Jul 30, 2014

So, You're Moving to Wiesbaden? | WHERE TO EAT: Part 2

Cafe/Light Lunch/Coffee Date
La Maison du Pain | Marktstraße 2, 65183 Wiesbaden, Germany | +49 611 16661310
Ahhh, cafe lattes the size of your head. No, really. I miss this place so! Great for a relaxing Sunday brunch or a sweet treat and cup of joe, La Maison du Pain always left me full and feeling refreshed. My Maison favorites? The St. Tropez tartine, Croque Monsieur, and their yogurt parfait with honey & fruit. And bonus! They have English menus! Don't forget to take home one of their unbelievable pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants) or raspberry macarons. You can thank me later. :)

Cafe MaldanerMarktstraße 34, 65183 Wiesbaden, Germany | +49 611 305214
Don't let the creepy old mannequins out front scare you from eating here. What their window decor lacks in sanity, they totally make up for with their delicious desserts! Cafe Maldaner keeps old-time coffee house tradition alive and well in downtown Wiesbaden. Antique furniture & decadent pastries make this a sweet place to stop in for a light nosh, and their Sunday champagne brunch is not to be missed! Located just off the Marktplatz.

Domane Mechtildshausen | Mechtildshausen, 65205 Wiesbaden, Germany | +49 611 73740
Located on a sustainable farm near the Clay Kaserne Army Airfield, Cafe Bohne at the Domane is the perfect spot for a light lunch and cup of tea. Not only can you enjoy fresh fare from the farm, but you can shop at their on-site baker, butcher, bio market, and cheese shop as well as stop to pet the animals! This place is a total dream in the springtime (flowers everywhere!), but could get busy and sometimes the service is slow (it is a farm, after all). Make sure to try their delicious soups and baked brie. A true hidden gem in Wiesbaden!

Doner Kebaps

Cardak Pizza & Doner (Mainz-Kastel) | Boelcke Strasse 5555252 Mainz-Kastel, Germany
After trying a handful of doner shops, this is the only one D and I really ever ate at in the Wiesbaden area. My theory, if it ain't broke...don't fix it! We LOVE Cardak! Great doners, excellent crispy french fries (D dreams about them still!), and quick, friendly service. D was a big fan of the doner duram (doner wrap) and I was a creature of habit and always ordered the traditional doner kebap sandwich. We've heard awesome things about their doner pizza, too. Doner meat on a pizza? Sign me up! Oh, and don't forget the garlic sauce!

Okini | Taunusstraße 22, 65183 Wiesbaden, Germany | +49 611 23835808
All you can eat sushi and Asian delights...enough said! If great sushi, marinated steak tips (YUM!), sauteed mushrooms, and potstickers aren't enough to peak your interest...how about ordering your entire meal on an iPad? Neat, right?! Okini is just an all-around fun dining experience. It is a bit on the pricey side, though. Their all-you-can-eat dinner will cost you 25 euros per person. For a better bargain, go for lunch at 15 euro instead. :)

Aroma Noodle Bar Mauritiusstraße 1, 65183 Wiesbaden, Germany | +49 611 2408951
I loved this place for a quick bite to eat when I was out shopping downtown with the girls (located just off the main pedestrian zone at Mauritiusplatz). Aroma Noodle Bar has exactly what the name says, NOODLES! But also much, much more. They've got lots of great salads, rice dishes, and desserts, but their claim to fame are their tasty Italian and Asian pasta dishes. My typical order would either be their pesto pasta, Napoli pasta, or their chicken, veggies, & noodles with sweet and sour sauce. 

Thai Express | Langgasse 36, 65183 Wiesbaden, Germany | +49  611 5058508
I never actually got to eat here, but D did often on guys night out (yep, he totally goes on those!). He used to rave about all their spicy chicken & noodle dishes, but somehow forgot to ever take me down there to try it. Mean, right?! ;) He loved Thai Express because their meals were cheap, service quick (so they could get to the bars faster), and the food was always hearty & delicious.

Mayflower Chinese Restaurant (Mainz-Kastel) | Uthmannstraße 8, 55246 Wiesbaden, Germany | +49 6134 258928
Mayflower was one of those places D and I went to when we wanted really tasty Chinese food. We had a hard time finding great General Tso's around Germany, but Mayflower had it! They've also got great sesame chicken, generous combination plates, ginormous spring rolls, and perfectly cooked sticky rice. Every patron is greeted with a small glass of plum wine, so you know I was sold! 

A Little Bit of Everything
Urban Kitchen | Bahnhofsplatz 1, 65189 Wiesbaden | +49 611 71694600
We loved having get-togethers with our friends at Urban Kitchen. Not only is it central to Wiesbaden (located inside the train station), its menu has a little something for everyone. Pizzas, pastas, burgers, Asian dishes, gyros, soups, salads...the list goes on and on! I've tried quite a few different types of cuisines there and they've all been winners. Great cocktail selection, too!

Scotch 'N SodaGoldgasse 9, 65183 Wiesbaden, Germany | +49 611 1714424
Talk about a fun place to dine! Scotch 'N Soda was among one of the first restaurants we ever experienced in Wiesbaden. Burgers, steaks, stews, and a plethora of schnitzels, this Scottish pub-style eatery offers enough meat & pints to keep everyone happy. After dinner hours, the restaurant turns into a bustling pub with a good selection of drinks for all. Don't forget to ask the owner how the dollar bills get up on the ceiling...maybe he'll give you a show! 

Heiliggeist (Mainz) | Mailandsgasse 11, 55116 Mainz, Germany | +49 6131 225757
This place is too cool for words. Heiliggeist translated means "Holy Spirit," which is appropriate because this restaurant is housed inside a former church. Talk about some insanely stunning ambiance! The fare is a little bit all over the place with dishes ranging from club sandwiches and Ahi tuna to penne with orange butter and veal saltimbocca. Even though their menu changes seasonally and varies widely, every dish I've tried has been beyond delicious. You literally can't go wrong.

Citrus (Mainz) | Rheinstr. 255116 Mainz, Germany | +49 6131 216715
Need a great spot for a leisurly lunch date? Citrus is one of my favorites for those! Located along the Rhein River in Mainz, Citrus prides itself on using fresh ingredients to make creative dishes. I love their chicken skewer salad as well as their curry soup. The ambiance is ultra trendy, but the restaurant's building has quite a rich history. You'll just have to go there to learn more!

Ice Cream

Eis Cafe Rialto | Rathausstraße 82, 65203 Wiesbaden, Germany | +49 611 694399
Any time we went downtown for dinner, we ended up at Eis Cafe Rialto for dessert. It's in the perfect location for grabbing a quick scoop and enjoying the views of the Marktplatz. Might I suggest trying their Nutella eis paired with a scoop of Kokonuss (Coconut) eis?  Heaven on a cone! Their spaghetti eis is also pretty rad...a must-try for anyone visiting Germany!


Le Petit Belge (Belgian Beer) Wilhelmstrasse 36, 65183 Wiesbaden, Germany | +49 611 1667720
Hands down our favorite (and most frequented) bar in Wiesbaden. It's no surprise that D and I love Belgian beer, so Le Petit Belge was our go-to bar when that hankering for a Trappist beer came around. It's a small place that can often get crowded, but the owner, Helmut, is super friendly and quite accommodating. They also serve fresh made Belgian waffles, frites, and chocolates! Our one-stop shop for a night of decadence. :) They also do beer tastings and serve Saturday brunch, so join their Facebook page to keep in the loop. If you give Belge a try, tell Helmut hello for us! 

Murphy's Pub | Goldgasse 18, 65183 Wiesbaden, Germany | +49 611 17278155
Located down "Italian Alley," Murphy's Pub is exactly what you think it is...an Irish pub! It's a fun place to grab a pint after dinner downtown or watch a game with all the locals. Lots of great drink specials, so grab your friends and make a night of it...but be aware, smoking allowed!

Ordering In
Lieferheld App & Website
This is an app (or website you can visit if you don't have a smart phone) that holds menus for local delivery restaurants in your area. You can order and pay for your food right there in the app (credit card or PayPal) and it'll be delivered straight to your door! You can also pay cash to the delivery guy, if you wish. We loved this app and used it whenever we didn't feel like cooking or going out. You will have to translate the menus, though. Great practice if you're learning German!

Lieferservice.de App & Website 
Same kind of service as above, just different company. We used both because different restaurants were listed in each. Very user friendly!

My Top Recommendations for delivery:
Domino's Pizza (better than the American version--less greasy!)
Jit's Thai Kitchen
Pizza Boy

More tips for Wiesbaden to come!!!

Jul 28, 2014

Celebrating 7 Years: Real Life & a Walk Down Memory Lane

I woke up this morning so irritated at D. Last night was our last night sleeping on our comfy rental mattress. We have to give it back today and start sleeping on an air mattress again (our stuff STILL isn't here--shoot me). Instead of sleeping soundly (like one hopes to sleep their last night of comfort for a while), I slept horribly...mostly because D stole all the covers. Blanket, sheet...the whole shebang. I tugged and fought the sleeping bear, but continually lost. He happily snored away, oblivious to my dilemma...and I shivered all night until I finally got up to find another blanket. Naturally, after getting up, I couldn't fall back asleep. Story of my life.

D got up at his usual time to get ready for work. I silently rejoiced that he was gone. I was ready to get one solid hour of good sleep in before I needed to get up myself. Unfortunately, sleep alluded me again, so I rolled out of bed and grumpily made my way downstairs for breakfast. When I walked in the kitchen, D was standing there with a sheepish look on his face. He knew I hadn't slept well...and he knew I was going to give him crap about it. But before I could get an angry word out of my mouth, he walked over gave me a big 'ol D-sized hug, and said "Happy Anniversary, my love. Best 7 years of my life!" 

Well, dang it. Not only did he steal my furied thunder, he made me remember what I forgot--our 7th wedding anniversary. I mean, I knew last night that our anniversary was today, but in my fog of annoyance and lack of sleep, I forgot. We'd also kind of already celebrated our anniversary last weekend at Disney, so again, I forgot. The look on his face, the words he said...how does one yell at another after such a sweet morning greeting? One can't. So, I held my tongue. Then, he handed me a hot cup of coffee, fixed just the way I like it, and all that anger I woke up with just washed away.

This is what 7 years of wedded bliss looks like, folks. Waking up on the wrong side of the bed, forgiving cups of coffee, and eating crow after your husband remembers an important milestone and you...well...don't. Most days, you'll see all our bright-shiny marriage moments. Those are my favorites to share. You bloggers know what I mean. We looovee to share the good...what bad?! There's no bad! Just don't look behind the curtain. Even after all the years we've spent together (13.5 including the dating years), the gosh honest truth is...we don't always get it right. We argue and bicker, we overlook and forget. We nitpick and hold grudges, we say things we don't mean and let our own agendas overshadow the important moments in life. This morning, I almost let something so silly as a bad night's sleep tarnish the beginning of a special day. Thankfully, D knows me better than anyone and knew just how to melt my icy attitude with a few simple words.

Even in the not-so-shiny moments, one truth remains constant--our love and respect for one another and our marriage. This morning, I felt 7 years of hard work, trust, and heart-racing, passionate love bear-hug me right there in our kitchen. No amount of lost sleep could be more important those 15 seconds. So, I swallowed my grief, smiled up at D, and thanked him for giving me the 7 most incredible years of my life. We drank our coffee, ate our eggs, and I sent him off to work with one heck of a kiss. I'll suffer through 100 more years of crappy sleep if it means I can wake up to that man every morning. And that's also the gosh honest truth.

Happy 7 years, best friend. You make me better. Everyday.


And now for a fun & embarrassing walk down 7 years of memory lane....

Engagement announcement photo 2007 // Wiesbaden 2014

Just hitched! July 28, 2007 // Wiesbaden 2014

First dance as husband and wife, July 28, 2007 // Wiesbaden 2014

Still enjoying alcohol together...typical. ;) July 28, 2007 // Salzburg, Austria 2014

Jamaican Honeymoon, July 2007 // Wiesbaden 2014

Day we brought Tuck home for the first time 2006 // Reunited with our baby dog! June 2014

First Married Christmas in NC 2007 // 6th Married Christmas in Germany 2014

 1st Anniversary--Destin, Fl 2008 // 2nd Anniversary--Emerald Isle, NC 2009 // 3rd Anniversary--Tulum, Mexico 2010

4th Anniversary--Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany  2011 // 5th Anniversary--Lake Constance, Germany 2012 // 6th Anniversary--Riquewihr, France 2013

7th Anniversary--DISNEY WORLD!! 2014

Can't wait to see what the future brings! 

Jul 24, 2014

12 Ways Living in Germany Made Me a Better Person

1| I've become well-versed in cooking my own delicious Mexican food favorites.
Queso Blanco? Perfected it. Arroz con Pollo & Enchiladas Verde? I'm a master. Homemade Guac & Margaritas? None can beat mine. When you can't find great Mexican food in your host country, you learn to make your own. And you save money in the process. Everyone's invited over for a fiesta...as soon as I get furniture, of course.

2| I now enjoy a good cup of coffee.
Not really sure this makes me a better person, but it sure does make me feel good! Before moving to Germany, I was mostly a tea drinker (except for the occasional super sweet Starbucks indulgence). Today, I can't go a morning without a good cup of joe. Look at me all grown up and sophisticated! [eye roll] ;) Europe had stellar coffee and lovely cafes to drink it in. Spoiled me rotten, I tell ya. I'm currently scouting out cappuccino/latte makers for our kitchen, so send me any suggestions you've got!

3| I actually go to parks now.
Parks. What a novel idea! Why don't many Americans go to parks? I rarely did before living in Germany. Now, I'm all like...LET'S GO PICNIC! And run! And just lay out in the grass staring up at the clouds like the Europeans do! I really miss our giant, green park just down the hill from our German flat. It was always filled with people doing all kinds of fun activities. The parks here in Florida are small (at least the ones in our area)...or they're beaches. I know, I know...you're playing the world's smallest violin for me now, aren't you?

4| I can parallel park like a friggin' pro.
Living in a flat with no garage or designated parking space meant D and I had to get really good at parallel parking...and real quick! Street parking was a total pain in our butts for 3 years, but at least one new skill was acquired out of the inconvenience. Any new drivers out there need lessons? I charge in hugs.

5| I'm a more aware and efficient driver.
Pass on the left only. Slow drivers in the far right lane--always. No trucks in fast lanes (except to pass). No lingering in the passing lane. Germany gets these things right! It's illegal not to follow these rules there. Now, if I could only get everyone in America on board, we'd be golden! Germany may have had pushy drivers, but they sure were smart about their Autobahn rules. They just make sense. The only rule I'm glad is out the door now that I'm back stateside? No right turn on red...ever. Feels so freeing to be able to do that again!

6| I've developed an affinity for long lunching.
Don't ask me out to lunch unless you plan on sitting there with me for a couple of hours. Not kidding. The whole "slow living" phenomenon that Europe is so famous for totally rubbed off on me, in certain ways at least. Lunches and dinners out in Germany usually meant 3 hours of dining and chatting. It was so nice to really enjoy my food and our company. Here, everything is so rush, rush, rush! Even more reason to slow down and just be in the moment. Don't worry, if I linger too long at a restaurant or cafe here stateside, I make sure to leave a heftier tip. Small price to pay for a less-hurried life.

7| Germany helped me rekindle my love for yogurt and granola.
German yogurt was the bomb. Probably because it was almost always full fat. If I ever wanted a sweet treat, I'd stock up on German brands of yogurt (and their equally delicious muesli--granola, to us Americans). Now that I'm back stateside, I've stuck to my yogurt obsession, only healthified it a bit. Yay for probiotics!

8| Sundays have become a true day of rest.
Even though I complained about it a lot, there was really something to having everything closed on Sundays in Germany. The day was quieter, slower, more relaxing before the hustle and bustle of the work week began. We replaced running post-church errands with spending time with friends; family, if they were in town. Hopefully we can keep up that tradition here in Florida.

9| I look forward to recycling things.
I thought this would change the second I stepped foot off the plane back in America, but I'm happy to say I still feel the urge recycle things. Unfortunately, we can't recycle all of the same things we did in Germany, but it's still a heck of a lot more than we were doing before our 3-year stent abroad. I feel much more environmentally cautious today than I did in my pre-Germany life. Feels awesome.

10| I've become an excellent care-package sender.
My affinity for snail mail skyrocketed while we were living in Europe. Living so far from home--cards, care packages, and postcards we almost a necessity to keep me engaged with my loved ones. I LOVED putting packages together and sending them off to friends and family. Snail mail is dying these days (which makes me incredibly sad), so I'm trying to help save it...one care package at a time.

11| I've learned so much about world geography, different cultures, food, etc.
Do you know where Luxembourg is located? I do. And the tiny counties of San Marino, Aurora, and Liechtenstein. Before moving to Europe, I had no idea 2 out of the 4 of those even existed. It's amazing how worldly you become after living somewhere other than your home country. I feel so grateful to have been able to expand my global knowledge and to have so many amazing stories to share with our future children.

12| I'm acutely aware of my American loudness...and I correct it.
One of the main things I noticed while living in Germany was how incredibly loud Americans can be...myself included. I was never belligerent or so loud you'd have to tell me to shut up, but Americans, in general, tend to talk louder than most Europeans. Not sure why that is exactly, but since moving back stateside, I'm constantly checking my loudness in public settings so as to not draw attention to myself. In turn, I'm now ultra aware of other people's loudness. I kind of hope this change blows over with time, because I'm annoyed out in public more often. No wonder Germans seemed so cranky some days!

If you've ever lived in a foreign country, did certain things about you change when you returned home? 
Share your experiences!
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