Since the first of May/June/July/August (pick one-depending on the weather) is considered the 'official' starting date for the (far too short) grilling season here in Bavaria, I thought it would be a great time to begin my new series "In Search of the Best Wurst". Over the next few months I am planning to visit different areas of Munich and will try to determine where the best wurst (sausages) are on offer. I hope to eat my sausages outside (preferably on a park bench) if possible, and to wash them down with a cold 'Munich's Finest' (Augustiner Helles, naturally) from the bottle. If beer is not available, I'll drink an 'Apfelsaftschorle' (apple juice spritzer). If that isn't available then I must have got out at the wrong stop. The only variations of wurst I'll be eating are Currywurst, Bratwurst and anything else that passes as sausage, which means in Germany there are about as many different sausages as beers (1,250, http://www.germanbeerinstitute.com/breweries.html). My wife says I can't eat all three at one time (I say I can-watch me now!), because I won't be able to distinguish the different tastes. All of them will be accompanied by a 'Kaiser roll' (Semmeln, Brötchen). I'll choose whatever wurst my mood says is necessary at the time. If there is no chance to eat outside then the contingency plan is to try and sit by a window. I will remain completely anonymous except for the fact I will try and get as much free food and drink as I possibly can in the name of 'research'. My only qualifications are I worked in restaurants for over 13 years in both the front and the back of the house, and, I love sausages almost as much as I love beer.
The criteria are simple, yet, hopefully in some way, complex (but not as complex as a French Bordeaux. Their words, not mine.). The criteria I'll be using are:
o Taste. Self-explanatory I'd think. But I'm looking for fresh ingredients. Are the sausages raw before cooking (and especially 'not' after)? Are they too salty? Is the beer finished before the sausage because the meat tastes like leather? Are they juicy but not greasy?
o Atmosphere. This includes being able to watch people, the feeling of the area (is it touristy, village-like, multi-cultural, have nice graffiti, dive bombed by pigeons, etc), and can I find a place in the sun/shade depending on my inklings. Also, the beer must be cold, but not American beer cold.
o My hunger, the price, the mass transit connections and other intangibles. I'm still working on these and they will probably be tweaked on an hourly basis.
All of these criteria are subject to change/refinement/disposal.
So, in the immortal words of German and FC Bayern great Lothar Matthäus, who has recently begun moonlighting as a translator between two languages only he can speak, "Das ist mir wurst" (literally, that's my sausage. In English it really translates to 'whatever' or 'it doesn't matter). Oh, and send me your suggestions.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org