Strasbourg’s annual wine extravaganza! Part three

From the historic wine cave, it was a short walk to Taverne des Serruriers/La Schloss Brasserie. I didn’t stop there for any particular reason, other than I was in the mood for a beer or three. I hadn’t heard anything special about the place. We had a good time anyway, though, because the barmaid was friendly and they played really good music. They had a nice selection of beers in bottles and a few on draft, as well as the expected wines and liquors. We started off with a couple of the daily special– a Meteor Hefeweizen. Meteor is a French beer, and they do okay with their suds.

This bar offers beers on draft in different sizes. They have small beers, large beers, and liters. We went the large, half liter sizes, as we people watched and listened to the classic rock played. I had a good time Shazaming, using an app that identifies the cool or horrible stuff you hear in public. If I’m honest, Shazam kind of sucks sometimes because it doesn’t always recognize songs, but it was doing fine at our watering hole. I noticed the bar offered some snacks… pretzels and the like. They probably had other stuff, too, but I didn’t see it in the menu. The restrooms were typical of a bar. Not the cleanest, but not a horror show, either. We stayed for a couple of happy hours, people watching and drinking suds. After our first French brews, we moved on to some bottled Belgian suds.

After our beer stop, we decided to walk around Strasbourg and search for dinner. As I mentioned before, I didn’t have particularly high hopes for dinner. Given that it was a Friday night too, I had a feeling our dinner would probably be rather ordinary… and it was. But we did enjoy a nice evening walk around Strasbourg. I was enjoying how vibrant the city is and kicking myself for not visiting sooner. Strasbourg is so close– that’s probably why we never went there before, aside from a lunch stop back in 2008, where I ended up drinking a half liter of wine by myself. But it’s definitely a great place to visit!

Our Valentine’s dinner was at Winstub Meiselocker, a rather touristy looking establishment not far from the cathedral. We didn’t go in there for any reason other than it was getting late for us and we figured most of the other restaurants would be booked. We were seated at a rather cramped table right next to a young couple who didn’t look so pleased to have us sitting next to them.

I think they had a special Valentine’s Day dinner offered, but we didn’t go for it, since the mood in there wasn’t particularly romantic. The place wasn’t totally jam packed when we first arrived, so our food and wine arrived in a reasonable amount of time. What we had wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t particularly special, either. The wait staff worked very hard, especially the guy who appeared to be the head waiter. He was put through his paces for sure! I was impressed by his ability to hustle and not get totally confused.

I had grilled salmon on sauerkraut with a steamed potato and Riesling sauce. Bill had a cordon bleu that was full of stinky Munster cheese. He loves stinky cheeses, so it was right up his alley. I wasn’t all that thrilled with the salmon, which was kind of boring and a little overdone. But I did enjoy dessert. It’s hard to disappoint me when it comes to chocolate mousse. The worst part of the meal was when it was time to leave. As we were preparing to end our repast, the restaurant got hit with a shit ton of people.

We asked for the bill and waited a good twenty minutes or more– I didn’t check exactly how long, but it was awhile. Bill finally flagged down the head waiter, handed him 100 euros, which was 17 over what we owed, and said “C’est bon!” The guy rewarded us with a huge smile. Tipping isn’t a huge thing in France. I’m sure the guy thought we were clueless Americans, but really I just felt sorry for him and was remembering my days as a waitress on holidays. Also, we really wanted to get the hell out of there. Watching weeded wait staff gives me the heebie jeebies.

After dinner, we walked out of the heart of Strasbourg. I was expecting we’d call a cab, but Bill said his favorite taxi app didn’t work in Strasbourg. We didn’t see any taxi stands that were convenient, and having forgotten to bring the map the hotel receptionist had given us, we weren’t sure where we could find a cab. I told Bill to consult Google, but he wanted to walk back to the hotel. So that’s what we did. Luckily, the weather was balmy and I was wearing somewhat comfortable shoes. Then when we got to the hotel, we didn’t realize the door code was changed, so we had to wait for the door to open. So much for a romantic night… although it definitely could have been a whole lot worse.

I often bitch at Bill for silly things. One thing he regularly does that is especially irritating is that he has a habit of taking cabs places with no plans on how to get one back. Consequently, my retired soldier has taken me on many miles of unintentional hikes around unfamiliar cities. It’s an ongoing theme with him! One time, on a visit to Slovenia, we hiked about ten miles in the sun with no water. We were eventually rewarded with views of a magnificent gorge, but I insisted that he call us a cab back to the hotel. I know I complain a lot, but if I have to march around a city, I’d rather do it with Bill than anyone else! And yes, I know… I could call the cab myself. Believe me, the thought crossed my mind.


Mother’s Day pro-tip…

It should go without saying, but if you are going to go out to eat on Mother’s Day, make a reservation.  Bill and I were reminded of this axiom today when we decided at the last minute to have lunch at Taverne beim Griechen, a local Greek restaurant we’ve visited a few times since moving to Unterjettingen.

The reason we decided to go out for lunch is because after we took a walk with Zane and Arran, I was feeling really hungry.  Unfortunately, when were at the Real yesterday, we neglected to get stuff for our midday repast.  We are planning to have a light vegetarian meal for dinner, so I wanted a substantial lunch.  We lacked the goods to make that happen.  We figured the Greek place was close and the other times we’ve been, it hasn’t been super busy.  I had a handful of cashews before we left; that turned out to be a blessing.

We got to the restaurant at just before 1:00.  As we walked in, we could see the dining room was almost full of people who looked like they’d come from church.  A huge family group was there along with several other smaller parties.  One of the waitresses, who looked slightly panicked, asked if we had a reservation.  We said we didn’t.  They directed us to a two top, which they very quickly cleared of another diner’s leftovers.  We were brought menus and they said they’d be back for a drink order.  There we sat for the next forty-five minutes, sans drinks.

We finally get beer after a thirsty wait…

I have a lot of patience for wait staff in the weeds.  I have been there before and it’s not a nice feeling.  One of the waitresses seemed to be handling the demands rather well while the other one looked like she was very stressed.  Bill and I sat quietly and talked.  While it was annoying to be sitting there for so long with no service, it occurred to me that this was a first world problem.  It was just food, after all, and neither of us (nor anyone else in that place) are in any danger of dying from lack of nourishment.  Thanks to the cashews, I wasn’t even really “hangry”.  At one point, we thought about leaving, but realized that most any restaurant today is probably crowded.  So we stayed patient and waited as I watched the clock.

It would have been good if one of the waitresses had thought to get our drink order, but I know that when you’re that weeded, you don’t think about such things.  Besides, they might have been silently hoping we’d just get up and leave.  I know when I used to wait tables I used to feel that way sometimes.  Bonus: I actually understood and translated when the waitress said the food was slow.  It was very obvious why.  They really had their hands full.

Despite the wait, this was absolutely yummy!

The less stressed of the wait staff finally got our drink order roughly forty-five minutes after we sat down.  We kept it simple with beer because I don’t think she spoke English and our German sucks.  She brought us our drinks after a few minutes, then we waited a bit longer for her to come back for a food order– maybe twenty minutes or so.  Bill had gyros and I had a Korfu platter, which was gyros and souvlaki.  Fortunately, it was well worth waiting for.  The food was hot and delicious and after the large tables began to finish up and disperse, the two waitresses and the owner himself came over and apologized.  He even gave us the beer for free, bringing our check down to 20 euros.  He didn’t have to do that; we weren’t really upset.  It was a nice gesture, though.  Yet another bargain!

I felt so sorry for the poor waitresses.  I actually had a bit of a flashback watching them and remembering that panicked feeling one gets when behind on waiting tables.  Timing and efficiency is important and if you screw it up while working as a server, things can get bad very quickly.  I’m not sure if making a reservation would have made our lunch get to us more efficiently, but it does seem like it would have been wise.  Of course, if we’d simply bought more food yesterday, we wouldn’t have needed to go out for lunch in the first place.  I usually avoid going out on big restaurant holidays for just this reason.  After waiting tables myself, I know that the experience may not be so good on a hyped restaurant holiday like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.

On the way back home, we ran into our landlords who brought the family over for a hike.  After Bill finishes his homework for school, it’ll definitely be cocktail time.  Hope everyone is enjoying Mother’s Day!  Prost!