Tag Archives: German

Sisterly Grub

July 15, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Sisters Cafe is your typical small-town eatery—with a delightful globe-trotting twist.

Sisters2As diners approach the restaurant on historic downtown Plattsmouth’s Main Street, they’re greeted with whimsical signage featuring a pair of flitting butterflies, one decorated like the national flag of Thailand and the other mimicking the German flag.       

Inside, sisters Jit Kunkel and Noopin Hammerich flutter about, seamlessly combining the cuisine of Thailand and Deutschland on one diverse, delectable menu. Sisters does not create Thai-German fusion, rather, the restaurant offers Thai and German dishes side by side—just as the sisterly duo stands together in the kitchen.     

“The Thai side evolves from Jit’s background and experience owning Jit’s Thai Cafe in Omaha,” says Greg Kunkel, Jit’s husband and a third owner alongside the sisters. “Noopin brings the German component from her training and work experience in Hamburg, Germany—so the combination is natural for us.”

Sisters3The sisters grew up in Northeast Thailand before Jit immigrated to the U.S. and Noopin immigrated to Germany. After 40 years, during which time Noopin attended culinary school and worked in catering, she joined Jit stateside to launch their joint endeavor.

Jit creates amazing housemade Thai sauces, perfecting the flavors of their homeland, while Noopin oversees the German side. Noopin also contributes the standout baked goods, including homemade bread and desserts: apple strudel, special cakes, and tortes. Sisters’ homegrown vibe is partially provided by fresh organic vegetables and herbs that come from the garden at Greg and Jit’s Bellevue home. Greg’s part in this venture is tending
that garden.

Between my German last name and a pronounced penchant for pad thai, I felt completely in my element at Sisters. However, neither characteristic is necessary to appreciate Sisters’ emphasis on freshness and friendly service. From wienerschnitzel and sauerbraten to panang curry and drunken noodles, Sisters’ commitment to authenticity and homemade provisions makes this place special.   

Sisters4On a recent visit, the pad thai was, predictably, a favorite. Sisters’ solid version of the classic dish boasts a homemade sauce so well-balanced between sour, salty, spicy, and sweet that Buddha himself would be pleased. The dish achieved a harmonious texture through expertly cooked rice noodles and egg mingled with garden-fresh green onion and bean sprouts, a crushed-peanut finish, shredded carrot, and a juicy lime wedge. We opted for chicken, but the dish is also available with beef, pork, tofu, or langostino.       

Sisters’ take on the German classic rinderrouladen presented a tender beef filet stuffed with bacon, pickle, and onion, then topped with a rich, savory gravy. Soft, eggy spaetzle with a crisp exterior and pickled red cabbage, sweet with apple flavor, accompanied the dish. German dishes are served with a small salad and Noopin’s noticeably homemade bread.   

The cafe’s ambiance is cozy and unassuming, with a front door beset by two large windows that allow a pleasant supply of natural light. A small front patio provides a nice perch from which to experience quaint, downtown Plattsmouth while dining. Sisters offers beer and wine alongside Thai tea to quench
your thirst.

Sisters bustles with business and is clearly popular with local regulars, but Omahans and those from other nearby communities will find it worthwhile to make the short trip to Plattsmouth, and, from there, be transported to far-off Thailand and Germany. 

Visit sisterscafe.biz for more information.


Follow a Craft Beer Calendar

April 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

To many, reaching for a beer is a pretty simple affair—grabbing whatever is on sale or sits on top in the cooler. But I’m not here to advocate for simplicity when it comes to your choice of beverage. Putting some timely thought behind your selection can pay some great dividends!

As I write this, the sun is shining, the temperatures are finally rising, and the desire to get outdoors is overpowering. Just as certain craft beers pair beautifully with particular foods, so too do the myriad styles of craft beer find select pairings with the seasons, hence, the phrase “seasonal beers.”

Seasonal beers offer their peak appeal within a particular time of year. Certain styles have become the norm for the type of activities people find themselves involved in or the type of weather they’re experiencing. It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Darker, maltier styles are well-suited to the colder months due to their more filling and higher alcoholic nature, for example; thus, they are popular in the fall and winter.

But we’re now several weeks into spring, so which craft beers marry well with springtime? Spring seasonals tend to have a straw or golden color, a lively effervescence, and a bitterness rate geared toward quenching a growing thirst.

Pale ales, “smaller” IPAs (just a bit bigger in stature than pale ales), and wheat beer styles are perfectly suited to the warming temperatures and activities of springtime. And like good wine, beers also have many intriguing variations and tilts on a style that will keep you entertained throughout the season. You need not chose just one seasonal option—you can find several you enjoy!

One of my personal favorites is wheat beer—American, German, Belgian—and with brews from so many little regions within these countries, the list is quite long. Wheat beers are generally made with 50 percent wheat/50 percent malted barley. Most are cloudy in nature due to the yeast and proteins left in suspension because of a deliberate lack of filtration. Differences emerge in the artistry of the brewer. American wheats are fairly straightforward, less challenging, or possibly a bit less entertaining, while the German wheats can be hugely effervescent and possess a nose bursting with banana, clove, and vanilla. There are many variations within the German ranks, but as I’m here to guide you, I’ll send you right to an immensely pleasing German Hefeweizen (pronounced “hefay veitzen”).

Most area grocery or bottle stores carry a nice selection of seasonal craft beers, and the local brewers either have one on tap year-round or are just gearing up for the seasonal change. This is one of the easiest times of the year to make your own personal-best seasonal choice.

Now, get out there and try a few!