Mark’s East Side-The new addition edition

(Her) Back at Mark’s East Side with Chris (the guy) and Kris (the girl) and their son, Not Chris because the hubby has a no peeking gift certificate that can bring you anywhere from $5 to $50 towards your meal. Also, because the last few places we have been have been so lackluster and un-blog worthy that we need to go somewhere where the odds of a good meal are better.
The second trip to a place we liked is always a tense one for me.  You hope it wasn’t a fluke that the meal was good, and you hope someone’s not going to slip an onion into your high maintenance husband’s food and ruin the whole experience thereby turning your second visit into your last.
I decided to be adventurous and dug deep into my German roots tonight.  I ordered Liver Dumpling soup because a) I have never heard of it and I can’t believe I’ve gone my whole life without it being offered to me b) I had no idea what to expect and  c) I don’t mind liver.  The soup was a light broth with two largish meatball looking dumplings floating in it.  Honestly, if someone didn’t tell you there was liver in there, you’d never know.  It had a faint braunschweiger-y smell to it that reminded me of my grandma’s house and was surprisingly good.  After doing some research on the internet it appears to be a very traditional Eastern European tradition so it’s good to see Mark keeping the tradition alive.
For my main dish I ordered one of the weekly specials that Mark told me he was considering adding to the menu.  I had to write it down so that I would remember the name of it which was “Roggen Schwein Scnitzel” (man, my spell check is hating this blog) So we bring back a little high school German and we figure out that this is going to roughly translate as some pig coated in rye.  Once again–never heard of it, but it had all my favorite components.  The meal consisted of a thin pork loin coated in pumpernickel crumbs and fried, topped with red cabbage, melted swiss cheese and a horseradish sauce. It was served with Spaetzel covered in bacon onion gravy.  (All you good Germans should be drooling right about now)  The meal was awesome, I’ve never had red cabbage, I can’t believe I’ve never had red cabbage….I decided I really like red cabbage, I’m going to make it for my next family get together.  My only complaint is that  the horseradish sauce was really mild and I was expecting a little more heat and could have handled a bit more heat.  It didn’t have that fresh grated horseradish zing.
So finally, I decided nothing could top this meal off but Schaumtorte so I saved some room and went for it.  Schaumtorte, for those of you not in the know, is a meringue shell usually topped with strawberries and whipped cream.  When I make it, I skip the individual shell part and bake it in a cake pan.  My belief, is that meringue should be firm on the outside and kind of creamy and custardy on the inside, and this shell was firm all the way through and a bit tough to eat.  I’m sure it was prepared ahead of time and I can see why it is done this way for restaurant purposes, but I just have to say that I prefer my own Schaumtorte.  A little bit of a let down at the end of a very good meal.
As usual, Mark was a gracious host and made us feel like family and really took care of us.  He indulged my husband’s request to have our picture taken even though we didn’t win the big $50 prize and told us that our last blog is hanging in the kitchen. He’s been one of the first business owners to acknowledge us and we’re thankful for that.  The server was great too, and attentive and patient with my high maintenance hubby’s barrage of  questions about onions in the food.  Kris (the girl) said she was a bit slow, but I had nowhere to be and Mark’s is not exactly the drive-thru.  Mark’s is the kind of place you like to linger at, savor your food, and induces great conversation.  (See Lox Club)
Food (8.9702) Ambiance (9–the new addition looks seamless and I heard from everyone at the table that the bathrooms were sooo nice. Even the guy’s bathroom that Kris (the girl) accidentally walked into.
Playing cracker package hockey with Not Chris (the kid)….priceless.
(Him) I got there a plum 45 minutes before the (K)Chrisses and arrived with an empty stomach.  Needless to say 4 or 5 Spotted Cows got me looped up enough to whitewash my memory of this visit. I am pretty sure I was loud in the dining room and it was enough for the owner to make a second and third trip over to our table under the guise of friendly stopover.  It was transparent damage control as the 6th beer was drained. The waitress talked me into a twice baked potato which I really really did not care for.  I ordered the sirloin steak again and it was fine, yes just fine this time.  It had a massive fatty vein down the center and there was no chance of greatness with an appearance such as that. The steak was good but not great.  I think I talked a lot of Fantasy Football with Chris (the guy) and that was about it.  I was quite enamored with the men’s  bathroom as the decor was super neat-o.
The whole shebang (7.15)

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