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Sunday, January 19, 2014

From the First to the Last

I will always remember my first college-bound child's drop-off over eight years ago. It was a hot & humid, late & lazy August day in our nation's capitol, her room was on ( at least ) the third floor, and there was no freight elevator in service in that aging building. With quite a few kids moving in on the same day at basically the same time, the winding staircase made for quite a few traffic jams and strained smiles before it was all over.
The other thing I'll definitely remember is how the student "helpers" - strapping young men that I think were members of the soccer team - that were so eager to assist my daughter carry her belongings seemed to vanish shortly after they discovered her room was on the third floor.
Equally, I will more than likely remember my last college pick-up, which took place yesterday on a frigid January day in State College, PA. I won't bore you with the details, but there were plenty of steps, a hammer that eventually bent after some heavy use taking apart an extremely well-constructed wooden bunk bed ( built by a mechanical engineer ), and a 400 mile round trip in one day that gave father and son some quality time to catch-up.

And then there was lunch at Herwig's Austrian Bistro:
"Where Bacon is an herb!"™
I could probably peck away for the next hour or two and never do this award-winning eatery justice. so I will simply offer this; if you ever visit State College, PA, you have to grab lunch or dinner at Herwig's...and bring your appetites and sense of humor.  
And please, please, please...do not ask for a container for leftovers.  

My lunch selection was Schweinsbauch (a slow roasted local cured pork belly with a tart bacon/Chardonnay sauerkraut). I paired it with a bottle ( it's a BYOB ) of double chocolate stout. My son had Leberkaese mit Ei (a Bavarian beef/pork sausage loaf grilled and topped with a fried egg). He chose a very hoppy pale ale to wash that down. And as we were going to be burning off quite a few calories that afternoon, we both opted for dessert. My son had Dark Chocolate Bacon Cheesecake.
That's right folks...there's bacon in the cheesecake.
And for the second time in a row, I had the Cremeschnitte - Puff pastry stuffed with an orange rum cream. And I think someone got distracted when adding the ~151 proof rum to the cream as they were whipping it to perfection...but no complaints here. I'm thinking I probably could have started a small fire if I lit a match anywhere near my plate.
Seriously...it was an absolute gastronomic masterpiece of a finish. 
And on our way home, we stopped back to pick up some cinnabaconrolls for my wife. Yep, that's correct. They even put bacon, and not just a few small pieces, in their homemade cinnamon rolls.
Here are a few pics from our most recent visit to one of the finest and funnest ethnic eateries around...anywhere!
Above & Below: Pork Bellies & sauerkraut - before & after.

Below: Only at Herwig's

Above/below: Our zero calorie/zero guilt desserts.
And finally, the legendary Herwig "Brandy" Brandstatter & me!
Once again...do not pass through State College without a visit to Herwig's! And if they have pork bellies...go for it!
P.S. - Definitely call ahead to reserve your cinnabaconrolls.
Folks, we will soon be 100% authentic empty-nesters. 
Tempus does indeed fugit. For those who still have kids underfoot...enjoy every second.
Tschüss...for now. 

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