If you are fortunate enough to find yourself travelling with me on business, you will drink beer. What’s more, you and I will drink every local brew we can get our hands on. These guidelines were firmly in place last week on a recent visit to Germany.
I was walking through Stuttgart Germany with a colleague that had a good deal more experience than me with that particular town. We had just spent all day in the office (no air conditioning in Germany) and we were both exhausted. Despite that, walking with my co-worker for 3 miles on foot briefcases in tow seemed ideal as all of the sights, sounds and smells of a new town overtook me. It was late in the evening When my associate finally stopped in front of a restaurant he selected I couldn’t believe my eyes. Paulaner! I fell in love with Paulaner the first time I bought a case of their Salvator at my local Costco – now I had arrived!
3 tidbits about dining in Germany……
1. There is no hostess, sit where you want
2. Restaurants accept cash (not so much credit cards)
3. Close your menu. This will signal your waiter that you’re ready to order
Paulaner has a few restaurants located throughout Germany, the one I went to for dinner is located in the busy city center of Stuttgart. We spotted a table next to a fountain, tree branches blocking the sun, birds chirping in the water – I had entered a Disney movie obviously. We made a b-line for that table, sat down and the waitress appeared within seconds.
The menus hit the table for a brief moment and I had one clutched in my hands and my beer promptly ordered – Salvator. The beer arrived to my table without any obvious fanfare but I was dancing in my head. This beer is rich and smooth and just so approachable.
Ordering food – not so easy. I ordered something that looked good but I can’t read or speak German so everything I ordered in Germany was a gamble. I point at the menu and something shows up at my table. Little did I know that what I ordered was essentially “beans and franks”, but wow was this good.
Beans & franks? This is spiced German wieners and lentils. This happens to be a local favorite and now I know why. Loaded with protein, intertwined with homemade noodles (Spaetzle) and mixed with sauce.
The service was prompt, the food was hot and beer was delicious. I loved it so much I came back to this restaurant by myself a few days later. I was fortunate to sit in the same idyllic table sitting near the “Disney fountain” and ordered the same beer – Salvator! This time I pointed at a different menu item and this arrived.
The German Mystery Diet (meat, potatoes, beer):
What is this? I don’t know but it was wonderful. It had pork, more noodles and a cream sauce. My wife only noticed that I never had a vegetable on my plate for every meal in Germany. A comment never rang so true. I was away from my wife for 2 weeks and had the luxury not to have to eat anything green. I ate meat and potatoes drank beer and felt great. I ate like a viking (or German rather) for 2 weeks – felt great – and I lost weight.
Here’s the weird thing, I ate essentially meat and potatoes, drank beer, felt great and lost weight. What? How? I also was very active and walked 10 miles a day. Look at the pictures above again, they are full of rich dense food. I ate next to the residents of Germany everyday and noticed that almost all of them were skinny by American standards. Just another observation but these folks eat well and appear to be very healthy. It’s a lifestyle that, from outward appearances, makes a lot of sense.
Some day soon, I hope to visit Germany again and continue this health experiment. When I do, my first stop will Paulaner where I expect my mystery meal of meat and potatoes and a tall tall Paulaner will be waiting for me.
We are always looking for new contributors. If you are interested, send me a note I’d love to hear from you – David