I'm glad we went to Stuttgart, even though it's a crowded, busy city. I've kind of been wanting to go downtown for awhile. Actually, I need a date night at a really nice restaurant, but that's what my upcoming birthday is for... hint hint (not that I need to hint to Bill). We parked the car in a big garage near our dentist's downtown office and went searching for lunch.
On the way there, we passed these buskers. One was playing accordion and the other was passionately playing violin with so much emotion that I got very verklempt. I have a weakness for street musicians, especially when they're good. These two went straight to my heart. Unfortunately, they weren't selling any CDs. Bill wasn't the only one to slip them some euros.
This guy was also a skillful busker who was selling CDs, but panpipes don't do it for me... We passed another guy playing acoustic guitar and another playing flute. I really enjoy talented musicians playing in city squares.
We headed off the main drag in Stuttgart and suddenly I noticed a heavenly aroma. I have mentioned in this blog before that I typically trust my nose when I stop at a restaurant. It smelled of garlic, grilled, fresh bread, and exotic spices. That aroma, along with a lovely smile from a striking young woman led me to pick Primo Ristorante X Vineria. We took a two top under the outdoor canopy and checked out the menu, which was helpfully offered in Italian, German, and English.
Bill poses for the camera after ordering glasses of white wine and our usual big bottle of Spruedel. Our wine and water came with fresh bread, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. I had a glass of Lugana Ottella, while Bill had Pinot Bianco Moritz DOC.
I was sitting in a good spot for people watching. I thought it was fun hanging out in the food court at AAFES and watching the people walk by. This place was even more fascinating, as people from all walks of life and different countries passed, sometimes with a significant other or a child and sometimes with a four legged friend. I was especially enjoying the fashion show. I saw quite an array of fashion statements, including one woman who was wearing a t-shirt with pictures of hamburgers over her breasts. I saw another well muscled man wearing a tank top bearing the 7Eleven logo and a pair of cut off jeans shorts.
Bill decided to have the Panzirotti, which was basically ravioli stuffed with cheese and porcini mushrooms. I went with Tagliolini with scallops and a turmeric lime sauce.
Bill's dish was extremely pungent. Some might say it was fragrant. If you like the smell of mushrooms, it probably smelled heavenly. I don't like the smell of mushrooms, but Bill loves everything about the cursed things. He said this dish was delicious... just the right size and delightfully earthy. I took his word for it.
I much preferred my day glow colored scallops and pasta. The scallops were slightly bitter, but the lime and turmeric sauce kind of set off the bitterness. And again, this was just the right size.
Our waitress asked us where we're from. We explained that we're Americans who live locally. She seemed impressed by that news and wondered why we'd want to live in Germany. She was genuinely surprised when we told her how long we've been here and that it was our second time. She might have wondered why our German is so bad, too. I noticed she spoke German and English like an expert.
Next, she told us she's from Iraq and was waiting to get her German passport so she'll be allowed to visit the United States. She told us she hopes to visit within the next year. I was very impressed by how warm, friendly, and genuine our server was. It was her warm, welcoming smile that made me want to sit down in the first place.
The weather was still nice after we finished lunch and an entertaining Spanish family sat down. We could tell they knew the owner, just based on the affectionate way they greeted him. Then I heard them switch from rapid fire Spanish to perfect German. I really need to get back to my language lessons.
I decided to have a glass of primitivo, while Bill had an espresso. I didn't look at the wine list before I ordered this, but I was so impressed by it, that Bill went in to find out the brand. Our waitress told us that everyone loves that primitivo. It was just slightly effervescent. Looking at the menu now, I see it was Primitivo di Manduria
When we left, our waitress bid us a very fond farewell and even taught us a new phrase in Arabic. Perhaps we'll see her again. I would visit Primo another time. We enjoyed lunch there.
Our waitress gave us truly excellent service and it was a real pleasure to sit in her section. I thought she was Italian when we sat down, but then when I looked at her face, I could tell she was Middle Eastern. She had beautiful, thick black hair and topaz colored eyes that matched her bronze skin tone. Aside from being a very attractive young woman, she was also extremely kind and hospitable. I hope she can visit the United States and she's treated well there... at least as well as she treated us today. We really enjoyed talking to her.
After a couple of hours at Primo, we decided to head toward Feinkost Böhm, which is a very expensive and fancy grocery store in downtown Stuttgart that offers everything from fresh sushi to housemade desserts. But before we made it to the Feinkost, we stopped by the Markthalle. I always love going into the Markthalle because it has such a festive atmosphere and one can find all kinds of foods there.
Fresh meats, fresh breads, fresh fruits and vegetables...
Lots of wines...
Sausages and cheeses...
We bought Italian cherries, although they had them from Germany and Spain, too. And we bought limes, in case I get in the mood for a margarita.
We also bought a couple of large, dry-aged, rib-eye steaks, which Bill will be cooking sous vide style and then grilling later.
Fresh fish in the Feinkost. It smelled delicious.
We picked up a couple of bottles of wine at the Feinkost and a little dessert. We may not be at the Army Ball tonight, but I think we'll still have a nice evening. If we'd wanted to, we could have eaten at the Feinkost, which has a lovely restaurant now offering outdoor seating, as well as a sushi bar. No, it's not exactly cheap to shop there, but sometimes it's great for a morale boosting treat.
The Feinkost even has an outdoor champagne bar... God, I love living in Europe!
All in all, we had a really nice afternoon downtown. We need to visit Stuttgart more often, if only so I can burst into tears when I hear a particularly talented street musician play. On our way back to the garage, an acoustic guitar player had taken over the corner where the violinist and accordion player had been. He was doing a mean version of "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon and Garfunkel.