Ask the Expat: Where to go for a great vegan meal in Munich?

Quick question that I can’t seem to uncover on your blog…. we’re in Munich Wednesday overnight and want to have a superlicious vegan meal. I’ve got a happycow guide to the city but if you had to recommend a veg place, where would you go? Thanks!

Usually I am lazy and wait months, at least, before answering questions, but since Wednesday is right around the corner I didn’t want to miss the chance to help a fellow vegetarian out. Munich has a good handful of vegetarian places, all of which are vegan-friendly, but two restaurants pop into mind for a great evening. Actually a third pops into mind, too, an amazing vegan place called Saf, but tragically it closed down last year. I’m still bitter about that.

First up I’ll mention Prinz Myshkin, Munich’s most well-known vegetarian restaurant. I’m a fan of the high-ceilinged-white-grotto decor as well as of the extensive menu, which ranges from sushi and Indian to pasta and pizza. For a vegan I’d recommend the mixed antipasto platter (ask for a vegan version) and the mixed sushi plate, if you’re into that kind of thing. Reservations are generally a good idea but on a Wednesday you should be able to get a table without them.

My second recommendation is Vegelangelo. This is a quirky little place, but the food is outstanding. It’s a small, interestingly-decorated restaurant run entirely by one woman. The service can be slow at times, since she is the host, cook, waiter, and cleaning staff, but if you’re not in a hurry then the cuisine is definitely worth the wait. The menu here is also eclectic; the Linseneintopf is amazing. Even though the restaurant usually doesn’t fill up (and often feels a little too empty), reservations are recommended so she can plan for you.

And as a third suggestion I’ll toss out another idea – picnic in a beer garden. In all of Munich’s beer gardens you can bring your own food as long as you buy your beverages there. Get some creative takeout or groceries and throw your own vegan feast in the most Bavarian of settings.

Both restaurants are within a 10-minute walk from Marienplatz, and there are beer gardens all over the place. Hope you find a great meal.

Ask the Expat is an occasional feature here at This non-American Life. If you have a question for me, go to this post to find out how to submit it.

Spontaneous acts of riverdancing

Those who were passing through Munich’s Marienplatz on St. Patrick’s Day were treated to a little stealth Irish jigging. The ‘flashmob’ performance was pulled off beautifully, starting with a small line of dancers.

Out of nowhere more folks in green shirts appeared and joined in the fun.

The group grew and grew; each time the new participants seemed to materialize out of thin air. One moment they were plain-clothed observers, the next green-wearing dancing machines (or in two cases, sheep-costume-wearing dancing machines).

Here’s a video of the event. It was enough to make one wish for a green pint of beer.

How not to chat up an American

Last week my friend Em and I were wandering around London looking for somewhere to quench our thirst. Walking past one particular pub, something caught our eye. A leathery man standing outside with a pint and a cigarette thought it was he. Actually it was the sign next to him declaring all drinks half-price today. “Go on in! You know you want to!” We did.

After we picked up our delightfully affordable drinks from the bar, we turned around to see that outside man had come in, and was headed our way. “I told ya. It’s a good place, in’t it?” Actually, the sign told us.

“Where you gals from, then?” Before we could answer, some emphatic instruction was added. “Please don’t say America!”

“OK, I won’t then.” I looked around for a table.

Pick-Up Lines That Work: Get the Girl Tonight!“I live in London,” added Em in a more friendly tone. She has much more patience for people than I do.

“Ah, so you ARE Americans!” As if he had beaten some sort of awful, embarrassing confession out of us. “Nah, that’s not all bad. I love America, actually. Well, San Francisco, anyway. The girls there are always all over me when I tell ‘em I ain’t gay.”

Sure they are, buddy. Sure they are.

“You’re not? Such a pity, since I only fuck gay guys.” I didn’t really say that. Instead I ushered Em over to a table in the corner. He got the hint and left us alone.

You might be surprised how many dudes in bars try to lead with the “You’re American? I hate Americans!” schtick. I’ve heard it a dozen times, and it still baffles me. I keep expecting them to follow it up with a discourse on how they despise pale skin and brown hair. Or talking to women.

What’s your favorite pick-up line? Does it involve an insult to the recipient’s country of origin? If so, please tell us in the comments how many times said line has successfully gotten you laid.

Oberammergau’s big play and other things I don’t need to see

Passion Play 2010 Oberammergau 2010Oberammergau will return to its once-every-10-year spotlight as they perform the Passion Play for several months during 2010. In my mind this has always been one of those uninteresting overhyped bits of must-see tourism that I am sure I could live without. I lived in Germany 10 years ago, too, and felt not the least bit of interest in attending. Now that I’m living even closer to the big event, I’m still not feeling it.

Take the facts: it’s a play about Jesus, but without the jazzy superstar show tunes. It is performed by non-actors, people whose only qualifications for the stage seem to be that 1) they were born in a particular tiny Bavarian town and 2) they’re willing to forgo regular haircuts for a while. And from what I can tell it’s a massively commercialized event designed to draw in hordes of tourists and fleece them of as much money as possible.* In which part lies the appeal of this event?

But then again, I often shy away from big hyped-up touristy things, especially ones which are likely to leave me feeling like a head of cattle. I hated carnival in Venice. When living in New York I meticulously avoided Christmas Tree lightings, Times Square on New Year’s Eve, and all the rest. The running of the bulls sounds dreadful on many levels. If I never got near Oktoberfest again I’d be one happy mädchen. I get bored and antsy in big crowds. But obviously lots of other people love this kind of thing, otherwise no one would go. Right?

What about you? Have you been to the Oberammergau Passion Play, or are you planning to attend this year? (If so, you may want to follow it on Twitter.)

* Note how according to the official website, there are plenty of packages available which involve play tickets, meals, and hotels stays, but if all you want is a play ticket, you’re SOL. It’s the way Jesus would have wanted it.

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