El Chango and Crown of Ginger Limonade, Deutsch-style.
The Dome Church in Cologne, Germany is my favorite church in the world. Each time I see it in person, it’s like the very first time all over again - a goliath, sinister-looking, black church that seems like it’s swallowing the architecture all around it. It looks like a black version of the Alexandr summon-spell from Final Fantasy VI (you know, the one with Terra and Sabin’s cabin and all that), so that probably adds to my excitement and fear each time I see it.
As soon as you pop out of the Koln train station, you are immediately greeted by the Dome to your left - there’s flocks of seagulls of tourists snapping smiling pictures in front of it - but I really feel like it’s more a frightening than pretty thing.
Larissa was there to pick me up upon arrival at the train station - again, another real cool person I was very happy to be able to hang with (normally our main Roadrunner De promo person is Anna; but she was off covering Machine Head in San Fran - so I figured it a great chance to hang and eat and all that). We stopped in to drop my bags at the hotel, then headed to RR De (a place that I have been to a ton) where I was able to say my hallo’s and wie gehtz’s to the staff. RR De is one of the places that hasn’t been massively overhauled by the Warner purchase - so it was nice to see so many familiar faces.
After a chat about the record with Henk - the head of RR De- it was time to head out to grab food with Larissa and Kai (her boyfriend). The restaurant of the night (since we would be getting a lot of German food in the next few days) was El Chango - an Argentinian steakhouse.
Like I’ve said in the past - my favorite way to eat is to share as much as possible; so I was really stoked when Kai was up to share a main with me (a person who he’d just met a few minutes ago); Larissa is a pesca-tarian (not sure on the spelling here - but the vegetarian-kind who will dine on fish), so when Kai was up for the sharing of the meat-feast to come… I was a happy boy.
I had the house red wine, Larissa the white, Kai had some German beer. We started with bread and dips (one garlic butter type, and one tomato kind); plato de jamon, queso y olives (a selection of Argentine salted cured meats, cheeses, and olives) was a great start to the feast - salty, textural meats, and nice cheeses; parrillada mixta was the main Kai and I split - an overly-generous plate of beef, lamb, sausages, and other meaty-bits - all grilled and piled on top of each other. Our waiter told us that the traditional style in Argentina would actually be about 4 times the size of this one.
Sides included the lovely cebolla frita (fried onions) and papa asada (baked potato with a shot-amount of liquid butter inside). Painfully full from a meat-coma: Kai suggested a Grappa after-dinner drink. It was very reminiscent of the black licorice notes found in Pastiss.
After dinner, we all thought it a good idea to walk off some of the meat: we passed the Rhine river; lots of outdoor restaurants with people eating and drinking and having a good time; and then the tremendous Dome. Upon taking some sorry iPhone photos of the Dome, I said to Kai and Larissa - I’m getting a real camera to photo this thing. I quickly texted my photog-maestro buddy JP back home for him to email me what to get… and I listed it down to grab it in the following day.
Kai mentioned an amazing cocktail bar he knew of in town - one where, the main mixologist had won awards of being one of the best mixologists in Germany and Europe… so it sounded like a hell of a plan.
Capri Lounge led us down a flight of stairs into a swanky place that looked like an old bunker that had been done up completely contemporarily. It was a really rad interior (one that was impossible to photo) - the dome-overhead-ceiling, painted rock-walls, marble countertops, and good lounge/jazz playing set the stage for a good night.
I find good food, good drinks, and good people the best thing to be around; the three of us were all pleasantly stuffed, buzzed, and happy. We talked of other good food we’ve eaten, passed around each others’ drinks, and shared that hazy night together (smokily hazed - Germany still has a lot of indoor smoking bars; I didn’t mind though - I was full - nothing could stop my good vibes).
I went with Kai’s recommendation of the Crown of Ginger Limonade. I kid you not when I say this… this was the best cocktail of my life. I tried to snap a shot of the menu with my phone (I later have a better shot with a real camera) to get the ingredients - to no avail. Apparently this thing has everything from the usual suspects: lime, ginger, mint, beefeater; but then it goes into ingredients like a very specific locally-crafted-British-style root beer, and seasonally selective other mysterious things. It had more ingredients than the other drinks there- but mixed so perfectly. It had all the flavors popping nicely - the citrus, ginger, mint - even the root beer could be tasted slightly in there. It was served real cold, in a medieval silver goblet. Damn good.
During this great night - poor Corey was on the way to meet us… but had a ton of connections to get from Stockholm to Cologne - so we did feel a little bad about what a great time we were having… a little.
Some sips of Caol Ila 18 year old single malt… which was amazing… then it was bed time.