Der Landgraf

This Saturday, Stick and I went out to German restaurant in Fengtai. We planned to trek out there, have lunch and then, assuming an authentic German restaurant didn’t exist in a vacuum, wander around the area.

Der Landgraf was easily spotted because it had a winterized beer garden in front, a very auspicious beginning to our adventures. When we went inside, the hostess walked over and stared at us. I know I should be adjusted by now, but I’m not. I’m always touching my hair and making sure my fly is closed.

She then made vague motions in the direction of a table. Actually, in the direction of all the tables. We figured that meant we could pick our own.

The menus were trilingual, and awesome. No “Happy Fragrance Pig Intestines” here… in fact no Chinglish at all! Stick enjoyed it, like me, he learned the foreign-language words for food he likes, so he was all “mashed potatoes” and “sauerkraut”, only in German.

The only German I can say is “This tastes like sh!t,” because when I was in Cambridge, a German girl in my dorm said that every night at dinner. Every night for eight weeks. (If you teach at my school, I apologize for my impassioned speech last week… it’s true, passive repetition will eventually sink in.)

Anyway, it’s a singularly useless phrase to know, since I like the food. If my one sentence was something pointless like “My hovercraft is full of eels” I could at least drop it on Manfred and Xuemei for a laugh. But “This tastes like sh!t”? Probably not.

We had great food, and even better beer. Apparently this Bitberger stuff is pretty famous or something.

After eating, we walked around the neighborhood. I thought that Der Landgraf would probably be in the center of a German bubble or an expat area. There are a bunch of those little foreign pockets near the different embassies, and wouldn’t it be cool of one was close to us? But sadly it was in one of those Gatsby neighborhoods characterized by one KFC per intersection, pseudo-Western shops and knockoff boutiques. (Yeah, I act like I’m too cool for it, but it’s easy to be superior with a smoothie in your hand.)

We took a cab home, and when we got in, the driver gave us detailed instructions on where we can flag down a cab and where we can’t. I understood allowed, not allowed, stand, and taxi BUT the where part was a total mystery to me.

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