Friday, January 30, 2015

Our second Hello Fresh meal

For a look at our first Hello Fresh meal, click here.

Last night Bill and I enjoyed our second Hello Fresh meal.  When I say we "enjoyed it", I'm being truthful.  I liked it better than the first one Bill fixed on Wednesday night.  One of the reasons it went better was because Bill took the recipe to work and had it translated before he started trying to cook it.  That made for a much less hectic cooking experience and better prepared food.  Here are some photos of the process of making last night's meal of chicken with carrot-yogurt salad and baked sweet potato wedges.

Bill's translated directions...

Chopping red onion, carrot, and lemon...

These were served as a garnish.  We don't usually have those in our house!

Red onion "cooking" in a little lemon juice.  The citrus cooked onions were added to chopped carrots, almonds, a little yogurt, almonds, and parsley for a very nice salad.  We don't usually have "those" in our house, either!

Sweet potato wedges baking in the oven.  These were later seasoned with a spice mix that came with the Hello Fresh kit.  The spices really added an interesting twist to the sweet potatoes.  I don't even like sweet potatoes very much, but I enjoyed these very much.

Carrot being grated. 

Cooking the chicken.  We got a little more chicken than beef and it was very good, especially with the yogurt dressing Bill made to go with it.  It reminded me a little of tzatziki.  I don't usually like yogurt much, either, but was pleasantly surprised.

The end result.  

Very tasty!

Much to my surprise, I liked this meal more than I did the steak and potatoes we had on Wednesday.  One of the main reasons I liked it better was because the end result turned out more like what I think the Hello Fresh people envisioned.  Our first attempt was made more difficult by Bill's attempt to translate as he went along.  By getting the recipe pre-translated, he saved himself time and effort and was more able to concentrate on the cooking.  Yes, it should go without saying that non-German speakers should get the recipes translated before trying to cook the Hello Fresh.  I just want to emphasize that it made a world of difference in the quality of our end product.

This meal was easier to make and the chicken portions were larger.  We had plenty to eat and I attained a new appreciation for sweet potatoes, yogurt, and salad.  That's a good thing.  We have one more meal to try before we decide if we want to subscribe to Hello Fresh or just order another single box.  I have a feeling it's going to be a winner.  It's pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil, and mascarpone cheese, which I have a feeling I will love.  Stay tuned! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Our first Hello Fresh meal...

As promised, Bill and I prepared the first of our three Hello Fresh meals last night.  We opted to cook the steak, broccoli, and potatoes dish.   Here's how it went.

Bill peruses the recipe.  It was in German, but the Google Translate feature on his tablet was a big help.  He hovered the camera over the recipe card and Google Translate instantly turned the German words into English.

I paused for a beer break.  That is a Chimay Gold, which I ordered from

A closer look at the translation process.

Boiling the potatoes, which would eventually be mashed with chicken broth and roasted onions.  I usually do this with butter and milk or cream, so the mashed potatoes were probably a bit less fattening last night.

Washing the broccoli.

Chopping the broccoli into florets.

We put the broccoli into a small casserole dish with a little olive oil (which we provided) and salt.  This was the first time we cooked broccoli this way and Bill said he liked it.

At about this point, the kitchen area was getting too crowded, so I waited in the living room while Bill made the red peppercorn cream sauce and cooked the steaks.  I will mention that the steak portions were very small; however, they did appear to be about the size recommended for adults (about the size of a deck of cards).  Bill and I already eat too much meat, so the small serving size wasn't a bad thing for us.  For other people, it may not have been enough.  Also, we had to provide bullion/chicken stock for the potatoes.  For some reason, that was not included in the box.

There were a lot of steps in the cooking process and at one point, the smoke alarm went off.  That's good.  At least we know it works.  I will say the food smelled good and it was definitely a change from what we usually eat.

This was the end result...  It took about 40 minutes to prepare and was pretty edible, though Bill did overcook the steaks a bit.  Next time, he won't put them in the oven to keep them warm after he cooks them.

Looks pretty close to what's on the advertising...

I note that this is a dish that most likely would appeal to Germans.  I didn't think this was bad at all, but when it comes to mashed potatoes, I am a purist and like them plain with a little salt and butter.  I don't think we will do the mashed potatoes with roasted onions again, though Bill said he was glad to get the chance to try them a different way.  He does plan to oven roast the broccoli again and we both liked the peppercorn sauce that went with the meat.  With a little practice, we could probably get that down pretty well.

Part of the reason we're doing this is because we want to expand our experiences with different foods rather than cook the same things all the time.  If we recreate last night's meal, we will definitely add our own touches to it.  But overall, Bill and I were pleased with the process of making this first meal. It was plenty of food, though the portion sizes included more potatoes and broccoli than beef.  We do have plenty of leftover potatoes.

Tonight, we will try the chicken breast with sweet potato wedges and carrot-yogurt salad.  I am not really a sweet potato fan, though I have heard they are very good for you.  I will try my best to give them a fair shot tonight and will report on our efforts tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hello Fresh!

A few weeks ago, someone on the Stuttgart Friends Facebook group asked about getting boxes of vegetables from co-ops in Germany.  Although I have never ordered vegetables that way, I am interested in doing it.  I need to broaden my palate and both my husband and I could stand to improve our diets.

Several co-ops are available in our area.  One person recommended Hello Fresh, which is not really a co-op per se, but a company that prepares boxes of fresh food that can be turned into delicious meals.  Hello Fresh is an international company, but I had not heard of it before I came to Germany.  I read up on it and didn't give it another thought until I was on an Air Berlin flight back from Hamburg.  The airline's magazine had a coupon for 20 euros off a box of food from Hello Fresh.  Since the boxes for three meals serving two people run about $50 (39.99 euros), I thought that was a generous deal.  I talked to Bill about it and, since he does a lot of the cooking and shopping, he decided it would be worthwhile to try Hello Fresh.

Here's someone's Hello Fresh review posted on YouTube.  These reviews are also what helped me take the plunge.

It turned out the 20 euro coupon was only good if you became a subscriber (two box minimum).  Since I wanted to just try the service, I went ahead and ordered a one time "Probierbox-Classic".  It cost about $51 and contains enough food for two people and three meals.  The box arrived a little while ago and I just unpacked it.  I'm very impressed thus far.  Have a look at these photos...      

The UPS guy joked that he'd brought me my Mittagessen.  Special thanks to Duolingo for teaching me that much German.

First impression of unpacked box.  Everything is neatly packed.

Fresh broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and an onion.  Pasta from Italy.

Recipe cards with photos.  Yes, the directions are in German.  Here's a good chance to exercise my budding German skills.  I'm sure the photos will help.

Directions are on the back...  Includes serving size info.

Fresh tomatoes.

Fresh basil.

Almonds, garlic, and spices

Cold pack with cream, mascarpone cheese, yogurt, and fresh mozzarella...

Fresh beef and fresh chicken.

Coupons for other services.

And the card that started my experiment.  I will very likely be subscribing, so I will get to use it.

Hello Fresh offers boxes that contain meat and vegetables, but they also have boxes for vegetarians and boxes with just fruit.  The boxes contain all you would need for the recipes featured except for some very basic ingredients like salt and pepper.  You don't have to get a box every week and you can pause service when necessary.  Next week's boxes have recipes that use mushrooms.  I don't eat mushrooms, so I won't be ordering that one; but I may very well get the box offered next.  We got the smallest box offered, which is for two people.  They do have larger boxes that contain enough food for four people.  They also offer boxes that have five meals for two or four people.

You do have to order your box before a certain time each week if you want one for the following week.  Once you order, Hello Fresh is great about keeping in touch and letting you know when to expect your delivery.  Mine was scheduled between 8:00am and 12:00pm today.  If no one will be home to collect the delivery, you can specify for it to be left with a neighbor or make other arrangements.  When you have ordered five boxes, you can return all the packaging materials to Hello Fresh and they will recycle it for you.

Here's one potential drawback to this service.  Say you don't like pork or, like me, you hate mushrooms.  Unfortunately, you can't ask for a substitution.  You can order a different box, say the vegetarian one or the fruit one.  But, say if you prefer the classic boxes that include meat, they won't give you a different recipe.  The recipes also vary and don't tend to be repeated.  If they do have one that turns out to be especially popular, the Hello Fresh folks might repeat it after at least fifteen weeks.  For more information about how this service works, I recommend opening the Hello Fresh Web site on Chrome (if you don't understand German) and reading the FAQs there to decide if their conditions are acceptable to you.  The nice thing is, if the boxes contain something you don't like, you don't have to buy them each week, even if you are a subscriber.

Bill and I will try making one of these meals tonight.  Stay tuned to find out how it went.  I have a feeling Bill will want me to order again since the service is very convenient.  The shopping is done for you and the ingredients are very high quality and fresh.  It also appears to be a great way to expand your culinary horizons and try something new.  I look forward to our experiments!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My new German dentist...

Okay, so he's not actually German.  He's Dr. Blair, an American who lives in Germany and speaks the language fluently.  I chose him because he specializes in gums and implants.  I figured I'd have issues with both.

I've been having problems with a baby tooth for the past few months.  We finally went to the dentist today for a cleaning because we were waiting for insurance to kick in and it didn't until the New Year.  I didn't want to start something and have it be a "pre-existing condition".  Bill and I both went in for cleanings.  Let me first say the cleaning in and of itself was an experience.

First, the hygienist had me swish with mouthwash.  Next, she had me swish with this blue stuff-- same stuff they give to kids to show them where the plaque is.  I seem to be doing relatively well keeping my teeth clear of plaque and tartar, except between the teeth.  Then she put a mask over my face and used this sonic water and sand thing to blast all the crap off my teeth.  That was pretty intense.  It was like a Water-Pic on steroids... very high pressure with some kind of sandy stuff, too, which she "vacuumed" with that tool they use for sucking up saliva.  She also had me do a lot of rinsing, which American dentists don't seem to do so much anymore.

Next, she used a probe to clean around the gums, then polished, flossed, and gave me a flouride gel to swish around in my mouth.  When she was finished, she gave me a hot, wet, lemon scented towel.  The whole time, there was instrumental, progressive music in the background... I think at least some of it was the Alan Parson's Project.  That was the first time I was ever given a hot towel after a cleaning.  I must say, it was very nice.  I felt like I was in a spa.  They also had a cuspidor (spittoon), which I haven't seen in years.  American dentists don't use them anymore.

Then Dr. Blair came in and looked at my teeth.  I explained about my issues and he noted the fistula in my gum, which was draining a little bit of pus.  They took an x-ray, then called me in to the dentist's office to discuss what to do about my tooth.

I can try to have the tooth root-canaled, but Dr. Blair doesn't think that would be the best solution because it's a baby tooth.  He explained that the roots of baby teeth are flat, which makes them harder to work with, and mine appear to be short.  He also says my sinuses are "low", which could mean more of a challenge.  I could end up needing a "sinus lift", whatever the hell that is.  It appeared to Dr. Blair that the pulp chamber of my tooth was "obliterated".  I asked if that meant it was dead.  He said he couldn't really tell; then he showed me the canals on the tooth, one of which looked viable.  Anyway, the tooth is not loose at all and doesn't hurt much, except for when the gum swells up.  Because of the fistula, the infectious crap can drain before I am in agony.  Aside from having some infection, I'm not in an emergency situation.  But something does need to be done soon.

He said I could also have the tooth pulled and just live with the gap or get a flipper type thing, which he pronounced "a joke".  I have kind of been steeling myself for the prospect of an implant for some time, so this news isn't a surprise to me.  I just dread the process and the expense.  But I also want to be rid of this swollen gum.

I expressed concern about pain and being nervous.  He said, "We have Valium for that."  Okay then.  I asked Bill what Valium is like because I've never taken it.  He said it's like having a couple of drinks and jerking off...  as opposed to Xanax, which just makes you not care about anything.  His exact words were "Train coming?  Big deal."

I liked Dr. Blair and was impressed by the cleaning.  I'd rather spend the money for an implant on a trip, though.  Fortunately, for once, Bill didn't have any issues with his teeth.  

We'll get two bills... one from Dr. Blair and one from the hygienist.  Should be pricey.  Ugh.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sexy German ads...

I was just playing SongPop on Facebook.  Between rounds, I had to watch an ad for the game's sponsors.  This is what played...

Now... although Americans are becoming a whole lot less prudish about sex than they once were, I doubt I'd see anything like this on American television.  I have to give mad props to the ad agency that came up with this.  It's very creative and funny., for your edification, is a sex store.  You can buy vibrators, paddles, and whatnot there.  Not that I'm in the market for any sex toys.  Maybe I should be, though.

And sex sells Sprite, too...

In America, we got Paris Hilton washing cars while eating a big Carl Jr.'s burger...

At least the German ads make me laugh.  I love that you can see ads for vibrators in German media.  In the USA, the most we get are ads for lube.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ding Dong!

I hear this too often.

Yesterday, I was minding my own business at my computer when the doorbell rang.  When I lived in the United States and people rang my bell unexpectedly, I usually didn't answer it.  Here in Germany, I answer because sometimes it's my landlords or someone coming by on business.  Like, for instance, a couple of weeks ago, the chimney sweep came by.  What I miss about our old house in Germany was that there was a window by the door that wasn't covered in decorative 70s era glass.  You could look out and see who was calling.  Here, we have a peephole.  I should probably use it more often.

Anyway, the bell rang.  I hustled the dogs into the downstairs "apartment".  I opened the door and it was an older gentleman who ignored our "Keine Werbung" (no advertising) sign left by people who lived here before us.  He was holding a catalog and a roster.  He launched into a rapid fire German spiel.  I stopped him and said I didn't understand.  He switched to decent English and said he was representing a company that sells frozen foods.  He wanted my phone number so "some girl" could call me for my order.  He proffered a catalog, which I initially took.

I told him, truthfully, that we don't have a house phone.  He wanted my cell number.  I do have one of those, but I haven't yet memorized the number.  Really, I haven't.  No one ever calls me and I don't call myself.  So I don't know it off the top of my head.  So I told him I didn't know the number.  But I said I'd take a look at the catalog because, honestly, we might have been interested.  In fact, I just ordered a box from the German version of Hello Fresh! the other day.   

Well, my uninvited visitor's demeanor immediately changed from friendly and enthused to decidedly pissy.  He wanted the catalog back.  I gave it to him and closed the door, feeling bewildered.  I mean, does he not have enough catalogs?  Does he only give them to people who give him a phone number?  Seems like a stupid way of doing business, because if I had liked what I saw, I very well may have ordered.  I just prefer to call companies myself rather than being ambushed in my home and having my phone number demanded of me.  Next time, I won't even listen to the spiel.

Then this morning, around 11:00 or so, the bell rang again.  Right now, it's 2:33pm and I'm still not dressed.  Fortunately, my husband is dressed and home.  He answered the door.  It was the Jehovah's Witnesses.  We are very familiar with them, of course.  We get a visit from them every time we move.  I swear, I even got a visit from them in 1996, when I lived in Armenia.  They are everywhere.

I was actually a little worried that it might have been a neighbor coming over to complain because Bill took the dogs out in the wee hours of the morning for a pee and they got on a scent and started barking up a storm.  But no, it was someone peddling religion.  Bill is a lot nicer than I am.  He listened to the lady, who had a cute little daughter in tow, and took her card.  Of course, he probably wasn't thinking about how that child was being taught that people like us are going to be doomed to hell for not being JWs... but on the other hand, most JWs are also doomed because only 144,000 will be saved in the remnant and most of them have already died.

I really need to quit answering the door.  On the other hand, sometimes unexpected visitors give me something to write about.  If the Mormons come, things might get more interesting.


When religious folks come a calling, this is usually what I end up doing...

I wish people would call before they come calling.  Sometimes, they catch me at very inopportune times.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ten things I learned in Hamburg, Germany...

Whenever Bill and I do a trip somewhere, I like to do a "post-mortem" kind of thing where I think about what I learned during my trip.  Hamburg is a city neither Bill nor I never visited before.  In fact, it was our first trip to "northern Germany", though I hope there will be more.  So here's what we found out during our travels.  Hope you learn something, too.

1.  Alsterwasser is basically the same thing as a Radler (or a shandy).  Basically, it's beer mixed with lemon/lime soda or lemonade.  Alsterwasser is the "northern" version, while Radlers were born in Bavaria.

2.  My German isn't good enough for me to be able to tell that the Schwabisch dialect is way different than the Hamburgisch dialect.  What little spoken German I understand sounds the same in both areas.  That could change sometime.

3.  Hamburg is a great place to go shopping.  There are lots of big name stores there, especially from well known clothing designers.

4.  Hamburg is a great place for eating, too... though there seems to be a huge number of Italian restaurants per capita.  Bill and I saw many Italian places followed by Portuguese restaurants.  We didn't see many German restaurants.  But then, we might not have been looking in the right places.

5.  Hamburg has many bridges, supposedly more so than Amsterdam.  

6.  Hamburg has a "red light" district.  There are even signs on the red light streets (which are actually public places where women can legally walk) "prohibiting" women and men under age 18.  I read that was because women may run the risk of being harassed by working girls.

7.  If you want to get to the Fischmarkt on Sunday, you need to get there early.  By 11:00, they're closing up shop.  By noon, you might as well go somewhere else.

8.  If you go to Hamburg in January, bring a hat and gloves.  A scarf helps too.  It may not snow much there, but there's quite a chilly northern wind coming off the water that will chill you to the bones.

9.  Don't be surprised if you see someone in a convertible with the top down in freezing cold weather.  Germans will take their sunshine when they can get it.  ;)

10.  Sometimes it's a good thing to stand in a two hour security line for a one hour flight.  German strikes are pretty civilized.  Or... at least the one I was involved in was.

If you don't have a dick, stay away from the danger zone...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A review of Thermopyle Greek Restaurant in Herrenberg, Germany...

Last night, on our way home from the airport, it occurred to Bill and me that we didn't have much food in the house.  I suggested we stop for some Greek food in Herrenberg.  We remembered Thermopyle in Herrenberg from the last time we lived in the Stuttgart area from 2007-09.  We only ate there a couple of times, when our friend The Mad Scientist in Entringen was away on holiday.  But we did remember that the food there was very good and it's a popular place with the locals.  Often, when we pass this restaurant, we see it packed with people.

This would look better in the daytime; but that's the sign, anyway.

It was snowing last night, so I figured maybe it wouldn't be quite as busy.  We found a place to park near the train station.  Upon entering Thermopyle, we saw that quite a few folks were out enjoying Greek food, but there was still room for Bill and me.  The very friendly proprietor, whom I remembered from our previous visits, invited us to sit down.

Neither Bill nor I were very hungry.   Fortunately, Thermopyle offers some smaller dishes for people with smaller appetites.  Bill had a small gyros with a Greek salad.  I had souvlaki, which came with a small salad.  He also ordered a half carafe of a Greek wine called Imiglys, which turned out to be a bit sweeter than we prefer.  Next time, we'll get our usual Nemea or Athos.

My salad.

Bill's salad.

The food was very good.  Bill's Greek salad was very large and beautifully presented with butter beans and feta cheese.  My salad was simpler, which was fine with me.  The souvlaki came out on wooden skewers, which were kind of hard to maneuver because the meat kind of stuck to it.  But once I got the meat off the sticks, I was very happy.  I really like the way Thermopyle does t'satziki, with plenty of garlic.  Our dinners also came with crinkle fries, which reminds me of being a kid in the 70s.


We were not offered ouzo when we called for the check, but that was okay.  We both had plenty to drink over the weekend.  The bill came to around 35 euros.

Service was fast and friendly and the proprietor shook our hands before we left!  I'm sure we'll be back, although I'm still partial to my friend The Mad Scientist at Agais.  As an aside, I think this restaurant is worth visiting if only because of all the pictures in the place.  The guy that owns it has had his photo taken with a bunch of famous people, including Don King.

And finally, part eight of our Hamburger tales... coming home!

After we dined at O Cafe Central for lunch, Bill and I went back to the hotel to pick up our bags and get a cab to the airport.  I could hear Bill talking to the concierge guy, who asked where we were from.  Bill said he's from Texas, which is kind of true, since he's spent more of his life there than anywhere else (but since he's a military guy, that's not saying much).  The concierge guy beamed at him and said, "Ah!  That's where Mr. Bush is from!"

It turned out the guy was from the Turkish part of Kurdistan.  The war in Iraq was a good thing for the Kurds, who finally got rid of Saddam Hussein.  Many Kurds think of George W. Bush as a hero.  I know a lot of people hate former President Bush.  Personally, I don't think he was any better or worse than a lot of presidents.  Yes, America took a downturn when he was in office, but there's plenty of blame to go around for that.  At any rate, Bill's conversation with that gentleman was a reminder that perspective is everything.  Not everyone thinks the Iraq War was a disaster and not everyone thinks George W. Bush is the son of Satan.

Yes, this is a Fox News clip, but it does kind of shed light on why many Kurds are Bush fans...

And someone's YouTube tribute to Mr. Bush.
Our cab ride back to the airport was slightly less expensive than the ride into Hamburg was, probably because the cab out used a fixed rate.  For those who are thrifty minded, there is a train that will take you to and from the airport from Hamburg as well.  We probably could have just as easily done that, since we had only small backpacks with us.  But the cab ride gave me a chance to see more of the city and take a photo of a classic Mini Cooper!

You don't see many of these anymore!

Compared to checking in and getting through security at Stuttgart, getting through Hamburg's security was a breeze.  We dropped my bag with Air Berlin, then took all of two minutes to get through the security line.  Then we found a little cafe where we sampled a couple more of Hamburg's beers and I paid five euros for an hour of Internet access.  I would have just used my regular cell phone, but I let the battery die and the SIM card locked.  And then I couldn't remember the stupid code to unlock it.

The McDonald's at the Hamburg Airport has a nice play area!

Flensburger Weissbier and a Pils...  Nice diversion while we waited for our quick flight back to Stuttgart.

Our flight was perfect, other than my unfortunate decision not to pee one last time before we took off.    By the time we were airborne, I was in agony.  But once I had a good whiz, all was well.  And then as we got off the plane, we were presented with yummy Air Berlin chocolates.  Any airline that rewards me with decent chocolate upon landing gets my vote.

All in all, we had a great time in Hamburg.  I wish we'd managed to get to a museum or something, but just the people watching and food was enough to make me want to go back.  Better yet, the city is quite affordable, much moreso than Munich was (at least in our experience).  I recommend Hamburg.  If we have a chance to get back there, we'll make a point of seeing and doing more and eating and drinking less...

We drew from the champagne bucket last night and the winner was Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber.  Guess that's where we're going next!

Part seven of our Hamburger saga!

Yesterday, we decided to try Sofitel's extremely expensive breakfast.  Though there are plenty of places around the hotel that we could have tried, I like to see what hotels offer, especially when they charge 30 euros a person!  And I have to admit, Sofitel's breakfast was very impressive, even though we didn't come close to eating 60 euros worth of food.

The hotel offers a vast array of juices, cereals, breads, cheeses, cold cuts, and even champagne if you want it.  They also have a buffet that includes scrambled eggs, baked beans, sautéed mushrooms (yuck), several kinds of sausages, bacon, and soft and hard boiled eggs.  They have fruit, yogurt, smoked salmon, smoked trout, and other breakfast delicacies.  Yes, you can have most anything you want at Sofitel's breakfast, though I didn't see anything being cooked to order.  Service was pretty good, but not 30 euros good.  Still, they were doing a brisk business.  If we stay there again, we'll go to one of several local cafes and/or coffee shops.  Starbucks is close; so are several Ballzac outlets (whenever I saw the name Ballzac, it made me think of ball sack-- not so appetizing!).

We had several hours to kill before our flight at 4:25pm, so we checked our bags at the hotel after we checked out and did some more walking around Hamburg.  I took more photos so my iPhoto slide show will be more interesting.  One thing I noticed in Hamburg is that many people there are very tall.  It must be the Nordic influence up there because I saw quite a few women who were at least six feet tall and a lot of men who were even taller.  Bill and I are of Celtic descent and we're shorties.  I'm about 5'2" and he's 5'7".  We felt like we weren't done growing.

I also noticed that Hamburg is heavy on designer stores.  I'm sure there are plenty of wealthy people there.  In fact, on the way to the airport, I noticed some very impressive "Victorian" looking homes on the outskirts of town.  But I have to wonder if there really are that many people wanting to spend so much money on clothes and other luxury goods.  I guess there must be, though I didn't see too many people actually shopping in the stores.  I did see a lot of bored looking security guys standing around in the stores.

I mentioned to Bill that though Hamburg has more bridges than Amsterdam does (and I haven't yet really seen Amsterdam, other than the airport), the city reminds me a lot of Oslo.  Fortunately, it's not as expensive as Norway's capital is, but it is just as cold!  Or at least it was when we were there.  We were told Hamburg doesn't get so much snow, though, because it's so close to the water.

After we walked around Hamburg some more, we decided to have lunch.  I noticed a cute little Portuguese place near The Funky Fish and Le Plat du Jour that I wanted to try.  Bill and I headed over there and, boy, did that turn out to be a great ending to our Hamburg adventure!  I think there must be a number of Italian and Portuguese folks in Hamburg because we saw a lot of restaurants featuring either cuisine.  Italian restaurants were especially plentiful.  Curiously enough, we didn't see many Greek restaurants at all.

Anyway, we headed over to this little Portuguese place called O' Cafe Central that is well liked by Yelpers and Trip Advisor.  We didn't check Yelp! or Trip Advisor before we went there.  I just had a good feeling about the place, which was offering a very economical three course lunch special for 10 euros.  We had plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely lunch and when we arrived, I think there was maybe one other party in the place.  By the time we left, it was pretty full.  Obviously, it's very popular with the local business crowd.  After our lunch yesterday, I can see why.  

Service is very prompt and friendly, though I don't think either of the two ladies who helped us were English speakers.  To be honest, though, I found that kind of refreshing.  It forced me to use my fledgling German skills.

The view from our table before the place got busy.

Yesterday's special included a white bean soup with bacon.  This soup was delicious and filling!  It reminded me a little of peanut soup, though I didn't see peanuts listed as a starring ingredient.  It was still a very nice soup for such a chilly afternoon.  

We had a choice between a salmon filet or turkey medallions.  I had the salmon, while Bill had the turkey.  We both really enjoyed our main courses.  My salmon came with some kind vanilla scented fruit.  I'm not sure what it was (ETA: it was pumpkin).  Bill thought it was squash at first, but it was too sweet for that.  It could have been apricots.  Honestly, all I know was that whatever it was, it was delicious!  

Bill's turkey medallions were more savory, served with snap peas and rice.

Our specials came with dessert.  My mouth is watering looking at it right now... They were like little eclairs with raspberry coulis and cream.  Very nice!

We finished up with espresso... all told, our check for our lunch, which included a half liter of house red wine and a bottle of San Pellegrino, was about 32 euros!  That made up for our overpriced breakfast!

Outside the restaurant...

O' Cafe Central was bustling by the time we left.  That's another restaurant I would not hesitate to enjoy again in Hamburg.  Had we not liked the lunch special, we could have ordered off the menu.  We saw people doing that and what was being served looked excellent.  Service was fast, friendly, and very pleasant.  Yet another culinary jewel!  And if you like Portuguese beer, you're in luck... they have Sagres!

Click here for part eight!