The Life Continental: One Big Happy Table

During my travels in Bavaria I was surprised that most of the restaurants featured family-style seating. You would expect such a convivial dining option from Italians or Spaniards – but Germans? I’m sure it evolved as a practical measure to get patrons seated, served and out the door as quickly as possible.

For Phase Two of my 2013 summer staycation, I wanted to replicate that dining experience, so I searched for family-style service and was disappointed to turn up zero results in the tri-state area for restaurants. Entrepreneurs, take note. Last year it was BBQ restaurants. This year? Burger joints. Next year we definitely need family-style dining.

Seeking an alternative, I purchased tickets for a farm-to-table dinner, hoping for a communal dining event and was thrilled to arrive and find long, draped planks under a tent, instead of individual tables. And booze. And a beautiful summer evening.

It felt like Munich minus the dirndls.

Warwick Farm Continue reading

Munich Beer Hall Throwdown: Hofbrauhaus vs. Augustiner

He’d lost his Tyrolean hat at some point during the evening but didn’t seem to notice as he lay in my lap mumbling, “Bella. Bella.” Since I don’t speak German and his English was poor, he decided to throw out some Italian, the international language of love.

Steins of beer on a table in a Munich beer hall

Litre steins of beer, served up with warm pretzels at a Munich beer hall. Photo: The Open Suitcase LLC

Looking for an authentic beer hall experience in Munich? Try the Augustiner brewery for a chance to get up close and personal (maybe a bit too personal?) with the locals. Continue reading