German Breakfast

The October rain began to fall as we quickly made our way across the square toward a sea of red umbrellas. Red letters hung above the entrance, proudly announcing the name of our warm, dry refuge.

“Welcome to Früh,” said a man as he came from around the corner. He took two menus from the podium and led us to a wooden table, saying he would return in a moment for our order.

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A booth at Früh awaits customers. Köln, Germany, Oct. 2016

The restaurant had opened for the day less than an hour before we arrived, so only one other patron sat nearby, drinking beer in silence.

I watched him momentarily, reasoning with myself that I wanted to participate in local traditions, especially on my birthday. When our waiter returned, I ordered a glass of Riesling. Kurt looked mildly surprised, but kept with tradition and ordered a beer. Soon our server returned, drinks in hand.

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Riesling and beer: breakfast of champions! Köln, Germany, Oct. 2016

“Do you know what you would like to order?” He asked us. We each ordered three fried eggs with toast. He thanked us and disappeared around the corner.

I looked at my drink with mixed feelings of intrigue, excitement and hesitation. Kurt toasted to my birthday and took a sip of his beer. I raised the glass of cool, light golden wine to my lips and took a sip. It tasted so light and refreshing, I had to take another sip. By the time the server had returned with our food, I ordered a second glass of Riesling.

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Breakfast at Früh. Köln, Germany, Oct. 2016

Steam rose from the plate of fried eggs topped with parsley. A smaller dish sat to the side, holding three slices of toast and a large pad of butter. Everything looked perfect.

The eggs glistened on my plate under the lights. The yolks actually looked orange and not yellow as they do in Tucson (plus, they tasted so much better than eggs in Tucson). Never before had I considered parsley as something to sprinkle over eggs, but I loved it as soon as I tried it. The warm toast complemented the perfectly fried eggs.

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Fried eggs in all their splendid glory. Köln, Germany, Oct. 2016

During the course of our breakfast, I ordered a third glass of wine, feeling as though I could totally handle it. However, instead of going straight to the Cathedral, we made a detour to Starbucks for coffee where, according to Kurt, I fell asleep for more than an hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning Has Broken

We woke up to bright rays of early morning sunshine gently dancing across our eyelashes. The clock read 7 a.m. However, we still felt as though we were on Tucson time, which would have made it 10 p.m. Kurt found a highly rated breakfast restaurant one street away from us named Kessens. We prepared ourselves with warm sweaters and jackets and made our way down the steep steps and out onto the quiet brick street. Our footsteps seemed to echo as we walked in cold, sleepy silence toward breakfast. As soon as we reached Rozengracht, I could see the small restaurant across the street. Pleasantly surprised at the shortness of our morning walk, we crossed the street and entered the cozy little cafe. Friendly servers in white and black striped jerseys invited us to sit at any of the few remaining seats. We chose a table near the center of the restaurant. Our waitress promptly placed a glass bottle of water on our table, handed us each a menu, then went to help another table as we decided upon our order. The tinkling sound of silverware accented the melange of friendly conversation as the intoxicating scent of coffee drifted through the air. An occasional tram whirred by the window in a blur of blue and white.

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Coffee at Kessens, April 2017. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

When our waitress returned, we each ordered a cafe latte, fried eggs and toast. Then, I saw freshly squeezed orange juice on the menu and impulsively ordered one. She returned a few minutes later with two large cups filled with espresso and perfectly steamed milk. The glass of orange juice she placed in front of me came with a plastic tool to mix it back together when the pulp began to separate. Delighted, I immediately took a sip of the pulpy substance. It tasted like juicy sunshine. Next, I tried the latte. The taste matched its wonderful appearance. Although the restaurant remained busy, the servers kept a constant pace. A waitress washed her hands in a marble fountain that hung on the wall behind Kurt and began to put the clean cups and plates back on their shelves. A few minutes later our waitress reappeared, holding two plates of food.

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Breakfast at Kessens, April 2017. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Upon first taste, I immediately understood the reason they had such a high rating. The food tasted amazing. It definitely seemed as though we had a good start to the upcoming day. However, when we returned to the apartment, it seems as though we fell under a sleep spell because the next thing I remember hearing:

“It’s almost 5:30 in the evening,” Kurt whispered. “We have reservations at the Seafood Bar in three hours.”