Legal Quandary

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

LQ Endorses

I recently came to the conclusion that I cannot go on focussing solely on the bitterness that is Law School. Aside from being incredibly boring for my 6 readers, I get tired of being so negative. Also - there's less than a year left before I run out of material. With that in mind, I thought I would put some energy into writing about things that make me happy. My goal is for this to become a fairly regular occurrence here at LQ.

I originally thought about naming this "Good Stuff," envisioning the B-52s song of that title playing in the background. Then I realized that it is wayyy too close to "Good Things" of Martha Stewart fame. And I didn't think that was the route I wanted to go - though I suppose it's the same general idea. Except of course, I don't have 6 bizillion dollars and a media empire to back up my recommendations. (Though if any of the businesses featured here at LQ would like to change that, I'm willing to entertain offers - email to legalquandary[at]gmail[dot]com.)

Mostly these posts will probably be food related. Why? Because food makes me happy. Cooking it. Eating it. Having stockpiles of prepared meals in my freezer. All sources of great happiness and satisfaction for me. A good bratwurst can bring tears of joy to my eyes. I'm always in search of a good burger. I believe that the perfect scone is a thing of beauty. A nice glass of red wine. A good piece (or more!) of chocolate. Good coffee. All of these make me very, very happy.

And bread. Bread makes me very happy too. Especially when it's really good bread. In fact, whenever I move, one of the first things I go looking for is a good place to get German bread - blame it on my German mother.

This brings me to my first endorsement - The Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe in Arlington, VA. With approximately 40 different kinds of bread, I could be happy here for a very long time. I tried two kinds - the Black Forest Sourdough Rye and the Schwaben Brot. I preferred the darker, slightly denser Schwaben Brot. (The shorter bread on the right in the photo.) We had both breads for dinner the other night with butter and sliced tomatoes garnished with salt, pepper, onion & parsley. Yummy!

Prices for the breads are very reasonable - ranging from $2.70 to $3.55 for a 1 lb loaf. Beats the heck out of what I've seen at the Farmer's Market. I only wish they would use just a bit less flour for decorating the top of the loaves - I ended up scraping quite a bit of it off and will probably choose a different bread to try next time for this reason. I'm eying the Toasted Sesame and Six Grain breads...

HPS also has a smallish German deli with different meats and cheeses. I tried the coarse Leberwurst (liverwurst), which was pretty good. I know a lot of Americans malign Leberwurst as "gross." My own children refuse to touch the stuff, but it is something I grew up with and really enjoy. I only buy it occasionally because of the high fat content, but I will probably buy this again. They sell both bratwurst and weisswurst, blutwurst, several kinds of cheese, sauerkraut (which looks fairly fresh, though not homemade), and several other German staple deli items.

Additionally, they carry a pretty nice selection of other German groceries. I purchased a jar of German mustard, which I have not tried yet. Though I was disappointed that they did not carry the Thomy mustard in a tube. (Yes, I know Thomy is Swiss, not German). I was pleasantly surprised to find that they carry 3 different kinds of Back-Oblaten (Little wafers for baking. I use them for macaroons because the sugar/egg white mixture burns so easily.) I didn't pay attention to how the prices compare, since I usually have my mother send me items like Vanilla Sugar, bouillon, mustard, and pudding mix.

Finally, I tried a couple of HPS's pastries. One was a sort of cinnamon streusel cake. It was light and quite good, but I've never had anything like it in Germany. The other was a classic Berliner - which is essentially a German jelly doughnut - fried, filled with apricot jam (not too sweet or artificial tasting and with pieces of fruit), and then rolled in granulated sugar. Every bit as good as those I've had in Germany. They have a tremendous selection of pastries, cookies, and cakes. I'll probably take the family with me on my next trip so we can order several types and share.

About the only thing that is preventing me from just moving in is that the ladies behind the counter were not incredibly nice. I mentioned this to Mr. Q and he just laughed and said that was his impression of almost all Germans - that they weren't really nice until you got to know them. I don't think that's true, but maybe my experience was a bit skewed by having spent many summers with my Oma and Tante Elsa in Germany. We lived in a small town and everyone knew them, so it's possible that everyone was nice to me because of them. At any rate, I'm hoping the ladies were just having a bad day, and next time will be different.

If you live in the DC area, I highly recommend a trip to the Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe.

They also offer good complimentary coffee with your purchase. Sadly, I spilled mine almost immediately.

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