I could probably live off of this for the rest of my life:
But there are too many other things out there to try.
“What’s the food like?” is a question we’ve heard a lot from loved ones across the ocean.
So far we’ve only eaten at a handful of restaurants. Two Thai food places, a German place twice, and a Döner/Pizza joint. The Thai food was excellent at both locations. The German food was pretty good and heavy. Now, the Döner? *Mwah*! Best thing I’ve had here. The pizza we ordered along with it was tasty too.
There are Döner/Pizza spots all over this area. They are the trend. A Döner (doonehr-roll the “r”) is a Turkish slab of lamb (mostly) roasted on a spit. Here, they’ll serve you a pile of meat with a salad and fries or put the meat in a piece of flat bread to make a kebab. Not that kind of kebab. A gyro kind of kebab. Oh, just go here to see what I mean. It confused me for a while too.
I was told by several sources that German restaurants don’t serve large portions and if you don’t eat everything on your plate it is a bit of an insult; asking for a “to go box” is strange. Fortunately, Leimen has at least 12 Americans living here (I know that because they’re all in my building) which means the Leimener Brauhaus just 2 blocks away has seen a few of us. That’s helpful when we ask for zum mitnehmen (tsoom mitnaymen) to “take away” the leftovers. Smaller portion plates was definitely the case when I visited Holland restaurants, but so far I’ve asked for zum mitnehmen 50% of the time. Not the Thai food places.
Actually, I have yet to say the words “zum mitnehmen” because the waitress sees my plate half empty and asks if I want to take it home. But at least the words are at the ready when needed. And I’ll feel so accomplished.
I haven’t mastered the art of ordering at German restaurants, but so far it’s been safe to point at the item on the menu.
Of course an Englisch menu translation is not always accurate. Alan ordered a meatloaf with fried egg and french fries (pommes) at the Brauhuas and got a half inch slice of ham with a fried egg on top; not the good ol’ American style dish he was hoping for. I stuck with something more traditional German–fried potato dumplings with sauerkraut. It was delicious. And I had half left for zum mitnehmen.
As for what we eat at the Mini Haus out of our mini kitchen and our mini fridge and no oven, well it’s all an experiment. Our leftovers have to be classified as “mini” to get a slot in the fridge.
Aside from gummy candy (not Alan, he’ll have nothing to do with them, danke schöen) and kaputt yellow plumbs, we’re trying to buy only from the local grocery stores. As a result, we’ve made pasta a lot; chicken curry a few times; fresh veggies with cheese, slices of deli meat, and a roll. The thing I’ve eaten the most of was inspired by the hotel breakfasts during our 4 days there due to the fire. A roll or bagel with butter & nutella or tee wurst (spreadable sausage) & cream cheese (see above photo).
Three things that have irrevocably altered my future with international eats:
1. When buying German packaged food it is essential to be able to read German. Or you might could have an Old Dear living next door who speaks English and can help you learn to cook. Or you can rely on Google Translate. The instructions don’t always make sense in literal translation, but I get the general idea.
2. You can adjust your computer’s keyboard settings to convert your keys. The German alphabet has a few more letters than English; they are called an “umlaut” (oomlowt), the ö, the ü and the ä. If you don’t type a word that has an umlaut into Google you will not find what you are searching for. Such as Döner.
3. I know I told you about the dairy here, but it has to be said again because I haven’t been big on dairy for some time. Pudding, cream cheese, drinkable yogurt, even the soy milk tastes better. My body isn’t usually fond of dairy, particularly milk, yogurt, pudding and cream cheese. Here? No problems. Except I haven’t tried the milk. I’d be tempted if the soy milk wasn’t so good. I’m either going to live here forever or the U.S. better get their act together on their dairy.
Life in Germany is great simply because of the food. And I have a feeling we haven’t even scratched the surface.