The challenge to mach was! (“do something”) for Oktoberfest, comes from fellow blogger, Herba.
I may be past the deadline for Herba’s challenge, but I thought I’d give it a try and figure out a way to do something for Oktoberfest here in my corner of Mexico.
First, I started thinking about beer. I like beer, but I’m no expert. There are a few Mexican beers that I frequently enjoy. Whether they meet any connoisseur’s standard, I doubt – but I like Negra Modelo ( which has a decent write up) better than some of the less hearty beers I’ve tried here, like Pacifico. Of course, Dos XX and Corona are also readily available. But would just having a glass of beer that I might be having anyway be “doing something” for Oktoberfest? I thought not.
So I looked harder and found that right in my town, there is a local microbrewer, whose beers are easy to find. Corazón de Malta is the name of his label. But when I read up on it, I learned that he was making mainly British and American style beer, so once again, though I plan to try his beer, it didn’t seem like much of challenge to walk a block and have a glass or mug of beer. Moreover, since I know so little about it, what would I be able to say?
Then, on the main road, La Carretera, I spotted this:
Johanna’s Bavarian and European Restaurant (with beer garden) seemed like just the something to do.The restaurant is to the left of the banner, where you can see the umbrellas in the beer garden. The beer garden billing is a bit pretentious in my area, since almost every restaurant is at least partly outdoors, though they might have a roof of sorts.
Anyway, I planned a Sunday lunch with a friend to fulfill the challenge.
Mindful of other information I read on line in connection with the challenge, I vowed to keep away from anything schnitzel, since there seemed to be some disagreement among our German blogging community as to whether schnitzel was actually German. I would have skipped it anyway. I’ve had schnitzel a few times in restaurants in the old German neighborhood of NYC , known as Yorkville. But schnitzel to me was disappointing, and nothing more than an ordinary fried cutlet ( though I think it had an egg on it, at least once).
Thinking back on the schnitzel story, I recalled once being very adventurous, or so I thought, when I once ordered chicken fried steak in a Brooklyn restaurant featuring southern food. I’d heard about the dish for years and wondered just what a steak would look like fried in the manner of chicken. But when the dish came, it was just another cutlet. On the other hand, the taste was something that brought me back to my childhood. as it reminded me of a dish in my mother’s repertoire: veal chops that were dredged in matzoh meal and then fried with onions in schmaltz (chicken fat). Hands down, my mother’s dish was better, to me, anyway, than either of the other two fried dishes, and had the singular advantage of not being smothered in white gravy – a sauce that is both unappealing to look at and worse to eat. ( Southern readers – please don’t send hate mail. I don’t care for Bechamel either.)
But back to Oktoberfest. So schnitzel was out.
Except for some obvious choices, I have no way of knowing if some of the dishes on Johanna’s extensive menu are German, whether Bavarian, or not. Choices included a variety of sausages, including the Oktoberfest special ( a huge Brat with a bottle of beer), some trout dishes, a grilled lamb chop, goulash, some salmon dishes and a few vegetarian options. There was no sauerbrauten, which would have been my first choice. Appetizers included herring, potato pancakes, and home made foie gras pate, along with onion soup and soup of the day.
My companion and I split the foie gras ( sorry – the plate was emptied before I remembered to take a photo) which was absolutely sublime, Bavarian or not.
I passed on the Oktoberfest special with just one Bratwurst ( should have looked at one first) because I wanted to do something for Oktoberfest, and went for a wurst combination plate, giving me more to discuss here. Presentation was not too beautiful, but really, what can you do with three odd sized sausages on a plate? ( a little green would have helped)
The sausages were identified as Bratwurst (veal) ( the big one), Münchener, (the top one) supposedly a combination of pork and veal flavored with onions and parsley ( a little bland, I thought) and Thuringerwurst, the one in the middle, which in this case was made from veal. This sausage evoked the best grilled kosher franks I’d ever had, maybe as good as the Nathan’s Famous my father used to get in a “Frankie Pack” and grill over charcoal. It was crispy and a little burnt on the outside, and just the right garlic and seasonings inside. As you can see, the wursts were accompanied by portions of sauerkraut, sweet and sour red cabbage and potatoes.
I left over quite a bit and took it home, where I mulled over whether to offer it to Lucas or Mully ( outdoor and indoor cats, respectively), but in the end, I gave it up to Choya, my neighbor’s roof dog.
I would not ordinarily order dessert, but I sacrificed for the sake of this blog post and Herba’s challenge. Plum strudel. I ate around the chantilly cream, just testing it with one forkful, to see whether it was properly made, and it was. That’s a big juicy blackberry on top.
So tell me. I know I did something for Oktoberfest. But, did I have Bavarian, or even German food? What do you think of the menu?
17 thoughts on “OT: ‘Mach was!’ Oktoberfest in Mexico”
Brave girl! Thanks for your participation!!!
I think no german would serve sauerkraut and sour red cabbage together (at least not in my neck of the woods) and strudel is more austrian than german but for an american version of Oktoberfest it’s okay 🙂
mexican not american – sorry!!!!!
I think most people would not serve two cabbage dishes together. Sweet and sour red cabbage is also popular with Jewish people – not surprisingly, but it turns me off because of the color when it’s cooked – purple, leaning to blue. But I love sauerkraut hot and cold. I was thinking the strudel was probably more Austrian. It was Okay, but I am used to a NYC store’s version – (Zabar’s) where you can get an entire strudel, really packed with filling, about 18″ long for $ 4.00 or something – but I think they cheat and use phyllo dough. Anyway, it was fun, so thanks for the challenge.
Kudos – you really went out of your way (literally) for an Oktoberfest post… And who would’ve thought that a German-style restaurant is there in Mexico… Anyhow, to answer your question, despite the presence of a “Thüringer” bratwurst there, I would still say you had a Bavarian meal – just because of the sausages, but mainly the accompaniments and the desert. While sausages are eaten all over Germany, the kraut is quite a Southern side dish. In the North you get potato salad more frequently. The strudel is very much a Southern thing (possibly more Austrian). But never mind, I am not saying this to niggle at all. It is a fact that German cuisine (at least outside of Germany) is much more influenced by Southern dishes than by Northern. Possibly for a good reason – traditional Northern dishes do neither look particularly tasty, nor are they much refined (mainly greasy – well, hard-working sailors need sustenance ;-))
Last word on schnitzel – really only tastes good if it is made with the leanest veal and has no streaks of fat in it imo. Best served crumbed and fried with a slice of lemon on top. I prefer it with a cold accompaniment. But like you, I am not a huge fan. My favourite German dish would be a local Northern speciality that is never available anywhere outside of the area between the cities of Bremen and Oldenburg in the furthest Northwest of the country. It consists of curly kale cabbage, a very specific fatty “sausage” made from pork kidney fat and grains, as well as potatos and little smoked sausages.
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Oh my god, this sausage looks…..”interesting”…..I think no one before has made that much effort for Mach was! Thank you! 🙂
De Nada.Probably no one ate as much for Mach was! And not one pretzel to be found.
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I wouldn’t have eaten that sausage!!! Very brave!
Why? I admit it looked like no bratwurst I’d seen before. I guess I just didn’t know better.
Keep in mind this is an ex-pat community made up almost entirely of Americans and Canadians, (aside from the Mexicans who live and work here) it’s actually difficult to find a nice Mexican restaurant, other than a sort of taco/tortilla stand or hole n the wall. I know of only one within walking distance, where you can get an authentic Mexican meal for about $ 3.00. A woman on the corner sells tacos for 6 pesos apiece – that’s about 37 cents. We have “American” & continental restaurants, Japanese, Chinese, Italian ( no French) ( but not a great one) and lots of steak places. Not too much fresh fish, but lots of flash frozen fish, good Mahi Mahi, This surprises me since we are only 3-4 hours from the Pacific. I haven’t had fresh clams since I left NY. Lots of Tilapia from the lake. Still, I have Brat pretty often. There is a German style shop in my village, and the owner makes some homemade deli meats. His dried salami is exquisite ( very Italian). What don’t we have – we don’t have good pizza. Your favorite meal sounds very exotic. What is it actually called? What did YOU do for Herba’s challenge?
I mean not a great Italian restaurant. If I knew anything about the restaurant business, I would start one myself.
Oh, and Thai and Viet Namese and rib joints and wings.
Oh, I think this reply is for me, isn’t it? Missed earlier.
Pity about the lack of fresh fish. Absolutely love fish – fried, grilled, smoked but not boiled. And shellfish and mussels, crab, lobster, prawns. Anything from the sea, I eat it, even carrageen.
On my little island fish is cheap because the Irish do not seem very fond of it.
The name of that regional dish is ‘Kohl und Pinkel’. It’s a winter dish, hence the kale and the amount of fat that goes in it. According to lore (and experience) it tastes best when warmed up a couple of times. Oh, and the name translated sounds positively disgusting, it’s “cabbage and pee”. The “pee” denotes the grain and kidney fat sausage. Ok, well, that sounds disgusting, too. I guess it’s an acquired taste. And the reason why it has never become popular across Northern borders 😄
How was the beer?
Good, but I couldn’t describe it.
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Ah, well, let us know if you go to that microbrewery. Sounds intriguing.
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