September 26, 2004


No, not really. Shelby already wrote about the total disappointment that was Oktoberfest at Torrance's Alpine Village. Had we actually paid $5 to get in -- and then paid $9.95 for bratwurst, and more money (another ~$10, I think) for beer, and so on -- I'm sure that we would have been even more disappointed; the whole event seemed very high-priced and low-energy.

When it's not holding Oktoberfests, Alpine Village sells itself as something of a shopping center for the homesick German expats and Germanophiles of the Los Angeles area. There's a German grocery store and deli. There's a German restaurant. There's a store selling German-language books, magazines, and videos. There are numerous stores selling German knick-knacks -- beer steins, cuckoo clocks, nutcrackers, and the like -- each of which could be dropped directly into a German tourist-trap town like Rothenberg without looking at all out of place.

It was late, so most of the stores were closed. The grocery store was still open, though, so we took a look -- while we weren't quite nostalgic enough to buy anything just yet, it did provide us with some light entertainment:

Is it really ... yes!
JAR DOGS! We meet again!
Should I ever become maudlin and nostalgic for genuine German cream of wheat, or the made-from-packets rice pudding that our company cafeteria often served in place of a real dessert that people might actually enjoy eating, now I know where to go. Haribo STOCK CARS?!? I don't think that they're getting their supplies of gummi products directly from Germany ... (yes, Haribo is a sponsor for NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace here in the USA, although I'm not exactly sure why.)

... visiting the grocery store gave the eerie feeling of being inside a Hamburg store's "American Food" section, only in reverse.

Posted by Kevin at September 26, 2004 01:10 PM

Well, I recently saw those stock cars in the grocery store here in Frankfurt, so while the packaging is obviously NOT German, the product at least is. It's probably inspired by their American NASCAR sponsorship, but they ARE sold here. :)

Posted by: Anna at September 26, 2004 10:19 PM

Really! I never saw them in Hamburg. Given Haribo's seemingly endless product line, though, I guess that's no surprise -- I was constantly running across new varieties, like the bags of airplane-shaped gummis that I only ever saw for sale in the Hamburg Airport's duty-free shop.

In Germany, you'd think that they'd be selling "F1 Cars" with a picture of Schumacher on the bag!

Posted by: Kevin at September 27, 2004 01:18 PM
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