Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wenn in Bayern...

...eat like the Bavarians do. At least, that is what the menu at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich promises tourists from in- and outside the country. I visited once with my family back in 2000 but don't remember anything except my parents drinking beer. I got another chance to appreciate this "cultural landmark" after the graduate-student German history conference I attended at the end of May/beginning of June. While an oom-pa-pa band led drinking songs downstairs, our group had two tables reserved upstairs, where it was quiet enough to hold (bi-lingual) conversations with one another.

Although we had a special, limited menu, I found myself overwhelmed by the choices. It all looked so good! Knowing the size of the entrees was likely to be bigger than anything I could eat on my own (and travel made leftovers impractical), I eventually opted to have two appetizers and share a dessert. A nice glass of white wine rounded out this three-course meal. (Ich trinke kein Bier.)

Rinderkraftbrühe mit großem hausgemachtem Leberknödel

First up, soup. I chose the "beef broth with large house-made liver dumpling." I wish I had thought to take a "before" picture, because the dumpling really was the largest ball of meat I have even seen. It was savory, delicious, and soon all gone.

Next was a cheese course of something I had never heard of before: Obatzda. This typical Central European biergarten food is a mixture of soft cheese, butter, and spices like paprika and cumin. Served with two slices of bread, onions, and a garnish of lettuce, it was almost too rich for me to eat by myself. Here I am, cheesing it up for the camera.

It's hard to go wrong with powdered sugar.

Despite the copious amounts of food and alcohol being consumed around the table, one of the conference organizers thought we would be able to polish off an order of Kaiserschmarrn, a sort of chopped up pancake served with powdered sugar and applesauce. Despite the promise of an "authentic" Bavarian experience, however, this dish originated next door, with Kaiser Franz Josef (1830–1916) of Austria!

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