Posts tagged American Girl in a German Deli

Viking Blod

While my blogs usually start off with me walking the market and finding a new culinary treasure displayed on the shelves, this time it was actually my husband’s fortune.

A new mead has arrived at Magnolia Square Market, its bottle sets it apart from the myriad of shiny, colored glass beer and wine bottles. This vessel is ceramic and painted in black matte, which catches the eye with a red, white and gold label.  ‘Viking Blod’ if that name doesn’t inspire sense of intrigue you may want to check your pulse.  My husband said it evoked thought of Klingon Blood Wine, which considering the name is interestingly coincidental… It is a warrior’s drink!

Viking Blod a Nordic honey wine with hibiscus and hops added (they had my husband at “honey wine”).  Theo saw husband’s interest was piqued and handed him a bottle, so here we are sitting in the dining room after the kids are in bed, with mismatched glassware and a chilled bottle between us.

We were looking forward to sampling it all afternoon. We actually had mead (a honey wine) served at our wedding 10 years ago. They were both homebrewed by our friends and have set the bar pretty high for us when we have tried other store bought bottles. I am a big fan of sweet drinks so mead has always been a personal favorite, while my husband’s tastes lean more towards Scotch or beer.

DSCF0079 While neither of us are master brewers or sommeliers here is what we thought of Viking Blod.

The smell was very pleasant with flowery sweetness and hint of spice, it is 19% ABV and you can clearly smell it. It has a beautiful rose and old gold color, and we both noticed how the tears rolled slowly down the glass.

The first sip was sweet and easily recognized as a mead, and was much better than the last store bought mead we had tried.  I got flowery notes with a lite spice and a very pleasant taste that lingers on the tongue. I is definitely something I might take with me to the next girl’s night to share a few glasses with.

My husband found a smoky flavor, almost peat like with whisky but not as much. The hops were light and not at all overpowering and mixed with the spicy sweetness. It was something that he would want to drink out at camp surrounded by friends around a fire.

All around we feel that it is a wonderful drink to sit back and enjoy.



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Who’s Hungary?

Today I wanted to try one of several jarred items that always seem to catch my eye and draw me in. We have a few BENDE  products and they all look very appetizing, for today I chose the Hot Mixed Salad. Looking at it through the glass I am imagining it will taste like a spicy cole slaw.

Theo described this to me as being the Hungarian version of Kimchi.

Reading over the label is a habit I’ve gotten into lately, this is how I discovered that this is a product of Hungary (also a ½ cup serving is only 20 calories!)

BENDE Hot Mixed SaladPopping the jar open at my desk I was pleasantly overwhelmed by the aroma of vinegar & sweet pickles. Spooning out the contents for pictures I noticed that the cuts and slices of pickles, cabbage, onions, peppers and green tomatoes were not evenly cut…a strange thing to notice but I’ve worked in the kitchen and know the difference between veggies that were cut by hand & the ones that were put through a slicer or processor.  The overall look was that of a handmade salad.

The first bite was a small adventure, with a light taste of vinegar, followed by flavors of pickle, and then the heat. I enjoy spicy foods so for me the fire was a bit of a surprise but not overwhelming. The texture was just as I had expected, similar to cole slaw. The heat stayed with me for several minutes afterwards making my mouth all tingly.

Sydney was walking by and was curious enough to try a bite. We brainstormed for a minute about how it would taste great as a sandwich.  I handed over the jar and she disappeared into the kitchen to see just what would be great with a mixed salad.

Who's Hungary?Upon her return a few moments later she described what she had done.  Using one of our fresh brotchen as a bun she melted a slice of Munster cheese over some Ziguener Turkey.  A light spread of mayo on the bun and a spoon full of the heated hot mixed salad.  Sydney said that it gave the meat a nice sweet flavor when cooked but the spicy bite was milder afterwards.  I packed more of the salad on to my half, making the sandwich a fun mix of hot and cold. The gooey melted Munster was fantastic with the crunch of the cool mixed salad. All together it tamped down the spiciness from a pronounced taste to a more of an accenting flavor.

Overall it is delicious; I ended up finishing the remainder. I’m now looking forward to the next few hours to enjoy the left over heat that I can still taste.

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Blogging and Business Lunch

What a beautiful Florida afternoon to enjoy lunch outside!  Most of the time when I’m writing about food in the market I’m sitting at my desk , a pen in one hand a fork in the other & a camera by my side. The food & drinks have always been good but often what really makes a meal truly great is the company that you’re sharing it with. Around the corner at the Willow Tree we call it Gemuetlichkeit, which is a sense of well-being and happiness that comes from enjoying the company of friends and family while savoring good food and drink.

I often ask my coworkers to sample our ‘exotic’ German delights and I’m usually rebuffed (I just don’t understand their aversion to a ball of fried herring marinated in vinegar?!?) Yesterday while I was out in store looking over some of our new items one of our beloved regulars came in and we picked up a jar of red pepper strips & started talking with Chef Josh about what items on the shelf would be great to add onto our deli sandwiches.

We all started kicking around ideas and Chef Josh took over and said that he’d have something special just for us made with items from our store. Theo thought it was a fantastic idea, so today I’ve been watching the clock in anticipation for what was going to be presented.  Working in the food service industry it’s not often that I get to eat lunch at ‘lunch time’, so I think I’ve got a good reason to be excited about taking a short break to enjoy the weather, a good meal with  great people.

Tom arrived just after Noon, I picked up a nice cold bottle of Ginger Beer and we went outside to sit in the shade of our sidewalk tables. I don’t think the afternoon could have been any nicer to enjoy the weather and a good lunch.  It was hot out today but sitting in the shade of our table’s umbrella with a cold drink…it was just down right pleasant. The Ginger Beer was not over sweet, and a smooth flavor that fell between Root Beer & Ginger Ale.

I had a few minutes to just chat with Tom about what he liked most about the deli. He described how limited the options were in the area for a quick lunch that wasn’t a sit down establishment. We both talked about the positive & negative aspects of how we slice our sandwich meats to order. While it takes a few extra minutes the freshness and quality is worth it.  He particularly enjoys the products we make in house, during the week he rotates between our Herb Roasted Turkey, Garlic Pork Loin & Chicken Salad. However his favorite fallback is Pastrami on either our homemade German Farmers Bread or Pumpernickel with Swiss cheese, onions & pickles.

Theo came out to join us and we all sat back and talked about good food and what Chef Josh was preparing, then as if right on cue Chef Josh came out with plates in hand.

We had a Smoked Pork Loin, with sautéed mushrooms, red peppers & onions, melted Mediterranean Gouda on our fresh brotchen with a red pepper & garlic aoli, and a side of tomato cucumber salad.

The sandwich was hearty, filling and almost caused me a sensory overload. The smoked pork loin was tender and juicy. Chef Josh has proven many times that he is a pro when in it comes to smoking meats. The red peppers, onions & mushrooms were sautéed long enough to let the flavors out and get the consistency just right. The red pepper and garlic aoli….oh just where can I start to express the raptures of a great aoli. Chef Josh set aside some of the red pepper strips from the jar just for this, he admits that it’s not a proper aoli because he cheated today using a tube of our Thomy Mayo. I know the leftovers were polished off by the staff afterwards. I know there wasn’t any evidence of it left on my plate I saved a few bites of me bread to clean it up.  Tom likes our new brotchen because it the fresh ones we make now have a better crust.

A perfect companion for the meal was the tomato cucumber salad. Tom expressed it exactly, how on a hot day like today the cold salad was absolutely refreshing and next to the somewhat heavy sandwich. Josh used our Haus dressing which has this wonderfully strong dill flavor.

I was completely contented and a bit sad when it was gone, even Theo sounded a little down when he said “guess it’s time to get back to work” so back to the office I came with some good pictures a page full of quick observational scribbles.

For all our foodie friends Chef Josh gave wrote down the recipe for your enjoyment.

Pork Loin
Spanish onion
BENDE Red Pepper Strips
Salt & Pepper
Pumpernickel Bread
Mediterranean Gouda
WTC Haus Dressing

1. For garlic pork loin marinate in 1/2 cup olive oil and 6 roughly chopped cloves of garlic for at least 1 hour
2. For pickled red peppers onions and mushrooms take 1 jar of Bende Red Pepper strips and reserve 1/4 jar for aoli
While marinating pork make pickled veg take 1/2 of Spanish onion and julienne into 1/8″ strips
Slice mushrooms into 1/8″ slices in a mixing bowl combine Red Peppers and juice with onions and mushrooms, mix and let rest 30 mins
3. For tomato cucumber salad cut tomatos into hlf inch cubes. Place in mixing bowl.
Cut cucumber into 1/4 inch strips length wise, and then juliene 1/2 onions in 1/4 in strips place in bowl
mix in 8oz of haus dressing and chill for 20 min
4. Salt and pepper smoke on smoker at 225 for 10min let rest for 5min, slice in 1/2″ slices
5. For aoli combine 6 garlic cloves & the 1/4th jar of reserved red peppers, 1 Thomy Mayo tube in a food processor or blender until finely pureed and mixed through, salt and pepper to taste
6. Strain and sauté veg; Sauté to heat, not to cook.
7. Assembly of sandwich
Assemble on small sheet pan.
Take pumpernickel bun cut in half and toast on 1 side. Spread aoli on both sides of bread. Place 1/2 of 1 whole sliced tenderloin on the bottom half of bread
Place hot sautéed pickled veg on top of pork, place 1 slice of Mediterranean Gouda on top. Broil for 1 min to melt cheese
Place top bread on and cut in half on diagonal and serve with chilled tomato cucumber salad

We had enough to serve 5

1 hour prep

40 mins cooking

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Today’s subject is all in thanks to Chef Josh. Normally I like to take a look around and pick something that looks somewhat familiar or that had been recommended to me by a guest or co-worker. Not today!

Josh picked a jar of Bratrollchen out of the cooler and told me to write about it. Knowing that I have a new found love for our selection of canned fried fish.  I don’t know what my reluctance is to the jarred variety is but even after a year I still haven’t mustered up the courage to sample the Rollmops or Bismarckherring.

Carrying the jar back to the office I grabbed a small dish & fork I sat down at my desk and began my brief journey. Looking over the label I saw much of the same things that are used in the cans like: Vinegar, breadcrumbs, oil, etc. This jar also was kind enough to have an English translation Bratrollchen is Fried Herring, rolled.

Fried Rolled Herring balls

Oftentimes when I’m sampling something to blog about I tend to immerse myself into the item for a few minutes so that I don’t miss anything, today that didn’t really work out so well. I think I was distracted with the strong smell of vinegar that hit me as soon as I opened the jar; my concentration was completely broken right after Theo walked by and commented on the shape and color of the fried fish balls that I was forking out into my little dish. I won’t repeat what his observation was….but I will say that I agreed.

I cut the first one in half to look at what it was I was about to try. I wasn’t expecting to see what I did. The fish appears to be finely shredded first then shaped into balls, breaded, fried & then submerged in the jar of oil & vinegar, with carrots, celery, onions & mustard seeds.

The taste was exactly the same as its canned friends although obviously lacking the subtle metallic taste. What was really nice was that not once did I get a fish bone!

Sydney & Aaron were the only other brave souls working that took up my offer to try some. Aaron felt that the vinegar taste was a bit strong but he really liked the texture. Sydney was also very happy at the absence of bones, saying that the texture was way more pleasant than the whole fried fillets we had tried last time. Sydney commented further that she thought it would probably taste even better served hot.

After all the Bratrollchen were all finished off I fished out the pickled veggies that had fallen to the bottom of the jar. Thinly slivered onions, carrots, celery & mustard seeds…they were all quite tasty.

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In with the new!

The month of May has been a good one! Here at the market we have hit the one year mark, both Magnolia Square & Willow Tree are welcoming Coca Cola products in, and our Chefs have proudly introduced our new style of German potato salad.


What’s special about our new potato salad is the guest feedback we looked for while debating on changing an item we’ve had for so long. During several lunches we sent samples out and after talking it over and looking at all the positive comments the decision was made.

I tried it today twice, I had one small bowl that was heated properly and the other served cold like we have available at the market. Heated I could taste more of the applewood smoked bacon we use that has (as the name implies) a smokey taste. We are now using red potato which changes the texture to a bite that is more firm. The pickles & apple cider vinegar give it a much tangier flavorful profile than the other version had. Altogether I enjoyed it both hot and cold….maybe a little better hot though….I’ve gotten so used to the German style it’s hard to look at a Southern potato salad the same way.

Now that the temperature & humidity outside has been steadily creeping up, I’m greatly looking forward to picnics, beach days, and just lots of time outside with family and friends. Aside from packing lots of water bottles, soda (or cola, if you prefer) is usually always on my picnic shopping list. Monday at Magnolia Square Market our new Coca-Cola refrigerator was delivered and stocked. I can’t describe my joy when I saw glass bottles going in.

When I got a closer look I noticed two things, first was that the bottles looked a little different than I’ve seen before, second that the labels were written in Spanish. When I asked about this I was told that these are indeed Mexican. Instead of using processed sugars & syrups the three brands in glass bottles (Coca-Cola, Fanta, & Sprite) are made using cane sugar.

Well OBVIOUSLY I had to try it! Now I don’t drink Coke products that often, and I feel a little silly getting so excited about a bottle of Coca-Cola, but it was REALLY good! There is a very noticeable difference, the carbonated bite that often irritated me with Coca-Cola is much less pronounced. It is actually smooth and refreshing (hmm sounds like a familiar slogan). Theo cracked open a bottle and said it reminded him of how it used to taste when he was a kid, which is when it hit me that it tastes JUST like the Coca-Cola throwback’s they had out a few years ago!

Since we have 3 glass bottled sodas I couldn’t in good conscience not continue the comparison, I’ll deal with the calories Sunday while I’m running a 5K.

The Fanta’s flavor was just as good as the glass bottled coke; the orange sweetness wasn’t harsh with carbonation & didn’t have the metallic taste of its canned cousins.  After such an amazing difference with the first two I was really surprised that the Sprite tasted just like normal, just without the minimal aluminum taste. I can only guess it’s because the strong flavor of lemon-lime covers it so well.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful weekend, and a safe Memorial Day!

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Goose Liverwurst for lunch

Goose Liver Sausage…sounds fascinating doesn’t it? Having worked in the restaurant for several years I became a big fan of our Liverwurst sandwich on German bread with onions and pickles, that liverwurst is mostly pig liver. Today I wanted to try something that was familiar but different.  Looking over the options in the cooler of Bloodwurst, Calves Liver Pate, and 2 kinds of Teewurst the Goose liver just seemed like the way to go.


Chatting with Sydney while fixing my plate we decided it would be best to stay somewhat traditional with my sample. So instead of using slices of German bread I chose to pull a crunchy brotchen from the bakery rack, and laid out some pickle & onion slices. It was easily spread on the bread halves and I was surprised to see several small liver chunks and I noticed that its color was lighter than the Schaller & Webber brand we use other times. On one slice I added spicy mustard and my veggie fixings, and then it was off to my desk to pull out my note pad and dig in.

I sampled a small slice on its own to get the full taste and flavor. Slightly smoky it tasted very much like the liverwurst had with the exception that this was slightly sweeter with a very nice aftertaste.

It was wonderful when spread out on my crunchy brotchen, and even better with the mustard, pickles and onion. It was a small lunch with a mighty punch! I only used a quarter of the package, the rest I shared with my co-workers. Just a taste and it was gone, a great treat for everyone.

For a really creative party idea I’d like to say liverwurst is also really handy when making a unique visual (and edible) piece on a buffet table. I never would have considered molding and sculpting pate, but Chef Linda has created some adorable Liverwurst pigs on a few occasions and I think they are just the most unique looking arrangements I’ve ever seen.

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Chocolate & German coffee, a perfect combination

It’s a chocolate & coffee kind of day! Since Mother’s day is almost here I went out in the store and looked at all of the high quality chocolates we have available. One of the best and brightest boxed items is the Reber chocolates. With their bright red and gold wraps & packages they really are eye catching. I picked out 5 items that really grabbed my attention.

Mozart Herz’l (heart) — smooth and sweet with pistachio marzipan and a soft nougat, in two heavenly little bites.

Schwarzwalder Kirsh Heart– I was taken aback by the lack of sweetness in the taste at first, then I read the label…This uses a bitter sweet chocolate to cover the almond marzipan and the kirsh (cherry) filling. The kirsh used has a thick jelly consistency and is on the tart side. Altogether it is an interesting taste that is perfect if you don’t want something overly sweet.

Reber Bissen Truffel-Pastete–    Wow! There is a lot going on in this little number! Not overly sweet it is a creamy truffle with flavors of hazelnut, brandy & raisins, with a crispy wafer thrown in and coated in Alpine whole milk chocolate. I was surprised by the raisins but really loved it with everything inside. It’s smooth, crispy and slightly chewy all in one little package.

Mozart Piano Bar– One of my favorites when I really want to indulge myself or give a gift of a really great chocolate bar. It’s crispy and delicious with hazelnut nougat and full of the divine pistachio marzipan. The crunch is from the crisp rice and is coated with what I’ve come to think of as Reber’s silky smooth chocolate that just melts in the mouth.

Last is one of the many boxed chocolates we carry from Reber

The Mozart Medaillons– the box is filled with 10 individually wrapped medallions. Reber took an already amazing combination of soft, sweet chocolate a rich caramel, and improved upon it with adding traditional almond marzipan.  The only texture to speak of is the slightly gritty feel of a fine marzipan.

Take my advice and BEWARE of where you may leave an open box of the medaillons laying. I was away from my desk and 6 of 10 disappeared between my two coworkers….I can’t really blame them though; I’d be tempted to do the same thing.

What better way to enjoy chocolate when you don’t have a big glass of cold milk around, I reach for coffee.

“Tchibo coffee- Exclusive” claims to have a “balanced taste, fine aroma” I for one always love the smell of freshly brewed coffee.  I normally dilute my coffee heavily with cream and sugar, but because I wanted to really get a good taste I only used enough to take the bite out of black coffee. I’m glad that I didn’t add more, the taste was incredibly smooth and I finished one cup pretty quick (soon the caffeine will kick in and then the work day will get really fun!)

The second cup I used flavored cream and it mixed so nicely that the taste of vanilla was upfront, bold and absolutely everything I want when I make or buy a flavored drink.

Well, now that I’m loaded with a few cups of coffee & chocolates I think I’ll take a brisk run up and down the street & around the building a few times.

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