The big celebration of our five year anniversary was our trip to Barcelona a couple of weeks ago. However, we weren't able to go on the actual day because we were limited by my school's calendar breaks. And so to celebrate on the actual day, we decided to head over to Grand Café Planie for dinner after work.
I like Grand Café Planie because they have lovely seasonal menus. I love all things related to the fall and to pumpkins, which is why we chose the fall season for our wedding. In fact, we even had a custom-made pumpkin-spice cake with a buttercream frosting. Grand Café Planie also has a delicious pumpkin menu that we tried last fall, so it seemed like the most appropriate place to go.
We arrived at the restaurant early, around 6 pm, when service was still pretty quiet and we could have our choice of tables. Although the restaurant has a massive patio section on the Karlsplatz square next to the Altes Schloss, the nights have been getting really chilly here and we decided to sit inside.
I really love the interior of Grand Café Planie, which is a fun mix of old, romantic French-style café and Jazz-age art that harkens to the days of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Though it's only November, the staff had already decorated for Christmas using lots of strung lights and garlands, making for a very festive atmosphere.
In addition to the seasonal decorations, Grand Café Planie also had on offer their new goose menu just in time for Martinstag or St. Martin's Day which Germans celebrate on November 11th by eating goose and lighting paper lanterns. (If you want to know more, check out this excellent blogpost by Ami im Schwabenland.)
We celebrated by trying a dish from both the pumpkin and goose menus. Even though I love appetizers, they are generally not as common in German cuisine as in American food culture, and so we both went straight to our entrées.
I ordered the Gefüllter Kürbis "Marrakesch", which was a whole Hokkaido pumpkin carved out and filled with a hot stew of lamb, shallots, zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, cashews, and "oriental" spices. The dish didn't have as much spice as I would have expected (which seems to be par for the course in Germany), however, the stew was super rich and thick with large chunks of vegetables and lamb, which I liked very much. I also thoroughly enjoyed scraping the soft-baked pumpkin soaked in sauce from around the inside of my Hokkaido pumpkin with each bite of stew. The experience of eating food out of a pumpkin is still something unusual for me, making my choice seem rather special to celebrate our anniversary.
On the other side of the table, Matt ordered the Pasta vom Federvieh, which was a tagliatelle pasta dish with shredded goose meat, chestnuts, dried tomatoes, and root vegetables. I thought the combination was super tasty, and I had a hard time putting down my fork after just one bite, which was rich with goose fat and a bit creamy. Grand Café Planie also had a goose breast and leg dish with red cabbage, chestnuts, Brussels sprouts, and potato dumplings that I'd like to go back and try before the season is over.
Though we were both perfectly satisfied after our meal, we'd been eyeing the extensive case of cakes and cookies at the front of the café since we walked in the door. They were so lovely, that we figured we couldn't pass up the opportunity. So after perusing the case for something pumpkin-related (they didn't have anything), we settled for an enticing looking green cake that we hoped had pistachios though at the very least looked to have marzipan (another favorite of mine).
In the end, the cake turned out to be Jäger Kuchen (meaning "hunter's cake") according the waitress. The shape was beautifully domed with many layers of surprisingly moist chocolate cake and alternating bands of a kind of chocolate buttercream and cherry filling. The vibrant green layer on the top was indeed marzipan -- yum!
I really enjoyed Grand Café Planie for their seasonal food and atmosphere. I find that their cyclical menus, like the spring asparagus, summer greens, fall pumpkin, and winter goose menus, always have several very interesting choices. The café, and especially the large outdoor patio, also seems to be a popular place with locals throughout the year. I remember walking to German class in the mornings during the summer and seeing lots of people on the patio enjoying items from the breakfast menu. There are also usually tons of people there in the afternoons enjoying their kaffee und kuchen time with coffee and cake. Best of all, the quiet location just off of the busy Königstraße can be a great alternative to the busy tourist restaurants, and your table comes with a stunning view of the old and new castles.
Grand Café Planie is easy to get to as it sits just on top of the Charlottenplatz U-bahn station. The restaurant is open every day of the week from 7:00 to 2:00 am. I'm not sure how much longer the pumpkin menu will be around, so be sure to check it out soon if you're interested!