The pretzel at Dressel's is hot. Like, steam-engine hot. You have to wait for it to cool. Which, frankly, is good discipline. After all, good things come to those who wait — consider the properly poured Guinness. While you wait, consider the medieval history of the pretzel, its dubious origins as a monastic invention or an Alsatian Lenten compromise. Consider that the pretzel bread before you is not the traditional Germanic three-hole twist but rather two coiled lengths of bread embracing each other like a DNA strand. Consider too that it's about a foot long and thick as a baguette. The dipping sauce in the steel bowl is a fine rarebit of equal parts cheese, beer and mustard, an outstanding complement that softens the crisp shell of the pretzel without making it as cloud-soft as the chewy inner bread. Mustard! How perfect will it be? You have to wait for it to cool. That's all right; a beer and a pretzel at a public house is a snack five hundred years old. You can wait five minutes.
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