Tag Archives: food

My Trip To Germany: The Food

The Amazing Food

Last spring after I spoke at a software developer conference in Berlin Germany, I had the opportunity to take several personal days while there. I also ate some pretty amazing food, but I never got the chance to write a blog post about it. So here is that blog post.

Better late than never!

Hotel Buffet

I stayed at the Leonardo Royal Hotel Berlin Alexanderplatz, which was just a few blocks away from the Alexanderplatz plaza, and a short tram ride or bus ride from anywhere in the city. The breakfast buffet was pretty typical. I enjoyed it.

Since I was speaking at a conference, I tried not to overdo it at the breakfast buffet. That’s why there’s so much white space on my plate.

Street Food

I had to try some German street food while I was there! In the Alexanderplatz plaza, there are plenty of vendors to choose from. I tried the Currywurst which is pork sausage that is deep fried and then drowned in curry ketchup and served with fries. Notice the mayo and ketchup combination on the fries. The Europeans love their mayo and ketchup. It was absolutely delicious!

As if the Currywurst wasn’t enough of a light meal, I also had to try the Bratwurst. I mean, come on, You can’t NOT eat bratwurst in Germany! The bratwurst also had mayo and ketchup on it and it was yummy!

Another popular street food item is the laugenbrezel, or lye pretzel. Pretzels are also found in bakeries and food stores, and there are usually many different baked on toppings to choose from. Most commonly a variety of cheeses or seeds.

Deli’s and store fronts really like to show off their selection of processed meats. Especially those of the sausage family! Here is a short and informative tutorial on the most popular German sausages. And here is an exhaustive list on wikipedia.

Sandwiches in Germany are both simple and elegant at the same time. The breads used are often amazing. The meats and cheeses are usually fresh and tasty. As are the vegetables. I bought this one at a gas station and it was pretty great!


Oh yeah, I tried some Schnitzel. And I loved it! Schnitzel is a thin pork or veal cutlet that’s breaded and fried. Schnitzels are often topped with a sauce and served with a starchy side. They were invented in Austria, but are very popular in Germany. But that’s not too surprising. That’s like saying that something was invented in Kentucky, but is very popular in Illinois. They share a border!

While in Plauen, I tried a couple different Schnitzels at Schnitzelparadies, yes that’s Schnitzel Paradise! This small local restaurant is just a bit up the hill from the shopping mall and the trolley station. They have a ton of Schnitzel to choose from! Pictured below is the schnitzel in tomato cream sauce with ham and cheese on top with a side of potato croquettes. It was delicious!

My second day in Plauen, I went back to Schnitzelparadies for more! Pictured below is the Karibik or Caribbean schnitzel. Um, wow! It was so good! I love seafood, so this was my favorite! It was topped with small shrimp in a crab herb sauce and fried “squid rings”, or calamari. On the side were parsley potatoes. It’s been over a year since I’ve been to Germany, and I still crave this dish.

Sauerbraten or Sour Roast

I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like Sauerbraten, but I had to try it while I was in Germany. Heinrich’s restaurant in the basement of the Altes Rathaus or City Hall seemed like a good place to try it. Sauerbraten, or Sour Roast, is a pot roast that’s been marinated for many days or even a week in a vinegar or wine solution.

The restaurant was very dark, so it was difficult to get a good photo, below. The roast was tender and quite tasty. If you’re not a fan of vinegar, then you probably won’t like Sauerbraten, though. The purple stuff is red cabbage, which I’m not a huge fan of. And the white balls are potato dumplings or Klöße. Potato dumplings are always a little too rubbery for my taste, though. Although I’m not a fan of these particular sides, I’m definitely a fan of Sauerbraten!

Solyanka Soup

I tried the Solyanka which is a traditional Russian or East German spicy and sour soup. I had this appetizer in Matsch Hotel and Beer Garden in Plauen which is just a block from the Altes Rathaus or City Hall. Their Solyanka is a tomato based soup containing fried sausage, bell peppers, pickles, onions, sour cream, parsley and dill. I’m not normally a huge soup fan, but this was amazing.


The photo below was pretty common in shopping plazas and bakeries in Germany. So many little individual sized desserts to choose from!

This little treat is something that I had never seen before and I’ve never seen it since. But I’d like to see it again, because it was so good! I bought it in a little deli in the Alexa mall, in Berlin near the Alexanderplatz plaza. The store is called Butter Lindner and the product is Vanillequark, or Vanilla Quark. This stuff is magical. It’s smooth like yogurt and it’s sweet like ice cream.

Quark is actually a curdled milk product. It’s essentially a soft cheese. But this particular Butter Lindner product is like a cross between a cream cheese and a yogurt. It contains the soft quark cheese, sweet cream, sugar, cream cheese, whey, bourbon-vanilla, salt, citric acid, and finally a thickening agent. This stuff is so delicious and so fattening, it’s probably a good thing that I don’t have easy access to it here in America.

Beer Halls & Beer Gardens

Even though I’m not a beer drinker, I checked out a couple of Beer Halls and Beer Gardens in Berlin while I was there. The kitchen was closed at the Hofbräu Wirtshaus or Tavern in Berlin when I showed up, so I couldn’t try any of their food, but I checked out the place and saw this cool beer stein locker in the back of the restaurant. The regulars need only to carry a key, rather than carry their stein back and forth! Smart!

Obviously, I wish I could have enjoyed more German fare, but my time there was limited. So that’s all the food I was able to try and report on.

But wait, there’s even more Germany to explore!

Stay tuned because my final blog post from my April 2018 trip to Germany (yeah, I’m way behind on posting, I know) is going to talk about some misc things that didn’t fit into any of the previous categories! How’s that for a sales pitch?!?!?

Thanks for your interest!


My Trip To Malmo, Sweden: The Travel


Flying long distances is never all that fun.  Our trip to Malmo Sweden took us to Reykjavik Iceland on the first leg, and then to Copenhagen Denmark on the last leg.  Iceland seems like a strange stopover location, but we flew on IcelandAir, so that’s their hub.

The photo above is Orlando at sunset right after we took off on our trip.  It was an overnight flight, which means that everyone is supposed to sleep during the flight.  Easier said than done for some people.

We were dead tired when we landed in Iceland.  Our layover was supposed to be an hour and a half.  But even before our plane left Orlando, we were told that our Iceland to Denmark flight was delayed several hours.  When we got to Iceland we were told that storms the previous day caused a backup of an entire’s day worth of flights and so our flight would get delayed 8 or 9 hours.

Here is what the radar looked like an hour after we landed in Reykjavik Iceland.  The storm from the previous day was still on the radar moving to the east.

We inquired about what there was to do in Reykjavik Iceland, and the only activity that was presented to us was a popular local hot spring called Blue Lagoon.  It looks pretty neat and really beautiful, but we didn’t really feel like doing a hot spring with all our luggage and without swim suits.

So after taking long naps on chairs in a quiet corner of the Iceland airport, we made ourselves comfortable for the day.  We found some nice lounge chairs that we could stretch out in and chill.  I watched a movie on my iPhone.

And my wife did some “teacher homework”.  Grading papers or filling out teacher paperwork or something of that nature.

Eventually we got on a plane for Copenhagen Denmark and arrived there close to 10pm local time rather than our planned noon arrival time.


In Denmark they speak Danish and in Sweden they speak Swedish.  And I know nothing about either of these languages.  Luckily, most locals also speak fluent English.  Once they realize that you’re not from around there.  And luckily most signage that we encountered had English subtitles.

But there were a few times that I needed a quick real-time translator.  Google Translate mobile app to the rescue!  It’s an awesome app!  It uses augmented reality to show you the translated text over the top of the actual text using your phone’s live camera feed.

Here is a photo of a sign in Danish that was on the wall in the Copenhagen airport.

And here is a screen grab of what that sign looked like in the Google Translate mobile app.  It overlays the translated text over the original text in a similar font and color in order to replace the text in real time within your live camera feed.  It’s really cool.  Not perfect, but super cool!


To get from Copenhagen Airport to Malmo Sweden, we had to buy a train ticket inside the airport and then wait for the train.   The signs were a little confusing because we needed to go to the Malmo Central train station, but the trains mostly showed their final destination.  So we nearly missed our train because Malmo was in very small print on the sign.  We noticed it just in time, though.  Thankfully.  It was cold waiting for the train, and I didn’t want to sit there for another 20 minutes waiting for the next train!

The train from Copenhagen to Malmo goes both over and under the strait thanks to the awesome Øresund Bridge.  It’s a pretty awesome trip, although we couldn’t see anything when we arrived since it was quite late in the evening.


It was midnight before we actually got settled into our hotel.  Our hotel (Comfort Hotel) in Malmo Sweden was an interesting combination of classic 19th-century architecture and modern and trendy decor.  It was decorated with a rock and roll vibe.  Check out the stacks of amplifiers and speakers in the lobby!  (This photo was NOT taken at midnight when we arrived after our long trip to Malmo!)

I didn’t get a picture of it, but our room had a giant mural of lips singing into a giant microphone.  It covered one entire wall!  Very rock and roll!

Although I didn’t end up using it during our stay, the gym in the hotel was pretty awesome!

The equipment all looked brand new and the gym even had a boxing ring!

Our flights back home at the end of our stay were fairly uneventful.  This is a photo of Copenhagen Denmark right after we took off.

And this photo is also of Copenhagen a couple minutes later.

One thing that I did note on the flight back.  When we took off from Iceland on our second and final leg, the sun was just going down.  And since we were flying west for about the first half of that flight, it actually took about 3 or 4 hours for the sun to actually go down!  Pretty cool!

Thanks for your interest!


My Trip To Malmo, Sweden: The Food

Swedish Fare

Last week while speaking at the Öredev software developer conference in Malmo, Sweden, my wife and I got to experience some pretty great food there in Malmo and also in nearby Copenhagen Denmark.  This post is all about the food we ate while we were in the area.

Our first day there, we found a small pub in Malmo Sweden near our hotel that was highly rated on Yelp.  It’s called Restaurang Två Krögare.  We both ordered the veal meatballs with whisky cream sauce, pickled cucumbers, lingonberries, and mashed potatoes.

The meatballs and sauce were excellent.  It didn’t look like a lot of food there on the plate, but it was quite filling.  The mashed potatoes were just like American mashed potatoes.

The lingonberries were new to us.  Turns out that they showed up a lot while we were in Sweden.  They are naturally a little tart, so some places made sure to sweeten them up.  While other places left them a bit tart.  Restaurang Två Krögare left them a little too tart for my tastes.

That evening, we attended a state dinner with the Mayor of Malmo and his wife along with the rest of the conference speakers.  It was a very fancy dinner held in Malmo’s Old City Hall building.  The first course was Jerusalem artichoke soup with apple and bacon.

We had never heard of Jerusalem Artichoke, but they are not from Jerusalem and they are not artichokes.  Worst name ever.  It is actually a root vegetable in the sunflower family.  The Swedes and Danes are very fond of their root vegetables!  Root vegetables were just about always a part of each meal.

Anyways, the soup was quite good.

The main course was filet of veal (or veal steak) with pepper sauce and root vegetable cake.  Did I mention how they like their root vegetables over there?

The filet of veal was melt-in-your-mouth wonderful!  The pepper sauce was quite mild.  I could barely even taste the pepper at all, which was fine by me.  The root vegetable cake was mostly made from potatoes with pieces of carrot and likely other rooty stuff in there.  It tasted mostly like a baked potato, but in cake form.

The dessert course was nice and light.  It was frozen cherry parfait with chocolate creme.  It had no crust, which I really liked.  It wasn’t heavy or too sweet.  It was the perfect way to finish off this wonderful meal.

I noticed that everything we had eaten so far in Sweden had been pretty mild.  Maybe we over do it with our spices here in America?

Hotel and Conference Food

The hotel we stayed at was located directly across the street from the conference that I was attending and speaking at.  Pretty convenient.  Also, the hotel had a pretty great breakfast buffet each morning that was included in the room cost.  The photo below shows my standard breakfast that I ate each morning.

I had apple juice and orange juice to drink.  They also had milk, but I was speaking so I avoided the milk.  I had scrambled eggs and bacon and little sausages for my main protein.  They also had hard boiled eggs.  The bacon was pretty soggy, which is not for everyone.  I didn’t have a problem with it, though.  I’m not super picky about my bacon.  We think they might have baked the bacon rather than pan fried it.  The scrambled eggs were also pretty soggy.  Almost like they were undercooked.  I actually liked it though.  They had 3 different yogurts to choose from and several fruit toppings. They also had dry cereals.

And then they had quite a selection of fresh breads, processed meats and cheese.  At first, I didn’t know what to do with all the processed meats at the breakfast bar.  Then I noticed quite a line of customers spreading butter on their bread and then piling it high with meats and cheeses and tomatoes and raw peppers and such.  Like an open faced lunch sandwich in America.  So the next day I tried it and it was really nice.  Even for breakfast.

So right next to the hard boiled eggs was this strange tube of something or another attached to a handy roller/dispenser apparatus.  Curiosity go the better of me, so I put just a small squirt on my plate and I tasted it.


I did not like it.  To me it tasted like cat food out of a can.

No, I’ve never actually eaten cat food, but I know what it smells like.  And to me, this Kalles paste tastes like that smells.

Turns out it is caviar for the masses.  Kalles kaviar is very very popular in Sweden.  It’s very local.  From the west coast of Sweden.  It’s mostly salted Atlantic cod fish eggs.  It might be an acquired taste.

The lunch fare that was served at the software developer conference was quite good.  Pretty impressive as they were catering to nearly 1,200 hungry software geeks!  Here is a photo of one day’s lunch.  It was so good!  The beef was so tender and the brown sauce was so tangy!  Yum!

Here was another day’s lunch plate.  This was roasted chicken and brown rice.  The yellow stuff was a cold tropical fruit salad.  I think they were going for a Caribbean lunch that day.  Notice that they served us on these disposable wooden plates.  These were not just thick heavy duty paper plates.  They were actually made out of wood!  Crazy.

This photo gives you an idea of the feeding frenzy that took place during lunch at the conference.  They set up 3 of 4 of these food tables in the middle of the lobby area and we tried to go through the lines as orderly as possible.  This particular day was hamburger day.  An American theme.

The burger was very good.  Especially for a mass feeding like that.  I liked the variety of topping choices.  I especially liked the picked red onions.  And also the crunchy fried onions.  Yum!


One night we roamed around and stumbled across a small restaurant called Victors on the little square in Malmo.  Inside, the restaurant looked a little bit like a diner due to it’s modern and minimalist decor.  But the menu looked sort of fancy so we were excited to try some of the food.

I got the Swedish classic, Wallenbergare.  That’s breaded (ground) veal steak with mashed potatoes, peas, lingonberries and melted butter.  The Swedes do love their veal!

The ground veal steak was fine.  I wasn’t actually prepared for it to be ground meat, like a burger.  So I was surprised when I cut into it and it wasn’t actually a steak.  But it was fine.  These lingonberries were sweeter than the ones I had eaten a few days earlier, which was nice.  I’m not a big fan of peas, so I only tasted them.  They tasted just like I remember peas tasting.    🙂

Sam got the grilled Swedish sirloin steak with béarnaise sauce, root vegetables (carrots, we suspect), and french fries.

Now this was a really yummy steak!  I don’t know what was in the light brown sauce that was on top of the steak, but it was delicious!  We tried both the steak and the fries dipped into the béarnaise sauce, but the sauce was so mild that it didn’t really add anything.

I forgot to take a photo, but I got an organic ice cream dessert with a bit of warm fruit topping.  The ice cream was really good.  Way better than the stuff I’m used to eating.  And the portion was just right.  Three very small scoops.  In America they would have drowned the ice cream with the fruit topping.  But this was just the right amount.  A very light touch.

On another day we had lunch at an unassuming little restaurant called Mrs Brown.  It was so good!  This was pork loin with pickled mushrooms over mashed potatoes.

I’d never heard of pickled mushrooms before!  And I’m a huge mushroom fan!  They were so yummy!  Why are we not putting picked mushrooms in all our dishes?!?!?

The pork, the sauce, the mushrooms, the mashed potatoes!  Perfection!  It looks like a small portion by the photo, but we were too full to get any dessert afterwards!  A very satisfying meal, to be sure!

Fast Food

Speaking of dessert.  This photo was taken at a small bakery shopfront inside Malmo’s central train station.  Pretty nice, huh?  We didn’t actually try any of this stuff but it all looks too fancy to eat!  🙂

In Copenhagen, we stumbled across a food truck mall with lots of great choices of interesting and unique foods to try.  The below burger is actually ostrich meat with shredded cheese and smoked bacon.  It was really good.

This one is pulled duck.  Oh my!  It was really really yummy!  It gave me just a hint of Thanksgiving turkey, but it was so much more than that.  It wasn’t dry at all and it had some really great spices in there.  A week after eating this, my mouth is actually watering right now as I type this, just thinking about it.  So good.

There were some great dessert options there, but we went with these beautiful looking cheesecakes!

The slices were huge!  And they were served in these adorable little disposable wooden boats.

The weird part was eating them with a wooden spork.  Have you ever eaten with wooden tableware?  It’s not exactly easy.  Your tongue and lips actually stick to it.  And so does the food.  Also, there’s a sense that you might get a splinter.  Plus, it tastes like wood!  So I’d rather not eat with wooden tableware again if I can help it.


In Copenhagen we found a luxury chocolate shop called Hotel Chocolat.  It had an immense selection of unique and interesting chocolate goods.  It took us a while to find just the right items with so much selection to choose from.  But we did it.

In the above photo, you can see lots of different varieties of hand-made chocolate bars, so to speak.  This place is serious about their chocolate.  They sell 6 different levels of milk chocolate and 10 different levels of dark chocolate!  Yes, 10 different dark chocolates!  And several of those 10 are actually 100% dark chocolate made from cocoa beans from different parts of the world!

Now I actually like dark chocolate.  But I don’t know anything about the percentage of dark chocolate in my common everyday candy bars.  So I was intrigued by this shop’s varieties of 100% dark chocolates.  I bought one of the many 100% dark chocolates just for the experience.




It was terrible.  I hated it.  I do NOT like 100% dark chocolate.

Now I know.

It turns out that Hotel Chocolat is actually a British company.  We thought we were experiencing some local Scandinavian chocolate flair.  But we weren’t.  Oh well.

One night we were out late and needed to eat something before heading back to the hotel.  One of the squares in Malmo had this little fast food joint sticking out like a sore thumb.  Shawarma King Turkish fare.  I googled for a website and couldn’t find one.  It looks a lot like a middle eastern Burger King, but I think it may be a one-off joint.

The food was amazing, though.  It didn’t taste like fast food at all.  I ordered the shawarma rulle or wrap.  There were like 6 sauces to choose from and I didn’t know which was the most normal or standard, so I got the hot one.  Wow, it was so spicy and so good!

While we were shopping in a local grocery store, the selection of root vegetables stood out to me since this country loves them so much.  So I took a photo of them in the store cooler.  You’re welcome!

This photo is pretty random.  I just thought the Fanta logo and the bottle shape was unique and interesting.  For all I know, this funny bottle is also in America, though.

Notice the price tag near the 1.5 liter Coke.  30 Swedish Krona is about $3.50.  That’s 2 or 3 times what it would cost in America.  Most stuff in Sweden and Denmark seemed pretty expensive compared to America.

This water bottle was given out on the plane, which was IcelandAir.  I just thought it was cool.  The bottle shape looked like a glacier.  And the water inside came from an Iceland spring, which was pretty awesome.  It tasted pretty great too.

This is my last photo.  And I want to apologize in advance.  This is supposed to be a family website.  But this shocking and funny bubble gum was in the checkout line at the Copenhagen airport.  I totally did a double take.  Maybe even a triple take!  Those crazy Europeans!

Thanks for sticking through this long and detailed post about mostly nothing!  Tomorrow I’ll publish a blog post to talk about the trip in general and our travel experience to and from Sweden.

Thanks for your interest!


My Trip to Krakow, Poland: The Food

I just returned from a trip to Krakow, Poland last week where I was speaking at a software developer conference.  I posted details of that experience here.  I also posted details about my sightseeing experiences here.  This post, however, is dedicated to all the wonderful food that I ate while I was there.  The lighting was not great in most of these restaurants, so I will apologize in advance for the quality of these photos.

The food during the 2 conference days was catered and it was all very good, but I didn’t take notes nor take any photos of those particular meals.

The conference organizers took all the speakers out to dinner the evening before the conference started.  They took us to a bistro and restaurant called Kogel Mogel which was just a couple of short blocks from the central town square.


We stared with a wonderful sour rye soup (Zurek or zur) with mushrooms.  It also had some sausage in it and also some hard boiled egg.  I apologize for not getting a photo of it.  It was super tasty.  Different from anything I’ve ever had before.  It’s made with fermented or soured grains.  I liked it a lot.

Our main course was a chicken schnitzel with a mushroom sauce and mild peppercorns.  A schnitzel is a meat that’s thinned by pounding and is then coated with flour, egg, and bread crumbs and then fried.  We also had potato dumplings (kluski slaskie) which were pretty good.  Especially when dipped in the mushroom sauce from the chicken.


For dessert we had a creme brulee, which was to die for.  A week later, my mouth still waters when I think about it.


The next morning, which was the first morning of the conference, I ate breakfast down in the hotel lobby.  I stayed at the Novotel Krakow Centrum hotel, which was just off the Vistula river, across from Wawel Castle.  It’s a very nice and modern hotel.  The breakfast buffet was quite impressive and it was included in the cost of the room.  I didn’t eat too much, though because I don’t eat heavy breakfasts and I didn’t want to be weighed down at the conference.


I should have taken a photo of the entire spread, which was quite impressive.  I did get a photo of the meats and also of the cheeses, though.



That evening I found a great little authentic old country restaurant, also within a couple short blocks of the central town square.  This family friendly restaurant is called Morskie Oko and it is in the style of an old Highlander’s Inn.  While I was eating, live entertainment included singing and dancing Highlanders in full costumes, plus live musicians.



The food was really incredible here.  I started with an appetizer of baked prunes wrapped in bacon fat.  Now if you like your bacon cooked well done and crispy, this dish is NOT for you.  This bacon was very thick … probably hand carved … and it was very moist and greasy.  It was so yummy, though.  I could barely even taste the prunes through all that bacon fat.  Mmmmmmmmmm.


Next I ordered the sauerkraut soup which had sauerkraut and potatoes and also a small rib in it.  I love sauerkraut, so this soup was delicious!  It’s sour, but it’s a different kind of sour than the fermented rye grain soup I’d had the previous night.


For my main dish, I had the boar loin in red pine mushroom sauce.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  This boar meat was quite tender.  Similar to a nice steak.  It had a wild taste but not too wild.  It was amazing.  It had grill marks on it, so it was cooked, at least partially, over an open flame.  And the red pine mushroom sauce was really great.  It tasted a lot like a red wine sauce, but I’m not sure whether that taste only came from the red pine mushrooms or not, since I’ve never had those before.


The portions were not too big, so I actually had some room left for dessert.  So I ordered a walnut ice cream sundae with hot fudge, whipped cream, and roasted hazelnuts.  I hadn’t planned on eating the entire thing, but it was so good.  I couldn’t help myself!


And here is my breakfast on my second morning in the hotel lobby.  Meat, cheese, and a bit of scrambled eggs.  The breakfast of champions!


That evening I was tired from the conference, so I just stayed in and ordered room service.  This is just an appetizer of shrimp with garlic and chilli, but it was all I needed that evening.  It was very yummy.  We had snacks all day long at the conference, so I wasn’t exactly starving at dinner time.

I also got this warm soft brownie and ice cream dessert from room service.  So warm.  So soft.  So fudgy.  It was delicious.

The next day was Saturday, and the conference organizers took us speakers out for lunch at a nice restaurant called Miod Malina, which again, was only a couple short blocks from the central town square.

This is the Bruschetta, which was very simple and very good.

And I ordered the sour rye soup again, since I loved it so much a couple days earlier.  Many restaurants, including Miod Malina, serve it in a bread bowl.

Miod Malina put a lot more meat in this sour rye soup than did Kogel Mogel, but the Kogel Mogel version was more sour (sour being good).  Both were very good in their own way.

I finally got to dig into some good old fashioned Polish pierogis, also known as dumplings.  The ones I ordered were fried meat pierogis, but the restaurant also bakes them and also has a fruit version and a potato/onion version.  These meat pierogis had 3 different meats inside.  Some had pulled pork.  Some had beef.  And some had veal, I think.  They were really awesome!

This was not my plate … it was one of the other conference speakers … but I had to take a photo of it.  I had seen several people eating these while I was in Poland and it looks really good.  It’s veal knuckle, otherwise known as veal shank.

That same evening, I had my dinner at the Wesele Restaurant, which was directly in the town square.

This time I tried the sauerkraut and mushroom fried pierogis and they were so stinking good!  I could eat 4 or 5 plates of these things!

I had ribs with plum sauce which was pretty good, although I don’t think plums are really my thing.

And I also ordered fried cabbage as a side dish.  I’d never had this before and it was mild, but it was very good.  My pee smelled like sauerkraut for the next 2 days, and I think it might have been from this particular dish.  Although, I guess it could have been from other  dishes I’d had containing sauerkraut.

My last full day in Krakow was Sunday, and I had lots of sightseeing and shopping to do, so I went straight to the central town square and ate breakfast at this little handmade doughnut shop called Krakowskie Paczki, which means Krakow Packages.  It’s a popular little shop as there was quite a line of customers.

They also sold waffles.  So I got a jelly filled doughnut and a waffle with blackberry jam.  The filling in the doughnut was different than anything I’d ever tasted and maybe it’s an acquired taste, but the doughnut itself was spectacular.  And the waffle was quite good too.  And yes, I had Coke for breakfast.  Hey, I was on vacation!   🙂

This entire day went by pretty fast since I was trying to experience the entire central town square and also buy a bunch of souvenirs, so I didn’t actually eat lunch.  And when dinner time rolled around, I wasn’t exactly starving either.  So I decided to just get an appetizer.  I went to a fancy restaurant on the square called Szara.

I had heard a lot about Beef Tartare or Steak Tartare, and I had seen lots of people eating it here in Poland, so I decided to try it.  Even though it is raw ground beef and raw egg yolk.  It was actually pretty good.  I was not a fan of the smoked herring or whatever that fish is on the plate.  But when I mixed all the other ingredients together, it was an interesting and nice little treat.  Going around the plate, there was raw chopped onion, chopped tuna, I believe, chopped pickes, butter, and the sauce tasted like a mild honey mustard.

I finished my small dinner meal with an ice cream of sorts called Pistachio Semifreddo with caramel and chocolate sauce.  It’s very light, like a frozen mousse.  A pretty fancy dish.

Well, that about covers all the awesome food I ate while in Poland! Tomorrow I’ll publish a blog post detailing the trip in general along with some of my random observations about Krakow, Poland.

Thanks for your interest!


Down 14 pounds: There might actually be something to this whole “don’t eat wheat” fad

So I lost 14 pounds in 8 weeks recently.

That’s very close to 2 pounds each week, which is a good healthy amount of weight to lose, if that’s what you’re going for.

Here is my entire year’s worth of Monday morning weigh-ins.  Click to see the full resolution image.  You can see that I went down and then up and then down again this year.  I hope to be more stable than that in 2016.  And I think I might know how.


The yellow highlighted section is the 8 week time period where I lost those 14 pounds.  You can see that it was very nearly a straight diagonal line for the entire 8 weeks, as opposed to a whole bunch of water weight loss at the beginning with less loss at the end.

So what was my secret for this weight loss?

Well, at least part of it was due to me not eating anything with wheat in it.  And I also tried my hardest to avoid added or processed sugar.

Here is the whole story with some excruciating details if you have some time to kill.


Not a diet

Back in September, a person that I look up to told me about his “strange” eating habits and he also told me exactly why he took up those habits.  He said that if I tried these habits the fat would just melt off me.

He was not proposing a diet.  He was proposing a different manner of eating.  No calorie counting.  No exercising.  Just five simple rules.  Five things to avoid … avoid like the plague.

At the time I was skeptical.  But not anymore.  There really is something to this.

The rules

The rules are actually pretty simple to remember … but aren’t always super simple to practice in this day and age:

  • don’t eat wheat
  • don’t eat flour
  • don’t eat rice
  • don’t eat corn
  • don’t eat sugar unless it’s naturally occurring, like in fruits


Wheat and other grains

So you may have noticed the huge popularity of the gluten free movement recently.  Most of the gluten free camp believes that genetically modified wheat is basically slowly poisoning us all.  They claim that our digestive system doesn’t fully process this wheat.  They claim that it is a pro-inflammatory agent to our body’s cells.  And they attribute all manner of diseases and sicknesses to the wheat and gluten in our supposedly natural and supposedly healthy diets.  Most wheat haters also dislike barley, oats, and rye for all the same reasons.



Most flours are made from wheat, but they contain very little nutritional value … even after being enriched with vitamins and minerals.  So the people who are against wheat are even more aggressive in their hatred of flour.



Although rice is not claimed to be as bad for us as wheat and the other grains, it is suggested by all manner of nutritionists to try and minimize it in your diet.  Rice … especially white rice … has very little nutritional value so filling up on it is not really going to be very good for your overall nutritional well being.



Most people think corn is a vegetable, but it’s actually a grain.  And yes, grains are bad for us as I explained earlier.  The corn we eat today is highly genetically modified, just like the wheat.  And our bodies aren’t super great at processing corn either.  And everybody already knows about the high starch and sugar issue with corn.



Well, sugar has always been the enemy, so that’s a no brainer.  Naturally occurring sugar is probably not going to hurt us too much.  But the problem is that we eat the non-naturally-occurring kind of sugar.  The processed crystals that we add to almost everything.  We eat a lot of processed sugar.

And we drink a lot of it too.  If you are addicted to sugary drinks, please please please try to wean yourself off of them.  It won’t be easy.  It won’t be quick.  It’s a full blown addiction.  You will get headaches.  You will crave them.  You will go into withdrawals.  But if you drink one 12 ounce soda each day, you are increasing your risk of diabetes by about 25%.  If you drink only one soda per week, I will not nag you about it.  But if you drink several or more per week, then you are very likely causing your body harm.

Many sugar haters go as far as to say that processed sugar either causes cancer or feeds it.  Whether that turns out to be the case or not, you have to agree that naturally occurring sugar is probably better for your body than artificially created and processed versions.  Right?


No, no, no?  So what CAN I actually eat?

Basically grain is the enemy.  Well, grain and sugar.  If you strictly cut off grains and added or processed sugar items from your menu, you will lose weight.  Even without exercise.

Fat is NOT the enemy, so don’t worry about fat free or low fat foods.  Calories are not even the enemy.  There is absolutely no need to count calories.  Just eat a reasonable portion and then eat again when you get hungry again.  Don’t eat just because it’s time to eat.  Eat because you are hungry.  That’s good advise for anyone.  Not just people who are trying to lose weight.

Eat all kinds of oils and fats without worry.  Eat all manner of meats (red, poultry, pork, fish, shellfish), eggs, vegetables (fresh or frozen), leafy greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, berries, beans, legumes, oils (olive, coconut, avocado), butter, almond butter, honey, mushrooms, dairy, toppings, condiments, etc.

This plan is in the same vein as the “hunter/gatherer” diets that are popular, like the Paleo Diet, but not nearly as strict.  For example, there is no restriction on dairy like in the strict Paleo Diet.



I get it.  It’s hard to avoid breads and chips.  Those things are everywhere!

I ate a lot of meat and cheese and mushroom omelette and scrambled egg dishes for breakfast during the 8 weeks that I was being strict and trying to lose some weight.  But fruit smoothies are also a good idea or a nice change from the eggs.  Flour-free banana pancakes are difficult to make without burning them, but they are a super tasty treat.

Here are a handful of lunch and dinner ideas.  Taco salad without the chips.  Any type of salad with meat on top.  Avocados on top of just about anything … salad, meat and cheese, etc.  Baked or grilled fish fillet with spices or blackened.  Marinated chicken breast or pork chops or steak with toppings such as mushrooms, peppers, onions, avocados, cheese, sun dried tomato, etc.  Cook any meat in wine.  Add jerk or blackened spices to any meat.  Soups.  Dips without the chips.  Zucchini with lemon juice and spices.  Polish sausage or brats with sauerkraut.  Eat any manner of sandwich wraps and soft tacos, but eat them with a knife and fork and leave the tortilla shell behind.  If you want a juicy burger, load it up with toppings and condiments and eat it with a fork and knife and leave the bun behind.

Now what?

Since I lost the weight that I wanted to lose and I’m now at what I believe to be my ideal weight, I’m adding in occasional suger and occasional wheat and other grains.  But I will try to minimize my sugar intake and my wheat intake with the hope that I will maintain this weight over the long term.

I will provide an update to this post when the jury has reached a verdict on the long term viability of this plan.

Thanks for reading this article and thanks for your interest.