Do you ever have one of those days when you really just DON'T want to cook?
A few nights ago, my husband and I had each had a very trying day. We had both spent the ENTIRE day fighting with our respective computers - both of us on damn computer code (which I, at least, totally don't understand). Lo and behold, the hubs gets home at like, 8:45 or something. Now, I don't know why - maybe because they like a true work/life balance here - most small local restaurants close at 10 PM on weeknights. Being a Tuesday, we look at the clock and realize that since it's now after 9 PM, the restaurant I wanted to go to (a 10 minute walk away) would close shortly. No food in the house - everything is closing, and I was in a hunger-induced state of hyper-cranky.
A True Definition of Local FoodThen, we remember the WeinPark, a small Weinstube we had found a few weeks back. We had the place's business card, saw it was open to 11 PM (yay!) and hurried on down.
Let me pause here for a second to share the main reason I wanted to go back to this particular restaurant. In a conversation with Philip (the server at the restaurant) on our first visit, we discovered he is not only a food and wine enthusiast, but a hunter as well. In fact, the meat in the Wildschwein Goulash on the menu that last time was... acquired on his last hunting trip. How cool is that?
Clearly, we had to return! And this second trip we were not disappointed. This time, we got to peruse the regular menu. It includes a variety of German food: several versions of Flammkuchen - including one with Koren kimchee, very un-German - as well as several local specialties like Spundekäs', Handkäse mit "Musik" ("mit Musik" means with onions... no, Musik is not a German slang for onions, just their effect on the human digestive tract... think it through), etc. There is even a full list of authentic Korean specialties. Needless to say, quite an eclectic mix.
Sure, I'm GameWhat caught my eye however was one particular dish: "Reh- oder Wildschwein Carpaccio" which is either Venison or Wild pig Carpaccio. Unfortunately, I was unable to confirm if it was Philip's latest hunt before ordering since Mrs. Park (the owner/proprietress of the establishment) took our order. You see, when my husband ordered what he wanted, she answered him in such rapid German - and with a Korean accent - and I lost the nerve to ask; I just kind of grunted "die carpaccio" and pointed at the menu (my German kind of stinks...). I really was not sure what the exchange between Mrs. Park and my hubs was all about - all I know is he answered her with "Ja, ich probiere" ("Yes, I'll try").
So Philip brings out our food, sets it on the table, and says "I have something to say about your meal before you start" (yes, in English!). He goes on to explain to me "Your meal - I shot that." So now I am EXCITED! I had no idea what animal it even was (I later asked - it was from a deer he shot last month!). Thinly sliced raw venison, drizzled with really amazing olive oil, some fresh grated Parmesan and fresh cracked black pepper, garnished with pine nuts (yum!) and some chunks of fresh pineapple (not sure how authentically Mediterranean THAT is...) - let me tell you, I was in absolute heaven! I think by now, if you've read through my posts, you'll realize I am a huge fan and advocate of local sustainable food - you don't really get much closer to my food ideals than this meal. And Philip is so excited about the food he serves that it's hard not to get excited with him.
A Personal TouchNow add to this wonderful experience the fact that Mrs. Park made my husband something off-menu. As it turns out, when he tried to order one of the Korean specialties on the menu, she was apparently explaining that everything on that page must be ordered a day in advance. As Philip later told us (while handing us a copy of the Korean Specialties), all of those dishes need a good day's notice to be made properly. So it turns out what Mrs. Park did was make the hubs something Korean-style completely off the cuff - Given how delicious his meal was, we are DEFINATELY going back for the real thing later!
Side note: Philip also went on to point out that WeinPark is amazingly the ONLY Weinstube in Gonsenheim (a rarity in this area where you can find Weinstuben everywhere) and it's owned by a Korean woman! A very unique place indeed.
So if you're ever in Mainz, take the #50 or #51 tram from the Hauptbahhof to Gonsenheim's WeinPark - you will not be disappointed!
WeinParkBreite Straße 65
Open Sunday & Tuesday through Friday 6PM to 11PM
Telephone: 06131-90 70 777 Call ahead for their Korean specialties, or to inquire about any specials featuring Philip's latest hunt.