Too much food! Like persimmon and fennel salad, brussels sprouts, green bean casserole, roasted potatoes, ham, gravy…so much more. And two lovely homemade pies.
Another awesome thing about thanksgiving – the traditional swim and hot tub time afterwards.
The Covered Market in Oxford was first built in 1774 as a way to centralize vendor stalls and clean up the main street. It started out as numerous butcher shops, and today about half the stalls are still food related, but business has expanded beyond butchery to green grocers, kitchenwares, sweets, and touristy country crafts.
We spent an afternoon wandering, trying to ration our stomach space, but there were still a number of things to try.
We ogled the meat and pie shops for ages, had a pasty, admired the oldest ham in England, had an excellent milkshake at Moo Moo’s, and bought market totes from a butcher shop for about 3 quid. Bargain.
A phone call from Ted drew me out of hiding indoors from the summer heat (and reading a copy of Watchmen, because I’m a geek) suggesting food, and I was up for some German sausages. We headed off to Dutch Gardens on upper State Street.
We were there for dinner, but opted to sit in the front bar area. Really, I think I enjoy the bar area more, with its teensy little blue swivel chairs and the casual appeal. Next time I’m there when it’s raining, you’ll find me in the back sitting under the metal rooftop, but tonight was a bar night.
The menu is deliciously simple, just a page of half a dozen standards, a nightly special meat dish and a nightly special fish dish. We teamed up and ordered one bratwurst sausage dinner, and the meat special: Eisbein.
What is Eisbein, you say? Well, it turns out there is curiosity enough that Molly, of mollycules.com, created a video for it.
The ham hock was delicious. Very tender and succulent. There was also gravy and some very large white beans in the sauce. And I don’t know what the vegetables are cooked in, but it’s some kind of heavenly spiced broth. It’s very good.
All the dinners come with a choice of soup or salad, and with our order of two dinners we were sure to get one of each. I quite liked the salad, and thought the soup was great to dip our German rye bread into. We also ordered a triple fermented Belgian Ale, Piraat. Now, I tell people I am not much a beer person, but this ale went well with the meal. Spicy, a little sweet, and quite rich. It was good to savor throughout the whole meal.
The basket of bread was piping hot and came with both a white and brown rye bread, and butter. We ate it with the butter and dipped it in the soup. Perhaps not the best starter on a hot summer evening, but good nonetheless. I would very much look forward to this on a cozy winter night.
Our other dinner was a bratwurst, which we combined with the above soup, potato salad, vegetables, sauerkraut and bread, plus an in-house mustard mix. It was very satisfying, and there was still leftovers. In fact, we had to take home two boxes of leftovers, as seen in the far right picture. But don’t you worry, we did manage to finish up that fine glass of Piraat ale.