Carrying on from my last post when B came to visit…
27 Dec 2018 – Thursday
We decided to go traditional and take B for some grub at a neighbourhood bakery in Winterhude where where Airbnb was. So breakfast was brötchen galore!
I fell in love with Frischkäse aka Fresh Cheese this trip. It’s a little like cream cheese but much lighter on the palate and usually has fresh herbs mixed in. I also shared the mashed avo sliced bread with sliced hard boiled egg with B which definitely wasn’t at the level we’re used to. Poached eggs are definitely the way to go and this avo spread seemed more mayo-ey. Flo was happy he finally got his fill of Mitbrötchen but this place went a level up, using tartare-grade minced beef.
We decided to visit HafenCity after breakfast so B could have a look at the Elbphilaharmonie. We parked a little way off but doing so allowed us to see this mega tall Christmas tree! Mind you, for all the green action Germany is known for, this was actually a fake Christmas tree so you can imagine, all that plastic!!
We also stumbled upon some quaint little shops. I especially liked this one that had all kinds of specially flavoured olive oils and alcohols with free tasting available. They also had this beautiful, colourful test tubes filled with interesting flavoured salts, peppers and spices.
It was only around midday when we were exploring HafenCity but it was a grey, windy day and as you can imagine, the wind was what made it especially cold. As usual, my nose dripped incessantly and threatened to fall off. So we nipped into a cafe – Campus Suites, for something to warm us up.
Golden Latte this time.
Some random sights as we walked towards the Elbphi.
I really liked this little bird house made of wood and latched onto a tree. Flo reckoned it was put up by the children at the school close by because they often did things like this back when he was in school.
A miniature Elbphi because the real thing couldn’t fit nicely into my camera frame.
Then we stopped but Buxtehude to buy some pastries for a visit to Chris’s at the next town – Jesterburg. The rum balls were at Thomas’s request and the rest were whatever stood out to Flo, B and I.
I liked the one on the top left that looks like a sugared doughtnut but it was much lighter and fluffier. Could have done without the icing on top and have it dusted with powdered sugar instead. The one just below was a little like a scone, which I also enjoyed.
The cheesecake was light and had a very nice base while the raspberry tart was good. I’m a tart shell eater more than a filling eater so I was trying to get at more shell than filling. Haha. Buttery and crunchy so no complaints! I wasn’t too bothered about the heavy rum balls nor the slice on top (can’t even remember what it is), and the almond horse-shoe biscuit wasn’t my thing either. I realise that I enjoy eating almonds, especially toasted, but don’t like them so much in dessert especially when there’s almond extract added to it. Bleh! So I’m not a fan of marzipan either.
Oh and guess what! We were trying to figure out what we wanted for dinner and the initial consensus was to have Greek. Only it would be a huge detour for Flo to have to drive across Hamburg city, then drive back to send B home, then for us to go back to Sangita’s. So we scratched that idea and decided to have dinner at this Chinese restaurant in Jesterburg, just a 5 min walk away from Chris’s. Chris and Thomas vouched for their food but I wasn’t so convinced. I generally never have Chinese food anywhere else but in Singapore, or in London’s Bayswater or where Grandma and Grandpa like to eat. This time, B and I decided to go with it.
We each had our own starter. I went for a mix of dim sum because dim sum is love and you can’t skimp on love.
They turned out better than I expected! The suimai was a little too porky but the rest, I was pretty happy with.
Then we shared some rice (didn’t taste like our fragrant Jasmine rice but it was done ok), sliced fish with ginger and spring onions (unpictured), and sliced beef in black pepper sauce I think.
Myeaaahnope. They plied both dished with bamboo shoots so they tasted strongly of it. I mean, I wouldn’t say it was terrible. For the European palate, this was way better than Chinese takeaway food and quite aptly done. It just didn’t taste… like home where flavours are better balanced and dishes are more refined.
As with most Chinese restaurants in Europe, we were each presented with a fortune cookie to unwrap after dinner.
Pretty accurate fortune cookies methinks. Mehopes!
28 Dec 2018 – Friday
I did some research on the area around B’s Airbnb and found out about this cafe just a 2min walk away called Frau Larsson that specialises in Swedish food.
I started with a cappuccino. I always look forward to the coffees in Germany where a cup is usually served with a bite sized cake. Following Flo, I’ve learned to dip it into the coffee before eating it. Divine!
I was hankering after pancakes and went for the vegan pancakes – two thick pancakes made with soya milk with a side of fruit salad, housemade Apfelmus (apple puree) and blueberry jam.
Portions were hefty so I only managed to down one pancake. I’ve never been a fan of apple anything but since being in Hamburg, and under the influence of my Apfelmus-loving husband, I’ve become quite fond of it!
Next stop was Sternschanze which is known to be where havoc reigns each year on the first of May. It’s the place where people opposing the government go to light fires, wreck cars, thrash shopfronts. But only for that one day in a year.
And this former theatre was apparently taken over by squatters one of those days years ago. Ever since, it’s home to the homeless and no longer used for what it was built for.
Sternschanze is known these days more as the ‘hipster’ area, where up and coming cafes are, where alternative lifestyles are more commonly practised, and where youngsters throng the streets. It was where I’d also noted down a coffee cafe – tōrnqvist. Don’t ask me how to pronounce that.
We each had a hand brewed coffee and while Flo and I went for the Brazilian beans that had a flavour profile consisting of red apples, roasted hazelnuts, and dark chocolate, B went for the Ethiopian beans that were supposed to taste of candied citrus and black tea and something else.
I don’t think I’m a coffee connoisseur and with the flavour card, I could detect the flavours. However, without that as a guide, it tasted… of coffee. B’s coffee definitely tasted different, more acidic, a little lighter on the palate, but still, coffee.
I’m sure the törnqvist is serious about their coffee, and it shows in the care they put into how they make and serve them. Still, I feel that the place is somewhat pretentious – more by the people than the place itself.
After coffee, we went over to Landungsbrücken and walked over to the St. Pauli area.
Where all the naughty adult shops are, as well as buildings where men can go get a little something-something.
We then hopped back to Landungsbrücken for Dock 10’s Fischbrötchen!
I was really excited for my Bismarkherringbrötchen that I’d been lusting after ever since we were last in Hamburg, summer 2017!
This time though, I was less blown away. Although it was still good, the herring tasted a little more tart than I’d have liked from the pickling juice. Instead, the Krabbenbrötchen got my attention.
Alnd while the Krabben was tastier, it was Flo’s so I only got a delicious bite of it and was treated to raw onion breath the rest of the day with a burp of herring.
29 Dec 2018 – Saturday
Another place that I came across while researching on Hamburger Cafes was Mutterland. It was subsequently also recommended by Sangita so we decided to head there for B’s final brunch in Hamburg.
We shared a bowl of bircher muesli as well as a franzbrötchen i.e. German Cinnamon Roll although usually their’s is more diamond shaped and made more similar to a danish pastry than the American cinnamon bun.
I went for tea that morning and was super stoked that they served a bite-sized piece of cake alongside too!
I had two sunny side ups with some cereal bread. The bread may look dense and heavy but it was so tasty and hearty.
The franzbrötchen was more akin to the American cinnamon roll so it had more density and richness to the dough. It wasn’t too sweet but was quite generous is size so it was a little difficult for us to finish this off since we each had our own main.
And our eat-scapades continued on to Mönckebergstraße where we ate the best currywurst in Hamburg from Mö-Grill.
Then we went to do a tiny bit of shopping – actually just chocolates from our favourite Läderach, before we made off to Buxtehude where we were to meet up with Flo’s two uncles and their families.
It was my first time meeting all of them but they were so warm and hospitable. I really enjoyed the few hours we spent with them, and I know how much it meant to Flo being able to catch up with his uncles and cousins after not seeing some of them for quite a few years. It was so obvious how loved Flo is by his family and I’m glad we managed to squeeze in the time to see all of them before we had to dash off to send B to the airport.
We enjoyed the few days we had with B, showing her the Hamburg sights, trying some local foods, and just hanging out with her. It’s not often that we travel half the world away with friends and even though Flo had to do the hard work of driving up and down, the quality time spent together made it all worthwhile!
This post was supposed to go on into our last few days in Hamburg where we spent New Year’s but I thought it’d be much too long. I promise the next post will share more about how we spent our last few hours of 2018, and first few hours of 2019, and more Hamburg shenanigans.
In the meantime, I’m really praying that some things Flo and I are currently undergoing will work out so that our start to the new year will be one with a bang. I know that God can hear our prayers, and He knows our hearts. So yup, sitting tight the next few days and holding on to faith that all goes as we hope it will.