Frankford Hall: Philadelphia’s Biergarten

frankford hall

It really wasn’t that long ago that Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood wasn’t all that special. There were a couple of music venues and bars but there wasn’t much else. Those times have certainly changed. While the neighborhood isn’t quite bustling, it’s still pretty darn full of restaurants, bars, and shops as well as plenty of residences. It shouldn’t be surprising that things are looking up in the neighborhood given they’ve now, since 2011, got a restaurant from longtime Philly (and now NYC and Miami, among other cities) restauranteur Stephen Starr. Called Frankford Hall, the restaurant and biergarten fills a void in the city’s relative lack of German food. Admittedly, there are a couple others — namely Brauhaus Schmitz. After our recent trip to the Barnes Foundation, we made the trip over to Fishtown for a late lunch at Frankford Hall.
Continue reading

German Music: Falco

falco by Curt Themessl

I suspect there are some who read this post’s title and cringed a bit. But you know what, sometimes you need a good pop song! (That’s coming from a sworn rock-n-roll-til-I-die person.) And the late Austrian singer Falco has delivered more than a couple of those. While those outside of the German speaking world might think the only Falco song they know is “Rock Me Amadeus,” they’d be wrong. Falco’s track “Der Kommissar” was a hit in the United States and the United Kingdom for After The Fire once the lyrics were translated and loosely adapted into English. Guilty pleasure? Maybe. But Falco’s unique lyric delivery and catchy hooks will help you to process and comprehend what you’re listening to. And rock out. That’s why this month’s German language music recommendation is none other than Falco.
Continue reading

Museum Visit: Barnes Foundation

philadelphia skyline in the fog

With work, life, errands, household routines and so on, it’s not often that we make time to visit the local area outside of predetermined, pre-scheduled vacations. So it was a lovely little break on Saturday when we journeyed into Philadelphia, despite some cold and wet weather, to visit the Barnes Foundation and then enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner at the Stephen Starr German biergarten-themed restaurant Frankford Hall (more on that in another post). Unfortunately, I think this is when I’m going to start sounding like some half-baked conspiracy theorist. Let me assure you that I am not. But, then again, isn’t that what you’d expect a half-baked conspiracy theorist to say?
Continue reading

German Films: Til Schweiger

til schweiger

It’s difficult to think of a German actor who has more of a toehold on Hollywood than Til Schweiger. Inglorious Basterds, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Muppets Most Wanted, King Arthur, SLC Punk! — he’s got quite a list of credits. Back in the German speaking world, Schweiger is a big star. Wikipedia christens him “one of Germany’s most successful filmmakers.” He’s an actor, a writer, a producer and a director. He does it all. He’s even gotten his children in on the action, starring with them in several films. Schweiger does really likable, crowd-pleasing films. Here are a few recommendations to get you started on Til Schweiger.
Continue reading

My Must See List: Neuschwanstein

Bavarian castle Neuschwanstein

There are certain landmarks and architectural marvels that are inextricably linked with a country. The French have the Eiffel Tower, here in the US we have the Statue of Liberty, Egyptians have the pyramids. Aside from the Berlin Wall and the Brandenburg Gate, the Germans have Neuschwanstein. So famous is the castle that it’s considered part of the German stereotype that foreigners imagine and it’s been “lovingly” adapted by Disney as the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle. It was even voted the number one sight in Germany in 2014. Sometimes there are sights that you just have to see and that’s why Neuschwanstein is on my must see list.
Continue reading