German Cuisine – Defined by Sausage, Pretzel and Beer?

What’s Up with German Cuisine in California?

German restaurants and German food trucks seem to be in high season these days. I feel there are so many new ones. But do they offer anything new?

I just heard of a new German restaurant in Orange County in SoCal, “Stadtgarten LA“. It sounded promising, I thought. Curious about what kind of German cuisine they would offer I went to check out their website.

I am met with the the restaurant’s name Stadtgarten written in an interesting font, that reminds me of a neighborhood German beer pub from the 60ties. Then I read the “story”: Stadtgarten is a “gourmet hub” in a historic landmark in Fullerton. The experience apparently “highlights bold tradition with every speciality item offered” .

Wow, I am eager to find out more! Did I finally discover some authentic German restaurant that will surprise me with some tasty Schweinebraten (roast pork) with a crunchy crust or a Berliner Eisbein? Perhaps the authentic northern specialty, Matjes, or a juicy Jägerschnitzel, or even just tasty Käsespätzle or Maultaschen?

My excitement to see the menu is put to a worried stop after my eyes are met by the headline “Artisanal Wurst & Bier”.

Seriously!!  Yes…, all I see is sausages galore!

Come on! Pleaseeee!!

I scroll back to the “story” that claims that I will experience the “storied taste of Germany, spanning decades of specialty quality and selection”, “with recipes  spanning decades brought directly from Germany.”

Am I not being promised a “gourmet authentic cuisine” here? I start feeling a bit offended about what I am actually being offered on the menu posted online.

– The Sausage and its Rise to Power –

Is the Stadtgarten LA seriously claiming that only sausages are making up the storied taste of Germany ? I honestly believe the German Wurst has never been that popular ever (!) than since it’s been pushed to its limits here in the USA. – Sozusagen ‘ausgezuzelt’ (ausgesaugt) bis auf’s Letzte. –

And, I m not even sure if the Wurst frenzy is in fact even happening in Germany itself. The last thing I recently read was that it was now really hip over there to get Eggs Benedict instead of a simple, fried egg… But Wurst!!?

Besides, anyone ever heard of the Vegan Mexican Chipotle sausage or Chicken Habanero & Tequila sausage being part of the German Wurst staple?

I guess I must have missed something growing up in Germany or I’m just getting old….

For me, ‘Wurst’ used to be a fast food served at stands at Christkindlmarkets and other little town fairs. It certainly was present at ALL kids birthday parties, so much so that I couldn’t face a ‘Wienerwurst’ or any ‘Wurst’ for years without slight shudders… until I fell in love with the ‘Käsekrainer’ in Vienna! Since then my sausage taste has been very selective to say the least.

But to call ‘Wurst’, no matter what kind, gourmet food!? That is for sure a social rise for Wurst & Co.

To all the Würstel Dudes (sausages dudes) out there. German cuisine has so much more to offer than only pretzels, beer, and sausages!

It’s not enough to just give a restaurant a German name and slap some German sounding words onto the menu like “share das good times“. Please check your German, otherwise it gives you away as not being very authentic at all!

Having said all that… Stadtgarten LA appears to have a hip, modern and inviting interior (unlike its restaurant name lettering would suggest). It apparently has also created a nice outside beer garden atmosphere, which indeed is hard to find in OC.

Stadtgarten LA may in fact position itself more as a specialty beer pub than a restaurant, if you consider the immense selection of beer that “… can be intimidating to a beer layman” as Edwin Goei puts it in his 2016 article in OC Weekly.

…Nix für ungut!


Author’s note: This article is solely based on the business’ website and its information posted there.

Sponsored by Adolesco.org 

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Happy Easter! – Frohe Ostern!

– Fohes Ostereiersuchen! –

Apparently every fourth German loves to look for Easter eggs according to a survey (Süddeutsche Zeitung) . Be part of it! 🙂


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My Easter Tradition

easter-eggs-2211951_1920

MY EASTER TRADITION

Back in the days when I was a little kid and living in Germany, Easter was one of my favorite holidays.  I loved believing in the Easter bunny, which would come out early in the morning to hide eggs, candy, and toys all around the house and backyard.

My family’s tradition consisted of going to church in the morning, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Once the service was over I remember how excited I usually became, knowing there were lots of surprises waiting at home for my sister and I.  My mother was usually the one hiding all the Easter goodies the night before, but when I was little I truly believed that the Easter bunny was doing all the hard work.

At a certain age I knew that my parents were the ones behind everything, but I still didn’t mind hunting for toys and candy.  It was such a blast, especially since we had a three story home with a small yard, so there were lots of hiding spots.  Once all the surprises were collected, us kids usually inspected everything and tested the new toys.

After the first excitement of the hunt eventually subsided, it was time for brunch.  For that, we usually had a big family gathering either at a hotel or restaurant, where a buffet was offered.  It was the perfect solution and suited everybody’s taste.  Also, since we were a group of about ten people, none of our family members had to stand in the kitchen for hours.  My family is actually still holding up that tradition, just nowadays without me since I moved to the United States.

Since I have been living in America, I have been celebrating Easter, if at all, very differently.  My first Easter in the states was back in 2012, when I was living with a family that had two young children.

One year, I remember I prepared Easter baskets for them that were filled with chocolates and small toys.  I left them on the kitchen table with a note, wishing them a Happy Easter while they were out and about.  The next year, I went to a family gathering with them, but it was still not the same as back in my childhood days.

The following years, I wasn’t celebrating the Holiday at all, and if I wouldn’t have seen it marked in my calendar, I would have had no idea what date Easter was that year.  It just felt different for me over here, I can’t really explain why, but I didn’t have such a connection as I had back in Europe growing up.

Last year marked the first time in a while where I had an Easter experience somewhat similar to my childhood days.  You can describe it as the adult version of what the tradition for us kids looked like.  My now-roommate was house sitting at a beautiful home, fully equipped with a pool and hot tub.

Since she introduced a brunch tradition to her friends many years ago, she extended the invite to me, and I was more than happy to accept since I missed the family Easter brunch gatherings.

It was a beautiful Sunday, the sun was shining, and my roommates’ friends and I started arriving at the location one after another.  Entering the house, I could already smell eggs, bacon (that was the time I was still eating meat), and pancakes.

We gathered around the backyard, some people hanging out in a hammock, others in the hot tub, pool, and benches all around, while the two dogs of the homeowners kept roaming around us.

We had a great time talking, eating, and enjoying the sun together until it was time for the annual beer hunt. Yes, my roommate upgraded the traditional egg hunt to a fun-filled beer hunt, where all of us participants received a beer carton and had to find as many beers as would fit into it.

All the while knowing how clumsy I am, especially when it comes to handling fragile items such as glass, I entered this content with caution, but finished with no further incidents.

After all beer bottles were found, all participants sat back outside with their precious findings, looking forward to indulge into the liquid goodies.  I was sitting in the sun, sipping on my drink when I decided it was getting too hot and wanted to move into the shade, of course not without my cargo.

What I did not consider was that my beer carton, which was soaked up on the bottom with water from the pool, had become a little fragile.  I lifted it up, not supporting the bottom with my hands, and sure enough, it made a quick rip and all remaining bottles smashed on the concrete ground.

Everyone was staring very surprised and quietly at the mess I just had created, until some of us were able to digest the shock a little and got up to clean up the glass.  Oh well, since I am not a big drinker anyways I wasn’t too upset I wasn’t able to drink more, but I did feel very bad about the broken glass all over the floor.

My roommate did invite me again to this year’s Easter brunch/ beer hunt, but luckily I will be up in LA this time, hopefully not breaking anything.  However all of you who are celebrating or not celebrating the Holiday, I wish you a very Happy Easter!

Image: pixabay.com
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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sponsored by ADOLESCO.ORG

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German Romanticism at San Francisco Symphony

San Francisco Symphony  highlights German Composers and German Talents with upcoming Concerts

San Francisco Symphony has some amazing concerts coming up showcasing not only German composers Richard Strauss and Robert Schumann but also acclaimed German baritone Matthias Goerne, Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck and  German violinist Veronica Eberle, “one of the most promising violin talents to emerge from Germany in recent years”. (wikipedia)

San Francisco Symphony invites our CaliforniaGermans members to enjoy these concerts with an exclusive discount of 25% . Tickets must be purchased following the links in this post.

Each concert features an informative talk that begins one hour prior to concerts. Free to ticketholders.

R. STRAUSS AND SCHUMANN WITH IGOR LEVIT 

April 27-29, 2017 at 8:00 PM 
Davies Symphony Hall

Hailed as “one of the essential artists of his generation,” (The New York Times) Igor Levit performs Schumann’s exhilarating Piano Concerto. Then, envision breathtaking Roman ruins and sweeping rural landscapes in Richard Strauss’ first tone poem, Aus Italien, inspired by the young composer’s trip to Italy. Tickets are available here.

conductor: Fabio Luisi
piano: Igor Levit

On the program:
Schumann
Piano Concerto in A minor

Richard Strauss
Aus Italien

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SHOSTAKOVICH WITH MATTHIAS GOERNE AND TCHAIKOVSKY’S FIFTH
May 25-27, 2017 at 8:00 PM 
Davies Symphony Hall

Experience a powerful program of music that grapples with questions of life, death, and fate. Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti is brought to life by German baritone Matthias Goerne, praised for a voice that is dark and rich, filled with “red-hot dramatic intensity.” (Bachtrack) Then, Tchaikovsky’s soaring Fifth Symphony fills the hall with its massive orchestral texture and unforgettable melodies. Tickets are available here.

conductor: Manfred Honeck
baritone: Matthias Goerne

On the program:
Shostakovich
Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti

Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 5

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MENDELSSOHN’S SCOTTISH SYMPHONY
May 17-21, 2017 at 8:00 PM 
Davies Symphony Hall

Guest conductor Roberto Abbado leads Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3, Scottish. Characterized by vivid pictorial imagery, the music dances and sings the beauty of the stormy Scottish countryside. Plus, German violinist Veronika Eberle brings “introverted intensity and interpretive boldness” (The New York Times) to Schumann’s lyrical Violin Concerto. Tickets are available here.

On the program:
Busoni
Music from Turandot Suite

Schumann
Violin Concerto

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Images: SF Symphony

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The 2017 German Language Summer Camp Guide for California

Summer is approaching faster than we all would like to acknowledge it. And here we are, once again, trying to find the perfect camp and other summer activities that will save our kids from ‘extensive boredom syndrome’ during these hot summer days…

If you were planning on having your son or daughter attend a camp that will provide not only fun but will also stimulate their intellect – A foreign language immersion camp might just be the perfect pick!

In the following find a compilation of some German Language Camps up and down the coast of California. They all offer a great variety of fun activities along with German language immersion.

GERMAN LANGUAGE SUMMER CAMPS 2017

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STEM Summer Day Camp 2017 at GermanSchoolCampus in Newport Beach

Back by popular request is the STEM science camp in Newport Beach at the beautiful location at the Newport Seabase right along the waters of the Newport Bay. Children will enjoy a whole week of fun learning about “Feuer-Wasser-Erde-Luft” (Fire-Water-Earth-Air) while taking full advantage of the beautiful location and undertaking an excursion on a pontoon boat and trying out little motorboats. Fun is the top priority at the GermanSchoolCampus summer camp at the sea!

Classes are open to all children 6-17 years of age. Children can be pure beginners of the German language since all parts of the camp will be conducted bilingually and the German language is introduced throughout in a playful way.

Camp Dates : One week ONLY – Monday July 3 – Saturday July 8, 2017 from 8:30-4:30 (with no class on 4th of July)

No prior knowledge of the German language is necessary!

Contact: 949-285-0829 – Frau Schoeneich- School Director

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Camera, Lights, Action – Summer Camps for kids at GPSSD in San Diego

GPSSD San Diego offers four fun weeks of German language summer camps with themes like Zeitreisen (Time Travel), Camera, Lights, Action…, Trolls and Tournaments. The camps are open to all children 4-14 years of age.

Camp Dates: June 26 -July 21, 2017 from 9am-3pm (extended care possible)

Contact: (858) 461-9118 or germanpacificschool@gmail.com

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SUMMER IMMERSION CAMP 2017 at GISSV MOUNTAIN VIEW (NorCal)

German language classes + art, music, science, sports, cooking and more!

The GISSV Saturday School is excited to once again offer a German Immersion Summer Camp. Our combination of morning language classes and engaging afternoon activities offers a unique opportunity for kids to learn and play in German!

The German Immersion Summer Camp is for children ages 6-16. Prior knowledge of German is not required. Langauge classes are offered each day of camp from 9am-noon. Afternoons are packed with interesting, fun and physical activities ranging from art to soccer to science, cooking, yoga and music. Responding to popular request, we will also offer a KinderCamp for ages 4-5. KinderCamp will follow its own curriculum in our Kindergarten classrooms. Prior knowledge of German is not required.

Camp Dates: June 19 – July 14, 2017 , from 9am-4pm (Extended care is available for a maximum day from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm)

Contact: office@gissv.org or (650) 254-0748

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“Stein, Schere, Papier” – German Summer Camp 2017 at Bay Area Kinderstube in Berkeley (NorCal)

Bay Area Kinderstube offers four weeks of a full-immersion German summer camp at Berkwood Hedge campus, 1809 Bancroft Way, Berkeley (one block west of Berkeley High). Beautiful Berkwood Hedge campus in Berkeley has spacious classrooms and a great outdoor space. The camp is for children ages 3-13.

The curriculum is hands-on and includes singing, playing, acting, history, music, cooking, arts and crafts, field trips and many outdoor activities. Each age group is led by a native German teacher with experience in instructing various levels. The teachers will be supported by assistants, many of whom are former campers themselves. Because our camp is full immersion, it is best-suited for children with at least basic understanding skills in German. Counselor-in-Training program for 8th grade and up.

Camp Dates: July 17–August 11, Mon-Fri 9am-3pm (Extended care available form 3pm-6pm)

Contact: Heike Feltes at sommerschule@kinderstube.org or at (510)525-1310

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Nature, Creativity, Language – Summer Camp at WAnderKindSchool in Glendale 

Two amazing summer camps are scheduled for this summer. In June we will do two weeks of FORREST SCHOOL CAMP packed with outdoor fun and adventure. In July you can sign up for GERMAN LANGUAGE IMMERSION CAMP to playfully learn and improve a second language. Preschoolers join us in the mornings and Elementary Student (up to age 9) come in the afternoon.

Camp Dates:  June 19-23 & 26-30 “Forrest School Camp”,  and July 10-14 & July 17-21 “German Langauge Immersion Camp” (extended care is available upon request) Different Times for Preschoolers & elementary students.

Contact: wanderkindschool@gmail.com or 415-812-6675

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Summer Camp with GASA (SOCAL)

GASA will host their yearly overnight camp at the
beautiful Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center.
Swimming, hiking, zip-lining. A 136 ft. water slide, ‘smores by
the campfire, singing and dancing as well as fishing, baking, sports,
games and crafts, plus a special visit to a nearby zoo will be part of the fun! All activities will be conducted in German.

Camp Dates: June 25 – June 30, 2017

Contact: 562-693-0223 or office@gasaschool.org

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Summer Camp at GASPA (NorCal)

GASPA will offer a 4-week German summer camp for children at the location of Alto International School Campus (formerly GAIS) at 475 Pope Street, Menlo Park 94025. The camp is open to all children from ages 3-12 & 12-14. There is no prior German language knowledge required.

Camp Dates: June 19th – July14th 2017  from 9am-2pm (extended care is available) No Camp on Tuesday, July 4th

Contact: 650.520.3646 or contact@gaspa-ca.org

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Image: Courtesy of GermanSchoolCampus.com


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