October 12, 2012 • 8:21 am

I speak German pretty well, thanks to my dad having been stationed in Heidelberg when I was a teenager, so I’ve been trying to navigate Vienna without using English. So far I’ve been successful, and am quite pleased with myself.  “Mittagessen” means “lunch,” and I treated myself to a typical Viennese snack as reward for my linguistic prowess.

Wurst (sausage) stands are all over the city, and the locals line up at the best ones to consume at least six varieties of sausage, including curried wursts, wursts with cheese, liverwurst, bratwurst, and so on. After an exhausting morning at two art museums, I sought out one reputed to be good: Die Wurstel Stand am Hoher Markt.

There was a line, which could be described as “The Wurst is yet to come”:

A variety of Würste waiting on the grill:

My own haul: a grilled Bratwurst with hot mustard, rye bread, and a half liter of dark beer. These are eaten standing up at counters outside the stand.

I discovered only too late that you could ask for grated horseradish on top: they had a real horseradish root in a grater. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow:

And for Nachspeise (dessert), ich hab’ einen Einspänner (Kaffee) getrunken mit Apfelstrudel und Schlag—in Café Aida.

Feel free to correct any errors in German (but refrain from remarks about cholesterol!).

54 thoughts on “Mittagessen

  1. Ich als Deutsch-Muttersprachler konnte keine Fehler finden. Aber wenn Sie gut deutsch können könnten Sie doch auch mal eine deutsche Übersetzung von “Why evolution is true” verfassen. Die gibt es nämlich leider noch nicht.
    Ist aber egentlich nicht so dramatisch, ich sollte auch mit der englischen Version klarkommen.

    1. Oh yes please! A German WEIT would be great. I have a collegue at work who doesn’t believe in evolution, not for religious reasons though. He simply can’t imagine how it works, thus it can’t be true. *sigh* I’m working on it… with examples, explaining how evolution works etc. So a book in german would be great, he doesn’t speak english well enough to read WEIT in english. Being able to hand him an easy to read and to understand book would help a lot.
      Oder hat einer von euch einen guten Buchtip für mich? Und bitte… möglichst einfach und nicht zu dick. Mein Kollege ist manchmal etwas schwer von Begriff.

      1. If he’s not religious, what does your friend believe? I agree if evolution is new it can take some imaginative power to grasp how it could work. One of the hardest things to grasp is the amount of time involved, and the numbers of generations. Pretty much all our intuitive experience with things coming into being involves them being made intentionally in some number of steps we can easily visualize.

        I think the only thing harder than visualizing evolution is visualizing some alternative. There are too many features of life that we can see are flaws or errors an intelligent designer-creator wouldn’t make. And visualizing a great intelligent power willing everything into existence at once out of nothing is even harder to grasp than evolution.

        Here is a good book in German, though not particularly thin. Your friend could get a lot out of even reading the first half though (but I can’t imagine putting it down): Richard Dawkins Der Blinde Uhrmacher. this book is accessible, not technical, and uses good examples that help one see why the world as we see it around us must have been a gradual development rather than a sudden creation.

  2. You should try ordering the beer in bars using the Austrian rather than the German:

    Krügel = grosses Bier
    Seidel = kleines Bier

    Also try the Ottakringer, it’s the local Viennese brewery.

      1. One of the first “funny, in an interesting way” things that I discovered “online” (using a 2400bps modem, dialling-in at £0.02/minute on the house phone line at 02:00 to avoid blocking the line for other residents) was a compilation of some 100-odd ways of ordering “zwei bier, bitte” in different languages. I could count and regret the seconds it took to download.

    1. I’m not very keen on Ottakringer, as I find it a little bland. There are plenty of other to try. My usual tipple is the green label Gösser vom faß (draught), but you should also try Zipfer, Puntigamer and Stiegl, to name but a few.

      Being close to the Czech Republic, REAL Budweiser, as opposed to the bladder-water produced in the states, is abundant.

      You should haul yourself along to Flanagan’s on Schwarzenberg Strasse. Karlsplatz is the closest U-Bahn stop.

      As you are fond of meat, you should also try a meal at a Wirtzhaus. You can even get a decent curry, if you know where to go:)

      The Heuriger wine taverns, in my view, are best avoided. The food in pretty good, but the wine is usually pretty awful.

  3. Too bad it is not the season for Turbo Punch which is available on just about every corner during the Christmas season. It helps combat exhaustion and enables you to zip around the city. 🙂

  4. I lived in Germany for four years; I’m green with jealousy at all the good food you’re getting to snarf.

    You’d better find yourself a Trim Dich course, however, and work off a bit of that Strudel mit Schlag.

    Jetzt habe ich ein grosse huenger. Wo liegt die Bratwuerstchen?

    “Trink, trink, Bruederlin trink, lass doch die sorgen zu Haus….”

  5. What’s that old saying?- “There are two things that you never want to witness being made: one is sausage; the other, laws.”

    1. Otto Von Bismarck.

      Boudin is pretty common here in Southeast Texas. Seeing it made put me off for a while, but it’s so good I came back to it.

      Why is it that French, German, Italian, Mexican and Polish sausages are so good, but English sausage is not so good? It can’t be that English sausages are bland, most German sausages are bland, but they are still quite tasty.

  6. as an austrian (and long time vienna resident) i’m quite happy with your choices so far.
    if you have time you should really visit the naturhistorisches museum too. (the twin building to the kunsthistorisches)
    your take as a biologist on their collections and exhibitions would be interesting.
    besides i think these are the most beautiful museums in the world architecturally.

    and don’t forget to visit the naschmarkt, you won’t leave it without having found your new favorite food, i can promise you that!

    p.s. your german is fine. ; )

    1. I was about to say the same thing! I had a delightful time in Vienna a couple of years back and the Natural History Museum was a particular highlight. Not sure if it’s still on but they had a fantastic exhibition on the origins of man at the time I went. I definitely recommend either way! 🙂

  7. I can read German if it is about fish, and I have a dictionary at hand. I made out OK in German restaurants just asking for, or pointing to, the special wurst plate.

      1. So a wurst with cheese (Käse) would be the worst case? 😀

        > Feel free to correct any errors in German

        Since you ask… I think it would be “Der Würstelstand am Hohen Markt”, not “Die”. But then again it’s Austrian, so they might say it differently. 😉
        Will your journey bring you to Switzerland as well?

  8. Bockwurst was always my favorite, and I’ve never been able to find it in the US. It’s all bratwurst here. I’m sure it’s available somewhere here, but I’ve yet to find it. Probably wouldn’t be the same anyway.

    1. I had some from Oscar’s Adirondack Smokehouse in Warrensburg, NY in 1989-1990. I was camping out for a few weeks, working on my geology thesis, and I’m practically an obligate carnivore so I think I tried every kind of meat that they sold. I have no way of knowing how authentic any of the German sausages were, but everything sure was good!

  9. Glad to hear you’re enjoying your stay in Vienna, Jerry. I’m looking forward to your lecture at the IST on monday!

  10. Mmm… a Wein coffee. I asked for one in a cafe many years ago (not in Europe) but the kid behind the bar was a bit too aggressive with the cream. I ended up with what I called “cafe au beurre” – it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t a Viennese coffee.

  11. Yum. Unfortunately I’m a vegetarian now so can’t indulge in wurst 🙁 but I could definitely eat that Apple Strudel… and all of the cream!

  12. Jerry, if you are to set foot in just one other café in Vienna, don’t miss the Hawelka, it’s an institution.

    While sipping your Einspänner in the Hawelka, relish this very Viennese episode which happened to me a quarter of a century ago.

    I was perambulating the Ring, and had reached the portion named Dr. Karl-Lueger-Ring. This is where the University and the Burgtheater are located. I was looking for an institute on the Dr. Karl-Lueger-Strasse, but the numbers didn’t match. So I asked an elderly gentleman whether this was indeed the “Lueger-Strasse”.

    “Nein, mein Herr, dies hier ist der Doktor-Karl-Lueger-Ring!” Both my informality and my faulty stress on the first vowel of “Lueger” were sternly rebuked.
    The he mellowed: “Die Doktor-Karl-Lueger-Strasse, die ist ganz woanders. Aber warum wollen Sie überhaupt dorthin? Hier ist es doch auch ganz schön!” *

    Nice or otherwise, the “Doktor-Karl-Lueger-Ring” is about to be renamed “Universitätsring”; maybe it has been so already.

    Why? Lueger, Vienna’s legendary fin-de-siècle mayor, was also a rabid and very political anti-Semite, and one of the political figures revered by Hitler. Not that the average Viennese would care.

    * Translation:

    The Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Strasse is altogether elsewhere. But why would you want to go there? It’s quite nice here too, isn’t it?”

  13. And for Nachspeise (dessert), ich hab’ einen Einspänner (Kaffee) getrunken mit Apfelstrudel und Schlag—in Café Aida.

    Some nit picky grammar…

    Man soll “ich hab’ einen Einspänner (Kaffee) mit Apfelstrudel und Schlag—in Café Aida getrunken” sagen, mit dem Verb am Ende.

  14. I’m a bit late to the party, here….

    First, I read the headline and thought it was political commentary on Romney’s unfamiliarity with facts.

    I’d also like to point out that the Germans make some amazing pastry — and not just strudel. Find a local bakery, any bakery that’s well-established, and close your eyes and pick something at random. I did so in Flensburg (granted, on the Danish border) many moons ago, and it was one of the best experiences of the trip.



      1. Did a week long course paid for by work back in about 1990. The lunches on the first four days were just sandwiches and rolls but on the last day we had a really nice sit down lunch. The dessert included the richest chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten. I have a seriously sweet tooth but could only get through 1/4 of this cake. It was *that* sweet. It was simply too much of a good thing.

        I was in Vienna in 1995. I would have been risking a coronary if I’d stayed more than two days.

      2. Exactly!

        …and the Linzertorte — or even the sorts of puff pastries usually associated with France.

        I don’t think there’s a part of Europe where they don’t know what to do with flour, water, sugar, butter, and maybe eggs and / or fruit and an oven. And they all generally know much better what to do with said stuff than Americans.

        I mean, don’t get me worng. Doughnuts and muffins and sheet cakes can be quite good…but they really don’t hold a candle to French croissants, Danish pastries, or German tortes.



  15. I did a course on Austrian and German cooking many years ago, and the instructor said that Austrians eat six times a day, and if a meal doesn’t have meat it isn’t classified as a meal. Vienna has a lot of nice cake shops so I’d be paying at least as much attention to them.

  16. The streudel and coffee photo reminded me of a weekend in Vienna many years ago – I found Vienna Schnitzel and Steudel on menus for breakfast lunch and dinner – and that was all I ate at breakfast lunch and dinner for the two days I was there – along with coffee, which I drank in between as well.

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