Living the German Way in San Diego – Part 1

I admit that I was probably a bit whingey in my last message. I’ve had some time to get over my homesickness for Germany and Europe and embrace San Diego. It’s nothing like Deutschland, but the living is so easy and the weather is as perfect (always in the 20s C/70s F and no humidity) as they say. The people are also extremely friendly and positive. So positive, that it rose my quasi Teutonic suspicions at first.

Instead of sulking back and looking for things to complain about since the weather wasn’t going to hold anymore, I decided to smile back and enjoy the sun! Meanwhile, our relocation agent asked me what was the one thing I missed most since being in San Diego. My answer was my friends and being able to speak German.

I knew that we would encounter more German speaking families once our kids started at Die Rasselbande, the German preschool we found in San Diego. But it would be another six weeks before our older daughter would start there.

I took matters into my own hands. Thanks to Yahoo Groups, I found the (now defunct) North County Deutsche Spielgruppe. It was an easy and open group to join, and we were so happy and grateful to find them. I think in some way, it did Vera, my older daughter, a lot of good to be in a German speaking environment again. She immediately said while we drove away that she wanted to go again. Through the group, we also discovered there were two other groups that meet on different days of the week.

I also signed up to join the group for the Mom’s Night Out (MNO) the next evening, which was coincidentally being held at a newly opened German Bistro: Fizzz. I didn’t have high expectations for the food and was going more for the company. I was pleasantly surprised.

I ordered the Wiener Schnitzel, priced at $18.75. Unfortunately, they didn’t serve any pommes frites/french fries/chips as you would anticipate. Instead, I ordered the spätzle, a nod to my Swabian roots, and cucumber salad as my sides. The schnitzel was perfectly prepared: crisp on the outside yet not crunchy and the veal inside was tender and tasty. My spätzle was buttered and clearly homemade. While some of you might shudder in horror, I did miss some sauce with it! I found them to be more like Knöpfle, but one of my dining companions insisted that they were authentic to Baden. I made the point again that I was from Schwabenland. The cucumber salad was lovely – not soggy but flavorful. But the flavor was not German. It tasted a bit more like an Asian salad that my Korean mother might make as the sesame oil was quite distinct.

Manuela ordered trout stuffed with shrimp and clams which she said was delicious. Cornelia and Melanie both ordered the Rheinischer Sauerbraten. A negative was that there was no Knödel on the menu. They ordered the spätzle instead along with the red cabbage . Otherwise, they gave their food a big thumbs up.

Enjoying German fare in Escondido, CA

Enjoying German fare in Escondido, CA

A few negatives: the restaurant itself does not have such great ambiance, but it is clean and comfortable. The waiter didn’t seem to know anything about Germany or its culture and only a bit more about its beer. But he was a good sport about allowing one of the members of our party make her own Radler. The service overall was excellent, though the kitchen seemed a bit stingy about substitutions.

While I have not yet had a chance to try the other German restaurants in San Diego (Tip Top, Kaiserhof), the rest of our party said that Fizzz was better in terms of value for money and quality. Fizzz is based in Escondido, a solid thirty minute drive from our new home in Kensington inside San Diego. But to get a decent fix of the Vaterland, it seems worth it.

Stay tuned for more news and reviews on restaurants and all things German related in San Diego as my family and I move forward in our Californian adventure!

One thought on “Living the German Way in San Diego – Part 1

  1. Jane, I am so glad you got your schnitzel fix! Don’t guess I will be getting one over here in Eire. BTW, Your link didn’t work (I tried)! Give the kids a big old hug from us. Livi thought she spotted Vera on a very narrow Irish road yesterday while I was practicing my driving.

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