When we first got to Germany, we were excited to be able to eat something we love again: PORK. I know, it sounds awful, but after living in Cairo for five months, we were really missing our sausage and bacon! One thing I learned to rely on in Cairo was a website called Otlob (Otlob.com). The site allowed users to create a free account, inputting their home address and phone number. Just about all of the food places that delivered in town were listed by area. English-speaking users could put in their order online using English menus. The order would then be turned into a third-party English/Arabic speaker, who would call the restaurant and give them the order in Arabic. The worked well and allowed us to try a lot of different food.
We stayed in Cairo until the January, 2011 riots. Tony was shot several times by in the legs by the police (we originally thought he was shot 24 times, but upon later examination by a German doctor, we found that 28 shots had actually penetrated skin; this is not including several other shots embedded in his steel-toed boots). The U.S. brought us to Germany for medical attention on an evacuation flight (there’s more to the story and I’ll tell it on another day). Tony was taken directly to the hospital from the airport, because he had sepsis and was entering into organ failure. Graywyn and I were left to find a hotel at about 4 a.m. German time. Every hotel was booked, except for the very expensive Sheraton at the airport. We stayed there for four days until I found a sublet in Bornheim.
The woman who rented me the flat was a lifesaver. She allowed us to stay in the sublet for several months. When it was time to move out, we had a lot of difficulty finding a place, because we wanted to stay in the Bornheim area. As Americans, it was very difficult to find an apartment of our own. Although we searched for months, we were forced to move to yet another sublet in an area called Höchst. We weren’t thrilled, because although the public transportation reaches everywhere, it isn’t as readily available here. Since moving, we’ve secured our own lease back in the Bornheim/Nordend area and are moving at the end of January.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about food in Germany, it’s that much of it is the same. Some people are curious about American food here and whether or not you can order it at restaurants. I wish the answer were simple. Although there are a few places in the Bornheim area that I like, I find much of the food to be the same. If you’ve spent any time in Germany, or at least in Frankfurt, you’ll probably notice that a lot of the menus are the same. It’s not uncommon for a seemingly pizza place to also have an Asian, Indian, Italian and American menu. For Americans, menus that have an American section are usually disappointing. I’ve come to realize that what Germans think of as American appetizers is really just burgers and fries. So yes, you can get burger and fries when eating out, but it may not taste very American.
Of course the usual fast food places are here (McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, etc.), but I haven’t found a great many choices when it comes to eating food that I’m used to. One of the best places I’ve found is O’Reilly’s Pub near Hauptbahnhof (Central Station). I love to order their club sandwich there, but it can get expensive.
There’s a burger stand on the corner right where we used to live near the Bergerstraße that has excellent food. We used to order their cheeseburgers and fries regularly and so far, I think theirs are the best I’ve had here. It’s a funny corner where three streets meet (Spessarstraße, Mainkurstraße and Arnsburger Straße. The Bergerstraße is visible from the burger stand and customers can either order their food to go or sit outside at one of the outdoor tables. This is also where the public bathroom is located (be sure to bring 50 cents to use these toilets) and is directly across the street from where the big Wednesday and Saturday market is in this area.
There are many places offering pizza and as an American used to pizza you get in the states, I found it difficult to find pizza from any of the places that I loved in the Bornheim area. I do like Joey’s Pizza, but as with many of the pizza places in the area, the pizzas are small and expensive, so most people order one pizza for themselves, because of the small size. There is a place called the Pizza & Pasta Factoria that is very cool and child-friendly. In fact, it’s very close to our new apartment. Located at Martin-Luther Straße 33 (60316), they have a very lovely outdoor seating area with a small area for the children to play in. This keeps Graywyn busy while we’re trying to eat and she nibbles on her food! I like their pizza, but I really love their pasta, especially the pesto. They also have amazingly large (and good) salads.
If you want to get a pizza more reminiscent of the states, you have to order from Höchst. And by the way, you can use a website at Pizza.de. Even though it says pizza, you can also order from just about any restaurant. I use Google translate to automatically translate their pages into English and that way we can put our order in online. There is a pizza place in this complex that has an amazingly large (rectangular) thick-crust pizza for cheap (around 10 Euros for a family size pizza that should be enough to feed a family of 4 or 5). Unfortunately, their sauce is a little bit spicy and we started ordering from a place called Call-A-Pizza instead. EVERYTHING we order from them is great and I’m addicted to their pepperoni pizza. For 4.50 Euros, Tony can order his cheese pizza and depending on what size I order for me and Graywyn, I can order a pepperoni pizza for about 6 to 8 Euros. So far, Call-A-Pizza has my vote for the best pizza in Frankfurt.
One thing to note when ordering pizza in the Bornheim area is that pepperoni is not always pepperoni. It’s also the German name for peppers. If you want a traditional pepperoni pizza, you have to order a pizza with salami or sometimes pepperoni wurst. It really depends on the place. It’s good to clarify if you’re unfamiliar with the place.
As far as Mexican restaurants, we haven’t found any that we like. There is one place that was within walking distance of our old apartment and we went there because we liked the people, the drinks and the place. They also have indoor and outdoor seating and a child basket full of coloring books and toys to keep small children entertained. Some nights they have a live band. It’s called El Pacifico and is located at Sandweg 79. None of their food really tastes Mexican, but it’s okay. I always order the fajitas, because though they’re just not entirely right, it’s the closest I can find there. They also make a mean Tequila Sunrise.
If you’re strolling through Frankfurt, take a walk down the Bergerstraße and be sure to check out some of the döners places. The best one we’ve found is the Döneria (Weidenbornstraße 4, 60385). I’ve had döners at a couple other places and find that theirs are amazingly moist and good. My favorite is the chicken with a sort of ranch sauce on it.
As far as Spanish food, we like to eat at a place down the Bergerstraße (232) called Mi Casa. Their La Paella is excellent, but you can eat a hefty meal of appetizers and easily walk away full.
Of course there are many interesting places to eat in Frankfurt and there is a lot of good food, but if you want the type of American food you’re used to, you’ll have to make it yourself. You’ll find lots of Spanish-inspired food, but nothing that is truly Mexican food. There are a handful of places that our Italian friend says are authentic. The final place I’ll tell you about is in Höchst (Sossenheimer Weg). It’s called the Asia Bistro and they have the best Asian food we’ve had here. In fact, their food is right up there with some of the best places I’ve eaten at in the U.S. Otherwise, most Asian food we eat is tasteless and boring (or at least that’s been our experience). You’ll find the Asia Bistro at Sossenheimer Weg 178 in Höchst. I’d recommend the fried rice (it’s amazingly like the rice you get in the U.S.), the wonton soup (the best we’ve ever had) and the fried wantons. We’ve also introduced some good recipes to them (crab Rangoon and moo shu pork), so maybe they’ll be adding some more good things to the menu soon!
My family and I left the United States in August of 2010 to go to Cairo, Egypt. In February, 2011, we left Egypt and began a new adventure in Frankfurt, Germany. Why we left each place and how we got there is a different story for another day and I’ll get to it, but for now, I wanted to open with a quick “hello” and a little insight to what I’ll be writing about on here.
The main focus of this blog will be about living as an expat (or a foreigner) in Frankfurt, Germany, but I will most likely dive into my memory of what it was like to live in Cairo too. I make a living as a freelance writer. It’s not always a great living, but it works for me and allows me to take care of my daughter instead of sticking her in daycare or school. I plan to talk about everything with this blog, but you can expect to find a lot of information about living in Frankfurt as a non-German-speaking foreigner. We’ve overcome a lot of obstacles to create things like we’re accustomed to in America. Germany doesn’t always make that easy and though options are available, sometimes you have to either know where to look or go out of your way to find it. Little by little, I plan to address various expat issues, including where to find certain food ingredients, good things to see and places to stop, and some of the more serious questions (like finding an apartment, job and getting a visa).
You’ll also likely catch some of my more deranged thoughts, so don’t be shocked when you take a look into my evil little mind.
I welcome you to my blog and hope to stay fairly consistent with my posts. As I add information about living in Germany, please feel free to post your own questions to me or suggest topics. The same goes for writing, working as a freelancer and living as an expat in Cairo. I can probably be helpful about a lot of different things and the purpose of this blog is to provide information to people. I noticed that a lot of blogs offer good expat information, but they don’t answer quite everything. I’m hoping to answer some of the unanswered questions that I see floating around the Internet about Germany.
The Winded Gypsy a.k.a. Beth Lytle