Cocktails at KofferRaum

(Apologies in advance for the quality of some of the photos in this post… my camera appears to be failing on me, and now utterly refuses to focus on anything at all!)

As I mentioned in my last post, Friday was the 8-year anniversary of me moving to Karlsruhe! When Jan suggested going out for a drink that night, I don’t think he was intending it as a celebration of that fact, but I’ll take any excuse 😉 Most of our friends were busy or out of town, so it ended up being Jan, K and I. We decided to go to KofferRaum – a popular cocktail bar in town – and by some miracle we actually got in! I think this was our fourth try… every other time it was completely full, and we were either told “not tonight” or “maybe try again in an hour?”. This time we got lucky… with only three of us, we were able to squish into a little corner by the bar. We were positioned next to a little “window” (well, gap in the wall), where you could see through to behind the wall, so of course my first act was to take a photo of the alcohol next to us.

The Union Jack bottle contains Beefeater gin infused with saffron
The Union Jack bottle contains Beefeater gin infused with saffron

Fun fact: Kofferraum is German for the booto (trunk) of a car. It is made up of the two words Koffer, meaning suitcase, and Raum, meaning room or space. Jan told me the owner of the bar’s surname is Koffer, so there’s a bit of a play on words going on there. And there were suitcases standing at various points in the room, obviously 😉

I don’t actually remember the names of any of the cocktails we had, but here’s a photo of Jan’s and my first ones. Mine is on the right… I remember it contained run and passionfruit juice, but that’s it. It tasted very nice though.

cocktails

I also had to take a photo of the top of my friend’s first drink because I’m a sucker for cutsey things and her apple slices had tiny hearts cut into them. All together now… “awww!”

How cute?
How cute?

Later, Jan decided he felt a bit peckish and ordered some food. At the other cocktail bar we like, the snacks include nachos… but nothing so common for KofferRaum 😉 He ordered some Italian sausage with parmesan, and this is what arrived:

KofferRaum

And very tasty it was, too!

The cocktails at KofferRaum are more expensive than at other places in Karlsruhe (between €8 and €11 euros each), but they are all made using the very best alcohol and things like fresh herbs (my second cocktail contained a large sprig of fresh sage), so you get what you pay for. The waiters also come around with free cucumber-infused tap water for all guests… usually unheard of in Germany!

If you’d like to go to KofferRaum on a weekend, I highly recommend turning up early otherwise you will not find a place to sit! (And it’s not the kind of place where you can just stand anywhere). You’ll find Hirschstraße 17 (south of Europaplatz) and they’re open from 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Be warned, the cocktails are all quite strong, but at that price you’ll probably be wanting to pace yourself anyway!

Cross stitch, cocktails and a new dress

Hi!
Did you all have a good weekend? Mine flew by too fast, as usual, but I managed to cram a lot in.

On Saturday, I dragged the boyfriend shopping with me. After weeks of failure, I wanted to finally purchase a dress for the christening I’m going to in 2 weeks and I needed him along for a second opinion. We ended up in a shop called BiBa, which I’ve never been in before, and after trying on a dress that made me look completely shapeless, the shop assistant remembered something else they had in stock and came back with something else for me to try on. It fit, it emphasised my good bits (whilst hiding the worst of the lumps and bumps) and I liked the colours… even the little bit of pink on the front didn’t disturb me too much (I hate pink!). And – best of all – it was size XS (something I suspect had more to do with the shop’s sizing system than me). Jan liked it as well, so we decided to go with it, even though it cost slightly more than I had been planning to spend.
And now I bet you all want to see the dress, don’t you? OK… here it is:

Dress

That evening, we went to Karlsruhe’s beach bar. One of our friends couldn’t believe we’d never been, and insisted that we take the opportunity now the weather is finally nice. It could very well be raining again by this time next week, and there isn’t that much of the summer left any more. The place itself was nice enough… it’s on the roof of a multi-story carpark, which is pretty cool. You can watch the birds and, once it gets dark, see the stars. The service was incredibly slow though, and the cocktails I tried were a bit meh. The Mojito Razz (raspbery mojito made using Bacardi Razz) was nice enough, but the Hugo was far too sweet and Jan’s Sundowner was awful! Later, we moved on to a new place that Jan and I have walked past a couple of times and been meaning to check out. The Strawberry Colada I had there was amazing! Not too sweet and made with real strawberries.

Cocktails at Soul
Cocktails at Soul

Sunday was mostly spent alternating between housework and cross stitch. Once again, I’m rushing to get a gift finished in time for an event (last time it was a wedding, this time it’s a birth). Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Anyone feel like guessing what it's going to be? ;-)
Anyone feel like guessing what it’s going to be? 😉

I still have a long way to go before it even starts to resemble a picture! Guess what I’ll be doing with my evenings this week…
On Sunday evening, we were invited round to a friend’s place for dinner. We had peach chicken with couscous, which was delicious! This was followed by chocolate fondue with plenty of fruit for dipping. My waist line did not thank me, but it was so, so worth it! I also indulged in some Pimms and lemonade (now that’s what they Aldi should have had for their British Isles week instead of Buck’s Fizz… Pimms!). Good food, good company and wine… could there be a more perfect way to finish the weekend?

Charlie goes quizzing…

Just because we’re back from Ireland now doesn’t mean Charlie the Horse is allowed to go into retirement! Last night, he made an appearance at the pub quiz. Here he is just chilling at the pub:

A horse walks into a bar...
A horse walks into a bar…

I must say, he doesn’t make much of a good luck charm! We only came 5th.

As soon as Charlie came out, so did the smartphones! People from another team were taking photos and one woman gave the horse head a stroke on her way to the loo. People obviously think he’s some kind of tourist attraction 😉

Jan had originally said he wanted to leave relatively early as he goes away today until Friday and still needed to pack. But then we got talking to the quizmaster and his son, and Jan ordered another drink… so once again we were there until closing time. It was 2 a.m. when I got to bed and I had to be up at 6! If you’d seen me this morning, you might have thought I was still drunk… which would be quite a feat seeing as I wasn’t particularly drunk last night. Actually, I just lack coordination at the best of times, and this morning I was too tired to concentrate – hence why I hurt my arm walking into the doorhandle. Because it’s not like I’ve lived in my flat for 3 years now or anything…

Out again tonight… the quizmaster (also a musician) and his son are playing at the pub. I feel another late night coming on…

Cocktails!

Last night, I met up with my friend K for food followed by cocktails. We decided to eat at Litfaß, which I like because it’s fairly cheap and does huge portions. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to finish my meal there!

The Litfaß sign... this is an old photophoto not taken last night
The Litfaß sign… photo not taken last night

After eating, we were going to head to a bar called Carlos for cocktails (I’d never been there), but it’s really small and turned out to be too full, so we moved on to Kap because I knew they do cocktails too. Jan joined us at around 10 o’clock and we finally left the bar at close to 3 a.m.!

I’d forgotten what it’s like to have a night out with a girl. Yes, I’ve been out with K before (Jan, K and I went to Freiburg Christmas market together, actually), but usually as part of a group and most times her (now ex-) girlfriend was there, too and I didn’t get to speak to K much. (Yes, I said ex-girlfriend. Yes, K is bi. Get over it already…).

Most of my friends here are male, and a lot of my friends back at uni were too. I seem to get on better with men… they’re less likely to get offended when I unthinkingly say the wrong thing, they don’t seem to mind when I go quiet because I’m feeling shy and don’t know what to say. Women tend to find me bitchy, weird or antisocial – and this is not me reading too much into things, but what people have actually told me. Men, for some reason, don’t – or maybe they do but just don’t care. So it’s been a while since I last went for drinks with a girl.

Another commentary on Friendship...
Friendship… (Photo credit: was_bedeutet_jemanden)

At the end of this conversation, K told me that she’s my friend. And I don’t think it was the cocktails talking ;-). Not bad for a random night out – yummy cocktails and a confirmed friend!

By popular demand…

I don’t tend to post photos of myself (or other people for that matter) on my blog, but several people have asked to see my Halloween creations, and I am rather proud of what I came up with, so I thought I would make an exception. Here I am dressed as a bat, made using a broken umbrella, a black hat, cardboard and some black fabric.

(Yes, that is a Christmas card behind me. It’s Jan’s… from last year). I won’t post a photo of Jan, but I did take one of the scythe I made him for you. As I’m sure you’ve now guessed, he went as Death.

We spent most of the evening watching a friend’s band play in a local student bar (our friend is the keyboardist) before heading to the Irish pub at 1 a.m. for a few drinks. Amazingly, it was almost 4 when Jan and I got home! I’d been so tired all day that I hadn’t even expected to make it til midnight. Unsurprisingly, we had a lie in this morning. It was a good night though. Now to start planning my costume for next Halloween… (just kidding… I think ;-))

Plans and potatoes…

Despite all my promises to get back to regular blogging, once again it’s been over a week since my last post. That pesky little thing called life has reared up its ugly head and got in the way again! So what have I been doing that’s kept me so busy?

~ Learning Spanish! Jan and I started another Spanish course recently (our third), so now that’s where we go on Monday evenings. Each lesson is an hour and a half and let me tell you it’s hard work! Hopefully it will be worth it in the end though!

~ Socialising! Last Saturday a friend of Jan’s who moved to Frankfurt was back in town for the day, so we met up with him and went to Stadtfest. Then in the evning we met up with friends for “Dirty Old Town”, the annual event in which all the pubs in Karlsruhe’s old town have live music all night. And on Wednesday our favourite Irish pub celebrated it’s 2nd anniversary, so of course we had to be there.

~ Cooking Sunday dinner! The meat was fried pork steaks, so it wasn’t a real Sunday roast, but my roast potatoes were absolutely perfect. Crunchy on the outside and lovely and soft in the middle. Luckily I made extra so I get to enjoy them again for lunch tomorrow. Mmmm.

~ Making plans! We’ve decided to go to Edinburgh for new year as we only got such a short time there (one afternoon!) during our trip around Great Britain this summer. And since we’ll be heading to the island anyway, it makes sense to spend Christmas there as well this year. So we’ve been looking at flights, trains and B&Bs and have finally come to a decision. We’ll be staying at my dad’s for 9 whole days! My little brother won’t know what’s hit him – he’s never seen me for that many days in one go!

Where did my week go?

I have been so, so tired all day. Mostly, I suspect, because we went out last night to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and didn’t get home til after midnight, but to be fair I was tired before I even left the flat last night so it wasn’t entirely my own fault…

But what I would really like to know is where on Earth this week has gone! It’s Thursday evening already. Tomorrow is Friday… the last working day of the week. Then it will be Saturday again. How? Why? Time seems to have sped up again and I don’t think I like it! Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m feeling guilty because I haven’t managed to write one word of my dissertation since Sunday.  I have around 1,300 words now but I need something like 15,000 and the deadline is drawing nearer. Eeek!
Also, you know things are bad when you end up eating instant pasta (just add hot water and stir!) with a pastry fork because you’ve run out of all other cutlery. There are only two of us living here (well, officially only one but Jan’s place really is just a storage area now)… how can all the forks and all the spoons be dirty? It’s a good job I actually bought pastry forks otherwise I would have had to resort to a teaspoon… or do some washing up. I think we all know which option I would have gone for…
Time to go to log off I think. My lovely, lovely bed is calling my name…

Frog’s legs, football and snow all in one week

You know it’s been too long since your last post when you go to WordPress only to find you’ve been logged out! (I have mine set up to keep me logged in).
In my defence though it has been a busy, busy week.

On Monday it was Jan’s birthday. He turned 30 (causing a friend of mine to say “Wow, you have an old boyfriend” when I told her. She thought he was only a year or two older than me, not 3 and a half). Thirty being a special birthday I obviously wasn’t going to let him ignore it – like he has pretty much every year since I met him! So I started asking him what he wanted to do at the end of January, and finally managed to persuade him to let me take him out for a meal. We went to a slightly more expensive than usual restaurant which we had both seen from the outside but never been in. Actually, the prices were slightly better than I thought they would be, but the total still ended up being over €100. That did include an apertif each, a bottle of wine, starter, soup, two main courses and a dessert though, so not too bad. And we tried frog’s legs. In case you were wondering no, they don’t taste like chicken! They were nice and I wouldn’t object to eating them again but it’s not something I need to do every day.
Jan has decided he’ll be having a proper party once the two of us have found a flat, so there’s still that to look forward to as well. (We are officially looking now… exciting, yes?)

On Tuesday I went out for dinner with a friend. I hadn’t seen her since before Christmas and it was sooo good to meet up. This time we went for a slightly cheaper option – a bar/restaurant type place that mostly students go to. I think it was the first place I ever went for a drink in Karlsruhe, way back in my Erasmus days. That was the same year I met my friend, so we spent some time talking about homw time has flown since then… my year abroad was 2003/2004 and now we’re three months into 2010. Unbelievable!

Wednesday was the day of the long awaited Germany-Argentina match and I was right there in the stadium! A friend of Jan’s got tickets ages ago, and since I had 2 days holiday from last year that had to be taken before the end of March I decided I would go along. Some things just have to be done at least once in a life time. The match was in Munich, so Jan hired a car and we left the house at 7:30 am to drive down there. I still can’t believe I was up that early on my day off! It took us until nearly 12pm to get to Munich (damn traffic! Damn roadworks!) so the first thing we did was go and get something to eat. I had the biggest burger I’ve ever seen! That alone would have been enough for me, but it came served with homemade potato wedges (with the skin left on. Mmmm) and salad. The best thing about it though was that the gherkins and tomatoes had been left on the side of the plate, so I didn’t have to pick them out before I could start eating. It also came with three types of sauce – ketchup, mayonaise and something that may have been mustard (I didn’t try it) all of which came in proper little jars. Excellent! We then went for a wander around town, did a bit of shopping (I got a new coat) took some photos and finally headed for the stadium. Those who watched the match on TV thought it was boring and that Germany were week, but from where I was sitting it was pretty good. Germany at least seemed to try for once (number 24 played excellently!) and I enjoyed myself, despite freezing to death the whole way throguh – the Allianz Arena is completely open and unheatable! Germany lost 1-0, which is a shame, but the goal was so pathetic that they almost deserved it. We left Munich after the match and drove back to Karlsruhe, finally arriving at just after 3 am. I’m very glad I didn’t have to work on Thursday!

Last night we were invitied to a friend’s place for a DVD evening, to celebrate Jan’s birthday. We watched Office Space, which is funny if a little strange in places. By the time we left (at just after 2am) it had started to snow. Not the nice kind of snow either, horrible little flakes that are basically just freezing rain… and all blown about by a nasty cold wind. We missed the tram as well, but luckily our friend has a car so he gave us a lift home. We went straight to bed when we got in, then woke up this morning to find it was still snowing (at least I did, it’s now 1:20 pm and Jan’s still in bed!). Snow in March is unheard of for Karlsruhe, and it’s meant to continue for the rest of the weekend. And there was me thinking Spring was on its way.

That was my week. Very enjoyable, but now it’s time to get back to the boring stuff. Housework and my dissertation are calling…

Multi-tasking

I’ve managed to get quite a lot done today, most of it at the same time. Write some notes for my dissertation, wash the dishes, a few more notes for my dissertation, spray cleaning stuff on the shower, sweep the bedroom floor, back to the shower to rinse. Who knew I could be so productive?

Last night Jan and I went to see out with some friends to see a… well, not really a band. A choir really, I suppose. An A Capella choir. But instead of choir music they sing pop songs. Covers of pop songs, songs using the tunes of pop songs but with the lyrics changed. They were very good and very, very funny. Unfortunately, most of their stuff is in German, but there were a few English bits too. Anyway,  they’re called Füenf and you can find their website here in case you feel like checking them out.

I made cupcakes today as well. I even put little hearts on the top, in honour of Valentine’s Day. Jan and I don’t really do Valentine’s Day. It falls right after our “anniversary” (it still seems weird saying that when we’re not married), which is obviously way more important. And everyone knows Valentine’s Day is just a card manufaturers’ scam anyway. So we didn’t exchange any cards or gifts today. Instead, we took a break from our respective dissertations to eat cupcakes and drink coffee together. It’s always nice to spend time just being together, no matter what the occasion. But coffee and cake… I’m turning into a German! Oh well, happy Valentine’s Day anyway. Cupcake anyone?

My night of pretending to be posh

It took me an hour and a half to do my hair last night. I just don’t have the kind of hair that you can do things with. It’s incredibly thick, which hairdressers will tell you is a good thing, but it’s not. Next time you’re in a place that sells hair accessories take a look and see how many of them have a little sticker saying “for thick hair”. If you manage to find more than 3 it will be a miracle. If more than 1 of those is not ugly please tell me where that shop is, I need to go there right now!
Anyway, last night. I knew I couldn’t leave it down, not for a posh restaurant, so it had to go up. My first attempt took 10 minutes and a dozen hair clips. From the front it looked ok, but then I saw the back. It was a mess. So down it came. I then tried putting part of it up and leaving a bit down at the back. It didn’t work. At all. Six tries later I was sweating, exhausted and frustrated, but at least I’d managed to get my hair up. By the time I’d managed to get my make up done we were running late and had to rush into town. Rushing in sandals with heels isn’t good. I now have blisters on the balls of my feet, which hurts a lot and makes it difficult to walk, I won’t be wearing those shoes again for a while! It was worth it though, the rest of the night was amazing!

When we arrived at the hotel we were first shown to our room. Yes, we had a whole room all to ourselves! The nice waiter man took our jackets then suggested that we head over the the bar for some aperitifs. They called it a bar, and there was indeed a bar at one end, but the room itself looked like something in a stately home. It was amazing! Portraits on the wall, nice carpets and posh armchairs everywhere. Wow! We ordered our drinks, which were incredible. I had a cocktail of champagne with strawberry liquer and strawberry juice. To go with our drinks we were rought some hors d’ouvres. Little pieces of bread cut into circles and squares with tiny but perfectly arranged toppings. Fabulous.

After the appertisers we headed back to our room. We were served our starters and the wine expert came by to advise us on what to drink. We started with a sweet white wine that tasted almost like lemonade. Later we switched to a dryer white wine, which I then stuck to for the rest of the night. There was also a red wine to go with the later courses. I tried the red wine but didn’t like it. The starters (can’t remember what they were) were followed by foamed goose liver pate with goose mince arranged on top of it. It tasted a lot nicer than it sounds! Next came the fish course. We had kingfish fillet, which I really enjoyed. Then came something that was called “Flusskrebs” in German. I’ve just looked it up and found out that means crayfish, so there you go. It was quite nice anyway, but I couldn’t have eaten too much of it. Good job posh portions are only little! After the crayfish came the part I had been waiting for all night. Meat! It was ram I believe (trying to translate from the German here). I usually prefer my meat well done, and this was only medium, but it actually tasted incredible. All of these courses were served by 3 or 4 waiters at a time, who then placed the plates in front of us all at once. Before each course our waiter came in and explained what we were about to eat.
The meat was followed by cheese, which was brought in on a huge trolley. A waitress explained what was on the trolley and then put together a selection on a plate. This took a while as she had to do it for each of us individually. And finally we had pudding – a gorgeous chocolate cake, followed by coffee (I had cappucino), little chocolate covered fruit sweets (the waiter insisted that everyone had to take at least one) and finally some liqeur. We all chose a pear one which came from Vorarlberg in Austria. I had to go for that one of course because I used to live there. I was told that the final bill came to over 2,000 euros. Wow! Jan insisted on paying for my share. I have such a wonderful boyfriend 🙂

So that was my posh night out. I would definitely recommend everyone to do it at least once, it’s an amazing experience. And I found out this morning that Baden Baden and Brenner’s Park Hotel are on the list of 10,000 places to visit before you die. Only 9,999 places to go then 😉