I must admit that German food does not often present itself to us as an inviting culinary prospect. Last Friday night, though, it seemed the perfect anodyne to howling gales and pelting rain. Envisioning sizzling bratwurst and foaming German beer, we ventured over the South River Bridge into the hinterlands of Edgewater, a sleepy community off Route 2. Even by Edgewater standards, the Old Stein Inn is remote: its location managed to elude the customarily infallible GPS on Rod's car.
Was it worth the visit? I still haven't decided. The inn has a cozy, predictably Bavarian feel, and it appears to be a great favorite with the locals. Service was efficient and pleasant, and the food hearty and plentiful. I had a glass of a dry German Reisling, a nice accompaniment to tasty wiener schnitzel, red cabbage, and spätzle. Rod ordered smoked pork chops (kassler rippchen), which were flavorful but dry. Far better were the sauerkraut and German potato salad that came as sides. Rod also tried a slice of the black forest cake, which proved to be as bad as I feared. Frankly, none of the desserts, which were shown to us beforehand on a platter, looked especially appetizing. This had to be the worst black forest cake I've ever tasted, the chocolate cake bland and the frosting tasteless and greasy. One forkful was more than enough.
I suppose my hesitation has more to do with the national cuisine than the actual preparation, was which sufficient, if not noteworthy. At the end of the meal, as we waddled away, I remembered why I rarely eat food like this: slabs of meat, with sides of potatoes and cabbage, seem a thing of the past. What was once good hearty fare for farmers and laborers is absurdly protein- and calorie-laden for those of us who work in an information economy, tethered as we are to desks and computers. By contemporary standards, I'm fairly active (horseback riding; Pilates; elliptical trainer); even so, I hardly require a substantial Bavarian meal. At the same time, I must admit that we slept very well that night, even though high winds noisily lashed the house. Maybe there's something to be said for the occasional foray into satiety.