Exploring the culinary side of Lend
Some of you may already know that I moved to Graz, the Styrian capital, recently. I had been commuting from Leoben to Graz multiple times a week for years so the city is not completely new to me. I do know my way around Graz but exploring my own city as a tourist has been on my mind for a quite some time now.
I love getting lost on purpose, wandering around trying to find my way back home without the help of Google Maps. Guided tours, a planned getting lost in the city, are also one of my favourite things to do. Not having to remember all the street names and still finding my way back at the end – that’s what I really enjoy.
Graz repeatedly uses the slogan
Graz ist anders (Graz is different)
and the more time I spend in the city along the Mur the more I agree.
So I decided to search the internet and found a very promising guided tour completely to my taste:
Lend isst anders (Lend eats differently)
A culinary evening to showcase local food and also to shine some light on the often underrated district Lend.
In four courses through Lend
Start point is on the other side of the Mur, in front of the Franziskanerkirche. The reason: The stunning view over the two districts Lend and Griess. The first course follows after a short introduction: a green smoothie. Almost a little too cold for this time of year but a healthy variety nonetheless.
We take a stroll over the Murbrücke (bridge over the river Mur) and enter the first venue: The Parks. A vegetarian coffee shop specialised in dishes prepared according to the Asian 5 elements cooking. We are warmly welcomed by the owner and then we dart for the first dish of the night. Italian Antipasti are served with Styrian Makava iced tea. Homemade bread is served to the pickled tomatoes, olives, mushrooms and other delicacies.
We are told that eating habits have drastically changed in Austria in recent years and a lot more people follow either vegetarian or vegan diets. Every tenth Austrian is vegetarian and one in every hundred follows a vegan lifestyle. It doesn’t end here though! Have you ever heard of Fructarians or Freegans? Fructarians only consume fruit which falls from the trees (they don’t pick it themselves) and freegans try to feed themselves for free ie foodfishing in trash bins.
After our refreshment in the Parks we walk past the “friendly alien” – the arts and leisure centre in Graz. It was built in 2003 when Graz was voted the art and leisure capital of Austria. Back then the aim was to showcase the district Lend and not only the old town. Locals lovingly call the districts Lend and Griess the “living room of Graz”. Here is everything mulitcultural, not just the culinary aspect.
We continue to walk along the Mur and reach the second venue: Blendend – I have been here before but that is not a problem at all. The atmosphere and flair are absolutely amazing and perfect to unwind. Individuality is a big thing and there is no real interior design concept. The conservatory ceiling is decorated with red& white umbrellas which gives it a cosy touch.
For starters we are served Austrian Gin Tonic with a slice of cucumber for decoration. I am absolutely delighted to find out what’s for main. I cannot believe my eyes when plates with Quesadillas filled with cream cheese and Guacamole are placed in front of me. I am a passionate Mexico-lover and cannot wait to tuck into my favourite foods. Just thinking back makes me drool. I thoroughly enjoy my cheese-filled Mexican pastry and am stunned at how much love the chef put into making these. I have never had such authentic, delicious Mexican food in Austria before.
Are you still searching for the perfect breakfast/brunch location in Graz? I highly recommend Blendend! Their slogan is “breakfast at home” and one can enjoy their amazing buffet from 9am to 3pm at the weekend. Don’t forget to reserve a table as it tends to be very busy.
We walk past the so called Hier-ist-Platz Platz to our final stop – Lendplatz. Where else would you end your walk through Lend if not here?!
The Süße Luise, located in the center of Lendplatz, has reserved a table for our group. We are treated to a truly delicious cake filled with fresh berries to end our guided tour. We are also offered beer infused with caffeine. What you haven’t heard about it yet? Well, the inventor was really sick of getting tired after consuming beer so he came up with this speciality called “Eulenbier” which literally means owl beer. Curious, right?
Austria seems home to an array of beverages with funny names – all the non beer drinkers are offered Isabellatraubenspritzer which is delicious too.
I don’t know if Lend really eats differently than the rest of Graz. One thing is true though: Lend really is different and full of places with the feel good factor. Since Lend is the living room of Graz I would love to move in, people watch and enjoy some amazing food & drink.
The nibbles we were served – and unfortunately they really were nibbles and not full sized portions like I anticipated – were outstanding.
The venues we visited were amazing and I will make sure to return to all of them very soon.
Lend isst anders is held every Wednesday from 6:30pm to approximately 8:30pm. Tickets can be purchased at the tourist information point at Herrengasse or online. The guided tour will be carried out until the end of this year so hurry and get your ticket! Click here for more information.
Nota bene: I would like to thank Tourismus Graz for their support. They made it possible for me to attend Lend isst anders. All words are my own and my opinion has not been swayed by anyone.