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Archive for the ‘
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Germany’ Category

Noodles in Wiesbaden

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

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Today I am in a Durint hotel in Wiesbaden. Before eating, I hit the gym where I find a “German Techno Shower” (an exciting personal water experience consisting of lights, aromas, and varying temperatures and pressures in the water — from red hot waterfall to chilling blue mist). With a new sense of cleanliness, I seek out some sustenance. I initially decide that I must have some good traditional German food — schnitzel please! I walk and walk and cannot seem to find what I am looking for. After an hour and change of searching, I find an old style bar-restaurant. I enter and immediatly feel like I have made the wrong move. All the people are old and pale and they are all staring at me. There is no waiter in sight. I attempt to stick it out by awkwardly waiting in the middle of the restaurant for a minute or so and then I make my move to the exit. Crap! At this point I am extremely hungry so I just cross the street to the nearest spot — Koi, a trendy Asian noodle bar. I order Vietameisische Klare Nudelsuppe (Vietnamese clear noodle soup). It is basically a clear broth with an array of fresh vegetables and tofu. It is so tasty, and I am glad to have a change in pace from the heavy German food that I initially set out for. Luckily I don’t leave Wiesbaden without a local food specialty. Daniella, the Dap-Kings German publicist, kindly brings the band some Veckmann. This is a German bread that is prepared at this time of the year to celebrate the German bakers. The bread is supposed to resemble a baker smoking a pipe (the pipe is not edible). The bread is tasty with a challah like consistency. Thanks Daniella! For those of you interested, this is a link to our performance on Dutch TV:  http://youtube.com/watch?v=0711PStIg-0


Speculaas

Monday, October 29th, 2007

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I am hungry and tired when I wake up in the lovely city of Amsterdam. I missed the free hotel breakfast but find a little time before I get on the bus to hit the local food scene. I come across Simon Meysen Brookbakker, a handsome bakery on Van Baerlestraat (Simon has 4 other locations in Amsterdam). I get a hot croissant with ham and cheese built in (delightful), a blueberry muffin (not the best, but certainly not bad), and some Speculaas. Speculaas is a typical dutch cinnamon cookie or biscuit. It is often decorated for the holiday season (similar to gingerbread men). The Speculaas I have here is a thicker piece and is topped with some sliced almonds. More importantly, this piece of Speculaas becomes my travel companion. The croissant fills my appetite, so the Speculaas remains uneaten. I have a little on the way to Hamburg and enjoy it thoroughly. The next morning, I am pleasantly surprised to still have some Speculaas left. I eat some more. At this point I feel a special connection and decide this guy has to make it to Berlin. Well, Speculaas is no longer with me, but I will always have a place for it in my heart.

A Couple of Wursts

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

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In Germany there is no way to avoid the wurst temptation. From bratwurst to blargenwurst to bockwurst to frankfurters, one should not leave Germany without having some sausage (unless he or she is a vegetarian). Today I review two wursts — bockwurst and knacker. This bockworst (above, left) is from a gas station. The Dap-Kings are very familiar with gas station food, but here in Germany they take it to another level. You can get ham shanks that are delicious, meatballs that will give you a run for your money, and a tasty sausage of course. Bockworst is similar to a foot long hot dog except its prepared in such a way that the casing will snap quite loudly when you bite into it. Also, the taste is different but in a subtle way that is hard to describe.  Germans do not put these wursts in soft buns that equal the length of the meat like Americans do. Instead, they serve them with a small roll. Some will put the dog in the roll so the two ends stick out of the bun like antennae. Others will just make a big pile of zenf (mustard) and dip the sausage in, take a bite, and follow this up with a bite of bread. The knacker is also very similar to a hot dog except I have here Grunkohl auf Knacker, which is stewed kale with sausage (this is from a Berlin street vendor). The kale tastes exactly like collard greens cooked southern style. It goes well with the knacker, although I find this particular knacker to be a little tough and weird tasting. I am looking foward to more wursts as I travel through Germany; if anyone has any suggestions for good types of wursts to be consumed, please let me know.

Best Dip of All Times

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

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The band arrives at sound-check in the Alter Wartesaal (Cologne) around 4pm. A beautiful spread of meats, bread, salads and cheese awaits us. But the shining star is this delicious dip, given to us by tonight’s chef and dj, Mario (pictured below). Mario calls it the “best dip of all times” and he happily Shares the recipe.

 Best Dip of All Times 

Sun dried tomates — about 50 grams

Walnuts — about 50 grams

Cottage Cheese — 1 package, about 125 grams

Feta Cheese — 1 package, about 125 grams

Garlic — 2 or 3 cloves (maybe more)

Cream — about 100 ml or 1 small package

 Just mix all the stuff together till its creamy (maybe a blender would help). I haven’t tested the recipe, so the portions may be  a little off. I dipped bread in this stuff, but I am sure it would be good with anything. I know it sounds a little wierd, but it is really good  (This dip constituted the majority of my food intake today). 

Mario also made some Olive tapenade, that went great with this dip. He used 150 grams of olives, a big spoonful of capers, a couple cloves of garlic, 100g of dried tomatoes, 3 sardelles (which are like sardines, but are somehow different), some chili powder, olive oil and some salt and pepper. He chopped everything fine (it wasn’t creamy; it was chunky). 

Sorry to all my American friends for the metric measurements.


Bier-Esel

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

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I am really excited about today’s post because this is my favorite meal of the trip so far. Our very German tour bus driver, Guido (Guido and his girlfriend, Uta, drive our tour bus. They are extremely nice and they even clean our bunks on a daily basis), decides to take us to a local joint, der Bier-Esel (beer donkey). This place is over 700 years old. Yup, thats right, it was established in 1297. On entry it doesn’t feel that old, but it must have gone through some renovations over the years. Guido tells us that we must get the mussels because they are the best mussels in Cologne. The mussels are prepared in a fragrant wine sauce with some onions and they are delicious.  The side salad comes next and it is surprisingly tasty. The salad combines some greens and tomatoes with potato salad, cabbage salad, corn, beans, peppers, cucumbers and dill. I know it sounds wierd, but it works. The main event is pork. Most of us order pork in some form or another. I get Feines Geschnetzeltes Zuricher Art mit frischen Weisen champignons, schwabischen Butterspatzle und Blattsalate in Sauerrahm. Rough translation: little strips of pork and mushrooms in a cheesy sauce with butter spaetzle and a side salad. I couldn’t ask for anything better than this. The pork and mushrooms taste like they are in some kind of mac and cheese sauce, but not quite. Its just so good. Spaetzle is a german egg pasta. I have seen this stuff prepared once. The batter was poured through a colander directly in to boiling water, resulting in little noodles. I can’t go to Germany without having some. Its prepared in all sorts of ways, but here it is simply buttered–mmmmm. One more thing; the restaurant has a bunch of these grinder things on the wall. Free stuff for the first person who can tell me what they are. (Bier-Esel is located at 114 Breite Strafe, 50667 Koln.)

 

Room Service

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

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Today is the first of two days off in Cologne, Germany, and, for some reason or other, we are staying in a really fancy Radisson. Up until now, the band has been working non-stop and sleeping on the tour bus, so we are all extremely happy to spend some time in Luxury. And Luxury this is! Dave and I go to the gym and then switch between the sauna and the cold jacuzzi a few times–Exhilarating! On return to our room, there seems to be no better idea than to order room service. We stick to the basics–some Rigatoni mit Bolognese und Champingon (Rigatoni with meat sauce and mushrooms), and a Ceasar Salat mit Parmesan-Knoblauch-Dressing und Hahnchenbrest (Ceasar salad with chicken). No surprises here. The food is just how you would want it to be — delicious and satisfying. This is true hotel comfort food.