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?