Duesseldorf… Northern Germans wouldn’t consider that Northern Germany - the story of my life…. I’m from a little south of there, and it’s neither north nor south…
I was there a lot when I went to school. I don’t remember a lot of specific restaurants anymore, but there is an “Old Town” where there are lots of nice restaurants and bars. What I get when I’m in Cologne - not sure whether that’s still a Duesseldorf specialty - is Himmel und Erd, Heaven and Earth, which is potato (earth apple) and apple (heaven’s apple) mashed together. It typically comes with sausage and caramelized onions, it’s extremely yummy with fried blood sausage. I know I know. It’s really good, though. But it usually also comes with standard Bratwurst.
Beer of course will have to be Alt, otherwise they’ll chase you out of town.
It’s too far north for wineries, but if you find a wine shop with German wines look for “Grosses Gewaechs”, the German version of grand crus. I’ve had some outstanding Grosses Gewaechs Rieslings, among the best white wines I’ve ever had.
I have a friend that lives across the river from Duesseldorf, I’ll ask her for recommendations.
Oh, one food I forgot that’s my favorite in Germany is herring. It comes either in a cream sauce (cold) with onions and sometimes apples served with potatoes, or very young, just cured in brine, fresh out of the vat, preferably at a farmers market, then it’s called Matjes. Oh…...
Mona - sounds exciting, where did you live? Sounds like you had a good time! I’m in complete agreement, all these are really good, but with the possible exception of Flammkuchen (which is French, btw) extremely hard to come by in Duesseldorf. I grew up about 100 miles south of Duesseldorf, and I wouldn’t touch a Schweinehaxe there, they just don’t know how to make it very well :-(
Ah, one of these SAPers… Quite a few of them around here as well. Flammkuchen is quite popular for casual dining places, it’s easy to make and people love it. I was never in Rothenberg, can you believe that? I was also never in Neuschwanstein, and several other must sees in Germany. At least I made it to Heidelberg once!
Germany is extremely local in foods I always feel. Bavaria is different from Swabia is different from the East is different from the North. My favorite area (foodwise) is probably the area close to Strasbourg, both sides of the border have great food and great restaurants and great wine.
Wenn wir Geheimnisse haben wollen koennen wir dann ja deutsch reden! Great that you managed to learn German, it’s a tough language with lots of grammar.
I don’t care for Sauerkraut, either. But red cabbage - yum! You should be able to find Sauerbraten in Duesseldorf, it’s typically a tough piece of beef (or horse) that’s been marinated in vinegar or wine or both for a week, and then braised until it’s so soft that you don’t need a knife to eat it. The sauce will be made sweetish, typically with spicy cookies to flavor and thicken.
And Kartoffelpuffel - how could I forget?
I have asked my friend for good bakeries. Yes, they’ve gone downhill quite dramatically since I left. If you find a good one try Baumkuchen, it’s like a pound cake but baked in layers. Also great is Sachertorte. Many of the pastries that used to be good are now all the same, no matter where you go…
If you have a day you should hop on a train and go to Aachen to see the cathedral. It’s a beautiful church, not as big as the Koelner Dom, but much nicer in my opinion. Charlemagne is buried there, and it’s very special. Right next to it is the Aachen town hall, also a very nice building. If it’s summer there are lots of cafes and restaurants outside where you can hang out with the local student.
Hah, that makes 3 of us that don’t like Sauerkraut. I don’t feel so alone anymore
If you have a railpass you should also go to Cologne, it’s perhaps 30 minutes by train. The train station there is dead smack in the center of town, right next to the cathedral (beautiful, mostly because it’s huge!). In the same area is the Roemisch-Germanische Museum, which is showing archeological artifacts back to the middle ages. Also next to it is the Ludwig Museum, mostly modern art. And then, back to the food, right next to all of this is my favorite brewery in Cologne, the Frueh. There are lots of tourists, but lots of locals go there as well, for example my mother in law. This is where I usually have my heaven and earth. It’s a very authentic old brewery, with lots of local food. Oh now I’m envious!
I think it’s less the braising and more the marinating in vinegar and wine that makes the beef tender. And yes, it can, I’ve made it many times!