Edinburgh, United Kingdom
August 8, 2002
When we first walked in, we passed some older men holding their beverages in the entryway. The place was jam-packed. The small bar was to our immediate left, and elsewhere were tightly-packed benches overflowing with happy people. I didn’t see any place to sit, and had no idea what we were supposed to do next. Suddenly a man motioned at me with the universal sign for ‘Get the $!*& out of the way!’, which prompted me to try asking the other guy behind the bar for a bit of help. This resulted in a noise that could only be interpreted as a loud bark, but seemed to work as then he pointed to a woman who led us to a couple of empty spots on one of the benches.
We both ordered a glass of Ebbelwoi (1.50 euro). I quite liked the Ebbelwoi, but did not notice anything spectacular about it — it pretty much tasted like cider (but I suppose what do you expect from a person who actually likes Diet Coke?). Something I found funny: on the menu it was listed as Apfelwein, so that was what I said. The waitress repeated ‘Apfelwein’, but when she brought it out, she clearly said, ‘Ebbelwoi’. I really thought I had a chance at picking up German after that! (I have since been corrected, und Ich spreche kein Deutsch. Instead the lesson should have been in just how distinct the Hesse dialect is…)
We also split a plate of the Handkäse mit Musik (2.50 euro). It was served with several small pieces of bread, on which we spread butter and then covered it with pieces of the cheese and onions. It was excellent. You might be interested, I never had to face the music, maybe because we split the one serving. For the main course, we both had Sauerkrautrösti mit Grüner Sosse und Salatgarnitur (7 euro). I had no idea what to expect, but it was quite nice. It was a potato patty topped with sauerkraut and small side salad. The sauce was to be poured over the potato and sauerkraut. Besides the items I chose, there were quite a few other selections. Most were less than 10 euro, as this is not meant to be a pricey restaurant.
I really enjoyed the meal, and we also ended up chatting with the couple next to us, who seemed to approve of our dinner choices. I think it’s hard to ignore your dining neighbors when you’re sharing a bench with them. Getting the bill and paying was a bit of a chore, but we did manage it. I almost missed coming here. If I hadn’t managed to convince a guy I met in the hostel, I never would have had the guts to go in alone. Lesson learned: always make travel buddies when you’re alone!
From journal Multiethnic Dining in Frankfurt