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EatBeat: Oktoberfest, CeJay’s, Vic & Angelo’s

October 9th, 2008 · 1 Comment

My friends at the American-German club in Lantana are ramping it up in preparation for their 35th annual Oktoberfest that kicks off Friday, and continues through the weekend, then starts up the following one. I went there today to watch them make the schnitzel — but I was a week late, or a week early.

Menu board

“I was told to come Wednesday,” I explain.

“Oh, no! We made it last week! Already done!” said Helga Aqualina.  How much? “I don’t know how many pounds – but 1600 pieces. If we have to make more, if we run out, we make more next Wednesday maybe.”

That’s a lot of pork. While she and Margot Koch work to set up the serving area in the spiffed up clubhouse, Helga explains the process of schnitzel-making.  “First, the chef cuts the pork into equal-size pieces. Then they put it through the machine — the meat tenderizer. First it goes this way (vertically) and then this way (horizontally) and comes out flat. I get it and put it breadcrumbs.”

Workers set up clubhouse

“Then I take it, add salt and pepper, then dip it in mixed egg, then in plain flour and breadcrumbs,” Margot says. “Then Wanda Klass puts it on big trays and flattens it.”

Each tray holds 60 pieces; they’re put into the freezer. “It’s like a factory, two lines to bread them, and one line on the machine,” Helga explains how it’s done in one morning. On the day of cooking, deep fryers are set up and the schnitzel is cooked to order, till golden brown, then served hot with gravy.

“Americans like gravy on it, but we don’t eat it that way,” Helga, from Berlin, says. “Do you eat it that way — just lemon, too?” she asks Margot, who is from Thuringen, Germany.

“Just lemon. Americans like the gravy — and the applesauce.” Helga nods. “We only eat the applesauce on potato pancakes.” They call them kartoffel puffer.

Along with the pork schnitzel, they’ll also serve sauerbraten — beef, marinated in red wine, carrots and celery with spices; then roasted and sliced.

The groups who work — all seniors — have been doing this for decades and have it down to a routine, with only small tweaks every year. There are no paid workers  — only those hired to set up tents and rides.

Max Maier is one of the longtime members who keeps the receipts and handles kitchen matters. “We had 1800 pounds of pork for schnitzel; and about 1300 pounds of beef for sauerbraten.”

Beer flows — “‘We go through between 400 and 600 kegs (50 litres each) of imported beer, and maybe 600-700 of domestic,” he says.  There’s 30 cases of Jaegermeister for the first weekend alone.

Shorty Starr

Shorty Starr will tend the bar in the clubhouse, all six days, as he has since 1976. He worked the fest even before. Jaegermeister is the drink of choice, he says, among fest-goers. “I can’t stand the stuff myself,” he said. “I guess it’s a novelty for most of them. The Germans are used to it.” He’s from Ohio originally. He likes working the clubhouse, though — “You won’t find a prettier clubhouse anywhere.”

In the warehouse outside, a foursome has finished building the children’s float for the parade. I get there in time to hear someone say, “Leave it off. Less is more.”

Children's float

Take a look: Covered in tissue-paper petals, indoor-outdoor carpet and crowned with an arc of silk roses and leaves, the float is a work of hot-glue art. Not a little resemblance to a wedding cake with seats – on wheels.

The four ladies responsible are quibbling over the fire-engine red golf cart to be used to pull it. It’s covered with black, yellow and white flowers. “We had to make it match the cart, so we used the German colors,” said Toni Zwettler. “Helen wanted it red, white and blue.”

Here are the proud floatbuilders:

(Left to right) Dolores Wloszik, Helen Luteran, Ursula Mueller, Toni, Zwettler

(Left to right) Dolores Wloszik, Helen Luteran, Ursula Mueller, Toni, Zwettler

 

 

 

The parade winds around the grounds — with kids in costume on the float, dancers, the bands and the parade of flags of every state in Germany — daily during the festival. Yes, the men wear lederhosen.

“They’re too hot for me,” Ursula says.

 

35th Annual Oktoberfest

  • Where: American-German Club, 5111 Lantana Road, Lake Worth
  • When: Oct. 10-12; Oct. 17-19
  • General admission: $7 adults; children under 12 free; free parking.
  • For information: (561) 967-6464; www.americangermanclub.org

Now open

Cejay’s diner in Lake Park on U.S. 1. The old CeJay’s – in Palm Beach Gardens – moved to the old Southern Kitchen spot, and has reopened with new decor, expanded seating but the same menu.

Vic and Angelo’s in Delray Beach. The newest in the chain of the upscale pizzerias is on East Atlantic Avenue just east of the railroad tracks. We hear service is tip-top so far and the roasted wings with onions are killer. Wonder, though, about the dirty martini with truffle oil. Sounds a bit much to me; the person reporting to us called it, politely, “interesting.” At $15, it really better pique my interest. And we’re curious about the iced tea from a bottle — when you tout your water filtration system, wouldn’t yours taste better than the bottled stuff?

Tags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News

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