Burger Cravings–Faust Food, Erfurt

I sometimes get these unbelievably intense munchies for meat. Like caveman cravings. Like I could eat a whole plate of ribs in one sitting. And when I do there is one place I go to where I could reliably get a good plate of ribs: Faust Food (in English, Fist Food, a play on Fast Food. No it doesn’t translate well does it?).

It is located in a 400-year old former warehouse, spartanly (manly?) decorations, kind of on the hipster side. It is not easy to find, but I swear it is worth it. The grill is located by the door, and grill everything in front of you. They do mostly American fare, but they also have steak, and Thuringian Bratwurst. They do uncomplicated, real food, manly food.Me likey. And with late opening times, it is perfect for pre-gaming meals before hitting the town. So for your protein munchie needs, I can heartily recommend this place.

Faustfood

Waagegasse 1

Tuesday to Saturday 11 am to 11 pm

Sunday 11 am to 7 pm.

faustfood.de

 

Bab & Bab Erfurt

Sometimes, I am not sure if something is delicious because it is delicious, or it is because of nostalgia.

One of the things that I have sorely missed is a good Chapchae, Korean glass noodles made from mung bean. Last time I ate it, I made it myself. Or was it in Manila? Nevertheless, Korean food is finally making its way to the provinces of Germany, with San in Weimar, and now, Bab & Bab in Erfurt!

It is run by 2 very nice German-speaking Korean ladies. It is very close to the hospital and the university, right in front of the tram stop “Klinikum”. I made a mental note to drop by as soon as I got the chance, and ordered a big bowl of Chapchae that I inhaled, slippery metal chopsticks be damned.

They have € 5.50 lunch specials, and they don’t serve much outside of the hits of Korean cuisine (Bibimbap, Chapchae, Kimchi). The Kimchi, which they make themselves, is delicious. Just the right amount of tang and spice that added that welcome kick to the Chapchae.

So to settle things, I will have to make another visit. I am encouraged by their assertion that they have a very busy lunch crowd, because I really want them to stay!

 

Bab & Bab

Nordhäuserstr. 72, 99089 Erfurt

0361 7896 0440

Open Mo-Fri 10:30 am- 9 pm

Sunday 11 am- 9 pm

 

Zum Alten Schwan–Erfurt

Salmon with leeks, juniper foam, on a bed of sauteed winter vegetables and parsley mashed potatoes.

In the whole rush of Christmas activities, I have been quite remiss with my blogging activities. One of the parties that I attended took place in the Restaurant “Zum Alten Schwan,” which belongs to a hotel in Erfurt. The building itself is quite old, as it was built in the 13th century, but the restaurant is relatively new. It is also located right in the city center, just behind the historic Krämerbrücke, which is an added plus.

It sells itself as a fine dining establishment, but I would rather classify it as somewhere in between. The food is delicious, the restaurant serves traditional German food with a twist, and a three course meal set us back at least 30 euros per person. So value for money-wise, it is a good deal. They deal with the comfortable and familiar, so don’t expect cutting-edge cooking here.

It was a very satisfying dining experience. The only thing that bothered me are the restrooms. They were so antiseptic-looking that I thought I was in a hospital, not at a hotel. Definitely time for a renovation!

zum Alten Schwan

Gotthardt Str. 27

99084 Erfurt

Building a Neigborhood

Photo Renate L.

Anybody who has lived in Erfurt for years knows that Erfurt Nord is an industrial area. Forged by concrete and steel, it was known for prostitution and violence.

If you told anybody here that Metallstrasse was named the “Most Beautiful Street in Germany,” they would laugh their asses of. There is nothing beautiful about bricked over lovely art noveau buildings and brothels.

However, a group of people wanted to grow their own food, and live with nature, without necessarily having to leave the city. And found a place to do it, in cooperation with the industries in the area.

I am very grateful to have the Garden move where it is currently located. The Garden has become a place for people to gather and connect. It has begun revitalizing a once-dreaded neighborhood. Families are moving back here, partly because of the Garden. Old buildings are being renovated for residential purposes. Old people come and reminisce about the history of the Garden, what the place used to look like before, during, and after the war.

And because of this, the Intercultural Garden Erfurt is one of ten winners nationwide of “Die Schönste Straße Deutschlands,” the initiative of a local chain of hardware stores and Netzwerk Nachbarschaft. Kudos to Karin, the current president of this initiative, and for the current members who all lend a hand in the transformation of an impoverished district.

I am so very glad that this Garden exists, and that I am a part of it. It is certainly well-deserved!

Tag der Nachhaltigkeit

I got an e-mail that informed me of an event called RegionNah market on Tag der Nachhaltigkeit (Sustainability Day) in Erfurt last August 10, and so I trooped to the corn field maze, where they were holding the event. Local entrepreneurs got to showcase their products, and got to see really cool demonstrations and talked to many like-minded and interesting people.

The Loot

The Loot

This year’s purchases were: A three-liter carton of apple juice made from Streuapfel, or apples picked from fogotten or uncared-for trees in Apolda; honey from Fuchsfarm, a project similar to ours; honey from a local bee-keeper, and mustard from Jena.

Interesting products were ostrich meat and eggs from an ostrich farm near Hermsdorf, Goat milk products, and wood jewelry and carvings.

It was a great way to get to see what other ecological projects are going on in the area. I am looking forward to next year’s event!

Cafe Süden

Isn’t it strange that when you realize that you almost never leave your neighborhood? If it weren’t for my co-workers, I would have never discovered Cafe Süden, a delightful, French-styled Cafe, at the other end of Erfurt.

clafoutisThey only have 2-3 dishes a day, and have two pastries. When it’s gone it’s gone. They also have an array of wine and home-made drinks to choose from. I had this wonderful Clafoutis, a french dessert of black cherries baked into a custard or flan. Not too sweet, and just the right amout of tang.

When I grow up, I want to open a place like this at some beach in the Philippines. Just two to three dishes, and two desserts a day. Ah, well,a girl can dream.

Café Süden

Tschaikowskistraße cor. Bodelschwinghstraße, Erfurt

0361 240 20091

Open from 10am-6 pm

Christoffel

Erfurt is a town that has an intact city center that dates back to the middle ages. Walking through its cobblestoned streets, it is not hard to imagine what it was like before there were cars, the internet, or the invention of the deodorant.

But I digress. What is a medieval town without a hokey medieval restaurant? I’ve been to Christoffel a couple of times, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as long as you don’t take anything too seriously. From the court jesters to the use of faux olde Deytsche, Christoffel is a fun place to spend an evening.

The portions are huge, and I’ve never been disappointed by any of the grilled meats that they have served. The photo above is a platter of eat-all-you-can ribs, and I was so stuffed that I had to take home two of them.

This is the place to take an American visiting Erfurt. It has a very Disneyland/Ren Faire vibe to it, and be forewarned none of the dishes are authentic medieval (gasp!). If it were, we should be eating turnips and horsebread. Although sometimes I do wonder if the guests actually buy that. I get the impression that they do.

Wirtshaus Christoffel

Michaelisstraße 41

99084 Erfurt

Suki

What does the word suki mean? For a person who runs a household, everything.

Suki is a Filipino word, which in German, translates to Stammkunde, or a regular customer of a particular shop.

Gaumenfreude in Erfurt is a pop-up shop that sells their own mustard mixes, jams, condiments, and sauces. They also sell preserves from the region, things like Sauerkraut and pickles made the old fashioned way–without any vinegar used to preserve them!

I always buy their Bärlauch Senf or mustard. Bärlauch, a wild relative of leeks, is a German obsession in the spring. They collect them when they can find them in woods and parks everywhere. Of course they were going to pair it up with mustard, Germany’s favorite condiment.  I love this particular mustard so much I use it on everything! Dips, sauces, and as a seasoning for stewed meat.

Gaumenfreude’s stall can usually be found at the Erfurt farmer’s market on Saturdays or whenever there is a festival in the Erfurt-Weimar area. The man at the shop recognizes me already, and always gives me something to nibble on as a thank you. Last time we saw each other, he wanted to give me a cherry. But since I love me some pickles, I asked for one. 😀 The perks of a suki.

Thüringer Bratwurst

Doesn’t look like much, does it? But it’s reaaallly good.

This blog sometimes documents my efforts to re-create Philippine/American cuisine in a foreign country.

I also sometimes think about what if I were back in the Philippines? What German dishes would I try to re-create? My answers to that question are a) Rotkraut, or stewed red cabbage, b) Klose, or potato dumplings, c) Braten, or pot roast, and the only one I haven’t made from scratch is d) Thüringer Bratwurst.

brat3Thüringer Bratwurst (although the literal translation is fried sausage, Bratwurst is actually grilled over hot coals) is a way of life in Thuringia. It is a geographically-protected product, so any bratwurst made outside of Thuringia would be Thuringian-style. It is normally eaten in a bun, smothered with tart mustard. Ketchup is fine, but purists will wrinkle their noses at the sight.

Thuringians literally eat that stuff up, especially in the summer, when everybody and their mom goes on a picnic outdoors. I estimate I eat one or two a week between May and September.

brat1There is a museum dedicated to the Bratwurst, and today we braved the cold (-4°C in the sun!) to go to the annual Thuringian Bratwurst festival. It is a hokey, small-town festival not unlike the fairs in the US, with the “Bratwurst King and Queen” opening the ceremonies. My friend Tanya was there as a chef with the “Friends of the Thüringer Bratwurst Club,” and she committed sacrilege by not putting casing over the Bratwurst, and adding plums soaked in Thuringian Aromatique bitter and bacon. Only a foreigner would be adventurous enough to toy with tradition, and it was surprisingly good! The sweet plum contrasted nicely with the salty bacon and smoke-flavored Bratwurst.

If there is one thing that is a must-eat here in Thuringia, it would be the Bratwurst.

“Solange die Fahne Weht”–Backstube Erfurt

Fresh, artisanal bread is one of the best things to eat in the morning. No matter if it’s Filipino pan de sal or German bread rolls, nothing beats the simplicity of melting butter on warm baked goods.

When I could, I try to patronize Backstube. It is a bakery that I discovered last summer, near the playground I took  my son to behind the Krämerbrücke in Erfurt. Germans hate the fluffy, airy pan Americano style, and are proud of their bread–coarse on the outside, dense yet pliable on the inside. These things are heavy. You could actually take these loaves to demonstrations and throw them at policemen. Maybe they’ll thank you for it.

They use organic flour from the region, and do not use preservatives on their bread. I am not a strict granola mom, but I am a big fan of buying local. The loaves are pricy, 3 euros for a 500g loaf, and 40 cents for a roll.  They would cost half of that at another bakery, but I am more than happy to spend that money on a quality product. they have rye bread, wheat bread, and a mixture of both flours, known here as Mischbrot. Not a lot to offer, but they are really good at what they do. They also have Spanish wheat bread, since one of the owners is Spanish.

They are part of the growing food culture here in Thüringia, and I am very happy to be part of that!

They don’t really have regular hours. But if you see the flag up, you know they’re there!

Backstube Erfurt

Kreuzgasse 2, 99084 Erfurt

Open from Tuesday to Saturday, 9 am to 6 pm.