Saturday, September 30, 2017

Lunch at Gaststätte Stern and liquor at Vinum!

It's been yet another exasperating week here in Germany.  My landlady is a nice lady, but lately she is on my last nerve.  It's a long, irritating story that I won't get into right now, except to say that I really needed an outing today to remind me why we still live here and rent our residence.  I am 45 years old and always thought I'd own my own house by now, but circumstances have prevented that reality so far.  So here I am, putting up with shit from my landlady, who evidently thinks I'm 12 and need instructions on everything... including how to use the toilet. (I'm serious-- she really did this, though it happened a few years ago.  Right now, I'm apparently responsible for acts of God.).

I do love Germany and mostly enjoy Germans, but they do have a different culture here.  Sometimes I need to be reminded why it's good to live here.  Today, Mr. Bill and I decided to go to Tübingen, a favorite haunt when we lived here the first time, from 07-09.  I had given serious thought to going to Calw and checking out the Fischmarkt, but we were out of wine.  It had been a long time since our last visit to Vinum, our favorite place to buy wine and other delectables.  I was thinking we'd pick up some vino and have lunch.  Since we arrived at just after one o'clock, we thought it would be better to eat first.


The sign outside Stern.

Right next to Vinum, there is an Italian restaurant called Gaststätte Stern.  We had never eaten there before and, as we noticed most of the city's eateries were full of patrons, we decided to stop in for lunch.  The outdoor tables at the front of Stern were full, so we opted to eat inside, were there were a few open tables.  Stern also has an outdoor courtyard that you have to access through the dining room.  It, too, was full of people.

We sat down and after a few minutes, a waitress brought us a menu highlighting today's specials, as well as a wine list.  A couple of items were sold out, which was no big deal.  Service was a bit slow, mainly because the restaurant was very busy.  However, though the service was slow, the wait staff was friendly and professional.  I wasn't hangry, so it was okay to chill with wine and fizzy water.  Here are a few photos from today's lunch adventure.


Bill checks out the cool looking art on the wall...


Like this... it had a price tag of 28 euros.  I liked it.

I saw a few things on the menu I liked.  One was the avocado salad pictured below.  I asked the waitress if it was large and she said it was "vorspeisen".  She brought out two plates so we could share it.  I was glad she did that...


This was a beautiful salad, but it was good that we shared it.  It was a special today, running a little over eight euros.  This salad was avocados, tomatoes, onions, basil, capers, and a little olive oil.  I don't usually like raw tomatoes that much, but these were very flavorful and went well with the avocados.  The capers really set off the dish with their mild mustard flavor.

There was a rather lengthy wait for our main courses.  For that reason, it was good that we had a salad first, coupled with bread.  There were three or four women covering the whole restaurant and they were very busy.  While we were waiting, a middle aged lady scooted into the table next to ours.  At first, I thought she and her husband, who joined her later, were Italians.  Indeed, it looked like a few Italians were dining at Stern today.  But then she started talking and it became clear that they were Spanish.  And they had arrived at the end of the lunch rush, so several of the specials were sold out.  


Bill scored one of the dishes that sold out... it had rigatoni, tomatoes, basil, and eggplant, as well as a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.


I went with spaghetti with fruits of the sea.  My dish had octopus, calamari (squid), shrimp, mussels, and tomatoes.  It was drizzled with a little olive oil.  I could not finish this dish, but it was delicious.  I especially enjoyed it washed down with a little reserve Chianti.


A look at the bar area and courtyard during a lull in service.

All told, our lunch ran us about 60 euros before the tip.  That was for two entrees, a salad, three glasses of nice wine, sparkling water, and bread.  After lunch, we went next door to Vinum, which we knew would be closing at four o'clock.  After tasting a few of the wines being featured, we picked out a couple of featured bottles...


Vinum also has wines on tap.  Buy or bring a bottle and you can score a bargain.  I was also told yesterday that Vinum will accept VAT forms.  We don't use them that often ourselves, but some American readers with SOFA status may be interested in saving the tax.

I found a nice reserve Lemberger wine from here in BW.  Then I found Bill, who was very excited...


Vinum had a couple of bottles of Georgian wine!  I used to live in Armenia, which is just south of Georgia and also has good wines.  Bill went TDY to Georgia and learned just how excellent Georgian wines are.  It was exciting to find them here in Germany!

I had to tell the Asian saleslady about why we were excited to find Georgian wine.  I also told her about Armenian brandy and that if Vinum carried it, we'd be buying it.  Right now, I order it from Master of Malt out of England.  We bought 110 euros worth of vino... then headed out of the shop, where a guy was preaching to the masses in English.


He was right by the church.




Lots of people were up in the tower, looking out over the city.


I have never seen anyone preaching in English here before.

We headed to the main square and I realized I heard a bagpiper.  Sure enough, there was a guy there playing the pipes.  I was rather tickled, since we just left Scotland ten days ago.






Then I spotted a Vom Fass!

I was pretty excited to find Vom Fass in Tübingen.  Although we've been to the city a few times this year, for some reason, I never noticed it before today.  I asked the saleslady how long they'd been there and she said one year and four months.  We bought three liqueurs for the next time my landlady annoys me or I have PMS.  And we promised the saleslady we'll be back!



You can buy one of these bottles or bring your own and fill up for a bargain.  Or you can buy pre-bottled stuff, like we did.  They have oils, vinegars, wines, and spirits.

After we left Vom Fass, we ran into a guy blowing big bubbles...


But not before we walked down a quaint alley.





Bubbly!


Probably the best bubble pic I got.



I heard the piper again and got a short video for posterity.


Here he was, playing for the folks eating Italian and/or doner kebab.


We passed this vegetable stand on the way to Die Kelter, where we stopped for one last pee break and a round.  


Here's a sign reminding people not to cross the street unless they see the green man.  Remember, children are watching!

We managed to get all the way home before the rain started coming down.  I am now sitting here thinking we'll have to enjoy some of that vino we picked up today.  I love visiting Tübingen.  It always reminds me why I like living in Germany, even when my overbearing landlady makes me want to hop on a plane out of here.  Not for nothing... she really is a nice lady.  She just needs to back off before I turn into an ugly American.



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