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Archive for October, 2009

Thanaphon Thai Restaurant

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Bahnhofstraße 19 69115 Heidelberg

Some people say that the mark of a good Thai restaurant is how tasty their Pad Thai is.  The individual components of the Pad Thai should create a perfect harmony and balance of flavors – not to sweet, not too sour, just right.  Well, if that’s the case, then Thanaporn Thai restaurant is surely a winner.

Don’t be fooled by the archaic exterior of the restaurant – inside, the dining room is a romantic place and welcoming for diners.  The cloth covered tables are met with woven-wicker chairs that are supplemented with comfortable pillows to keep you nice and warm.  On top of each table, a candle illuminates the area, enhancing the dining experience.  With all of the traditional Thai ornaments and pictures decorating the walls, it definitely feels inviting and hospitable.  Even some of the ceiling panels have the image of the traditional Thai dancer.  Fantastic!

 

The menu is quite extensive with many familiar offerings.  There is a large variety of chicken, pork, beef, fish, and vegetarian selections that will surely meet your needs.  There is also a three course menu, featuring an appetizer, a chicken curry dish, and dessert for single persons and a 4 course tasting menu that can be shared between two people.

The Chicken Pad Thai here is cooked nearly flawlessly.  I am, by no means, a professional on Pad Thai cooking, but this one definitely gets a thumbs up.  The rice noodles were not mushy nor were they over cooked – they had just the right texture.  The slices of chicken were moist and juicy.  The dish was stir-fried with the usual ingredients – bean sprouts, chunks of tofu, egg, a piece of lime, a couple slices of cucumbers, and some crushed peanuts – and garnished with chopped cilantro.  My only complaint was the sparse amount of nuts.  Overall, though, the flavor combinations worked extremely well here.

Portion sizes are slightly smaller than they could be, however the taste certainly makes up for it.  The prices are reasonable – the Pad Thai dish cost 7,80 EUR and a cup of tea 1,70 EUR.

Thanaphon is located behind the Crowne Plaza Hotel, near the Bismarckplatz in Heidelberg.  It is a secret that cannot remain hidden forever!

 

Summary:

Tucked away from the main roads in Heidelberg, Thanaphon Thai Restaurant is a charming restaurant serving up delicious, authentic Thai cuisine.

Hours: Monday to Sunday: 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, 5:30 PM to 11:30 PM

Overall – 5 stars

  • Guey Tew Pad Thai with Chicken – 5/5
  • Jasmine Tea – 5/5
  • Service – 5/5

http://www.thanaphon.de/

Written by geschmack

October 30th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Subway

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Subway Heidelberg

Hauptstraße 183 69117 Heidelberg

You may be wondering why I ate at a Subway in Germany.  After all, there are so many varieties of food to choose from here.  Well, simply put, I just wanted to observe the differences (if any) between Subways in America and in Deutschland.

After stopping by the Subway on the Hauptstraße late this afternoon, I can confirm that there aren’t many differences.  The sandwiches are made fresh, right before your eyes.  When you order your sub, the employee asks which type of bread you want, questions whether you want it toasted, if you want all the vegetables (green bell peppers, pickles, sliced cucumbers, red onions, chopped green lettuce, sliced tomatoes, black olives, and jalapeños) in it, and finally asks which type of sauce you desire.  Sauce?  Well, this last part was the only slight variation that I noticed (more explained below!).

They also sell a variety of potato chips here.  Walkers, owned by Frito-Lay, is the main brand sold here with typical flavors such as salt & vinegar and barbeque.  However, there are other brands of chips too.  Of course, Subways here also sell cookies.

 

I ordered the turkey and ham sandwich.  A typical 6 inch turkey and ham costs 3,48 EUR, but luckily there are valuable coupons available on their website.  Hence, with a buy one, get one free coupon, I was able to get a whole foot long turkey and ham sub for 3,48 euros!  It was still more expensive than the $5 subs in the states, but it was nonetheless a good deal.  I also grabbed a bag of roast chicken flavored Walkers potato crisps – a 34.5 gram bag – that cost 0,99 EUR.

The toasted Italian bread was exactly like back home.  Inside, there were 4 slices of turkey and 4 slices of ham.  There was also Swiss cheese triangles sandwiched between the meat and vegetables.  Of course, I asked for all the vegetables in my sub to complete the meal.  I noticed that they didn’t automatically add mayonnaise, mustard, oil, vinegar, or black pepper here.  Instead, the employee asked what type of sauce I wanted.  She mentioned a scharf (spicy) or suß (sweet) dressing that can be added.  Looking for an adventure, I opted for the spicy sauce.  It turned out to be just like the spicy sauce from the kebab restaurant – orange and only a minute jolt of fire on my tongue.  Apparently, it was the southwest sauce available at USA chain stores.  Nevertheless, it was something I never tried before and it added a lot of delicious flavor to the sandwich.

 

The sandwich as a whole was definitely tasty and flavorsome – enhanced by the addition of the sauce.  The amount of ingredients was perfect and definitely a healthy meal.  The roast chicken flavored chips tasted more like the thin slices of chicken breast you would find in the ham section of a supermarket – good, but not spectacular.

I was quite surprised by the open space in the fast food place.  There were plenty of tables and everything was spotless.  Even the restrooms looked modern and well maintained.

Overall, I cannot complain about anything.  The sandwich was spot-on in terms of what I was looking for and the addition of the sauce was definitely a new, exciting experience.  It was an appetizing reminder of American sandwiches back home.

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Summary:

Subway is a global American fast food franchise specializing in submarine sandwiches and salads.  Free refills available (self serve) at this location.

Overall – 4 stars

  • Turkey and Ham Sub – 4.5/5
  • Walkers Roast Chicken Potato Crisps – 4/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.subway-sandwiches.de/

Written by geschmack

October 29th, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Heidelberger Schnitzelhaus Alte Münz

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Heidelberger Schnitzelhaus Alte Münz 

Neckarmünzgasse 10 69117 Heidelberg

So you find yourself exhausted and hungry after climbing back down from the Heidelberg castle, walking across the old bridge, and taking pictures next to the monkey.  Sure, you can easily stop by one of the pricey restaurants along the Hauptstraße or stop by a kebab joint for a quick meal.  But maybe you feel like eating something traditional German.  Well, Schnitzelhaus might be the perfect antidote to satisfy that rumbling tummy!

Inside, the Schnitzelhaus might look like an old bar joint.  The place is dark and lit by candles at each table.  There are roughly 7 big wooden tables, with a mix of booth and chair seating. Reservations may be required for dinner.

At first glance, the menu can be quite overwhelming.  Not because it is written in German – they also have an English menu available.  The difficulty lies in actually choosing what to order!  I mean, the menu clearly states that they have “more than 100 different varieties of schnitzels!”  In fact, there are exactly 101 assorted kinds with traditional styles like Wiener, Jaeger, and Rahm Schnitzel to more exotic flavors such as Chilischnitzel, Thai style, Mole sauce, and Hawaiian style, just to name a few.  You can spend hours trying to decide which one to try!

 

Deciding to go the safe route (after all, it is Germany!), I decided on the Weltmeisterschnitzel (‘World Champion’ Schnitzel) cooked Jaeger style, with mashed potatoes instead of fries.  Be forewarned!  If you choose to go the Weltmeisterschnitzel route, be prepared for a lot of chewing!  The description for this dish states that it is only meant for those who are really hungry.  No kidding!

All meals come with a small plate of salad featuring lettuce, shredded carrots, corn, some sauerkraut, and a boatload of dressing.  The vegetables were typical fair, but the sauerkraut added an extra unique element to the salad.  Good, but not great.

The schnitzel and mashed potatoes arrived shortly afterwards.  Portions sizes were unbelievable.  The Weltmeister order gives you 4 hefty, well breaded and seasoned schnitzel pieces.  Jaeger style coats the schnitzel in a luscious cream sauce and a healthy amount of mushrooms adorning the pork.  Moreover, chopped parsley is strewn around the dish, completing the wonderful presentation.  The schnitzel was already dressed with lemon juice, so it was a bit sour for my tastes.  The initial bites were marvelous – moist and tender pork.  Absolute bliss.  Most of the pork was delicious, although I did run into cuts that were tough to chew.  Hard to believe, but the schnitzel was overshadowed by the mashed potatoes.  They were whipped and creamy – definitely worth substituting for fries.

 

At 14,90 euros, the Weltmeisterschnitzel is definitely a winner.  If you manage to finish the entire plate, you will surely feel like a champion!

 

I also tried a little bit of the Käsespätzle (8,90 euros) designed for vegetarians.  It also came with a side salad.  The spätzle was delicate and creamy.  Very rich with the amount of cheese introduced to the dish.  The grilled onions on top made the dish come together extremely well.  A nice alternative to the schnitzel dishes.

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Summary:

Schnitzelhaus Alte Münz is a moderately priced German restaurant near the Alte Brücke (Old Bridge) serving over 100 different varieties of schnitzel.  They also sell beer mugs and t-shirts with their restaurant logo.

Hours: Monday to Friday: 5 PM – Midnight
             Saturday, Sunday, Holidays: 11 AM – Midnight
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Overall – 5 stars

  • Weltmeisterschnitzel (Jaeger) – 4.5/5
  • Mashed Potatoes – 5/5
  • Käsespätzle – 5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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Written by geschmack

October 26th, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Kebab Haus (Update)

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Kebap Haus Heidelberg

Hauptstraße 173 69117 Heidelberg

Second day, second meal, second kebab.  After yesterday’s fantastic adventure with the Döner plate, I decide to come back for another taste.  Again, the service was fantastic.  The worker remembered who I was and welcomed me with a warm greeting.  Excellent!

 

Anyways, I decide on a Döner Kebab Groß.  Simply put, it’s a large sized Döner Kebab.  Preparation is just like at any other kebab restaurant.  The cook slices open the flatbread (this one had black and white sesame seeds on top), stuffs vegetables (red cabbage, onions, and tomatoes) inside, adds a generous amount of sliced chicken döner, and then squeezes on a generous amount yogurt sauce on top of everything else.

The chicken, as it was yesterday, was brilliant – moist and tasty.  Altogether, the amount of chicken was sufficient.  Or so I thought!  As I got to the end of the kebab, I ran into loads of onions.  Crunchy Raw Onions!  Apparently, all of the chicken slices were placed at the front end of the döner.  By the time I got to the back, it was mostly onions, cabbage, and sauce.  Maybe I wasn’t eating it the right way.  Regardless, I was lucky nobody kicked me off the bus with my onion breath on the ride home.

Despite this minor problem, I was satisfied with the Döner Kebab here.  The large Döner kebab costs 4,00 EUR, while the smaller one 2,70 EUR.  Comparable with other kebab houses in the city.  No doubt, this place offers the best chicken döner so far.

 

Summary:

Kebab Haus is another typical kebab eatery featuring Döner, pizzas, and other foods at very affordable prices.  Only Hähnchenfleisch (chicken) offered.  Outdoor seating available.

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Döner Kebab Groß (Large Chicken Döner Kebab) – 4.25/5
  • Service – 5/5

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Written by geschmack

October 24th, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Kebab Haus

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Kebap Haus Heidelberg

Hauptstraße 173 69117 Heidelberg

Walking along the main street in the Altstadt of Heidelberg, you will come across an enormous variety of restaurants and eateries.  Of course, you will also find a kebab shop and this one is definitely worth the stop!

Upon entering Kebab Haus, there is an odd sense of the restaurant being divided into two completely different parts  The front area, where you place your order and where everything is cooked, is typical fast food style.  Inside, however, is where the dining area is located.  The décor here is quite upscale for such a fast food joint – almost like you’re at home or in a cozy restaurant.  There are five tables available, each with 4 comfortable woven-wicker chairs.  There is also a television to keep you occupied while you eat!

 

I visited the Kebab Haus today late in the afternoon for dinner.  I immediately ordered the Döner Teller with rice – a plate with a good amount of freshly cut chicken Döner, short grain rice, and small portions of different vegetables (lettuce, red cabbage, corn, sliced carrots, green peppers, and tomatoes).  There was also a healthy portion of yogurt sauce sweetening the salad.  As garnish, chopped parsley was strewn across the dish.  Presentation was utterly magnificent.  Although they had red pepper chili flakes available, I didn’t want to disrupt the beautiful color scheme of the dish.

Kebap Haus Döner_M

The chicken döner was flavored extremely well.  It was moist and appetizing.  You could easily tell that the meat wasn’t sitting around for a while.  Rice may have been a bit mushy – it was good but not great.  Of course, the vegetables provided a healthy addition to the meal.

On the whole, the restaurant is extremely clean and the dining area exudes a warm, inviting feel.  The workers are friendly and the food is top notch.  The only downside is the sole available of one type of meat.  Nonetheless, Kebab Haus works hard at perfecting their chicken döner.  For 6,50 EUR, the Döner Teller was well worth it.

 

Summary:

Kebab Haus is another typical kebab eatery featuring Döner, pizzas, and other foods at very affordable prices.  Only Hähnchenfleisch (chicken) offered.  Outdoor seating available.

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Döner Teller (Chicken Döner with brown short grain rice and salad) – 4.5/5
  • Service – 5/5

Written by geschmack

October 23rd, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Supan’s Bistro: The Taste of Thailand (Update)

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Supan's Bistro

Hauptstraße 133 69117 Heidelberg

I made a quick stop to this Thai restaurant for a fast meal in between classes.  This place may very well be my go-to restaurant in the future because it is conveniently located near the Universitätsplatz, a very short distance from where the bus lines 31 and 32 stop.

 

I ordered the Tom Yum Goong soup (hot and sour Thai soup with shrimp).  The bowl was quite small compared to an order of soup in California.  Inside there were only three pieces of shrimp.  However, they were well cleaned, deveined, and cooked perfectly.  Also inside the soup were slices of mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, onions, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass.  The flavor of wasn’t exactly the best; but it was definitely above average.  It was a bit more sour than spicy.

Overall, this visit was enjoyable.  The soup cost 5,00 EUR – a bit too expensive for such a small bowl.  Nonetheless, the restaurant was warm and comfortable and the waitresses this time dressed in traditional Thai garb, creating a wonderful dining experience.

 

Summary:

Supan’s Bistro is a cozy Thai restaurant offering a variety of different traditional dishes at fairly reasonable prices.  Outdoor seating available near the trees in front of the restaurant.

Overall – 4 stars

  • Tom Yum Goong (Shrimp) – 4/5
  • Service 5/5

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Written by geschmack

October 22nd, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Istanbul Restaurant & Café

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Istanbul Restaurant 

H1 14 68159 Mannheim

My quest to find the best döner in this region takes me to the city of Mannheim.  After getting some recommendations and hearing a lot of praise for this Turkish establishment, I decide to make the half hour journey for an early dinner.

Admittedly, upon hearing the name of the restaurant, I immediately had high expectations.  I mean, simply using the name of the largest city in Turkey implies that the food has to be good, right?  When I got there, all my expectations were exceeded.  Despite the day being cold and rainy, the place was totally packed.  People were lined up outside the restaurant, waiting for a warm chair and table inside.  It was like waiting at a book signing for that one special moment with your favorite celebrity or author.

Knowing that it would take forever to get a spot inside, I decided to brave the cold and sit outside.  Understandably, service can be a bit slow when it’s crowded.  Even though I asked one of the waiters for a menu, it took about 15 minutes for them to bring me one.  However, once I was finally brought one, everything was smooth thereafter.

Being a traditional Turkish restaurant, I knew I had to have the ultimate Turkish experience.  So, I ordered an Uludağ Gazoz (1,90 EUR for a small glass), a lemon lime soda drink from Turkey.  It tasted similar to Sprite, but with a unique sweetness.  One sip and I was completely addicted!

 

The Tabakta Istanbul Döner – a plate of veal Döner meat on a blended mixture of puréed eggplant, garlic, and yogurt sauce, surrounded with sliced tomatoes and chilies, and garnished with chopped parsley – was the best thing I had eaten all month long.  Presentation of the dish was absolutely magnificent.  On the side was a basket full of flatbreads that helped soak up all the goodness.  The combination of the veal and the sauce was flawless.  I couldn’t believe I had never tasted such heaven before.  The quality of the meat was also better than any other kebab joint.  It was perfectly cooked and seasoned and there weren’t any tough bones or chewy portions.  You definitely won’t be picking your teeth afterwards!  At 7,50 Euros, the Istanbul Döner was quite the bargain.

 

For the sake of comparison, I also sampled the Döner Kebab.  A Halber Döner Kebab (small, with veal) costs 3,00 EUR.  The best part was the warm, toasty bread that made the Döner most delectable.  Of course, the quality of the meat pushes this Döner to the top of my list.

  

The food here certainly makes up for the long wait and average service.  I doubt there are any misses on the menu.  It definitely lives up to all the expectations and then some!

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Summary:

Istanbul Restaurant & Café is a popular Turkish restaurant serving up traditional food at affordable prices.  Only Kalbfleisch (veal) offered.  Seating available outside for those beautiful, sunny (or rainy) days.

Overall – 4.75 stars

  • Tabakta Istanbul Döner (Dönerfleisch auf Teller mit Pürrierte Aubergine, Knoblauch und Joghurtsauce) – 4.5/5
  • Halber Döner Kebab – 4.5/5
  • Uludağ Gazoz Drink – 5/5
  • Service – 3.5/5

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Written by geschmack

October 17th, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Kebapzentrum (Update)

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Kebapzentrum Heidelberg

Rohrbacherstr. 2 69115 Heidelberg

After trying the Kalbfleisch (beef) döner plate yesterday, I decided to stop by this place again for the chicken kebab.  There’s something about those vertical spits of meat that has me so enamored with döner!

Anyways, I enter the joint for an early dinner and ordered a small Hähnchen Döner (Chicken döner).  I was completely fascinated watching the guys prepare it.  The person behind the counter toasted a round piece of thick flatbread (think Quiznos), sliced open the hot, steaming bread, placed some slices of chicken inside, added the salad (chopped lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, raw onions, and cucumbers), poured on the salad dressing, and then slathered on the hot sauce.  Incredible!

 

At first, I didn’t know how to begin eating this beast.  The orange hot sauce and the salad dressing were oozing out of the open sandwich.  After a deep breath, I simply grabbed the monster and chewed down on it.  Bursting with flavor… it was delicious!  The strips of chicken were not too overly seasoned, but perfectly balanced by the amount of salad and dressing.  The flatbread crust was crisp and toasty; the inside soft and delicate.  The combination of bread, vegetables, meat, and sauce easily joins together in harmony.

The only downside to the döner was the lack of sauce.  I must repeat what I mentioned before – the hot sauce merely played around with my tongue.  As you get towards the end of the sandwich, you end up feeling depressed a bit because there is simply not enough sauce inside.  You end up searching for any traces stuck on the paper wrap or on the plate, but find that there’s simply not enough.

For the price of 2,70 EUR, a small Chicken döner can be an inexpensive quick snack, or a meal on the run.

 

Summary:

Kebabzentrum is a typical kebab fast food joint featuring Turkish, Italian, and Lebanese food at very reasonable prices.  Open late for those looking for a night snack.

          Hours: Monday to Thursday, Sunday: 10 AM – 1 AM
                         Friday, Saturday 10 AM – 5 AM

Overall – 4 stars

  • Hähnchen Döner – 4/5
  • Service – 4/5

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Written by geschmack

October 10th, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Kebapzentrum

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Kebapzentrum 

Rohrbacherstr. 2 69115 Heidelberg

If you find yourself in Germany and start peeking through some of the shop windows along the street, you are bound to come across fast food joints that feature meat being cooked on a rotating, vertical spit.  These döner kebabs are similar to gyros in other places of the world.  Whatever they are called, Germans love eating them!

Kebapzentrum is conveniently located in the Bismarckplatz area near the Altstadt in Heidelberg.  It is a small shop situated under a white building called the ‘F+U Academy’ (a language school).  Entering the place, you will be amazed at how modern and sleek the shop looks.  Although it is a relatively small establishment, there are 4 tables and about 8 stylish stools at the counter to sit.  There is also a television with Turkish news playing.  This place offers two choices for kebab – chicken or beef.

I decided to stop by this place for dinner.  After a few minutes of deliberation, I decided on the Dönerteller (kebab plate) with beef .  The plate comes with the choice of rice or French fries, salad, and sauce on the meat.  I chose the fries as my side along with scharfe Soße (hot sauce) on top.  Everything is prepared right in front of you.  The fries start as the base on a large plate, then comes a mixture of salad on the side with tons of dressing, and finally the meat showered on top of the fries.  After paying, you get your plate with some silverware to boot.  Very nice, indeed.

Or so I thought.  The kebab was mediocre.  There were a few tough portions of meat, but otherwise it was manageable.  The beef was a bit dry, but the sauce helped a tiny bit.  Speaking of which, the so called hot sauce only tickled my tongue.  Albeit spiciness is subjective, this sauce needs some more heat.  The fries were also ordinary.  It was easy to spot that the fries were sitting there a bit too long.  It didn’t help at all that they put the hot meat right on top of it.  Makes it soggy, doesn’t it?  Next time, I will order the rice.  I must admit, though, that I was impressed with the salad.  The guy added different varieties of vegetables to the mix, which made it a wonderful eating experience.

Overall, the plate cost only 6,40 EUR.  I was thinking about trying a chicken döner, but that will have to wait.  After all, I was stuffed for the day.

 

Summary:

Kebapzentrum is a typical kebab fast food joint featuring Turkish, Italian, and Lebanese food at very reasonable prices.  Open late for those looking for a night snack.

          Hours: Monday to Thursday, Sunday: 10 AM – 1 AM
                         Friday, Saturday 10 AM – 5 AM

Overall – 3.5 stars

  • Dönerteller – 3.5/5
    • Lamb Meat – 3/5
    • French fries – 2.5/5
    • Salad – 4/5
  • Service – 4/5

 

Written by geschmack

October 9th, 2009 at 5:36 pm