Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Dinner at Hofbrau Haus in Panama City Beach, FL

We lived so many years in Germany, and one of the phrases that would drive me crazy is people exclaiming about schnitzles that “were so BIG they were hanging off the plate!” (said with big googly eyes). Big and schnitzle do not necessarily go well together. Schnitzle can be tough, it can have too much fat, it can be gristly. Living there for so long, I’ve had some really bad schnitzles, big and small. During our later years in Germany, we avoided schnitzle altogether; there were so many other alternatives, more refined dishes – pumpkin raviolis, white asparagus soups, St. Martin’s goose, venison ragout, duck breasts . . . (drooling in a very un-refined way . . . )

But lately, I had tiny hankering for a plain old schnitzle, and here we were in Panama City Beach, where there is a HofBrau House.

When we lived in Heidelberg, there was a HofBrau House nearby. Growing up in Germany, it seemed to me HofBrau House was everywhere, sort of like a German version of McDonalds. Now, you don’t see them so often as you used to, except for the original one in Munich.

AdventureMan is a great sport; he likes schnitzle less than I do, but off we go to HofBrau House, and actually, we have a great time.

I order a pretzel, it is huge and it is very hot, and served with a mustard dipping sauce. (This is nothing like we ever had in Germany; pretzels were mostly street-food.) It was salty and the sauce was delicious. I loved it.

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The pretzel went great with the beer – very good beer – and the accordion music. The atmosphere in the HofBrau house is festive. The beer is VERY good.

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When my schnitzel came, it covered the plate. I was aghast, but . . . it was crisply fried, not any fat, not any gristle and lots and lots of lemon wedges to squeeze onto it. We cut it in half and took half home for a late Thanksgiving snack the next night. We cut the remainder in half and enjoyed every bite. It will be a long long time before I feel a need for a schnitzel again, but this one did the HofBrau Haus proud.

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Service was the best. All the wait staff looked really happy to be there, even those who had to wear the serving wench costumes. It is located in Pier Park, a great place to go walking after a schnitzel dinner, great shopping and a kid’s park with rides and a huge slide.

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December 6, 2014 Posted by | Cultural, Eating Out, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Food, Germany, Restaurant, Road Trips, Thanksgiving | , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving at the Sunset Inn

Back in Panama City for our annual gathering with our sweet daughter-in-law’s family, we check in at the Sunset Inn on a glorious day in late November. The view that greets us thrills our hearts:

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There aren’t too many people staying at the beach, go figure, it’s Thanksgiving and families are gathering, but this is a GREAT time to be here. We have a full kitchen, so I can still roast my garlic-broccoli, make my Mom’s Cranberry Salad and make the topping for the Soused Apple Cake all while having the door wide open and listening to the waves roaring to the shore. This is one of my happiest places on earth.

These small surf boards give a lot of pleasure on smaller waves:

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I thought I was back in Kuwait, overlooking the family park in Fintas:

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I can see things slipping a little at the Sunset Inn, carpets not being replaced, linens getting thinner from so many washings, small repairs not being made – and I know our days there are numbered. Sigh. What they can’t replace in the personal character of the management – I can run down and beg a couple pieces of tinfoil to cover my broccoli; it is their motel, they manage it personally. There are countless soulless condos and motel rooms in Panama City Beach, but only one Sunset Inn.

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Cooking, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Florida, Food, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Quality of Life Issues, Road Trips, Thanksgiving, Travel, Weather | , | 2 Comments

Qatari Ambassador to US Speaks to Full House in Pensacola

Yesterday, the Qatari Ambassador to the United States, Mohammed Jaham Al Kawari, spoke to a packed house at the New World Landing as the Tiger Bay Club gathered to hear how little Qatar is exerting big influence in the world peace-making arena.

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The ambassador has an impressive biography, and in appearance very polished, very French. He isn’t afraid to tackle the tough questions, and presents Qatar’s position in a way that people can hear and understand.

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Community, Counter-terrorism, Events, ExPat Life, Interconnected, Leadership, Middle East, News, Pensacola, Political Issues, Transparency | , | Leave a comment