Eating XXL

Since moving to Germany to begin our life together, ChessMan has been fascinated by a couple of documentaries he’s seen on what the Germans call ‘XXL restaurants’. These are basically restaurants where the portions are astronomical. I mean mind-boggling. Schnitzels so big they flop over the edge of your plate. Single hamburgers made from a good two pounds of ground beef. Bratwurst weighing in at almost the same weight apiece. He made me promise that whenever we traveled to the Frankfurt area, we’d stop and visit the one near there.

About a month ago I accompanied ChessMan to a meeting he had just north of Duesseldorf. While he was taking care of business inside, I grabbed the car and took care of some business of my own. While riding around, I discovered that – lo and behold – there was an XXL restaurant right there in our own neck of the woods. Since ChessMan had a birthday coming up, I asked him if he’d like to give one of their XXXL schnitzels a run for its money.

Was he game? You better believe it!

To make it more of a family affair, I asked both TheGirl and TheBoy if they’d like to ride shotgun with us that night. To make a long story short, by about 6.45 pm we’d stopped off to pick up the kids and were heading for Muelheim an der Ruhr. We had all gone really light on our meals that day in anticipation of the culinary orgy in front of us.

The restaurant, Hexe Nimmersatt (literally, the witch who’s never full), was quite near the hotel where ChessMan had had his meeting. Nonetheless, he had no idea how to get back there. Instead of having a look at the map before we left, he spent his time playing round after round of Duel Defense. Did I mention he was doing the driving? In any case, we ended up driving in circles about 4 miles from the restaurant. Although it was frustrating at first, we did manage to avoid the brunt of a pretty bad storm that left entire branches of trees laid out across the road and puddles in some streets deep enough to almost reach the door handle on a car.

The restaurant itself – once we actually got there – was pretty much your basic rustic German pub/restaurant affair. We were seated in a room reserved for non-smokers (much to TheBoy’s chagrin). Our first big decision? What to have to drink. Beer (and cola) was served in huge 1 liter (0.87 quart) glasses. You better believe ChessMan and TheBoy were onboard for that with a quickness! TheGirl and I were more modest; me settling for a small carafe of white wine while TheGirl opted for her personal favorite – apfelschorle (apple juice mixed with sparkling water).

True to its name, Hexe Nimmersatt was home to a wide variety of witch dolls. TheGirl had her camera with her, so she was kept busy photographing the many dolls in all the small dining rooms while we waited for out starters: French bread with a small bowl of really quite good aioli (i.e. homemade garlic mayonnaise).

But – What to eat???

ChessMan and TheBoy were full of bragadoccio – as always – so both ordered the XXXL schnitzel. TheBoy’s came as the classic Wiener Schnitzel while ChessMan opted for the Vampir(e) version (i.e. smothered in garlic gravy. Did I mention that their food was served on a tray instead of on a plate?

(Source: http://biker.de/touren/tourenberichte?id=156573&cmd=Anzeigen)

In the end, they each received 3 huge schnitzel apiece (similar to the ones in the picture above), each of which would have otherwise been a normal (and quite filling) meal!

Being more modest, I opted for a XXL steak smothered in onions, while the girl (actually misunderstanding what the waitress said) had a normal portion of breaded sole along with a side order of fries like all the rest of us.

We all started off with gusto, of course. Finishing up her sole first, TheGirl had a bite of my steak with a healthy forkful of onions. TheBoy and ChessMan plowed away through the first of their total of three large schnitzel. By the end of schnitzel #2, TheBoy had flagged considerably – and ended up sharing that 2nd piece with TheGirl. Schnitzel # 3 remained sad and neglected on his plate. ChessMan finished off his 2nd schnitzel – and order a 2nd liter of beer – but his attack of his 3rd schnitzel was lacklustre. At best…

TheGirl has only has a normal portion of fish, so decided to get her own version of XXL from the evening via the dessert. After enjoying a portion of vanilla ice cream with berries, she followed that up with a bowl of chocolate ice cream with liqueur. ChessMan found room for vanilla ice cream with hot cherries, while I preceded TheGirl with the chocolate. When it came to dessert, TheBoy remained silent – and abstinent.

By the time we called for our check, TheBoy and ChessMan had had the remains of their schnitzel wrapped up in a ‘doggie bag’ (much love and muchos gracias from Termi and Rocky, by the by!). For the first time in his life, too, ChessMan actually left beer in the bottom of his glass when he got up from the table.

In the end, we were unanimous in our verdict, though: Once was enough!

The service was fantastic and the food was fine, I guess, but certainly nothing to write home about. First of all: Nobody can eat that much and leave the table feeling too good. A side-order of Pepto-Bismol was certainly in order…. And I think a schnitzel should be golden brown when it comes out of the pan, for example (these were more beige-ish). Even TheBoy noticed that the oil they were fried in was no longer the freshest. My steak was ok…but I had imagined something grilled with crispy fried onions. It wasn’t/They weren’t. TheGirl enjoyed her sole, but it had been fished (preformed) out of the freezer and not any local river. And though the aioli was great, ChessMan said the garlic gravy on his ‘Schnitzel Vampir’ sucked big time.

Ah….but it was an experience. Something we all shared.

In other words: A good time was had by all!

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10 Comments

  1. Andree said,

    June 24, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    That sounds interesting…I thought that sort of place only existed over here.

  2. marit said,

    June 25, 2008 at 5:20 am

    Ummmmm……I think my candid opinion would be
    YUCK!
    I havn’t heard of any of these kinds of restaurants here in Holland!

  3. caratime2 said,

    June 25, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    @andree – I know that there are loads of places like this in the States, but it’s a pretty new – and popular – phenomenon here.

    @marit – ChessMan had never heard of anything like that in NL either. Although it was certainly an experience, and ChessMan and I (as well as the kids) can all be good eaters, we’re going to be more modest in our eating habits in the near future…

  4. June 25, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    that looks good
    foood all over the plate and beer
    heaven

  5. caratime2 said,

    June 27, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    @rawdawgbuffalo: That’s what ChessMan thought in the beginning, too. He bit off a bit more than he could chew (or swallow), though. Still, we had a good time…

  6. Isabella said,

    July 13, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    I was shopping in Germany with my mother-in-law yesterday and we ate at a café. I thought of this blog entry 🙂 My plate was overfilled with a delicious jägerschnitzel and something similar to tater-tots…Help me out! I can’t remember what those yummy things were called, but I DO recall I could barely eat it all. Definitely worth the €’s & it was affordable.

  7. caratime2 said,

    July 13, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    @Isabelle: I think you are talking about the potato ‘kroketten’ or croquettes. I like those, too, as a nice change from plain boiled potatoes if you have a good gravy (which you certainly did, if your jaegerschnitzel was made right). I’m glad you enjoyed yourself!

  8. July 15, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    thats the only way to eat xxxxl

  9. Isabella said,

    July 20, 2008 at 11:58 am

    I referred to this blog entry in my blog today & wanted to let you know I linked you. 🙂

    Yes, indeed kartoffel kroketten. So delicious! I look forward to my next trip to my in-laws when we will go shopping in Germany again, and I’m looking forward to another XXL lunch!

  10. caratime2 said,

    August 11, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Thanks for the link back, Isabella! 😀


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