See, You Know Plenty of German

German restaurants can be fun. German food can be tasty.  Although we’ve not made it to the European continent, we have sampled “authentic” German food at restaurants in several cities here in the U.S.A.

A musician with an accordion serenaded us when friends treated us to a farewell dinner in the Twin Cities.

Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit

Bill Koncar, the cop by day & strolling accordian player by night

When we lived in Columbus, Ohio, we tried the lunch buffet as well as dinner at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus.


Juergens, where we ordered bakery treats and (not-so-great) coffee, was also in Columbus’ German Village neighborhood.


In New York City, we stumbled upon Hallo Berlin, where they had a satisfying $10 lunch special.

NYC Hallo Berlin Lunch Special

North of Philadelphia, some people think that Otto’s is a great place to eat, but we prefer to drive into the city for sausages. We enjoyed the currywurst at Reading Terminal Market, then tried lunch at Brauhaus Schmitz restaurant on South Street.

Wurst Platter: PFEFFERBEISSER and KÄSEWURST with sauerkraut and potato salad


Usually, an entree at any American restaurant is more than enough for me. Even when I think I might have room for dessert, the price tag reminds me that I have cookbooks and ingredients at home.  This past weekend, the weather cooled down a bit after a few days of 90-degree temperatures, so I baked and boiled to try a few recipies from The Best of My Grandmother’s German Cookery.

If I’d paid more attention to the boiling eggs and potatoes, the Kartoffelsalat would have had a better texture. My dash of salt could have been a bit stronger, too.

The Apfeltorte was pretty straight out of the oven, but the flavor and moistness improved after 2 days under glass.

Apple Flan Cake




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It didn’t take long for Harney & Sons to respond to my request for a paper-and-ink catalog. We’d seen them at the store on one of our day trips to NYC, but I hadn’t wanted to have to carry anything extra around all day. So, when we were back home, I looked at their website.  The internet is a great tool, but I like to be able to get away from the computer and look at things in print.

When the catalog arrived, I skimmed the pages with gift packages then slowed down to read the descriptions of the varieties of matcha, green, and black teas.  The catalog isn’t an instruction manual for someone wanting to learn all there is to know about tea. Instead, it provides just enough information for you to begin to imagine what the tea experience will be when you brew your own pot or cup at home.  Also, Mike Harney has provided a tea rating for the majority of the teas. The ratings cover briskness, body, and aroma.  If the description and the rating isn’t enough to convince you to purchase a full tin, you have the option to order a sample packet.

IMG_0141.JPGSince Harney & Sons does not charge for priority shipping, I don’t buy large quantities. It is fun to try one or two teas. My husband is happy to stick with English Breakfast. I’ve tried Paris, Earl Grey, as well as Eight at the Fort.


This time I was tempted by the Caribe:

Black and green teas are blended with hibiscus, guava, coconut, and strawberry, then accented with marigolds and cornflowers.

Briskness – 2 Body -2 Aroma -4


Iced Tea pouces are an option that I may try in the future. The loose leaf worked just fine on this warm weekend in April.



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Sunday Sponge


Three hours ago, our Sunday dinner was laid out on this brown platter: roasted carrots, onions, and beef, and asparagus broiled with olive oil and Parmesean cheese. You’ll have to just imagine the display, since we were more interested in eating than taking pictures.

After putting leftovers (!) away and washing the dishes, I had to decide what kind of dessert to serve with our afternoon tea or coffee. There were two cinnamon rolls in the freezer; I had packaged them up and hidden them so that we wouldn’t eat the whole batch on Saturday morning. I also had several boxes of instant pudding in the cupboard, but that just didn’t seem right for today.  Instead, I decided to make use of several of the gifts that my parents had given to me at Christmas and for my birthday: egg beaters, parchment paper, and a jelly-roll pan.

If you read a recipe carefully before starting  your project, and you continue by following the instructions, you should be satisfied with the result.  There were several points when I was tempted to jump the gun, but patience paid off.

Beat the eggs for the full 5 minutes so that they are thick and lemon colored. Let the cake bake for 12 minutes. Do generously sprinkle your tea towel with powdered sugar before you wrap it around the warm sponge cake. Do wait the full 30 minutes for the cake to cool before you unroll and spread it with just the 2/3 cups of your chosen filling.

Although a chocolate cake might have been nicer, I didn’t have cocoa powder on hand. Instead I left the sponge cake’s flavor as vanilla and decided to fill it with apricot jam and chocolate pudding.

You can find the basic recipe in Betty Crocker’s “New Cookbook”.


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