The Evils of Hofbrauhaus, or, My Best Friend’s Birthday

My best gal is dear to me. Some of the best times of my life have been had with her, she rules. Typically, her birthday dinner locations are pretty good. They may not be my own for various reasons, but they’re usually perfectly acceptable. She likes to do things on a large scale, most of her birthday dinners are for no less than 10 attendees so it stands to reason that she requires restaurants that can house that many of us and have a well-stocked bar. Naturally.

Two years ago, she informed the revelers that she wanted to hit up a German beer hall in the German beer hall part of town, so we did. Upon entry my first thoughts were these: there is no way the food here is any good. There is no way that it is decently priced. Wow that’s a big beer.

Now, this may not be indicative of the system as a whole, but these people were charging $3.50 for a tiny salad (iceberg lettuce of course) and over SIX BUCKS for a “house made pretzel” – folks, this was a ballpark pretzel and no better. The food was completely forgettable. So why go to a vacuous space for something basically equivalent to a wedding reception?

Apparently, the eats are not the main draw there. So what is it? The volume, I mean decibels? The German accent-tainted Elvis songs? The old men asking the young ladies to dance? I guess I can see why that could be interesting to some, though not to me. In fact, if anything it serves as a distraction for conversation which I think, is one of the most important ingredients to a good meal (aside from love, aww). I’ve never enjoyed the sort of meals where the guest of honor is sitting five people away. At that point, you’re really only having dinner with the people to your side and in front of you – so why bother? It’s a desire for quantity rather than quality, it seems. That’s great if it’s a bar where it’s socially acceptable to get up and move around to continue conversations, but not great in a dining situation. Especially if I’m eating overcooked weisswurst and a seven dollar pretzel.

This is not to knock my best friend, I’d go to every birthday dinner she’ll have as long as I’m invited. We are pretty different people when it comes to how we choose to celebrate especially when there’s food involved – except for grilling and chili cookoffs. However, since both our birthdays occur in cold weather we can’t do a lot of that. Or don’t, I should say. Dining with friends means different things to different people, no better exemplified than birthdays. But, hers comes first so with October will come giant steins, giant pretzels, giant waitresses and giant noise. Mine will be intimate, delicious and occur somewhere that allows for table talk amongst all the guests. And wine. Always lots of wine. Should be a good fall and winter.

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