European Glimpses of Home

Go figure! photo by Jane Clinton | post by Larry Clinton

After visiting Amsterdam last month, Jane and I joined ex-Issaquah neighbor Emily Riddell for a Viking River cruise down the Rhine and Danube rivers to Budapest. (Emily’s husband Stuart was a late scratch for this trip for health reasons, but he has recovered, and the couple will be visiting Issaquah later this month.)

In Cologne, I discovered a restaurant chain named Sausalitos, which took me by surprise, since we’ve been told that Sausalito is such a unique name─a corruption of the Spanish word Saucito (or “Little Willow”). Later, Jane and I visited another branch in Munich and learned that Sausalitos offers unique cocktails, Californian-Mexican food and music.

Back home, a Google search took me to the chain’s website, which states: “The starting point for our exciting trip for your SAUSALITOS restaurants in Germany was the city of Sausalito in the Bay of San Francisco at the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. In this Meltingpot of diverse cultures there is always a lot of activity─the sunny mood is contagious and the artistic feeling of life is exciting!”

Through the website, I was able to reach a spokesperson for the chain, which started back in 1994 and operates 41 outlets throughout Germany. She told me, “The founders of Sausalitos traveled throughout the US and were very inspired by the Sausalito district. Because of this, they have made it their mission to bring the sunny mood and relaxed atmosphere in the form of a restaurant to Germany.”

So, next time you get a craving for fajitas while touring Deutschland, you can try a taste of home.

Our river cruise ended in Budapest, which is divided by the Danube. While visiting the Jewish Quarter on the Pest side of the river, we spotted a sidewalk café called Walhalla Club. It piqued my interest, because the Walhalla was the German beer garden in Old Town Sausalito that eventually became Sally Stanford’s Valhalla. This Walhalla featured “genuine Jewish Pastrami sandwiches,” which sounded tasty until Jane pointed out that the sidewalk tables were empty, in contrast to another busy café next door.

Perhaps that’s because the Walhalla Club turned out to be a Viking-themed restaurant featuring pool tables, and a mixed Central European cuisine, with tepid to negative reviews on the Web. Sounds like it’s trying to be all things to all people, and not succeeding at any of it.

Unclear on the concept? | photo by Larry Clinton