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A Taste of America

29 Mar Posted by in Food & Drinks, Shopping | 3 comments
A Taste of America
 
A few weekends ago, I was out with a friend who is also a fellow expat from the US (I haven’t found too many US expats in Krefeld so don’t think this is common).

Because she has lived in Germany for 30 years and completely integrated into the culture, she hadn’t yet tried a Cosmopolitan drink (Cosmo) and was in search of a bar that would make one. She is also a devout Sex in the City viewer.

I quickly jumped on the bandwagon.

We went to a posh, upscale looking bar (yes, we were bar profiling) only to be disappointed that they didn’t have the proper ingredients.

Apparently cranberry juice isn’t common in bars or in grocery stores either…or so we thought.

We drank away our disappointment with large German beers and German-style hamburgers. (I have yet to find a decent American hamburger replica in Germany… Especially when comparing to a Red Robin burger in the US.)

To make up for the failure of our conquest, last weekend I invited her over in hopes of making them at home.

Kay reluctantly went to the Real (pronounced Ree-AL, kind of like Meow) grocery store in search of cranberry juice. Of course Kay wasn’t reluctant to go shopping, just aware that the Real might not have cranberry juice.

He even stopped to ask a few neighbors if they had remembered seeing cranberry juice anywhere. What’s the matter? Don’t these people ever get urinary tract infections?

Not only did the Real have cranberry juice, but they had Ocean Spray, classic and light.

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Which, might I add, happen to be made in Germany. (It’s amazing how many US brands consumed in Germany are also made in Germany. Not shipped from the US. This is only the German version though. US versions are made elsewhere.)

After successful Cosmos, I thought, why stop there?

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When Kay asked what I wanted for my birthday, I answered, “A night out to dinner with just the two of us… and a boxed cake with frosting from a round plastic container that is typically found in the US.”

Going out to dinner let alone, just the two of us, is a complete rarity; the last time it was just the two of us out alone was probably 2 years ago. If we go out at all it is usually with friends or family and/or only done in the US.

As for the boxed cake, we went shopping at two “British/American” stores in Düsseldorf (The International Store and AB Foods).

The International Store

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AB Foods

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Here are the boys on our adventure; dressed in their American clothes.

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Both stores had somewhat of a convenient store feel to them although not really the same products that are found in a convenient store. There were candies, some bottled dressings, cereals, cookies/”biscuits” as the British call them, chocolate chips, beer, and even Fluff.

AB Foods had a small selection of used English books, which I thought was pretty cool. There were a few Stephen Coonts titles. Since Fynn was about done shopping for the day, I quickly picked up this bad boy for 2,50€.

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When we left, Kay asked what I thought.

Ok, so the selection wasn’t huge, but we have to take into consideration that the customer base isn’t huge and the owners certainly don’t want products going to waste. Go in with a perusal mind and all is well.

Even if I didn’t need some of the products now, it was still good to see that if I wanted a taste of America, I could find something. I even found my favorite biscuits from England. Oh, and my favorite Cadbury chocolate bar too.

We paid 4,50€ ($6.00) for the cake mix…

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And about the same for the frosting.

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Expensive by US standards (about $12), but totally worth it.

When we left, Kay mentioned that the cake mix is made in the US, but the frosting in the UK. At first I was worried that the frosting wouldn’t taste the same. But then I thought of how much better chocolate is in the UK than in the US and I got all kinds of excited!

I made the cake today and even dunked a spoon into the frosting before applying to the cake. Yummmm! Just as good as I anticipated!

For those who haven’t seen what US/UK frosting looks like.

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I thought this made a good burger replica.

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At 12:30 in the afternoon I wondered if it was too early to make a Cosmo? It is my birthday after all. Probably though:-(. My first thought was, “Guess it will have to wait until this evening when the baby is in bed.”

Then Kay sent me a Facebook event inviting me to dinner. Yes, we are that quirky. The sad part is I hadn’t seen it and he had to ask why I hadn’t accepted.

He surprised me with a night out to the restaurant, Quincy. An American-style restaurant and home of the largest burgers in the world.

The sizes are: Medium, Large, X-Large, and XXL

Kay ordered the Medium. 

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I ordered the Large. 

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I don’t even want to know how big the XXL is. They serve pasta in these sizes too.

Here we are about to start enjoying the meal. Kay is sporting his Washington State University (WSU) sweatshirt (sorry UW fans). 

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Quincy is probably one of the few spots where you aren’t looked down upon for asking if you can take your meal to-go (this isn’t common in Germany and not all places will package things to-go). This was a quite exceptional to-go “doggie bag.” When I first saw it, I immediately thought of The Sweetest Thing… and then I heard Adam Sandler saying, “Stop looking at me swan!”

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I was highly impressed with our server/waiter/bar tender. He noticed immediately that I spoke English and he was more than willing to ask me questions in English. He was very courteous, quick, and efficient.

Oh, and we had a coupon too. Apparently the Germans do the Dining Out coupon books like the Americans.

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For anyone in the Krefeld area, I would highly recommend Quincy. Ok, still not the “American” burger, but pretty darn close. And the restaurant is entertaining as well. They have different specials each night plus happy hour on cocktails. I ordered a cocktail for 4€ (The Swimming Pool, regularly 7€) and got a free mini-cocktail. This is the Thursday night special. I think Monday nights are Karaoke.

Here I am with Lady Liberty.

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It’s almost the end of my birthday for this year, but we can chalk today up to one of the best birthdays ever. When I think back, it isn’t the presents that make it a good birthday, in fact I probably would have a hard time remembering things I’ve gotten in the past, but it is about the experience and events surrounding the day. For me, it started with a wonderful sign…

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And a clean downstairs (thank you, Kay), which was already destroyed by the time Papa got to the living room though. Fynn and I are sorry for that.

And the people in my life went above and beyond wishing me a wonderful day. Thank you to everyone for the messages, phone calls, songs, flowers, and most importantly for the love and support. I guess there is an American article circulating stating that for women, age 33 is the happiest year; in the words of the Cars, “Let the good times roll.”


  1. Lynette03-30-12

    Missing you my almost-birthday-twin. Next time you’re here, Red Robin (Yum!) is on us!!! <3

  2. Mona Raub03-30-12

    Great post. So glad you had a wonderful birthday.

  3. Carolee03-30-12

    Hey sweetie… GREAT POst… ah but of course.
    Your partner in crime…

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