Roast Cornish Hen With Caramelized Onions And Potatoes (Best Potatoes EVER?)

Roast Cornish Hen With Caramelized Onions And Potatoes

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Upon first glance, one’s impression would be that the Cornish Hen is the star of this dish.
While this is certainly the case in the looks-department, when it comes to taste, these potatoes do steal the show. (But of course, the Cornish Hen is awesome as well) 🙂
First, the potatoes and onions are coated in duck fat, seasoned with rosemary sprigs, kosher salt, and fresh-cracked black pepper, then slowly roasted until golden brown. Next, duck stock (or chicken stock)  is added,  topped with a whole Cornish Hen and roasted for another 45 minutes, during which time all the rendered fat from the Cornish Hen, together with its richly seasoned juices, oozes into the potatoes and combine to produce the best potatoes you will find this side of culinary heaven 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Roast Cornish Hen With Caramelized Onions And Potatoes

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Best Potatoes EVER?

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Roast Cornish Hen With Caramelized Onions And Potatoes

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Preparation :
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Easy Does It # 35 – Torrejas

Torrejas

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Like most groups of lovers of traditional, old and beloved dishes, Torrejas have their fans divided into two main parts: on one side of the fence you’ll find the traditionalist’s, who don’t want to change a thing and believe that only the original recipe and ingredients are worthy of  their love, and, on the other side of the fence, the folks who believe that nowadays we have access to better and more varied ingredients and therefore should try to improve recipes whenever possible, as long as the character of a dish is respected.
I personally respect both sides, depending on the dish involved. However, when it comes to Torrejas, I am a big fan of improving the original, which is just stale bread, dipped in milk or wine, then dipped in whole whisked eggs, sautéed and finally sprinkled with sugar. While there is nothing at all wrong with that, I believe you can agree that the version on this page outshines those simple, traditional Torrejas by a mile. (I can imagine the steadfast traditionalist’s reaching for their cannons right now……. 🙂
But anyway, don’t knock it until you try it. I am sure you too will become a convert, at least as far as Torrejas are concerned.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for an easy Cranberry/Pecan-Bread Recipe
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Click here for more  “Easy Does It”  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Pan Perdu (Arme Ritter) (French Toast)  on  ChefsOpinion

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Torrejas

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Torrejas

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Torrejas

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Torrejas

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Preparation :
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Escargots A La Bourguignonne (Snails In Garlic-Herb Butter In The Style Of The Bourguignon)

Escargots A La Bourguignonne (Snails In Garlic-Herb Butter In The Style Of The Bourguignon)

Remembering  the “Good Old Times”, when I went to Germany I was looking forward to enjoy escargot as often as possible, since in the not so distant past, escargot was one of the dishes which one could find on the dinner menu of most restaurants, usually prepared “A La Bourguignonne” and served in their own shells, but also frequently as soup or in puff pastry.
I was disappointed to find that escargots have mostly gone the way of so many other delicacies ( Tortue “Lady Curzon,  Foie Gras, Duck a la PresseTurtle Steaks, Turtle Stews, Abalone Meunière,  Sole Véronique,  Crab Louie,  Trout Almondine,  Canard à l’Orange, just to mention a few…….
I did manage to find snails on two occasions on the menu, but sadly, both were but a shameful rendition of the once glorious dish (One was escargots a la Bourguignonne, which were burned on top and completely tasteless, the other was escargots in puff pastry, which was served in a soggy puff pastry shell, bound with a tasteless white sauce, deprived of even the slightest bit of the de rigueur Pernod, which is supposed to grace the sauce of escargots in cream.
So, as usual, in order to satisfy my craving, I had to prepare it myself at home. In the past, I have tried to find escargots in the grocery stores around here and sometimes scored, but in the past few years I was not able to find them anywhere anymore 😦 . Thank you Lord for the internet 🙂 . I ordered one dozen cans, which arrived a few days later and made me a happy man indeed.
Here now is the first version of Escargot I prepared…….
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Escargots A La Bourguignonne (Snails In Garlic-Herb Butter In The Style Of The Bourguignon)

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Escargots A La Bourguignonne (Snails In Garlic-Herb Butter In The Style Of The Bourguignon)

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Escargots A La Bourguignonne (Snails In Garlic-Herb Butter In The Style Of The Bourguignon)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Who’s Ball’s Are Prettier Than Mine? – Rice Bowl With Spicy Meatballs, Black Beans & Garbanzo Stew

Rice Bowl With Spicy Meatballs, Black Beans & Garbanzo Stew

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Not all meatballs are created equal. Some are different from others,  some are worse than others, and some are better than others.
And then you’ll come across these delicious, juicy, pretty Meatballs here, which are in a class all by themselves. Different? – For sure!  Better? – absolutely!
Well, at least that is my opinion, and I’ll stick to it until somebody can prove me wrong 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Balls  on  ChefsOpinion
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Garlic & Herb Yogurt  recipe :
Mix 1/2 cup Greek yogurt with 1 ea tsp garlic paste, chopped cilantro, chopped parsley and a chiffonade of mint, season with 1 tsp lime juice, and kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste. This pairs well with most grilled and sauteed proteins and veggies 🙂
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Rice Bowl With Spicy Meatballs, Black Beans & Garbanzo Stew

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Rice Bowl With Spicy Meatballs, Black Beans & Garbanzo Stew


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Rice Bowl With Spicy Meatballs, Black Beans & Garbanzo Stew

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Rice Bowl With Spicy Meatballs, Black Beans & Garbanzo Stew

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Rice Bowl With Spicy Meatballs, Black Beans & Garbanzo Stew

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Pièce De Résistance – Salade “l’Italien”

 

“The Italian”

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During the past three weeks, I have lost the 15 lbs I had gained during my trip to Europe. Although I eat what I want every day, my choices are guided by common sense. I do eat starch and protein, but the portions are a lot smaller than one would usually find on my table. On the other hand, I eat LOT’S of fruit, veggies and of course, salad.
Usually, when we think of salad, a wedge of lettuce or some tossed leaves come to mind. But, if the salad is the mainstay of a day’s worth of nutrition, it has to be more complex, filling and satisfying, such as this here beauty 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Italian Vinaigrette Recipe 
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“The Italian”

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“The Italian”

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top with 3 oz of shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

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grind black pepper to taste on top of “The Italian”

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Preparation :
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Tonkatsu With Cilantro/Pomegranate Rice

Cilantro/Pomegranate Rice

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Mixing  freshly steamed rice with cilantro is very common. Mixing cilantro rice with pomegranate seeds not so much, at least I have never seen it before.
But what a treat it is. The combination works very well, and both flavor and texture are outstanding. A great new addition to my standards repertoire 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe  on  ChefsOpinion
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serve with lemon and scallion (optional)

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Tonkatsu With Cilantro/Pomegranate Rice

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Tonkatsu With Cilantro/Pomegranate Rice

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Preparation :
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Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

When contemplating what to prepare for a combined breakfast/lunch today, I found that I had some leftover cooked potatoes, leftover “cebollas en escabeche” (escabeche de cebollas) and a packet of smoked salmon.
Within less than 10 minutes, this gorgeous dish was ready on the table.
Bella and I were happy and content, and cleanup was a snap. Easy peasy 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Cebollas En Escabeche  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Salmon  on  ChefsOpinion
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Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

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Preparation :
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Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Portobello, Broccoli And Tomato

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Portobello, Broccoli And Tomato

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In my opinion, pork tenderloin (fillet) is one of the most underrated cuts of meat. And of course, that is wonderful, because once people catch on, it will be priced out of reach of most folks (Lamb chops, anyone ? 😦 )
But since this has not happened yet, I can enjoy pork tenderloin as often as I wish, without going broke 🙂
This preparation looked and tasted particularly yummy. It’s economical and a snap to prepare, so there is no excuse not to indulge in this beauty once in a while.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Tenderloin  on  ChefsOpinion
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Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Portobello, Broccoli And Tomato

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Portobello, Broccoli And Tomato

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Portobello, Broccoli And Tomato

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

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After a recent bout of gluttony during my month in Europe, I have to lose at least the 15 lbs I gained, and if I continue on my present path of eating and drinking sensibly, maybe even shedding at least 20 lbs in the first month, and another 15 during the second month.
So far I have lost 13 lbs since my arrival 15 day’s ago. 🙂
I am not on a diet, just eating less in general, smaller portions and instead of 2 or 3 large meals a day, only one, with lot’s of fruit and tiny snacks in between. Other than that, I basically eat what I feel like. Pasta (tiny portions), rice (tiny portions), potatoes (tiny portions). Meat and seafood (large portions), fruit (large portions) and huge amounts of salad of any kind, form, and shape, mostly greens with some kind of protein, such as the seafood salad featured here. I have the occasional glass of wine, lots of iced tea and water and a large pot of coffee daily. Breakfast usually consists of a large bowl of starch-free vegetable soup and peppermint tea, alternating on other days with apples and power bars.
So far since I started this, I have not felt hungry and have a lot more energy than when I started this 2 weeks ago.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
If you’d like to lose weight while eating and drinking well, you might want to check this out:
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD ON CHEFSOPINION”

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Click here for more Salads  on  ChefsOpinion
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Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

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Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

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Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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My Trip To Germany And Spain

New Car

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Dear Friends,
Here is a short report of my trip to Germany and Spain, which lasted from September 13th to October 13th.
When I planned the trip, I made a huge mistake by not booking a direct flight to Cologne. The original plan was to fly to Munich, rent a car there and travel in style and comfort with a rented Beamer to Cologne, while visiting friends along the way. Well, it did not go that way………
The first company I booked with tried to scam me out of $450, which took about a week to sort out. Eventually, I got my money back but still did not have a car one week before my trip started.
I then booked another car with another company. Renting a car with automatic transmission and a/c proved to be much more expensive than anticipated, but eventually, I found a great deal for another Beamer for $850 for one month. The only problem – if you want to be 100% insured for all eventualities, the additional insurance for one month runs nearly $1700, so that the total would have been about $2500 for one month. I know that one is supposed to NOT buy the additional insurance since one has coverage with one’s credit card. But I did not want to take the risk to be liable for thousands of $’s in damages if something major would have happened, so the risk was greater than I was willing to accept. Instead, I decided that it would make more sense to buy a car once I get there, since I want to move to Germany anyway next year.
I was not able to find a flight from Munich to Cologne (my main-stop on this trip), so I decided to take the train instead.
I left Ft Lauderdale for my first stop, Philly (2 hours), where I had a 3-hour layover. Then on to Munich (8 hours), where I took the Lufthansa bus to the train station (1 hour). 3 hours later, my train left for the 5 hour trip to Cologne. (Total travel time – 22 hours !)
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Arrival……..

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I arrived beaten, tired and hungry, but to a very warm welcome by my friends Gaby and Ralf, who had a lovely apartment waiting for me to use free of charge during my stay.
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first dinner in Cologne – schnitzel and spaezle- what else….

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The next day, Gaby asked me if I want to join her and Ralf for a short trip to Spain, where they own a beautiful villa by the sea. Of course, I said yes, so off we went for a long weekend in Mallorca. Spain is everything I remembered from trips I took there many years ago – wonderful people, great food, perfect weather; everything is just beautiful. We had great bbq’s at home and superb dinners by the beach, paella, seafood, wine, company………ahhhh 🙂
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Gaby and Ralf, breakfast

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do as the tourists do…….

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view from my bedroom

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my bedroom – handmade lace – what else…….

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Ralf and I…..

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YEP……

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ham-paradise

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where I want to spend eternity…..

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the very best Morcilla in the whole wide world……

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sorry – forgot to take the pic when the paella arrived……

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Life is Good……..

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Two day’s after returning to Cologne, I bought myself a car and was now ready to visit friends I had not seen in many years.
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First I went to the town of “Adenau” in the “Eifel”, a beautiful mountainous area about 45 minutes from Cologne, where I stayed at the lovely home of my friends Heiner and his charming wife Sigrid. Heiner and I are friends since the early 80’s. We met in Manila in the Philippines, so our memories of that time and place are plentiful, happy and exciting 🙂 .
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Heiner and Sigrid

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Heiner and Sigrid’s home

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view from Heiner and Sigrid’s home of the “Eifel”

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view from Heiner and Sigrid’s home of the “Eifel”

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view from Heiner and Sigrid’s home of the “Eifel”

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old buddies……

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cheers !

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Sigrid and I

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My next stop was Bietigheim-Bissingen, where my friends Albrecht and Heide own a lovely restaurant for 30 years, the very cozy “Kueferstueble”. Albrecht and I worked together about 40 years ago, first on the “Royal Viking Sky”, then at the “Restaurant Ratskeller” in Ludwigsburg.
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Albrecht and Heide

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Heide in front of the “Kueferstueble”

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happy times……

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schweinehaxe mit sauerkraut und kartoffelknoedel

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bier und wein, so soll es sein……..

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After spending 3 nights full of great food, many bottles of tasty wine, and many happy memories, I went on to visit “Gechingen”, the little village in the “Black Forrest where I grew up. There I visited Gisela, the widow of my childhood friend Roland, who left us way too early 10 years ago.
Not much has changed in the 50 years since I left. If anything, Gechingen has become even prettier than I remembered.
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my old school on the left, the old town hall in the center

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the old town hall with my old church in the background

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the church I went to as a kid….

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view from the church….

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my old school

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From Gechingen I took the scenic route through the heart of the “Black Forrest. Starting in “Freudenstadt”, the “Schwarzwaldhochstrasse” stretches about 65 kilometers to its end in Baden Baden”. I took my good time, stopping many times to take in the beautiful views and enjoy the typical specialties in small Inn’s, such as “Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte:, “Schwarzwald Becher”, and for lunch, “Schwaebischer Rostbraten mit Hausgemachten Spaetzle”.
Once I reached Baden Baden, I splurged and spend a night at the “Brenners Parkhotel”. At $600.00 a night, not exactly budget-friendly, but what the heck…… 🙂 .
Next morning, I traveled back up the “Schwarzwaldhochstrasse” to the “Kurhaus Sand”, where I took a right turn down the steep and hairpin-rich road towards “Buehlertal”. This took me past the “Hotel Wiedenfelsen”, where I did my Apprenticeship 50 years earlier.
In Buehlertal I visited my former boss, “Ersatz Father”, and nowadays great friend, Karl Mueller and his lovely wife Uschi.
I did not have their address nor phone number, but I remembered the general area where they live and where I visited them many years ago on my last trip to Germany, when I was accompanied by my wife Maria, who has since passed away.
After asking a few people on the street, I got directed to the house of Karl and Uschi. I rang the bell, which was answered by a man I judged to be my age, so I assumed him to be Karl’s son Markus. I asked him if Karl Mueller lives there. He asked me what I want. I told him my name at which time he remembered me and happily hugged me. Turns out, it was Karl, 82 years old, but looking not a day over 65 🙂 Uschi remembered me right away, and from that moment on, we had a great time remembering times past, a million small things long forgotten but now easily recalled.
That evening we had a great dinner, followed the next day by a wonderful afternoon of conversation, coffee and sweets in a typical “Black Forrest Inn” on the “Scwarzwaldhochstrasse”.
I stayed another day in the “Rebstock” in “Buehlertal”, then took the “Autobahn” from “Baden Baden” back to “Cologne”.
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Karl and Uschi

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“Hotel Rebstock”, Buehlertal

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Karl and I

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Karls’ “Bettflaschen” collection

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a small Inn on the “Schwartzwald Hochstrasse”

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Love those two………..

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one of the restaurants at “Hotel Rebstock”

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maultaschen mit pfifferlingen und kartoffelsalat at the “Rebstock”

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krevetten in oliven oel und knoblauch at the “Rebstock”

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Death-strip – road from/to the house where Karl and Uschi live – two people can walk side by side – with the car, it’s like having a death wish……but, unless you want to walk…..

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view from Karl’s and Uschie’s balcony over “Buehlertal”

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After another week with Gaby and Ralf, filled with huge amounts of food and wine, on October the 13th I took the same horrible journey of 22 hours back to Fort Lauderdale.
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dinner at Gaby’s and Ralf’s home

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daily breakfast spread

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best breakfast dish ever – “Mett” (raw pork)

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And here are a couple of great things you’ll find while traveling on the Autobahn:
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curry wurst mit kartoffelsalat

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the cleanest public bathrooms in the World (you pay 75 cents to get in, when you leave you’ll get back 50 cents. The toilets clean and sanitize themselves mechanically

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Click here to watch the video of the self-cleaning toilet !!!  🙂

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And finally – the craziest thing I encountered during this month :

 

believe it or not – this is an actual schnapps you can buy in bars

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mixdrink- lemonade and “Ficken”

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Yep…..

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and yes, you can smoke in some bars…

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I bet you have not seen one of these for some time in a public space………..

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Conclusion:
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1) Real friends are the best thing in life !
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2) Germany is the best place to retire, assuming you love cold and rainy weather (Which I do) 🙂
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3) In Germany, if you want to eat real Italian food, don’t go to an Italian Restaurant. (It seems that most “Italian” Restaurants in Germany are now run by folks of other  ethnic backgrounds)
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4) Food, in general, is still far better in Germany, especially in traditional German restaurants.
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5) Ethnic restaurants in Germany don’t serve ethnic food 😦 . Just like in most other countries, “Ethnic” food has been adapted to local taste, but in Germany much more so than anywhere else, to the point of being unrecognizable (see # 3)
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6) Everybody should visit Europe at least once, to get a better perspective of life and circumstances in places with strong traditions and immense History.
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7) Life is Good !
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