Tasty Tuesday–Schnitzel and Spätzle and Strudel…Oh My!

It seemed like we waited over 400 years for the Belleville Hofbräuhaus to open, but they are finally fully operational. Of course, we had anxiously anticipated eating at this restaurant since the day we heard they were going to build it, and now we’ve been there twice in two weeks! That was kind of an anomaly, because of a birthday celebration, so I think it will be awhile before we go back, but I’m excited to share our experience(s)!

First of all, the restaurant is HUGE. It is billed as the largest Hofbräuhaus in America (30,000 square feet!!!), but you don’t really get just how big it is from driving by…you really have to go inside to  understand its grand scale!

In addition to seating for 450 in the restaurant (and that doesn’t even count the banquet room), there’s also an outdoor biergarten that can seat over 200, and the weather is finally nice enough for diners to enjoy it!

Both times we went, there was live music. Since they bring musicians in from Europe every month, we got to see two different bands (one in April and one in May), and both were great…I think we heard all of our German favorites, including “Edelweiss,” “Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken,” and “Roll out the Barrel.” We also enjoyed the sounds of the alphorn the first time we visited.

The brewery is a big part of the operation, and they are always brewing several varieties of beer (according to the Reinheitsgebot), including a seasonal selection.

Of course, the main attraction is the food (ok, depending on who you ask, because some people are there for the beer!), and the menu is quite extensive:

We tried two different appetizers…Bayerischer Raditeller (shaved radishes and rye bread) and a jumbo pretzel with Obatzda cheese, sweet mustard, and onion mustard. Both were excellent!

We tried quite a few main courses over our two visits, as well. Pictured here is Schnitzel Wiener Art, Kartoffelpuffer, the special “sausage tower,” Sauerbraten, Schweinebraten, Bavarian potato salad, and my personal favorite, Paniertes Jägerschnitzel (with spätzle, of course!). Ryan said it’s the best schnitzel he’s had outside of Vienna!

We tried three beers over the two visits, as well…Märzen, Dunkel, and Maibock:

We even had a dessert, and let me tell you, the Apfelstrudel is AMAZING!!!

Did I mention that the servers wear German national dress?

There’s even a small gift shop, where they have a variety of beer glasses, imported candy, and other German novelties:

After waiting so long for the Hofbräuhaus to open, I was a little worried it might not live up to the hype, but in my opinion at least, it really does. It feels just like I imagine a real German bierhall does, and the atmosphere, with the music, the lederhosen, and the enthusiastic diners just reinforces that feeling. It’s a great experience, and I’m already looking forward to whenever we might get to go back!

Tasty Tuesday–Schnitzel Platz

When we were in Chicago recently, we had the opportunity to go to dinner at Schnitzel Platz in Glendale Heights. For those of us anxiously awaiting the opening of the Hofbräuhaus downstate here in Belleville, an authentic German meal was very welcome!

The inside is just what you’d expect in a German restaurant, and I loved it! It also smelled like a German restaurant (so pretty much like beer, sauerkraut and pork), even before we walked in the front door!

The menu is amazing. One look at the extensive selection of schnitzels was all I needed to know that I would be able to find something fantastic!

I tried to photograph all of the German foods at our table, from the pre-dinner pretzels to the soup and salad selections, and of course the main courses! I personally enjoyed the liver dumpling soup, which is something I had never tried before and is way out of my comfort zone, but I shouldn’t have worried…it was delicious! I also had my favorite preparation of schnitzel…the Jäger Schnitzel, which has a nice mushroom sauce. In addition, I chose Spätzle (of course!), and sauerkraut to complete my meal. I had a Spatenbräu with my dinner, and some of the children enjoyed Sprecher root beer (they loved that it was served in a mini stein!). Also pictured are the German salad plate, which had beets, red cabbage, and cucumber and carrot salads, Wiener schnitzel with Spätzle and red cabbage, Panierte Schweine Koteletten (fried pork chops), with red cabbage and a dumpling, Goulash, and Käse Spätzle from the children’s menu.

We especially enjoyed the live accordion music that accompanied our meal:

There was also a lovely dessert selection…unfortunately, we were all too full from dinner to try anything, but it sure was nice to look at!

Our meal was amazing. Everything tasted just right, and the portions were quite generous. The only downside was how busy it was on a Saturday night. Even though we had a reservation, we had to wait to be seated, and we waited even longer for our food to be prepared. But between the live music and the great energy in the restaurant (various diners were singing and/or dancing most of the time we were there!), even that wasn’t too big of a deal, and I’d definitely go back if I had the chance…just maybe on a week night next time!

A German Feast for the Fourth

I wasn’t really feeling the Fourth of July this year, so I wanted to do something different for our holiday dinner. I decided that a meal that celebrates part of our family’s heritage would work, so I set out to make a German Feast for the Fourth.

We started by making pretzels this afternoon, which is always a family favorite food and activity! In addition to nacho cheese (so not German!), we also had a delicious German pub mustard for dipping.

For dinner, I decided to make pork schnitzel with a Jaeger sauce, German potato salad, gerkensalat, sauerkraut, and homemade spaetzle. The dinner was a big hit!

For dessert, I made a Schwarzwald Kirsch Kuchen. Also a big hit!

This wasn’t our usual Independence Day dinner, but it was festive and delicious…what more can you ask of a holiday meal?

Tasty Tuesday–Oktoberfest 2013

Over the weekend, we had our annual Oktoberfest celebration. It’s nice to have one holiday with a somewhat fluid date, so that I can fit it into our schedule, instead of the other way around!

We made soft pretzels, and a cheddar-beer fondue to dip them in:

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For dinner, there was Jaeger schnitzel with noodles and sauerkraut:

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And, the real star of the day, Black Forest cherry torte for dessert!

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Wunderbar!