(This post was moved from the DC Board -- The Chowhound Team.)
For all of those who think that life should be spent eating their way through Europe I am presently sweating my way through Europe on business! On Sunday it was 104 degrees in Heidelberg and the coolest temperature that Marriott could provide was about 87 in the room and 90 or so in their lobby. As I sit at the keyboard in Bologna I cannot believe how hot it is. They claim this hotel has a/c but I know better! So does the bizarre European keyboard that my perspiration drips on.
Dinner tonight was at Battebecco, a Michelin one star which was a treat to myself for wrapping this trip up (and completing a deal, too!). Risotto with shrimp and champagne, swordfish with pearl tomatoes, olives, capers and wine, a taste of a variation on pasta fagioli-all in a virtually empty dining room because the economy is bad and it is too hot for most Italians to go out. Mediocre. Yes, honestly, objectively medicore. Risotto no better than I can find at Lake Anne in Reston! I long, I mean LONG for the American restaurants, Laboratorio and Maestro. Last night another Michelin one star that was no better than the one tonight. My God, but I long, in fact would kill for a meal at Carrabba's!!!!!
I am serious. Everyone on this board has NO IDEA HOW LUCKY WE ARE TO HAVE THE TWO RESTAURANTS, Maestro and Laboratorio. Especially when you factor in wine that costs as much in Italy now as it does in D. C. Even more in some cases.
Nernberg: bratwurst capital of the world and I went to the right place, the historic "temple" as it were! Sat outside, too, at 101 degrees and scharffed my beer while chucking wurst with serious semi sharp deli mustard, one of about 75 or so doing the same on an incredibly hot, humid August night. Almost better sausage than any restaurant in Washington. NOT better than going to Sutton Place, buying Thumann's and cooking on a charcoal grill at home, though! Although there is much to be said for German mustard, even the cheapest brand. There was ambience here tonight. Sweat, too along with the 800 year old buildings lining the street. Thumann's north Jersey dogs don't feature that but I swear they are just as good. Especially on a cool, 85 degree D. C. August night, thick, moist air and all!
Karlsbad in the Czech Republic was notable for the 27 prostitutes that I counted lining the 25 miles from the German border, standing, sitting and squatting on the side of the road advertising to truckers. I cannot report on food from there since there was not a single place that I stopped. I can tell you that anyone on this board who is in to crystal that Moser sells it at their factory for 25 cents on the American dollar!
Plus they have what they call second quality which subtracts another 30 or 40% off and brings $1,000 wine decanters down to an affordable $150! or $500 down to $75.
On the road to Moser was the "all the time dominant show bar." I didn't stop to ask but the billboard truly intrigued me! Not one that you would typically see off of I 95, even near Quantico! Or Capitol Hill for that matter! Certainly not embossed on a business card handed out at the bar in the Prime Rib!
I had dinner at McDonald's on Sunday night in Heidelberg. Only because the first three places that I walked by I noted that either waiters or cooks had sweat dripping off of them into the food that was being served. Having said this I decided to try a German McDonald's and, after seeing the counter person drip their own sweat in the 110+ degree indoor temperatures, I passed on the quarter pounder (McRoyal in Germany, if you will) and skipped dinner. (An aside here but somehow it doesn't seem right that a packet of ketchup should be a fifteen cent upcharge!)
Accidentally, unintentionally I lost weight on this trip. But tomorrow I return home. And, boy, am I hungry for some real food! Europe when it is 100+ degrees is not the Europe of your dreams. It only reinforces the city that my wife and I were born in, Washington, D. C., as the best place on earth to live. In August, no less!!!!!!! And, for Italian, right now I am totally convinced that the best Italian is in D. C.
Certainly not Italy.
I'm coming home, to D. C. in August. I can't wait. The sooner I leave Italy, the sooner I can have a real meal! And a real Diet Coke! No more of the disgusting artificial cloying sweetness of Coke Light. Just the reassuring, comforting creative sweetness of Diet Coke.
Did I mention that I also miss Tasty Kakes!