We had absolutely beautiful weather today. I told Bill I wanted to go out and do something. We gave some thought to driving to Stuttgart, but I noticed the time. It was about 1:00pm and I knew we wanted lunch. Given that a lot of places stop serving lunch at 2:00pm, I suggested to Bill that we stop in Herrenberg. We did... and we never made it out of Herrenberg today! Read on to find out why...
We parked in a leafy parking area... 2 euros for 48 hours!
Both of our times in Germany, Bill and I have lived close to Herrenberg, a small city south of Stuttgart. During our first time here, we lived near Tuebingen and spent more time there than in Herrenberg. This time, we live near Nagold, and go there more often. But Herrenberg has a whole lot going for it, as we found out today. There are great restaurants and places to shop, as well as friendly people.
They were just finishing up the market when we arrived. We decided to have lunch at Osteria da Gino's. We have also been to a restaurant with the same name in Nagold several times-- this one in Herrenberg is different, but equally excellent. Both times we've been in there, it's been very well attended.
Today was actually the first time Bill and I have ever eaten at the Osteria da Gino's in Herrenberg. The first time we tried to, it was absolutely packed and we were turned away. It was pretty busy today, too. For that reason, it may be a good idea to make reservations if this review tempts you.
Obligatory shot of Bill.
The inside of Osteria da Gino's in Herrenberg is very quaint and smells delicious! They have an impressive array of wines available. We ordered a small carafe of primitivo and our usual sparkling water.
Right now, Osteria da Gino is offering a number of dishes with black truffles from the Piedmont area of Italy, as well as fresh mussels. I like mussels, but it's one of those dishes I only want maybe once a year. We had them a few weeks ago in Belgium. I opted for duck breast in a raspberry balsamic sauce with noodles and fresh vegetables. I was glad I asked our waiter, who spoke English, what kind of vegetables came with this dish. It turned out they were serving it with mushrooms! But they kindly left them off for me.
My duck breast was delicious! I think that pasta was homemade, too.
Beautiful fresh vegetables, delicately seasoned and still bright with color... I wouldn't be surprised if they were very recently plucked from the garden.
Bill prepares to enjoy a very nice pasta dish with vegetables and black truffles. Those truffles were very fragrant.
Lovely, quaint interior. I noticed many people enjoying pizzas, which Gino in Nagold does not offer. The pizzas looked excellent. Maybe next time we'll try them.
Bill and both loved our meals at Osteria da Gino's in Herrenberg. No, it's not like the one in Nagold, which is a favorite place of ours, but it's probably just as good and offers different food. We will definitely have to go back. Today's lunch came to 52 euros before the tip.
Excellent location right by the main square in Herrenberg. You can't miss it.
Cute little market on a corner.
After lunch, we decided we might try the little Irish pub in Herrenberg. I had been curious about it for a long time. But first, we stopped by a whisky store... and that turned out to be a VERY successful stop on many levels. Alte Brennerei in Herrenberg sells wines, spirits, and a small selection of gourmet foods. It reminds me a little bit of Vinum in Tuebingen, though it's a bit smaller. I had seen it a few times on recent trips to Herrenberg, but we never seemed to get there when it was open. Today, we were in luck.
The doors were open wide!
Unfortunately, we were too late to visit the cheese shop across from it, which also sells wine.
The cheese shop closed at 2:00... The Alte Brennerei is open until 4:00.
We walked in and immediately heard a very tall German looking woman speaking perfect American accented English. Then she switched to equally perfect German. She was with a man and a child. The man was clearly NOT American, but also spoke excellent English, as did the store's proprietor. The English speaking German customers said the store had a great selection of scotch whiskys. Bill and I concurred, having recently been on a whisky cruise.
I was impressed by the selection of wines, too.
It's not a big shop, but there are lots of interesting wines available from all over...
After we chose a few bottles, we went back to the whisky area. Bill chose one to take home and we talked more with the English speaking Germans. It turns out they live very close to us, in the town of Jettingen. I asked the lady if she was American or German, because her English was so perfect I honestly couldn't tell. It turned out she's German, but was raised in the United States. And she lives right across the street from Tommi's Bistro, which is one of our favorite restaurants. She gave me a card and told me to give her a call sometime. She said she was happy to meet us because there aren't a lot of Americans where we are. And she has a cute little daughter who needs to practice speaking English! I don't mind, especially since she and her husband have good taste in booze!
After they left, we tried a Viognier and added it to our collection of bottles. We chatted up the proprietor, who turned out to be an excellent business woman. She really knew her whiskys and had also spent some time in Scotland. She'd even visited a lot of the distilleries we've been to, including Kilchoman in Islay, which is a fairly new one. She smiled when I told her the Scots are my people.
I mentioned to her that I have a wine group on Facebook and she said that they would be very happy to arrange a wine or whisky tasting for groups of ten or more. Alte Brennerei also hosts a number of events. I picked up a calendar and hope we can make it to a few of them. I have a feeling we could learn a lot there! And, just so you know, they accept credit cards. We used our USAA card with no issues.
They even have Scottish cider.
After we dropped off our booze at the car, we headed for Shannon Irish Pub in Herrenberg. And, let me just say, it's no Auld Rogue. We arrived right after it opened at 3:00. Not many people were there and German and American pop music blared from the speakers. The bartender was German and spoke no English. And there was no Guinness to be found. What they did have was Murphy's Irish Stout, so that's what we had.
A couple of shots of the bar area.
Peanut butter "Flips"... definitely a German snack. Though I can't complain because I like them.
Another part of the bar...
Service was friendly enough, and I noticed that the prices for the whiskys and whiskeys were reasonable. It just didn't seem much like an Irish pub as much as it was a German bar trying to be Irish. It's definitely not as charming or authentic as The Auld Rogue is. And I was shocked that there was no Guinness! That's crazy! But, as bars go, it wasn't that bad... Just don't expect authenticity.
The backside of the bar.
All in all, we had a great day. We were reminded that we need to visit Herrenberg more often. We usually just go there to take the dogs to the vet or pass through to get to Stuttgart. It's a great town, though, with a lot to offer. And Alte Brennerei is definitely a great find for those who like their booze. Right next door to Alte Brennerei is the Gasthof Lamm, which is a great little restaurant where we had Thanksgiving last year. Granted, it was German food, but it was cozy and cute and the food was good.
Herrenberg is a great little town. It also seems to be the place to see and be seen. Last time we were there, we ran into our neighbors from our first time in Germany (07-09) and they knew us right away. This time, we ran into people who live in our town now!
Maybe tomorrow, we'll make it to Stuttgart.