Gaumenkitzel 2121 San Pablo Ave./Addison St., (510) 647-5016. L-D Tu-Sun, Sat-SunBr; $-$$. Reservations taken but not needed. This colorful north German bakery restaurant operates in one large open room with a high ceiling and light-colored wood tables. It is airy, inviting, and filled with mellow background music. The name translates as "palate thrill," and that seems to be the goal of the menu. According to the menu the owners are “Germans from Hamburg,” so I was expecting some tradition. Flour for the fresh-baked bread is milled in house, and a pastry chef makes everything on site as well. Local, seasonal, organic ingredients are used, and pride is taken in having no microwave, deep-fryer, or freezer. I lunched on a very good crispy, thin pork schnitzel sandwich with mustard aioli. Items I’d like to try in the future include a housemade pretzel with small sausages and potato salad, some spaetzle, goulash, and the fresh soup. As would be expected, the selection of German beer is extensive--the menu claims it is the largest selection of German beer in the East Bay--and I understand they even have apple cider from Frankfurt. I was a bit disappointed by the Black Forest cake that was described as traditional. The cake itself was light-colored and not very chocolatey, while I was expecting a dark devils food-style cake as I’ve had in Germany. There are only a few desserts, so check in advance in the case by the register to see what is available. I noticed there, too late, a promising Meyer-lemon meringue that I will order next time. A small grocery selection of German candies, chocolates, condiments, and beverages are available to purchase. Guten appetit!
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