German Culinary Delights!
I have already written about the wonderful wursts and the best beers I enjoyed while traveling through Germany. Of course, German cuisine is not all sausages and beer. In keeping with the theme of this blog, Smelling the Road, I would like to highlight some other meals I had in Deutschland.
In Berlin, I discovered a wonderful Prussian restaurant off the beaten path, called Marjellchen. It has a beautiful rustic decor inside, but I opted for the outdoor seating, to enjoy the summer evening air. The restaurant is located on a very quiet tree-lined residential street, so there was very little vehicular traffic to interrupt the evening. Ramona, the owner, greeted me with a warm smile and excellent English. Maybe it's the sentimentalist in me, but I felt as if she was welcoming me into her home. The waiter was equally friendly, joking with me when he thought I was ordering the small beer, when I meant to point to the larger beer on the menu. Not to worry, the large was only 0,5 L (about 16 oz.). For dinner, I wanted to try a traditional Prussian dish, so I ordered Königsberger Klopse, which are large pork meatballs in a creamy caper sauce, served with parsley potatoes and a red beetroot salad. Although it was a lot of food, and I had a hard time finishing it, I enjoyed every bite. I even ate the beetroot salad, and I have never been a fan of beets. The photo below does not do the meatballs justice, as they tasted much better than they look.
Dinner! Königsberger Klopse with parsley potatoes and beetroot salad
View of Mommsenstraße from my table at Marjellchen
For our included dinner in Bamberg, our very Franconian local guide, Jan, led us to the Restaurant Weierich, associated with the hotel of the same name. We were seated in the bierstube, which was richly decorated in dark wood, antlers of many game animals and wooden carved statues of monks engaged in "un-monkly" activities. Our first course was Flädlesuppe, or soup of sliced pancake strips in a hot beef broth. I would never have thought to pair pancakes with soup, but it really worked! The pancakes were very thin, like crepes, and cut into strips resembling noodles. In the beef broth, they were very light but not soggy, as one would expect. For the main course, we were served a Bamberg specialty - Bamberger Zwiebeln. Basically, a firm and mild-tasting onion is stuffed with a pork meatball and braised in the oven with broth and smoked beer, which makes the gravy. It was served with mashed potatoes, and I did not waste a single drop of the gravy! My plate was completely clean. Finally, dessert was a wonderfully traditional Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) served with a sweet vanilla sauce. After a meal like that, I was glad we had a 1.2 km walk back to the hotel!
Apfelstrudel mit Vanillesauce
Stained glass window in the brasserie (beer house) where we ate
In Munich, our tour director, Jürgen, offered to take us to a Löwenbräu biergarten, called Brunnwart, near our hotel. It was an optional outing, but I was happy to join the gang of about 15 of my fellow travelers. I was not disappointed! It was an outdoor biergarten on the edge of the Englischer Garten, and our lederhosen-clad waiter must have been a stand-up comic in another life, cracking jokes in English and pretending to forget our orders, which he did not write down. We were all seated together at a long wooden table with benches on each side. Our waiter joyfully brought our beers, without a tray, clenched in both hands and loudly slammed them on the table with a thud and a slosh - a Munich biergarten tradition! For dinner, I had Münchner Schnitzel, which was an escalope of pork marinated in mustard and horseradish. It was served with fried potatoes and a salad. As an added treat, Jürgen ordered a Brezel (pretzel) for everyone, as it is a Munich specialty. It was a wonderful evening of food, friendship and fun.
My first Brezel in Bavaria!
The next morning, before our day in Munich began, I decided to take a walk outside the hotel. When I travel, I love to explore the neighborhood around the hotel, to see what the locals do, especially in the morning. I didn't have to walk far before I discovered an open-air Grünmarkt (green market) next to the hotel. Aside from stands of fresh fruits and vegetables, there were stands selling meat, fish, cheese, flowers and even carts serving breakfast foods to eat there in the market. I noticed one vendor with Frische Apfelkücherl (fresh apple fritters), and I had to try them. For 2,80€ ($3.74), I had three hot, fresh apple fritters with cinnamon and sugar. Delicious!
Saturday morning Grünmarkt next to our hotel
Vegetable stand in the Grünmarkt
After my U-Bahn "Munich Mishap" (see post below), I ventured in Munich with two of my fellow travelers, Anne and Olivia, for dinner. Our tour director, Jürgen, recommended Weisses Bräuhaus, a brewery that specializes in wheat beer and great food. As we arrived, it started to rain, so we opted for indoor seating, like everyone else in Munich. The crowded, loud and lively beer hall atmosphere was enhanced by the fact that we had to sit at a long table with benches because all of the regular tables were taken. We ended up sitting with a young woman on one end of the table, who kept to herself (possibly because she only spoke German) and an older gentleman at the other end of the table, who kept to himself (possibly because he only spoke German). The three of us were sandwiched in the middle. For dinner, I has Schneider's Aventinus Bierbratl, a crisply braised breast of pork, basted with Aventinus wheat beer, served with sauerkraut and homemade potato pancakes. The crispy skin perfectly contrasted with the tender, juicy meat, and the potato pancakes were amazing. I even liked the sauerkraut, which was dotted with caraway seeds. For dessert, I had Zwetschgenbavese. Ja, I can't even begin to pronounce it. It can best be described as two plum jam filled toast slices, breaded and deep-fried, served with vanilla sauce. I have already used 'delicious' far too many times to describe my culinary experiences, but that Zwetschgenbavese was delicious, mouth-watering, scrumptious, yummy . . .
Inside the Weisses Bräuhaus
Schneider’s Aventinus Bierbratl
So, I guess it goes without saying that I enjoyed many extraordinary dining experiences in Germany. I don't think there was a time during the whole tour that I felt hungry, and I am sure that I gained several pounds, but they were definitely pounds worth gaining!