Dining Experience: Western Europe
The restaurant that I’ve visited for the dining experience is Elbe Restaurant in Palo Alto.
It is located on University Avenue near Stanford University. The restaurant features traditional
Western European cuisine, mainly serving German dishes. I’ve chosen this restaurant because of
its convenient location. Also, the menu posted online (at www.elbe-restaurant.com) was very
appealing to my taste.
Many of the items on the menu had German naming, including the dishes I’ve ordered.
The first dish was Sausage Sampler, which included three types of sausages sliced and served on
bed of sauerkraut. The current type of sausage was developed during the 15th century by a
German butcher in Frankfurt, and spread widely throughout Europe as a way to preserve
abundant supply of meat and to consume parts of meat that was edible, yet had unappetizing
appearance (Tott & Melnyczuk, 2006, para 8). The Germans have number one consumption rate
of sausages in the world; therefore, sausage represents the typical German ingredient. Also, the
sausage is served with mustard, another traditional and common food item that characterizes the
The main dish was Wiener Schnitzel, which directly translates to “Viennese Cutlet” in
English. The dish has its origin in Milan, where the Austrian Emperor have liked the dish so
much that he took the chef back to Vienna and created the current version of Wiener Schnitzel
(Anderson, 1993, p. 61). The dish is typically prepared with veal, which is often replaced with
pork today due to the expensiveness of veal (Anderson, 1993, p.55). It was originally a special
occasion dish, and sometimes included dust of real gold in breadcrumbs to enhance the golden
color (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2007, para 5). However, due to its popularity, it has become
a typical dish of Austria and Germany today. The cutlet is usually served with potatoes, which at
Elbe was french fried (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2007, para 4). Another side served along
with the french fries was the steamed vegetables, which shows that the restaurant has
transformed traditional European cuisine with American cuisine, creating a fusion dish. A well
prepared Wiener Schnitzel have light breading so that the meat and breading easily separates by
fork, which was the way they served the dish at Elbe (Anderson, 1993, p. 151).
The dish my companion had was called Jägerschnitzel. It is sauteed pork loin served with
Burgundy wine sauce. Weiner Schnitzel was also served with creamy sauce which had strong
alcoholic flavor. The waitress explained that western European cuisine utilizes liquor often due
to the region’s cold climate. The alcohol supposedly helps to warm up the body, which is why
there are also many types of beer and alcoholic beverages available in Western Europe.
The dessert, Rote Beerengrütze, is also named in German that has the meaning of “Red
Berry Groats” (Reimann, 2001, para 1). It included fresh strawberries and raspberries, which was
made into a light syrup and was served over vanilla ice cream. Berries are another ingredient
with great availability in Germany, which makes this dessert also a typical German dish (Way,
2007, line 15).
At Elbe, most of the dishes were prepared for daily consumption. Filet Mignon was the
only dish served at special occasions, because of the high quality and price of meat. Also, many
of the dishes prepared with fish are not traditionally German because of the ingredient scarcity
I enjoyed the experience very much. The food was delicious and the service was excellent.
The atmosphere of the restaurant was quiet and comfortable, with the walls covered with colorful
German paintings. The restaurant also included a bar, where you can enjoy imported European
beers and alcoholic beverages. By experiencing the German cuisine with my mouth, I now have a
better understanding of the culture.
References for Dining Experience
1. Anderson, Jean (1993). The New German Cookbook. New York: Harper Collins.
2. Reimann, Silvana (2001). German Embassy: Rote Gruetz. Retrieved March 5, 2007, from
3. Tott R. & Melnyczuk P. (2006). Farmers Guardian: History of the sausage and sausage making.
Retrieved March 3, 2007, from http://www.farmingbooksandvideos.com/history-of-sausages.asp
4. Way, Thomas (2007). Global Destinations: Germany. Retrieved March 3, 2007, from
5. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2007). Wiener Schnitzel. Retrieved March 5, 2007, from