Hilton Mainz City

21 December 2013

Earl has stayed here before during a previous business trip so I knew what to expect. It's a run-of-the-mill hotel - basically clean and moderate in room size (not too big nor too tiny).

The bed was on the firm side and the pillows were rather flat (but not uncomfortable). If you're looking for fluffy pillows, then this hotel is not for you.

Internet access was an extra 15 € per day and was a bit slow. And oh, the toilet needed a little more scrubbing as it was starting to look yellow. But then again, I'm fussier than most people.

What I did like was that they gave a few pieces of chocolate and a biscuit as a welcome snack. I wish more hotels did this instead of the usual fruit platter.

Breakfast buffet, wasn't bad though not extensive, and they served mostly the same dishes throughout. So if you're staying longer than four days, you might start getting bored - I was already missing rice on the second day especially since the buffet mainly consisted of salty sausages, bacon and meatballs.

What is great about the Hilton Mainz City is its location. The tram was literally a few steps away - two stops and you're at the main train station. The shopping district, Mainz Cathedral, and the Gutenburg Museum, are all around a 10 minute walk from the hotel.

By the way, have I mentioned how warm and friendly the staff were? Thus, all things considered, I would not mind booking this hotel again on my next trip to Mainz.

Mainz: Heiliggeist

18 December 2013

I read about Heiliggeist in Trip Advisor when I was searching for a place to eat. We wanted to dine like the locals, but it must be walking distance from the hotel. We're not familiar with their transport system and cab fares are so expensive - we paid 57.50 € (Php 3480 or SGD 99) from the airport to the Hilton Mainz City Hotel which was just a 30 minute trip!

It took us a bit of time to find the entrance - we, along with some others, initially thought it was closed since the first two doors we checked were locked. Earl and I decided to wait and see if anyone else was headed towards the restaurant which is how we finally found the front door!

According to Lonely Planet, Heiliggeist used to be a 15th-century hospital. Upon entering, we were glad our perseverance paid off as the place sure was pretty and cozy. I'd go back for the ambiance alone.

Turns out in Germany, they are fond of serving sparkling or carbonated water, so you would need to specify that you want "still" water. We got the smallest size of Selters Classic (2.45 €) and Apfelwein (2.35 €) which is the German version of apple wine or cider. I ordered the Apfelwein out of curiosity - it tasted like very watery wine - drinkable, but not something I'd order again anytime soon.

Die Zwie
Croustarte grilled with gouda, mozzarella, and parmeggiano
9.90 €

This was Earl's third trip to Germany in less than two months and he was getting a little tired of sausages. Good thing the restaurant's menu is composed of German and Italian inspired dishes so he immediately ordered pizza. It was pretty good and large enough for two or three people if you're ordering other things.

Heiliggeist's Homemade Veal Sausage
with Onions, Dijon-Wasabi-Mustard and Hash Browns
12.50 €

I loved the sausage! The hash browns though needed a bit of salt and tasted better mixed with the onions. This dish is also good for two and I ended up not finishing the potatoes due to no more space.

Conveniently located right behind the Gutenberg Museum, I would definitely recommend this place to those visiting the Mainz area.


14 December 2013

Earl had a business trip during his birthday, so I went along to keep him company. This also meant that we only had two full days for sightseeing.

On our first day, we decided to start with the 10 AM Mass over at the 1037 year old Mainz Cathedral (St. Martin's Cathedral). We knew that the entire service was going to be in German and we wouldn't be able to understand anything, but I really wanted to see what a German Mass was like. And you know what? I'm so glad we went as it turned out to be the highlight of the day!

For a regular Sunday Mass, we were surprised that it was rather formal. There was a man dressed in some form of livery and holding a metal staff who headed the entrance procession. He was followed by the altar boys and the priests (there were three who concelebrated that day). I wanted to take a picture, but wasn't sure how well the ones around us would react.

Then there was the choir which had around 30 members, and I only have one word to describe their singing - heavenly! Every time they sang, I was smiling. Though there was a pipe organ that wasn't exactly in sync with the choir, but they mostly sang without background music so needless to say, I was happy during the entire Mass.

Right outside the cathedral was the Christmas Market which opens at 11 AM so the timing was perfect. There were so many things I wanted to buy, but since all of them consisted of food items, I decided that I'll sample everything during our next trip as my stomach had other priorities (there was a restaurant I wanted to try and if I ate already, I would not have any appetite left for lunch).

We went to the market again later that day just to see what it looked like at night. If it was festive during daytime, more so at night with all the lights. There were also more people, so if you want to shop in relative peace, do so in the morning.

The lady you see in the picture is at the Gutenberg Museum giving a presentation on how the first printing press worked. Unfortunately, it was in German so we could only guess at was she was saying by watching what she was doing. The same lady also gives a tour of the museum and was kind enough to offer comments in English if we joined the tour. I thanked her, but declined as we already rented an English audio guide (3.50 €).

The audio guide helped, but both Earl and I found the place to be rather boring. Maybe printing presses just aren't our thing. We did get to see the Gutenberg Bible, though we don't have pictures as taking photographs is prohibited in the entire museum except for the presentation.

Tickets cost 5.00 € per person.


12 December 2013

We were introduced to Saveur last month when we had dinner there with friends. It was a happy meeting as the prices were affordable and the food was good. So last week, I decided to go back for a solo lunch.


Previously, we ordered the Saveur's Pasta, duck leg confit, and pork belly. This time, I got the following:

Salmon Confit
Apple & fennel with lemon vinaigrette
SGD 9.90

I had no idea that this dish would be completely raw. I mean, the duck confit was cooked, right? I checked online and there are some versions that are cooked, and some that are just cooked slightly. This one felt like eating a piece of raw fish. Definitely not my kind of dish. So I just had one bite, asked for it to be packed, and I fried it in butter and garlic the minute I got home.

Chicken Roulade
A roulade of chicken thigh stuffed with foie gras-infused chicken farce, creamy basmati rice & parmesan sauce
SGD 9.90

The chicken was average - nothing that makes you want to go "ooohhh, this is great!" And the rice just tasted like it was mixed with a soft-boiled egg.

Pistachio Panna Cotta
Pistachio-flavoured cooked cream, topped with ground and caramelised pistachio
SGD 6.90

This wasn't bad, not too sweet, but I could only eat half before I got tired of the taste.

I'll definitely go back though to try their other dishes. And if the next visit is just like this recent one, then I'll stick to what we ordered initially.