May 022015
Tonka Bean Bonanza

  Shortly after we arrived in Offenburg, I got some gourmet hot chocolate that boasted the flavor of “Tonkabohnen”, tonka beans. Never having heard of this spice, I immediately did some research. Tonka beans are a South American legume with similar chemical properties to vanilla. They also contain a naturally occurring substance called coumarin (not to be confused with Coumadin, which is a blood thinning medication derived from but not chemically equivalent to coumarin- see […]

Nov 112013
German Japanese Vietnamese

Sunday was Johan’s birthday, so he invited folks out to a brand new Sushi & Vietnamese restaurant in town called YamYam.  Now, you must understand that this area of Germany does not have a large Asian population- though Dusseldorf to our north has, I am told, the largest Japanese immigrant population in Europe.  Thus, most restaurants in this area tend to serve an odd sort of mixed-bag “Asian” cuisine.  Strasbourg is a bit better, but […]

Aug 182013
Party Week- Emily and Niko Poland Bound

Sadly, two of my favorite Offenburg denizens are making a Big Move.  In the US, when someone takes a distant job it is likely to be in another state.  Here, with country-sizes shrunk a bit, a distant job is likely to take you to a different country.  Our friend Niko has taken a job in Warsaw! My Great-Grampa Englebert Kwasigroch (pronounced just like its spelled, quazi-grow, of course!) would surely approve.  And, yes, Warsaw is […]

Aug 032013
Auenheim BBQ

Ever since summer started, our friend Emily has been trying to get the group together for a big BBQ.  But, somehow there was always something in the way.  It was too hot.  It was too rainy.  Everyone was broke.  People were out of town.  But, since Emily and her hubby Niko will be moving to Poland very soon, it was time to put the excuses aside.  Today it was hot AND rainy, but we had […]

Jul 162013
Weird German Food of the Week:

Yes, that is a Soy Sausage.  In fact, it is a Soy Pork Sausage because, come on, even if you are a lactose intolerant vegetarian, this is still Germany!

Jun 162013
Offenburg International Festival

I have, in the past, likened this event to a larger and more adult version of the Girl Scout International Fests that DD and I participated in back in the day.  Little booths line the marktplatz and the town is awash with spicy and sweet smells, ethnic music, and lots and lots of people. This year we sampled a new treat apparently from Hungary and Romania-  kürtös kálacs.  They are normally made on a BBQ, […]

May 072013
Focus Point: Pizza, Weird German Food of the Week

Let’s talk Pizza. I have mentioned German Pizza in previous posts, but it is so delightfully NOT what an American might expect, it deserves a post all of its own.  First off, it is important to know that there are three main providers of pizza in Germany. Actual Italian restaurants run by actual Italians.  These places tend to be expensive, but good.  Italy is just down the road, so you can expect fresh, authenic sauces, […]

Apr 222013
In the mean time

Germany is still a bit wacky. In other news DS got new braces got a new brace.  We remembered at the last minute that he is allergic to nickel, which is part of the stainless steel they make braces out of.  SO, they decided to test out just one brace on his mouth.  He gets the full set on Tuesday. Otherwise, the big news around here has been the advent of Spring.  It really is […]

Apr 062013
Emily's Birthday 2013

Sunday is officially Emily’s birthday, so, as far as the BFG crew were concerned, this was an occasion for: STEAK!  Also, tentacles.  And bread.  And meats of all kinds (though David eventually decided against the bunny rabbit).  There was also Big Money being flashed, and one of the least inviting toilet seats in my travels. The fan favorite restaurant for such events is Ranchito in the next town over- it, like most steak houses in […]

Mar 062013
Focus Point: Foods of the Journey (Weird German Foods of the Week)

Ok, so here is the fun stuff.  What did we eat and how was it? First up, Breakfast.  German breakfast is quite different than breakfast in the US.  They don’t really do pancakes, french toast, bacon and eggs, omelets or the like.  Typical German breakfasts seem to consist of rolls, cold cuts, jams and marmalade, soft boiled eggs and/or maybe meuslix or another breakfast cereal (all called “corn flakes”).  Hotels that cater to English speaking […]