I can, but Bill is understandably tired from his long journey and we have yet to be disappointed at Little Italy.  I think it’s going to become one of our go to local restaurants.  The food and service are always excellent, and like we did the first time we went there, we even chatted with a single lady sitting by herself.  She was intrigued by the burrata.


Hopefully, that will be the end of Bill’s TDY trips for awhile… or, at least I hope I can go with him on the next one.  I hate sitting at home alone all week.  I will admit, he was a sight for sore eyes.  And now that he’s back, he’ll probably want to rest his…


A live jam session at Tommi’s Bistro!

Yesterday, after several days of eating Hello Fresh meals, I was craving a good steak in the worst way.  We happen to live within walking distance of Tommi’s Bistro, an excellent steak restaurant.  Although Bill had been planning to cook this week’s chicken dish from Hello Fresh, I was all about going out.  It wasn’t too hard to convince Bill to change his plans since he’d been sitting in 90 minutes of traffic and was in no mood to cook anyway.

Obligatory shot of Bill…

Last night was Thursday, so I had a feeling there could be live music at Tommi’s, though nothing was posted on their Web site.  We usually go there on Fridays, when nothing is going on.  Since I am also a music lover, I was pretty curious about how good the music is at Tommi’s.

When we arrived at about 7:00, most of the tables were reserved.  There were two very large tables that weren’t spoken for, so Bill and I took spots by the window.  I looked up at a sign and saw that yes, there would be live music later.  Knowing that Bill had to go to work today, I figured we’d just eat and stick around to hear a couple of songs.  Sometimes, I’m so dumb.

We ordered a bottle of wine and two dry aged Argentinian rib-eyes with baked potatoes, which came with house shots of sherry.  I will reiterate that despite being in little Unterjettingen, Tommi’s offers excellent steaks.  In fact, I think they are among the best I’ve had in Germany.


Early numbers.

As the hour got closer to 8:00, people started showing up to claim their reserved spots.  Musicians started setting up.  It looked like a very casual set up.  The band members appeared to be laid back older guys with day jobs.  No one wore sequins or leather pants.

We finished our dinner just before the music started.  A young girl of about fifteen or sixteen with an acoustic guitar, apparently a student at a nearby music school, joined the band and played a very impressive version of “Dust In The Wind” by Kansas.  Then they played “Tears in Heaven”.

I noticed a couple of other folks showing up who appeared to be musicians.  One was a young guy with a Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt and an electric guitar.  Another guy had a harmonica.  And there was a young woman wearing a hat and I could tell she was the resident singer.  One of the waitresses on a previous visit had mentioned her.

Bill and I were eventually joined at our large table by a couple of older German guys and the wife or girlfriend of one of them.  I noticed she kept sneaking looks at us.  I couldn’t tell if she was curious or annoyed, since we obviously weren’t part of what is a local and very enthusiastic crowd.

The Lynyrd Skynyrd guy got up and played “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama” with the band.  They did a damn good job with the music, though I noticed that none of them really knew the words to the songs.  “Sweet Home Alabama” was a little truer to form, though of course they really shined on the jamming part of “Free Bird”.  Then they played a ZZ Top song that I didn’t recognize.

Watching the band play suddenly reminded me of the last time we went to a fest and the band kept playing “So Lonely” by The Police and no one knew the words.  They kept sing the chorus over and over again.  Most everyone was either high on life or beer, so it was very much a happy celebration of music.  That, along with the sight of 19 year old drunk guys with bras on their heads is an enduring memory from the Canstatter Fest of 2007.  After that, my brain was riddled with two mas krugs of fine German suds and things get a little fuzzy.

Lynyrd Skynyrd guy was tearing it up!

On the way back from the bathroom, I stopped to tell the young girl with the guitar how much I had enjoyed her playing.  I had to do it in English, though I did add a couple of German words to emphasize my point.  She totally beamed at me.  It was really adorable.  I have a feeling pretty soon she’ll be getting a lot more kudos from strange people like me.  She was very good.

As it got closer to 10:00, Bill and I decided we needed to get going.  After we paid the check, we  made another pit stop.  The acoustic guitar girl was getting ready to leave and we said “Tschuss”.

Then I saw the guy with the harmonica standing in the foyer with all the smokers.  He was also very skilled, so I complimented him on his playing.  We struck up a conversation and I told him that I like singing.  He suddenly got very excited and asked me what songs I know.  I mentioned a couple that he didn’t seem familiar with.  Next thing I knew, he was working very hard to get me on the stage.  I gave thought to making a run for it, but then the resident singer got up and sang blistering renditions of “I Put A Spell On You” by CCR and “Long Train Runnin'” by the Doobie Brothers.  She was very impressive!

The time inched closer to 11:00 and I thought maybe we’d have to come back again sometime.  I was telling harmonica guy that we also needed to go after he told us that the bass player was going to have to go home because he had to work today.  “So does Bill!” I called after him after he ran off to see if he could squeeze me in somehow.  I was amazed by how eager this guy was to get me in front of the people.

Then the band broke into “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix (though their version sounded more like Sting’s, luckily for me).  I sort of know that song from listening to Sting’s version for years.  I was also a little drunk and certainly not prepared to join the band.  Nevertheless, harmonica guy, name of Gunter, hustled me toward the stage– I mean, he literally pushed me up there.  So I gave “Little Wing” the old college try… and I remembered maybe half the words.  Finally, during the last verse, I ad-libbed new lyrics, which turned out surprisingly well…

They went something like this, though my memory is a little hazy:

I’ve forgotten half this song…
I’ve been drinking so much, I need to go home.
It’s alright, it’s alright, I know.  You’re all good sports.
All I need to do tonight is refresh my memory.

I’m an American in Germany!
I’m so glad I’m here
Cuz’ I do love your beer!
It’s alright, it’s alright I say… 
All I need to do is learn some songs.

I got quite the warm reception and the new lyrics totally worked.  Most everyone seemed to understand that I was pulling the words out of my ass.  To be quite honest, I get a huge rush when I get to sing with live musicians!  I shook hands with the band and wished everyone a good night (in German, no less), then after I congratulated the resident singer with the powerhouse pipes (and she returned the sentiment), we hit the road.  Music is definitely an international language, though everything they did at Tommi’s last night was in English, anyway!

Needless to say, Bill and I had a great time.  I can’t believe the luck we have, living in a town within walking distance that offers open mic nights.  We’ll definitely be back, if only just to watch and listen!  On Saturday nights, they have live bands that come in.

Damn, Germany is fun!