Cologne – day zwei

Got some semi-decent sleep last night, except for a couple-hour awake break thrown in for good measure courtesy of the toddler. We finally got up around 10 a.m. local time (uh… 5 a.m. Indy time?), fed the kiddo and ventured out for a breakfast of coffee and German pastry.

German backereis (bakery-style snack shops) are a dime a dozen. You can find one every block or so, and they are TASTY. Not quite as fancy as the French patisseries, but definitely no slouch in their own right. There are a couple of major franchises that you see over and over, plus a bunch of local shops, too.

These establishments are fairly small, they may not even offer seating, just to-go service. The display windows tell the story in a second. Lined with row upon row of mouthwatering baked goods, it’s hard to make a selection – croissants, hard rolls, raisin-studded rolls, cinnamony buns, donut-looking things, soft pretzels, oh my. The coffee is hit or miss, most comes straight out of a machine and isn’t great, but who cares. You’re only using it to wash down the pastries, after all.

DSC_0031

a small portion of a typical backerei window

We stopped into one of the bakery franchise shops for breakfast. Hubby ordered a croissant filled with creme, and I opted for a German specialty called a Berliner. It’s basically a round jelly donut covered in sugar. Yummy. And the center of controversy…

In Cold War-era 1963, John F. Kennedy was making a rousing speech in West Berlin, and in a well-meaning show of support, uttered the words “Ich bein ein Berliner,” proudly intending to say “I am a Berliner.” However, the literal translation came across as “I’m a jelly donut.”

berliner

Ein Berliner

He wasn’t far off base though; residents of Berlin ARE called Berliners, as residents of Frankfurt are called Frankfurters. I assume Hamburg residents are called Hamburgers, but can’t confirm.

Anyway, we wandered around a little more today, playing tourist and taking requisite photos of the Dom and all around town. We stopped into the train station so hubby could check into arrangements to get us to Milan later next week, then back out into the streets.

Since we’d eaten such a a late breakfast and snacked through the day, the next real meal was dinner this evening. Hubby wanted to go to a little place along the river called “Der Lowenbrau” that he’d frequented quite a bit when he was here last year. It was cold, but outdoor tables set up with space heaters allowed al fresco dining without shivering. We ordered up a couple of beers, and fed the baby while we waited for our food.

Hubby ordered one of his standbys, a pizza salami – thin-crusted pie with tomato sauce, cheese and paper-thin slices of salami. He got to know this dish well during his previous visits to Germany.

pizza salami

hubby's pizza salami

There are a plethora of Italian restaurants in Germany, due to proximity I’m guessing. Actually, there are restaurants of just about any ethnicity and ilk you could hope to find in major German cities such as Cologne. Indian, Thai, Argentinian, Ethiopian, Mexican; you name it, and it’s here. Sadly, there are also a good number of American chains such as McD’s, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks, although I can’t imagine why any U.S. visitor would eat there with so many other local options! Nice to be so spoiled for choice, but I figure when in Rome…

I want to soak up as much of the authentic German cuisine as I can while we’re here. Really, why wouldn’t I? German food is damn good stuff! Heavy on the breads, meats and potatoes, but with some interesting spicing and variations. They definitely like their pork, beef and lamb here. Typical sides seem to include potatoes, cabbage/sauerkraut and spaetzle (noodles).

My dinner tonight was the first of what I anticipate will be several schnitzels of the trip, along with fries and a small salad. I venture to say almost anyone in Indiana who eats meat has eaten a version of schnitzel. I’m talking about the traditional Hoosier pork tenderloin. It’s the same thing — a boneless pork chop, pounded into submission, breaded and fried. There are many ways you can get your schnitzel here, with a variety of sauces and toppings.

Tonight, I enjoyed a Jagerschnitzel, the pork topped with a dollop of creamy mushroom gravy. It was good, but not as good as the schnitzels we used to enjoy in Patrick’s old homestead of Ginsheim-Gustavsburg, just outside of Frankfurt. There, we frequented a tiny pub called Der Kleine Hexe (“The Little Witch”) that made a MEAN schnitzel. The place was so small and traditional, you could actually hear some little old German grandma in the back, pounding out your pork cutlet with a rolling pin before frying it up and bringing it out to your table. Hubby always ordered their Sombrero schnitzel, the chop topped with cheese, peppers and spicy tomato sauce. Brings back good memories.

schnitzel

my Jagerschnitzel dinner

Tonight, unfortunately, the toddler decided to act up, effectively squelching any plans of finishing our dinners in peace or sticking around for a second drink. Hubby and I took turns chowing down our meals while the other chased our adventurous toddler around the general vicinity. Then he started wailing and it was time to go.

Since the evening was cut short, I consoled myself with a few bites of a Ritter Sport chocolate bar purchased at a quick-stop grocery on the way back to the hotel. Ritters are some of my favorite chocolate in the world – hefty square bars of chocolate with a dizzying selection of fillings from strawberry yogurt and nuts to marzipan and peppermint cream. Tonight, I opted for a dark chocolate/chocolate mousse filling number that really left me feeling satisfied.

RitterSport

a small selection of Ritter Sport chocolate bars

Happy Halloween!

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