Dining Reviews

May Day in the Alps

dining tyroleannAn extensive repertoire of German favorites brings us back to Tyrolean Inn

When my daughter returns to Santa Cruz from her new home in Los Angeles, she comments on how quiet it is here. It was even more so during a trip to Ben Lomond, when we set out for a sample of her second favorite macaroni and cheese. Sitting at the front of the Tyrolean Inn restaurant, the green tarp with plastic windows kept out the chill as well as the noise of an occasional passing car. A new draft beer celebrating the German spring, Maibok ($6) was refreshing, served in a hefty glass stein, but specialty cocktails are unique as well.

The Tyrolean Tilt ($6), named eponymously for a move filmed here in the late 1970s with Brooke Shields, included spiced rum, lime and tonic, which gave it almost whiskey-like flavors.
The Honey Nut ($8) included Bärenjäger Honey liqueur, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur and Irish Cream; mild and with a nutty sweet creaminess. 

On Fridays Tyrolean offers game specials. This week features braised rabbit ($26.95) in a stock with cream, herbs and onion sauce, as well as trout ($19.95) served with a lemon-tarragon white wine sauce. We were in the mood for a wide variety of Bavarian delicacies, and between the appetizers and combination plates, we were very satiated.

Both appetizers were plated with leaf lettuce and curly fronds of parsley. Warm, thin slices of dark farmhouse bread accompanied the shiny mellow orange fillet of Gräucherte Forelle Smoked trout ($8). We spread the bread with airy horseradish-spiked mousse to enjoy with the pleasantly salted fish.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Saurer Herring ($7), so I was delightfully surprised. I do enjoy an occasional jar of sour cream and pickled herring, although the sauce tends to be excessive. At Tyrolean, a dollop of paprika and parsley-speckled sour cream was served alongside meaty, chewy segments of sweet coriander-pickled fish. Capers and crisp white onion slices added a bright spiciness.

Schmeckerplatte ($22) was a hefty combination of delicacies. Tyrolean’s version of cordon bleu hiding under a thin layer of fine bread crumbs was pork loin, stuffed with smoked ham and oozing melting Swiss cheese. A fat bockwurst sausage with a white, smooth homogenous interior flecked with bits of herbs, was served with an incredible fine grained spicy German mustard. Red cabbage, sweet like my parents used to make it, but without the apples, was topped with tender thin slices of sauerbraten roast and covered with brown gravy flavored with juniper berries. The warm sauerkraut flecked with anise seeds had a pleasantly light sourness to it and the pan-fried spätzle pasta offered a chewy counterbalance.

Schwabenteller ($22) is a Swabian-style meat dish in which alternating slices beef and pork cutlets, pounded thin and tenderized, were topped with light mushroom gravy. It was served with broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and pan-fried spätzle.

BauernSchmaus ($20) included a big fat spicy polish sausage, a  thin smoky pork chop, and a pair of thumb-sized peppered Nürnberger sausages, with home-fried-style red potatoes and the
marvelous sauerkraut.dining tyrolean

My daughter couldn’t resist a side of Käsespätzle ($6) a chewy macaroni in a creamy cheese sauce that she enjoyed as a child while waiting for her brother’s Pop Warner games at SLV.
For dessert, two legs of Apple Strudel ($6) were plated with a star of whipped cream. The almond-dotted dough, which lost its crispness when reheated, was rolled around thin slices of cinnamon-spiced apples and raisins.

Tyrolean will be celebrating Maifest on Saturday May 18 from 3-10 p.m. Admission is $6 (kids under 12 free). Live music begins at 3 p.m. Start strengthening your triceps for the beer stein-holding contest. A bounce house with arts and crafts will be available for the children from 3-7 p.m.


Tyrolean Inn, 9600 Highway 9, Ben Lomond,336-5188. Full bar. Open Tuesday through Thursday 5-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4-10 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 9 p.m. Visit tyroleaninn.com


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Get Veggie with it
“Good for you, good for the planet,” is the theme of the first annual Good Food Festival, which will take place Sunday May 19. This vegetarian celebration of health highlights the environmental benefits of plant-based diets.

There will be children’s activities and food samples, with a demo by Jozseph Schultz of India Joze at 12:30 p.m., and a comparison of Bobcat Ridge avocados at 2 p.m.
Food vendors include India Joze, Geisha’s sustainable sushi, India Gourmet, Cafe Ivéta, and more.  


Good Food Festival, Resource Center for Nonviolence, 612 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, from noon until 6:30 p.m. on Sunday May 19. Ample parking at the Santa Cruz Courthouse
across Ocean St.

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