Holy Schnitzel: Review of The German Cafe

THE HEARTS: German ambience, Napoleon, close to free parking

THE FARTS: Dry chocolate cake, closed Monday evenings and Sundays

Young At Heart says…

I was transported to a quaint little cafe in Germany this afternoon. Upon entering The German Cafe, my visual senses were surrounded by all things Deutsch. The walls are peppered with cuckoo clocks, signs and artwork reminiscent of a vintage village cafe. I am delighted to say that even the waitresses are clothed appropriately. Yes, definitely a mini vacation getaway.

On this day, we did not indulge in the full lunch menu but instead dove right into dessert. I did let my eyes meander the full dinning area to “scope out” what others where eating and all the fares looked appetizing. YOF kept scolding me about my sleuthing abilities and insinuated that I was checking out the “meat” next door (a young gentleman taking two elderly ladies to lunch). In fact, I was checking out a schnitzel dish past the party next to us. Oh well….I guess it’s all in the eyes of the beholder.

Our “German” waitress recommended the Napoleon for dessert and I obliged. It was delicious, I am happy to report. And yes, it was a twist on the traditional Napoleon, but one I thoroughly enjoyed. It was layered with fresh whip cream and Philo dough and then topped with an almond icing drizzled with chocolate. A fine combination to my palette. But, I am a lover of all things almond. If you don’t like the taste of Amaretto or almond, I would suggest you try one of the other desserts. All of them looked yummy!

So for a total check of $12, excluding tip, we were transported to a small village haus in Germany. And yes….I will be back for the full fare in the future.

Küssen,

YAH

Young Old Fart says…

Guten Tag! Have you ever wondered what it would be like to nibble on some wiener schnitzel while whispering sweet nothings into your lover’s ear? Yeah, neither have I. But that’s besides the point. Wilmington’s The German Cafe (located behind The Cottage Exchange downtown) is like going on “It’s A Small World” in Disney World and stopping to have a meal when you spot the kids in lederhosen. In other words, it’s a German dream come true. Both the decor and the music were notable additions to the authentic ambiance the restaurant was trying to create.

Like YAH said, we only stopped by for some dessert (the best part of the meal anyway). While I went in intending to purchase the Napoleon I changed my mind upon seeing the chocolate cake (what can I say? I have a weak spot for anything choco-related…). I dove my fork in and shoved it into my mouth expecting a chocolate explosion to ensue, however, I was thrown for a loop. This cake isn’t all that chocolatey. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s almost like the gingerbread man cheated on his wife with the neighbor, Devil’s food, and spawned this concoction . Though the flavor wasn’t what I expected, my biggest problem was the dry cake. I’m sorry, I thought Germans were supposed to make the best chocolate cake. They have their own version named after them for goodness sake! While this cake left much to be desired, I enjoyed my mom’s dessert and spotted other meals and goodies that definitely warranted a second visit.

All in all, I really liked this outing, even if it didn’t subside my constant fatty cravings. Besides, I learned two important things:

1) My mom is an undercover cougar who enjoys ogling young dashing lads.

2) I should work here…I would look bangin’ in some pigtails and dirndl (the female equivalent of lederhosen).

Kätzchen and fondant,

YOF

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Under The Sea: Review of Fort Fisher Aquarium

THE HEARTS: good for all ages, air conditioned, handicap accessible, lots to see and experience, cute gift shop, close to Wilmington, decent admission prices, offers membership and volunteer/internship opportunities

THE FARTS: unhealthy food located outside, only features NC wildlife, not good for a full-day outing, depending on the age it may be a one-time stop

Young At Heart says…

What to do? What to do? My son, his wife and our lovely grand baby were coming to Wilmington. The catch? My grand daughter is just 14 months old and of course I want to spoil her. I mean, really, what else are grandparents to do? So immediately I start compiling a list of “to do’s” for the Cape Fear with a 14 month old in toe. The list was short….very short. I mean it is like 100 degrees here of late with high humidity and we do come from northern blood stock, so we aren’t that tolerant of humidity just yet. Immediately the Children’s Musuem came to mind but she is too young for that (I’ll save that review for a later date when I take my great niece and nephew there). Possibly the beach I ponder? But then I remember my children around that age and all I imagine is the sand in the eyes, nose, and eventually the mouth….that’s out. So finally, after much thought and research (and I do mean much research…we are talking a 14 month old that is now just finding her independence with walking unaided), I came up with this short list: The Aquarium and the zoo (post to follow in the future). So off we go under the sea…

I will say that I was more than pleasantly surprised by the fine job they did with The Aquarium. First, it was air conditioned which in this heat was a BIG plus! Second it was truly handicap accessible which was great for me but even greater for Isabelle being she was in a stroller.  Their was lots to see and experience there and I have to say that the entire group (5 adults plus Isabelle) really enjoyed it. From the beautiful two story aquarium…

to the touchy feely hands-on exhibits (just kidding),

we all had a grand time. This place is suitable for any age I am happy to report! From weebies to seniors there is plenty to watch, touch and enjoy. We all had a wonderful day under the sea!

Fishy KISS,

YAH

PS….the intern giving the octopus lesson was fantastic….who woulda thunk that an octopus has the mind of a 4 year old.

Young Old Fart says…

While I agree with YAH that Ft. Fisher Aquarium in Kure Beach is a fun activity, there are some things I think need to be pointed out. One, it’s about a twenty-five minute drive from Wilmington (if you live near Monkey Junction, if you live closer to Wrightsville it will be much longer). Second, I can’t see anyone spending more than an hour at this aquarium. Don’t get me wrong, it has beautiful natural exhibits that showcase NC’s wildlife, however, it really isn’t meant for a full-day outing. Also, don’t expect seals and whales, like I mentioned before it is really just a sampling of the local animals. As far as food goes, they have the unhealthy stop-your-heart kind (i.e. ice cream, pretzels, fries, etc), all located outside (in the heat…). The gift shop is really cute and a fun highlight…I would definitely grab SOMETHING to remember the day by. Admission is $8 for 13yrs-61yrs, $7 for 62 and older, $6 for 3yrs-12yrs, and free for anyone 2 and under. IMHO, if you plan on having lots of company, or you have grandchildren/children I would buy individual membership for $30 that allows free admission for two adults on the card and their children/grandchildren under 18…now THAT’S saving some moolah. Finally, being the college student I am, I truly appreciate the fact that the aquarium offers volunteer/internship opportunities…PERFECT for my fellow Seahawks interested in marine bio (the most popular major at UNCW).  All in all, while staring at hungry crocs that are sizing me up for dinner isn’t my favorite way to spend the day, I am sure the kiddies will adore molesting a stingray.

Kittens and fudge,

YOF

The Apple of My Eye – Review of Apple Annie’s Bake Shop

THE HEARTS: good variety and selection, chocolate croissant, Reese’s peanut butter bar, mocha fudge bar, pretty reasonable, good customer service, pastries aren’t too sweet

THE FARTS: nowhere to sit, everything is refrigerated, SOME selections are skimpy for the price, carrot cake square

Young Old Fart says…

Bakeries. The yin to my yang, the Sonny to my Cher, the light of my life…the reason my lower stomach (which I fondly call “my pooch”) has taken on a mind of its own. All joking and stretch marks aside, pastries, cakes, and desserts of all sorts are my reason for existence. Therefore, when we moved to Wilmington, NC, I was heartbroken that the delicious goodies I had scoured and labeled as “my babies” would no longer be accessible. What is a chubby, choco-craving girl to do? FIND NEW GEMS, BUT OF COURSE!

Apple Annie’s is a well-known bakery in Wilmington that has two locations, one on South Kerr and one on Military Cutoff. I have yet to try the Military Cutoff location, so I can only vouch for the other. The first thing I noticed about AA’s was its selection. Everywhere else that has offered desserts in the Cape Fear area has had slim pickings, this is definitely not the case with AA. Whatever you dream is your hearts desire here…from german chocolate squares (delicious) to the cinnamon croissant (amazing) to white chocolate macadamia cookies (have yet to try), AA’s will surely have something for everyone (they even offer sugar-free goodies!). The customer service is absolutely amazing as well. Not only do the employees allow you to take your time, they also offer words of encouragement to lead you along your artery-clogging way!

I really do love this place. However, like everything else, there are SOME drawbacks. First, there is nowhere to sit in the bakery, it is set up so that everything you buy is to be eaten at home or somewhere else. Second, all of their offerings are refrigerated, even items that should be warm (such as a croissant). This could definitely become an inconvenience to anyone who would like to enjoy their selection pronto. My suggestion is either wait till you encounter a microwave OR kindly ask one of the employees to heat it up for you (I don’t see why they wouldn’t). Finally, while YAH may disagree, I think that though their quality is always worth the price, their quantity isn’t. I understand that not everyone wants a cupcake the size of their head (you would be stupid not to), but selling a cheesecake morsel for $3 seems outlandish. Again, this last complaint could be due to my pooch’s impressive mind control and constant need for fatty goodness.

Today I sampled their chocolate croissant.

Right off the bat I was pleased with it’s size and obvious cholateyness…I mean, check out that drizzle and ooze seeping from the middle!

When I got home, I ripped this sucker out of its pretty package, stuck it on a plate, and microwaved it for 1 minute. I used a fork to eat it, but most people would just grab a napkin and shovel it in. The pastry itself wasn’t crunchy but light and fluffy (not soggy at all). The chocolate middle was warm, gooey, and sinful. This baby is not meant for the kiddies or wimpy milk-chocolate lovers…this one is stuffed to the gills with semi-sweet chocolate. The richness of the chocolate paired with the mildness of the pastry (it wasn’t very sweet), makes for a yummy snack, and dare I say it? A rewarding breakfast treat? (It’s acceptable as long as skinny french people keep eating them for le petit déjeuner as well.) Overall, I definitely recommend this beauty. It’s worth both the $2.50 I spent AND the extra mile I’ll have to run tomorrow.

Kittens and fudge,

YOF

Young At Heart says…

Apple Annie’s is definitely one of the best bake shops, if not the best in Wilmington. I have purchased goodies from many bakeries (NJ, NY, SC, and California) and this one ranks right up there. So far (third visit so far as we just recently discovered this little local gem) almost everything I have eaten there was delicious, the service was great and the prices reasonable for the quality of their smaller treats. Hats off to this bakery!

Today I ate their Reese’s peanut butter bar and it was out of this world. It is layered with a yellow cake and what I presume (hate the word assume) is Reese’s peanut butter mousse surrounded by a delicious dark chocolate. Nestled on top is a small Reese’s peanut butter cup. This delectable goodie is not overpowering with sweetness and allows the diner to walk away without that heavy feeling. You can be sure I will be buying this baby again in the future. For $2.50 plus tax I think it is definitely a sweet dream!

Now on the down side, I was completely disappointed with their carrot cake square. Oh bombs! And a big one at that! Now I will fess up that I am a traditionalist when it comes to certain desserts but willing to give a new twist a try. But….this twist just turned me the wrong way.  It was composed of carrot cake with this foreign substance in the middle. After some contemplating I determined that the baker had choosen to layer in either a pineapple or orange marmalade. Gross!!!! And then to add to my dismay, the icing was buttercream instead of the standard cream cheese icing. All in all, a terrible combination in my opinion. Maybe if the icing was the traditional cream cheese icing, I might have been able to stomach the marmalade but with that combo it was way too sweet for carrot cake. Oh well…back to the drawing board for this one!

But have heart dear readers….I ate this scrumptuous goodie last night that rocks! Their Mocha Fudge Bar is well worth the drive! It was layered with white cake and mocha mousse…great combo but then wrap that  in dark chocolate and you have a home run. Again for $2.50 plus tax, I think it is worth every penny! Yum…yum…yum is all I can say! Just thinking about this and the Reese’s goodie makes me want for more. And you can be sure…I will be buying again from AA!

Chocolatey KISS,

Young At Heart

Life Can Be A Beach: Review of Wrightsville Beach

THE HEARTS (pros): Free, clean, good for water activities, some free parking spaces, close to Wilmington, family oriented, lifeguards are on duty

THE FARTS (cons): Most parking is charged, no public bathrooms, no public transportation, doesn’t have a boardwalk

Young At Heart says…

This beach reminds me of the fifties when I spent weeks roaming the NJ coastlines. Here is a beach lined with well kept homes and an open expanse of pleasant white sand. The only difference is that Wrightsville doesn’t have a boardwalk but it does have some stores near the main entrance. Beach goers here are an eclectic  mix of families, singles and retirees. I would definitely pack an umbrella,  cooler full of goodies (food is allowed on this beach but no alcohol) and camera (one can get great beach pictures). The sand is pleasant on the feet and the water is great!  We had a blast swimming (lifeguards are on duty), sea shell finding and just checking out all the visitors and locals. I am embarrassed to say that Young at Heart enjoyed the lifeguards more than Young Old Fart. Definitely worth the trip if you enjoy swimming, boogie boarding or just a great day basking in the sun! Don’t forget the sunscreen and the best part…..THIS BEACH IS FREE.  Definitely a day on a dime!

KISS,

Young At Heart

Young Old Fart says…

Ah, Wrightsville Beach, the cause of 2.0 GPAs and sun-burnt Freshmen at UNCW. As you may or may not know, the beach is the main reason kids apply to my beloved college. Funny, you would assume that such a popular hotspot for collegians would provide transportation (free or not). However, this is not the case. Though “The Wave” (Wilmington bus transportation) plops students almost anywhere in the town for free, it cannot shuttle them to Wrightsville Beach. Why, you may ask? Well, Wrightsville Beach is a completely separate town from Wilmington, thus, Wilmington transportation has no legality there. Alas, my fellow Seahawks must fend for themselves and either hitch rides with their roomies, bike it, or sprout wings and fly. While Wrightsville doesn’t charge admission (yay!), they don’t provide public bathrooms and parking can be a…well, a beach (boo!). Basically, if you have to pee you have two options: 1) buy a two dollar water bottle at the local pizzeria to gain access to their coveted restrooms OR 2)use the ocean to your advantage (makes you wonder what everyone is doing out in the big blue…). As far as parking goes, it is Wrightsville’s main revenue. So, you can either park in the few and golden free spaces (like the church parking lot located before the bridge on your left) or pay a fee. Note: if you are using meter parking, I would pay for more time than you expect to be on the beach so you don’t have to be the chosen loser running in their wet trunks adding money later in the day. Overall, Wrightsville is pleasant. It’s clean and it’s a hop away from Wilmington (unless you’re driving during peak summer hours).

Kittens and fudge,

Young Old Fart

P.S. Don’t try and have TOO much fun at Wrightsville…alcohol is prohibited(so are dogs, at least during the summer)!