Friday, September 15, 2006

Suppenküche. After a day of catching up with household things and arranging my next consulting appointment, I went with Caren and Emil to Suppenküche, a German Restaurant in the Hayes Valley District of San Francisco. Emil is from Germany and we are doing a Regions of Germany Supper Club in October -- so this was our excuse.

Unfortunately, we had about an hour wait, so we popped over to Absinthe down the block for drinks first. I enjoyed a lemon drop. The bar area of Suppenküche was quite busy and noisy, so we opted not to stay there as there wasn't a corner in sight. I did take some photos of it and the very harvesty-looking ceiling decorations.

We were seated next to a family gathering of 7 in a bit quieter back room, sharing a long pine table in the back of the restaurant. We quickly made friends, and the father, John who was visiting from Minnesota also spoke German. Mark, his son, was sitting next to me and we discovered that we both speak Japanese - how coincidental. Then the singing started, and continued on an off the whole evening. What a blast! I couldn't sing the German songs but I sure enjoyed seeing my friends and new tablemate having such a rollicking good time. The waiter, Daniel, was quite friendly too and from Germany. So we invited him to come to our next Supper Club and exchanged information.

Caren & John

John, Caren & Emil

I videoed some very short clips of the singing and posted at Google videos. Unfortunately, these are really sound recordings because the lighting was too low. I posted the best ones. Singing at Suppenkuche I and Singing Auf Wiedersehen at Suppenkuche II and finally, Singing at Auf Wiedersehen at Suppenkuche III. Sorry that these didn't come out very well, but it still gives you a feel for the ambient sound. John said that he hadn't sung German songs with anyone in 40 years but had been practicing while washing the dishes (which makes the task bearable). Emil mentioned that John remembered the text even better than he. John told his kids that he used to sing them to sleep with these German songs while rocking them on his shoulder, noting that Mark was the most difficult of the four kids to get to sleep as he would start up crying just as he was slipping him through the door to the bedroom. We asked Mark if he were getting sleepy yet!

This is a place where you can really have a good time. So much so, that I forgot to photograph the Kartoffelsuppe (potato soup) first course we enjoyed. It had a nice flavor, and we were trying to decide which soup stock was used as the base. I posed the question, as I couldn't tell, and Emil thought beef, and Caren pork. The waiter told us it really didn't have stock at all, but that some bacon was purreed in with the potatoes. It had a smoky taste with a hint of pepper. They also served a good rye bread with the meal.

As a main course, I had the Sauerbraten mit Preiselbeerkonfitüre, serviert mit Rotkohl und Spätzle (Sauerbraten beef with red cabbage, potato dumplings and cranberry sauce). The meat was tender and the sauce well paired. The cabbage and potato dumplings were great as well. I did have take a photo of it after I'd taken a few bites.

Emil had the Jägerschnitzel in Champignonsoße mit Spätzle und grünem Salat (Sauteed Porkloin in Mushroom Sauce served with Spätzle and Green Salad) and Caren the Rindergulasch (beef goulash). We accompanied our meal with Emil's recommended beer, Caren and I had a light one in a small glass (I forgot the name-- UPDATE: Kölsch) which was good, and I usually don't like beer. Emil gave the thumbs up on the meal, and we would all go back. We finished the meal with the delightful pastry treat "Bee Sting" (UPDATE: Bienenstich in German). It was a light bun-like pastry filled with a delicious cream. He of course told us the authentic German name, which I'm not able to reproduce, and he said you could only get this dessert here in this area. Again, we were having such fun, I forgot to photograph it. He also said he thought it better than a similar German restaurant in Alameda that he'd been to in the past.

I also managed to get a quick peek inside the kitchen window and take a shot of some food in prep.

As we went out the door we were also already planning our next visit to be with a bigger crowd who like to sing. If you want to have a rousing good time, in a jovial atmosphere you couldn't do better than Suppenküche. (And the ages and attire were all seriously varied.)

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