Sunday, June 13, 2010

Doing Dresden

In Dresden, I had the great pleasure of visiting the vegan behind Seitan is my motor. I got a great casual tour around the city and learned a lot about the history of it. Most of what I knew of Dresden was learned by reading Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5 or tidbits from my German history classes in undergrad. It was great just to get another perspective.

Dresden has some great character in different areas. One of my favorite spots was this Kunsthofpassage (Art Courtyard Passage) that had various themes in the sections. I really loved the above water one.

Despite not being the most vegan friendly of places, there were still several places to eat vegan food in Dresden. My favorite was the meal at this Indian place. Sooo good. Only three of the main dishes are vegan, but the quality more than made up for the quantity of options.

Then of course, if I am delivering Frank's Hot Sauce, courtesy of bazu, the DEOTS infamous tempeh wingz need to be made. Perfect paired with oven roasted potatoes and sautéed veggies.

But what is the best, is nice little surprises like the one below. Who can be sure of the exact meaning, but you got to love the little things that make you smile.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Back to where it all started: Seevetal and Hamburg

My appreciation of Germany began five years ago during a sister city cultural exchange stay in Seevetal, which is just outside of Hamburg. I had not visited for four years, so it was great to be back and see my former host parents, even though I had visited my host sister the previous two years while she was at University in another part of Germany.

I don't have a lot to say in terms of food during this part of the trip. My host family cooked a few meals for me, which consisted of a really nice curry and a potato wild garlic dish. However, I did visit a vegetarian buffet after a day in Hamburg with my host sister. Seasons is just a hop skip and a jump away from the Rathaus, which is rather convenient. Their vegan selection wasn't the most creative, as various lentils where in sooo many dishes. Overall, it wasn't bad, and the amazing stuffed grapes more than made up for things. Food is purchased by the plate, so you can get the amount you want based on hunger.

Something fun that I had was a carbonated rhubarb juice beverage. I love tart things, so this was perfect! Too bad it was windy and cloudy at the outdoor cafe where this was purchased.

My former host family was so great about the whole vegan thing, which was something that has changed since my last visit. They insisted on buying me a tomato spread for bread and my own tofu red bell pepper sausage slices! Both of which were rather tasty. This is the shot of the sandwich that I was made to take with me on the train as I traveled to the next part of my journey.

And last but not least, an action shot of me eating a Franzbrötchen. This is a Hamburg/Northern DE specialty. According to a friend, the ones at Kamps, a very common bakery chain, were vegan, so I could resist trying one. It was really good and reminded me of a cinnamon roll disguised as a croissant, if that makes any sense.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tiny but quaint Trier

So, in order to properly document my trip to Deutschland, I'll most likely do a post about each of the main cities that I visited. First up is Trier, but before I get carried away, check out the awesome sandwich I had at Strong Hearts in Syracuse before going to the airport.

I stayed in Trier for two days and enjoyed the rich history and ruins there, leftover from the Romans who were some of the earliest settlers. I saw great things like an amphitheater and the famous Porta Negra.

In terms of food, I ate pretty simply. A falafel that was nothing to write home about, or various small snacks. I did be a lazy vegan and make a sandwich with tomato herb spread and olive tofu. The amount of flavored tofus in DE is amazing, and this one was quite tasty.

I also had a great CouchSurfing experience the second night of my stay. My wonderful host prepared this simple meal for me, which was quite lovely.

All in all, I had a great time in Trier, along with having the best weather of my trip. Warm and sunny! (Complete with giving me a sunburn.) This is such a quaint little region, and I would love to be able to go back with a friend sometime to take advantage of the many wineries in the region.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'll make it kurz

Sooo theoretically, I would have had 'live' updates while on my travels, but there was a lack of wireless internet in Trier and Münster. I'm concluding my time in Hamburg this morning, and then off to Dresden. All the travel details will be shared once I get back (and with pictures to boot)! Due to a confusion on my part, I cannot use my SD card reader to transfer my photos from my new camera to my computer, thus I will have to wait until I return to the States to figure out how to transfer things, as I didn't bring my camera cable, thinking the card reader was sufficient. I could update in ernst now, buuuut I think it'll be better with pictures, no? Then I'll be in super blog update mode and do a week-long stint to chronicle my trip, most likely.
Bis dann!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Oh the choices and preparations

I am still in disbelief that I leave for Deutschland in 5 days. Wow. There are so many things to do before I leave (one last final exam, proctoring, grading, etc) I'm also strongly considering getting a new camera before the trip as well. After a discussion with a friend last night, I realized that my current one is sadly outdated and lacking in megapixels, which is probably a result of having it for almost five years. As curious as I am about getting a SLR, they are more expensive in general, and it seems silly to me to get one when I don't know how to use it yet. If I stick to the same brand that I have now, but with a more updated version of mine, I'll still be able to play with colors and exposure settings like I already do and know how. Oh the decisions to make...

In regards to the trip, here are the cities/areas that I'll be visiting:


I'm starting to get ridiculously excited. I've never been to Dresden or Weimar before, and it has been 4 years since my last visit to Seevetal and Hamburg. I've visited Steffi, my host sister (or rather, Gastschwester) the past two trips when she has been at university in Köln. This time, I'll get to visit her at home and see her wonderful parents! I can't wait for the sense of deja vu since my original exchange in Seevetal in 2005 is what inspired me to learn German.

I've been nerding out quite a bit the closer I get, such as watching several German films with a friend and reading books auf Deutsch before going to bed. It would be nice if I could manage to finish Im Westen Nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front) before I leave, but I don't know if that is realistic or not. I keep having to restrain myself from surfing the internet for ideas on things to do during my trip, since I do have my Organometallics exam first thing Monday morning... excluding that, fun things are ahead indeed.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Where did the spring go?

The weather recently has been driving me nuts. Snowing flurries on Monday, 80 (F) by Sat, and then snow flurries again a week later. Way to be confusing! This slip back into chilly and rainy weather has made me crave more warm comfort dishes and soups. A lot of pictures haven't been taken, because, well, most of these foods aren't exactly the most photogenic.

What have I been eating exactly? Things like Tomato, rice, garlic, and white bean soup from V'con, cauliflower pasta casserrole from 500 Vegan Recipes (which is way more addictive and labor intensive than I thought it would be), and these stuffed eggplants by Mihl (who I get to visit very soon!!).

Very tasty, even if I did wing it a little bit and use adzuki beans and a cube of pureed basil from the freezer. The sauce was especially great, and the leftovers were downright unstoppable used as a dip for a batch of spiced oven fries. I'm serious. The spiced ketchup was almost untouched!

Because I've got final exams and proctoring/grading to do before my trip, I'm going to stick with the comfort foods with pantry staples for now. Don't want to have a lot of fresh produce to use up before I leave, except for the 4 lbs of carrots that I somehow need to get through. Curried carrot dip for toast and soup variations anyone?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cucumber me this

While wasting time on the interwebs responding to emails and planning my trip (yes, it is a go!), I realized that I already had two meals uploaded to my flickr that I hadn't shared yet. Unintentional score! Now I don't have to feel so negligent and lazy...

First up is a salad, but don't groan on me here. Sometimes a salad really is the perfect thing to hit the spot. I have become rather fond of ones with locally baked tofu, cucumbers, and a quick tahini dressing (with olive oil, lemon, water, pepper, and loads of paprika). I might be tempted to make this a regular thing next week when I have to not create loads of leftovers before my trip.

And then, of course, there is bastardized sushi. I'm pretty sure that I've never had true sushi before, but the improv versions that I have made at home sure are good. This one is rather simple with quinoa instead of rice (I didn't want to wait for the brown stuff to cook and cool!), avocado, cucumber, and the required sweet chili dipping sauce. Simple and tasty is the way to go sometimes.