1) Is German food by definition un-chowish? It seems that one should almost be embarrassed to admit liking it. But I do. Should I keep this information secret when I find myself in epicurean circles?
2) If it is acceptable to like German food, is Glockenspiel in St. Paul a good place? Again, I like it (although it's been a while since I've been there.) It's really cheerful and I think the food is good. I think the atmosphere is much better than Gasthaus Bavarian out in Stillwater. What do people think? Or should I not even be raising this subject?
Lovers of German food, step out of the shadows!
I haven't been there in a while and know it has changed hands and I believe is now owned by someone who has a meat market.
Before that, I have had good food and bad there. For example, Friday fish fry where the fish was not piping hot. But don't hold that against them -- maybe it's better now.
I have always liked the atmosphere in the bar on a weeknight. A combination of regulars, neighborhood people, and people from the Czech Hall upstairs. (Again, haven't been there in a bit.)
I liked the fact that the beer selection was pretty good and the bar area was well lit. I would go in there with a book myself and enjoy being able to see well enough to read.
German food unchowish? No. There's a lot of clunky execution of stereotypical German food in restaurants. Similar to clunky execution of other ethnic cuisine. German food is not a celebrated "mother cuisine" (Italian, French). There are great culinary traditions in Germany and regional variations. Peasant food and more sophisticated modern food influenced by French and Italian technique exists in Germany and worldwide. Generally speaking if you like sausage, pretzels, sauerkraut, and beer you'll find the world's best in Germany. If you like peasant cooking you'll also find very soulful food. Can you find it in MSP? I haven't found it yet.
The meals I've had at Glock, Black Forest, Gasthaus Bavarian, Winzer Stube, Otto's have been palatable, but in all cases I'm there more for the German beer and sentimental feelings about German culture than the grub.
First off: I am Austrian, been in MN for almost 20 years now.
As to # 1 - once you get past the sterotypes, German and Austrian cuisine can be surprisingly refined and at times even light. And in a state where Lutefisk is perfectly acceptable there's no reason to be embarresed about liking any kind of food.
#2 I thought the Glockenspiel did ok on both of my visits. The best choice in the metro in my opinion is the Winzerstube in Hudson, WI. Most other places are acceptable but not something I would seek out on purpose. My one experience at the Black Forest scarred me for years - I had a hard time telling the Wiener Schnitzel and the Potato Pancake (Kartoffelpuffer) apart.
The best place I visited in the Twin Cities was years ago on Lyndale and 27th. A small restaurant run by an old chef who had been in the Twin Cities for years. The food was very authentic and the place smelled right. He was famous for his Chutneys - not a very German thing, I know. Anyone remember the name of that place?
Oh, I remember that restaurant at Lyndale & 27th! But I can't think of the name either. I loved his food, and the sauces were wonderful. I remember that the chef was into healthy food from fresh, local ingredients, long before the organic/locavore movement took hold. (He was definitely ahead of his time.) I really miss that place!
I agree that real German and Austrian food is definitely chowish - I have many fond memories of the food I ate in Swabia (Stuttgart area) many years ago. Other than this long-gone mystery restaurant, there's nothing in the Twin Cities that even comes close.
German food is definitely chowish. When we vacationed in Bavaria a couple of years ago, I had written off the vacation in advance as a "non-food event" - big mistake. I had quite a few delicious meals there, with an emphasis on local and fresh ingredients. The food wasn't heavy, and the selection was quite a bit beyond what I typically think of as German food. Plus, the hotel breakfasts are still my favorite for any destination: assorted meats, cheeses, breads, jam, cereals, yogurt, eggs, etc, etc. Fabulous.
I've been afraid of spoiling my food memories by visiting the local places here so I'm also interested in hearing what's good.
I would have to agree about the Glockenspiel-I had a good burger here once-really really good-but the same burger a year later was horrible. (probably not the place to get a hamburger, but it sounded good at the time...)The second time I got spatzle and sausages, and wasn't impressed, although it was a fun family celebration of my dad's birthday, and he thought it was good.