New Haunts

New Haunts

I won’t say environment is everything to me, but it sure means a heck of a lot. Where I go (or end up) always has a particular effect on decision, experience and activity.

If I had, ten years ago, been plunked down in a small village in the Bavarian countryside, I may have been less than enthusiastic.  Thirty minutes away from the closest buzzing city, I may have found myself going a little stir crazy.

 But the inverse is that in the past fifteen or so years, I have lived smacked  dab in the center of various urbanities and while my interest in the metropolitan life runs deep, the sense of going stir crazy is, I suppose, not limited to placement in the boondocks.

 I knew early on that I thrive on change.  Change of scene, change of habitat, atmosphere, environment and location.  I sometimes attribute that to my solar Virgo roots- a deeply seated mercurial need to shift things up a bit periodically.

 However, amidst the wanderlust and appetite for change, I am also a creature of habit.  No matter how brief, or how long, my stay in a place, I like to develop my own haunts.  Places that are familiar and comfortable and where I can retreat on a day that is inevitably full of finding new things.

This past week, I headed out to both Nürnberg and Regensburg (the two cities closest to us) and on both day visits, discovered new nooks and crannies to the cities, but also found my way to what have developed as some of my favorite spots regarding food and drink.

When we first moved to Germany, this waterside scene in Nürnberg became very familiar after numerous day trips our first few months.  It wasn’t until I started exploring beyond the city center that I came to really like Nürnberg, but I still enjoy an afternoon in the heart of the city.

 On a scale of 1-10 of being adventurous with food, I probably hover around a 6.  What prevents that number from going up is that I am a bit skittish with meat (I was devastated when my family tricked me into trying calamari when I was about ten, by telling me they were onion rings, but now I love the dish).  Present me with any weird vegetable and I will give it a go, but my carnivore side has little sense for adventure or experimentation.

Above, the Hausbrauerei Alstadthof (in the Old Town of Nürnberg) where I learned early on that there was a dish I liked and could rely on, in a good atmosphere to boot.

 The bangers with lax and horseradish at the Hausbraurei Alstadthof.  I have probably blogged about this dish after nearly every single Nürnberg day trip.  I think that is my cue to apply my sense of change to food and get a bit crazy at the restaurant next time and order another dish…..

I do think these “bangers” (potato pancakes) would make a wonderful central food them at a party, surrounded with loads of complimentary side dishes and dips.  Hmmm, smell a barbecue with potato pancakes being the other main attraction (besides the meat) coming on….

 A familiar Nürnberg scene for anyone in the region….

Black Bean Espresso in Regensburg

I love courtyard life and how so many gorgeous little courtyards are tucked behind the facade and front rooms of so many establishments.

They are perfect little hideaways, especially in the increasingly warm weather we are getting, for a break during a day in the city.

Black Bean Espresso seems to also have what is practically a resident black cat,

which makes the place all the more endearing to me.

They serve a pretty good cup o’ joe too.

Regensburg is, to me, positively labyrinthian.

The picturesque passageways, nooks and crannies seem to be so much a part of the DNA of the elegance and beauty of this city.

In a city with so many great restaurants, it’s almost absurd to have less than several favorites.

Haus Heuport and Brasserie Dombrowski are among my growing list of favorites, perhaps as much for the central Domplatz location as for  the food and drink.

And being a great place to people watch!

The view from Haus Heuport and Brasserie Dombrowski

To date, the riverside in Regensburg has not been a favored haunt for me.

But this summer I am thinking of changing that….

My first time at Alte Lind in Regensburg was yesterday-

a day that felt like Spring had truly and finally been heralded and ushered it.

The interior of Alte Lind is lovely, but the outdoor seating has all the makings of being a great local haunt during the warm weather days.

Last night, as I sat at the main train station and waited for the train to head home, evening was falling.  I watched what I have always found to be the beautiful rush of car lights in city traffic as the sky darkened.  I thought about the thousands of apartments in and surrounding the area, of families settling in for a Friday night at home and of people getting spruced up for a night on the town.  I love city life and living.  But I was also very happy to be heading home.

Here’s to Spring…to prospering where you are planted….and to enjoying the view!