Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Embrace your inner hokey-ness

We went back to Leavenworth, for the third time.

It’s a theme town, having re-invented itself nearly a half-century ago as a faux Bavarian village, and it has worked. Embrace your inner hokey-ness.

I’ve written about Leavenworth and other theme towns before. In that post, I failed to mention Frankenmuth, Michigan, which is a more bizarre attempt at re-creating Bavaria since it’s about a thousand miles from any real mountains. Leavenworth, at least, is on the eastern slope of the northern Cascades, so it looks more the part.

It’s hard to say why Bavaria is our choice for imitation. I mean, you don’t find entire small towns made to look like, say, Irkutsk (which I recall from my Risk-playing days).

After wandering about the village looking for a suitable place for dinner that would allow our princely puppy, we tried our old favorite, Café Mozart. (I wrote about this in my previous theme-village post and received a note, which I dutifully posted, that Mozart is an odd choice for a Bavarian town, since he was Austrian. I simply note that Bavaria and Austria are close neighbors and Mozart undoubtedly spent a good deal of time at least traveling through Bavaria. So, there. Oh, and I hereby admit, per the same note, that the Sound of Music was ostensibly set in Austria, not Bavaria. However, much of it was filmed on location in Bavaria. So, there again.) Anyway, the lovely people at the Mozart Café had an open table on its tiny outdoor balcony, so up the stairs we went, hauling Charlie and the stroller, um, puppy carrier.

For Kathleen, it’s all about the red cabbage, which didn’t disappoint. It was delightful. I had a spaetzle-based version of macaroni and cheese.

However, it wasn’t as splendid as the nearby Cheesemonger’s Shop (which, gratefully, they didn't spell in the Old English style like the nearby Das Copy Shoppe. I mean, is it German or English?) Here, the uber-friendly mongers happily dole out cheese samples that leads people like your writer to buy cheeses that run 25 bucks a pound. How can you pass up a cheese whose ingredients include dark beers (two of which I bought)?


The Icicle Brewing Company is just up the street and makes above-average beer (the Dirtyface amber is a nice way to spend 30 minutes on the last day of summer).

I do have a complaint – the German folk music blaring from loudspeakers in the tiny city park is a bit much. Surely they don’t do that at Lake Chiemsee. (See what I did? I made reference to a real Bavarian place.)

One of the things we noted on this visit was a significant increase in wine tasting rooms for local vineyards. This is a very positive development.

A final note: The Plothows are of German stock, the progeny of two brothers who left Germany in the middle of the 19th century, one going to the U.S. and the other to Brazil (a branch of the family for which Facebook has facilitated a virtual reunion). So, my visit to Leavenworth (or, for that matter, Frankenmuth) has a hint of legitimacy to it. What's your excuse going to be?

(Sorry, but I tried -- a final, final note, this one about Charlie. You know, his royal puppy-ness. An old couple fell in love with him and the guy said, "I want this dog," Kathleen started to provide information for breeders and such and he stopped her: "No, I want THIS dog.")

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