After going up Frankfurter Dom, I walked across the river to Sachsenhausen via Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge), an old pedestrian bridge that serves as a landmark:
The bridge is a popular place for Liebesschlösser ("Promise Locks") left by couples, much like other bridges:
Sachesenhausen is one of Frankfurt’s neighborhoods known for Apfelweinwirtschafts (basically, cider houses). One of the better known ones is Struwwelpeter
(full review here
), named after the German childrens’ stories by Heinrich Hoffmann (most of which I actually think are more than a little creepy, as childrens’ stories go, like the young boy whose thumbsucking is solved by a tailor cutting off his thumbs with giant shears…):
Stepping into Struwwelpeter, you are stepping into a bar that is basically the epitome of a German apfelwein bar. Dark wood. Long benches for eating and drinking. Glass and wrought iron windows. Big racks of “geripptes”, glasses with a lozenge facet cut typically used for drinking apfelwein, as well as giant racks of stoneware jugs (“Bembels”) used for serving up larger quantities of apfelwein:
So, I ordered up a gerippte of apfelwein (not my first, admittedly), and sat back to enjoy it over my long lunch hour. I rather enjoyed the apfelwein, it was crisp and tart, and quite reminiscent of the hard cider I brew myself back in NH. I’m not sure I like it as much as the beers from neighboring regions (Alts from Dusseldort, and Weissbiers from Munich), but it was quite refreshing (although from what I could see, the vast majority of apfelweinwirtschafts get their apfelwein from the same brewer: Possmann):
I also decided that Struwwelpeter was a good place to try out some of the other regional specialties, so I decided to give Leberkäse a try. Leberkäse is basically a meatloaf that’s similar to bologna, typically baked until cooked and crispy, then a slice is cut off and sold fried up with an egg. Much like various breakfast creations back in the states made from Taylor Pork Roll, this was actually quite tasty, although not what I’d crave every day:
But Sachsenhausen is filled
with Apfelweinwirtschafts, so I soon found myself at another well-known establishment, Adolf Wagner
(full review [url=offbeateats.org/2012/10/adolf-wagner-frankfurt-am-main-germany/]here[/url]). It’s a bit of a tourist destination, but it’s also one of the minority of Frankfurt Apfelweinwirtschafts that actually makes it’s own Afpelwein; most places carry Apfelwein made by Possmann, the major brewery in the area (who makes a good product, admittedly):
Located on the edge of Sachsenhausen, south of the Schweizer Platz shopping area, Adolf Wagner is definitely on the tourist beat, and even with my early dinner time, it was definitely busy. But this made for some phenomenal people-watching, since Adolf Wagner is basically group seating (benches, mostly), and the staff loves to pack people in tightly, and it’s really fun seeing how people from different cultures (especially those with larger concepts of “personal space”) handle that, and being seated with unfamiliar people. It also means that if you are by yourself (like I was), or in a small group, they can almost always fit you in somewhere. In my case, this meant getting seated at a table three French 50-something women who barely knew English or German:
But the same sort of efficiency that the staff applies to seating is also applied to service: Adolf is definitely trying to move people through there. A mere minute after I was seated, I found myself sharing a large bembel of apfelwein with the French ladies, and having my order taken. All day I had been craving mushrooms (it apparently was mushroom season in Hesse, with most markets having huge displays of them), so I opted for the Jäger Schnitzel (pork schnitzel with mushroom sauce).
And it was quite a good schnitzel: a nice tender pork, a good breading, and quite a delicious mushroom sauce. While I ended up having schnitzel for about half of my meals in Frankfurt, this was one of the best. As far as the Apfelwein? I could tell that Adolf Wagner made their own, it was a definitely yeastier and more complicated and earthy apfelwein than most of the other joints, and their version of it appealed to me. I would have had more, but I think I already had well more than my share of the large 4 liter bembel that they brought to our table.
But it wasn't all Apfelweinwirtschafts. One of the things I enjoy about going to large international cities is that they tend to have immigrant communities, which gives them plenty of good ethnic restaurants in addition to the native foods. For Frankfurt, one of the larger immigrant communities is Turkish, with several parts of town having notable concentrations of Turkish businesses. In particular, the directly east of the Hauptbahnhof has several large and well-regarded Turkish halal restaurants places. One of these, Central Grill
(full review here
, was my choice for lunch on my way back to the hotel:
Central Grill has a pretty good selection of Turkish food, with a decent collection of soups, kebabs, and various Döner dishes carved right off the spit. After looking over the options, I opted for the Adana kebabı, a pleasantly spicy ground meat mixture served up on a skewer. Done well, this is one of my favorite styles of kebab (I like the similar Iranian koobideh kebab as well, when I can get them), and Central Grill does a good job with theirs. A nice, flavorful meat with bold chile pepper notes. A nice char on the kebabı. A flavorful rice/barley medley below for both taste and texture. A nice spicy sauce. A few grilled chile peppers to round it out. The result was a very bold and flavorful dish that was a nice difference from the German food of the last several days.
my conference concluded and I found myself faced with my last evening in Frankfurt. While I enjoyed some of the tourist destination in Frankfurt (Römerberg and Sachsenhausen were both fairly pleasant), I wanted to try and find a more relaxing and less touristy area to explore and have my dinner. So I decided to walk from downtown northeast to Bornheim, which is one of Frankfurt’s older neighborhoods. It also has a nice “village” atmosphere, and a nice boulevard, Berger Straße, lined with several restaurants and apfelweinwirtschafts. After looking at several of these, I decided to try out one of the, Apfelwein Solzer
(full review here
, for dinner:
Solzer is one of the true older-style apfelweinwirtschafts. The place itself has been there since the 16th century, and in it’s modern form since the late 1800s (although the current name dates from the 1960s). And it’s laid out like a lot of the older apfelweinwirtschafts, with a surprisingly small storefront that belies the spacious dining areas: while there are a handful of small rooms with bench seating at the front of Solzer, as you go back through the restaurant you’ll find a large bar area, and then a very spacious outdoor seating area (half of it sheltered and heated) that holds several hundred people. On a given busy evening, such as the Friday night I went to Solzer, between all the various seating areas, there were probably five hundred people there.
Finding a seat was a challenge (much like the previous night’s visit to Adolf Wagner), but I was soon able to score a rather nice seat at the bar, watching all the food come out from the kitchen, and watching the staff pour out bembel after bembel of apfelwein to the thirsty patrons.
Like a few of the other best apfelweinwirtschafts I went to around Frankfurt, Solzer makes its own apfelwein, using their own recipe, and it again shows in the quality: the apfelwein here had a distinctly pleasant earthy and yeasty note I like in a good cider. And the staff here was very pleasant, frequently replacing my empty schoppen with a fresh new one.
As far as the food menu, Solzer has a rather extensive menu of German pub food, with an entire half-page of Frankfurt specialties, including the ever-present schnitzels (including krüstchenschnitzel, schnitzel wrapped in pastry instead of breaded), markklößchen suppe (bone marrow soup), all sorts of dishes featuring the cold herb grüne soße (green sauce), and one of my particular German favorites, kartoffelkloß (potato dumpling, typically filled with sausage). I ended up going for the kartoffelkloß, which came out of the kitchen as a rather impressively large dumping, filled with a delicious liver sausage blend, and served up with a rich and flavorful bacon, onion, and chive sauce. The dumpling was perfectly done, with a nice texture that reminds me of a good gnocchi. The sausage blend in the middle was had all the nice flavor notes of a good liver sausage, with a nice, coarse grind. The sauce was rich and a nice complement to the dumpling, albeit a bit saltier than I might have preferred. But the best part? This veritable feast of excellent kartoffelkloß was only 7.90 Euro:
After that, I it was time to, reluctantly, head home. Back at the airport, it's worth noting that Frankfurt has an outstanding observation deck, and you can see a lot of neat international planes there due to it being a major hub: