Zee Juuhman's Chreesmus Mahkehts, Poland In Germany, and A Glimpse Of The Dark Past part II

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Oberhausen, Germany

Robert, Trivium's pal from Warsaw had flown in to visit us all in Oberhausen, and he found just the kind of dinner spot we needed. Gdanska is a very traditional Polish place in Oberhausen; having just returned from Poland right before being in Oberhausen, I felt as if I were warped directly back to Warsaw. The same newspaper-menu, flyers advertising Polish concerts and artists adorned the walls. The place felt as if Grandma's long-tabled dining area was somewhat punk-rock-ized. It felt traditional and semi-modern-underground-kid Polish - a good vibe. 

My love for Polish beer even after the glass-eating incident (see the Warsaw episodes) should be a stern indication of the severe delectability of Polish brews. I start with a Zywiec (the very beer that was partially responsible for my scarred up gums) and we began ordering our feast. We order a Polish "Test Plate," a Gdansk plate (3 kinds of meat, chips, dumplings, cabbage with mushrooms, red cabbage, salad), Polish dumpling plate, and bratkartoffeln (a German fried-potato dish and a personal favorite of mine). 

All the food here was without a doubt in my mind certainly Polish (well… the fries (let's call em what they were) were not very Polish) and certainly good. The dumplings reminded me of Mama B's dumplings from a week back; meat and cabbage is always a theme when talking Polish food. When it comes to the spectrums of food-goodness on tour, catering is at the bottom, then restaurants, then  home cooked. Of course the home cooked food I had at Magda's mother's pad would reign supreme over all Polish food I'll probably ever eat in my life again - but this place was definitely "aiiight" (as Rob, one of my food soul mates and singer of Koufax would say when regarding something pretty good and not mind blowing). 

We finished our meal with a shot of some Polish vodka (there is always Polish vodka being consumed by the typically not-vodka drinking me when at a Polish spot) and were off across the street to a cocktail bar Extrablatt. 

The place was… sorta aiiight. When talkin cocktails - I'm a fan of the proper cocktails. Speakeasy style. Words like pre- and post- usually precede "prohibition" in the kind of cocktail place I'll be frequent. I had a decent Caipirinha, then we were off to whatever bar we'd hit on our trek back to the hotel. 

Here came the Lynch-moment (a term I've dubbed during a David Lynch film when all the sudden everything turns… well - insane). We found a random, quiet little bar - unmarked, un-filled. We ordered some German beers at a table - Robert, Paolo, Ella, and myself at a four-person booth, Dennis sitting at a stool at the head of the table; in walks a random drunk guy (this happens everywhere in the world right?) - then he sorta gets in Dennis' face/ear. 

Whether you spoke the language or not, it was clear the dude was talking shit - trying to either start a fight or start kissing Dennis. We kept a close eye in case it was about to get Roadhouse up in that bitch… but it didn't quite escalate to that point. The dude heiled Hitler… HEILED… talked a quick line of shit and stumbled off. Craziness. Yeah - that kind of ignorance and belligerence can (and does) happen anywhere on the planet - but dude… let us not forget the atrocities our planet has suffered over stupidity. It was an insanely rare occurrence; of all the years I've been touring Germany I'd never seen that before… but let's face it - the dude was a drunk… and wanted Dennis. 

Zee Juuhman's Chreesmus Mahkehts, Poland In Germany, and A Glimpse Of The Dark Past part I

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Oberhausen, Germany

Germany does Christmas Markets unlike any place I've ever personally seen. In the States - yeah, we have shop windows that are all done up with plastic Rudolphs and dressed-up bearded-bikers with kids on their laps in the middles of malls; but in Germany - there are some seriously done-up little X-mas towns. Oberhausen I heard was known as having one of the best Christmas markets in Germany, so it was perfect that we had a day off there on the In Flames European tour. 

I celebrate Christmas in I suppose what could be called the modernists' sense; not the religious aspect (not that I am anti-religious by any means) but in the sense that it's about being with friends and family and eating and drinking lots of good stuff that you don't really eat throughout the rest of the year. Paolo and I met up with Ella and Dennis and one of their pals - Robert (my buddy from Poland) was due to meet up with us later on in the night. We were off to the markets. 

Oberhausen's market entrance lies deceivingly by the entrance of a large shopping mall. I say deceivingly since the entrance makes it look like the whole market is about 5-6 stalls tops; I soon discovered that a path led behind the mall with the markets' expanse stretching well beyond my line of sight. Little country-style booths with smiling German women waving you in each carried a different delicacy; some with cheeses or smoked meats, some with currywurst or reibekuchen, some with Christmasy booze. 

The first stall we hit dished out fatty-delicious chunks of pork stuffed into a simple roll. Meaty, porky, (a little chewy, little tough) - nevertheless good stuff. Ella came up with a skewer of strawberries with a white chocolate shell and dark chocolate dressing - this was sugary and milky in it's white-chocolate tastiness. You really feel as if you're transported back into the old bearded fat-man's land when you traverse the German markets in wintertime - all that extra chub and beard start to make sense… it's freaking cold in European wintertime! We make a stop to a place that has hot mulled German wine. 

Greeted with a glass that reads "bicker lam", you can smell the herbs nicely cooking in their viscous Orc-liquor color. This is the stuff that warms the soul back up. You taste something along the lines of red wine, a gingerbread house, and winter spices. I suck back a couple of these and work the appetite back up for some currywurst. Currywurst is iconically German. Mention it to any German and you'll get a smile back and maybe a moan of pleasure. Curry sauce, chopped up sausage - all mixed up in a soupy mess - served with some bread. As traditional as it gets for German mop-up-your-booze, heart-warming drunk-food. 

I've had many a latka in my day, but never the German version - reibekuchen. It's essentially the exact same thing, a potato pancake of chopped up potato, deep fried in a healthy batch of heart-cloggingly-good oil, served simply with some salt on top and apple sauce. Couple one of those bad boys with some Konig Pilsener and you are in business my friend. We ripped through those, then some crepe-type beasts stuffed with Nutella and bananas and white chocolate, then it was time for a break. 

We headed back to the hotels to lay around for a while to regain our appetite for the Polish feast that would mark the arrival of our Polish pal Robert.