Okay, so I put on three kilograms in Munich, in four days. It must have been the chocolate I ate, after all the beer and the pork sausages. What would have happened, good grief, if I hadn't walked myself footsore every day between meals?
The historic centre of Munich is a postcard-pretty, eminently walkable, Gothic dream of a city. The place is virtually bursting at the seams with art treasures, thanks mainly to the collecting talents of the Wittelsbachs, who ruled Europe from the 13th century to the 20th. Food and drink wise, its one long Oktoberfest all year, as the beer gardens and beer cellars fill up with locals and tourists alike hell bent on having a good time.
If you don't already like smooth white veal-based weisswurst, you will fall in love with it here, and end up eating it like a local - before twelve o'clock with bread or pretzel, some sweet german mustard, and preferably a big glass of local weissbier or wheat beer. You can see my problem.
The oom pah pah charms of the world-famous Hofbrahaus still drag in the tourists by the busload, but I prefer Zum Fransinskaner, a traditional Bavarian beer house opposite the opera house. Inside you can sit in folksy wooden splendour, while outside on the terrace on a sunny day, you can tuck into Franziskaner's famous wheat beer, weisswurst from its own butchery, and the best leberkase (meatloaf) in town.
At night, my favourite bar/eating house is the noisy, buzzy Andescher Am Dom, right next to the Fraukirche. The beers are brewed in the nearby Andescher monastery, and the food is mighty: roast duck with red cabbage, Nurmburger bratwurst, and roast pork with crackling and potato dumplings. The Ratskeller is also fun, buried in the cavernous stone vaults of the Town Hall.
A mass of nooks and crannies, intimate booths and dining halls, it's always busy as the crowd pours in for the Franconian wine cellar, the schnitzels, the wurst platter, and the gorgeous apple fritters.
For a break from beer and sausages, it's good to know that the good people of Munich (er, Munchkins?) have fallen fashionably in love with all things Italian.
Prime movers among this new Italian push are Rudi Kull and Albert Weinzierl who already own the deliciously hip Italian cafe, Bar Central (so lovely I could happily live there, going home only to sleep), the pizza-pumping Riva and the pasta-laden Buffet Kull, as well as Munich’s swish boutique designer hotel, Cortiina.
Brenner, their newest offering, opened late last year and is by far the hottest ticket in town. Located in a glossy black Darth Vader-modernised building in a courtyard just off Maximilianstrasse, Munich's famous shopping mile, this 300 seater dining destination is a vast, airy, strikingly beautiful space. At the front is a moody bar for breakfast, coffee (especially the local favourite, a latte machiato) and cocktails. Walk through into the pasta cafe, and keep going, until you emerge into the restaurant proper, with its walls piled high with logs, and at its heart, a hearth, an open central grill where white-jacketed chefs busily manhandle fish and steaks. It reminds me of a good old Aussie barbecue, only indoors, so there are fewer blowflies.
Start with a light and pretty tuna carpaccio or a fusilli salsiccie, then move onto a whole, grilled seabass, or generous plate-covering entrecote, hot from the charcoal grill.
And don't worry if you find yourself missing your schweinbraten, weisswurst and leberkase, there's always breakfast. After your five mile jog.
Persuastrasse, 5 Tel: 49 89 2318120
Andechser Am Dom
Weinstrasse 7 Tel 49 89 298481
Marienplatz 8 Tel 49 89 2199890
Brenner Grill Pasta Bar
Maximilianstrasse 15, Munich Tel: 49 89 4522880