Culinary Weekend – Gourmet Fair in Essen – 17th to 19th June

We’re doing a little fast forward here to the awesome culinary weekend I had last weekend. Right now there are a lot of gourmet fairs around where we live. The way they work is that for three to five days a number of restaurants of the area put up tents and sell a selection of their food to sample for a very reasonable price. Which means that you get to walk around and get your starters from that restaurant and your main course from another and then the dessert from yet another and then when you’re done start over again until you are full. Basically.

One of the biggest of these fairs takes place in Essen right in the heart of the city with 25 local restaurants presenting what they have to offer. Since I had to work I couldn’t start my little feast until Friday evening when I came there with a friend. On Saturday I went there for a five course lunch and came back for a four course dinner. And on Sunday my husband and I returned or another nice four and a half course dinner.

All in all I managed to cover 12 of the 25 restaurants which is pretty impressive I’d say. I won’t go into details about all the dishes I tried, so I’m just gonna show you.


Culinary Weekend – 27th and 28th May

I’ve had a couple of what I like to call culinary weekends these past weeks with my main goal being to find good food while touring around the country (or these parts of the countries that I can reach within an hour long train ride).

Between trying to finish the Song of Ice and Fire series as well as the Hunger Games series, reading and watching Jane Austen and trying to finally finish the last season of TV shows I wanted to write about it, but didn’t really get to it.

But here it goes. The first weekend was pretty harmless in terms of culinary indulgences, but it took me to Münster, so that’s something.


I didn’t get to really have lunch there because all of the restaurants that sounded cool would not open until 5 or 6 pm and I didn’t plan on staying so long. So I just bought a tasty apricot muffin at Tollkötter, some white vanilla chocolate, a scoop of hazelnut ice cream and some wasabi-nori crackers and just walked around a lot. Münster is a really pretty town to just walk around in and take in the atmosphere. I even pondered renting a bike to get into full Münster feeling, but I was happy just to walk around on foot.

Bohème Boulette – Unfortunately closed until the evening

Bakery in Münster

So instead I went back home and decided to just have a quick lunch at the Thai place in the local shopping mall. Sounds a bit disappointing, but I was seriously craving some light Asian cuisine. Although Cha Chà so far has had its lower and higher points for me, it’s a nice option when I want some quick and hassle-free Asian food.

Besides I’m on a quest for the best Tom Ka Gai around where I live, so it was my opportunity to sample the Cha Chà version.

Unfortunately it proved not to be a contender. It’s okay, but somehow the vegetables are a tad too raw, it’s like they’re trying to prove their food is extra-healthy by sacrificing a bit of Tom Ka Gai awesomeness.


As some kind of second course I chose a plate of three salad samples with pancakes and soup. The salad actually were great and teh combination with the pancakes was a nice touch. The soup wasn’t great, but tasty. As I said, Cha Chà is kind of unreliable. I’ve had great dishes there and not so great ones, but it was never actually awful, so it’s a good option for some healthy meal after (or during) a small city shopping spree.

On Sunday I had planned to check out a new American place, but it wasn’t open until the evening and I needed some lunch, so I changed the plans and went to the Mexican restaurant right in the city. This is probably not what passes as Mexican for anyone who actually knows Mexican food. A US friend of mine usually complains about the lack of original Mexican food in Germany. Basically I just need my Chili con Carne fix from time to time and the one as Sausalitos is pretty fine.

I ordered the Chili which comes with Taco chips and sour cream and the Caesar’s salad, both of which made for a nice lunch, but together too much for me to finish.

So, that was the first culinary weekend. It wasn’t that much compared to what is to come for the next ones, but it was a nice start and a great way to spend the days off work.


Brushing up on Austen

cassandraausten-janeaustenbackview1804I’ve wanted to write about my personal thoughts on what makes a geek, and my very culinary weekend and a ton of other stuff which might or might not include my new adventures on the ukulele, but I decided that tonight you get Jane Austen.

So, why is that?

Since I had my Kindle I’ve squeezed in some classics in between, because they’re free and it’s a good excuse to read up on some Dickens or Jules Verne or H.G. Wells or Lucy Maud Montgomery. Or Jane Austen. I’ve liked her stories pretty much since I saw the 1995 Ang Lee adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, but I never really pursued the Austen path until now. Before I got my Kindle I had read Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Emma. I hadn’t seen any of the movies aside from the aforementioned Sense and Sensibility, but that’s all going to change.

Given that she only wrote six complete novels (there are a few other works here and there, look it up on Wikipedia if you want to know more, that’s what I did), I am now 2/3 through her books and 1/2 through the movies and I guess I will be through all of it completely by the end of the year at the latest (I’m guessing earlier).

The thing about her books is that they’re are surprisingly intelligent, funny and witty. I have my problems with Charles Dickens or at least I had them with Great Expectations which I thought dragged on a bit whereas Pride and Prejudice pretty much just flies by.

As for my favorites, I think I want to wait until I finished all of the novels and come back to that question then. So far it’s Pride and Prejudice which seem like the most mature and complex novel to me so far. I wasn’t completely convinced by Emma, although I’m looking forward to watching the movie adaptation. Northanger Abbey might be the most ironic so far, but that’s also the book’s biggest problem as it’s hard to sympathize with a heroine who is mostly a naive dud. And I need to re-read Sense and Sensibility to be able to judge it.

Pretty sure though that Sense and Sensibility will win the favorite adaptation award, mostly because of Alan Rickman. I know it’s a bit unfair, but I’m helpless that way. Anything with Alan Rickman automatically wins. That’s just how it is.

So I’ll get back to you when I’m done with the three books I still mean to read and have watched at least one film adaptation of each book and write about the ultimate Austen experience. Since I also need  to finish George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, I guess I’ll be pretty busy this summer. But at least I won’t be bored.