Germany part Zwei


I had the chance to take the culinary-passport on the road for work and Germany was the place to be.  We landed in Frankfurt, spent our nights in Friedrichsdorf and hit some surrounding areas for meals.  This will be a picture filled post highlighting several great meals over the trip and I have to say there was not a bad meal among them just shades of good or great.

There were several meals at the Mercure Hotel restaurant including the first one from a lunch buffet.

You could pay for one trip or multiple trips and I decided one trip would be enough for my time distorted self.  There were a lot of nice options but I went with the turkey roll, which had turkey wrapped around dressing / stuffing, as my meat.   I added an eggplant mixture plus some other mixed vegetables, half a boiled egg, a rice dish with shrimp and a coarse brown roll.  It was a good, filling meal but not really spectacular.  I’m going to cover all the meals at the hotel together so these won’t be in chronological order.  The next meal covered here was the evening before a quick trip to Italy (more on that next post).

This wonderful little container of goodness was the Frankfurter “Dreckschipp”.  It had me at meat with sides of meat.  The contents were, filet of pork, pork cutlet, nuernberger (sausage), and bacon with a mushroom cream sauce and in a nod to healthy I opted for mixed vegetables but to keep things balanced the pan fried potatoes finished out the meal.  This was a great meal that wasn’t as heavy as it might sound.  The portions were enough to give you a good taste without making you overstuffed and the pan fried potatoes were well cooked and seasoned.  The last dinner was also at the hotel.

Here we had the bacon wrapped veal rolls filled with rocket (arugula) and the rosemary potatoes.  The veal was tender and tasty and the arugula was interesting.  The rosemary potatoes were one of the few disappointments of the trip.  They were roasted just a little too fast and had a mild burnt taste.  One thing I didn’t mention was they provided a bread appetizer with several spreads including butter, olive oil, creamcheese & chives, and something else I can’t remember.  Overall I’d give the hotel restaurant good marks.

The first evening we went for dinner at a great place in Bad Homburg called Shreinerei Pfeiffer.  I have to thank Yelp for this find.  The place had a great atmosphere.  You enter via a little alley and they have seating inside and out plus a hybrid that had one wall open to the outside and we sat at a table in that section.  The walls had old carpentry tools hanging from the walls and the furniture was all heavy wood.  You can check out their link for more info if you are so inclined.  I ordered up the Hessenschnitzel.  It came with a salad that tasted pretty good but it was the first time I ever remember getting corn on a green salad.

The Hessenschnitzel was fantastic.  It was your basic pork schnitzel but they had it covered with onions & melted cheese curd with a side of fries too.  It wasn’t pretty but it sure was one of the best schnitzels I’ve ever had.

Of course I had to wash it down with something so the first choice was the Kronenhof hell beer (picture below).  Nice light, smooth beer that went well with the meal.  I also had a Radler which it turns out is basically a shandy.  I’m not generally a fan of mixing beer with other stuff but this was a nice refreshing little capper to the meal.

The next night we walked to a place called the Lindenhof in Friedrichsdorf.  We had our own room with a big table to accommodate our good sized group.  After an aborted attempt to get the Schweinehaxe (pork knuckle) which they had just sold out of I selected the Ochsenbrust and the house draft pilsner.

Ochsenbrust is beef brisket and came with a generous helping of potatoes and one of the primary reasons for getting it, the local green sauce.  The sauce is yogurt based with 7 herbs and boiled eggs and went nicely on both the beef and the potatoes.  The beer was nothing remarkable but it was competently pilsnery.

We had a full team dinner at Stangs Restaurant in the Friedberg Golfclub.  We sat outside and enjoyed the mild temperatures and beautiful view.

What you can’t see, because I cropped out the people in the shot, is the pond just to the bottom of the frame and close to our tables.  This provided a lovely breeding ground for the multitude of little black, annoying bugs that harassed us throughout our time here.  They were honestly so bad I was encouraging the smokers to light up so the smoke would drive them away.  In spite of the little pests we did manage to get good meals out of the deal.

Just FYI in case you are as ignorant of this as I was but April through June is spargel (asparagus) and strawberry season in this area and it is such a big deal that EVERY restaurant we went in had a special seasonal page or separate menu dedicated to them.  That being the case I figured I’d have to try them at least once while I had the chance especially since we had been passing the fields that they’d been harvested from.

No for the regular asparagus I can get at the grocery stores here in the US I’m a take it or leave it kind of guy but after trying these I get why the Germans are enthusiastic about their spargel.

What you see in the photo above is the white asparagus with two kinds of ham, what they called raw and cooked, plus a side of boiled potatoes and house made hollandaise sauce.  The asparagus was tender enough to easily cut with your fork and had a light flavor that was even better with the hollandaise slathered all over it.  The ham portions were small but that was ok because they were just an accompaniment to the star of the meal.  The potatoes were boiled potatoes and nothing special except when supplemented with a dab of the hollandaise.  I had a house pilsner while we were waiting for the meal but with the meal I had a glass of apfelwein, which translates to apple wine but is better known to us as apple cider.  It paired well with the asparagus and ham.  If it hadn’t been for the bugs this could easily have been the best overall meal of the trip considering the outside dining, view and quality of the food.  I’d still go again given the chance but I’d take a citronella candle to be on the safe side.

I think there is no substitute for eating a culture’s food on their home turf and this trip to Germany didn’t change that opinion one iota.



MRE Showdown pt 2


Welcome to part two of the MRE showdown where we focus on US meals ready to eat.  These are individually packed meals rather than a full day in a package.

These were also purchased from Amazon and depending on where you buy them can cost as much or as little as 40% for three meals as the Russian ration pack.  I did like being able to read what the meals were so there weren’t any big surprises on the entrees.

First up was the Chicken Pesto Pasta.  You can see below the contents packaged and then unpackaged with the associated accessories.

The contents of this meal were the chicken pesto pasta, Italian bread sticks, cheese spread, patriotic cookies, cinnamon bun, lemon lime drink mix, powdered red pepper, coffee and accessories, toilet paper, matches, moist wipe, gum and the chemical heater.

I used the supplied chemical heater to warm up the entrée and it worked very well.  The contents are that visually appealing but when I added some of the ground red pepper it tasted fairly decent. The chicken looked and tasted like chicken and the pasta wasn’t mushy and there was a pesto flavor so it lived up to the billing but didn’t really exceed expectations.  The Italian bread was soft, dry and broke up easily.  It had some specks of herbs and made a decent platform for the cheese spread.  Oh the cheese spread.  It was essentially cheez whiz in a pouch instead of a can so if you like that you’d love this.  The patriotic cookies were like sugar cookies in shapes as the name says; Statue of Liberty head & torch, Uncle Sam’s face and hat, the flag and the letters USA.  They were tasty.  Last but certainly not least on the food front was the cinnamon bun.  Another casualty of preservation by limiting moisture.  It had a good flavor but was very dense and dry with a very thin liquid layer of cinnamon in the middle.  The drink mix made a Gatorade like drink that wasn’t bad and provided some electrolytes and carbs.  The coffee was standard instant coffee, nothing notable.  Overall I’d say this was a pretty passable meal not something I’d want daily but certainly something I would complain about if I was out in the field.

Next up on the hit parade was the cheese tortellini in tomato sauce.  In the spirit of balance I decided to try a vegetarian option because they exist.  As you can see from the picture it also wasn’t going to win any prized for presentation.


The meal had the tortellini, soda crackers, peanut butter, an energy bar, mango-peach applesauce, grape drink mix, the accessory pack with hot sauce and powdered raspberry drink mix and the highlight of the MRE and hearkening to their roots a pack of M&M’s.

The tortellini tasted just like you’d get from a can in the store and benefitted greatly from the addition of the packet of hot sauce, which was from Louisiana was not Tabasco.  The crackers were a bit like the bread from the previous meal in that they were dry and fragile but didn’t have snap like a crispy saltine cracker does.  They were passable with though when covered in the peanut butter which had a nice peanutty flavor.  The mango-peach applesauce was a sweet mush that had a vaguely mango taste if you didn’t think about it too much.  The energy bar was one of those chewy sort of chocolatey bars that you feel like probably had some other kind of good for you stuff but didn’t care bad enough to check the label.  It was typical for its type.  The grape drink tasted like an artificially grape flavored Gatorade wannabe.  The M&M’s were of course melt in your mouth, not in your hand delicious.  Final assessment of this one is that even if it was vegetarian it was very edible and honestly quite filling.

The final entry in the US MRE lineup was Mexican Style Chicken Stew.


Although it did not look pretty it was my favorite of the 3 meals.  It had a surprising amount of chicken and it was spicy enough to justify the Mexican label.  In addition to the stew there were “vegetable crackers”, Cheddar cheese pretzels, cheese spread, applesauce with raspberry puree, a lemon lime beverage powder and oh yeah! M&Ms again.  The vegetable crackers were dry and a bit odd but I crumbled half in the stew and cheesed the other half so they were edible.  The cheddar cheese pretzels were simply cheese Combos.  The applesauce did have a faint raspberry flavor but otherwise it was unremarkable.  Of course the M&Ms need no additional detail.  It was a very edible meal that definitely fills you up.

In the final tally I have to give the win to the US MREs for taste and overall quality.  If you’re looking to grab something for your next camping trip grab some MREs and remember to pack out your garbage.




SF for a Berry Good Time

Strawberry Festival

Since it’s festival season and festivals have food trucks and tents it seemed like a good opportunity to support a local event by heading to the SC Strawberry Festival.

I met up with friends and we toured the car show, crafts, kids play area, and then the food zone.  The choices were many and varied from corn dogs to fried soba noodles with deep fried most everything and the heart healthy Krispy Kreme burger.  Here’s a shot of a small portion of the food vendors.

From this cornucopia of culinary concessions we settled on Georgie’s Just Good BBQ and their array of smoked and grilled goodness.  The BBQ nachos were a leading contender early on but by the time we hit the front of the line the power of suggestion won out and the Carolina Cheesesteak was the choice for lunch.

This bundle of beef brisket on a bun was served with grilled onions and cheese sauce and a bag of chips.  The brisket was tender and had a nice smoky flavor that was enhanced by the grilled onions and the gooey cheese sauce guaranteed you were going to use a napkin or sport a cheese mustache and goatee.  Very tasty indeed but not so filling as to keep one from having a little dessert and of course at a strawberry festival there’s gonna be shortcake.

I might have forgotten about pictures until I was 75% done but from the remnants I’m sure you can see the scarlet strawberries smothering shortcake & strawberry ice cream topped with a bit of whipped cream.  Yeah that was worth eating plain oatmeal for breakfast to conserve calories and stomach space.  The meal was accompanied by good conversation and the Carolina Rhythm band provided the soundtrack.

Good meal, good friends, good day.  They do it every year make plans to check them out next year.