The warming sun dulls as the brisk wind hurries in the stars and the moon. Hunger has taken as we roam through Old Town in Dresden. Stomachs growl as we walk past the Opera house and venture through the Cathedral and set our sets on what vegetarian delights are located at the heart of Dresden. We stammer past trendy restaurants geared towards tourists and Opera lovers. Never finding a place, thinking about settling for the generic vegetarian burger, a sawdust patty located in between an even more unimaginative bun which there was in abundance. But this was special, five year anniversary special. Determined to fight the hunger demon long enough to give my bride something a bit more unique and special, I push on. I searched on my handy (cell) for the nearest vegetarian restaurant. Nothing. We carry on, jump on the train and soon enough we are in New Town. The plot thickens as we discover restaurants closed for the day, unlucky. My handy directs us towards Antonstraße, we flip the coin and see if the restaurant is open. Limited by choice with the raging hunger demon ever trying to release its vile anger, we stand at the gate and gaze at the menu. We see vegetarian choices, always the good first step. We walk past the gate and are struck by a sweetness as the restaurant sat in an eclectic style with a mix mash of chairs and tables, patio lights floating from post to post. And hopes becomes possible.
Soon we are greeted by the friendly service staff and take our seats on an old wooden table, surrounded by sweet smelling shrubs and handed a wooden menu, branded with smiley faces and the name of the restaurant, Altes Wettbüro or Old Betting Office. No point in the translation other then to say that at one time it may have been an Old Betting Office. Then again, I don't know what that is...
The wind picks up as the cold slips past my skin and starts to tighten my bones. My wife wearing a heavier sweater orders the house made lemonade as the false sense of warmth loosens and relaxes her muscles.
Mint and Elder-flower with wild berries and lemon grass.
After the anniversary toast, me with my unusual but tasty beer, like a shandy but with berry juice, the chill becomes a full fledged shiver. Though I risk frostbite and fear that I'll soon become a frozen Popsicle, I take a sip of my wives lemonade. The slightly sweetened lemon and berry flavored drink flows past my taste buds and forces a smile across my face. Joy and happiness. The moment that you realize that someone knows what they are doing, in a time when most find it easier to just buy the premix, the bland, overly sweetened liquid that has no relation to the picture that it presents on its label, I feel inspired by the hope that this drink gives. A hope that what was to follow could be matched in equal regards to the well done escapism that this drink presented.
Hands folded in to each other, we gaze through the restaurant as other happy couples and families enjoy their meals. The surprisingly simple moment that all restaurant customers share when we all know quality when we come across it. It's in the excitement we have for each other as we eagerly look at what dishes float from the kitchen past our noses and land on our neighbors table. It's in these moments as the the smell of the food and joyous laughter become contagious that one has to sit back and reflect on the beauty and luck we have in our lives. It's different for all of us but for all that are sitting in a really great cafe and eating amazing foods, we are all lucky. I ponder my own luck as the main dishes come.
The first dish is a warm mango quinoa with dried cranberries, roasted fennel and feta cheese and the second dish is a house salad with sweet pumpkin, mint, cucumber and caramelized goat cheese.
We tackle the food and as high of an expectation we had after drinking the lemonade, the taste surpasses this expectation with ease. Flawless seasoning and cooked to brilliance levels, silence soon becomes the mediation of a truly fantastic experience. Are mouths are both dropped in awe and busy chewing with enjoyment as time becomes irrelevant and both of us are hoping that we can just sit in this moment for as long as possible. But that's what makes these moments special, that don't last and are very unique.
The sun continues its fade and so follows the plates and our hungers. Dresden is a special city, filled with amazing culture and history. A town mixed with both with the old and new, as the university area, New Town melts at its edges with the historical importance of Old Town. When in Germany, Dresden is worth a visit and one can do no better then a visit to Altes Wettbüro, with live music, fantastic staff and brilliant food and drinks it truly was an amazing experience and at the end of the day as we rest our heads to drift into our dream world, one can hope that at some point this previous day, one felt surprise, happiness and joy. And when a restaurant can give us all of these moments then one can drift into a beautiful, peaceful slumber.