Switzerland and Munich suggestions
I'll be going to Munich and then driving around Switzerland for one week. I saw the recent recommendations for Munich. We don't have a specific destination in Switzerland. We are going to wing it.
Any recommendations for food items to bring home that are not available in the US? Any great foodie destinations (for example, like Bon Mache in Paris)?
Any "must go" restaurants to try? Not interested in high end.
In Switzerland, it is worthwhile to check out a Migros super market. They are everywhere, so you won't have trouble finding one. Also, I have heard that Coop is good, but when I lived there it wasn't as big a thing as Migros. Try Rivella, a local soda. I like it but my wife doesn't. It's made from lactic acid. Try some form of roesti. It's the German Swiss national dish (a big potato pancake/hash browns). Try a St. Galler Bratwurst from a street stand. Munch on a Weggli (roll) or Schmelzbroetli (a kind of muffin).
I like to take Munich first-timers to Alter Simpl or Cafe Altschwabing in Maxvorstadt/Schwabing. The food is decent, and it's hard to get a bad beer in Munich unless you order a Rolling Rock or something, but the history of these two places is very impressive.
Alter Simpl was the legendary hangout of Simplicissimus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simplici...) satire magazine, and Cafe Altschwabing was the hangout of Lenin, Kandinsky, Klee etc. The former is a fairly loud and smoky bar with a solid late-night menu and the latter serves a great brunch and has a turkish-influenced menu for dinner.
It is nice for people to see a part of the city that is not just lederhosen and hofbrauehaus.
I loved the meal I had at Kuchl Verszeichnis, across from the Gasteig where the Munich Philharmonic plays. They serve traditional yet interesting dishes, and have friendly servers. It seemed to be filled with locals, rather than tourists. Here is their link: http://www.arsretis.de/kuchlverzeichn...
Second Dallmeyr & Viktualienmarkt.Dallmeyr has the some of the most beautiful prepared foods I have ever seen and is the place I would go to buy delicacies that are hard to find in North America.
I also enjoyed several meals at the Paulaner, which is considerably less touristy than the Augustiner.
In Switzerland and southern Germany, I always enjoy the spaetzle, knoedel & maultaschen.
Maultaschen are a Swabian specialty that resemble giant ravioli, and they are traditionally served during Lent, although they are now served yearround. Lent also happens to be the time for pretzels, and the pretzels in Bavaria are amazing. Enjoy your trip!
>> I always enjoy the spaetzle, knoedel & maultaschen.
Mmmmm .. mouthbags! Don't miss maultaschen if you find them on the menu.
If you're heading there in March you may get lucky and find yourself
in Munich at Starkbeirzeit, which is sort of a springtime oktoberfest except
a lot better because 1: few tourists and 2: starkbier means "strong beer".
And the festivities take place up the hill at the aforerecommended Paulaner.