Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stuttgart, Germany, November 2009

Stuttgart Schlossplatz

Having become vegan since my last business trip to Germany, I wasn't quite sure what I'd be in for. Thanks to the magic of HappyCow, I found some places in downtown Stuttgart that were able to hook me up. I also dared to venture outside of the happy HappyCow world with some good and some disastrous results.
I also spent a weekend in Zurich, Switzerland, and had loads of good luck finding vegan vittles there. More on that another day.

The first place of note I visited in Stuttgart was the HappyCow user recommended Vegi Voodoo King a tiny, mostly vegan falafel place.
It was quite inexpensive and, thanfully like most businesses in Germany, served beer. I got the Vegi Voodoo Platter which came with falafel nuggets, salad, and 6 sauces. I ate most of it with a spoon.

I found it funny that their menu had something on it called the "Falafel Obama" - a falafel sandwich that included ketchup and onions.

The Obama Falafel

Outside of Stuttgart by about 22 miles was Sehnsuchtskueche, an odd mix of a riding stable and part-time vegan restaurant. The place has weird hours, which doesn't make it all that convenient. The restaurant is definitely a side-business. Thankfully a former coworker, who's partner is vegetarian, offered to drive me out there. I could have gotten there via public transportation, but it would have been very expensive, would have taken forever, and would have included a not-so-fun walk up a dark driveway in the middle of seemingly nowhere.
You can just see the top of Doug's head
We opted to share 2-person combo platter that included soup (can't recall what sort), Swabian style lentils on eggless spaetzle noodles, breaded/fried celeriac slices and pumpkin, and Cordon Bleu. All very good, but I would have enjoyed it more if I weren't so bloody hung over from the previous evening. Plus, I'm not so much into the fried stuff, and was a bit disappointed that the veggies were battered/fried.

Definitely worth checking out if you can, if for no other reason to support such an anomaly in Germany. As we were eating, we got to overlook the courtyard where a horse was getting some exercise. Is it me, or is that just not the ideal vegan setting?

I was staying in a suburb of Stuttgart called Vaihingen. I went to a little place called "Ratstuebe", the oldest building in the city. It's located on a pedestrian walkway at Rathausplatz across from the Vaihinger Markt. It's been many things over the last 500 years but I believe it's always kept the same name. It is currently a Turkish gyro (what they call over there a döner kebab) and pizza place. I got the vegetarian version and was able to communicate with the chef that I also did not want the yogurt or some creamy looking red pepper thing. It ended up being stuffed with pickles, sprouts, lettuce, corn, beet slices, and tomatoes. It was quite tasty.
My veganized döner and another reason to go vegan in the background

Despite the fact that there are few restaurants in Stuttgart with vegan options, there are some great health food stores. One is called Bio-B, a chain with a store near the train station. They had a whole rack of vegan bratwursts, and I filled my suitcase up with them.

I did have two bad experiences in Stuttgart:

I traveled all the way downtown to get a plate of penne arrabiata. I made sure it had no cheese in it, asking the waitress several times to confirm. "Cheese is extra, so you're okay" she said. It had ham in it. Didn't discover 'til half way through. I should have known - seems Germans look for any opportunity to add some pork to a dish.

The other bad experience wasn't quite as bad: asked for a salad with nothing but olive oil and vinegar. I got oil and vinegar on the side of my salad covered in some creamy dressing.

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